A Matter of Life and Death (1946) Script

This is the universe.

Big, isn't it?

Thousands of suns, millions of stars,...

...separated by immense distances and by thin floating clouds of gas.

The starlight makes the gas transparent.

Where there are no stars it appears as dark, obscuring clouds...

...like that great black cone over there.


...there's a nova.

A whole solar system exploded.

Someone must've been messing about with the uranium atom.

No, it's not our solar system, I'm glad to say.

Ah, those are called a globular cluster of stars.

Rather fine.

Down here in the right-hand corner,...

...see that little chap rather like a boy scout's badge?

It's a mass of gas expanding at thousands of cubic miles a minute.

Ah, here we are, we're getting nearer home.

The moon, our moon,...

...in the first quarter,...

...and here's the Earth, our Earth,...

...moving around in its place,...

...part of the pattern, part of the universe.

Reassuring, isn't it?

It's night over Europe.

The night of the 2nd May, 1945.

That point of fire is a burning city.

It had a thousand-bomber raid an hour ago.

And here, rolling in over the Atlantic,...

...is a real English fog.

I hope all our aircraft got home safely.

Even the big ships sound frightened.

Listen to all the noises in the air.

"This was their finest hour."



"Request your position."

"Come in, Lancaster. Come in, Lancaster."

"Position nil. Repeat, nil. Age 27. Very important."

"Education violently interrupted. Religion - Church of England."

"Politics - Conservative by nature, Labour by experience."

"What's your name?" I cannot read you.

Cannot read you.

Request your position. Can you see our signals?

"Give me my scallop-shell of quiet, My staff of faith to walk upon,...

...My scrip of joy, immortal diet, My bottle of salvation,...

...My gown of glory, hope's true gage, And thus I'll take my pilgrimage."

"Sir Walter Raleigh wrote that."

"I'd rather have written that than flown through Hitler's legs."

I cannot understand you.

Hello, Lancaster. We are sending signals. Can you see our signals?

Come in, Lancaster. Come in, Lancaster.

But at my back I always hear Time's wingèd chariot hurrying near.

And yonder all before us lie Deserts of vast eternity.

Andy Marvell. What a marvel! What's your name?

Are you receiving me? Repeat, are you receiving me?

Request your position. Come in, Lancaster.

I can't give you my position. Instruments gone, crew gone.

Except Bob, my sparks. He's dead.

The rest bailed out on my orders. Time 03.35. Get that?

Crew bailed out 03.35

"Station - Warrenden. Bomber Group - A, G."

Station - Warrenden. Bomber Group - A, Apple, G, George.

They'll be sorry about Bob. We liked him.

Hello, G, George. Hello, G, George. Are you all right?

Are you going to try to land? Do you want a fix?

Name's not G, George, it's P, Peter. Peter D Carter. D's for David.

Squadron Leader Peter Carter. Can't land - undercarriage is gone.

I'm bailing out, I'm bailing out.

"Take a telegram." Received your message.

We can hear you. "Telegram to my mother."

"Mrs Michael Carter, 88 Hampstead Lane, London Northwest."

88 Hampstead Lane, London.

Tell her that I love her.

You'll have to write this, but I want her to know I love her very much.

I've never shown it to her, not really,...

...but I've loved her always right up to the end.

"Give my love to my two sisters, too. Don't forget them."

Received your message. We can hear you.

Are you wounded? Repeat, are you wounded? Are you bailing out?

What's your name? June.

Yes, I'm bailing out, but there's a catch. I've got no parachute.

H-Hello? Hello, Peter, do not understand.

Hello? Hello, Peter, can you hear me?

"Hello, June, don't be afraid. It's quite simple."

We've had it and I'd rather jump than fry.

After the first thousand feet I shan't know anything, anyway.

"I say, I hope I haven't frightened you."

No, I'm not frightened. "Good girl!"

Your sparks, you said he was dead. Hasn't he got a chute?

Cut to ribbons. Cannon shell. Are you pretty?

Not bad.

"Can you hear me well?" Yes.

You've got guts. I've known dozens of girls, been in love with some.

But an American girl I've never seen and never shall see...

...will hear my last words.

"Rather sweet."

June, if you're around when they pick me up,...

...turn your head away.

But perhaps we can do something, Peter. Let me report it.

"No, no-one can help. Only you. Let me do this in my own way."

"I want to be alone with you. Where were you born?"

Boston. "Mass?"


History was made there. Are you in love with anybody? No, don't answer.

I could love a man like you, Peter.

I love you, June, you're life. Do you live on the station?

No, in a big house five miles from here. Lee Wood House.

"Old house?" Yes, very old.

I'll come and see you as a ghost! You're not frightened of ghosts?

I'm not frightened.

"What time will you be home?" I'm on duty till 6.

I have breakfast in the mess, then I have to cycle half an hour.

I often go along the sands.

This is such nonsense!

It's the best sense I ever heard. I was lucky to get you.

Can't be helped about the parachute. I'll have wings soon.

Hope they haven't gone modern. I'd hate to have a prop instead!

"What's the next world like?" Oh, Peter!

"I think it starts where this one leaves off."

Or where it could if we listened to Plato, Aristotle and Jesus.

With all our earthly problems solved but with greater ones worth solving.

I'm signing off now, June. Goodbye. Goodbye, June.

Hello, G for George. Hello, G, George!

Hello, G, George!


So long, Bob, I'll see you in a minute.

You know what we wear by now - prop or wings.

A prop... or wings.


...or wings.


...or wings.

A prop... or wings.

Prop... or wings.


...or wings.


Aghh! Oh, bad luck, old boy.

Name and rank.

Come on, fellas, break it up, spread out.

Room with bath.

Do you have USO shows here? No, we don't.

OK, we'll stay. Officers' quarters, of course.

We're all the same here, Captain. Excuse me,... brother.

Take over.

I wish I could make a phone call. From here that'd be long distance.

Flying Officer Trubshaw.

You can't wait here. You must be mistaken about your captain.

If anyone's mistaken, it's not me. Mistakes don't happen here.

This is the Aircrew Section? You should know.

Peter couldn't have got away with it.

