The Hindenburg (1975) Script

The Hindenburg is coming again.

That's what all the excitement is about.

In spite of protests like this... the pride of Germany is due here on the morning of May 6.

During the 1937 season... the giant airship is scheduled to make 18 round trips... from Frankfurt to Lakehurst, New Jersey.

Just 150 years ago, the Montgolfier brothers, two Frenchmen... made the first controlled flight in a hot-air balloon.

This rock-a-bye baby is perkin' along with a new gas: hydrogen.

Soon, an airborne banana split with four scoops.

In the Gay Nineties, ballooning really got off the ground.

Ladies, check the balloon sleeves on those stylish aeronauts in the basket.

By the early 1900s everyone agreed... an airship should be shaped like a cigar.

Yes, sir, what the world needed was a good five-cent flying machine.

Alberto Santos-Dumont, a young Brazilian in Paris... achieved a major breakthrough... when he hooked a two-cylinder gasoline motor to the basket.

Flat tire, Alberto?

All the same, he went on to win the 100,000-franc prize... for circling the Eiffel Tower in his 80-foot Tootsie Roll.

Next came the semirigid airship... with a light metal frame supported by...


Things are looking up.

These early birds have more varieties than Heinz.

Bigger and better airships, all of them air-conditioned... continued to pop up before the World War.

The outdoor types.

With a girl along, that probably was more fun... than the rumble seat of a Stutz Bearcat.

Around this time, a retired German army officer... known as the crazy old Count von Zeppelin... flew a 400-foot sausage equipped with two marine motors for 20 miles.

But seriously, folks, after this amazing feat... everyone wanted to be associated with the Zeppelin Company.

The count and a young associate, Dr. Hugo Eckener... founded the world's first air passenger line.

In 1924... the Zeppelin Company built an airship for the U.S. Navy... the LZ 126, rechristened "The Los Angeles".

Until last year the Graf Zeppelin... was considered the marvel of the age.

Since 1928 she has carried 13,000 passengers over a million miles... without a single mishap.

But then, at the Zeppelin Company works in Friedrichshafen...

German genius created the airship supreme: the Hindenburg.

Her vast, cathedral-like hull, almost three football fields long... is an intricate web spun from more than ten miles of duralumin girders.

Fifteen stories high... it houses 16 giant cells containing over 7 million cubic feet of hydrogen... which lifts her 242 tons of luxury into the clouds.

She is the climax of man's dream to conquer the air... the new queen of the skies.

The embassy received hundreds of letters like that last year, Mr. Ambassador.

Mostly from cranks. We can expect many more this season.

Mrs. Rauch's letter is different. It's specific.

She spells out how and where the zeppelin will be destroyed.

A time bomb over American territory.

Franz. Erwin.

Showing us how you do it in Spain?

I'm afraid I don't fly very much there.

Good to have you back, Franz.

We hear they're giving you a Knight's Cross to your Iron Cross.

For writing up dossiers, I suppose.

Half the time on our own people.

They're turning us into a Gestapo, Erwin.

Get me out of Intelligence. Get me back my Reconnaissance command.

That might not be easy, Franz.

Why not? All you have to do is sign the order.

You've been brought back for a special problem which we've inherited.

We've had our suspicions, Colonel... and now that letter confirms there is a plot to sabotage the LZ 129 on this flight.

Obviously, Dr. Goebbels, the sane thing to do is to cancel the flight... until the Gestapo uncovers the plot.

Sane but weak.

The propaganda value of the LZ 129 is highly important.

From a military standpoint, she's a flying dinosaur.

Colonel, the LZ 129 is a world symbol of Nazi power.

It is an honor to guard her safety, and you've been chosen.

My field is the estimation of enemy air operations, it's not espionage.

A zeppelin ride should be a vacation compared to Spain.

You're being loaned to the LZ 129... as the officer in charge of security for this trip.

You will have the power to do anything you think necessary... but quietly and discreetly... or it might appear we have internal opposition.

Ah. And you're afraid it might strengthen the resistance movement.

There is no resistance movement, Colonel.

That's reassuring coming from the Minister of Propaganda.

I mustn't keep you from your next appointment.

Let us hope that you will change your opinion of our "flying dinosaur."

Perhaps I will, unless there's an egg hatching in her.

The Hindenburg is scheduled to leave in two days, Colonel.

Why did the Gestapo wait till now to show us this?

It's inexcusable that our passengers have to make other travel arrangements this late.

The flight hasn't been canceled. Not canceled? I thought...

Why are you here? I'll be aboard.

A sort of special security officer.

I'd like you along, Captain Lehmann, as senior airship observer.

You may have to work with the Gestapo, Colonel, but I don't.

You built the Hindenburg, Dr. Eckener. Don't you want to protect your interests?

I've protected them for 40 years by taking no risks.

Even if I wanted to go, you'd never be able to clear it.

Dr. Eckener and I are out of favor at the chancellery.

I refused to name the Hindenburg after the Fuhrer.

Captain Pruss, the new commander, is an excellent airshipman.

We trained him.

Don't embarrass yourself by requesting me, Colonel.

They won't allow it, and I prefer to leave it that way.

It's all arranged. I'll see you at the airfield Monday.

Give me a break. Give me a break.

These stupid S.S. men crawling through our ship morning till night... with dirt on their shoes.

If we hid an elephant in the lounge, they couldn't find it.

They weren't looking for an elephant.

Did you see Karl when the S.S. dog barked?

He jumped ten feet, and the dog bit him in the brains... here!

Better than being bitten by the S.S.

You should've refused to go on that whale.

The crew might think I'm a Jonah.

I can't bear it. Alfred, then Spain, now this.

We aren't far from Switzerland, Franz.

I was walking along the river today and... No.

But you hate what you're doing now.

What would you have me tell them in Switzerland?

That yesterday I was a colonel in the German Air Force?

No. It'd be different if we were Jews or pacifists, or even Communists.

Uncle Gustaf is in Geneva. I can't.

I'd be a deserter.

Listen to me, Eleanore. I spoke to Erwin.

He says he'll try to get my old group back.

We could live in the south, far from Berlin.

Poor Franz.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten!

The winner!

You'll be drunk, Karl!

We'll be dry for two days on board, woman.

Please, Karl. Not tonight.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten!

Behave yourselves. You act like Gypsies.

Good night. Good night.

Stewardess, we're going to bed.

We'll ring if we need anything.

