Island in the Sky (1953) Movie Script

This is a story about professional pilots
and their special guarded world...
their island in the sky.
Before takeoff, a professional pilot
is keen, anxious...
but lest someone read his true feelings,
he is elaborately casual.
The reason for this is that he is about
to enter a new, though familiar, world.
The process of entrance begins
a short time before he leaves the ground...
and is completed the instant he is in the air.
In the world aloft, the factors of life
and death assume their proper values.
Professional pilots are, of necessity,
uncomplicated, simple men.
Their thinking must remain straightforward,
or they die violently.
Many professional airline pilots
were attached...
to the Army Air Transport Command
soon after the war with Germany began.
They were of the Army, but not in it.
For a time, they continued to wear
their airline uniforms...
but extremes of cold and heat,
the rigors of far-flung operations...
frequently reduced them
to an identifying cap.
The men in this story
are fictitious characters...
but their counterparts can be found
in cockpits all over the world.
Now they are flying a war,
tomorrow they will be flying a peace...
for regardless of the world's condition,
flying is their life.
There are other stories,
some perhaps more heroic...
but no matter what story
might have been selected...
or wherever on earth
or in the air it might take place...
the men involved would be
much the same as Murray...
and Dooley.
We are going to pick up some ice.
D'Annunzia, see if you can get us
a cross-bearing from Desolation Island.
Can't raise them.
- How about Goose Bay?
- Nothing doing.
It's the northern lights. We got to wait.
Murray, where do you think we are?
Right here, Captain.
Where's right here?
How far from the Labrador Coast?
Two hundred miles, perhaps 220.
You could be wrong. I got a hunch
we're almost over the coast.
Figure out what kind of ground speed
we'd have to make...
to be over that there Hamilton River
Peninsula in about 10 minutes.
We'd have to make
200 miles per hour, Captain.
That could just hardly be possible!
Anything, mind you, anything
can happen up here, Murray.
- Something wrong?
- No, that is, not yet.
After 15,000 flying hours...
you are suspicious, cynical...
and most of all, humble.
Behind you are the days and nights
of airline flying...
and the simple formula that if you take
good care of your own neck...
your passengers will likewise
remain in good health.
Frank, I got a hunch
we're in for a long ride.
We got to get something on this radio.
Maybe we'll find a hole yet.
I doubt it.
If we did, we couldn't use it.
Don't know where we are.
Want to head back for Greenland?
Would you like to tangle with that fjord
at night, young fella?
Not me, Daddy. Just an idea I had.
You can bust your tokhes
with ideas like that.
Besides, we couldn't make it anyway.
Yeah, we got to watch our consumption.
If we can't get into Goose Bay,
we got to go on to Presque Isle.
We need all the gas we got.
You don't worry about rough air.
It's just uncomfortable.
You don't worry about snow,
or even the static.
You do worry about the winds up here.
They are invisible and can be so powerful.
But most of all, you worry about ice.
It can kill.
Have you ever been afraid?
It's something like hunger.
It comes faithfully to all men who fly to live.
It comes when something is wrong,
seen or unseen.
It comes when an engine sputters and dies.
It comes in a thunderstorm
when the instruments go mad.
It comes at the end of a blind approach...
when the ground fails to appear.
It comes, like now...
when doubt creeps through your mind.
I just worked Goose Bay, Captain!
- Why don't they turn on the range?
- He says it's on.
I can't hear anything.
Goose Bay tried to take a bearing on us,
but he says our signals are too weak.
- How about Greenland?
- Still no go.
- Did you try Montreal?
- Yeah, on that special frequency.
- Nothing?
- Nothing.
What's the frequency of that
little broadcasting station...
Mont Joli on the St. Lawrence?
790, I think. Wait a second. I'll look it up.
790 is right, Captain.
We'll give it a try for a bearing.
I can hear some guy.
That must be it.
It's kind of weak, but it's there.
He's talking in English. It should be French.
It's 15 past the hour.
There should be a station announcement.
If they don't announce in French,
it's not Mont Joli.
This is station KTRA,
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Skip! Funny how that does that
so much up here.
Where do you think we are now?
Just coming up on the St. Lawrence.
Maybe 50 miles this side of it.
With no stars or radio,
it's pretty hard to be sure.
Good boy. When you talk like that
I can believe you.
We must have missed Goose Bay
altogether. Went way south.
We couldn't have gone north.
Not on this course.
Then we're east of course,
so we'll take a new one.
- Fly 270, Frank.
- 270, Daddy.
- D'Annunzia!
- Yeah.
Transmit blind and keep sending.