Besides, you checked his invoice for me.

Yes, it was against the regulations.

Regulations are made to be broken. He was due half an hour after me.

This is his section. He hasn't reported.

He's either AWOL or there's been a mistake.

There hasn't been a mistake here for 1,000 years.

Oh? So there have been mistakes?

The girl here before me was here 640 years.

Holy smoke!

If the records don't balance, alarm bells ring in the Records Office.

I bet they do. Proper flap, eh?


That's only the living records.

Everyone on Earth has a file.

Russian, Chinese, black or white, Republican or Democrat.

Holy smoke! If anyone had said clerks worked up here just like on Earth...

Everyone here can start how they like.

Heaven, isn't it?

You see?

There are millions of people on Earth who'd think it heaven to be a clerk.

And don't say "Holy smoke".

Why not? There's no smoke without fire...

...and we don't call smoke... holy.

Thanks for the gen,... Section Officer.

Boy, oh, boy, home was nothin' like this!

Mine was.

Sign here.

All right, I don't want to start those bells ringing!

I wonder where I report.

Oh, I always hoped there would be dogs.

Good morning.


Where do I go from here?

Huh?! I'm new, I only just arrived.

Where do I report? You mean the aerodrome?


Where am I? This place, what's it called?

The Burrows. Where?

Lee Wood. Lee Wood?

Yeah. Do you know Lee Wood House?

That's it - where the smoke is, behind those trees.

Is that the quickest way? There's a track. See that bike?

Who is it? Dunno. One of the Yank girls.

They live up at the house.

Here, Jock!



Hello yourself. What's wrong?

You're June.

You're Peter!

How did you get here?

I'm glad you're safe. What did you do? What happened?

I just don't know. Are you hurt?

My head feels a bit queer.

There's a little cut in your hair. It's nothing much.

Oh, Peter, it was a cruel joke.

If it was, it was on me.

I've been crying ever since we said goodbye.

Don't cry, darling. Oh, Peter, darling.

91,716 invoiced.

91,715 checked in.

Conductor 71. It could've 'appened to anybody.

How did it happen?

Everything was calculated but for the accursed fog!

The pilot jumped, he got lost in the fog, I missed him.

Flying Officer Trubshaw.

You've been waiting all day for your pilot.

Yes, ma'am. Over the Channel, there was a ruddy peasouper!


Oh, excuse the language, ma'am.

It was so thick, you could've stepped out of the kite and walked on it!

Sacré brouillard! And he, the skipper,...

...ordered everybody to bail out over the coast.

He knew his brolly... chute... had been written off.

It was hit as he was bandaging me.

But he didn't tell the others.

I only knew because I'd bought it by then.

I mean, I was... dead.

I understand.

I knew he'd be clocking in here.

I thought I'd stooge around and wait for him. Er, this young lady...

...is not to blame at all.

I'm sorry if I broke the rules. Thank you.

19 hours and 50 minutes have elapsed.

Don't you know that any slip must be reported immediately?

I lost my head. Not long in the service.

I joined in the so-called Second Germinal...

...of the so-called glorious French Revolution.

I see. Natural death.

I lost my head.

The case is not so simple.

Non? No.

He's fallen in love.



It complicates things. True.

You must do your best. Oui, madame.

Proceed to Earth immediately. Oui.

You'll explain your grave error to Carter...

...and ask him to follow you. Oui, madame.


Your captain is not an unreasonable man, I hope.

The skipper? Oh, no, ma'am... unless he's had a few!

Er... pardon? 'Ad a few?

Beers. Oh, la bière!

Scotch being hard to come by, you know.

Naturellement! By the way,...

...would you give Peter a message for me?

Avec plaisir.

Just say, "What ho".


One is starved for Technicolor up there.

What a night for love!

Drink, darling?

Mon ami.


I think I keep this for a little.

And how are you, my friend?

Never been better.

June, wake... She cannot wake.

We are talking in space, not in time.

Are you cracked? Look at your watch.

It has not moved since you said so charmingly "Drink, darling?"

Nor will it move,...

...nor will anything move...

...until we have finished our little talk.

It is only a trick.

Who are you?

We should've met yesterday at 04.10, mon cher.

Unfortunately I missed you.

You couldn't have because I wasn't here.

I bring you a message from Mr Trubshaw.


Bob's dead. Oh, yes, he's dead.

He says... "What ho!"

That sounds like Trubshaw. But he is dead, isn't he?

En effet. But how? Why? Cannon shell.

And what should happen to a man...

...who jumps from his aircraft without his parachute?

How do you know?

But it is I who am telling you, my friend.

It is I!

Your time was up,...

...but I missed you because of your ridiculous English climate.

I am French.

But what do you want now? You, my friend.

What for? To conduct you.

Where to? To the training centre.

Training for what? For another world.

You don't mean...?

But, my dear friend, that is just what I do mean.

Oh, this is absolutely fantastic!



All right, and what if I refuse to go?

But you cannot refuse. Your time was up.

Now, by mistake, you overstayed by about,...

...speaking in time, of course,...

...20 hours.

The advantage was exclusively yours. You lost nothing, you only gained.

What about her?


You will see her again when her time comes.

She will live to be... ninety-seven. I looked her up in the files.

I'm in love with her. But, my friend, what is love?

The feeling of the moment,...

...but I represent eternity.

The law of this world and the other.

Good, but what is law? Law is law.

Law is based on reason. That is so.

Now, yesterday I wasn't in love. Today I am.

But what is love? How many people are in love?

Soldiers, airmen, how many sailors?

Do they protest when their time is up? No, they don't.

They have no right, but I have. Why?

Look, I've fallen in love because of your mistake.

I'm in a different position from what I was in last night.

I expected to die, I was ready to die.

It wasn't my fault I didn't, it was yours!

What government do you represent? None!

What laws govern the place?

I cannot express any political views.

A respectable place must have law of appeal.

Be reasonable! Appeal to whom? You find out.

It has never been done! Is that any reason why it can't be done?

You are determined to get me into... the salad.

What about the salad you got me into?

Now, look here, you don't want me to use force, do you?

Oh, well, you can always try.