Excuse me. Excuse me. I beg your pardon.

I'm just a poor Gypsy.

That Freda Halle.

She's a loose woman.

They say she works for foreigners. Some French bank in Frankfurt.

We should report it, Frau Knorr.

Look, it's women's gossip. I mean, we're all loyal Germans.

Besides, that Karl is no fool. Enough now.

I drink to the one I love.

The Hindenburg.

That song is going to make me sick.

Charlie! Yoo-hoo! We're over here!

It has wrecked more men, blasted more lives... and dishonored more ladies... than any other scourge on this earth.

I wish you'd forget this zeppelin crap and come on over to the coronation.

Quaky's rented a duke's palace outside London.

Not for us, Hattie. Reed's finished the score on his new show.

Rehearsals start the 12th. We couldn't possibly.

Besides, British quarantine won't let Heidi into the country.

You should've had children instead of dogs.

The evil spell's been lifted. Bess is pregnant.

At your age?

Finally. No rooftop announcements just yet. We...

We don't want to push our luck.

Oh, Bess. Isn't it wonderful?

How long will you be away from us, Countess?

I suppose until I get homesick.

What is the purpose of your trip?

To visit my daughter at school in Boston. Where will you be staying?

With friends. Mr. and Mrs. Alden Winthrop.

In Boston?

Yes. And at their place on Cape Cod.

What does he do?

His occupation.

He's with the Winthrop First National Bank... and I can assure you, Major, he is not the doorman.

Estelle, I've been looking all over for you.

Mr. Edward Douglas. Cablegram for Mr. Douglas...

I'm Mr. Douglas. Here, sir.

Thank you.

Will Mr. Kenji Shimura please come to the information desk.

Mr. Kenji Shimura, please come to the information desk.

Looks like we'll get off a little late.

Yeah. What's the holdup?

Let's get this show on the road. I know I had it.

We're keeping all passports this trip, Countess.

They will be returned to you when we arrive at Lakehurst.

Oh. I see.

Your lighter will be returned after we've landed at Lakehurst.

The official photographer should know better.

If you'll just step into the booth for a body search.

It's company policy.

Stay up here with me. Stay together.

Oh, Paul. So clumsy.

Help Daddy. Thank you.

Your name is familiar, Mr. Breslau.

Do you have relatives in Germany?

Many friends and associates, but no relatives.

Well, now, you might have, Albert.

I've always been sure our name once had a "von." Von Breslau.

That's Prussian nobility. That's where I've heard it.

Too bad, Mildred. The "von" doesn't count when you're born in the States.

We all were. Me too.

Couple of cowboys, huh?

Come on, boys. Stay together. Watch where you're going.

Over here. That's a handsome cane, sir.

May I see it?

You wouldn't admire it so much if you were crippled.

I don't intend to be.

Would you tape the end of Mr. Bajetta's cane and return it to him, please?

Yes, sir. You must be the special security officer.

It's a good thing too.

You know this ruddy blimp is filled with hydrogen?

I'll make a note of that. Thank you.

You call that dumb Dutchman a security man?

The tape is for your own safety, sir. The steel tip could strike sparks.

I'd expect more courtesy on a cattle boat.

Just do as you're told. May I help, Countess?


Are you on board? Yes.

What's wrong this trip?

These people insist upon going through all of my luggage and my trunk.

Will you speak to them, please? Certainly.

Search it. Strip the lining. Remove the metal corners.

If you run out of time, ship it to the countess on the Bremen.

Not very gallant, was it, Colonel?

The German Air Force is not at all what it used to be.

But then nothing is these days.


Hi! Nice dog!

Heil! Heil!

No, no.

Your papers, please.

Introducing the world's greatest, the one and only.

Here's my passport and ticket. All in order.

Throw the bag on the zep, my boy.

Oh, goody. We are going to play doctor.

Why not?

Give it a thorough examination. Also the suitcase.

Will Miss Breslau please write down her correct weight?

I did. 106. Keep the pen.

It's a present from relatives in Germany.

Not a word to your father until after you've sailed. He'll understand.

We don't have any relatives in Germany.

My God, Lehmann.

Are you suggesting I disobey orders? No, Pruss.

I'm saying the captain has the authority to cancel a flight... any time he doesn't think it's safe.

You know our situation. I know that I don't believe much of it.

If you say there's a weakness on the new wrist pin on engine four... you have a valid reason for not taking off. I'll back you up on it.

Number four is perfectly reliable now.

The rest of your ship may not be.

No. It's out of the question, Lehmann.

The ship was searched twice today.

At least two Gestapo men on board that I know of.

And we have Colonel Ritter with us.

I'd look like a fool, or worse. No.

Oh, Ritter, come board with us.

Colonel, did you know we have the pleasure of Capt. Lehmann for this voyage?

Just as an observer, Captain. And as a diplomat.

A worried diplomat.

Seems I'm to go to Washington to try to get us helium.

I wish we had it this trip.

To the right, please, Countess. Excuse us, sir.

We'd like to look around a bit first.

Yes, ma'am. I'll just put these in your cabin.

Come on. Let's go look in here.

I had no idea.

This is my favorite room. Now if we could get a drink...

It has windows!

Colonel Ritter, your party has been contacted.

I had to see you again. Yes?

I'll be back in six days. Then we'll talk.

Everything's in order, sir.

Prepare to weigh off.

Bye now! Have fun!

Drop lines.

Up ship!

Cable New York, Mitzi. Remember, it's six hours different.

Happy landing!

Colonel Ritter.

Martin Vogel. Did you know? We're cabin mates.

Are we? Yes. I feel honored.

I hope the colonel doesn't mind sharing quarters with me.


Weather over the Channel.

If you fly the north side of the storm... the pressure pattern will simply push us over England.

The British don't want us over their chimney pots.

They'll complain to the Foreign Office. Foreign Office isn't aboard.

I'll do the worrying this trip, Captain.

We'll stay on course and try to outrun the storm.

She's on her way, sir. Left Frankfurt ten minutes ago.

8:18 by their clock.

Now we sweat, Hank. Yes, sir.

Till 6:00 a.m. Thursday. Listen to this.

"No voyager on the Hindenburg need fear fire from within the ship."

Et cetera, et cetera.

That's the same magazine that predicted Landon would beat Roosevelt in 32 states.

That's why I read Ballyhoo exclusively, sir.

