The Tarnished Angels (1957) Script

Who's your old man, kid? Huh? Who's your old man?

Who's your old man today, kid?

Huh? Who's your old man?

Who's your old man today, kid? Huh?

OK, champ.

We're just having a little fun, that's all.

The kid's not laughing.

You've got to quit fighting old-timers.

You almost killed him.

How about taking me on?

For an ice-cream cone. Chocolate?

Anything you say. Oh, boy!

You OK now, Dempsey? My name ain't Dempsey.

What is it? Tunney? Sharkey? Chocolate.

Jack Shumann. Shumann...

Roger Shumann your old man? He's my father.

Oh. Great flier. Real war ace.

Shot down 14 German planes. 16.

Books say 14. They didn't count right.

They missed two. All right.

I'll take your word for it.

How old are you? Nine.

Nine, huh? Pretty big fella. Bet you can ride a two-wheeler.

Two-wheeler? What's that? A bicycle.

Can't you ride a bike yet? I can fly a plane.

That's really something.

What was that fight all about?

Didn't that grease monkey know your old man?

I mean your father. Didn't he know he was Roger Shumann?

He thinks I don't know who my father is, Roger or Jiggs.

Well, who's Jiggs? One of us.

My father's mechanic.

Who's that with Jack? I hope it's not a truant officer.

No. They don't buy ice-cream cones.

Well, look at Jiggs.

What's with you? Gonna get in the Mardi Gras parade?

Can't a fella dress up? Sure he can.

For somebody he wants to impress.

You like 'em, LaVerne? Ooh. Brand-new. You're a dream.

Where'd you get 'em? Oh, I bought 'em downtown.

How much?

I saw 'em in a store window. I... I couldn't walk away from 'em.

Did you rent us a room? We can sleep in the hangar.

Have you got a nickel left for a bus ride? Yeah. I got $2.50 left.

Go get our money back.

I-I-I can't, Rog. I already wrote my name inside the boots. With ink.

Haven't you heard about the Depression? Haven't we had enough of two-bit prizes?

I wasn't thinking. You've got to think!

It's not like it was in France, just us and the war.

Gotta think of LaVerne and Jack now.

It's over with, Roger. Let's forget it.

I-I saw these boots and I had to have 'em.

I wanted to dress up clean for once.

Look like I was hotshot pilot, like... like I was Roger Shumann.

Jack. Who's your friend?

Burke Devlin. I'm with the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

I'm Roger Shumann. This is my wife LaVerne.

Jiggs, my mechanic. Greatest grease monkey around.

Without him, I wouldn't fly a kite. Uh...

I hope it was OK for me to buy Jack some ice cream.

Sure. Thanks.

How'd you meet up with the kid? Well, I...

Just bumped into one another. Got to talking, walking around.

Anything for a story, huh? Yeah, just about.

Say, is there an all-night movie house here in town?

No, I don't think so.

But I could fix you up with a place to bed down for the night.

We've slept in the best hotels and in the worst hangars, so... don't go feeling sorry for us. I have no feeling.

Except for a story. Maybe I'll get one out of you.

Make yourself at home.

Here's the key to my apartment.

Hiya, Burke. Hello, Matt.

How'd you tear yourself away from LaVerne Shumann?

Got yourself a good pilot? Yeah. Crackerjack.

This is Frank Burnham. Burke Devlin.

Best newspaperman in town.

Who's flying this one? White job's out. Engine's on the fritz.

It's just as well, because I'm gonna take all the prizes anyway.

That's exactly what he did last week in Oklahoma City.

Pretty classy ships, huh?

Yeah, not bad... for flying billboards. Flying billboards?

That's a hot one, ain't it?

Hey, Burke. Look, you play ball with me, I'll match your pay cheque.

Something's wrong with my typewriter.

Can't seem to spell out "Diamond Blade Tractors".


Real trim, huh? Shut up.

Boy, that turned-up nose is sure getting you down.

Ride the plane, kid, not me.

The air show? Keep it down. We're tight on space.

I'll write it, you cut it. I could chuck it in the waste basket.

You got something against war heroes? What war? The war between the states?

There have been other wars.

Your war hero's probably just a greasy, drunken Gypsy.

What do you think that air show is? A cheap, crummy carnival of death.

Did you expect me to spike it with cream?

No time to give you a temperance lecture now.

I could tell you of winged knights jousting with death, if I felt you could smell a story the way you smell whisky.

The redhead was asking about you. What'd you tell her?

I told her we'd look in on her tonight if she got a fourth for bridge.

I can't make it tonight - and no arguments.

Well, I'll have to round up a poker game. Is it OK if we use your flat?


You entertaining a maiden aunt? No, just some Gypsies.


Hello. Hello.

