The High And The Mighty (1954)

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    Photo with the courtesy of lasbugas


    Full Cast
    John Wayne .... Dan Roman
    Claire Trevor .... May Holst
    Laraine Day .... Lydia Rice
    Robert Stack .... John Sullivan
    Jan Sterling .... Sally McKee
    Phil Harris .... Ed Joseph
    Robert Newton .... Gustave Pardee
    David Brian .... Ken Childs
    Paul Kelly .... Donald Flaherty
    Sidney Blackmer .... Humphrey Agnew
    Julie Bishop .... Lillian Pardee
    Pedro Gonzales-Gonzales .... Gonzales (as Gonzales Gonzales)
    John Howard .... Howard Rice
    Wally Brown .... Lenny Wilby, navigator
    William Campbell .... Hobie Wheeler
    John Qualen .... Jose Locota
    Ann Doran .... Clara Joseph
    Paul Fix .... Frank Briscoe
    Joy Kim .... Dorothy Chen
    George Chandler .... Ben Sneed
    Michael Wellman .... Toby Field
    Douglas Fowley .... Alsop
    Regis Toomey .... Tim Garfield
    Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer .... Ensign Keim (as Carl Switzer)
    Robert Keys .... Lieutenant Mowbray
    William Hopper .... Roy (as William DeWolf Hopper)
    William Schallert .... Dispatcher
    Julie Mitchum .... Susie Wilby
    Doe Avedon .... Miss Spalding
    Karen Sharpe .... Nell Buck
    John Smith .... Milo Buck
    John Close .... Mechanic (uncredited)
    James Conaty .... Mrs. Joseph's Doctor (uncredited)
    Robert Easton .... Cargo Clerk (uncredited)
    Dorothy Ford .... Mrs. Wilson (uncredited)
    Al Hill .... San Francisco Ground Crewman (uncredited)
    William Hudson .... Reporter (uncredited)
    John Indrisano .... Radar Operator (uncredited)
    Douglas Kennedy .... Boyd, Reporter (uncredited)
    David Leonard .... Scientist (uncredited)
    Al Murphy .... Lighthouse Dispatcher (uncredited)
    William H. O'Brien .... Restaurant Cook (uncredited)
    Walter Reed .... Mr. Field (uncredited)
    Philip Van Zandt .... Mr. Wilson (uncredited)

    Tom Hennesy .... stunts (uncredited)
    Bill Keating .... DC-4 stunt pilot (uncredited)

    Writing Credits
    Ernest K. Gann also novel

    Original Music
    Dimitri Tiomkin
    Capt. Francis S. Van Boskerck (song "Semper Paratus" ['Always Ready'])
    John Qualen (cues) (uncredited)

    Archie Stout

    Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
    Andrew V. McLaglen

    Other crew
    William H. Clothier .... aerial photographer
    Muzzy Marcellino .... whistler: dubbing for John Wayne
    Dimitri Tiomkin .... conductor
    Ned Washington .... lyricist

    The lyrics to the famed title song are only heard at the very end, are sung by a large choral group, and are different than the familiar lyrics heard in the popular-song record releases of the time.

    Jan Sterling reportedly shaved her eyebrows for her role in the film and they never grew back.

    John Wayne's first film in CinemaScope.

    Producer John Wayne chose Robert Cummings as his co-star for the role of Captain Sullivan. Director William A. Wellman, however, overrode his producer and chose Robert Stack for the part.

    Joan Crawford, Ida Lupino, Barbara Stanwyck, Ginger Rogers, and Dorothy McGuire all turned down roles in this film.

    Spencer Tracy was originally cast as Dan Roman. He backed out of the film, however, after hearing several negative comments about how strict a disciplinarian director William A. Wellman was.

    Average Shot Length (ASL) = 11 seconds

    The actual DC-4 aircraft used to film the passenger boarding and flying sequences was a former military surplus Douglas C-54A-10-DC built in 1944. When filmed, the aircraft (then registered as N4726V) was being operated by Transocean Airlines for whom the film's author, Ernest K. Gann, had flown these planes over the Hawaii-California routes. Known as the "The Argentine Queen," before being acquired by Transocean in 1953 it had been the personal aircraft of Argentine dictator Juan Domingo Perón. Ironically, a little more than a decade after appearing in the film this aircraft and the nine persons on board were lost on March 28, 1964, when the plane was forced to ditch in the Pacific Ocean about 700 miles west of San Francisco. The plane was about eight hours into a charter flight from Honolulu to Los Angeles when the pilot reported a serious fire in engine #2. The Coast Guard searched for the aircraft for five days but no trace of it was ever found.

    Towards the end of the movie, when Robert Stack tells John Wayne to whistle something (because he works better with music), the tune that John Wayne whistles is, "I'm a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech".

