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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fate Is The Hunter (1964)

When a jet plane crashes shortly after take off, it kills all the passengers and crew except for one survivor, the stewardess (Suzanne Pleshette). The airline attempts to blame the crash on pilot error amid rumors he had been drinking but an airline executive (Glenn Ford) and a friend of the pilot (Rod Taylor) refuses to believe it and begins investigating to determine the actual cause of the crash. Using only the title of the 1961 best seller by Ernest K. Gann (HIGH AND THE MIGHTY), the Ralph Nelson (LILIES OF THE FIELD) directed film is only peripherally a "disaster" film. It's more of a mystery with Ford as an amateur detective tracking down Taylor's friends and acquaintances and discovering that perhaps he didn't know his friend that well at all. The film ends with a taut and exciting recreation of the flight under the exact circumstances to determine the cause of the tragedy. Two brief performances stand out. Dorothy Malone as Taylor's callous wealthy heiress ex-fiancee and Mark Stevens (STREET WITH NO NAME) as Taylor's alcoholic best pal. The Oscar nominated B&W CinemaScope photography is by Milton Krasner and the minimal score by Jerry Goldsmith. With Nancy Kwan, Jane Russell, Wally Cox, Constance Towers, Nehemiah Persoff and Mary Wickes.

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