Every time she puts in here it's like walking on a crate of eggs.

A booby-trapped crate of eggs.

Remember what happened the last time we took the Los Angeles up?

Yes, sir. If we hadn't had helium, we wouldn't be here.

Have you found it, Colonel?

Found what? There are no secrets on zeppelins.

Let's hope not.

When do we eat? A light supper will be served at 10:00, sir.

It's important that you put me at Mr. Reed Channing's table.

I've been checking on his dog.

You should not have gone back there, Mr. Spah.

It's against regulations.

So, don't say anything.

Okay, comrade?

Well, I still say the French line has the best society.


There's something I've been meaning to show you.

A young man at the airfield gave me this.

He told me... Where did you get that?

Daddy, I'm trying to tell you. Give it to me, dumpling.

Valerie, your father's right.

You shouldn't accept gifts from strange men.

Mother! Enough.

She's a pretty little thing.

Only 4,000 miles to go. I'd better meet her.

Four thousand, one hundred. Excuse me?

We've got 4,100 miles to go. Right.

Ah, Holland.

Nine minutes late. Or do you make it ten, Mr. Douglas?

Bring me a beer, please.

When you are quite through, may I, Mr. Bajetta?

Only one damn lighter.

Hell on cigar smokers.

Filthy habit, cigars.

Oh, no.

Join me, Colonel?

Göring adores it.

But it's true, sir. Right in there on the bar.

The pen stood upright for more than two hours.

That's how steady the Hindenburg flies.

Let's have a go at it ourselves, shall we? Who has a pen?

Do you mind, old boy?

Uh, yes, I need my pen. Not for a few minutes, surely. Come along.

Fifty quid the bally pen will be toppled in less than an hour.

Really, this is nonsense. Leave it. Be a sport.

I'll take the bet. Righto. Anyone else?

Howell! You'll defend the honor of old Eli, won't you?

It's Harvard. A hundred did you say.

Gentleman from Yale wagers $100.

I didn't say that. I said it's...

What would we bet, Colonel? The honor of the Third Reich... also hangs in the balance. On so thin a thread.

Five hundred marks it stands eight hours.

I'll take that bet.

Will you watch it through the night with me?

I told you, I need my pen. Sorry. All bets are off.

When they came to me, I refused to do it.

They brought it to my daughter, but she didn't know what it was.

Neither did my wife. Are your relatives Jews?

Damn you. Yes. My grandmother was a Jew.

Look here, Colonel. I import a lot of German surgical instruments.

You can bet the manufacturers... won't be so sensitive about my grandmother's background.

Mrs. Milstein.


They wanted me to sell the diamonds so they could get out of Germany.

Does their name have to be a part of it now?

You know what could happen to them.

Just make sure that you declare those to U.S. Customs.

I'll keep the pen for the Gestapo museum.

It's all right.

Oh, yeah, when I saw your dog, it was doing fine.

That was real kind, Joe.

Thank you, sugar. Oh, no, thank you. I never touch the stuff.

Over here, Captain. See it? A clearing in the storm.

Alter course 30 degrees. Head for that bright spot.

Forward engine to half speed.

We'll slow down in this turbulence.

That's how your American friends lost all their ships.

I would like to be in your new show, Mr. Channing.

I'm working on this new act. A zep act.

Real sophisticated. Perfect for a show like yours.

Oh, my... It's all right. It's okay.

Sugar, next time let's take the Titanic.

That pen incident.

It was obvious what you were looking for.

Obvious to me, at least.

I knew he was the kind for diamonds not bombs.

I could have told you about Breslau.

All the characteristics.

Brachycephalic skull, heavy lower jaw, skin...

Breslau happens to be just one-quarter Jewish.

The world is mongrelized, Vogel.

Only in Berlin is everyone so pure.

Well, we have all shapes of heads to choose from.

Can your X-ray eyes see inside them?

Major Napier, for one... who has no traceable income but makes frequent trips on luxury liners.

Good way to pick up information from important people.

Why suddenly the Hindenburg?

His big earlobes make me think he's a British spy.

There's no need for sarcasm, Colonel.

May I humbly suggest that Mr. Edward Douglas also bears watching?

So very afraid we'll arrive late.

He's head of the foreign branch of an advertising company in Berlin.

Their big account is pharmaceuticals.

But he collected information from German plants that supply parts for the Hindenburg.

America also prepares for war.

He was naval intelligence during the last one.

Stayed abroad, went into advertising.

But he's careful not to advertise his business this trip.

Joe Spah is just the opposite. Spah's just a clown.

A clown who canceled a performance for the Fuhrer... just to be on this flight.

Also spent a week in Moscow, just to see the Russian circus, he says.

Can't deny Spah has an unfriendly attitude.

A lot of people fail to see all our lovable qualities.

Which are well displayed in the countess. How do you happen to know her?

Her husband and I were members of the same flying club... in the days before the Luftwaffe.

He was killed in a crash. She went back to her estate.

I hadn't seen her in years. A rich widow with an estate.

Yes, she's from a very distinguished North Baltic family.

Von Reugen from Peenemunde.

Peenemunde? At the mouth of the Oder?

Owns half the island. Not anymore.

Peenemunde's just been taken over by weapons research.

Big new development in rockets.

If she knows what's going on there, it's risky letting her out of the country.

It's risky for the ship's photographer to step out of line with the countess.

If I were you, I'd find out how much she knows before I let her off this ship.

Leave that to me. You stay away from her.

Tomorrow this photographer might take some pictures of the crew... find out what the common people are thinking.

They say the rigger, Karl Boerth... has a mistress who works in the Frankfurt branch of a French bank.

Where did you hear that? I also hear she's been around.

Boerth is not the first. Her name is Freda Halle.

I understand Boerth's a good man. Hitler Youth leader.

By the way, am I also a suspect?


Why, you're my staunch ally.

My teammate, my good right arm.

The Gestapo.

Ridiculous. Where'd you get such an idea?

Detailed information on everyone except Martin Vogel.

All it says here is "Official Hindenburg photographer."

Gestapo sources of information are really excellent.

Maybe not so good as you think.

It fails to mention that Colonel Ritter doesn't like Gestapo methods.

Doesn't use them himself... and doesn't want you operating behind his back.

That's why we're cabin mates.

I'm sorry, Dr. Luther.

Captain Lehmann is wasting his time coming here.

Well, perhaps this at least will persuade State... to make arrangements for appointments for him.