I think I leave you for a little. That's the form.

I shall report for instructions. Now you're talking!

And... do not fall any deeper in love now.

You have been warned.

She is...


You know, I think you're not a bad chap.

Do you play chess?


So do I.

We could play every day.

Some other time.

Next time, perhaps?

Au revoir, mon ami.

No, thank you, darling.

"No, thank you" what?

You just asked me to have a drink.

Did I?

Yes, I remember I did.

What's the matter with me? What is it? Is it your head again?

Might be, yes.

An odd thing happened while you were asleep.

I haven't been asleep.

Didn't you hear us talking?


Who was there to talk to?

They sent somebody. They? Who are they?

I don't know.

June, do I look cracked?

Not to me, darling. Are you?

There was a ten-tenths' fog last night.

That's right, isn't it? You know there was.

I did bail out without a parachute. That's your story.

So how can I be alive? I give up.

I don't know and I don't care. My parachute was shot up.

When I came to, I had none. Anyway, why wasn't I drowned?

No need to prove to me you ought to be dead.

I ought to be according to this character.

This conductor they sent after me said he missed me in the fog.

Bad luck for them, good luck for me.

I said I'd appeal. He's gone to get instructions.

It's not my fault I'm not dead!

It's not my fault I found you and fell in love with you.

Maybe he wasn't here at all!

Hey, you, Frenchman!

Where are you?!

What is it? Ohh, I've got an awful headache.


June, you're there, aren't you?

Yes, Peter, of course I'm here.

I... thought I'd lost you.

Dr Reeves's residence.

Oh, good morning, Miss June.

Yes, isn't it? The doctor's up in his thing - his camera obscura.

He's got his new lens from the shop today. It makes a lovely picture.

He's taken the big white garden table to project on.

He'll be glad you're coming over. He's showing it to the dogs.

Ah, nice day.

Hmm, Mrs Bedwell's ducks out too early.

She'll lose all the eggs if she's not careful.

Ahh, the start of the cycling season. There's a hefty young girl.

Time Mrs Tucker went to get our rations. There she is.

Ooh, the Vicar and his sister - not coming here, I hope. No. Good.

Quite a queue at the butcher's. Must have some offal.

Wonderful how the kids love playing in the splash. The same in my day.

That tree ought to come down.

Old Mary looking quite skittish.

Sally Allgood getting herself dated up.

Ah, here's June, here she comes.

She walks in beauty like the night.

Only she's cycling and the sun is out. Nice girl.

Worth a hatful of ambassadors in Lee Wood, anyway.

Come on up!

Hello, Doc.

Hello, June. Come in, shut the door.

Surveying your kingdom?

A village doctor has to know everything.

You'd be surprised how many diagnoses I've formed up here.

I love looking at the village from here.

Looks so different.

That's because you see it all clearly and at once, as in a poet's eye.

I want to talk to you.

So you said, but it's none of my business.

Dr McEwen says it's right up your street.

This is my street, a village street. I'm a village doctor.

Only because you like living here.

McEwen says what you don't know about neurology would fill a peanut.

I'm a good guesser.

Your guesses are in famous magazines...

...like that "Brain" I've seen in your library.

Dr McEwen says... I know what he says.

I had a talk with him on the phone. Oh, did you?

After I'd talked to you.

This is the RAF's business. Carter should rejoin his station today.

I know. What's it got to do with you?

Oh, I'm just interested.

Oh, I see.

Strictly speaking, he's a RAF case.

He's not a case, he's a person, a very fine person.

I want you to see him, Frank.

I don't want just anyone mauling him and asking him questions.

I want you. I'm sure the RAF would say...

I know what they'd say. I spoke to his CO this morning.

Oh, Frank! And to his Group MO.

Fortunately, he's heard of me. Frank!

If you'd done that earlier, I'd have told you earlier.

You can't kidnap RAF officers just cos you like the shape of their nose!

Not his nose, his voice. I fell for that before I saw him.

He believes he jumped with no parachute?

Yes. He has hallucinations?

During these bouts, does he go pale?

Yes, yes, he did. He has headaches... here?

I think so. You'd better ask him.

But he definitely sees things? And hears.

All right. Did you tell him he was talking rubbish?

No. Quite right.

He's not. He's talking very logically.

Then he can't be in love. Bye.

Frank... Yes?

He has a very cute nose, too!

I'll be over about teatime. Right.

It's Dr Reeves. Let's go!


That's not how to spell Shakespeare. Who are you, his agent?

You spotted snakes with double tongue, Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen;

Newts and blind-worms... er...

Do no wrong.

...do no wrong, Come not near our fairy queen.

You can never bring in a wall. What say you, Bottom?

Some guy or other... No, no, no!

My dear Private Logan, Bottom's not a gangster. Watch!

Some man or other must present wall: and let him have some plaster or some loam or some rough-cast about him...

...to signify wall;...

...and let him hold his fingers thus...

...and through that cranny shall Pyramus and Thisby whisper.

Try that, my boy. Can I do the business?

It's as well, yes. Oh, brother!

Some man or other must present wall: and let him have some plaster or some loam or some rough-cast about him...

...to signify wall.




Oh, dear, I didn't see that one coming.

Good afternoon. Hello, Frank.

Squadron Leader Carter - Dr Reeves.

Do I get some tea? It's ordered. Ginger cookies.

Good. Who's winning? June's good.

But he's winning. Sit down, everybody.

Thank you.

I've told Peter. What?

Who you are, what you are, all about you.

Tall order. And I've told you all about him.

Has she read your poems? What poems?

Didn't you know? This is Peter Carter.

I didn't know. We hadn't got around to that.

I haven't got much modern stuff, but you're there.

Good. I like your viewpoint, your English.

I hope we shall have some talks. So do I.

Let's get down to this thing.

You've never had any visions or hallucinations before?

Never. What were you before?

I did European History at Oxford.

Both parents alive? My mother.

Brothers, sisters? Two sisters.

What was the cause of your father's death?

Same as mine.

Brain? No, war.

When? 1917.

You're... er... 29? 27.

Called up? Volunteered.

