When Richard Widmark starred in Slattery’s Hurricane, released January 1, 1949, the only way to tell the strength of a hurricane was to have some nut fly through it.
Hurricanes have been and still are
“This is a hurricane. Hurricanes are windstorms of great violence several hundred miles in diameter, with a dead calm at the center called the eye. Like whirlpools, they spin rapidly, hurling great destruction in their paths. They're spawned in the doldrums, their father the heat of the sun, their mother the moisture of the sea. From July to December every year, the Caribbean crawls with these evil offspring of the elements. “
The movie made a lasting impression on me.
"Slattery's Hurricane thus begins with this narrative by Gary Merrill. Will Slattery (Richard Widmark), a former World War II Navy pilot still on inactive reserve, forcibly takes his employer's Grumman Mallard from the estate in Miami and heads for an incoming hurricane. He obtains his bearings from a Navy control tower by pretending to be a weather patrol flight. Despite a threat of court martial when the Navy discovers the ruse, Slattery flies into the storm, reviewing his life in flashback for the next hour...
"Disgruntled with the service, in part because he was disciplined instead of decorated for a hazardous mission, Slattery left the Navy and became a private pilot for candy manufacturer R.J. Milne (Walter Kingsford) on the recommendation of his girlfriend, Dolores Grieves (Veronica Lake), Milne's secretary. He lives an easy life, until the day he literally bumps into "Hobby" Hobson (John Russell), an old Navy buddy. Amused that Hobson stayed in the Navy, he nonetheless accepts an invitation to fly along on a weather flight into the heart of a hurricane. Slattery is disturbed to find that Hobby is married to Slattery's former lover, Aggie (Linda Darnell), who ended their unhappy relationship years before. At dinner for the two couples, he pretends to have just met her, but Dolores immediately suspects their past attachment. Slattery invites Hobby to fly with him the next day, maneuvering Aggie into coming along, to show off his lifestyle, and introduces them to Milne and his shady partner, Gregory (Joe De Santis).
"Slattery tricks Aggie into meeting him alone while Hobby is away, and although she initially rejects his "fast one", he seduces her. Dolores confronts Slattery and they argue over his betrayal of Hobby and the effect his job is having on him. He soon discovers Dolores not only moved out, but quit her job as well, alarming Milne and Gregory, who fear she knows too much about their dealings. In the meantime, Slattery's affair with Aggie continues. Milne has Slattery fly him to a remote Caribbean island, where Milne has a heart attack. Slattery tries to save his life on the flight back, and discovers that Milne is smuggling drugs, taped to his chest. Milne dies and Slattery keeps the "parcel". Dolores telephones him and warns him again to get out, but he gets drunk instead. Gregory beats him up to get back the "parcel", but Slattery counters with a warning that he has hidden information about the smuggling ring in a safe deposit box, should anything happen to him.
"The Navy unexpectedly awards Slattery the Navy Cross from his wartime heroics. Dolores attends the ceremony, but when she sees Slattery embrace Aggie afterwards, collapses and is hospitalized in a psychiatric ward for "pharmacopsychosis," or drug addiction. Slattery is called in by her doctor and castigated for his role in her illness. He leaves his Navy Cross with Dolores and goes to Aggie's to end the relationship. A drunken Hobby is there, however, having discovered the affair. He beats an unresisting Will, but is ordered to report for a hurricane mission. Slattery sees that Hobby is in no condition to fly the mission and knocks him out to prevent it. He then steals his employer's plane and flies into the storm...
"Slattery flies into the eye of the hurricane and reports its position. His warning is instrumental in saving Miami from serious loss of life and property loss, but in returning to Miami, he loses an engine. Believing he will crash, he also radios the tower about the location of the drug-smuggling information. When the plane does crash, he unexpectedly survives. Slattery is accepted back on active duty, and by Dolores."
I liked Richard Widmark movies and encourage everyone to consider it for entertainment.
Today, Hurricane Matthew is threatening Florida and President Barack Obama has been on TV telling I-95 corridor residents to listen to their local folks.