Written in Heaven ( The High and the Mighty ) is an American adventure drama CinemaScope 1 directed by William A. Wellman , from the screenplay based on the eponymous novel 2 of Ernest K. Gann released in 1954 .
John Wayne who plays in the film is also co-producer. The composer Dimitri Tiomkin won a film Oscar for the title song The High and the Mighty .
The film traces the events within a group of passengers and crew members aboard a Douglas DC-4 airliner performing a transpacific flight during which the aircraft suffers a major damage precipitating all passengers to an inevitable catastrophe. The High and the Mighty later served as a model for the title ” disaster film “, for films such as Airport ( 1970 ), The Infernal Tower ( 1974 ), and Titanic ( 1997 ) 3 .
While Writing in the Sky is often categorized as both an ” adventure drama ” and as one of the earliest examples of “disaster film” 3 , it should also be said that it is part of the genre of the big- block movie overall .
The film traces the personal dramas and interactions crescendo among the 17 passengers, as the conflict between the five crew members of the overnight flight Trans-Orient-Pacific n o 420 from Honolulu and toward San Francisco . Shortly after half of the journey, the passengers of the flight are suddenly plunged into a tense atmosphere, distressing and life turns into a real test for everyone on board because of a technical failure of the aircraft.
The first half of this long-running film (2:27) is dedicated to the scrupulous development of the 22 main characters. Dialogues and flashbacks retrace the lives of passengers, particularly anxieties about aircraft accidents in general.
Although the Honolulu TOPAC dispatcher informed Captain Sullivan that the number of passengers on board ( Souls on Board – SOB) was 21 (16 passengers and 5 staff), the rest of the load, 73,000 pounds of goods on board at takeoff, and once the plane ready to take off, a passenger last minute, Humphrey Agnew, is required on board without any reservation. The number of passengers is now 17 at takeoff.
Shortly after departure, a slight incident alerts the first officer of a likely problem with the aircraft. Only a hostess seems to have noticed the trembling of a mirror.
After passing the point of no return , one of the engines explodes, and the propeller pierces a kerosen tank , the opportunity to reach San Francisco is only one wire, the crew is divided between the landing or the hope to reach the earth before the dry out.
- Title: Written in the sky
- Original title: The High and the Mighty
- Director: William A. Wellman , assisted by Andrew V. McLaglen
- Scenario: Ernest K. Gann
- Production: Robert Fellows (in) and John Wayne
- Production Company: Wayne-Fellows Productions
- Distribution Company: Warner Brothers
- Music: Dimitri Tiomkin
- Director of Photography: Archie Stout
- Aerial Photography: William H. Clothier
- Editing: Ralph Dawson
- Special effects: Robert A. Mattey
- Sound: John K. Kean
- Costumes: Gwen Wakeling
- Stuntman: Tom Hennesy (en)
- Country: United States
- Filming language: English
- Genre: adventure film / Drama / disaster movie
- Duration: 147 minutes
- Format: Color (Warnercolor) 2.50 X 1 – Sound: 4-Track Stereo | Mono (RCA Sound System)
- Release dates:
- United States :
- France :
- Belgium :
- John Wayne ( VF : Raymond Loyer ) : Dan Roman
- Claire Trevor ( VF : Lita Recio ) : May Holst
- Laraine Day : Lydia Rice
- Robert Stack ( VF : Roland Menard ) : John Sullivan
- Jan Sterling : Sally McKee
- Phil Harris ( VF : Robert Dalban ) : Ed Joseph
- Robert Newton ( VF : Jean Brochard ) : Gustave Pardee
- David Brian ( VF : Claude Peran ) : Ken Childs
- Paul Kelly ( VF : Gérard Férat) : Donald Flaherty
- Sidney Blackmer ( VF : Emile Duard ) : Humphrey Agnew
- Julie Bishop : Lillian Pardee
- Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez : Gonzales
- John Howard ( VF : Claude Bertrand ) : Howard Rice
- Wally Brown (in French) ( VF : Jean Clarieux ) : Lenny Wilby, navigator
- William Campbell ( VF : René Arrieu ) : Hobie Wheeler
- John Qualen : Jose Locota
- David Leonard ( VF : Maurice Dorleac ) : scientist
- John Indrisano ( VF : Rene Beriard ) : Air traffic control
- Ann Doran : Clara Joseph
- Paul Fix ( VF : Émile Drain ) : Frank Briscoe
- Joy Kim : Dorothy Chen
- George Chandler ( VF : Jean-Claude Michel ) : Ben Sneed
- Michael Wellman : Toby Field
- Douglas Fowley ( VF : Jacques Erwin ) : Alsop
- Regis Toomey ( VF : Jean-Henri Chambois ) : Tim Garfield
- Carl Switzer 4 : Ensign Keim
- Robert Keys : Lieutenant Mowbray
- William Hopper ( VF : Marc Valbel ) : Roy
- William Schallert ( VF : Pierre Morin ) : Dispatcher
- Julie Mitchum : Susie Wilby
- Doe Avedon (in) ( VF : Nelly Benedetti ) : Miss Spalding
- Karen Sharpe : Nell Buck
- Douglas Kennedy ( VF : Georges Aminel ) : Boyd, reporter
- John Smith : Milo Buck
- Philip Van Zandt : Mr. Wilson
Around the film
Distribution : Casting problems have plagued the film’s production. After Spencer Tracy was chosen to lead the “Project” shortly before preproduction 5 , John Wayne brighter than ever accepted the role. John Wayne promised the second pilot role to his friend Robert Cummings, whose job it was according to Wellman’s recommendations. Interview with Robert Stack really convinced Wellman someone foreign to the pilot profession could indeed represent well the tragedy of conflict in the cockpit 6 .
Awards and Appointments
- 1955 : Dimitri Tiomkin obtains the Oscar for the best film music .
- 1955 : Jan Sterling wins the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role .
- 1955 : Jan Sterling was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role .
- 1955 : Claire Trevor was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role .
- 1955 : William A. Wellman was nominated for the Oscar for Best Director .
- 1955 : Ralph Dawson was nominated for the Oscar for best film .
- 1955 : Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington were nominated for the Oscar for best original song .
- Gilbert Salachas, Telecine No. 44, Federation of Leisure and Cinematographic Culture (FLECC), Paris, December 1954.
Notes and references
- ↑ (in) The High and the Mighty [ archive ] in IMDb (accessed September 3, 2008)
- ↑ Maltin The Batjac Story: Part 1 (1951-1963) 2005
- ↑ a and b (in) Anderson, Jeffrey M. The High and the Mighty (1954): Who’ll Stop the Plane? [ archive ] on combustiblecelluloid.com,. (accessed September 3, 2008).
- ↑ Carl Switzer said Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer
- ↑ Jameson, Richard T. Editorial reviews for The High and the Mighty (1954) [ archive ] amazon.com, 2005 (accessed September 4 200)
- ↑ The High and the Mighty (DVD) 2005.