Trained in Canada. Ops in '41. Bomber?

Coastals, then instructor, back to bombers.

Must've done a good many ops? 67.

They let you go back with your experience and seniority?

New job. Master bomber. Tricky?

Somebody's got to do it. Hmm.

Now... about these headaches.

When did they start? Headaches?

I know you get them and you've told nobody about them, especially your MO.

What else do you know? I know about your eyes.

You know a good deal. Like to know more.

All right.

Now, these headaches, when did they start?

Six months ago. Bad?

Not at first. Where?

Here. Frontal and temporal.

Did you ever have a rather nasty bang on the head?

I don't think so. Sure?

The usual one - dropped as a baby.

Has that spoilt everything for you?

Yes, I'm afraid it does. I'll see what I can cook up.

Do you mind if I try something? No, go ahead.

Now... er... just face this way. Don't move.

Now, don't move your eyes, look straight ahead.

Check. What are you looking at?

The girl with red hair and legs! Right, I've got her.

Don't take your eyes off her. Easy!

Without moving your eyes, what can you see on the extreme right?

Fireplace. In the centre?

Girl. Extreme left?


Curtains? Yes.

Colour? Red.

Right, that'll do.

If you've quite done staring at that girl's legs...

You've got to do as the doctor says.

Confidentially, they're rather knock-kneed.


Any loss of appetite? No.

Nor of thirst? No fear.

You've been eating and drinking more than usual.

You've just seen my mess bills! And you've... seen something.

Someone. Clearly?

As clear as I see you.

Had such an hallucination before? No, thanks.

Do you believe in the survival of human personality after death?

I thought you said you read my verses.

Do you?

I don't know, I've never thought about it. Do you?

I don't know. I've thought about it too much.

I thought I was asked to tea. It isn't time yet.

Past my time. One last question.

It may sound silly, but have you imagined recently...

...that you've smelt something that couldn't be there?

What an extraordinary thing!

What is? How did you know?

A long shot. You have?

Yes. It was so silly, I'd never have told you.

It might explain everything abnormal you've seen and heard.

But it still can't explain how I can jump without a parachute and be alive.

No, but there might be a possible explanation even of that.

Now, this heavenly messenger, you saw him quite clearly?

I told you, as clear as I see you.

This smell you imagined was at the same time?

Yes, it was particularly strong.

A pleasant smell? Yes.

Could you place it? Fried onions.

And this messenger, he hasn't turned up again?

No, but he will. When?

He picks his own time and stops it. Peter's appealed against his call-up.

That's the spirit. Don't give in. I won't.

I'm lucky June knew you. Thank you for coming.

June has lucky friends. I've got bad news.

Why the grin? You're going with me.

Where? My house. For two reasons.

I want to meet this chap next time...

...and I like a nice girl in the house.

She only comes to borrow a book and she's a slow reader!

What about my CO? I've fixed it with him.

Besides, until we get this settled, I'm your CO.

At my house, you get your tea at 4.30.

Tea break!

Here you get it at five.

Sinkers, Doc?

Thank you.

We're shaping, Frank, we're shaping!


Ah-ha! 20-all!

21-20. Sorry.

You're sorry, my foot! Ready? Ready.

Nearly. Nearly doesn't count. 21-all.

I'll be... Count 10.

I wonder if Peter's a good player.

Ask him when he wakes. He's been asleep 2½ hours.

He'll wake at 11. How do you know?

I gave him a tablet. How can you tell?

I know the patient. Do you know him?

I think so. Tell me about him!

Are we playing table tennis or are we not?

All right, your serve. Ready?

Ready. Ohh!

Your game.

Now tell me what you think about him.

I think he's fascinating. So do I.

Not biologically. Medically.

Have a drink? Love one.

What do the books say, Doc?

I see a dark stranger in his life.

Do you know what's wrong with him?

Yes, I think I do.

Is he... going to be all right?

He'll be all right. Here's your drink.

Will he have any more hallucinations?

Yes. How do you know?

Because this conductor promised to come back.

Will that make him worse? Why should it?

I don't know. Seeing things, arguing about his own life.

Talking to a non-existent man... He does exist for him.

He's not going mad? His brain isn't being affected?

It is, but not in the way you mean.

That's why I asked him about his sense of smell.

I saw it was important.

He's having highly organised hallucinations...

...comparable to an experience of actual life.

A combination of vision, hearing and idea.

To a neurologist, it points directly to the sense of smell or taste.

Once that connection's established, we know where to look.

I want to find out one thing more in his history. I'll find it out later.


I'm not going to tell you any more. Thanks.

But how did he survive the jump? I don't know.

If we could find out and tell him, it would save him.

It would help, but the main thing is for him to win his case.

Are you serious? Perfectly serious.

We must help him to win it. How?

It depends on what message the conductor brings.

But... suppose he loses his case?

Oh, that's absurd!

If we see he's losing or we think he's going to lose,...

...we'll find out the reason he survived or we'll invent one.

We'll have a couple of drinks...

...and we'll invent the greatest lie in medical history.

Care for another game? I don't mind.

Don't worry. See that bell? Yes.

He'll ring it if he gets another visit.

Fine. Come on, your serve.

Ready? Uh-huh.


Doc, he's here! June!


Eh bien, mon cher, comment ça va?

Not too good.

Not too good. Ah.

I would not bother to ring that bell if I were you. Nothing will happen.

A little trick of mine. You remember?

After all,...

...what is time?

A mere... tyranny.

Let me know if you're going to do that again.

Looks good. Very good. Know the author?

No, but I often have a game with Philidor.

Philidor? The greatest chess master ever.

A Frenchman. Come along and I'll introduce you.

Good. Splendid!

You've got good news for me. How did you guess?

You wouldn't entice me with Philimor...

Philidor. ...if you had the right to conduct me.

True. Well?

Speaking officially, I have good news for you.


You can appeal to the High Court. Splendid!

The trial will be très chic. In three days so you can prepare your case.

Better and better.

Do not be too pleased. Is there a catch?

The prosecuting counsel.

I am not permitted to offer advice or give a personal opinion but...

Who is this counsel? Be prepared.

