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Airport had enough plot and enough star power in its cast for three feature films, it had everything an audience of the period could have wanted -- suspense, romance, drama, and comedy -- all spread across a vast canvas. Mel Bakersfeld (Burt Lancaster) is the manager of Lincoln Airport, facing a night beset by the worst blizzard in a decade, a wife (Dana Wynter) who announces she wants a divorce, a primary runway blocked by an airliner stuck in a snowdrift, and a governing board ready to fire him. Bakersfeld's cynical, smooth-talking brother-in-law, Vernon Demerest (Dean Martin), won't let up on his criticism of the management at Lincoln, but he has his own problems as well, mostly in the form of a young stewardess, Gwen Meighen (Jacqueline Bisset), who is pregnant by him and whom he finds he genuinely loves. Add to that the presence of an old lady stowaway (Helen Hayes) and a mentally disturbed passenger (Van Heflin) carrying a bomb, and there's more than enough plot to keep viewers engrossed for two hours plus. With Jean Seberg, George Kennedy, Lloyd Nolan, Barry Nelson, and Maureen Stapleton filling out the rest of the leading roles, there was something for almost everyone in this film.



Airport 1975 (1974):

Charlton Heston heads the all-star cast as Alan Murdock, the former test pilot who must keep a disabled 747 from crashing in flames. The crisis begins when a businessman (Dana Andrews), flying his small private plane, suffers a fatal heart attack and the plane smashes into the cockpit of the 747. Following Murdock's radioed instructions, stewardess Nancy Pryor (Karen Black) takes over the controls. The special-guest passenger lineup includes Helen Reddy as a singing nun (a character wickedly satirized in the 1980 parody Airplane!), Myrna Loy as an alcoholic, and Sid Caesar as a garrulous passenger.



Airport 77 (1977)

this third film in the series sticks a jet full of old actors 50 feet underwater in the Bermuda Triangle. Oxygen (and credibility) grows short, and Jimmy Stewart plays an art collector targeted for a heist. Jack Lemmon is the unfortunate pilot, and Christopher Lee shows up along with Brenda Vaccaro, Joseph Cotten, and Olivia de Havilland. Jerry Jameson, auteur of The Bat People, was selected to helm this entry featuring that film's star, Michael Pataki. George Kennedy, the only man to appear in all four Airport films, is along for the ride as well.



The Concorde: Airport 79 (1979)

The fourth Airport film may be the silliest of them all, as George Kennedy returns, this time co-piloting with Alain Delon. The plane is on its way to the Moscow Olympics, has a bomb on board, and gets fired upon with missiles that necessitate flying upside-down. Also along for this final film in the series are: Mercedes McCambridge (Johnny Guitar) as the coach of the Soviet team, Jimmie Walker, Charo, and -- oddly enough -- Bibi Andersson.

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MC24229 Airport Terminal Pack: Airport/Airport '75/Airport '77/Concord Airport '78 DVD (4 movies) $19.98