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Jerry Jameson
Alain Delon, Susan Blakely, Robert Wagner
Writing Credits:
Eric Roth

A passenger jet becomes a target for terror when one passenger carrying secret documents is the subject of a murder plot.

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
French DTS Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 114 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 6/14/2016
Available Only As Part of “Airport: The Complete Collection”

• Trailer


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The Concorde... Airport '79 [Blu-Ray] (1979)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 22, 2024)

For those of us who were kids in the 1970s, the retirement of the Concorde in 2003 became a sad day. That plane represented the ultimate in air travel, a concept reinforced when Phil Collins flew it so he could play both London and Philadelphia during Live Aid.

Air travel used to be glamorous and exciting. However, as planes slowly turned into flying buses, those impressions faded, and the demise of the Concorde represented another nail in the coffin.

On a happier note, 1979’s The Concorde… Airport ‘79 acted as the final nail in the coffin of Airport flicks. The series started in 1970 with the highly successful Airport but showed diminished returns with 1974’s Airport 1975 and 1977’s Airport ‘77.

I expect that someone will revive the franchise someday. Until then, Concorde stands as the final iteration.

Dependent on your POV, it either offers the best or the worst of the series. In this flick, Federation World Airlines (FWA) purchases a Concorde to become the first US firm to run supersonic flights.

Not everyone likes this, though, and an environmental group tries to foil their plans. FWA still intends to send off a goodwill flight from DC to Moscow via a stop in Paris, though.

Corrupt corporate tycoon Kevin Harrison (Robert Wagner) tries to cause the destruction of the flight to kill reporter Maggie Whelan (Susan Blakely) because she uncovered his wrongdoing. This leads to a mix of dangerous challenges that persist even after the Paris leg of the trip.

One strength of the Airport sequels came from their casts. Airport 1975 featured Charlton Heston, Karen Black, Myrna Loy, Gloria Swanson and Dana Andrews. Airport ‘77 includes Jack Lemmon, Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotten, Christopher Lee and James Stewart.

So who do we get in Concorde? Charo, Jimmie Walker, and John Davidson – yikes!

To be fair, some talented folks appear here, and the other films had their share of duds – Helen Reddy, anyone? Nonetheless, Concorde lacks the sense of Old Hollywood glamour that at least added a minor sparkle to the other movies.

And what in the world is George Kennedy doing here again? Once more he plays vagabond airline man Patroni, on his fourth job in four movies.

At least in the past Patroni’s role stayed similar, as he always worked in the technical support area. Here we must accept him as the pilot of the Concorde. Granted, the first film mentions his qualifications in this regard, but it’s a big stretch for us to accept his jump to the helm of the Concorde here.

The presence of Patroni for a fourth time doesn’t act as the only aspect of Concorde that forces radical suspension of disbelief. Indeed, the entire movie delivers one long excursion into the Bizarro World. Each sequel gets farther and farther from reality, though none of the others indulge in the excesses of Concorde.

Let’s see: a reporter gets information about corporate scandal so she first tells the accused himself? Harrison also conducts an awfully open affair with Maggie given his public profile.

Wouldn’t a married man who cheats on his wife want to be a little more circumspect? And Harrison doesn’t think that matters will be made worse when his missile goes off-target and destroys the Concorde?

Sure, his traitorous behavior seems bad, but I suppose a slick legal team could probably do a lot to keep him out of jail. When his product goes so absurdly awry and blows up the world’s most famous plane, I must imagine that’ll be awfully bad for business.

I can almost excuse these inane elements and others like Patroni’s presence. However, the fact that the plane escapes a couple attacks to land in Paris but takes off again the next day seems absolutely, inexcusably insane.

We get a token “the show must go on” explanation. However, it feels completely unbelievable that the plane would go through major trauma and then treat affairs in a “business as usual” manner less than 24 hours later.

And the passengers go through with it! When they leave Paris and head to Moscow, all remain present and accounted for except for one who stays in Paris since that was her original destination. Not only do all the characters continue on their journey, but also they act like it’s Mardi Gras!

They laugh and joke like nothing ever happened. It’s hard enough to believe that the flight would have left the ground in the first place, but it becomes all the more absurd that no one behaves as though anything traumatic ever occurred.

What kind of reporter is Maggie, anyway? If a drone from my lover’s company tries to kill me, I might suspect my lover is involved somehow. I certainly would contact the police and wouldn’t immediately consult my lover about the situation.

Due to the film’s French production backing, lovers come up more frequently in Concorde than in any other Airport movie. Sure, the original flick featured an affair between Dean Martin and a pregnant Jacqueline Bisset, while 1975 tossed out lots of cheesy flirting, but never has sex been placed so firmly in the forefront.

Concorde sure goes for a low-rent European feel with its drippy emphasis on sex and romance. We also get lots of smutty remarks, all of which feel odd in an Airport film.

The movie even features a scene in which tubby old George Kennedy gets laid! I definitely could have lived without that.

Actually, I could have lived without all of The Concorde… Airport ‘79. The visual effects were terrible and wholly unconvincing, and I couldn’t have cared less if any of the characters lived or died.

Heck, I kind of hoped they’d all perish, especially when the movie goes for that weird Charo cameo. Add to that one of the oddest endings of any film I’ve seen and you have a disaster of a disaster flick.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio C+/ Bonus D-

The Concorde… Airport ‘79 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect a good but not impressive presentation.

This extended to delineation, as the movie offered largely positive delineation. We got some softness along the way and the film rarely looked razor sharp, but it provided pretty positive definition.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects materialized, and I saw no edge haloes. Grain was light but consistent, and only a handful of small specks appeared.

Colors leaned toward a brown vibe, so don’t anticipate vibrant tones. Still, the disc reproduced the hues as intended and seemed fine.

Blacks appeared fairly dense, while low-light shots offered appropriate clarity. I almost went with a “C+” for the image but ultimately went with a “B-“.

The DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack of The Concorde… Airport ‘79 merited a similar lack of fervor. Speech was a bit reedy but remained intelligible and lacked edginess.

Effects occasionally betrayed some distortion, particularly when it came to high-end material. They usually seemed acceptably accurate within the limited parameters of the original recording, though.

Music showed adequate range and failed to demonstrate notable flaws. The score wasn’t impressive but it wasn’t poor. That sentiment covered pretty much all of the soundtrack, as it worked okay for an older movie but fared no better than that.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD from 2004? The lossless audio added a bit more range but the nature of the dated source held back growth.

On the other hand, visuals felt beter defined, cleaner and a bit more vivid. This turned into a decent upgrade.

Like the two prior films, this one includes the movie’s trailer and no other extras.

A friend views The Concorde… Airport ‘79 as the best of the series because this friend delights in terrible, campy flicks. If you’re into odiferous cheese, you’ll likely dig Concorde as well, for smelly movies rarely stink this badly. The Blu-ray offers mediocre picture and sound along with almost no extras. Masochists and fans of camp will love it, but everyone else should stay far away from this atrocious film.

Note that Universal makes The Concorde… Airport ‘79 available only as part of the four-film Airport Complete Collection. This also includes the original Airport plus sequels Airport 1975 and Airport ‘77.

Airport is sold on its own. As of February 2024, that’s not true for its three sequels, as those remain exclusive to this “Complete Collection”.

To rate this film, visit the original review of THE CONCORDE... AIRPORT '79

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main