For what? A shock.

Tell me the worst. Who is it? Abraham Farlan.

Come again? Abraham Farlan!

Never heard of him. No?

Never. He lives in Boston.

I've never been. Massachusetts.

I've never been there! Abraham Farlan died in Boston in 1775.

Does that date convey anything to you?

Lexington, Concord.

You are good at history. The American War of Independence.

Oh, he was killed? By a British bullet.

Oh. He might be... prejudiced.

Hmm. He hates your guts.

And he hates the guts of every Englishman.

And he hates this little affair with the Boston-born girl.

It's not a little affair.

Ohh, a big affair he will hate even more!

I'll appeal against him. No good!

We had to choose a good man. Our honour is at stake.

Non, you must choose a good man for yourself.

As defending counsel? Precisely.

Can I choose anybody? Anybody who's ever lived on earth.

Everybody is at your disposal.

You can choose me. That would suit your book.

Do not waste time. Abraham Farlan is piling up his case already.

You can choose Socrates, William Pitt,...

...you can choose Henry VIII.

Oh, Madame Du Barry.

She knows all about love. Rather a one-track mind.

You are a good chess player. Philidor.

I'll think it over.

By the way, I'd like to borrow this.

It's not mine, it belongs to the doctor.

Oh, doctors. What about them?

They give me a great deal of trouble in my job.

He was here! He tricked us! Yes, he was... here.

And these were on the floor.

Peter, sit down.


...look up.

You've been doing some hard talking.

I have.

You didn't give in to anything? No.

That's the spirit. Can I stay overnight?

Yes, I'll tell Mrs Tucker. I don't need much.

Now, let's see.

Hmm. I'll tell Mrs Tucker you're staying.

Dr Reeves, can I stay in here? I want to be near these books.

Of course. I'll fix up a camp bed.

Great news, darling.

I'm allowed to appeal. Really?

June, I don't want to leave you.

Darling, why should you? Everything will be all right.

If I can get a good counsel. Of course you will.

It's very important. I don't want to lose you.

I don't intend to let you go. No-one can take you. I won't let them.

A judgement against me would be backed up...

...by all the power of this world and of the other.

Drink this.

Peter's got the right to appeal. Splendid.

Smell anything? Yes.

Fried onions? Yes.

Good. Drink that up.

Any headache? Mm.

Tell me tomorrow what he said.

No, he said...

Good heavens! What is it?

He got my Hundred Best Games. Alekhese's chess book!

You sure? Certain. He had it in his hand.

What a nerve! A bit cool.

Now, get to bed. I want to talk to you first.

No, have a long sleep. Tomorrow, you'll feel as fresh as a daisy.

You don't believe a word I say! Of course we do!

My dear friend, here on Earth I am your defending counsel.

As your counsel, I believe everything you tell me.

Dr Gaerlter. Hello, Dr Reeves.

You make your rounds the hard way. Give me a coupe!

Is Dr McEwen free? He's going to operate.

He hasn't started yet. I imagine he'll see you in the washroom.

Hello, Frank, what's new? Deterioration.

We ought to operate tonight.

Impossible, we're swamped. Sure of your diagnosis?

Certain. He had slight concussion two years ago - no aftereffects.

The X-ray's inconclusive.

You know about these hallucinations coupled with a sense of smell.

It points to arachnoid adhesions involving the olfactory nerve.

A tricky op. I've never seen one.

I have - at the Hospital de la Pitié in Paris.

I've made some notes for the surgeon.

It'll be Dr Leiser, a fine neurosurgeon.

Leiser, good man. We can't manage tonight.

There's no crisis in such a thing.

Any day will do. No, it won't.

I'll tell you why and why there is a crisis.

I'm afraid his brain may be permanently affected.


Yes. Why?

Because his trial is on for tonight. He hasn't found anyone to defend him.

He spends all his time in my library. He only sleeps when I drug him.

The boy has a fine mind but it's taxed.

That's the trouble, it's too good a mind.

A weak mind isn't strong enough to hurt itself.

Stupidity has saved many a man from going mad.

Yes, you're right there.

He's had several talks with this heavenly messenger.

Hallucinations, but you never saw such an imagination!

I've been taking tips on the other world - law, system, architecture.

Interestingly, he never crosses the limits of his imagination.

I don't get you. Nothing he invents is fantastic.

It's invention, but logical invention.

The keystone to his invention is that the trial takes place tonight.

He must win or lose his case tonight.

We ought to operate tonight. No use shaking your head.

We need to find a counsel to save him losing his case or we may lose him!

What about...



No, it's hardly fair to drag him in. I don't believe he'd be prejudiced.


How would you like to be defended by Plato?

Nobody knew more about reasoning.

He was 81 when he died. He might be too old to think love important.

Do you think so? Anyhow, Plato had very elementary ideas about love.

Besides, didn't he quote Sophocles...

...when someone asked him if he could still appreciate a woman?

What did the old boy say? "I'm glad to be rid of all that."

"It's like escaping from bondage to a raving madman."


These Greeks - cold as their marble.

If he had been French... Richelieu, for example. Irresistible at 80!

How about Richelieu?

No, I never liked him much in "The Three Musketeers".




Mais, mon Dieu, who do you want? You have only a few hours left!

It sounds a grand idea to have all these great men to choose from,...

...but what do they know of our problems today?

True. Very little.

Besides, I think it ought to be an Englishman.

Nobody famous, but somebody with his head screwed on.


Now, this Abraham... er...? Farlan.

Was he a famous man?

First American killed by a British bullet.

I mean, was he a great philosopher or statesman?

He was a schoolteacher. There, you see!

Now, Plato would probably talk about perceptions and causations.


Over your head, too? Definitely.

It's quite simple...

By the way, why are you so interested in my winning my case?


Yes, you!

And why am I being taken up this... stairway?

I'm not being taken for a ride, am I?

What a suggestion! Take that bit of barley sugar away.

I don't like it or your suggestions! I'll go back before it's too late.

Peter! Peter!





Peter, come back!

Peter, Peter!


Peter, Peter!

Come back!

Peter! Peter, come back!

Peter, come back!