    John Wayne's role was first offered to Spencer Tracy. However, Tracy, a Democrat who opposed blacklisting, wanted nothing to do with Wayne's Batjac production company and turned the part down.

    * Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): At the missile testing site, the word "missile" is misspelled "missle" on the sign.

    * Continuity: When Dan Roman stumbles from the burning wreckage of an airliner in a flashback sequence, he sees and reaches for a burning teddy bear. When he picks it up, it's no longer burning.

    * Revealing mistakes: In the flashback story her husband tells, Clara Joseph falls down some stairs and kicks a waiter's tray in the process. However, when they cut from the closeup of her feet, she is obviously sitting on the bottom step. She then leans back, takes aim, and kicks the tray. She then lies back like it was all one continuous motion.

    * Factual errors: The sound of the yellow flying bomb is wrong. It is audibly a jet engine, but the flying bomb is actually a German V1 which is powered by a ram jet: slats on the nacelle let in air that was mixed with fuel and ignited by a spark plug. The machine in flight sounded like a backfiring automobile.

    * Factual errors: Near the end of the film, Air Traffic Control clears the aircraft to land on "runway 39" This is impossible. Runways are numbered are within 10 degrees of their actual magnetic heading, and since there are only 360 degrees on the compass, the highest runway number possible is "runway 36".

    * Revealing mistakes: When co-pilot Dan Roman was walking down the isle to explain to the passengers what was wrong with the engines, you could see the whole right wall of the plane was missing as the camera tracked him.

    * Revealing mistakes: When stewardess Spalding was preparing the liquor drinks, a problem with the plane caused a severe vibration. The table and the drinks shook, jumped and nearly fell, yet she did not shake, nor did the walls, or the curtain right behind her.

    * Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): When Jan Sterling showed a newspaper article to Robert Stack, it was dated 1948. Jan commented that the article was "8 years old". The movie was released in 1954, only 6 years after the article was written.

    * Miscellaneous: In the Columbia crash sequence the tail of a burning DC-3 is clearly visible. However, among the wreckage was the front flashing of a B-29 nacelle, having one large circular opening with a crescent shaped opening on either side. The DC-3 has a simple circular opening.

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Location
    Samuel Goldwyn/Warner Hollywood Studios - 1041 N. Formosa Ave., Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA. Now known as The Lot

    Watch the Trailer

    The High And The Mighty

    Previous discussion:- on this 'super' thread

    The High And The Mighty

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 20 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • The High and the Mighty is a 1954 American "disaster" film
    directed by William A. Wellman and written by Ernest K. Gann
    who also wrote the novel on which his screenplay was based.

    The film's cast was headlined by John Wayne, who was also the project's co-producer.
    Composer Dimitri Tiomkin won an Academy Award for his original score
    while his title song for the film also was nominated for an Oscar.

    The film received mostly positive reviews and grossed $8.5 million in its theatrical release.
    The supporting cast includes Claire Trevor, Laraine Day, Robert Stack,
    Jan Sterling, Phil Harris
    and Robert Newton.

    Based on the Ernest K. Gann, of the same name, this film was shot mainly
    on the Goldwyn lot, in Hollywood.

    It was to be Duke's first film in Cinemascope, and the last he would make,
    under the Wayne-Fellows name.

    It is unique, because all the action, mainly takes place within the airplane,
    and director Wellman.had the nerve to film the whole thing in Cinemascope!

    The actors had to endure, tedious hours,
    sat in one place, in the cold climate, of the sound stage.
    Duke was forced by the studios, to star in the film, after Spency Tracy,
    suddenly bowed out.
    Duke acquitted himself as the co-pilot., Dan Roman.
    Roman was a steadfast character, and it was, belief in himself and the aircraft,
    that eventually secured everyone's safety. with the help of lifetime pal Claire Trevor
    and his other female co-star Larraine Day.
    Another lifetime friend Paul Fix, played the part of an ageing passenger.

    Robert Stack,the Captain, was fascinated, with Duke, in the way
    he made the lines that were written, always sound like John Wayne, no matter what!!

    Stack commented


    I'd get behind a flat and listen to his reading the dialogue....
    and I'd think, Man, that's not really very good, and for Radio.
    it wasn't very good.But the minute you saw that great American face, up there
    on the screen, it didn't matter.He could have been talking in Esperanto, and nobody would give a damn

    The High and the Mighty proved a huge critical and commercial success,
    and made millions, for Wayne-Fellows.

    Even if the plot was a little contrived, the special effects and performances,
    made for an engaging film.
    The action inside the aircraft was electric, and I thought more exciting, than,
    any other airplane disaster movies, that followed.
    The theme music, soared to the top of hit parade, and this contributed
    greatly to the films success.
    The closing scene, of Duke limping along.into a foggy evening, whistling the theme tune, is a classic.

    User Review

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 2 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • I haven't seen this movie but would like to, especially seeing another of my favourite actor is in it, Robert Stack.

