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Movie Alert!!!!!

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  • Steve Link
    Island in the Sky(1953)..8:30 Central on the TCM network. A C-47 transport plane, named the Corsair, makes a forced landing in the frozen wastes of Labrador,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 30, 2012
      Island in the Sky(1953)..8:30 Central on the TCM network.

      A C-47 transport plane, named the Corsair, makes a forced landing in the
      frozen wastes of Labrador, and the plane's pilot, Captain Dooley, must keep
      his men alive in deadly conditions while waiting for rescue.

      Full of stars: John Wayne, Lloyd Nolan, James Arness, Andy Devine, Harry
      Carey Jr., and Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer from the Little Rascals!

      The general plot is based on a true story that the author, Ernest Gann
      related in his 1961 autobiographical book about his flying career, "Fate is
      the Hunter". He and other pilots searched successfully for a lost fellow
      pilot in the wilds of northern Canada during World War II.

      When a transport plane goes down in the white-blindness of sub-arctic
      Labrador its crew is in dire straits: howling winds, icy weather, almost no
      food, and no shelter or heat source. Fellow pilots & aircrews organize an
      air search, but the Labrador landscape they search is vast, monotonous &
      unforgiving of downed airmen: the searching crews know they're in a race
      against time, that the odds against their downed mates' survival decrease
      with every tick of the clock. The film sublimely depicts the searchers long
      hours of tedium in their inadequately heated Douglas C-47 flight decks, all
      the while with their hope for sighting their downed comrades dimming. They
      battle the ice-fog, the weather fronts, the monotonous vastness of the
      landscape, the limits of their aircraft and radios and compasses, and the
      human limits of their flying and navigational skills and their powerful
      fatigue. Yet nobody will give up the search: each of the rescue crews knows
      that they themselves might, at nature's or a fouled sparkplug's whim, have
      been the men crash-landed in the frigid wasteland beneath their wings.

      We also see the plight of the downed aircrew scrabbling in their plane's
      wreck for morsels of food, shelter, clothing, and with their frozen fingers
      struggling to whirl the crank of a "Gibson Girl" emergency radio transmitter
      of dubious value. We feel their growing, chilling despair: after all,
      they're veteran airmen who know the odds against a search crew sighting
      their snow-covered wreck in this sub-arctic expanse where, from the air,
      every lake, hummock, snowfield, depression, hill and endless sweep of
      terrain looks alike. They know their would-be rescuers are flying over
      uncharted space, without a single reliable reference point; and they know
      that magnetic compasses (long before GPS satellite navigation came on the
      scene)in the Labrador region are subject to grievously false readings - they
      know the searchers could well be flying the same search routes over and over
      again without even realizing it: and the search crews know it too. And
      because there are no distinguishable landmarks, and because compasses are
      untrustworthy, the shivering men know that even if they are sighted it's
      likely that a rescue plane at the limit of its fuel could well be unable to
      relay accurate headings or recognizable landmarks to the crew of a follow-up

      The script neatly follows Gann's novel & its spirit: man and his pitifully
      inadequate, yet much-ballyhooed technology pitted against nature, against
      what has been called "the benign indifference of the universe". Gann was a
      veteran transport pilot whose novels, and this one is no exception, convey
      the grim obstacles airmen faced in aviation's primitive days. Gann's
      characters aren't heroes: they're just guys who happen to operate equipment
      which, like the men themselves, has finite limitations in the face of
      remorseless nature. Like the novel's, the film's dialogue is terse, the
      casting superb: you can imagine each actor being the man Gann wrote about in
      his novel. "Island in the Sky" is a no-frills film: no special effects worth
      mentioning, and none are necessary. You get to be on the frozen earth in the
      middle of nowhere, and on the flight deck with the weary, half-snow-blind,
      anxious search crews. You feel the fear, the anxiety, the pressure, the
      cold, the crews' frustration with the limits of their technology and



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