Ask anyone you can raise for a bearing.
- She's sinking again.
- Yeah!
Run her up to 2,500.
Thirty-five inches of boost!
Stankowski. Murray! D'Annunzia.
More alcohol on the props.
We can't keep this course any longer.
We gonna have to get out of this ice,
right now.
D'Annunzia, get through
to Goose or anybody.
- Right.
- Tell them we're in a jam.
Icing up and losing altitude.
We're turning northwest
till we run out of gas.
- Got it?
- Got it.
And keep that key down
so everybody can take bearings on us.
If we go northwest, Captain,
we'll fly right off the map.
- It says "uncharted" up that way.
- But up that way, it's supposed to be flat.
Stick around awhile. We'll get through.
I haven't jumped out of a ship in 16 years.
I'm not going to start tonight.
Give me officers' mess!
Lieutenant Cord, this is radio.
What was his last position? Well, find out.
And you might find out
how much fuel he has, too.
I'll get down there after a while.
- It's that time, Daddy. Fifty gallons left.
- Get that window open.
Sing out if you see anything.
- You see the ground yet?
- No, not yet!
She's going to land like a grand piano
thrown off the top of a mountain.
Hey, this stuff is breaking up, I think.
- Did you see a hole?
- No! But we just passed through a layer.
It better be quick!
Daddy! A hole!
- I see a lake down here, think!
- There's another one over here!
- Wheels down and half flap!
- What?
Are you going to land this thing
with the wheels down?
Yes! We're gonna walk away
from this thing yet!
Full flaps.
Cut the switches, Frank!
Hold your hats.
Thank you, God Almighty.
Turner, what do you make of this bearing
from Montreal on Dooley?
It shows him north
of the St. Lawrence somewhere.
It indicates he followed his plan
and went off to the northwest.
Knowing Dooley, I'd guess he'd stick
to his plan.
That leaves us
10,000 square miles to search.
If he was lucky enough to come down
in one piece, how long can he live up there?
That depends on a lot of things.
Ditson, you're the Arctic expert.
Is there any game in that region?
No one knows, Colonel.
No one's ever been up there before.
If he flew to the end of his gas supply,
he's at least 200 miles in uncharted territory.
Why, even the Eskimos won't have it.
We've got to organize
a search party, somehow.
The catch is, where?
We can't send airplanes out
on a wild goose chase.
Even the weather is lousy.
We gotta be sure we don't lose more planes
and have to do something about them.
The whole thing can become
very embarrassing.
- Cord?
- Yes, sir.
How many ships have we available
for a search mission, right now?
- Five, sir. Counting the general's ship.
- The general can walk.
What's the disposition of the civilian
airline pilots attached here at the moment?
I'll have to check to make sure, sir.
They're hard to keep track of.
Can you give me an idea
how many are available?
Let's see.
Willie Moon is either in Goose Bay
or out of there by now, westbound.
Stop him if you can. Who else?
Stannish is in or just out of Greenland.
We haven't had a signal in two days.
Great communication system.
What about J.H. Handy and Stutz?
Handy ought to be on his way to Iceland.
Stutz is on his way out of there.
McMullen and Fitch are supposed to be
over at the hotel.
I'll have to dig for Wally Miller.
He's got that dame in Boston.
Get him out of there.
Have everybody you can get ahold of
in the briefing room at 9:00 am.
Turner, see that all five ships
are fully equipped with arctic kits.
Get with Ditson and work out the stuff
to be carried for dropping.
You haunt the radio room and let me know
the minute anything worthwhile comes in.
Now, have you gentlemen any further ideas?
We better have some by morning.
Those airline boys
are gonna be hard to hold.
Hiya, Walrus!
- Did you bring any whiskey?
- No, we brought some fresh milk.
Milk? Milk is for babies.
Hello, Stannish. How are you?
Good to see you.
Hello, Breezy. How was the trip?
What do you guys mean by coming up here
without a drop of the blood of man?
What did you bring, anyway?
Parts of a snowplow, groceries,
a lot of medicine and wastebaskets.
- But no whiskey?
- No whiskey.
Hear anything in particular
on your way over?
Static. I guess the weather is bad behind us.
It is.
I suppose we go on to Iceland
in the morning.
I'm telling you right now,
I won't wear this shirt another week.
Maybe you won't.
I've got some bad news for you.
We got word from Presque Isle
just before you landed. Dooley is down.
- Where?
- I don't know. They didn't say.
- They reported heavy ice.
- What kind of a load did he have?
Two engines for overhaul and full tanks.
I don't think he went in the drink.
