Airport Oscar winner crashed out

Campbeltown was chosen as a film location because of the airport's extra long runway.

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An Academy Award-winning film including a jumbo jet crash at Machrihanish was a notable ommission from a recent Courier feature according to a South Kintyre councillor.

White Nights, a 1985, American produced film mixing ballet and a Cold War defection, which won an Oscar for Lionel Ritchie’s song: Say You Say Me, was filmed in Kintyre, Finland, Portugal, The Soviet Union and Austria.

The History, Heritage and Archaeology supplement published on Friday June 30, included a list of west Highland film success but excluded this film which bombed with critics but grossed $42 million.

Councillor John Armour wrote on the Courier Facebook page: ‘I would have thought that when mentioning the movies, filmed on the west coast, on page 26, that the 1985 Oscar winner White Nights would be mentioned.

‘It was partly filmed at Machrihanish airbase with many locals taking part as extras.’

The plot was, that a Soviet ballet dancer, played by Mikhail Baryshnikov, who had defected from the Soviet Union, is in a plane crash in Siberia on the way to Tokyo and is recognised by a KGB officer.

The movie’s initial plane crash sequence, of a touch and go landing at RAF Machrihanish, was filmed using a re-badged Aer Lingus 747.

Usually, due to the high cost of wrecking a jet, models would be used for the actual crash. It was staged, at the airport, with a real Boeing 707, bought from South America and remodelled to look like a jumbo jet.

Kintyre was chosen for its remoteness and because of the airport’s extra long 1.8 mile runway.

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