What are you reading? One of your books.


My Antonia by Willa Cather.

Nostalgia in Nebraska.

Lost farms and faded loves.

Brings back memories of home, who I was.

And how I was, when I first started reading it...

12 years ago. Never finished it?

No, I never did.

I left it behind when I left home.

Oh. Did you run away?

I never thought of it that way. I had a good home.

Well, then what took you away?

A Liberty Bond poster.

Tacked on the front wall of our barn.

When and... where was that?

1918... back in lowa.

What was on the poster? A painting.

A portrait of a pilot sitting in a warplane...

Captain Roger Shumann.

With the look of eagles in his eyes.

You know something? Something shameful?

In all these years, I've never touched another book.

Oh, I'd hardly take you for a bookworm.

I didn't realise till tonight how much I missed reading.

And where did you meet Roger? At an air show in my home town.

August 17, 1920. And how old were you?

16. And it was love at first sight?

For me it was.

Not for Roger?

Roger, he autographed my programme for me, and gave me a long look.

Same kind of look I'd been used to getting from drugstore cowboys.

You went away with him that night? He flew off alone, to Omaha.

But you met up with him again. In Omaha.

You followed him. Yes.

With Jiggs. I followed Jiggs to the bus station.

When he got on the bus, I got in the seat next to him.

How did Jiggs take to you?

Like a drugstore cowboy?

No. He was smitten.

So smitten he was ready to splurge on the best hotel in town.

What did Roger say to all this? When Roger found me with Jiggs, he swore like a sailor.

He made Jiggs feel like two cents, me even less.

How did you change Roger's mind? Tell him about the Liberty Bond poster?

No. I had and I still have a romantic notion that a man must tell a woman first about his love.

Yes. And?

I lied to Roger. I told him I wanted to be a parachute jumper, and if he didn't take me with him, I'd... I'd get somebody else.

And that did it? Yes, that and... a look in my eyes.

Or maybe it was the shape of my legs.

Better let you get some sleep.

Why don't you take the couch? Where'll you go?

I'll take the chair.

Thank you, very much.

You're just like Jack. He can sleep anywhere.

Bus seats, benches, anywhere. Does that include beds?

No, he doesn't like beds. They remind him of... sickness.

By the way... Yes?

When were you and Roger married?

It was the summer of 1923.

July 17.

We were in Portland, Oregon.

It was the night before a big show. We were working late on our plane.

Then we went to the airport café... for some coffee.

What 's the matter, LaVerne?

That delayed jump this afternoon give you the heebie-jeebies?

I'm quitting. Hm?

Hey, Rog. LaVerne says she's quitting.

What is it? You fed up? Scared? Or are you homesick?

No. It's just a fact of life.

I'm in a family way.

If you don't marry her, I will.

Didn't you hear me? I heard you.


What do you say?

Are you just gonna sit there? Listen, I'm talking to you.

Yes or no?

Quit playing the dummy. You gonna marry LaVerne or not?

LaVerne, why don't you say something?


You throw them.

Why, you dirty, no-good louse. Step outside, I'll kick your teeth in.

Roll the dice.

Roll the dice!

OK, I lose.

I marry LaVerne. She gets the winner.

We left the café.

We went to our hotel, changed into our Sunday clothes.

And then we went looking for a justice of the peace.

About three in the morning, I became Mrs Roger Shumann.

Did you feel any shame at all?

Yes, I felt shame.

Long before the dice game.

If Roger hadn't talked up, would you have married Jiggs?



I'd have gone off somewhere, alone.

You see... I had no reason to marry anyone but Roger.

What time is it? About two o'clock.

Just woke out of a nightmare.

I was going down in flames, shot down by Baron Richthofen.

You know, I'm hungry.

Must be strong salami. The stronger the better.

Compliments of a restaurateur with a long memory.

Claude Mollet. The power of the press, huh?

No. Just a Frenchman, who never forgot that you flew for France in the Lafayette Escadrille.

Vive la France. And that's not all.

He's throwing a party for all you barnstormers Mardi Gras night.

The party's in your honour. Everything's on the house.

That's the way it used to be in France. Every night was Saturday night.

Every dawn was Monday morning.

Only the fellas who were honoured at the parties are those that never came back.

It's French Burgundy.

You can have your bed back.

Half of it, anyway.

Hey, why don't you ask me how much I dropped last night?

Where'd you play? Willie's.

I was filling those inside straights when his missus blew the whistle.

On the level, what'd you do last night?

Nothing much. Just sat up half the night discussing literature and life with a beautiful, half-naked blonde. You'd better change bootleggers.

Well, here I am, early, bright and sober.

Good. I'll put a gold star after your next by-line.

My cup runneth over.

No double entendre intended.