You know how Congress feels about helium.

They're afraid that Chancellor Hitler will use it for military...

What's been done about this?

Everything possible to guarantee the safety of the Hindenburg.

The chief danger to her is the American monopoly of helium.

Now, if anything does happen, Mr. Handford... it could be blamed on your country.

Would you step outside for a moment, Lessing, please?

Certainly, Colonel.

Get this off to Gestapo Headquarters, Berlin.

Attention: Hochwald.

Send results Freda Halle surveillance so far.

Also run check on her lovers before Boerth.

Signed, Ritter. Destroy that after it's sent.

Record the message by code number. Yes, sir.

I don't like the dog so far away.

Suppose something happens. Impossible, Mr. Channing.

Your dog is traveling first class. Better than some of the passengers.

You see? She agrees. Kirsch.

What are you doing bringing passengers into the interior of the ship?

Colonel, when we bought our tickets we were told we could visit the dog.

That may be, Mr. Channing, but the ship's interior is now... no matter how much anyone tips.

So, please.

Damn it, I'm going to visit my dog.

Passengers are barred for their own safety.

Take a look, Mr. Channing.

If you fell, you'd go right through, into the sea.


Last year passengers were permitted inside the hull, but not this voyage.

Typical. You're running this ship like a concentration camp.

I agree that I am running this ship. Go to hell.

I take it back. That would be a lot better than Germany is today.

I'm curious as to why people like yourselves would choose the Hindenburg.

If you must know, only because my wife is...

Well, she... she gets sick on boats.

The Zeppelin Company couldn't ask for a better recommendation.

I'll assign the cabin boy to visit your dog every watch... and report to you. Fair enough?

Why don't we talk about the arrangements for your concert.

Do you really think I'm going to go through with that?

I announced the concert. I'm sure you won't disappoint us.

Okay. You're the captain.

You want a concert, I'll give you a concert.

Take her down below the fog layer, Hans.

But no lower than 200 meters.

By all means, come right in, Franz.

Where did you get the lighter?

Our radio operator is hot-blooded.

Give it to me, Countess.

Behave, Ursula. You know it's dangerous.

Franz, I've learned a new game: breaking all the rules.

It's much more fun for people like us... than those shoe clerks and butchers in their brown shirts... because, my darling, we made the rules.

I made this one.

Go ahead. Take it. Help yourself to anything else.

That's the official policy now, isn't it?

They've taken my house and my land. So I heard.

How generous of you. Generous? I screamed bloody murder.

Oh, Franz, if I told you what was going on in Peenemunde...

You don't know. No one knows.

If they thought you knew, you would never be allowed out of the country.

Listen to me. No questions asked or answered.

You have made a great sacrifice for the Fatherland.

Do you understand me?


Why anyone would want that wretched island I'll never know.

Did I tell you, Franz, I managed to get rid of it?

Trudi will be delighted.

Oh, Franz, she's growing up so nicely.

She'll be at the airfield. Perhaps you'll see her.

Beautiful child.

I heard you say she was going to school in Boston. That's marvelous.

And doing very well.

It's the best school for the deaf, I'm told.

She's learning to speak and lip-read.

Maybe this summer we'll...

Sorry. Sorry. Where are you?

What is this? What is all that?

It's atmospheric pressure.

Yes! Stuart, I want my things out of the safe.

It's making me choke.

What is this? What is all this?

Oh, thank God, it's going away.

Please, please, don't, uh... don't be upset.

You've just been treated to a harmless display of St. Elmo's fire.

What's that? As the ship came through the fog... we accumulated an electrical charge... like a child shuffling his shoes across a carpet.

We've been in no danger.

The ship is completely bonded together... and the charge was dissipated harmlessly.

Thank you. I was pretty sure... it was St. Elmo's fire all along.

Personally, I could use a little shot of something.

Marvelous sensation on an airship.



Past, present, no difference.

They all seem to run together here.

Don't you find it so, Franz?

Do you still play cards, Countess? Why?

Major Napier and Mr. Bajetta pique my professional curiosity.

I've been propositioned frequently... but this is the first time I've ever been recruited by the German Luftwaffe.

That is what you're doing, isn't it, Franz?

Yes. With apologies.

I'll give you ten percent of my winnings.

You probably remember, I'm good at games of chance.

You're in the right place.

Well, that's an odd thing to say.

It's obviously some kind of private code.

In any case, we'll see the answer before Douglas does.

That gives us an advantage. True.

Go ahead and send it.

Spah made this sketch of the ship's interior.

See if you can open this. Standard combination.

Now what do you think of your pet clown?

I think we better watch him more closely.

Simple for a man who knows his job.

Douglas got rid of that airport telegram very quickly.

We'll have to wait for the answer to the one he sent.

How long is this concert supposed to last?

No telling. However, I asked the captain to arrive 15 minutes late.

A coding device.

I've never seen one quite like it.

Luftwaffe Intelligence has been too busy sunning themselves in Spain.

"Operation 'K'." What do you suppose that stands for, Vogel?

"Kraut"? "Knockwurst"? "Kosher"?

What more do you need to question Napier and Pajetta?

My orders are to move quietly.

Besides, when you surface a spy, and he doesn't know it... you can turn him to your own advantage.

With your permission, Captain...

I would like to play for the first time in public... a little number from my upcoming show... and Mr. Joe Spah has kindly agreed to take part in this little entertainment.

I hope you like it. Captain.

Mr. Spah. Mr. Channing.

Danke schön. De nada.

Thank you so much, Mr. Channing.

Unfortunately, your humor is not the same as ours.

Good night, sir.

It was really surprising.

Oh, it's you, Boerth. What the devil were you doing up there?

Routine inspection, Colonel. Inspecting what?

Control cables, sir. A rigger's duty.

Is there anything I can help you with, sir?

I understand you were a Hitler Youth leader.

Yes, sir.

But you haven't been active for the last two years.

Only because of the Hindenburg, sir.

I helped build her in Friedrichshafen... and last year I made all ten trips.

If there's nothing else, sir, I'll get on with my duties.


I wonder what you were really doing, Boerth.

MY duty, sir.

We're from the F.B.I., Mrs. Rauch. We'd like to talk to you.

G-men? Oh, Lordy, Lordy!

You sure you got the right party? Yes, ma'am.


Then you confirm that that is your letter... in your own handwriting, to the German ambassador?

