Monday, April 20, 2015

Netflix Monthly Movie: The Flight That Disappeared (1961)


The Flight That Disappeared (1961) is clearly a low-budget picture and has a very small scope. There's the interior of the plane (cockpit, cabin, and lounge), some shots of a plane flying - stock footage, and the interior of the control center/airport office (whatever they're called). It has three main characters played by actors that I have never heard of. It was directed by Reginald Le Borg and has a running time of 71 minutes.

The movie begins with passengers boarding Flight 60 on a small commercial plane en route to Washington DC. Three of the passengers are scientists, who have been summoned to DC to attend a classified meeting concerning a new bomb design. I enjoyed seeing the depiction of what early commercial flight was like. I don't know how accurate it was. The stewardesses seemed to be taking their time passing out the lunch trays.

The movie suddenly turns into a long episode of The Twilight Zone. The plane gains altitude in order to fly over a storm and continues to rise instead of leveling off. Then all of the engines stop running but still the plane keeps rising. No one can figure out what the problem is. The plane loses radio contact with their base and after a long time of there being no word from the plane, it is thought to have crashed. A search for the missing plane begins on the ground.

Meanwhile, in the air, the plane is still flying upwards. They are unaware of the search going on for them below. Some of the passengers start to need oxygen and the stewardesses slowly pass them out as the people begin getting light-headed or fainting one by one. They do this without supplying oxygen for themselves first, causing them to faint as well. Soon, everyone on the plane is sleeping/passed out, including the pilots in the cockpit. The only three people on the plane awake are Dr. Carl Morris - a scientist who has invented a beta-bomb, his assistant Marcia Paxton - a mathematician, and another scientist - Tom Endicott - who has invented a rocket launcher. They are played by Dayton Lummis, Paula Raymond, and Craig Hill respectively. The stewardesses are played by Nancy Hale and Bernadette Hale; I don't think they are related.

They discover that their watches have stopped and the plane does not appear to be moving. They also notice that their hearts are not beating, causing them to wonder if they are dead. While they are discussing this strange experience (in the lounge), they hear a voice from outside the plane. They exit and find themselves in a cloud and rock formation land. There they meet the people who will populate Earth in the future. These future people have summoned the scientists because they have created a bomb that could wipe out the Earth and therefore the future. They take a vote and decide to sentence them to remain in this limbo for eternity in order to give the future people a chance to live. The scientist run back to the plane which suddenly disappears.

The "future" people
Suddenly, everyone is back on the plane and awake. Tom discovers he hit his head and blacked out. The stewardess tells him he must have been dreaming. Dr. Morris has the other two come back to the lounge and they discover that they all had the same "dream."
When the plane finally lands, it is discovered that Flight 60 is 24 hours late! Then it wasn't a dream after all!
What do the scientists decide to do? Do they go ahead with the bomb? Or do they destroy the deadly knowledge they hold?

Dr. Carl Morris, Marcia Paxton, and Tom Endicott
The movie was a bit slow but I don't regret watching it. If you have an hour it's not a bad movie to watch, especially if you like The Twilight Zone (one of the less weird episodes). All of the main characters remind me of other, more famous actors. If this would have been a bigger budget film, it would have had Monty Wooley in the role of Dr. Morris, Barbara Hale (or Yvonne De Carlo) as Marcia Paxton, and Robert Cummings as Tom Endicott.

Here's a funny review of the movie (where I got the pictures - Netflix doesn't allow screenshots).

Plane interior


Which looks nothing like this one by the way...

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