No Highway in the Sky (1951) Script

Oh, yes. Mr. Scott.

Thank you, sergeant. Sir.

Mr. Scott, sir.

Well, Mr. Scott. You must be anxious to get at it.

I thought you'd take a day or two to get settled before showing up.

Mrs. Scott seemed to have that department pretty well in hand. I see.

Nothing like somewhere to go while the curtains are being hung, eh?

That's about it, sir. I know what you mean.

Did you find a nice flat? Have they fixed you up with a good office here?

Quite all right on both counts. Good.

You'll want to take a good look around before you take over.

Find out what's going on. Then when you're ready, we'll have a talk.

Pretty thing, isn't it? Yes. It's the new reindeer, isn't it, sir?

Not hard to recognize by that tail. It's made of the same metal as the plane.

A new alloy they've developed. Very nice.

Major Pearl will show you everything you want to see.

He knows more about the place than I do. You're in good hands with him.

We sometimes call him "The pearl of great price."

Good. I'm in your hands. I thought we'd start in just after lunch.

In an hour, a little more. You could make a start. Yes, sir.

Fine. I'll see you in the mess at 1:00. Buy you a Sherry.

I'm so glad you're here, Mr. Scott. I've been looking forward to it.

So have I, sir John.

That's the original building... The balloon shed.

Began here with balloons in the '70s. That's a very long time.

All the strength tests to check safety factor grouped here.

Lot of work just to find out if the engineer mucked up his mathematics.

Nothing much to see until something breaks.

And that always happens when you're somewhere else.

Not much point in this. Flying boats are pretty well obsolete, of course.

Part of boffins' paradise, this is. Mind your step.

You know, the scientist lads. Basic research.

The kind who eat their porridge with a slide rule.

Built their own heaven here, lightning and all, to find out what happens when you get hit by it.

Didn't put in any archangels, but it wouldn't surprise me if they'd tried.

What... what's that?

Vibration test. What?


Now, this is the test to...

No, no, no, no! Now, major Pearl... uh, Mr. Honey.

This is Mr. Scott. He'll be in charge of metallurgy.

So you'll be working under him. How do you do?

I don't allow... Quite an arrangement you've got there.

It's the tail group of the new rutland reindeer. Yes, yes.

What are you doing to it? I'm vibrating it.

I mean, what are you after? What do you expect to happen to it?

I expect the tail to fall off. Excuse me, please.

Right, Mr. Scott.

This way. Who in the world is he?

That's Mr. Honey. Mr. Theodore Honey. He's a yank.

Rhodes scholar, I think. But he's been here forever.

What's all this about expecting the tail of the new reindeer to fall off?

They're already in service.

Old honey has some wild hair in his ear that vibration might cause metal fatigue someday...

By breaking down the aluminum atom in light alloy structures.

Couldn't vibrate anything little to find out.

All boffins are a bit crackers, but I suppose he's the worst.

Airscrews are down there, if you care to see them.

Of course, they're as dead as the dodo bird.

Same as the engines. We'll be all jet in no time.

Good night, Mr. Honey.


There you are. Hurry up there, please. Hurry.

Four only.

Mr. Honey. Can I give you a lift?

Why, I seem to be going your way.

Oh. Oh, no. No, thank you.

I wouldn't want to take you out of your way.

Where do you live? In Farnham. It's quite a way.

I go right through there.

I-I'll get a bus at the next stop. I wouldn't want to trouble you.

It's no trouble at all. Come on. Jump in.

Why don't you throw those in the back? Uh, thank you.

I was quite interested in that experiment of yours, with the reindeer tail group.

Would you like to tell me just what your idea is?

It's rather difficult to explain a thing like that in words of one syllable.

Well, I have managed as much as two syllables on occasion, Mr. Honey.

Well, to put it as simply as I can.

The purpose of my work has been to arrive at an end result...

For the original theoretical hypotheses...

Of Kerslinger of Bale and Schilgarde of Uppsala.

In which they postulate vibration as a source of energy.

I reasoned that since this energy does not appear in any of the ordinary forms...

Such as heat or electrical potential, it must be absorbed by the metal itself...

And that sufficient absorption would result in nuclear fission of the aluminum atom...

In an isotopic form with crystalline affinities.

I see.

And that means the tail will fall off. Exactly.

Oh, h-here's where I live.

Thank you very much.

You wouldn't... Would you care to come in?

Thank you. I'd like to.

