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Directed by Ralph Nelson
USA 1964


Airliner crashes near Los Angeles due to unusual string of coincidences. Stewardess, who is sole survivor, joins airline executives in discovering the causes of the crash.


Pilot Jack Savage (Rod Taylor) is suspected of drinking and causing an airliner crash that leaves only a single survivor, one of the stewardesses. Savage is suspected of being the problem because no one believes his radio transmissions of a landing gear problem. His wartime buddy, airline executive Sam C. McBane (Glenn Ford) is convinced of his friend's innocence and investigates doggedly. His investigation, and his relentless defense of Savage, imperils his pending promotion with the airline. Much of the movie is spent recreating McBane's relationship with Savage, and justifying his defense of the dead pilot. Pushing his credibility with the airline to the limit, he convinces them to recreate the accident flight in order to prove up his theory that there really was something wrong with the airplane. During the flight, the stewardess brings up a cup of coffee to the flight deck, which she remembers one of the pilots spilling on the console between the seats. Recreating this, they see the same landing gear failure indication, thus proving up the premise of the accident flight.


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 (Glen 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.


Theatrical Release: October 16th, 1964

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DVD Review: Twilight Time - Region 0 - NTSC

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Distribution Twilight Time - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:45:32 
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.4 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None

Release Information:
Studio: Twilight Time

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Isolated Music & Effects Track
• Original Theatrical Trailer
• 8-page liner notes with essay by Julie Kirgo

DVD Release Date: May, 201
Keep Case
Chapters: 16



We have also reviewed DVDs of The Kremlin Letter and Violent Saturday also by Twilight Time. Like this, Fate is the Hunter, the discs are bare-bones but offer an isolated score. This also includes a theatrical trailer and 8-page liner notes leaflet. I'm very 'okay' with them so far. Hopefully they will continue to expand.

Firstly, this is a very good film. I may be biased as I'm a big fan of Glenn Ford and have always had a crush Suzanne Pleshette. Hey that's Constance Towers again (after just seeing her in The Horse Soldiers). I thought Fate is the Hunter  was suspenseful, had a good pace and held an intriguing story. Truly - very entertaining. I had never seen it previously.

The single-layered DVD is anamorphic and progressive. I don't see excessive manipulation and the image is fairly clean. Contrast is excellent for the SD format. The transfer benefits from not sharing the layer with any extensive supplements. Visually - it is surprisingly strong. 

Audio is clean and clear - no drop-outs or hiss. There is only one menu and, as stated, offers an isolated score and theatrical trailer (plus the liner notes).

If you can get this at a reasonable price (in around $12 or less) I recommend. There is a Spanish PAL DVD of the film out - but I haven't seen it to compare. I am comfortable enough with this presentation to endorse to others. I liked the film quite a lot. 

Gary W. Tooze

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Distribution Twilight Time - Region 0 - NTSC

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