I certainly do, and everything in it will happen just like I say.

Tomorrow the zeppelin will fly over New York City and blow up.

I know it for a fact. How, Mrs. Rauch?

Because two weeks ago I saw it in a vision, clear as crystal.

I'm clairvoyant, and I'm never wrong.

Just ask any of the neighbors.

I also predict that Bette Davis... will play the part of Scarlett O'Hara in the movie... and the Duke of Windsor will never marry Mrs. Simpson.

Read it from the shorthand.

"Checking information that former lover of Freda Halle... was killed fighting for Leftists in Spain. Signed, Hochwald."

To Hochwald.

Is there any information regarding bomb from Halle?

Have several suspects, but I need evidence. Ritter.

Magnificent. Icebergs!

They're too far away to photograph. Will you turn around?

I never dreamed we'd see icebergs. That's interesting.

Where've you been, George? Look at the icebergs.

Makes you feel like an explorer flying over the pole.

You still play beautifully.

Only I wish you were playing cards.

3:00 this afternoon.

You won't say anything about me bringing her down here, will you?

Oh, hell, I've been doing it since we left.

What kind of dog is she? She's a dalmatian.

She used to follow behind carriages, didn't you, girl?

She needs a lot of exercise.

Cover on port fin ripped loose, sir. Engines three and four, idle.

Forward engines to quarter speed.

Suppose I go aft and take a look. Go ahead.

Right. Yes. Right.

Hold her into the wind. Captain, we're losing altitude.

We're heavy. Picked up rain in the squall. More power, sir?

No. The riggers would be swept overboard by the wind.

What's the altitude now? Three hundred fifty meters, sir.

Rate of descent? Ten meters a minute.

That gives them about, uh... 25 minutes.

Hold him! Got him!

Foot on the bar! On the bar!

Lift him up! Put your feet down here.

All right. Hold him. Put me down on the girder.


Jesus! Looks bad.

It's all right. Let's go.

Altitude: 280 meters.

Can't risk going below 100.

Altitude: 260 meters.

Now losing 15 a minute.

Forward engines to half.

Little more breeze won't blow them away, Oster.

We'll gain some lift in a couple of minutes.

Forward engines, half speed.

You've only got about 15 minutes.

You sew, Karl. You're faster.

What exposure are you using, Mr. Shimura?

Five-six. Five-six.

Thank the Lord I brought this camera.

Look, darling. It's gorgeous!

Stepped on the line. Did not!

That's worth the whole trip. It's breathtaking.

It's all right to tell the captain he can go on now.

We have all the pictures we want. Yes, ma'am.

Go back inside. Look after your eye. Just finish up.

Stand by, Dimmler. When we're down to 100, I want all engines full speed.

Get the riggers inside.

Knorr! Boerth!

No more time. Back inside.

It's still too big. It'll rip. Captain's orders! Back inside!


One rigger's still outside, Captain.


Captain. Boerth is still outside. I heard you, Dimmler.

All engines full ahead.

Nose up five degrees.

Knorr? Knorr, I'm going off!

Pull me!

Pull me!

You're all right, Karl. Come on.

She's about seven hours late.

I assure you, madame, there's no need to worry.

She's right there, 100 miles off the coast of Newfoundland.

Then they won't be landing till tomorrow afternoon.

I suggest you come back tomorrow morning.

We'll know much better by then.

Thank you so much. My pleasure.

Mr. Douglas. Oh. Thank you.

I'll take that to the radio room for you, Mr. Douglas.

No, thank you. I'll do it myself.

But, sir, passengers aren't allowed to... I know, I know.

Here's my special pass. Thank you.

I'd like to see you, Mr. Douglas.

How 'bout a drink later?


What's this strong-arm stuff? Come on.

You'd better tell me about this, Mr. Douglas.

While you're at it, explain these, in code.

I don't have to explain a damn thing to you. Get out.

Better set it back to Frankfurt time.

That's where a fast police car will be meeting you... in roughly 94 hours, barring accidents, of course.

Okay, I'll tell you, Ritter, but you've gotta let me send that message.

It may mean the difference.

To what? To pulling off the biggest deal of my life.

Right now, I'm in a race.

A race to beat my competitor into New York.

Who? Fred Seemans, head of Seemans and Poelzig.

At this moment, he's on the Queen Mary... which left a day and a half ahead of us.

In the messages, we call his outfit the Sharks... mine the Hawks.

One by air and one by sea and both carnivorous.

You're beginning to get the idea.

Tomorrow it'll be announced that General Motors has acquired... the Opel Motor Company.

The advertising account will be up for grabs.

Whoever gets there first will have the jump.

All right. Let's see if there's a Fred Seemans on board the Queen Mary.


Hi, Captain. Three hours. Where ya been, Baker?

All ya had to do was phone the steamship line.

That was the easy part.

"The individual, Frederick Seemans, is on board the Queen Mary... occupying suite 312, first class, 'C' deck."

It's the others that took the time.

Operation "K," Passage, Raid and Mr. Chandu.

You know who they are?

You're gonna tell me any day now, aren't ya, Baker?

They're horses, Captain. What?

Well, you see, it had me stumped.

So I contacted the F.B.I., and was my face red.

These are the names of racehorses.

Why does some German on a zeppelin want us to find out about the ponies?

You got me.

Maybe he's heard: New York cops make book.

Maybe he thinks he can and win himself a bundle.

Well, that's near Lakehurst.

Two of these nags are runnin' tomorrow.

Operation "K" and Mr. Chandu.

Well, send them the odds. That's probably all the guy wants, anyway.

Think so?

Which two horses? I need it for the record.

Hi, Tommy.

You boys are goin' out to beautiful Jersey.

Special request of the State Department.

This time they got a Luftwaffe colonel aboard, name is Ritter.

Big wheel with Intelligence.

Comin' to land a couple of espionage agents, maybe?

Don't you experts let any goddamn Nazis slip into the country.

That blimp better not fly too low over them Jersey woods.

Full of moonshiners. They'll shoot any big-ass bird flyin' over their stills.

Yeah, the T-men are also sending a special Customs squad.

Byrnes Duncan will be with them. Duncan?

He's with the Bureau of Explosives.

Oh, thanks a lot. Now we get the picture.

That's right.

It's very nice to see you again.

Have you been playing long?

Ah. I thought we might be able to find time to relax... now that the famous Rauch letter turns out to be from a crank.

The Gestapo often exaggerates their information.