Peter! Peter, come back!

Peter! Peter!

Come back!

Peter, Peter, come back!

Peter! Peter!

Peter, my darling, come back to me!

He almost got me!

He'll be all right in a moment.

Why isn't the ambulance here? It was due half an hour ago.

Phone Dr McEwen, say we must operate tonight. It's life or death.

Tell him about the ambulance. Telegraph his mother and two sisters.

Yes, Doctor. That's all.

Now, Peter...

Where's June? Phoning. Back in a moment.

He almost got me. I know.

Crafty beggar. I got away by the skin of my teeth.

Don't let anybody fool you into giving up this case!

You were promised a fair trial. Don't give in! Promise?

Got no counsel. We'll find the right man.

They can't start without counsel. They may appoint some stooge.

Nonsense. Or let it go by default.

We'll find somebody. They can't start till then.

Nobody famous!

No, that'd be the worst thing we could do.

How about a pal of yours? Might find somebody.

Your radio operator? Bob?

Yes. Think it over.

You couldn't get through? No.

It's the storm. They always cut the phone off.

I'll go on my bike. No, you're more valuable here.

If the ambulance comes, don't wait for me.

And if I meet it, I'll come back.

Go to him, don't allow him to despair.

His life is in your hands.

Where's Frank? He won't be long, darling.

I must talk to him. I don't think Bob's the right man.

I'll tell him you said so.

Do you know Bob? No.

He was my sparks.

Highly operational type. We'll find somebody.

Time's nearly up. Frank'll come up with something.

I wish he'd hurry.

Look out!

Dr Reeves!

Get the fire extinguishers and the blankets!

Can I help you, sir? Watch the road!

He never saw us until it was too late.

He turned off to save us.

Gosh, I feel bad about it. He was a fine man.

You couldn't help it.

He was interested in this case, wasn't he?


I saw his notes he left for Dr Leiser.

It was a fine piece of diagnosis.

He left notes for the operation, too.

Dr Leiser is very good, isn't he? The best.


I'm here, darling.

Where's Frank?

He's... gone ahead.

He's had an accident.

Hasn't he?


...a bad accident.

Is he dead?

Yes, he's dead.

All right, boys, step lively.

Okay, Doc.

Easy. All right.

All right, guys, lead the way.

An atropine injection, Sister? Yes, 100.

Is this the cranial case? Yes, that's right.

Hello, Squadron Leader. We're all ready for you.

Dr Reeves? Yes.

Permit me to return your book.

Ho-ho! Ah-ha!

So it's you! I will introduce you to Philidor.

Cher colleague, a special case. Court of Appeal.

I will deliver Dr Reeves. As you wish.


Be of good cheer, friend.

One of the best men in the service. Your compatriot.

What's his name? John...

Bunyan! Yes, of course! And... er... how is dear Peter?

Oh, he has a fighting chance.


Dr Frank Reeves. Yes.

You are familiar with Squadron Leader Carter's case?

I am.

He has chosen you to be his counsel.

I hoped he would.

Do you accept? I do.

You have very little time to prepare your case.

What facilities do you wish?

I should like to see my client and get his instructions.

I subpoena Flying Officer Trubshaw as a witness.


Conductor 71, you will take Dr Frank Reeves to Squadron Leader Carter.


Hello, Bob. Wotcher, skipper.

I didn't expect to see you - not yet. Not up there, either.

Well, it was Doc Reeves's idea.

I subpoenaed him. Let's talk. Right.

You sure they won't miss me? Miss you? You know me, mon ami.

That surgeon's very neat, very neat indeed.

I like his work.

You're in good hands, Peter. I know.

Look... I know what's coming.

Are you sure I'm the best man? Quite sure.

Aren't you afraid I may be out of my depth?

No. Or that I'm no lawyer?


If he gets onto politics, I'm sunk. You must have something.

Oh, just a little common sense. That's rare - it'll do me.

Say yes! Well...

He has no choice. What are we talking about, then?

All right, I need evidence.

Look at her.

Holy smoke!

What? She looks like a nice girl.

She is a nice girl. Hardly your type, skip.

I've fallen in love with her.

Her accent is foreign,...

...but it sounds sweet to me.

We were born thousands of miles apart,...

...but we were made for each other.

That's an excellent piece of prose.


Nothing to be ashamed of.

May I kiss her? Just in case, you know.

You may, but she will not know it.

Doesn't matter.

These English! What is the good of kissing a girl if she does not feel it?


What? The evidence you wanted.

Her tears.

Oh, I wish I could take one with me.

You are counsel, you can do as you wish.

Why don't we wrap it up and take it with us?

Permit me.

That's it.

The only real bit of evidence we have.

Quick, we must not keep the court waiting.

The Court of Appeal sits to consider the case...

...of the Department of Records...

...versus Squadron Leader Peter David Carter of the RAF.

He claims negligence and superior rights and responsibilities...

...arising out of that negligence.

He is appealing for remission of the date of his term on Earth...

...and for a reconsideration of his case.

It has been decided to allow this appeal.

It is for the jury to decide whether it shall be successful.

Owing to the interest aroused by the case...

...there is an unusually large audience.

We can, of course, seat everyone who wishes to be present.

The front rows are reserved for those with a special interest in the case.

Members of the jury, do not allow yourselves to be influenced...

...by anything but the facts...

...and by your conscience.

You'll have assistance from the court to help you arrive at your verdict.

The counsel for the prosecution will take his place.

The counsel for the defence will take his place.

I call upon the prosecution to open the case.

Your Honour, members of the jury,...

...this case has three issues.

Peter D Carter, an Englishman,...

...should have died on the second day of May, 1945,...

...at ten after four of the clock, British Double Summer Time.

Due to an oversight,...

...which I hasten to state is contrary to the traditions of a great service,...

...the defendant did not die.

Therefore, issue No.1, who is responsible?

When summoned to report 20-odd hours later,...

...the defendant refused to accompany Conductor 71,...

...giving as his reason that in the time which he had borrowed...

...he had accumulated new responsibilities...

...of an allegedly important and permanent nature.

He claimed, in fact, that in these 20 hours...

