“People must be someone else’s concern; I can’t let it be mine, Mr. Scott!”
After explaining to his new boss (Jack Hawkins) that a type of airplane known as the “Reindeer” will fail after a certain number of flight hours (due to metal fatigue), a widowed aeronautical engineer (Jimmy Stewart) leaves his self-sufficient daughter (Janette Scott) at home while traveling to investigate a crash. When onboard his flight, he discovers he’s on a Reindeer that is near its presumably fatal number of flying hours, and tries to convince a kind stewardess (Glynis Johns), a famous actress (Marlene Dietrich), and the captain (Niall McGinnis) that they need to ground the plane — but he struggles to get anyone to believe him.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Airplanes and Pilots
- Glynis Johns Films
- Jack Hawkins Films
- Jimmy Stewart Films
- Marlene Dietrich Films
- Niall MacGinnis Films
- “No One Will Believe Me!”
Jimmy Stewart is perfectly cast as a socially awkward ‘boffin’ in Nevil Shute’s 1948 novel No Highway, which was scarily prescient in its diagnosis of metal fatigue as a potentially fatal characteristic of new aircraft. We’re kept on the edge of our seats from moment to moment as we wait to learn what will happen. Given that we’re clearly meant to sympathize with this eccentric scientist:
… we feel weirdly terrible for him when he’s treated with bemusement or scorn rather than respect. Will his predictions come true? If so, how awful… and yet, if not, then what? Dietrich nicely plays a variation on herself, and is compelling in all of her brief scenes:
It’s especially interesting seeing how her character evolves (quite substantially) over the course of the story. Equally enjoyable is Johns as a stewardess who simply emanates good will (don’t we wish all flight attendants were like her?):
There’s something inherently compelling about “no one will believe me!” tales, and this one is no exception; it’s well worth a watch.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:
- Jimmy Stewart as Theodore Honey
- Glynis Johns as Marjorie Corder
- Marlene Dietrich as Monica Teasdale
- Niall MacGinnis as Captain Samuelson
- Georges Perinal’s cinematography
Yes, as a fine show.