I'm covering the air show. According to my assignment book, Senator Griffin, who's keen to run against Hoover, is at the St Charles Hotel...

You're boring me.

...and I've assigned the distinguished Burke Devlin...

The devil you have.

Read it and weep. I'm covering the air show.

For what newspaper? The Hobo News?

Be reasonable.

This could be the best human-interest yarn I ever latched on to.

Senator Griffin is a more important story than even the Mardi Gras.

Would it be if four visitors from a strange, faraway planet were to land in the city?

Those flying Gypsies aren't from another planet.

They're from hunger.

What are you, city editor or the humour editor?

Something tells me I won't be your city editor much longer.

Those flying Gypsies look like you and me, but they're not human beings.

They couldn't turn those pylons like they do, wouldn't dare, if they had human brains.

Burn them, and they don't even holler.

Scratch one, it's not even blood they bleed.

They're a strange race of people, without any blood in their veins at all.

Just crankcase oil. Not crankcase oil.


Three o'clock, St Charles Hotel. Why, you lousy reformed drunk!

You know what you've got in your veins? Embalming fluid, that's what!

Embalming fluid!

Burke drunk again? No. Just fired up.

Correction. He's fired.

Ladies and gentlemen, our special added attraction - a spectacular delayed parachute jump, featuring that beautiful distaff daredevil, LaVerne Shumann

And there she goes

How about that, folks? How was that for thrills?

LaVerne Shumann executing her daring, death-defying freefall.

She released her first chute, fell in space and opened her second chute.

Now she's releasing the straps and is going to hang on to the crossbar with her bare hands, the first time a woman has ever descended this way.

And can she hold on? There's a terrific pull there.

Watch her, folks.

Watch her for thrills, the thrills of excitement we promised you.

Looks like she's going to make it.

Yes, sir, the daring and lovely LaVerne Shumann is going to make it.

Give the lady a big hand, folks.

It was a tremendous feat.

Give the lovely LaVerne Shumann a great big hand

Where's Jack? He went after some soda pop.

That was quite a jump.

The boys didn't think so. They were hoping the wind would tear my dress off.

All for a lousy 20 bucks. It's like falling out of bed.

Well... What if you black out?

You missed the point of our act.

I'm just the girl assistant with the exposed legs.

Roger, he's the big magician.

A little tape, and he turns himself into a bird.

A crazy bird, chasing after prizes as big as... birdseed.

You in the newspaper business for the money?

Business? We lovingly call it a game.

Pilots to the starting line. Pilots to the starting line.

Ladies and gentlemen, the major event of today's programme, the skill dash, featuring the most renowned speed fliers of the world today, including Frank Burnham and Captain Roger Shumann.

Acting as starter is the boss of Delta Field, and the sponsor of the air show, Colonel TJ Fineman, up and around for the first time since his recent air crash.

The planes are in position now, all set for the racehorse start.

And there they go, down the field

Rounding the pylon it's the favourite, Frank Burnham, in the lead.

In second place it's Roger Shumann in his Lafayette Escadrille biplane.

Trailing in third place is Speed Murphy.

As they turn the lake pylon and head for the field pylon, it's still Burnham in the lead, Shumann second, and Murphy third.

Round the first pylon again, Burnham sets the pace, Shumann's second, and Murphy third.

Around the lake pylon it's still Burnham ahead, with Shumann closing in

Can Roger catch him? He will.

Even if he has to kiss the pylons.

Here they go around the field pylon, wing to wing.

Looks like they're playing tag with the pylon And it's Burnham with a slim lead. Go on, Rog! Go get him!

It's Shumann passing Burnham with a sensational death-defying turn And now Burnham must catch Shumann as they both turn the lake pylon.

Look at them go It's still Shumann in the lead.

Shumann's plane just brushed the field pylon Shumann and Burnham are almost wing to wing now Watch them round that pylon as they battle for the first-prize money.

Again it's Shumann up front, and he's staying there.

Burnham can't pass him as they swing around the lake pylon.

There they go

Burnham's crowding Shumann No, No, Pull away, Pull away

Stay off the field. Please, stay off the field Folks, stay off the field, please Clear the field Please, clear the field Will you people please stay off the field Come back. Are you out of your mind?


Even if Matt Ord does own it. It's real beautiful.

Yeah. Like a laid-out corpse.

Take a look.

Not the scenery, the engine.

What's the score?

Looks like you struck out. What's wrong with it?

The electrical system's on the blink. It can be fixed, can't it?

Nah. Somebody tried, and they gave up.

Answer my question! There isn't time.

Got better than 16 hours before starting time tomorrow.

Are you forgetting sleep? Can you do it?

Answer me! Can you?! No!

I need this plane.