...a young lady of good American stock...

...had fallen in love with him.

Therefore issue No.2.

Are we to believe this?

Furthermore, he states...

...in these borrowed 20 hours...

My lord, I object to the word "borrowed",...

...which counsel is using so emphatically.

To borrow means to get temporary use of something without being the true owner.

My client didn't get, he was given the 20 hours in question.

He didn't use something he didn't own.

He was the owner of his own life.

The next points are,...

...is this young Englishman in love with this girl of American stock?

Even more important, is she in love with him?

Why stress their nationalities?

Very important, sir. Extremely important.

Why? Because we are talking of love.

It can happen between an Englishman and an American girl.

And... er... vice versa.


But what are these love affairs, Dr Reeves?

Men and women thousands of miles away from home,...

...away from the love they left behind.

Minute sparks instead of scorching flames,...

...fading, shabby wigs instead of the rich gold of a woman's hair.

The love of the moment, Dr Reeves.

Do I call it love?

Once in a thousand times, perhaps.

And how many end in lasting marriage?

One in ten thousand.

My case, sir! That, sir, is for you to prove.

When our men and women came to your country as your allies,...

...it was not to become your prisoners.

May I bring you up to date? We're living in the 20th century, not the 18th.

May I bring you up to date, sir?

We are not alive at all.

Good point.

And I am up to date, sir.

I've been watching you English from upstairs.

Your wars, your politics, your busyness.

From the tax on tea in 1766...

...to a certain report...

...on England by five members of the United States Senate in 1944.

The defendant has nothing to do with tea or senators.

But other Englishmen had, sir.

Is Peter D Carter what you'd call a good Englishman?

Yes, sir.

Do you see this glass?

Out of it Benedict Arnold drank the health of King George III.

Does it break because it is faulty or because it is glass?

Can I tear this paper because it is defective or because it is paper?

We are all as God made us, sir,...

...but our ancestors had a deal to do in shaping us as well.

I quite agree.

The jury will please note that.

My lord, may I ask where Mr Farlan's grandfather was born?

The question is irrelevant. Could it have been England?

You need not answer that question.

I prefer to answer, Your Honour.

Grandfather left England, sir, because he didn't like it.

Granddad would've liked it even less today.


"Well, here we are at Lord's... "

The voice of England in 1945.

"And here let me say that the weather...

...is more like cricket weather - it's stopped raining. "

"Play has been resumed and the crowd of about 50,000 people...

...have discarded their macs and umbrellas...

...and settled down to enjoy the game which to people all over the world...

...more truly represents all that's English than anything else. "

Do you admit that this is an English voice, sir?

"Wally Hammond played a delightful... "

The voice of America in 1945.

# Shoo, shoo, shoo, baby

# Shoo, shoo, shoo, baby

# Bye, bye, bye, baby

# Your papa's off to the seven seas

# Don't cry, baby

# Don't...

# ...sigh, baby

# Bye, bye, bye, baby

# When I come back we'll have a life of ease...

I don't understand a word.

Nor do I.

But for England I'm ready to call John Donne, Dryden, Pope,...

...Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley and Keats,...

...Tennyson, Bridges...

And Milton and Shakespeare. I concede your point.

You've already called Peter Carter.

Is he a poet? He will be if you give him time.

We are here to decide that, sir. I can't deny it.

Can the new world return to the old?

Should the vibrant humour of a young American girl...

...be stifled in the pages of Punch?

Should the swift tempo of her life...

...be slowed to the crawl of a match of cricket?

Should her accustomed native comfort...

...perforce conform to England's warm drinks, cold rooms,...

...draughty windows, smoky chimneys, faulty plumbing?

Two million houses have no windows, frequently no roof or walls.

This court is concerned with the life and death of Peter Carter,...

...not with past history or present plumbing.

Hear, hear! Peter Carter's character, sir,...

...like every other human being was formed by a chain of circumstances.

As Benjamin Franklin said, for want of a nail, the shoe was lost.

For want of a shoe, the horse was lost.

For want of a horse, the rider was lost.

For want of a rider, the message was lost.

For want of a message, the kingdom was lost. All for want of a nail!

You've heard of Benjamin Franklin, sir?

In George Washington's words,...

"Labour to keep alive in your breast...

...that little spark of celestial fire called conscience."

That could not have been said by an Englishman.

What was George Washington?

Conscience, Mr Farlan.

Are you insinuating that something is wrong with my conscience?

I am. Your Honour, I protest.

I am trying to give a full picture of this case to the jury.

You are trying to prejudice the jury, sir.

I see that they've been selected from many races, creeds and nationalities.

I cannot believe them interested in ancient grudges...

...nor in present grumblings about draughty windows.

I don't need to prejudice the jury.

They're already prejudiced and with good reason!

You can't pick one that isn't. Look closely at the members of the jury.

The first member is... Jean-Marie Barault, French!

Has a century passed without war between England and France?

The second member is... Gregorius Johannes Bund, sir.

The Boer War, Dr Reeves. The third member is...

Ivan Berdei, Russki. What?

I am Russian.

The Crimean War, Dr Reeves. And you, sir?

Chang Chi Min, Peking.

Don't forget England's attack on China in 1857.

Occupying unprotected Peking.

And you, sir?

Raha Tejpalal from the Punjab.

Think of India, Dr Reeves.

Think of India.

And you, sir, you are...?

James Monaghan, Irish.

Choose a new jury anywhere, Dr Reeves.

It will always be prejudiced against your country.

My lord, I wish to take counsel for the prosecution's advice.

I challenge the jury and request that a new one be chosen.

Chosen from where, Dr Reeves?

Mr Farlan said anywhere. Except England.

Why not? Where else have the rights of the individual been held so high?

In America, sir, where these rights are held to be inalienable!

I doubt if you have more freedom than England.

An Englishman thinks as he likes in religion and politics.

It isn't what a man thinks and says, it's when and where and to whom.

A man with a flint and steel striking sparks over a wet blanket is one thing,...

...but striking them over a tinderbox is another!

An American baby sucks in freedom with the milk of the breast at which he hangs.

A man can see further, sir, from the top of Boston State House,...