I did some figuring,
he must have come down over land.
- Breezy, let's get out of here.
- Wait a minute, Stannish.
I know how you feel, but you gotta rest.
We've got to find Dooley.
We'll rest another time.
I don't want to put you under armed guard.
You won't. I'm a civilian and I'm leaving.
- I can and I will.
- Dooley may be freezing to death!
I know that, but you got to wait.
The weather is stinking
at Goose and Presque Isle.
What do we do? Sit here and wait
until summer comes to the Arctic circle?
You'll only hurt Dooley's chances
if they have to go out and look for you, too.
Now, get about four hours' sleep.
We gonna have some late dope by then.
All right. Four hours, but no more.
The captain of Lighthouse Lil
wants to talk to you.
- Penelope to Lighthouse Lil. Go ahead.
- Have you heard about Dooley?
I can guess. He got himself transferred
to the nice warm Pacific.
- He's down, Stutzie.
- Repeat that.
Dooley is down. It happened early last night.
- Where?
- Nobody knows.
- Can't they find out? Did he go in the drink?
- They don't seem to think so.
He's supposed to be way up somewhere.
That's definite.
They're starting the search today.
If you get there in time, you'll get in on it.
Hey, Sunny, come to life!
Things are happening!
- What goes?
- Dooley is down.
That's too bad.
Poor old Dooley. He was a good guy.
He may still be alive.
They don't think he went in the drink.
- Are you awake?
- Yeah, sort of.
Listen, we're going to stick out
our necks more than usual.
The search starts tomorrow
and we can make it if we don't stop...
at Greenland for gas.
We'll fly straight on through.
It's okay by me, whatever is customary.
You're down.
Yeah, right in the middle of a big nowhere.
On a lake, yes. But where's the lake?
In the morning,
if God will let the sun shine...
you can take a shot
with the octant and find out.
Now, keep thinking so you won't be so cold.
You've got to think of everything.
There's about 30 gallons left in the tanks,
maybe a little more. That's wonderful.
You'll have generator power for the radio.
You can send a position
from nowhere to somewhere...
if you can get an engine started in this cold.
Now the food.
Three tins of salmon, eight chocolate bars,
some C-rations...
two marmalade sandwiches
left over from last night.
One with a bite out of it.
You've got to spread those out somehow...
make them last five men
for maybe six days.
But you've got to be careful, awful careful.
This is no raft floating on a warm sea.
Keep your strength.
It's the only chance against this cold.
They're all depending on you.
You've gotta watch them because
this night is going to be the easiest.
They ate today and they're still strong...
but tomorrow, or the day after...
they'll start getting ideas about living.
They'll want to set out on their own
and find their way out of nowhere...
because they're human.
But you can't be human.
You've got to tell them every day
that it can't be done...
tell them it will be like a sickness, creeping.
They'll want to lie down and rest
and they won't ever get up.
So, find food. That's number one.
Find out where nowhere is.
That's number two.
Then you can help the others find nowhere.
Stannish, McMullen, Stutz...
J.H. Handy and Willie Moon.
They'll come, just like you told
the others they'd come.
They won't leave you alone
waiting on a pinpoint in nowhere.
They'll come, if it takes all winter.
But you've only got six days.
Our Father, who art in heaven...
hallowed be thy name.
McMullen! Wake up!
Come on, McMullen, wake up.
I'm sorry, I didn't mean...
Now, Mac. Please.
Please, Mac.
Mac, you shouldn't. No, Mac.
One, two, three.
McMullen. Wake up.
Come on, Mac. The field wants you
to come right over.
Get out of here!
- Give me them blankets!
- No, Mac! Now, please.
You and Fitch have got to get up.
They want you at the field, right now.
Get Fitch up, then, and leave me be.
Please, Mac.
I ain't going to wake you up no more
if you keep heaving me out of the window.
All right!
I'm sorry, Rene. Close the dang window.
- Wake up, Fitch!
- I am awake.
Them army maniacs want us at the field.
- They ain't got no sense of time at all.
- They said it was important.
Something's wrong,
I can smell it a mile away.
I'm gonna quit this business right now.
I'm gonna get me back down to Carolina.
I'm gonna get me a big old mule
and I'm just gonna plow...
the living tarnation out of that countryside.
When did you say you were leaving?
This morning.
Yes, sir, this very same morning.
Moon, here.
I hate to call you now.
Hello, my little kumquat!
What's on your mind?
Darling, I did so want you
to have these few days at home.
You'll have to talk louder. I can't hear you!
The field's been calling.
They want you to come right away.
Tell them you couldn't find me.
