This is an outstanding film both in the acting and the representation of a real incident (repeated in actuality more than once) and the emotions, behavior and character of the crew and passengers in a deadly situation. For my money, this presentation by John Wayne, along with his role as aircraft captain in "Island in the Sky" are his best in a different genre from the usual western or war story. It is a tale of quiet courage in the face of possible disaster. John holds things together, despite a history of personal loss in an air disaster from which he escaped only to lose his wife and child. Only a CBC television movie "Flight into Danger" (which preceded both films) does it as well and all set the scenes for locale airline and airport disaster films.
The quality of this remastered film is excellent and a tribute to film making of yesteryear. The characterizations were very good, except I always get annoyed when American films make the navigator a weak sister. One of the most striking scenes occurs at the start of the film (in wide screen) showing a tiny airliner, a speck almost, in a vast sea of clouds and sky. This plus the theme music really sets the scene.
A part of the verity of these two films is that Ernest K, Gann, in addition to being a great writer, himself had years of experience flying as a captain, teaching navigation to future ferry pilots in War2 and time in the air back to the DC-2, DC3 as well as later planes such as the DC4 portrayed in the movie.