Oh, I'm afraid all I can offer you is some Sherry.

That'd be very nice.

Probably not very good. I've had it quite a while.

Perhaps it's time we tested it to see if it's suffering from fatigue.

Oh, that wouldn't happen to Sherry. Well...


Oh, I'm so sorry.

It's the one next door. It's very easy to do, you know.

You're new to Farnham, Mr. Honey.

We've lived here 11 years.

I have it all planned... What to have for dinner.

Don't you bother with...

Hello. You don't remember where we put that Sherry, dear?

The top cupboard, behind the dishes.

You said it would be out of Mrs. Higgins's way. Really?

I didn't notice any... Up on the top.

Oh! Oh, yeah.

Oh, never mind. I'll get that later.

I knew it must be somewhere. I never really forget anything.

Dear, would you get some glasses, please? Come in, won't you?

We haven't had to look for it for quite some time.

The last guest we had was Dr. Gillingsworth...

From the Bacteriological Institute, just before Christmas.

I'm afraid I'm giving you a good deal of trouble. Oh, no. Not at all.

Won't you sit down? Elspeth?

There we are. Okay. Say when.

I guess Mrs. Higgins did find it. I'll get some more.

I wish you wouldn't bother. Oh, no. It's no trouble. It's around the corner.

It needs some... Elspeth, will you entertain Mr...

I don't believe you told me your name. Scott.

Scott, this is my daughter, Elspeth. I'll be right back.

Uh... it's, uh... yeah.

Won't you sit down, Mr. Scott?

Uh, just where would you suggest?

Oh, I'm so sorry. It's my father's work.

You have to be very careful.

It might be something very important.

There. Thank you.

I seems as though your father does quite a good deal of work.

Yes, it's very hard being a scientist.

One has to think a great deal.

The world would have made scarcely any progress at all if it hadn't been for scientists.

I see. The scientists do the thinking for the world.

And the rest of us just live in it, is that it?

Yes. When my father's thinking, I keep very quiet.

What about your mother? Does she help you keep quiet?

My mother is dead, Mr. Scott. A V2 in the war.

I'm very sorry indeed, Elspeth. You must miss her very much.

Yes, I do. My father does more, I think.

I try to do things for him the way she did, but I'm not very good at it yet.

You see, I'm still a little young.

I'd like to show you the house, if you would like to see it.

That would be very nice.

This is the living room, of course.

Would you like to see my room? Yes, I would. Very much.

This way, please.

And this is where you sit quietly while he does his thinking.


What do you do? Well, sometimes I think.

And then I'm training Theodore. That's Theodore.

It's a kind of experiment to determine his capacity for the association of ideas.

I tie his food on the string to see how long it will take him...

To learn to ring the bell when he's hungry.

It's a very little bell. So it isn't noisy.

It doesn't matter very much whether he learns to or not...

Because he's really quite a nice little fish.

Yes. Well, what else do you like to do?

Don't you ever play games?

Oh, yes. We nearly always do after dinner. We have a schedule for it.

Sch... oh, yeah. What sort of games do you play?

Oh, like about what things are pentamerous. Penta...

Oh, how do you play that?

You take turns in finding things that have five of everything...

Until one of you can't find any more.

Then he loses. It's part of the science of numerics.

Oh, what other games do you play?

Oh, well, there's pyramidology.

Pyramid... "ology."

Pyramidology. Oh. That's the science of the great pyramid.

My father made it up too... the game, I mean. Here it is.

Excuse me.

It was built in the year 3234 B.C.

And it's very scientific.

It was built in direct relationship to the stars, so it has an astronomical significance.

It's the only known architectural example of squaring the circle.

That is, the area of the base is exactly equal to that of a circle, with the height of the structure as its radius.

It has the most wonderful maths in it.

I'm sure it must be great fun. It is. I have the most fun...

Elspeth, what have you done with Mr. Scott there?

We're just coming, father. We'd better go now.

He may be looking for something like the corkscrew.

And he really isn't very good at finding things.

Oh, here. I'll get that out of your way. Oh, no, don't...

I'm afraid it's become a little cluttered in here.

Oh, why didn't I see that? I think I'd better leave this.

This is some correspondence I've been having with Tanggye, a Tibetan.

And the Abbe Delville in Louvain.

It's on the theory of numbers.

In 1742, Goldbach postulated...

That every positive, even integer is a sum of two primes.

It's been verified to 10.000, but never proved.

