Zero Hour

Produced by Bartlett-Champion Pictures, released 1957 by Paramount Pictures, 35mm black and white, mono sound, 81 mins.


DC-4 from Passion-Pilots


1980 poster from IMDb


This is the film that was parodied by the film Airplane! in 1980. In the 1957 film, a DC-4 passenger airplane runs into trouble during a rainstorm on route to Vancouver after pilots ate the contaminated fish dinner. Dana Andrews as Ted Stryker is a WWII single engine fighter pilot who takes over the controls, but is unfamiliar with flying a modern 4-engine aircraft. His wife, Linda Darnell as Ellen Stryker, sits in the co-pilot's seat and operates the radio. Their son little Joey is sick from the fish dinner and has ony 2 hours to live. Sterling Hayden as Allen Treleaven was Stryker's WWII flight commander and takes on the job of talking down Stryker. He starts with "who's got the cigarettes? ... I guess I picked the wrong day to quit smoking." The flight controller says that the fog in Vancouver is getting thicker. Stryker says "no dice, I'm coming in now" and Treveaven says "it's his ship now." Stryker has flashbacks to his WWII fighter days. The DC-4 keeps losing altitude, "Stryker, get back up!" Stryker tells Treleaven that he's coming in no matter what, and his wife tells him he's right, no matter what.


History Department | Filmnotes | revised 10/26/00 by Schoenherr