Well... Maybe I could get it running again, but... I don't know for how long.

That'll be my worry.

Leave the cowling alone.

You know what? What?

I'm wishing hard.

I wish that Matt Ord don't forget how much he hates your guts.

Let's get back to the café.

Can Jack really fly a plane?

He'd be soloing by now if I hadn't put my foot down.

How long will your foot stay down? I don't know.

He's growing up fast. Awfully fast.

You ever tried putting your foot down on Roger?

What do you think? I think I put my foot in my mouth.

Where have you been? Making time with the Bearded Lady.

Want some coffee? Sure. Make it black.

Jet-black, yeah. Two coffees, black.

Wishing you had a plane?

Found one.

What's the problem? Money?

Mr Money.

Matt Ord. The white one?

It's on the fritz.

Jiggs can fix it.

Can he?

Who's going to fix Mr Ord?

No harm in asking, is there? He'd spit all over you.

What's with you and Matt Ord? I floored him, over in Dallas.

He made a pass at LaVerne? He's done that.

Would you go to Matt Ord?

And I thought you hit bottom with that dice game.

I need this plane.

Like... like an alcoholic needs his drink.

If you want me to beg, I'll beg. No need to beg.

Forget it, LaVerne. Let's clear out of this stinking burg.

Where will we go?

Anyplace we don't have to crawl in dirt.

Where will I find Mr Ord? Forget it, LaVerne.

Rog! Rog, tell her to forget it.

Where do I find him, Jiggs?

Tell her!

All right, Jiggs.

Tell me where to find Mr Ord.

What's happened to us?

What the hell have we done to you?

You want the word? Ask Roger.

Where will I find him?

Long Street Hotel.

Let's get to work.

Yeah, sure.

The pylons are screaming.

She can take care of herself.

What's so funny? Moon Mullins.

He got hit on the head again with a flowerpot.

You, uh... you like to read?

I like the funnies. What class are you in school?

I'm in the third grade. I go to school in Adamston, lowa.

Is that a fact? No.

It's just what I'm supposed to say if people ask me.

Then you can't read? Sure I can.

My mom, she teaches me.

That's a nice bathtub you've got.

Jack! Hm?

It's time to turn in. Pretty soon.

Jack's used to being alone.

You don't have to stay.

Good night.

Jack, I have to go. Something came up. Something you ate?

Does Roger think...?

Does Roger think anything went on between us last night?

Jiggs thinks so.

What about Roger?

His thoughts never come down to earth. They go down to the gutter.

What did you tell Jiggs about last night?

I told him that you and I talked, the way I...

the way I've always wanted to talk to Roger.

And never have.

You're not going to Ord. Roger needs that plane.

No matter what the price? Can you tell me you don't mind?

No, I can't.

I mind. Each and every nightmare.

Each and every sin. Go back upstairs.

Burke, please. Maybe I can get the plane.

But how? Tickling his ego.

Thanks for the laugh. And for having done more than enough.

What I did I did as a newspaperman.

But this is personal.

Because last night something did go on between us.

OK, a pine box'll do.


No, I'll leave a cheque for you at the desk.


Can I come in? Might as well.

Make it a short one.

Too bad about Burnham. Yeah.

He goes back to Waco in the morning, in a chartered plane.

How old was he? Just a kid. 24.

A good kid, too. Hit you hard, didn't it?


Thinking of giving up your flying billboards?

I'm thinking nothing of the sort. Business is business, huh?

Business, bull. I just like to race planes, that's all.

Man's gotta get his kicks one way or another.

Then you can enter your other plane in tomorrow's big race.

Oh, sure. The plane's on the fritz.

My best pilot's dead, my second-best pilot's in Mobile, stewing himself with corn liquor.

How stupid can you get. You'd be surprised.

If you're interested, I could tell you how you could make tomorrow's race.

None of your jokes, now.

Jiggs could fix it, Shumann could fly it.

Look, do me a favour, will you? Beat it.

Act like a businessman. Deal in facts.

Facts? You want facts?

All right, I'll deal you a couple.

The plane can't be fixed - at least not in time for tomorrow's race.

What's more, Shumann wouldn't fly my plane if it was the last one on Earth.

50 bucks says he will.

Yeah... He just might at that.

Only I'm not gonna ask him to.

I'll do the asking.

Look, we're both nuts. I got nothing for him to fly.

50 more says you have.

Just what do you know that I don't?

I know it would be a great story. Page one.

Tractor tycoon Matt Ord and war ace Roger Shumann joining forces and winning tomorrow's big race.

What race? The potato-sack race?

And I know this character Jiggs.

He has a way with engines.

You also gotten to know LaVerne?

Not as well as I'd like to.

How about a drink?

Quite a party they're having.