We're trying to prove it. Yes, I'd want to know where to find that.

By all means. It sounds interesting. But isn't it a little pointless?

Quite. That's the beauty of it. Here's something very interesting.

This is Rutherford. Yes, I wanted to finish this.

Yes. He identifies the ten lost tribes with the Scythians.

Quite conclusively too. Nice to read aloud to Elspeth.

Oh, yes, I do. Yes.

Light alloy structures and hysteresis.

You know where that goes, dear. And this one.

Oh. Oh, I...


One of the more difficult of the sciences, I should imagine.

Hmm? What's that? Oh. Oh, yes, yes.

You know, I didn't find that very satisfactory.

They seem to have such different problems with their children than I've ever had with Elspeth.

You haven't found parenthood very difficult then? Not at all, really.

Of course, I've been very systematic about it. I laid out a schedule.

So much work, so much sleep, so much play.

Pyramidology. Pyramid... yes, yes.

What's been your experience in holidays?

I mean, do you send her away where she can be with other children?

Do you have any children, Mr. Scott?

No, but I hope to. But I'd value your opinion.

I used to send her away with other children, but I don't do that anymore.

She never seemed to like it very much anyway.

I think perhaps that was because the other children's minds...

Weren't well enough organized to interest her.

She's really much happier here.

She's quite good at being by herself.

Her... her mind...

Is really developing quite remarkably, Mr. Scott.

I think she'll be a very fine woman.

Yes. I'm sure she will be.

Well, I'd be... better be getting along.

I'll look in at your office in a few days' time.

I'd like to hear more about that experiment of yours... about the tail falling off.

What did you want to know about it? Just a little more detail.

When you expect failure to occur... I probably have that here.

I think that it's here someplace.

I think... here it is.

Yes. 2.76 times "K" over "L." That's the time factor.

It's in B.T.I. Units, of course.

That's, let's see...

That's... 1.440.

1.440 what? Hours.

You don't mean you expect the reindeer tail to fall off in 1.400 hours?

No, no. 1.440.

But, Mr. Honey. A lot of aircraft have flown many millions of Miles...

Without the tails coming off any of them because of vibration...

Mr. Scott. You asked me for the evaluation in time of my "U" subscript "M" symbol.

The mathematical answer is 1.440 hours to failure...

For the specific tail plane under test on which my calculations are based.

Now, how long has your test been running?

832 hours, 14 minutes and seven seconds, as of shutdown tonight.

They don't allow me to run it more than eight hours a day.

The people in the neighborhood complain about the racket at night.

Yes, but you know, of course, that an aircraft in commercial service...

Is likely to pile up flying hours faster than your experiment.

That's probably quite true. Then why didn't you insist on a 24-hour basis?

I did insist on it originally, but they decided to do it for eight hours.

Yes. But you hadn't given them your 1.440 hour figure.

Well, I never include detail on my preliminary report.

Science is in no hurry, Mr. Scott.

I'm working on a principle, which, if I'm correct, will be true for all time.

But whether I reach it a day or so later or earlier is not important.

But it might be important for the 50 or so people who take off in these reindeers every day.

You don't understand. I'm a scientist. And science is very exacting.

It requires the utmost concentration.

I can't be concerned about people.

I... why, if a doctor is trying to find out a cure for a disease.

What would happen if he let himself be upset about everybody that got sick and died?

He'd never get any work done at all.

People must be someone else's concern.

I can't let it be mine, Mr. Scott. But...

You can find my preliminary report in the files.

And I... I don't wish to add anything more to it at the present time.

If you'll excuse me, I think... I think I'd better be getting home.



It's very easy to do, you know.

Well, good-bye, Elspeth. Good-bye, Mr. Scott.

Good-bye, Mr. Honey.

Excuse me, please, gentlemen.

Rub her down, Ned.

Don't give her any water till she stops sweating.

Scotty! No!

What are you doing here? Ah, Bill, hello.

I've been watching that plane. I guessed it was you. How are you?

What are you doing here? Have you come here for a job? No, I got one.

You have? That calls for a drink. Well, it's a little early.

Rosie? Customers. What are you gonna fly, Scotty?

No more flying. Matrimony set in. Grounded, eh?

How'd it happen? Or perhaps you'd sooner not talk about it.

You wait till you see her. Really? I'm glad to see you can take it so well.

Rosie. Scotty, meet Rosie. She's a spy.

Wait till you see her bedroom. It's absolutely papered in blueprints, isn't it?

