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Monday, May 19, 2014

Flight From Ashiya (1964)

Set in Japan, as the U.S. Air Force Rescue Service flies through a storm to help rescue the survivors of a shipwreck, three of its crew reflect on pivotal moments in their past via flashback. A paramedic (Yul Brynner) recalls his ill fated love affair with an Arab girl (Daniele Gaubert) in Tunisia, a pilot (Richard Widmark) recalls the death of his wife (Shirley Knight) in a Japanese POW camp and the co-pilot (George Chakiris) remembers an accident that caused the death of the very people he was trying to rescue. For a potboiler that promises a generous dose of action, this is one tedious film. Based on a novel by Elliott Arnold (who co-wrote the screenplay), the film appears to have been more ambitious than what we're given. Several of the characters would appear to be underdeveloped but I suspect their story lines were victims of the editing shears. Suzy Parker, for example, has a relationship with Brynner that's only hinted at and the actress isn't given much to do other than waiting around. The actual rescue sequences are well done but the bulk of the film is devoted to the dreary backstories. There's a strong score by Frank Cordell (KHARTOUM). Directed by Michael Anderson (LOGAN'S RUN). With Eiko Taki as Chakiris' love interest, who also seems a victim of the cutting room.

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