Saturday, July 17, 2021

Cone of Silence aka Trouble in the Sky ( 1960 )

Captain Gort ( Bernard Lee ) has just been on trial for crashing one of the new Pheonix jets on takeoff. The verdict was pilot's error. Gort is in disbelief, as is his daughter Charlotte ( Elizabeth Seal ) who knows that her father always flies "by the book" and would never endanger the passengers or crew. Both believe that there was a fault with the new aircraft but the scientists investigating the crash are not convinced. After several months, Gort is allowed to return to his regular flight schedule but his flying ability is once again called into question when he has another low take-off in a Pheonix jet. This time, Captain Dallas ( Michael Craig ) begins to question the safety of the aircraft and investigates the matter, hoping to uncover the cause before another crash takes place. 

Cone of Silence is one of a multitude of aircraft-disaster pictures that were filmed in the 1960s. It seems like a film that Jack Hawkins would have starred in but instead it featured Bernard Lee ( best known for playing M in the James Bond films ). He does a great job of playing the dishonored pilot.

The script was based on the 1959 book of the same name by author David Beaty, which was loosely based on the de Havilland Comet crashes, much like the superior No Highway in the Sky ( 1951 ). 

Cone of Silence has some moments of excitement but overall it is more dramatic than adventerous. Michael Craig himself commented that "it wasn't much of a film and did nothing for anyone's career". However, it is worth checking out just to see the cast which was composed of a bevy of famous Brit actors. George Sanders portrays the prosceuting attorney at the trial, Charles Tingwell ( Murder She Said ) is a fellow pilot, as is Peter Cushing and Gordon Jackson; Andre Morrell and Geoffrey Bayldon have brief parts, and there is a small part for the beautiful Delphi Lawrence as well. 

The film was issued as Trouble in the Sky in the United States, but both titles have little to do with the story because most of the trouble is on the landing field at takeoff! Quite frankly, a film about Get Smart's "Cone of Silence" would be much more entertaining to watch.

1 comment:

  1. My expectations will not be unreasonably high, but that cast is quite a draw.