I think you'd want to go, Willie.
They said Dooley was down.
Throw some shirts in my bag,
will you, sweetie?
My longies, my G. I. Shoes and some socks.
I was going to fry you
such a beautiful chicken tonight.
Take it easy, sweetie. Now, just take it easy.
Everything's going to be all right. Bye.
Bye, Willie.
Come here!
All right, listen, you monkeys,
simmer down now a minute.
Daddy's going bye-bye in the sky.
But you just got home.
Yeah. You can get home all right, can't you?
Sure. We can take the streetcar,
we got four bits.
We're loaded.
All right, now, pay attention.
Wrap yourself up real good and warm
so you won't catch cold.
- Take care of Mommy, won't you?
- You bet your life.
I'll race you across.
We'll give you a head start now, Mikey.
You get right over there.
You ready?
Get on your mark...
get set, go!
You ready?
Get on your mark...
get set, go!
Wandering a little far from camp,
aren't you, Bub?
Looking for meat.
- Did you see anything?
- No.
No tracks, even?
Nothing but snow.
Did you see any different kind of wood?
This stuff we got won't burn.
The sap's frozen inside.
So is my face, maybe.
There's no feeling, Daddy.
Think maybe I should put some snow on it?
No, I don't think that will do any good.
We'll get back to the ship.
We'll put oil from the engine on it.
That may help.
You'd better stay out of the weather
for the next few days.
I don't understand it.
I'm warm in the sun
and there isn't any wind.
It's probably 40 below here.
We've got to be careful, real careful.
What are we gonna do if a wind comes?
We'll rig up some kind of a lean-to
down there.
Murray is scared, I think.
Keeps on talking about his wife and kid.
I guess maybe it's a new kid.
I'll talk to him.
Of course, there's nothing
to be scared about.
Only a few thousand miles of snow
and ice and sleet.
And silence.
You can almost hear it.
This is an awful country, Daddy. I'm scared.
We're a long ways from home.
We'll get out of this.
As soon as the sun gets up enough,
we'll take a shot with that octant.
Then we'll know our latitude, anyway.
Do you honestly think
that's gonna help us any?
We gotta try, Frank.
We gotta try everything.
I've been thinking about that food.
Maybe we can stretch it to seven days.
Of course we got to keep eating
on account of the cold.
And then what?
It will just be cold.
Come on. We'll fix that face of yours.
Dooley, there's something I've got to talk
to you right now about...
- before it's too late, maybe.
- Yeah?
The boys think you did a great job
getting us down even here.
They want you to know
that anything you say from now on goes.
You know what I mean?
Yeah, I know what you mean.
It better start pretty quick!
Remember the batteries, skipper.
If you use up the batteries starting
the engine, I'll never get anything out.
All right. Forget it.
So we got no generator?
How many times can you put out
with what power we have left?
Hard to say. Three or four short messages.
Maybe less. It just depends.
Give me that pad.
I'll tell you what. We'll try this right now.
You send that message three times
and no more.
Should I send it right now?
Send it loud and clear, boy.
They've got to hear it.
Now we only know...
that from about 2300 hours...
Dooley, from a position
on the St. Lawrence River...
proceeded on a northwest course.
We don't even know that for certain,
as some event a few moments later...
may have caused Dooley
to change his course.
If I might suggest, sir,
the fact that Dooley is a civilian...
might allow us to presuppose...
Look, if Dooley said he was going to fly
northwest, he'd do it.
But we don't know that, Mac.
We've got to go on what we know
before we can authorize a proper search.
Now, we do know that Montreal
got a bearing on Dooley around midnight.
Unfortunately, it was only third class.
But it did indicate that at that time...
he was somewhere in the vicinity
of Lake Manawan.
Just here.
You can see that from there on north,
the map is very sketchy.
Most of it is marked "unexplored."
Is that the latest map?
I'm told that it is. Right, Lieutenant?
Yes, sir. I've filed
an urgent -9W605 requisition...
to Washington for any additional data.
In quintuplicate, I suppose?
According to fuel figures received
from Greenland on Dooley's departure...
he should have had four or five hours'
gas when he was over this area.
If he went on to the end of his supply...
that means he would be down
400 to 600 miles north of Lake Manawan.
Whatever the case...
you can easily see that if Dooley went on
to the end of his fuel...
he is in a very unfortunate position.
When do we start looking for him, Colonel?
As soon as the others get here.
Stutz, Moon, J.H. Handy, and Stannish
will be here tonight.
Why wait for them? Dooley is freezing.
To prevent any dissipation of effort.
I didn't ask you.