Oh, Mr. Penworthy. "Oh, Mr. Penworthy."

Two large scotches, please. Yes, sir.

What is your job, Scotty? Head of metallurgy.

Don't tell me you're polishing your pants.

Don't tell me you're one of those crawling little desk blokes.

Always was, Pen. Went back to it when I got out.

This is vodka. Oh, Mr. Penworthy!

Well, off we go. Off we go.

Don't you like desk blokes, bill? Listen, Scotty.

Pilots and desks, dogs and cats... natural enemies.

They've got one theme song... you can laugh. "Pilot's error."

Anything goes wrong with their calculations and there's a smashup, pilot's error.

Rosie. You remember Harry Ward? Yes, I do.

Look what they did to him.

He was piloting that reindeer when it flew into the hill at Labrador a couple months ago.

All in little pieces. Nothing to go on. Pilot dead, so... pilot's error.

You don't think it was pilot's error.

With Harry Ward, Scotty? You can't be serious.

They said he was dropping off altitude in an overcast.

He wouldn't do a crazy thing like that if he tried.

Rosie! If you can tear yourself away from the salt mines...

We would like a couple of "wodkas."

Oh, Mr. Penworthy!

Seven to 10 degrees angle of descent, motors full on when he hit the hill.

Obviously he was in control. Dropping off altitude in the overcast.

Pilot's error. He didn't reckon on that hill.

Do you know how many hours it had flown, with tests?

How many hours it had flown, with tests. Yes, I can tell you that. Certainly.

Just one minute. They flew a lot of tests, simulated flights in weather.

Uh, total number of flying hours before estimated time of crash:


1.407? That's right.

Have you any photographs of the wreckage?

How many would you like to see? We cover everything here, Mr. Scott.

We leave nothing out, I assure you.

Reindeer crash. Photographs of wreckage.

Any particular part of the wreck? Yes, the tail plane.

I want to see a photograph of the tail plane.

Yes, I remember now. They didn't find the tail plane.

Nothing unusual in that, I assure you.

The plane turned over as it hit the hill, caught fire.

Wreckage spread all over the place. Thick undergrowth. You can't see 10 feet.

The investigation... Thanks very much. I'm much obliged.

All right. We send someone to Labrador.

Comb through that godforsaken country for a section of the tail spar...

And take a fine hiding from the taxpayers when we find there's nothing to it.

All the ruddy decisions to make and never one you can be sure about.

One thing you do know:

A boffin has to be a bit balmy to be a boffin.

The line between genius and being just plain crackers is so thin, you never know which side you're on, nor when they've crossed it either.

Tchaikovsky, I'm told, one day began to eat raw goldfish.

And Molière discovered suddenly that he was better off standing on his head.

Oh, we've had it here too.

A fine time all the papers had when one of our boffins started pinching girls in the park.

And now our Mr. Honey informs us that reindeers will fall apart after 1.400 hours...

And holds the time figure out on us.

If I did things like that, they'd lock me up.

How long before this infernal machine of his is due to prove something, one way or the other?

Weeks yet, sir. Get it on a 24-hour basis today.

Better get someone to handle the complaints when they start coming in too.

Very good, sir. How many hours have the other reindeers in flight done?

Not nearly as many, sir. The one in Labrador was the prototype.

It did all the tests. That's why it's got so many hours.

The others were delivered in a group to the airlines just before they went into service.

They can't have done more than 500.

That's the best news I've had today.

I don't want the job of asking the airline to ground their nice, new fleet...

With no more to go on than what Mr. Honey says.

Well, that's it. Oh, wait a minute.

You know who we're sending to Labrador, don't you?

That's right. Mr. Theodore Honey.

He's the one who started all this. Maybe a good, hard climb will do him good.

Still, he knows what he's looking for better than anyone. Get him started soon as you can.

I'll give him the good news right away, sir.

Passengers for flight 26 for Gander and Montreal:

Will you please have your embarkation slips ready...

And proceed to the exit door for boarding the aircraft?

That it? Yes. You'll have to go through that door.

Every stitch he has in the world is in that bag.

You can't say he squanders what he makes on himself.

Well... have a good trip, Mr. Honey.

Don't worry. We'll look after Elspeth. That's very kind of you.

They'll look after you, dear. Yes, I know.

Have you got your sandwich? Oh, yes. Yes, yes, I have.

Tomato, cheese, and there was some nice fish.

