“The Stewardess Is Flying The Plane!” Why I Love 70’s Cinema! The Decade’s Biggest “Hellraisers!”

Question: As you see the late Karen Black in the cockpit, will there ever be a better line of dialogue from a film that this one:

“The stewardess is flying the plane!”

And she was! It’s just one reason I love 70’s films, and a great book tell the wild wild tale!

The Stewardess Is Flying The Plane!: American Films of the 1970s –
Ron Hogan (Author), Peter Bogdanovich (Contributor)

Here is a terrific book about the greatest moments in 70’s cinema – the good, the bad and the hilarious!

Those “Stewardess” words were courtesy of the cult classic “Airport ’75” – a disaster film that showcased 70’s cinema at its most disastrous!

How can you not love this dialogue!

“It’s Nancy Pryor… stewardess. Something hit us! All the flight crew is dead or badly injured! There’s no one left to fly the plane! Help us! Oh my God, help us! – from Airport 1975

Yes, Karen Black was the “Stewardess Who Flew The Plane”! This book is a fantastic love letter to the movies of the 70’s…ALL OF THEM. It was, as you know, the decade for classic films like these:

These are just some of the classic films of the decade that are included in the book.

But let’s not forget that the 70’s ALSO gave us classics like THESE:

Here is what Publishers Weekly had to say about this great book:

“With films such as The Godfather, Star Wars, The Sting, Rocky, Apocalypse Now, Jaws and M*A*S*H, the 1970s is now considered the second Golden Age of Hollywood. There is renewed interest in some of the decade’s most durable genres, including disaster films and blaxsploitation flicks, allowing viewers to rediscover early performances from major stars such as Jeff Bridges, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton.”

“The Stewardess is Flying the Plane!” is a lavishly illustrated, fun and informative look at more than 400 films of the decade – not just classics like “The Godfather” or “Taxi Driver”, but cult favorites like “Kansas City Bomber” and other amazing disaster films like “The Poseidon Adventure!”

This is one of the greatest movie tagline:

“Hell Upside Down!”

If you want to see the trailer for this classic, click here:

https://johnrieber.com/2014/06/18/celebrity-smackdowns-hell-upside-down-the-disastrous-duo-of-poseidon-adventure-and-towering-inferno/

This book has an introduction by legendary Director Peter Bogdanovich, who made “The Last Picture Show” and “Paper Moon” in the 70’s among many others, and the book also shows hundreds of never- before-published photographs and new interviews with key participants in the ’70s film industry!

This book puts the decade into perspective with categories like “Thrillers”, “Hard Crime” and “Horror” – and reminds us of some little-seen cult gems like Diane Keaton “Looking For Mr. Goodbar” – with Richard Gere’s help…

If you haven’t heard of this provocative gem, see it here:

https://johnrieber.com/2013/04/27/sex-violence-and-diane-keaton-looking-for-mr-goodbar/

It was a decade of some of the best – and worst- movies of all time – let’s celebrate them with a big toast!

And while we are at it, let’s toast some of the craziest drinkers in movie history as well!

Hellraisers – by Robert Sellers – originally published in 2009

RICHARD BURTON. OLIVER REED. RICHARD HARRIS. PETER O’ TOOLE. The most legendary English drinkers in movie history are the subject of a great book about their wild ways, mostly in the 70’s!

Here is what Amazon had to say about this hilarious book:

“This highly entertaining biography of four charismatic and much loved actors follows them through five decades of boozing, brawling and braggadocio.”

“I did quite enjoy the days when one went for a beer at one’s local in Paris and wake up in Corsica,” Mr. O’Toole once quipped.

At their career peaks, these four controversial actors had the whole world at their feet and lived through some of the wildest exploits Hollywood has ever seen. But all that fame had a price; Richard Burton’s liver was shot by the time he was 50, Richard Harris’s film career stalled for over a decade. Peter O’Toole’s drinking almost put him in the grave before his 43rd birthday, and Oliver Reed ended up dying prematurely.

This is the story of four of the greatest thespian boozers who ever walked — or staggered — off a film set into a pub. It’s a story of drunken binges of near biblical proportions, parties and orgies, broken marriages, drugs, riots and wanton sexual conquests. And yet these piss-artists were seemingly immune from the law.

Mr. Reed is said to have drunk 126 pints of beer in 24 hours, and as you can see, loved to carouse with The Who drummer and legendary mad man Keith Moon.

Richard Harris joked that he formed a support group called “Alcoholics Unanimous” that worked this way: “If you don’t feel like a drink, you ring another member and he comes over to persuade you.” Mr. Reed, by far the most hellish of the four, had an eagle’s head tattooed on his shoulder.

Oliver Reed also had the eagle’s claws tattooed on the part of his body that he most enjoyed exposing without warning. “Would you like to see where it’s perched?” he liked to ask about the bird.

And what about Richard Burton? Mr. Elizabeth Taylor – TWICE? Here’s a story about Mr. Burton during the filming of “The Klansman,” one of his worst. “If you want to interview a drunk or see a drunk fall in the camellia bushes, come ahead,” that film’s publicist supposedly told the press. And when the film’s makeup artist was complimented on how well he had prepared Mr. Burton for his death scene, the makeup man replied: “I haven’t touched him.”

They got away with it because of their extraordinary acting talent and because the public loved them. They were truly the last of a breed, the last of the movie hellraisers. This is a great great book – but it will make you thirsty!



Categories: 70's Cinema, 70's Music, Academy Awards, Action Films, Art, Awards, Blaxploitation!, Books / Media, British Cinema, Cult Movies, Exploitation films, Film Fight Club, Film Noir, Great Films, Grindhouse, Hollywood, Independent Cinema, Los Angeles, Memoirs, Movies, Movies About Movies, Obscure Movies, Revenge Movies, Sexploitation Movies, Talent/Celebrities, Uncategorized

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11 replies

  1. A fun post, John. Drinking was at its apex in the cinema during this time. I remember how strange it was in the 80s when they started forbidding smoking in public places and drinking became once again in the limelight as a bad thing. Didn’t stop those iconic actors. It’s a wonder they could remember a line of dialogue.

  2. Great fun post, John. Ollie Reed was notorious for his drunken appearances on TV chat shows here. I don’t think I have ever seen him sober, off-screen anyway. Probably why he died at 61!
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. Two books I must surely purchase. I was aged 9-19 in the 70s so it is close to my heart by osmosis and The Hellraisers …. many have aspired to ape them but most simply don’t have the innate style, charisma and go-given talent that they each possessed. Thank you for the recommends – I’ll be a popping by Amazon shortly!

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