I think it would be unwise to use anyone
but experienced weather pilots.
We do have ships to spare at the moment.
We might start a relay system
when the others get here.
We still have a lot of gear to round up.
If I might suggest, sir...
since no directive of any kind
has been received from Washington...
possibly, it would be better for a...
If we proceed through channels.
Can we count on taking off
in four hours, Colonel?
Be back here, ready to go, in two hours!
I don't understand it.
It just doesn't make sense.
It's colder in this ship than it is outside.
According to that there,
we ought to be having hot coffee...
in Bangor, Maine, Paris or Vladivostok.
They're all on the same latitude.
I always get the same answer.
I didn't think it would work.
Cuts out any stars
we might want to shoot tonight, too.
I keep wondering if it's me.
It's so cold I can't think.
Sure, it's the cold. It's so cold
that octant's got pneumonia.
Our time could be wrong, too.
Fine machinery just won't work
in these temperatures.
But a navigator should know where he is.
I don't. I'm sorry.
You're sorry?
Is it your fault
if the sun isn't where it's supposed to be?
Somebody's been monkeying around
with it, that's all.
Now quit knocking your brains out
with these books.
Come on outside. D'Annunzia
has a new toy for us to play with.
I'll be out in a minute.
I want to try one more shot.
All you have to do is turn this crank
and it does the rest.
If you want to send out
just a straight SOS, you turn this switch.
If somebody's near, and you want them
to take a bearing on you...
turn the other switch this other way,
and it sends out a continuous series of "A's."
Just one dot-dash after another
until you stop cranking.
How far away can you hear that thing?
That depends. Around here,
my guess is, not very far.
There's a balloon to inflate
that's supposed to take the aerial up...
and a kite to do the same thing.
They're for use
if you're floating around on a raft.
I sure wish we were.
But there's not always wind for the kite...
and it's so cold
the balloon don't have any buoyancy.
So we'll have to try attaching
the aerial to one of those trees over there.
Let me try cranking that for a moment.
That thing's hard to turn.
It took all my strength.
The grease on the gears is half froze.
But it works. I could see the light.
Let me try it, will you?
I want to see if I can crank it.
Sonny boy, you forgot your Wheaties
this morning.
From now on we start
a coffee grinder watch.
Every 30 minutes...
somebody's gonna be cranking
that there gadget as long as he can.
It'll keep us warm, anyway.
How far did you say
you could hear that thing?
Maybe 25, 100 miles.
That's fine. It's going to be a big help.
Like nails in your coffin.
McMullen to Miller and Fitch.
Do you guys see what I see?
I'm too cold to see anything.
You're cold? I got heater trouble.
Even my windows won't stay clear.
Look up ahead on the horizon,
about 70 miles.
Maybe I been drinking
the wrong kind of liquor...
but them mountains ain't on my chart.
Mine either.
I hope Dooley didn't go through here.
With a load of ice
he'd never clear those mountains.
They ought to have a name.
Looks like we'll be naming
a lot of things from here on.
How about calling them
the Corsair Mountains?
- Okay by me.
- Mark them on your charts.
The mountains are bad enough,
but get a load of that weather behind them.
Dooley either bought it against those hills
or he slipped through somehow.
If he's yonder on the other side,
he might as well be on the moon.
Mac, come here. Quick!
To all ships, relay from Dooley.
On lake about five miles long...
near shore.
Position guessed about 600 miles...
northwest, St. Lawrence.
Get the rest of it!
No injuries...
urgently require food.
Batteries low...
probably capable...
one more...
- I can hardly read Presque Isle, Mac.
- You've got to, man. Get them to repeat.
Capable one more...
transmission for you.
Take bearings when you arrive over area.
Signed, Dooley.
That lucky Irish. Did you hear that, gang?
Did you guys hear that? That Irisher!
That beat up old balloonist. He's made it!
Hey, Wally, Fitch!
Did you guys read that message
from Presque Isle?
Yeah, man!
That Dooley. That guy. He got away with it!
Now all we gotta do is find him!
Listen, Wally, Fitch.
I'm going to send Presque Isle a message
that we're proceeding to the area.
Somewhere over them mountains,
Dooley is waiting for us.
He's alive.
- Did you get that?
- Yeah.
Send it.
Well, send it.
Blue waters
Tell me, does she still stutter?
This grass will be good
under the sleeping bags.
- Give me your lighter.
- I couldn't light it.
- You want some grass there?
- Yeah.
There you are.
Where's Lovatt?
I don't know.
I've been busy making us a roof.
- I thought he was with you.
- He went hunting.
