No Highway in the Sky (1951)

No Highway in the Sky (1951), directed by Henry Koster.

A scientist predicts catastrophic failure of a new alloy (via cold fission!) used in an airliner, and then finds himself over the Atlantic in just such a plane as it approaches its final hour. Crazy as he sounds, the captain and crew begin to believe him, and it becomes a white-knuckle flight. And that's just the first half.

Fondly remembered and just recently available on DVD-R, this is an early example of the airplane disaster film genre that would become popular many years later. It's good as a psychological portrait of the lone man courageously doing outlandish things that he feels to be right.

James Stewart is fine as the absent minded professor, and he appears again -- after Destry Rides Again (1939) -- with Marlene Dietrich, quite good as a humane film star trapped with him on the flight.

Many other well-known British cinema faces.

A nice subplot: it is the story of a man, damaged by the loss of his wife in the war, who regains his humanity after hiding in the cold, emotionless world of mathematics and engineering.

Like all DVD-R titles of a certain age, it's available for rent from ClassicFlix.

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