|James Stewart in his best 1960s performance.|
|Hardy Kruger as Dorfmann.|
Given the film's subject, it may be surprising to learn that Flight of the Phoenix is also noteworthy for introducing a famous love song. Connie Francis can be heard singing "Senza Fine" (written by Gino Paoli) on the radio. While the song, also oddly known as "The Phoenix Love Theme," never charted for Francis, it still became a popular standard. Billy Wilder used it extensively--and to great effect--in his charming 1972 romantic comedy Avanti! with Jack Lemmon and Juliet Mills.
Thematically, The Flight of the Phoenix covers a lot of ground, ranging from the friction between officers and noncommissioned officers to the clash between modern technology (represented by Dorfmann) and an old-fashioned practical way of life (Towns). Ultimately, though, Aldrich’s film is an exciting tribute to man’s ingenuity and will to survive. (Note: Avoid the 2004 remake which is a second-rate affair all around.)