How'd it go?

I sold him.

How'd you do it? Just... used my natural talents.

Oh, I... didn't meant to be droll.

What now? Out to the field, and... pass along the news?


Not for a... while yet.

What's the point?

You want Roger to squirm?

Yes. As I've squirmed.

Let him believe I went to Matt Ord.

How will he live with himself?

Roger'll make out, as long as he has a plane.

He won't have one tomorrow... if Matt Ord finds out I've been canned.

You were fired? Why?

For believing you were a strange, beautiful... unearthly creature from a faraway planet.

I am sorry.

Think nothing of it. It's a habit with me.

In Atlanta, I got fired for writing a yarn about a Confederate war veteran who said Grant could lick Lee every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Just a case of 90-proof fiction.

What made you become a newspaperman?

A newsreel.

Of war correspondent, Richard Harding Davis, interviewing French generals at the front.

That was my vision, just as a Liberty Bond poster was yours.

In the last hour, my vision's become blurred.

In what way?

I kept wishing I hadn't let you talk me out of going to Matt Ord.

Are you drunk? Huh!


The party's next door.

And that's the way it's always been.

Next door.

Maybe if I had gone to him, I would have felt free... to walk out on Roger.

I thought I knew you.

You do know me. You know me better than my husband.

You'd better go easy on this wine. No.

I... I've gotta talk.

I want to.

Tomorrow night the show moves on, and heaven knows when I'll be able to talk to anyone like I'm talking to you now.

A few more drinks, and... I'd tell you how much I'm gonna miss you.

Tell me. Please tell me.

I've forgotten how it feels to be missed.

This OK?

Crummy. Can you use it?

Rog, if you wanna end it all, you take that wire there and hang yourself with it. It'd be quicker.

Cut the comedy and get to work!

Here. Have a cigar.

Keep it. I feel green enough.

What time is it? Ten to one.

I'm getting nowhere. Anything I can do?

Yeah. Just stand by and admire me like I admire you when you're up there.

That's fine. Just get me up there tomorrow afternoon.

What's keeping her?

Pretty stupid question, isn't it?

Shut up! You're not worried about LaVerne!

You're scared that Matt Ord will welsh on his end of the bargain.

Shut up! Come on! Try again!

Three balls for a nickel! Come on! Hit the lunkhead between the eyes!

No. I'm the lunkhead. Yeah, you can say that again.

The more I think of you treating LaVerne this way, the more I want to kill you.

She's back.

You all right? Uh-huh.

How's it coming? Fine. Just fine.

Yeah, it's a great engine. Comes apart like nothing.

Will it be all right? Don't worry.

Probably wind up throwing these parts into a junk heap.

Jiggs, I'm serious. I'm doing the best I can. I...

Sound like a surgeon, don't I? We'll make it.

My taxi's waiting. Where are you going?

Back to the flat.

Are you sure you're all right? Mm-hm.

See you in the morning. Yeah.

Jiggs, you... you will give it your best, won't you?

You know me.

Well, aren't you going back with her? Uh, no. I...

I'm sticking around. I want to sit back and watch you breathe life into this fallen sparrow. We'll be all night and all morning.

Oh, I've got more time than you have.

What kind is it? Turkey, trying to pass for chicken.

That's what we've got on our hands - a turkey, trying to pass for an airplane.

How long was... LaVerne at the hotel?

She got back to the flat about... a half-hour ago.

How'd she look? You mean, how did she take Matt Ord?


She looked no worse than she did after her last parachute jump.

Don't let her fool you.

I didn't think you cared. What do you know about me?

You? Flying around the pylons, you may have the look of eagles, but down here you're a pitiful, blind man.

Blind to a girl and a little boy who worship the ground you walk on.

A blind man isn't blind.

You lost me.

Let me put it this way.

My first love was airplanes.

My flirtations were with death.

Then LaVerne came along.

Her love was something I didn't know how to accept, something I'd no right to.

Every time I'd come close to cracking up, I'd think about sending her away, for her good.

And I'd think:

"God, how I'd miss her," how much a part of me she is.

Then you are in love with her.

Well, you're up with the birds.

I called the paper. I was told you don't work there any more.

That's a running gag around the office.

I didn't laugh.

It's just a routine for bill collectors.

Well, how's it coming?

You losing sleep over us?

Early-morning jitters. I'm rooting for you.

Root from the grandstand. I can't stomach you before breakfast.

Hey! Now, look, it's my ship!

Get out of here before I throw it back to you piece by piece!

All right, all right.

That dirty, drooling... What d'you expect?

You made the bargain.

Look, Matt... Go on back and tell him it's all off!

And I thought you were a cool-headed businessman.

What did I say to him? Didn't I walk in with a smile and a glad hand?

