Here’s a British film that is stocked with familiar faces and is also known under the alternate title Cone of Silence.
Opening the film is the original Cad, George Sanders . He’s grilling Bernard Lee about his actions that may have resulted in the crash of an airliner that led to the death of his co-pilot.
Lee takes the blame of pilot error thus putting his job in jeopardy till he goes before the board for review. There are those that think he’s too old for the job like Michael Craig and Peter Cushing. Then he has his supporters including Andre Morell who makes the final decisions and his daughter played by Elizabeth Seal.
The airliner makes steady flights from England to Calcutta and most of the flights are performed by planes of the miniature types. They actually blend in fairly well with the actors at the mock airports.
Lee regains his position and proves his metal in a harrowing scene of keeping a plane in the air after going through a hail storm that knocks out a cockpit window. Charlton Heston would be proud.
Young pilot Craig begins to see that Lee is more than capable in the cockpit and nature begins to take it’s course when he meets Lee’s daughter Seal.
Hammer Films legend Peter Cushing appears here as a conniving front office gent who believes Lee to be far to old to handle the rigors of piloting anymore and isn’t above casting criticisms towards Lee and bending the truths on his own performance in a cockpit. Truthfully, he’s a pompous pr–k.
When another plane goes down resulting in a fatal crash for all those on board, Craig pushes the airplane suppliers and their creators to reveal the truth of the planes having issues rather than the usual pilot error being the cause of the disasters. Once again George Sanders shows up to prosecute. Can Craig convince him the planes are at fault and save the good name of the accused who isn’t there to defend himself?
Sprinkled throughout the films 94 minute running time are faces that are easily recognizable. From George Sanders to Peter Cushing. The original M from the Bond series, Bernard Lee. If you enjoy the Hammers as much as I do you’ll spot Noel Willman who led a vampire cult in Kiss of the Vampire and Gordon Jackson from countless British films. Andre Morell who was Watson to Cushing’s Holmes is in here too.
This is a respectable film about the earlier days of air transit with a fine cast doing their best to bring dramatics to the proceedings.
I caught this one on VCI’s dvd release. Despite the title on the box cover, the actual print of the film is under the alternate title.
Oh gosh yes that cockpit moment when Bernard gritted his teeth and probably ripped half his face off. What a guy!
So many great actors and hehe yep Peter Cushing was a pompous P 🙂
Fine cast and as gentle as Peter was off screen by all accounts he could sure play some nasty fellows.