"Airport" was basically the start of the 1970s disaster films. There had been "disaster" movies before: "San Francisco" with Clark Gable, "In Old Chicago" with Tyrone Power, and "The Hurricane" with Jon Hall, to name just three from the 1930s, but they really took off in the Seventies ("The Poseidon Adventure," "Earthquake," etc.). But what was at the heart of "Airport" was...heart. It came from an Arthur Hailey novel, one of those thick kind filled with character plots. Anyway, "Airport" brought together old and new stars in this story of an unhappy marriage, a love affair, a man so driven by desperation who brings a bomb on board to get insurance money for his wife, an old lady stowaway, and a heavy winter storm causing havoc on the runways of the airport.
This was a very enjoyable film in its day and still is today. It was one of the major inspirations for "Airplane!" ("Zero Hour" was another.) The stars of this production were all perfect...except for one. Dean Martin, famous in show business life for his image as a harddrinker, as the co-pilot? (Mad Magazine had fun with that in their satire of the film, named "Airplot".) Burt Lancaster is the general manager of the airport, trying to balance the needs of the many in the terminal and up in the air with those of his demanding wife at home. Jacqueline Bisset is the stewardess whose affair with co-pilot Martin has resulted in her being pregnant. George Kennedy, Van Heflin, Maureen Stapleton, Dana Wynter, and Jean Seberg round out the cast. And, oh, yes, Helen Hayes as a charming old lady who has gotten quite good at slipping unchecked onto different flights in order to be able to see her family around the country. Hayes was so delightful that she won the Best Supporting Actress for her performance. (By the way, "Airport" was nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture.)
There was one other element to making this picture successful and that was Alfred Newman's musical score. It comes in powerful at the beginning and plays under the dangerous landing, helping to project the tensions. He is also equally romantic in several sections. If you don't know of Alfred Newman, I highly recommend you watch movies with his scores. Actually, you probably do know one piece of his music without knowing you do. The 20th Century Fox fanfare at the beginning of a film is his. Some of the titles on Blu-ray with his scores are "How the West Was Won," "The Greatest Story Ever Told," and "The Robe" (one of his very best scores).
The picture quality is very good, probably as good as we will get from this.
Audio is excellent. While dialogue is front and center, you may not notice it but you do get a subtle use of music and sound effects that adds to the whole experience.
Extras are on the extremely slim side. A trailer and two retrospective featurettes (100 Years of Universal: The Lot and 100 Years of Universal: The '70s).
This package comes with a DVD and a digital copy.
Very much recommended.