...and see more worth seeing than from the pyramids, turrets and steeples...

...of all the places of the world.

No smoke, sir,...

...no fog, sir,...

...and a clean sweep from the outer light and the sea beyond...

...to the New Hampshire mountains!

Yes, sir, there are great truths...

...higher than mountains and broader than seas...

...that people look for from the tops of our hills!

America, sir,...

...is the only place where man is full grown!

Then I choose a jury of Americans.

Of Americans, sir, selected from every walk of American life.

If one has fought in the Wars of Independence,...

...I want one who has fought with us against our enemies in this century.

If the third has a mind that can only think 170 years back,...

...I want the fourth to be thinking 170 years ahead.

I cannot deny that I hope,...

...that I know that this jury will be prejudiced in favour of my case...

...for I am pleading for the rights of the individual against the system.

But it is also against the law, Dr Reeves,...

...the eternal law of the universe.

Nothing is stronger than the law. The whole universe is built upon it.

This is a court of justice, not of law.

My lord, I ask for a new jury of American citizens.

Do you agree, Mr Farlan?

I'd welcome such a jury, Your Honour.

The jury will stand.

The jury will retire and a new jury will take their place.

Robert Dupont, American citizen.

Lt Pete Vandereyk, American citizen.

Alexander Barbanov, American citizen.

George Wong, American citizen.

Jefferson Lincoln Brown,...

...American citizen.

Patrick Aloysius Mahoney, American citizen.

The jury will be seated.

Counsel for the defence.

Here in this rose is my case.

What is my case? I entirely agree with Mr Farlan.

Has Peter Carter fallen in love during the allotted extra...


...disputed extra 20 hours he had or hasn't he?

Has someone - the name is unimportant - fallen in love with him?

Now, here are two young people who would never have met...

...but for a mistake higher up,...

...penalised for the most natural and simple thing in the world.

They fell in love.

Here in this tear...

...are love and truth and friendship.

Those qualities alone can build a new world today...

...and must build a better one tomorrow.

That is my case...

...and, upon it, I demand a verdict that Peter Carter shall live.

Your Honour, we feel the defendant and this young girl...

...should be given a chance to be heard.

My lord, nothing is impossible.

The court will adjourn.

No reason to be without the dimension of time. They will not disturb us.

It would help establish a true picture of the conditions.

Very well.

I call Squ... My diagnosis was right.

Fine avascular meningeal adhesions binding the optic nerve to the brain.

Similar adhesions between chiasm and brain.

Did I tell you about my operation?

Dr Reeves, we are not here...

...to check your diagnosis, but to question this young man.

Quite right.

I call Squadron Leader Peter D Carter.

Hello, Peter. Hello, Frank. How's the op going?

Fine. Leiser's a good man. He'd better be!

Peter Carter, you are on the witness stand.

You are under oath, understand? Yes, Mr Farlan.

You know me, sir? No mistaking you.

Your smile is not unattractive, sir.

Did you use it to enamour this young American lady?

I love her, sir. Answer the question.

Would you repeat the question? It had "enamoured" in it.

Never mind the exact question.

Did you consciously try to influence the emotions of this American lady?

We fell in love before we met. You claim you love her.

I do. Can you prove it?

Well, give me time, sir. 50 years will do.

But can you prove it?

Can a starving man prove he's hungry except by eating?

Would you die for her?

I would!

But... er... I'd rather live.

Young devil!

Your Honour, I apologise for the expression.

Your witness. No questions.

Conductor 71.

Monsieur? Is the young lady available?

She sleeps.

Sleeps? The jury will note that.

I put her to sleep.

Indeed? Why?

To enable you to call her, sir.

The jury will please note that.

I do call her, Your Honour.

You are before the High Court in the case of Peter Carter.

You have been called as a witness by the prosecution.

You will tell the truth.

This gentleman is counsel for the prosecution.

Child, where were you born?

In Boston, sir.

Do you know this man? I think so.

You think so? I only met him a few days ago.

You hardly know him.

How can you think you love him?

But I do love him. Nonsense.

I object. Counsel will withdraw the expression.

It's all right, he's right. There's no sense in love.

Wisdom still flowers in Boston.

Can you prove that you love him? How can I?

Would you be willing to die for him?


Would you take his place in the balance sheet?

Yes. Don't believe her!

Stand aside! You've no right!

How dare you address me like that! You must obey.

Of all the dirty tricks!

This is contempt of court! Don't answer any more questions.

Do you realise you've forfeited any chance of winning your case?

You won't get June as well!

Your Honour, members of the jury... I'm afraid he really does love her.

Your witness.

June, you know me well. Do you trust me?

Yes, Frank, I trust you.

It is absolutely necessary you take Peter's place in the other world.

Have you gone mad?!

If you love him, step onto this staircase and come with us.

You are mad! It is the only way to prove your love.

I do love him. No!

I ask you to restrain him. Granted.


Take care, Dr Reeves.

In the whole universe nothing is stronger than the law.

Goodbye, darling.

Yes, Mr Farlan, nothing is stronger than the law in the universe,...

...but on Earth nothing is stronger than love.

Members of the jury, as Sir Walter Scott is always saying,...

..."In peace, love tunes the shepherd's reed,...

...in war, he mounts the warrior's steed."

"In halls, in gay attire is seen,...

...in hamlets, dances on the green."

"Love rules the court, the camp, the grove...

...and men below and saints above."

"For love is heaven, and heaven is love."

Will you please consider your verdict?

Case for the defendant, Your Honour.


The appeal is granted.

There now remains the new date on Squadron Leader Carter's file.

Will both counsel approve it?

Does that satisfy you, Dr Reeves? Very generous, my lord.

Do you agree, Mr Farlan?

Isn't that a little too much, Your Honour? I agree.

My lord, I hope this will not establish a precedent.

I object! Er, you, sir.

You, sir. The rights of the common man...

The uncommon man. Exactly!

The rights of the uncommon man must always be respected.


Keep his head firm.

Tell the nurse I'll send the notes. Yes, sir.

Congratulations. An interesting case.


...don't forget your book.






We won.

I know, darling.