Good-bye, daddy. Good-bye, dear.

I'm afraid I didn't bring a handkerchief.

I'm sorry. We were in such a hurry packing.

Mr. and Mrs. Brook Holter? That's right.

Thank you. Come along.

Your name, please, sir? Uh, Honey. Theodore Honey.

And your embarkation slip, please?

Miss, uh, Teasdale.

Oh, yes. Miss Teasdale.

Uh, uh...

Thank you, sir. Oh.

Thank you.

Fasten your safety belts. No smoking, sir, until we take off.

No smoking. I'm so sorry.

Fasten your safety belts.

Would you like to take your coat off, sir? You'll be more comfortable.

That's right.

We haven't many passengers on this trip, so you can use this seat for your things.

Oh, thank you. Fasten your safety belt, please.

Pardon? I'll just help you do it.

That's it. Don't want you to fall out.

All right now? Yes, thank you. You're very kind.

I'll be back after we take off to help you get out of that.

Thank you.

May I have your... may I have your attention, please?

You may unfasten your seat belts now and smoke, if you like.

My name is Marjorie Corder. This is Peggy Miller.

We're here to do anything we can to make your trip pleasant and comfortable.

We'll be glad to give you refreshments and drinks quite free of charge...

And although we both might regret it personally, no tipping is permitted.

Thank you, and we're glad to have you aboard.

Here you are, miss Teasdale. Thank you.

Anything we can do for you? No. Thank you very much.

Don't you want to get rid of that now?

Might as well make yourself comfortable.

Here's the button to adjust your seat.

Here's the switch for your reading light, when you want it.

We'll serve dinner soon, but maybe you'd like some sandwiches and coffee?

Well, I... I... We have milk too, if you'd rather.

I think a little coffee would be nice. I brought some sandwiches.

My daughter made them. Her name's Elspeth. Oh.

Well, now, they're probably much better than ours then.

You sure you didn't bring your own coffee? No.

I'll get you some. Uh, miss...

Miss, weren't you... Isn't that Monica Teasdale?

That-that one you were just talking to? Yes, it is.

She's crossed with us often. A great many of the film stars do.

Oh? Are you a fan of hers?

I didn't mean... I never go to films, really, not since...

I... I haven't gone in years.

Would you like me to take over your autograph book?

Oh, no, no. I don't even have one. I wouldn't want to trouble her.

Oh, all right. I'll be back with your coffee.

Oop! Oh, excuse me.

Didn't mean to wish the baby on you, but I've got one making his first trip.

Sometimes they're worse. Brought his own sandwiches.

Hey, the skipper can't find his cloud glasses.

He thinks he may have dropped them in here. Have a look around for them.

He's quite a bit worried. Almost ran into a big one. Oh, no, you don't.

No new-girl jokes here. She's doing fine.

If you've come for coffee, help yourself. We give pilots service. Co-pilots, no.

Oh, so you're on her side.

Which one's the boffin? The boffin?

Scientific bloke from Farnborough. Radio said he was aboard.

Sam thinks he ought to look around. Courtesy of the trade and all that.

What's his name? Theodore Honey, believe it or not.

Don't tell me where he is. Two-to-one, I can find him.

I'll take the uncombed bloke halfway down the starboard side.

Looks as though he didn't have a mother.

Mr. Honey, in 21. Twen... See? Can't miss.

From Farnborough. I've been a bright Lassie.

I've been talking to him as though he'd never seen a plane before.

I'll question the master intelligence. I suppose he speaks our language.

Let him have his coffee first. All right.

I'll come down for him when we've hit the step.

We'll only give him the sixpenny tour.

He may ask a few questions we can't answer.

Here you are, Mr. Honey. No idea you were an expert on aviation.

I deserve a prize for talking to you as though you've never flown before.

Well, I never have flown before.

What I know about airplanes is more when they're in pieces.

Well, you seem to be quite famous.

Captain Samuelson sent down word he'd like to show you over the plane... flight deck and all.

They don't do that for everyone. You're all being very nice...

I think you'd be interested. These new reindeers are beautifully equipped.

Radar and everything. Is this a reindeer we're in?

That's right. A nice, new, shiny one.

I think I'd like to see it very much.

The copilot will be down for you, but don't hurry. Enjoy Elspeth's sandwiches.

Over here, pressure analyzer for the cabin.

Now, will you come this way, Mr. Honey? Thank you, captain.

You're welcome. Will you step down, please?

