Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

No Highway in the Sky


The science in this movie is way beyond ludicrous. Jimmy Stewart is a standard absent-minded, socially-inept scientist who has calculated that the tail of a new airliner will fall off after 1440 hours of service. Not 1439, not 1441. 1440. (Well, I’m exaggerating a little, but he insists it is “exact” science.) The reason? Some mumbo-jumbo about nuclear fission happening in the metal, such that it will show no signs of failure right up to the moment it falls off. Totally ridiculous. The ironic thing is that, a few years later, two new jet airliners, de Havilland Comets, did crash from a previously unknown cause: metal fatigue. But there was no nuclear fission involved, and if they had known what to look for they would have found it. The movie is well-acted in spite of its stupid premise, with Marlene Dietrich and Glynis Johns quite good.