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Zero Hour

In a way, it's unfair to put Hal Bartlett's Zero Hour! into the "Cult Camp Classics" series, as Warner Home Video has done -- it's not the fault of the producers, or the cast, or anyone else who worked on the movie, that much of its dialogue was lifted word-for-word and re-contextualized 20 years later in the spoof Airplane!. And Arthur Hailey's original story, Runway Zero-Eight, was serious enough as a source (and remade, with Doug McClure, in the early 1970's as a TV movie). But here it is, and however it's being sold, this reviewer is glad to see it -- despite the subsequent parody, it's still a good piece of story-telling, harking back to a time when the world was less snarky; and also to a time when a lot of people still took life seriously all of the time. Okay, there might be one or two places where the movie is too self-consciously serious, especially in those tight close-ups on Dana Andrews' troubled expressions. The movie has been beautifully transferred in a non-anamorphic wide-screen image (1.85-to-1), without any flaws and even a whopping 21 chapters, which may be more than Hailey's original novel had. The sound has also been treated well, mastered at a fairly decent volume, and it handles a boost cleanly and sharply. The crisp black-and-white image, of propeller-driven airliners at work, is a refreshing blast from the past -- not too many aerial dramas of this kind from the 1950's have made it out onto DVD, and the release makes an interesting contrast with Paramount's The High And The Mighty, a much more opulent production set aboard an airliner in trouble. This is a nice, minimalist thriller compared with the more elaborately mounted John Wayne production. The original trailer is the only bonus feature. The disc opens automatically to the single-layer menu, which is very easy to use.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/26/2007
UPC: 0085391145127
Original Release: 1957
Rating: NR
Source: Warner Home Video
Region Code: 1
Presentation: [B&W, Wide Screen]
Sound: [Dolby Digital Mono]
Time: 1:21:00

Special Features

Theatrical trailer; Subtitles: English & Français (main feature)

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Dana Andrews Ted Stryker
Linda Darnell Ellen Stryker
Sterling Hayden Treleaven
Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch Capt. Wilson
Geoffrey Toone Dr. Baird
Jerry Paris Tony Decker
Peggy King Stewardess
Charles Quinlivan Burdick
Carole Eden Mrs. Wilson
Steve London Copilot Stewart
John Ashley TV Singer
Willis B. Bouchey RCAF Doctor
Maxine Cooper Actor
Noel Drayton Actor
Raymond Farrell Joey Strvcker
Roy Gordon Actor
Arthur Hanson Actor
Mary Newton Actor
Willard Sage Actor
Bob Stevenson Actor
Hope Summers Actor
Jon-Mikl Thor Actor
Russell Thorson Flight Dispatcher
David Thursby Whitmond
Will J. White Actor
Richard Keith Station Manager
Fintan Meyler Actor
Woodrow Chambliss Actor

Technical Credits
Hall Bartlett Director,Producer,Screenwriter
John C. Champion Producer,Screenwriter
Ted Dale Score Composer
John C. Fuller Editor
John F. Warren Cinematographer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Zero Hour!
1. Credits [2:15]
2. Stryker's War [4:03]
3. All Aboard [4:28]
4. Joey in the Cockpit [4:24]
5. Make a Stand [2:13]
6. Dinner Is Served [4:17]
7. Feeling Ill [3:17]
8. Common Denominator [4:39]
9. Pilot Down [3:43]
10. Man for the Job [3:38]
11. Mayday! [3:50]
12. Tracking Treleaven [4:02]
13. Full of Doubts [3:05]
14. Listen Close [5:17]
15. Enough Dry Runs [4:55]
16. Flashback Descent [3:32]
17. Course Correction [4:03]
18. Terrible Coffee [4:13]
19. Too Low! [4:55]
20. Too Fast! [4:22]
21. Happy, Lousy Landing [1:45]

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