I'm always saying or doing the wrong thing around him.

Maybe I envy him too much. He's not like you or me, so don't waste envy on him. He's not all hero.

He's also a poor son of a gun, and he deserves our pity.

How much longer? You can't rush it.

It's not a vacuum cleaner.

Anything more I can do? Mm-hm.

Yeah, you can pray that this thing never gets off the ground.

How does she feel, Jack? OK, Dad.

Wanna take her up? Could I?

Here. You can have five rides on the airplane carousel.

Gee, thanks.

Is it all right if I buy some ice cream?


Over there.

If Matt has loused us up... You won't win any prizes for flying off the handle.

You about set? How much time we got?

Fineman's here. Hm?

Hello, Colonel. You're looking good today.

Well, if I do, it's because worrying agrees with me.

You know everyone. You know LaVerne. Ms Shumann.

Morning, Colonel.

It's afternoon. Show starts in an hour.

Sooner the better. You worked all night, I hear.

That's right. Then you worked for nothing!

The devil you say. Son, wasn't yesterday enough for you?

Are you blaming me for that?! No! But if something happens to you...

What's wrong with this plane?! ...then it will be my fault!

This your lousy twist?

Let the engine do the talking for you.

Let's go, Jiggs.

Choke up. Choke's up.

Choke in. Choke in.

Contact. Contact.

Leave it up.



Five minutes. Please!

That's all I'm asking for. Five minutes!

All right, son.

Five minutes.

What's wrong?

I don't know. I think you do.

You do! Please, Jiggs.

Why don't you ask me to put a bullet through your thick head?

That would be easier.


All right. All right, go kill yourself.

I'll turn the screws, you turn the pylons.

God help us both if...

Choke in.

Throttle back.

Contact. Contact.

Contact. Contact!


Your plane seems to be all right.

Come on! Not much time. Leave us alone for a minute, huh?

Good luck.

This is the last time you'll have to say that.

I'm kissing the pylons goodbye.


You, me and Jack will take the prize money and make a new start somewhere.

All right with you? Roger, don't make any promises, or do anything you don't want to.

Burke got the plane. I never went to Matt Ord, believe me.

I begged for this plane. Now I'm begging for your forgiveness.

I love you, LaVerne. Let's go!

You're holding up the parade.

There you are, sonny. Thank you.

All right, Jackie boy.

We've got your favourite ship all set to go. There we are.

Is everything all right? Yes. Everything.

Ladies and gentlemen, the feature event of the Delta Field air show, sponsored by Colonel TJ Fineman.

The Bond Trophy race, first prize money, 500 dollars.

Look for a duel between war ace Roger Shumann and Crash Wilson, the favourite, flying a black high-winged monoplane.

The pilots are now in position, and we're all set for the racehorse start of what should be another thrilling race around the pylon-marked course.

And there they go, Wait a minute. What's happened to Shumann?

The Diamond white's having engine trouble.

Shumann may be out of the race He's trying to get going.

And he does. He's away The engine's roaring now, and Shumann rounds the first pylon, but he's far behind the pacesetters. Wilson leads, Miller's second, Bailey third and Kennedy fourth, and Shumann's last but moving up fast.

His engine's humming now, and he's raring to go Around the field pylon, Wilson's still leading, Miller close behind, and Kennedy now in third place.

As they round the far pylon for the second lap, Shumann's still trailing Bailey, who holds on to fourth place.

As they swing around the lake pylon, it's Shumann moving up.

A tight turn on the lake pylon, moving up the inside track, he's now passed Bailey and Kennedy and he's pressing the leaders It's Crash Wilson still leading the pack, Miller in second place, Shumann now holding third place as he shaves the far pylon.

Shumann's closing the gap, and fast, too. He's passing Miller He's now in second place. Look at him go after Crash Wilson He's raring to make the big move to push Wilson as they shoot past the lake pylon.

Shumann's making it real hot for Wilson. It's gonna be a real race now as...

Wait a minute, Miller's in trouble His plane's smoking. He's coming down

Please, keep off the field Stay in your seats, folks, please Clear the walkway, Bob Miller in "Hank's Crank" is gonna crash Approaching the far pylon, it's Wilson and Shumann fighting for the lead and for the big money They're wing to wing and dangerously close as they make for the lake pylon.

Look at Shumann. The war ace is getting on the inside, and he's out in front.

Shumann takes the lead for the first time.

Shumann again takes the inside track as they roar around the pylon, and Shumann widens his lead. His tight turns sent him to the front of the pack.

What flying Folks, you're seeing the greatest.

The daring that made him a great war ace is now paying off on the pylon turns.

There's power in the Diamond Blade. Looks like another winner for Matt Ord.