- Hunting?
- Yeah.
He took the shotgun
and the eight shells that were with it.
The shell chamber was frozen,
but he fixed it.
He said he was hungry
and he'd get us something to eat or else...
- lf only the ammunition would work.
- How long has he been gone?
About an hour, I guess.
Where is that rifle? I barely made it myself.
Even the ammunition is frozen.
If he's downwind from us
maybe he can hear us yell.
- All together.
- Frank!
- Over there.
- Frank!
There's no future in this, Mac.
You know that?
Yeah, I know it.
- Mac.
- Yeah?
- We got to go now.
- Go back?
There's just enough to make Presque Isle.
No more.
Okay, Dusty. Take her up to 7,000.
Turn her back.
McMullen to Miller and Fitch.
See you back in Presque Isle.
What's the difference?
You yell your head off
and nobody pays any attention to you.
So what's the difference?
Just gotta keep walking
in a straight line, that's all...
don't go walking around in circles.
Just keep in a straight line...
like this.
You see? Pretty smart guy.
Regular old Daniel Boone.
You don't need no bushes nor trees...
you just follow these tracks back to camp
and go to sleep...
'cause sleep's the most important thing...
in the whole wide world.
What do you know?
Around and around we go,
and where we stop nobody knows.
I'm on a merry-go-round.
Great, big, beautiful merry-go-round...
with free ice cream.
Trouble is, I can't see anything, Dooley.
You know something, smart guy?
You're like everybody else
and expect to live forever.
You're afraid to die,
because you don't know anything about it.
That's the catch...
the catcheroo.
I'm just going to sit down here
for a little while...
right here...
rest a little while.
A guy can walk just so far, you know...
it's hard on his feet.
It's just plain easy.
Just gonna lie here,
and think about Margaret...
and a far better merry-go-round.
You don't need any picture
to remember Margaret.
Frank, I can't hit a thing.
- It's ridiculous.
- Sure you can, Margaret.
Just stop looking at me.
Pay attention to what you're doing.
But, I'd rather look at you.
I really shouldn't have this.
It'll make me chubby.
I like chubby girls...
they look like they enjoy living.
- It makes my eyes look Chinesey.
- It was your idea.
But I wanted you to have a picture of me.
I don't need a picture
to remember what you look like.
If I was ten jillion miles away,
I'd always remember.
Oh, Frank, don't be so dramatic.
I'll always remember.
Even if it isn't clear, it will be
by the time we get up there.
Look, Montreal, wide open.
Wind west, 25. Quebec, scattered clouds.
Ought to break up here in an hour or so.
What more do you want?
I wish we knew
what the weather was en route.
McMullen says
the area's plenty tough to find.
Once you get past those mountains,
it practically all looks alike.
I'm for going right now.
We'll find it somehow.
- How do you feel about it, Stutzie?
- I think we ought to take a crack at it.
If we get lost,
it won't be the first time for any of us.
We'll fly a wide "V."
Odd man stuck for the lead.
Looks like I'm it.
Rip van Winkle, wake up.
We're going places, come on.
- I'm all excited.
- You got trouble, Stutzie.
What's up?
We can't get carburetor heat proper
on your right engine...
without de-rigging the assembly.
It'll take us about two hours in the cold.
- What do you want to do?
- Two hours?
- Can you get up any heat at all?
- A little, but she may ice up on you.
Whatever's customary.
- We'll take her like she is.
- It's your neck.
If we find Dooley tonight...
I will buy us a bottle of liquor
and we will get drunk.
We gotta do something
about these windshields.
We wouldn't be able to see Dooley now
if we ran right over him.
Just take it easy, see? Relax.
I'll show you an old trick
when we get close to the searching area.
You got your hunting knife with you?
Yeah, what about it?
Just relax. Don't get impatient.
A razor would be better.
If you want me to cut my throat,
the answer's no.
It's an old trick we learned
flying Fords and Stinsons...
before they had all
these new-fangled heating tubes.
You mean, you want to reach out...
and around and scrape the frost off
with my knife?
No, you reach out and around.
- I do?
- That's right, my friend.
- Just how cold do you figure it is outside?
- I don't know.
Temperature gauges stop at 40 below zero.
I imagine...
I imagine it's close to 70.
- Couldn't be much colder than that.
- No, couldn't be much colder than that.
What's the matter?
You're afraid of freezing your hand off?
No, not at all.
It's just that I'm afraid it might get
a little drafty for you...
- if I open the window.
- It won't inconvenience me a bit.
I'll just go back
and snuggle down with Wilson...
till you're through with the scraping.
