Island in the Sky Movie Review

For the longest time, I didn't think anything was going to happen in Island in the Sky. In fact, the very title implies that nothing is going to happen: I figured a big bomber would be flying around during WWII, drop a few bombs on Dresden or something, maybe hit some resistance, and finally return home after a successful run over Germany.

Was I wrong: Island in the Sky takes place mostly on the ground, after a transport plane (piloted by Captain Dooley, played by John Wayne in an exemplary role) crashes in the frozen wilds of Newfoundland. The film -- after a good 40 minutes of useless exposition -- spends the bulk of its time dealing with their attempts to be rescued.

Today's audiences have lived through (no pun intended) films like Alive and The Edge, so difficult rescues might seem like a bit of old hat. But Island is, to my knowledge, the first example of the rescue picture, and it presents an interesting set of challenges that aren't the case in today's world: No helicopters, no GPS systems, no satellite maps of the world, not even any voice-ready radio. When a rescue crew goes up over Dooley and his crew, all they can do is look for smoke out the frozen, ice-covered windows and listen for a Morse code signal on the wireless (which, naturally can't send and receive at the same time).

Dooley's men don't have it any easier. They're trapped in a frozen wasteland with no landmarks, and the radio is dying. Ultimately they'll have to resort to a hand-cranked emergency radio which is powered by a coffee grinder.

The tales of survival on the ground are the kind of hardship stories we've come to expect (food, fuel, emotional distress), but Wayne and company manage to keep it interesting, at least once they've gotten the basic story set up. Why we spend so long cruising around in an airplane I'll never know. The first seen should have had the plane crash and simply gotten on with the real plot.

Still, it's an admirable film, particularly when you consider the technical challenges of making a film like this in 1953.

The new DVD includes numerous making-of featurettes, an extensive commentary track, and an intro from Leonard Maltin.

Cast & Crew

Director : William A. Wellman


Comments

Island in the Sky Rating

" Good "

Rating: NR, 1953

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

Kiefer Sutherland Issues Professional Response To Freddie Prinze Jr.'s "Unprofessional" Criticism

The 47 year-old actor only had fond memories of working with Prinze Jr...

Kiefer Sutherland Issues Professional Response To Freddie Prinze Jr.'s

Jessie J's New Single "Bang Bang" Is A Summer Playlist Staple

Ariana Grande is checking off rap babes to collaborate with one by one...

Jessie J's New Single

Reason #23435 To Like Chris Pratt - "Guardians Of The Galaxy" Star Connects With Fans At Charity Screening

Chris Pratt may just be the best human – in Hollywood, anyway. The Guardians...

Reason #23435 To Like Chris Pratt -

Zayn Malik told to kill himself after controversial tweet

One Direction’s Zayn Malik has attracted enormous criticism on Twitter after simply...

Zayn Malik told to kill himself after controversial tweet

La Toya Jackson - Feels Like Love

La Toya Jackson is re-booting her showbiz career with a brand new music video for latest single...

La Toya Jackson - Feels Like Love Video
Advertisement

Quentin Tarantino Confirms That 'The Hateful Eight' Will Be Made For Big-Screen

Quentin Tarantino seems to have had a change of heart against the individuals...

 Quentin Tarantino Confirms That 'The Hateful Eight' Will Be Made For Big-Screen

Allegations of sexual harassment at Comic-Con

A group of young women from Philadelphia that founded a website titled...

Allegations of sexual harassment at Comic-Con

Ashton Kutcher And Mila Kunis Are Set To Tie The Knot Next Year

Excited fans first heard the news that former 'That 70's Show' co-stars...

Ashton Kutcher And Mila Kunis Are Set To Tie The Knot Next Year


More recommendations

Advertisement