Suspense builds around the investigation of a plane crash that caused 53 deaths in this dramatic adaption of Ernest K. Gann's novel. Authorities systematically eliminate probable causes, finally placing blame on the pilot, who was seen drinking before the flight. The airline's director of flight operations, Sam McBane (Glenn Ford), knowing the pilot's excellent WW II record, refuses to accept the authorities' conclusions and begins his own investigation. With the help of the only survivor, a stewardess (Suzanne Pleshette), McBane re-creates the events leading to the crash in an attempt to discover the true cause. The character of the incriminated pilot, Captain Jack Savage (Rod Taylor), is revealed through a series of flashbacks, from a wartime army camp (with a cameo by Jane Russell) to the climactic moment of the thrilling crash. Milton Krasner's crisp cinematography earned him an Oscar nomination.
by Lucinda Ramsey synopsis