But Wilson isn't giving up. He's hot after Shumann.

Shumann nicked the pylon He nicked it He can't be caught now.

He's flying the shortest, tightest and fastest course

Hold it, Shumann's in trouble His engine's smoking

Wait. His plane's on fire

Stay off the field Please, stay off the field Clear that field Give him a chance to land He must have room to land

Give Shumann room Please, clear that field

Let me out!

He's going to crash For God's sake, run for your lives

Let me out! Let me out!

LaVerne, don't. Stay here. Leave me alone!

Leave me alone!

Let me out of here!

Let me out!

All right. Pull it up.

No luck. All right, everybody, go on home.

What are you doing? Shining 'em up.

For the last time.

The last time? Yeah. I'm giving them to Roger.

What for?

I just want him to look his best, that's all.

Put the boots away!

Don't you want Roger to have 'em? Ohh!

I don't do nothing right, do I?

I'm thinking that about myself. I didn't want to fix the lousy plane.

I tried not to, but Roger made me.

He made me! You don't believe that I killed him, do you?

No, Jiggs, I don't.

I wish I could tell you that I've never done nothing to hurt you, but... I can't.

Me and my lousy pride. I...

I never once tried to kill the dirty talk, the dirty lies.

Not once.

You all right?

You hungry? No.


Why don't you get yourself a bottle of pop?


They find him?

Only the plane. They've quit trying?


They're sending a diver down. Muddy bottom down there, ain't it?

Shut up, Jiggs.

Anything I can get you? Get lost.

What's the matter? You blaming me for getting the plane?

I'm blaming myself, hating myself. Why?

Because of what went on between us? Yes! Don't you understand?

Before he taxied away, Roger told me he loved me.

For the first time, he told me.

He told me we'd make a new start somewhere, just the three of us.

Roger, Jack and me.

I've got my car outside.

Claude Mollet is expecting us.

The restaurant guy? Hasn't anybody told him what happened?

He knows. He's still going ahead with the party?

Party? No.

Just a chance for some of the boys to get together and pay their last respects.

Was this your idea, Mr Devlin?

Food's been cooked, the wine's been chilled.

And the guest of honour's at the bottom of the lake.

There's an old saying: "Nobody really dies till he's forgotten."

Do you want to come with us? No.

Good night, Jack.

Good night.

Not a bad party, huh?

Not bad for a wake.

What are you so down in the mouth for?

You oughta be singing something, something jazzy.

Why, sure. Now you're gonna have...

...Luscious LaVerne all to yourself.

Captain Shumann.

Thank you.

Thank you for coming to the aid of my beloved native land in its darkest days.

Captain Shumann, my bread and wine are yours.

God... bless your soul.

Nicely put, wasn't it?

Where do you go from here?

You open for a suggestion?

You mean "proposition", don't you? Don't make a dirty word out of it.

Then don't make me feel naked. I'm sorry.

I don't want you to get the wrong idea.

No sad speeches, please.

I want to help you.

Just give it to me in plain English.

I'm offering you a job, doing your parachute stunt for Diamond Blade.

You've got to think of where your next meal's coming from.

And what else do I think about? Kissing Jiggs goodbye.

And? Letting me take care of your boy.

How? I'll put him in school.

A good military academy. Am I interrupting something?

Yes, you are.

Would you like that poster?

I think I could get Claude to part with it.

Don't ask him. I don't want it. Why? Cos it's faded?

Look, Mr Devlin, I'm sick at heart for ever letting my hair down with you.

For ever saying I wanted to walk out on Roger.

For letting you sweet-talk me and kiss me.

All right, so my vision was blurred.

What do you want me to do now, eat my words?

No, just the cake. Then we can get out of here.

Who's "we"? Who do you think you are?

Get away from me! Go peddle your papers!

Farewell to you, my Antonia.


Where are you going? None of your business.

Where are you going?! Like I said, none of your business!

You lose your punch, Jiggs?

Lose your LaVerne?


Would Madame Shumann like to have that poster?

I could take it out of the frame.

Pardon me for laughing, Claude.

But, you see, Madame Shumann's burying the past... with one of Matt Ord's Diamond Blade bulldozers.

Why did she have to go with that slob?

I don't know. And I don't care.

Well, I care. I...

I care. Then get on your white charger and...

do something about it.

What could I ever do but...

Iove her?

Hey, Burke? Burke!

Where are you going?

Where's everybody going?



Where are you, Rog?

Where in the hell are you?

Well! Kind sir.

Allow me to present myself. The name, sir, is Richard Harding Davis.

What brings you here, Mr Davis?

Good question, sir.

Very good. Shows your reportorial training.

What manner of men are these?

Are these your so-called gentlemen of the press, or are they your lavatory attendants?