Are you building this? Yes.

It's my own design for a house in Zeppelinheim... the new village near the airfield.

We're hoping our airship families will settle there.


For you, Colonel. Thank you.

It's from the Gestapo. Boerth's woman has been arrested.

She's confessed that her ex-lover was killed... fighting for the Leftists in Spain.

In the hands of the Gestapo, anyone can be made to confess anything.

Yes. In bed with his mistress, Boerth could have been talked into a plot.

What plot, Colonel?

A crank letter has been made into a matter of state.

The purpose of exaggerating the bomb scare was to get helium.

I went along with that. There are other sources of information.

Perhaps no more valid than the letter.

Well, I'm not a believer in the occult like our Mrs. Rauch... but I'll tell you, Captain, I have an uneasy sense of disaster.

As if a bomb were ticking inside me.

It's a constant feeling with some people in Germany these days.

A decent man like you, Colonel... with a wife, probably raising a family.

Have you never had this feeling before?

"Probably raising a family."

My only son was killed three months ago working for the new order.

But believe me, Captain, I'm not much better working for the Gestapo... one of their spies lying in bed above me.

What's happening to people like us?

I've given my life to zeppelins.

Last year, for the sake of our company...

I even dropped political pamphlets from this ship.

Where does it stop?

I've been in the air force since the World War.

When the Versailles Treaty abolished it...

I worked with Göring and the others to build a secret one.

I remember those days. You people trained in gliders.

Yes, all over Germany, mostly at night.

I was proud when Hitler brought the new Luftwaffe out into the open.

I wasn't proud after last week.

Guernica. A little Basque village.

A few hundred peasants.

We dropped 3,000 bombs on it.

You were there?

Chief of Intelligence.

So that's how one wins the Knight's Cross in peacetime.


Well, now we have two heroes aboard.

Boerth did valiant service to the Hindenburg today.

He doesn't seem to be the man to destroy the ship.

He does to me.

He's exactly the kind of man I would choose for a dangerous mission.

Bold, tough, cool.

You have those qualities in common with him.

You're both good men.

I must get to know him better.

Please show this to Pruss. Thank you for the coffee, Captain. Good night.

I, uh... hope you get your house built.

Freda Halle has been arrested.

Traffic violation?

No, by the Gestapo. Because she works for foreigners?

Because I think she works with you. She lives with me.

She's admitted that your... predecessor has been killed in Spain.

So? If she knows about the bomb... they'll make her confess that too. Where is it, Boerth?

They'll work on Freda until you tell me.

You filth.

No worse than the filth who wants to blow up 97 people.

But you won't have a chance, because I'm locking you up.

You're under arrest. Let's go Ritter, get your hands off me.

Get your hands off me, or I'll blow it up now.

You can't stop it. I can make it go any second.

Don't force me, Ritter. I need you to help me.

For Ritter. Get it to him immediately.

He's hard to find. Prowls all over the ship.

Boerth, where is it? The Gestapo knows about the bomb.

This ship is the Nazis' greatest propaganda weapon.

You patched her up today for your own propaganda.

No good if she simply tumbled into the sea, hm?

No politics in an act of God.

No survivors either. But that's not how I plan to do it.

It'll happen at the mooring mast at Lakehurst.

A hydrogen airship? That's deliberate murder.

The Luftwaffe in Spain is deliberate murder, and that's practice for Hitler.

You people are going to save the world by blowing up the Hindenburg.

It's a place to start.

It'll prove there is a resistance.

Decent Germans will get the courage to join us... and no one has to be killed if you help me.

You're the key to this...

Boerth, is that Col. Ritter with you? Coming.

Colonel, a message for you.

I have a date with my little Jewish model.

I'm curious to try one before they're all gone.

Cologne won't help you.

Why didn't you arrest Boerth? Pruss showed me the message.

I'm still looking for a bomb. Arresting Boerth won't keep it from going off.

It will, damn it, if you make him talk.

Your thumbscrews didn't make Freda Halle talk about a bomb... before she was shot while trying to escape.

That was the mistake of a stupid guard. You're making a worse one.

Arrest Boerth, Spah, Douglas, all of them. Brilliant, Vogel.

The Hindenburg will come into Lakehurst like a prison ship.

I can see the headline. "Anti-Nazi Plot on Zep."

There are ways to keep it quiet.

If it offends your delicacy, I'll handle it for you.

Do as you're told. I'll take care of Boerth.

You watch Napier and Spah and, of course, your little model.

I'll also be watching you. Fine. Who'll be watching you?

I'm really disappointed, Colonel.

We thought after the splendid example of your own son that you would personify...

Gentlemen, new time of arrival: 5:00 p.m.

Now you reporters can go back to the gin mills.

I'll ask the police and the security officers to stay on, though.

All right, boys, get 'em while they're hot.

Who needs a passenger list? I'll take one. Thanks.

There's a real pair. Napier and Pajetta.

You know those men, Sergeant? Sure do.

The Major and Emilio "The Cane." They're boatmen.

Uh, cardsharps. Usually work the luxury liners.

Real characters.

I'm supposed to check the copper tubing on the airship, sir.

Are those guys kidding about a bomb?

That's very funny.

Hey, look! Yeah.

Ah, yes. Rainbows like that are very common in airship travel.

Hey, Dad.

Did you see it? What?

It's nothin', Dad.

Rainbows like that are very common in airship travel.

Oh, is that right? Yeah.

Are you with me? I have something to tell you.

I have no time for you. The ship and I have six and a half hours left.

It concerns Freda Halle.

Gestapo? Killed while trying to escape, they say.


I know, Boerth. I... lost my son last March.

My only child.

He was in the Hitler Youth.

He went out to have some fun one night. Paint slogans on a synagogue.

Alfred was on the roof, he slipped and fell. His neck was broken.

Your son died for Hitler. Isn't that enough for you?

Plenty. I don't want 97 more dead on this ship.

I told you. It will happen at the mooring mast. No one aboard.

My God, that's the last thing I want.

Ask Lakehurst for marines to cordon off the ship.

Keep everyone at least 50 yards away.

I would have to see the bomb, know how it works.

No. You have a wife at home.

What time do I set the bomb for?

I've got to see it. Too much can go wrong.

Just see that the ship is empty. What time do I set the bomb for?

Ritter, I can do it without you very easily.

The ship lands at 5:00.

All the passengers off at 5:30.

