Air Date: Oct, 1, 1974 (NBC)
Production Companies: Cine Films Inc., Cinemobile Productions
Running Time: 72 min.
Available on: YouTube
Written by: George Simpson and Neal R. Burger
Directed by: Jud Taylor
Cast: Glenn Ford, Bradford Dillman, David Soul, Robert F. Lyons, Guy Stockwell, Greg Mullavey
Rating: 5 Vintage Televisions (out of 10)
The Disappearance of Flight 412 (1974) starts off strong, then ultimately doesn’t deliver what it teases. Right off the bat, there’s urgency to it as it unfolds at breakneck pace, facilitated by dramatic music by Morton Stevens. With the title and the mysterious goings-on, I thought the radar test unit’s flight (412) was going to be taken by a UFO.
Nope. However, the two planes sent after Flight 412 when three unusual blips appear on the radar do disappear. We know exactly where 412 was directed: a top-secret installation at an abandoned air force base. It’s here that the crew members will be interrogated; er, I mean debriefed. (Wreckage of the two other planes will be discovered later.)
While the movie does deal indirectly with a “UFO incident,” it’s really all about the government cover-up. If I hear the words, “You didn’t see what you thought you saw,” anytime in the next year, it will be too soon. I never thought once the men were in any real danger. Killing four Air Force men because of blips on the radar doesn’t seem like the government, even ours.
Col. Pete Moore (Glenn Ford) sure has his panties in a bunch about it, though, and wants to first locate his men, then take the matter to his superiors, who, in case you’ve never seen a film like this, are in on the consipracy. The buck stops with Gen. Enright, the last completed movie for Kent Smith, whose long resume includes The Cat People (1942) and The Spiral Staircase (1946.)
The casting is the most interesting thing to me. It includes Bradford Dillman (Escape from the Planet of the Apes) as Maj. Mike Dunning, David Soul (Starsky & Hutch) as Capt. Roy Bishop, Guy Stockwell (the late Dean’s brother, Airport 1975) as Lt. Col. Trottman, and Ken Kercheval (Dallas) as White.
I’m being too hard on it; I just hate the false advertising. I will give it an above average rating because of the documentary look and feel, with narration and time/location stamps. Also, it's entertaining in its own strange way. To be honest, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a UFO conspiracy movie that tries to sweep under the rug something that barely even happened.
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