In answer to your question, sir, I've come to Louisiana without a banjo on my knee.

I've come here in search of a story of...

Gave it a big enough play, didn't I?

This is a story of stories, and what have you done with it?

Is this what you call news?

Well, do you want to know what I call it?

I call it the dead facts.

The dead facts, strung together by a deaf, dumb, blind editor!

Me, Burke Devlin, I've got the story!

Preserved in alcohol, no doubt. No.

I've got it in my aching heart, and you wanna know how I got it?

By crawling through dirt and filth and muck and smut!

By finding truth and beauty where you'd never expect to find it.

Do you know who's lying dead at the bottom of a lake?

The son of an Ohio country doctor, a child who refused to follow in his father's footsteps because he was also a child of the 20th century.

He was a boy who stole under the tent of a faraway war because he had outgrown the motorbikes and motor cars, and because he had a hunger for the flying machine.

He knew no flags and no enemy but one - death.

When the war ended he found himself a reluctant hero.

He hadn't asked for the confetti and flags...

...and he ran from them.

The hell with that. You listen to this.

He was lost until he found those pylons, those three bony fingers of death sticking out of the earth, waiting to bring him down.

And he chased those pylons from coast to coast, Canada in the summer, Mexico in the winter, the four of them living out of one suitcase and one can opener.

And it wasn't money he was after any more than glory, because the glory only lasted until the next race.

He was a man conquered by the flying machine.

And that isn't all. He forsook all earthbound vanities - home, family and love. Why?

Because deep down he knew that a man without blood in his veins has go to fall down, sooner or later.

And Roger Shumann fell down.

The night before he fell into the lake, he fell so far and so hard for the sake of the flying machine, that the crankcase oil burst from his veins and a heart heavy with shame pumped blood back into them.

Turning the last pylon, he was something he thought he'd never be again - a human being.

And he died only because he was thinking of the human beings he might kill if he tried to land on the field.

For among them was a woman and a boy whose love he had finally accepted, a wife and son... for whom he was gonna forsake his flying machine that... in the end forsook him.

He died the death of a hero, and he deserves our tears.

So throw the dirt gently into his grave.

Take off your hat.

Bow your head... and read kindly his epitaph.

"Here lies Roger Shumann... brother of the unknown ancient man, who first climbed onto a horse and spanned the horizons."

I'm sorry. Real sorry.

I wish you'd come back to work.



I'll probably be drunk.

Make it the day after tomorrow.

What happens now? With the girl?

She covers herself with dirt. Matt Ord's dirt.

I think you're in love with more than a story.


What do you want now?

This'll do for a start.

And how are you?

I said, what do you want now?

A mere 100 bucks. Or has our bet slipped your mind?

Good night. Man, where's your Dixie hospitality?

I haven't finished my drink yet.

And besides, I feel obliged to pass along a couple of great publicity stunts that have been distilling in my remarkable brain.

Some other time. It won't keep.

It's too hot, too sensational.

Listen to this.

You too, with the big, beautiful glassy eyes.

OK. Get it over with. Wait till you hear this.

LaVerne jumping out of the skies, wearing nothing but long, black ballet stockings, "Diamond Blade One" written on one, "Diamond Blade Two" on the other.

Doesn't that smack of real class? OK, pal. Let's go.

Sit down!

Before I knock you down.

I've got a taxi waiting.


You're going with me. Where?

To the airport.

I hate airports. Too many airplanes.

I'm putting you and Jack on a plane to Chicago.

What's in Chicago? Planes, trains and buses to lowa.

What's in lowa? Black loam, yellow harvests, and barns plastered with faded Liberty Bond posters.

Ask a foolish question and there's always a clown around with a foolish answer.

Mr Clown, you've been good for a few laughs.

Now go juggle your vocabulary someplace else.

Matt, throw the clown out.

Pick up that phone and I'll brain you with it.

Leave me alone!

You're not alone. You're with Matt Ord.

And what for? Who are you doing this for now?

None of your business. Is that plain enough for you?

Are you doing it for Jack? I'm doing it for myself.

You're lying. All right! I am doing it for Jack!

I'll be putting the boy through school.

Jack'll grow to hate you for it.

And he'll hate himself. Don't do this to him.

He's taken enough of the whispers the smirks, the dirty laughs, and the grease monkeys taunting him with "Who's your old man today?"

Oh, no! I saw it happen.

He never said a word.

Not a word. Do you expect him to?

You won't be able to bury your dreams at the bottom of the lake.

You'll have to go on asking yourself "What's your dream, LaVerne?"

"What's your dream today?"

Goodbye, Mr Devlin.

Goodbye, Jack.

Goodbye. And thanks.

Will I ever see you again? I don't know.