    The youngest member of the JWMB! And proud Cowgirl!

  • Hi

    At this moment Sky Cinema 1 is showing The High And the Mighty and with a bit of luck I am taping it.

    It's amazing some of the things you learn reading the credits I find that John Qualen who I intend to review next month composed some of the music for the film.

    Talking about the music I have lost the original thread regarding this question but I recall somebody saying that they didn't know that the song The High and The Mighty had words.

    I have the original sheet music which originally cost 2/- (10 pence in Decoimal currency)

    I obviously can't read music or know how the stanzas are put to-gether but if anyone is interested here goes:-

    'I was high and mighty,
    How I laughed at love,
    And the stars above,
    Then you came like a gentle flame
    And helped me find my way!

    I was high and mighty
    And I told my heart
    Where to stop and start,
    Now I find that I was blind,
    I'm learning it day by day!
    Love can change things,
    Re-Arrange things,
    Oh, what strange things love can do!

    I'm not high and mighty
    But I have what's worth
    All the gold on earth,
    I have you and I give my heart
    For - ev - er and ev - er to you
    you, you, you!



    Walk Tall - Talk Low

  • Hi


    I have a watchable copy of The High And The Mighty. it has no adverts , Its in a split screen but I can live with that. its only taken me 52 years from first seeing the picture as an eleven year old at the local TROXY cinema to have a watchable copy.



    Walk Tall - Talk Low

  • Hi Robbie

    One of the problems with waiting for so long to see a film you have waited for years to see is that it sometimes fails to live up to the expectations and many people thought this would be tha case with The High And the Mighty.

    In my case I enjoyed it the first time round and seeing it for the second time only brougt back the previous enjoyment.

    As to the merits of whether its a good film or not this is down to conjecture. For me personally it was enjoyable and under that criteria I think its a good film.



    Walk Tall - Talk Low

  • I couldn't agree with you more Arthur. I was afraid that I wouldn't care far it because of all the hype from this board and the days before the release. But, I was pleasently surprised and find myself thinking about the film occasionally and have the need to see it again. That's how I can tell I like a film.

    Life is hard, its even harder when your stupid!!
    -John Wayne

  • Hi Arthur,
    you haven't multizone player? There is ways to make any player multizone, only I don't know how. Some instructions in Internet must be.
    I myself like this film very much too, enjoyed it and it's music. But never read the words - very interesting.
    Vera :rolleyes:

  • Dear Bill,
    For the first, I can say that you are the most romantic figure I ever known.
    I read this story in Pat's book, but I never know before that it was your campany's plane in which Duke traveled to the Ranch when some problems occured.
    It is all so interesting.
    Vera :rolleyes:

  • Hi Vera

    No Our DVD player in the lounge dosen't work very well and after my son reconnected the DVD recorder it doesn't work.

    The best thing I have is a portable DVD played my wife bought me for my birthday. As you can see when it come to matters electrical I am not that clever.



    Walk Tall - Talk Low

  • Quote

    Originally posted by arthurarnell@Aug 20 2006, 12:33 PM
    it was enjoyable and under that criteria I think its a good film.

    It was far from his worst but equally far from his best.

    De gustibus non est disputandum

  • I just watched it and found it to be very enjoyable. Perhaps it's a little too long though. At 148 minutes, it kept my attention, but just barely. (I'm a part of the short attention span generation!) I think it was a pretty good ensemble cast, and the duke wasn't in it for every scene which was something different.

    It reminds me a bit of the tv show lost. (If your unfamiliar, I'll give a tiny recap) A plane flying from Australia to LA crashes on an uncharted island. Losts of weird things happen. But half of every episode are flashbacks. In the first season they mostly showed what the people were doing before they boarded the plane. A lot of times the flashbacks ended with them actually at the airport. So I see a similarity there.

    [SIZE=3]That'll Be The Day[/SIZE]

  • Watched High & the Mighty for the first time tonight.

    Good solid movie if not usual the John Wayne movie.

    Nice to see some old favourites in the cast like Claire Trevor and Paul Fix.


  • Hi

    Using this thread to comment I find it slightly ironic that in Mike's (Hondo Lane's) 2007 poll only one voter so far has included TH&TM in his list of favourite pictures.



    Walk Tall - Talk Low

  • Hi Arthur

    I think two factors score against High & Mighty both of which are not it's fault.

    The movie really doesnt get much air play on TV and is difficult to get unless on Region 1 DVD. This means a lot of John Wayne fans havent seen it. Island in the Sky is the other movie that comes to mind in that category.

    The second factor I suppose against it is that it is not the usual John Wayne fare that we all know and recognise.

    That said it is a good movie although when compiling 25 favourites it is easy to fall into the trap of picking the most popular and well known.

    This year. I included Tall in the Saddle which I have watched recently and thought it was worth including in my 25.