Another half-hour to unload the freight and the mail.

Liberty party leaves at 6:30.

Remaining crew will eat at the naval station mess.

Captain Fellows's dinner party for the officers at 7:00.

Anyone standing watch I'll evacuate.

I'll say... U.S. Customs search, something.

No supplies or fuel or hydrogen will be loaded until after 8:00.

What time?

You'll leave with the liberty party. Disappear into New York.

I'm staying aboard. That can't help Freda now.

In the last few seconds I'm sending out a radio signal that it was no accident.

What time?


Check. Check.

I bet a hundred. Ohh, the lady's out for blood, eh?

I use it to polish my fingernails.

I'm out.

I'll, uh... see you and raise you.

And I'll raise you, sir.

And I'll see you both.

Well, I'm afraid that lets me out.

Full house. Sorry it's not strip poker, Countess.

You'd be looking for a fig leaf. Straight flush.

Well, we live and learn.

Well, once more into the breach, dear friends.

Spah was in the hull again, and the stewardess found these in the cabin.

Excellent, Martin.

This could mean he's working for someone else, someone who needs these.

Who? That's the man I want you to find... after we, uh... take care of these two.

What happened to the tape, Mr. Pajetta?

Since when have you become the local house detective?

I deputized him.

Until we land, you and Major Napier will be confined to your cabin.

Come along. What about the game?

You can play hearts with Mr. Pajetta in the cabin.

You're going to regret this, sir.

My nephew is very close to Mussolini. Thank you both.

May I send a bottle of Chianti to your cabin?

Madame, what you can do with that bottle of Chianti...

I won't say in front of these gentlemen.

Well, Countess, I never thought I'd enjoy losing so much.

Thank you, dear Franz, for the assignment.

I made enough to fill 20 trunks.

How did you do it?

They cheat. I believe they earn their living that way.

The cane.

Pajetta taps out signals with it. And you still won?

I managed to scramble their signals.

I'd say your ten percent was worth several cases of champagne.

Shall we start drinking it up? Better send it to me.

I'll celebrate my homecoming in a bath of champagne.

I'd love to join you, Franz.

But I'm not going back. I know.

Who tries to bring a wardrobe trunk aboard a zeppelin?

Oh, dear sweet Franz.

It's all so depressing, isn't it?

This helps a little.

It's not what I need now. Thanks.

No, it's a poor substitute.

It makes no sense at all, does it, Franz?

That you and I ever met.

I'll see you to say good-bye.

Kirby. Kirby!

Check over your procedures for a high landing.

Pruss just sent word he's gonna try one.

Pruss is nuts! An electric front's moving in.

Well, he's gonna try it.

And, Kirby, when she's hooked up, slip her nose into the cup real easy.

Just keep remembering, there's seven million cubic feet of hydrogen... at the end of our fishing pole!

My God, the Queen. I've had it.

Not necessarily. We land at Lakehurst at 5:00.

She's just taking on her tugs.

Boerth, what's there?

Find something, Karl? That patch looked weak.

Must have loosened when the outer skin ripped.

I reinforced it. I'm sure it's secure now.

Uh-huh. Well, come on. The chef's got sandwiches waiting for us.

Well, Bisma refused us that detachment of marines.

Did you tell him the score?

He knows the score. It was quite a battle.

He called the Hindenburg a flying crematorium.

Doesn't want his men near it.

Damn. I hope Washington gives Lehmann the helium.

Mr. Dimmler. Yes.

I just found this stuck in the catwalk.

Jesus. Any damage?

No, I don't think so, sir. Something wrong?

Ludecke just found this in the catwalk. Some idiot must've dropped it.

Who does it belong to, Ludecke?

I don't know, sir. He didn't report it? Damn fool.

A knife dropped inside the hull could cause sparks... damage a wire, control cable. Christ knows what.

We've got to find out who owns that knife and why he didn't report it.

We want to see your knives.

Your knife, please, Karl.

Ludecke found this in the hull a few minutes ago.

He doesn't have it.

I left it on my bunk when I went to wash up.

Someone must've borrowed it. Please forgive my appearance, Captain.

Is this yours? No, sir.

Can you prove it?

My knife has a nick in the guard from that fight we got in in Shanghai... when we went around the world on the Graf.

Arrest him, question all of them.

Arrest me, Captain, because my knife was borrowed?

Enough of this stupid business.

Get dressed and go to your landing station, Chief.

Yes, sir. You men too.

I trust the men in the Zeppelin family.

That's at least 25 knots.

Hell, they're only showing surface winds. What's happened to gusts?

They can't get it fixed, sir.

Flash red, damn it. Flash red.

Signal red, Captain.

Thank you kindly. I thought it was a Christmas tree.

Send this to Fellows.

Riding out weather. Shall delay landing until further notice from N.A.L.

Looking forward to dinner. Pruss.

Make sure the dog is unloaded as soon as we land, all right?

Here's a little something extra for you. You have been a doll.

That's okay, Mrs. Channing. I like dogs. Thanks, anyway.

Well, lovely. It's a set for my zeppelin act.

I had better ones, but they disappear from my cabin.

Somebody's trying to steal my act. That's how good it is.

Joe, I've gotta be honest with you. It's not right for my show.

You don't like it, huh?

Well, I guess it's back to the circus.

Joe? Yeah.

You forgot this one.

It's just a drawing that I made of the crazy rainbow for my kids.

How many children do you have? Three.

One seven, one four, and a baby boy who's gonna be an acrobat.

Believe you me, we have circus enough at home.

I'll bet.

Anyhow, it's been a great honor to know people like you.

Thank you, Joe. We had some fun, huh?

Yeah. Good-bye.

Reed, I'd like to see Joe's act.

Okay, little mother.

I guess we'll give him an audition sometime next week.


This is absurd! Yes, ma'am.

I'm sure it's just a technicality that will be straightened out before we land.

I want my passport this instant, Kirsch. It's not here, Countess.

It's been picked up.

Same thing happened to a friend of mine in Italy.

You wouldn't believe the excuse they gave him.


They've picked up my passport. On whose orders?

Yours, maybe.

Who else knows about Peenemunde? You're the...

It's only a little storm, Countess.

In an hour you'll be laughing about it with your daughter.

In fact, I'm going to escort you from the ship personally... to make sure that I see her. All right?

We want to see your knife. You've seen my knife. I'm busy.

Come on!

