Saturday, April 30, 2022

The Flight of the Phoenix

"The Little Men with the Slide-Rules and Computers Are Going to Inherit the Earth"


The Wrong Brothers


Shit Burning Man

A Robert Aldrich failure, 1965. The least interesting take on Hitchcock's 1944 wartime masterpiece Lifeboat. Burdened by terrible performances, with the exception of (an admittedly one-note) James Stewart, Dan Duryea (underused), George Kennedy (underused), Peter Finch (underused), and a German named Hardy Krüger. Too many Brits make up the cast, "old chap," in far lesser locomotion than Aldrich's very good UK-set two-minutes-shorter-than-2-hours-22-minutes The Killing of Sister George of 1968, and they do what white Britons (except for The Beatles) always do in movies: nothing (that's a Godard paraphrase) or, rather, emote like pigs. There are some beautiful shots of dune-trudging. (Porcile?) Otherwise you're made to watch a group of sub-Hawksian monotones join together like the males they are and perform some incomprehensible and wildly inauthentic shit to an airplane (chartered by "ArabCo," intended destination Benghazi) in order to let it take flight again, for a distance that finally seems to have been a half-mile: obviously "the Phoenix" is going to fucking fly, as was evident from the first second of the imminent disaster. 

Krüger says to Stewart: "You behave as if stupidity was a virtue." Hence, no Thunder Bay [Anthony Mann, 1953] or The Spirit of St. Louis [Billy Wilder, 1957] — instead, The Flight of the Phoenix.


Other writing about Robert Aldrich at Cinemasparagus:


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