All right, guys...
we're coming up on the searching area.
Spread out.
Willie Moon,
bound in spirit to certain other men...
because they had all long fought
the same heavens.
flight is more than a lifetime career.
It is the reason for living...
and perhaps for dying,
in the way of your choice.
J.H. Handy, part of a tight communion.
Not enough hatred among these men
to fill a poison thimble...
because it is difficult...
to hate so impersonal
an enemy as the weather.
Stutz, Sunny Hopper...
and Joe, waiting...
listening for a sound, any sound.
Because when one of your kind is down...
it becomes so important
to the age-old battle...
that he rise again.
They usually say something about...
how good a guy was when they do this.
But it seems to me that,
that's for strangers...
and there's no strangers here.
There's just about one thing to be said.
We can do the rest of it with thinking.
Frank was a good pilot...
that takes in a lot of things.
There's some...
Psalm about...
the shepherd, but I don't know it.
So, I think maybe we'd better
say something we all know, like...
Our Father...
who art in heaven...
hallowed be thy name...
thy kingdom come, thy will be done...
on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day, our daily bread...
...forgive us our trespasses...
- They're coming, guys!
I heard them! I know I did! we forgive those
who trespass against us...
They asked for bearings!
...lead us not into temptation...
- We gotta answer now, before it's too late!
...but deliver us from evil...
for thine is the kingdom...
and the power and the glory...
forever and ever. Amen.
I'm sorry, I was so excited.
It's all right, kid.
I guess we can go now...
there's nothing more we can do.
So long, Frank.
On a lake about five miles long. What lake?
That one?
That one?
You can see 100 miles,
but the wingspread of an airplane...
may be only 100 feet.
Like looking for a chip of wood
in the middle of an ocean.
I think we're practically over the area.
I'm going to tell him to build a big fire.
- You hear anything, yet?
- Nothing.
He might not be putting out
in the regular way, you know.
I know.
I've got the volume turned all the way up.
Maybe he's using the emergency outfit.
- You know, the one that you crank?
- I'm listening for that, too.
What do you say, we give him another call?
I hate to try too often.
I can't hear him if I'm sending.
Try it anyway.
That's the chance we gotta take.
Tell him to build a great big fire
and keep it going.
It's them. It's them again.
They must be somewhere near us now.
- Why, are they louder than the first time?
- Yeah, much louder.
They said,
"Build a big fire and keep it going."
Anything else?
Yeah, they said:
"Take it easy."
Don't they want any bearings?
Aren't you gonna send them an answer?
- In a minute, I've got to warm my fingers.
- Get them good and warm, boy.
You and Murray get out and
pile all of that lousy wood on the fire.
Pour some engine oil over it, maybe you
can get something besides white smoke...
and bring that coffee grinder down.
- Aren't you going to answer them?
- We've got to think this out.
And while we're thinking,
they'll probably be going away from us.
I know it, but we've only got
a little power left in our batteries...
and if I hold my key down
there won't be any left in a few minutes.
I think it would be better
if we took bearings on them.
Are you sure?
You got to be sure, boy.
No, I'm not sure.
But I think our batteries will hold longer
if we tell them which direction to fly.
All right.
If that's the way you want it,
that's the way we'll play it.
Here goes.
Here's where we shoot the works.
I got him!
He's weak, but I got him.
He wants to take bearings on us.
Says to fly 140 degrees now.
One... That's behind us.
That's what he says.
He'll give us another bearing
in a few minutes.
Turn to 140, Ralph.
We know! We heard!
We're right on your tail, Willie.
Well, don't be.
Spread out and keep your eyes open.
Hey, Willie, slow down a bit, will you?
Our right engine keeps icing up.
- We can't stay with you.
- Are you pumping alcohol?
Are you kidding?
This ship smells like a brewery right now.
We'll stay with you somehow.
Just stay in the air, that's all I ask.
Hey, Willie, I got him again.
He says, turn to 150 degrees, now.
The cold is sure killing this birddog.
Did you hear my dynamotor a minute ago?
It's plenty sick.
- How much we got left in the bank?
- We've about had it, I think.
The last message said they were
having magnetic compass trouble...
wanted us to send bearings constantly.
- I wish we could do it.
- So do I.
They're still getting way up to the north.
Must be strong winds up there.
Give them a new bearing. 160 degrees.
New bearing. 160 degrees.
How does he sound?
Weaker, he can't last much longer.
This fire ain't doing any good up here.
Let's drag it down by the ship
so they can see it better.
Yeah, grab the big pieces.
Stan, hold it a minute. Listen.
- Do you hear anything?
