Rooney's Nervy Norman
On a flight to Athens engine trouble causes pilot Jamie Faulkner (Lex Barker) to land his plane in Beirut where he learns that it will take 24 hours to fix and so the crew as well as the passengers must spend the next day in the city. For Jamie the stop over gives him the opportunity to do some romantic sight seeing along with his girlfriend one of the air stewardesses but for steward Norman Jones (Mickey Rooney) the stay in Beirut is the last thing he wants as people start to follow him around and he feels uneasy when he is left on his own.
To me when some one says the words Beirut I tend to think of war torn Beirut the words so frequently used on the news when ever a journalist was there giving a live report. So it is interesting to come across "Twenty-Four Hours to Kill" which takes us to a very beautiful Beirut before the war torn part became synonymous with its name. The irony is that the Beirut shown in this 60s movie is not that different to other Middle Eastern locations used in other movies during the 60s but because this is a Beirut so few of us will have ever seen it adds something extra to the movie and what a beautiful place it was.
But Beirut is not what "Twenty-Four Hours to Kill" is about but the mystery as to why Norman Jones is so on edge during the 24 hour stay in Beirut. What could Norman have done to warrant shady looking men following him and if they are desperate to get him what does that mean to the other members of the crew who are oblivious to Norman's situation. It is quite entertaining and has a touch of 60s spy movie about it with a few moments of action, drinks laced with drugs, shady people following Norman around and of course some danger.
Aside from that well Lex Barker delivers a factory floor performance as Jamie as the character only really calls for him to be tall, handsome and an understanding good guy. It is in fact Mickey Rooney who is given more to do as nervy Norman who tries to keep what ever is causing him to fear for his life secret, although this isn't a great Mickey Rooney performance. Aside from that there is an amusing performance from Michael Medwin playing the 60s stereotype of a skirt chasing pilot and I lost count of the number of attractive women walking around in bikinis.
What this all boils down to is that "Twenty-Four Hours to Kill" is one of those movies which when you watch for the first time you will quickly become fascinated by. But it isn't the sort of movie which you will find a desire to watch more than once.