This is Knorr's knife, isn't it? The hell it is.

A nick on the guard like Knorr said. You stole it when you broke your own.

What were you doing? It's my knife!

You're lying. You can't arrest me without Ritter.


Vogel, you Gestapo idiot. You're making the mistake of your life.

Captain, some of the passengers are getting nervous.

How long will it be before we land?

Whenever Naval Air at Lakehurst gives us the green light.

When do you estimate that'll be? Tell the passengers... we'll land when conditions are right and not a minute sooner.

Three degrees out of trim. Light in the bow.

Drop ballast aft. Two hundred kilos.

Yes, she does feel tail-heavy, Captain.

She's tail-heavy because wind drove the rain aft.

The moisture will evaporate in a few minutes.

When we're over the field, how long will it be before The passengers are certain to ask. A high landing takes 15 minutes.

Allow another 20 to disembark passengers.

Um, I understand the Countess's passport is being held.

Rotten. Vogel said it was a matter of internal security.

Vogel took it? What's the matter with you, Ritter?

I assume you know what's going on in your own department.

Yes, sir, I do.

If the wind shifts... have your linesmen hang on until the main wire comes down.


I'm looking for Boerth. Have you seen him?

I need him too. Try the north section.

What's that? That's just a worn place we patched.

I'm sure it's secure.

All right, but let's have a man watch this bag till we're on the ground.

Yes, sir.

Boerth? Boerth!

Send a Decca. Recommend landing now. Ground crew is ready.

Reply to N.A.L. Proceeding to land.

Will be late for dinner. Apologies to madam. Signed Pruss.

I'm uneasy about cell four, Captain.

We might have to make a major repair before going back.

We'll see. Landing stations.

Two degrees light in the bow and tail-heavy.

Six men from the off watch into the bow.

Have you seen Boerth? No, Colonel.

No, sir. He should be here.

Wind shifted to the west. Gusts?

No reading on gusts. No wonder they lose all their airships.

Hard rudder to port. Aft engines, full astern.

Line up with her, knuckleheads!

Move your butts! She'll keep her nose to the wind!

Come on. Move it!

Where's Boerth?

His landing station's in the nose.

Ship in trim but rising slightly.

Valve all cells, five seconds.

Stand by for starboard line drop.

Beautiful. Level as a board.

Pruss is really showin' us how. The ship is standing still now.

Everything seems remarkably still.

She hovers just short of the mast, waiting for her nose cone to be connected up.

A great floating palace.

Please, Mr. Douglas, you have to leave. I'm closing up.

So we're finally landing. That calls for another drink.

I should have taken a rowboat.

Neuhaus, we've got a jammed cable. Come bear a hand.

Out, Ritter. I've taken over.


Boerth! Boerth, it's Ritter!

It's 7:20. Where's the bomb?

He stole my knife.

Listen to me. There's less than ten minutes left.

We're all gonna die. Where's the bomb?

Repair patch four.


No. No!

It burst into flame! It burst into flame and it's falling, it's crashing!

Watch it! Watch it! Get out of the way, please!

Get out of the way! Get this, Johnny!

Some landing.

Run! Run! Get outta there!

Hold it! Hold it! Stand fast, damn it!

No, Dimmler, don't drop ballast!

Let the stern fall. Give them a chance to get out back there.

Oh, my God!

Down the stairs. Come on.

Here! Give me that!

Fire extinguishers! Come on! Fire extinguishers!

Stay with me. Help me.

Hurry! Grab those ropes!

No! I can't! I can't! Jump! Jump! Please!

My babies! No! Jump!

It's your only chance!

Oh, no! No! No!

Come on!

Jump! Come on, jump! Hurry!

Come on! Come on!

Get up! Jesus, run! Get outta here!

Come on! Jump! Don't be afraid!

Couple of yellow-bellies!

Are you gonna let a girl be braver than you are?


Come on! Your brother did it! You can do it too!

Oh, God!

Oh, my God!

You're all right. Oh, my God! My God!

Sailor! Help him out!

This way!

Major! Emilio!

I was afraid your luck had run out on ya! It's a miracle anybody's alive.

All right, get outta here! Come on, get out!

Take care of yourselves! Go ahead!

Thank you!

All right. Turn on the water.

Trudi! Trudi!

Oh, my baby! Oh, thank God!



What happened, Ernst? Ernst.


How did it happen?

Colonel Franz Ritter, dead.

Rigger Karl Boerth, dead.

S.S. Captain Martin Vogel, survived.

Captain Max Pruss, survived.

Captain Ernst Lehmann, dead.

Albert Breslau, dead.

Mildred Breslau, survived.

Edward Douglas, dead.

Elliott Howell III, dead.

Dead. Survived. Dead.

Dead. Dead. Survived.

Survived. Dead. Dead.

Dead. Survived.

In all, 13 passengers, 22 members of the crew... one navy linesman, dead.

Sixty-two survivors.

The final report of the board of inquiry states:

"The most plausible theories for the Hindenburg disaster are:

Structural failure, static electricity St. Elmo's fire, sabotage."

No completely certain proof has been found... for any of the possibilities cited.

The German commission report goes a step further.

It states: "The possibility of deliberate destruction... must be admitted since no other originating cause can be proven."

However, the new Reich could not admit... that a resistance, much less a single saboteur... had brought down the great symbol of Nazi power.

Chancellor Hitler concluded therefore that it was an act of God.

During the investigation, the eyewitness account recorded by Herb Morrison... for radio station WLS Chicago was heard many times.

...standing still now.

The back motors of the ship are just holding it, just enough to keep it from...

It burst into flame! It burst into flame and it's falling, it's crashing!

Watch it! Watch it! It's crashing! Terrible!

Oh, my! Get out of the way, please!

It's burning... bursting into flames and it's falling on the mooring pad... and all the folks agree that this is terrible!

This is one of the worst catastrophes in the world!

Oh, it's... This place is...

Oh, four or five hundred feet into the sky it...

It's a terrific crash, ladies and gentlemen.

The smoke and the flames now, and the frame is crashing to the ground... not quite to the mooring mast.

Oh, the humanity, and all the passengers screaming around here!

I told you... I can't even talk to people... whose friends are on there.

It's... It's... It's, uh... Oh!

I can't talk, ladies and gentlemen.

I can't...

Listen, folks, I'm gonna have to stop for a minute because I've lost my voice.

This is the worst thing I've ever witnessed.