The engine instruments are here.

Hank can tell if a cylinder misfires just once, and which one it is.

I think he can take a reading on whether his girlfriend's out with someone else or not.

Now, then. Mind the hatch, sir. Find it, Mac?

Yup. Fuses keep blowing on the undercarriage safety circuit.

Here we have the radar screen, sir.

Radio altimeter, radio compass, D.F. Loop. Excuse me, sir.

The R.C. Repeater, which is duplicated on the pilot's panel, just in case.

Ah, yes. Well, I don't suppose many things go wrong these days.

Almost never. Won't even use reconditioned engines in this line.

We get new ones every 600 hours. Mmm. They're pretty things.

They're really obsolete though, aren't they?

They're good enough for me. Not a cylinder's missed a take yet, and this is the third set.

Have me out of a job if they don't kick up a little something soon.

Well, I wouldn't think that that would hap...

Did you say "the third set"? That's right.

But I thought the reindeers were new on this run.

They are, on this run, but this was one of the first two built.

The builders wanted experience with the ship before turning the fleet over to this line.

We were loaned out a while on the South American run. Well, for how long?

Quite a while. Tell me exactly how many hours this airplane has flown.

Certainly. It's right here.

Now, 1,422 up to takeoff.

Anything else, sir? But...

No, I...

We have dual A.D.F. Indicators... That's enough.

Well, did you learn all about airplanes?

Mr. Dobson. I must speak to the captain at once.

Captain Samuelson's very busy, Mr. honey. If there's something I can do...

Please tell the captain I have every reason to believe this airplane's in serious danger.

I insist on speaking to him, please. I'll see what I can do.

What's all this about? I understand you're not very happy about something.

Captain, this airplane and everybody in it's in very serious danger.

And you must turn back at once.

Um, what sort of danger? I've been working on a theory on nuclear fission.

I used the tail plane of a reindeer as a basis.

According to my calculations, it'll fail in 1.440 hours.

I see. But this is a theory. I've done a great deal of work on this.

This airplane has flown 1.422 hours as of takeoff.

The tail plane can fail at any moment.

I don't believe you realize the very strict procedures under which an airline operates.

Have you ever heard of an airworthiness certificate? But this is something entirely new.

This is... nobody knows anything about this. Why don't they know?

It would seem very strange if Farnborough wouldn't let us in on a problem like that.

Have they definitely accepted your theory?

Well, there is no proof, no. Not the way you mean it.

That's the reason I'm on my way to Labrador right now, to investigate that crash.

Labrador? That airplane crashed at 1.407 hours...

Within hours of my calculations.

Less time than this airplane has flown. You know the tail group failed?

The tail group wasn't found with the wreckage.

Every minute that we spend... But the truth of the matter is...

That apart from the coincidence of the crash, all of this is just your opinion.

Look. Would you feel happier if we went down together and had a look at the tail spar?

It won't do any good. It'll happen very suddenly.

One moment the tail plane spar will be perfectly normal, and the next moment the whole character of the metal will change.

And the tail will break off, captain, quite suddenly, and you'll go into a dive from which you can't recover.

Your only chance, captain, is to turn back immediately.

You can cut your inboard engines to break up the vibration frequency, land at the first available airport.

If you don't do it, captain, this airplane's gonna crash into the sea.

We're all going to be killed.

I see.

Tell you what I'll do.

I'll radio back a full report of all you've told me.

And if London tells me to turn back, I will.

Meanwhile, I'll cut the inboard motors, as you suggest.

It'll make us late at Gander. But I'll take that responsibility.

But I warn you, there won't be anyone at the airport to make a decision like that.

At this time of day, they'll find it very difficult to find anyone who can.

Very well, captain. Let's wish ourselves luck.

Well, I've heard a good many strange things in my life, but that's way ahead by a mile.

Well, you better put it on the horn to London, Peter.

I wouldn't miss unloading a report like that on the boys for half my pension.

Right. Well, it'll give them something to think about anyway. Here it goes.

London radio from flight 26.

London radio from flight 26. Okay, Sam?

Yeah. London radio from flight 26. Over.

Hey, Marjorie. I've got news for you. Your boffin's crackers.

What's the matter? Did he ask you some questions you couldn't answer?

Clean off his rocker. He says the tail's gonna fall off.

He didn't. He did, and with variations.

Sam thinks you oughta keep an eye on him in case he gets violent.

He didn't seem to be like that.

