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SKYJACKED (director: John Guillermin; screenwriters: from the novel Hijacked by David Harper/Stan Greenberg; cinematographer: Harry Straddling Jr.; editor: Robert Swink; music: Perry Botkin Jr.; cast: Charlton Heston (Henry O’Hara), Yvette Mimieux (Angela Thacher), James Brolin (Jerome Weber), Claude Akins (Sgt. Ben Puzo), Jeanne Crain (Mrs. Clara Shaw), Susan Dey (Elly Brewster), Roosevelt Grier (Gary Brown), Walter Pidgeon (Senator Arne Lindner), Leslie Uggams (Lovejoy Wells), Mariette Hartley (Harriet Stevens), Mike Henry (First Officer; Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Walter Seltzer; MGM; 1972)
One of the early ’70s disaster films, which is routine at best.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

One of the early ’70s disaster films, which is routine at best. John Guillermin (“Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure”/”The Blue Max”/”The Towering Inferno”) directs as if he was born to direct this genre. It’s written by Stan Greenberg and is based on the novel Hijacked by David Harper.

The 100 passengers and crew leaving on a Boeing 707 from the West Coast to Minneapolis are diverted to Anchorage, Alaska, after a lipstick-scrawled note is found on the john mirror that orders it do so because there’s a bomb on board. The no-nonsense married captain is Hank O’Hara (Charlton Heston), the good-looker head stewardess is the captain’s former lover Angela Thacher (Yvette Mimieux) and the hijacker, wishing to divert the plane to Moscow, is deranged Vietnam War veteran Jerome Weber (James Brolin). Other people of interest include Walter Pidgeon as a senator, Rosie Grier as a jazz cellist, Susan Dey as a hippie and a lady (Mariette Hartley) giving birth with the assistance of the resourceful stewardesses.

The harried captain diverts the plane to Alaska and then to Moscow, where the Russians force the plane to land and soldiers surround the plane. The unhinged hijacker makes a poor impression on the Russians by wearing a harness filled with grenades and pays the piper.

Kept in an automatic fast-pace mode keeps the disaster pic technically sound and Hollywood suspenseful despite being trite and predictable and a waste of time.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”