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Nancy Davis (aka Mrs. Ronald Reagan) made her last feature film appearance in this gripping
Sam Katzman production. As a trans-Atlantic flight bound for New York develops engine trouble, flashbacks reveal what brought the passengers and crew to this fateful moment. (Relax - they don't land on a weird island with smoke monsters.) A fine cast adds spark to this unusual entry in a familiar genre, written by future Star Trek producer Fred Freiberger. Directed by Fred F. Sears (The Giant Claw) and starring Gary Merrill, Irene Hervey, Roger Smith and Richard Keith. Newly remastered.
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The aircraft is a Douglas DC-7C, en route from Lisbon to New York, which had only been in service for a couple of years, and the airline is unnamed. The exterior model work is fair to good by todays standards. When the plane hits the water, we are actually seeing the Lockheed R6V Constitution, so we are probably seeing footage of a radio control model used for ditching tests. The flight crew doesn't always seem as cohesive or professional as it could be, but this is for dramatic tension. The evacuation was probably filmed on a ditching trainer that Douglas or an airline would have had for a new aircraft in service.
The ship is identified in radio call sign and on one of the motor lifeboats as DE347, but the USS Jesse Rutherford was supposedly in mothballs during this time. Besides footage of the DE steaming around in circles, there is a shot of the actor playing the captain outside the bridge, and preparations of a motor lifeboat. But the hull number is painted out, and the lifeboat number is obscured.