He thinks we ought to stop it vibrating. Ruddy little squirt.

I'd like to vibrate him. Sam says ring through if you need help.

May I look in here for just a moment? Go ahead.

Is there anything I can do to help? No.

Thank you very much.

What... what... what's all that about?

Liked the tour they gave him, I suppose, so he's having one of his own.

Coffee, Sam? No. No, thanks. Not just now.

I, um, want to get some cigarettes from my bag.

Miss Teasdale? Miss Teasdale?


You don't know me, but Honey's my name. Theodore Honey.

I just couldn't help... I'd like to talk to you.

Of course. I'd be very pleased.

I've always... Mrs. honey and I, we've always...

I've always felt I owed you a great deal.

Your pictures meant a lot to my wife and I...

That's why I want to talk to you. You're very kind.

It's, uh... may I? Certainly.

It... it's about the condition of this airplane.

I'm afraid we're in very serious danger.

I... I'm rather afraid the tail may drop off at any moment.

Now, when that happens, there may be... Is that so?

Yes. When that happens, there may be a little time, so go to the men's room and sit on the floor.

The partition is very rigid because the stove is bolted to the floor on the other side.

Now, if you survive the first impact, try to get out of the escape hatch and get to a life raft.

They may pick you up when they search for us in the morning.

That's certainly very interesting.

Go to the men's room. Yes.

Sit on the floor.

Oh, no.

According to these calculations... Look, Mr. Honey.

I'm afraid miss Teasdale's very tired. We really ought to let her rest for a while.

Yes, I'm a little tired. But thank you very much, Mr. Honey.

Please, Mr. Honey. I'm sorry. I was only trying to help.

I'm sure you were. Some other time perhaps.

You shouldn't have done that, Mr. Honey. It's quite clear I shouldn't.

I'm sure you don't want to alarm people. You might even cause a panic.

You won't do it again, will you? No, no. I won't do it again.

I know you're very worried. Isn't there anything I can do?

You know all about this, don't you? Yes.

The pilot had to tell me. You've been very kind to me. I'm sorry I made trouble.

Oh, no, Mr. Honey. You really didn't make any trouble. It's only that...

I think I'd like to tell you what I was trying to tell miss Teasdale.

Well, do, if it'll make you feel any better.

Well, I think I know more about this than either you or the captain.

I think I know what's going to happen.

If it does, at this altitude, there'll be less than three minutes before we hit the water.

Now, there's one place in this airplane...

Where a person would have a chance to survive that impact.

Come with me.

Now, at the first sign of trouble, go in here...

And sit on the floor with your back against the partition.

See, this parti... Here, I'll show you.

This partition is very rigid, because the stove here is bolted to the floor.

I've tried to tell miss Teasdale that, because I felt that I owed her something.

But now I want you to know. I won't talk to anybody else.

It's good of you to have told me all this, Mr. Honey.

No one's worried about me like that for quite a while.

Yes, but you will remember what I told you when it happens.

I'll certainly remember. I can't promise to do it.

I'm one of the crew, and there are quite a few things to do if anything happened.

But thank you just the same. Do it if you can, though.

I think we're going to be all right, Mr. Honey. No.

But in any event, there's nothing we can do about it.

It's kind of you to worry about me, but please don't.

Why don't you try and get some rest instead?

Yes, I'll try.

I think that crisis is over now, miss Teasdale. I don't think it'll happen again.

What's the matter with that little man?

I think he was just trying to do something for you. I'm afraid he's got some odd ideas.

He certainly has. He told me to sit on the floor in the men's room.

If that isn't an odd idea, I'd like to meet one.

I think he was trying to tell you the best place to be if there was an accident.

Is that what I ought to do? I think he's right about it being the safest place.

But if he's right about that, he may be right about the tail falling off.

Who is he? Just one of the passengers. Some kind of scientist, I think.

You know, they don't often track. Oh.

The altitude, miss Teasdale, sometimes causes a nervous state in certain passengers.

I'm sure that it had that effect on Mr. Honey for a while. But he's quiet now.

That's more than I am. There's about to be another passenger on this plane in a nervous state.

I assure you, there's nothing to be alarmed about. Captain Samuelson's...

Listen, dear. The scientist says this plane is going to crash. The captain says it isn't.

Your vote doesn't count, because you have to string along with the captain.

That leaves it a tie.

What's that? He seems to be saving fuel.

I imagine... he wouldn't do that without a reason.

I thought you said he didn't believe it. All I meant...

