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  • This film is of the typical disaster films of the 70's; aircrafts that almost crash, hijacks, engine failures, terrorist acts and so on. The amazing thing about them is the great performances by great actors; in such films, we saw actors like Charlton Heston, George Kennedy, Jack Lemmon, Alain Delon, Christopher Lee and so on...

    In this film, David Janssen in a great performance (one more time), as a man in his 40's that has his own problems in his life, and apart from that, he has a rendez-vous with the bullet of a prisoner that wants to escape. The film script limits the abilities of the actor to perform; however, the film is a pleasant adventure/drama.

    5 out of 10.
  • Robert Butler directed this TV movie that stars David Janssen as Pilot Captain Pete Douglass, who is having a bad day; his wife is having an operation while he must fly a passenger jet in a snowstorm from an airport that is also carrying a dangerous prisoner(played by Marjoe Gortner) in a jail transfer who of course escapes and proceeds to shoot his stolen gun in the cabin, causing all kinds of trouble. Past Oscar winners Ray Milland and Broderick Crawford costar. Good cast cannot save clichéd and predictable film that doesn't generate much interest or suspense. Mostly just a TV version of one of the "Airport" films that were popular in the 1970's.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Mayday at 40,000 Feet is a regulation crisis-in-the-air TV movie distinguished by the accomplished direction of Robert Butler that features David Janssen,Don Meredith,Christopher George,Ray Milland,Lynda Day George,Margaret Blye,Marjoe Gortner and Broderick Crawford.

    Blinding snow threatens to send a jetliner hurtling toward doom. But Captain Pete Douglass (Janssen) has more than a snowstorm to battle when an armed madman turns the fuselage into a shooting gallery and his fellow passengers into clay pigeons. Adding to Janssen's growing list of problems is a maniac who goes on a shooting rampage in the first-class section.

    This TV movie was made in the tradition of Airport, The Towering Inferno and more epics of disaster that were commonly made during the 1970's.While the screenplay has used recycled plot lines and element from other disaster movies and it lacks the tension and suspense required to do films of such genres,it still will manage to entertain the viewers who does not mind the year it was made.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    If you are a fan of "Zero Hour" "Airport" and "Skyjacked" then you will probably be mildly entertained by "Mayday at 40,000 Fee!" TV movie "Mayday" doesn't quite take off like the theatrical distressed airplane films. Most of the talent in the movie are dependable TV actors. Luckily the "Love Boat" wouldn't set sail for another year, so casting director Marvin Page more than likely had less trouble with potential scheduling conflicts when booking the performers. It seems like Ray Milland spent most of the Seventies acting grouchy. It's nice to see him do this while also reprising his famous performance from "The Lost Weekend." I enjoyed Don Meredith's good old boy performance. He was a real scene stealer. This should come as no surprise since there is an old saying in Hollywood: Never act with children, animals or former quarterbacks of the Dallas Cowboys. Off-screen romances don't necessarily translate to on-screen, but I liked the chemistry between the Georges. In the plot department it wasn't too surprising that Linda's character primary function was to basically end up like Jacqueline Bisset in "Airport."
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Tough, but troubled Captain Pete Douglass (the always dependable David Janssen in sturdy stalwart form) has his hands full dealing with both a fierce snow storm and dangerous convict Greco (delightfully overplayed with lip-smacking maniacal relish by Marjoe Gortner), who's being transported to prison on board Douglass's passenger jet.

    Director Robert Butler keeps the entertaining story moving along at a brisk pace and generates a good deal of tension. The overwrought script by Austin Ferguson, Dick Nelson, and Andrew J. Fenady piles on the cheesy melodrama something thick: Douglass's sick wife undergoes an operation at a hospital for a possibly cancerous tumor, cantankerous disgraced doctor Joseph Manheim (a wonderfully grouchy and dynamic portrayal by Ray Milland) gets a chance to redeem himself, and so on. The bang-up cast of familiar faces helps a lot, with especially stand-out work from Christopher George as macho copilot Stan Burkhart, Don Meredith as happy-go-lucky cowboy engineer Mike Fuller, Lynda Day George as spunky senior stewardess Kathy Armello, Margaret Blythe as Stan's sweet old flame Susan MacKenzie, Broderick Crawford as the rugged, but ailing Marshal Riese, Christopher Norris as eager rookie stewardess Cindy Nelsen, and Hari Rhodes as the noble Belson. Richard Markowitz's crisp cinematography provides a pleasing polished look. William P. Jurgensen's robust score hits the rousing spot. A fun flick.
  • I can imagine the pitch at the TV execs office went something like this

    " You know what everyone watches at the cinema these days ? Disaster movies , so let`s get everyone out of the cinema back into the home with a disaster movie for TV "

    " Great idea . We`ll get a well known TV actor and some Oscar winning actor everyone has forgotten about . How we gonna come up with a new slant on the genre ? "

    " that`s easy we set it on a plane just like in AIRPORT except , except there`s a mad psycho killer aboard the plane . We could even get that crazy guy from EARTHQUAKE to play the psycho "

    " With an idea and casting like that that there`s no way we can fail with this TV movie "

    I beg to differ because as someone who`s seen MAYDAY AT 40,000 FEET it is a failure because someone forgot to write an interesting script
  • Routine disaster movie but with a knockout cast.

    With a couple of exceptions, I know the whole cast of this film from other productions of the 60s or 70s - be it be QM's The Fugitive or Earthquake or whatever! That is the appeal of this film. I joyfully walked down memory lane and turned a blind eye to some of the film's dull areas (before they all get on the plane).

    But if you don't know and love the cast like me - you mind this flick too routine in plot to bother with?

    My vote for most memorable character is the grumpy old doctor (played by Ray Milland).

    It looks like 1976 was David Janssen's year of disaster movies as he appeared in the cinema released Two-Minute Warning in the same year.

    The film features a brief racist remark that I never expected in a 70s network TV movie.

    Directed by Robert Butler and this is the main talking point I have about this film. In the 60s Butler directed pilots and episodes of some of TV's greatest shows (Adam West Batman, Star Trek, QM's The Invaders) so whenever I see his name at the start of a film/show - I expect massive fireworks from what is to come. When we only get mild fireworks (as is the case here) I feel a little short changed.

    Mayday at 40,000 Feet is okay.