Just a minute. If I am going to meet my maker, I would like to know about it.

I'll tell you what you can do. You can get a cup of coffee. Bring it to me over there.

No, miss Teasdale, I've just got him quiet, please.

Right now, I don't want him quiet.

There are lots of things I want him to talk about. I wouldn't...

Now just go and get the coffee.

Mr. honey, I was only half awake. And I only half heard what you were trying to tell me.

May I sit down for a minute? Yes, certainly.

Thank you.

Would you like a cigarette? No, thank you.

Now, she tells me you're a scientist. You care for a Lozenge?

Lozenge? No, thank you.

Right. Will do. Listening out.

Airport said they can't make any decision about turning back.

And they've never heard of any trouble with the tail.

They'll try and contact someone at a higher level at the airline or ministry.

But it may take some time.

Till then they want you to use your own judgment.

They also want us to keep an eye out for a small boat.

Some crackpot trying to sail the Atlantic single-handed. Fine.

He may be in trouble. Mm-hmm.

Well, if we see him, we'll stop and ask him what we ought to do about it.

All right, now, I estimate it would require a speed of 420 Miles an hour...

To bring the forces into equilibrium.

This could be attained by a downward flight path of seven degrees below the horizontal.

That angle would keep us from plunging straight in.

Although, at that speed, the impact would be rather severe.

See? I see.

I don't see at all, of course.

But I do understand that when you think something out, you don't stop halfway, do you?

But the pilot... he should understand you. Why doesn't he turn back?

Well, it was rather difficult for the pilot.

You see, I imagine that all this may sound a little improbable if you haven't studied it.

Would it help if I would talk to him?

No. No, I don't think so. I think we're quite near to the point of no return anyway.

The point of no return? That's where it's as short to go on as it is to turn back.

Oh. I thought you meant something else.

Miss Teasdale, would you like your coffee in your own seat?

No, put it over here. Oh, as a matter of fact, let's go back there...

Where we won't wake anybody no matter how much we talk.

Where I can say my prayers if I feel like it. All right?

Yes, miss Teasdale. Good. We can all stop worrying who's going to sit where.

Come on, Mr. Honey.

That's it. Halfway, just.


Oh, Peter. Yes, sir?

If they call you again, tell them to tell the high-ups...

They needn't bother making a decision about turning back.

All right, sir. Next stop, Gander.


I had a canary once, didn't have any tail.

It flew all right.


I would have thought I'd feel quite differently being right up against it like this.

My mind is going twice as fast, as though it were trying to catch up with all the thinking it didn't get around to.

All those people there...

Makes you wonder... Which one you would pick out to save if you were God...

And which one wouldn't matter much.

What are you thinking? Oh, I don't know.

I never thought much about things like that.

No. You didn't have much time.

You were so busy with your multiplication table.

But you had a chance to play God for a little while.

Why did you pick me out when you decided to save someone?

Oh, but you ought to live.

I mean, the work you do, you should keep on doing it.

Oh, the work. No, I don't think I'll buy that.

A few cans of celluloid in a junk heap someday.

Has been fun. But that's about all.

No, the work you do... If you could have finished that, all these people and lots more wouldn't be in the spot they're in right now.

That's the kind of work that should be finished.

No. I think I'd pick you.

Well, that's very nice of you to say that, miss Teasdale, but I think it'll be all right about the work.

The work will get done. I think it'll be all right about me.

Haven't you any family? Yes, I have Elspeth. That's my little girl.

Oh, you have a little girl? Yeah.

That's worth a lot to come back to.

Oh, yes. Well, I didn't mean that I wouldn't like to.

We're really very fond of one another.

What I... what I mea... I-I...

I've been thinking about that. And I... She's 12 now.

Her character's formed, I think.

Mary did that mostly. She... That's my wife.

I-I wish it didn't have to be like that, but I...

She's developed to such a point, I-I... I think she's gonna be all right.

Of course, I-I've been able to help in a lot of things.

She's much more soundly developed than most children her age.

Really has a remarkable grasp of crystallography.

Well, that's very good, of course. What is it?

It's quite fundamental. It's always been odd to me that schools don't teach it.

No I-I've really had to help her in almost everything she knows worth knowing.

Has she got a compact? A-a what?

A compact. Oh, a compact.

I don't know. Why? Never mind.

That isn't it? Mm-mmm. No.

Some more minutes, and each one is like kind of a present, isn't it?