- No, I don't hear nothing.
I swear, I heard an airplane.
I guess I didn't hear anything, Stan.
I guess it was just that I wanted
to hear something so badly.
We better find him pretty soon.
Time and gasoline's a-wasting.
470 gallons left.
That leaves us about a half hour.
- You see something?
- Yeah, way over there, to the northeast.
- It could be.
- We'll have a look at it.
I could have sworn...
but it was just a little island
with another tree on it.
A new bearing, 170 degrees.
They're working around in a big circle
coming in the back way.
- Getting any louder?
- Yeah, lots.
- They're knocking my ears off.
- Thank God.
I am, plenty.
- Dooley.
- Wait a minute.
- Dooley.
- What's the matter?
We've had it.
- Nothing more at all?
- Maybe once more.
That'll really be it.
Tell them to listen on 500 kilocycles.
- The emergency set, that coffee grinder.
- I'll try.
Better put on your gloves, boy.
Get going on that coffee grinder! Hit it hard.
Hey, Joe.
All we can get is bum music on 500.
We couldn't hear Dooley's emergency set
if he did crank it.
It's that big station in Montreal.
It's spilling over.
Nothing we can do about it.
We must be practically sitting on top of him.
We've got to be.
Maybe when the sun goes down
we'll be able to see better.
When the sun goes down it'll be too late.
We're gonna have trouble getting back
to Presque Isle as it is.
Is this doing any good?
Are you sure they're listening
on this frequency?
I don't know.
I tried to tell them,
but it was the last of our batteries.
- They didn't acknowledge.
- Wouldn't they acknowledge ordinarily?
Yeah, they would. Just keep cranking...
and praying.
They're coming, boys.
Boys, they're coming!
Willie, McMullen, Stutzie!
They didn't even turn once.
They didn't even see the smoke.
They were coming right over us.
They didn't see us!
I guess we're awful hard to see down here.
Harder than we thought.
Awful hard.
I'm sorry to call you men here
directly from your ships...
I know you're very tired.
But we've got to decide
our next step tonight...
then you can all hit the sack.
Willie, I believe
yours was the first ship to contact Dooley.
What time was that
and what was your position?
It was around 3:00.
We were an hour north of the mountains.
That would put you approximately...
180 miles north of the mountains, then?
Your guess is as good as mine.
The compass just won't stand still
in that country.
We had the same trouble.
But your radio operators
heard Dooley answer the first time?
Mine did the first time...
but from then on you couldn't hear
with that Montreal station...
- knocking everything off the air.
- Can't you shut that station up?
It'll be shut up.
You covered a certain area anyway,
which we can possibly eliminate because...
if Dooley had been there,
one of you would have seen him.
I'm not so sure.
Colonel, I hate to say this,
I hate to even admit it.
Although, I'm pretty sure
the others feel the same way about it.
Maybe I shouldn't even talk at all because...
we were the only ship who never heard
a word out of Dooley one way or the other.
But I just would like to say that
for the first time since I started flying...
which was a long time ago...
I don't know where I've been.
Didn't you keep track of your courses?
What about your dead reckoning?
Colonel, I'm laughing.
Anybody that can hold an accurate course
in that country up there is a genius...
and he's getting considerable help
from God, to boot.
What do you suggest, then?
We've got to do something.
Go up there at night, strictly on the stars.
Plot one fix right after another...
keep some idea where we are, all the time.
Plan to arrive over the area
just before dawn.
If Dooley hears our engines
he'll shoot up a flare and we'll see it.
But why can't you see him better
in the daytime?
That country all looks alike...
which is probably what Dooley didn't realize
when he said he was on a lake.
There's 10 billion of them.
You gotta remember, Colonel,
Dooley is trying to think with a frozen brain.
It's close to 70 below up there...
and at this point of the game
he's probably not acting very logically.
I don't know where Dooley is...
but my guess is that
we passed very close to him...
about 10 minutes
after he sent the last bearing.
- How close?
- I haven't any idea.
We asked him to build a fire.
- And you didn't see any smoke?
- No.
If there was any smoke...
anywhere below you or on the horizon...
- isn't it likely you would've seen it?
- Normally...
but there's a lot of geography up there
to look at.
We were pretty high.
It might be better to fly lower.
- Stannish, did you see anything?
- No.
How about you, J. H?
We thought we saw him, we left the others,
but it turned out to be a wild goose chase.
We've got to narrow this down somehow.
Do you think you could've seen him,
if you had been very close?
- Say, within 10 or 15 miles of the ship?
- I wouldn't like to say.
Give me an opinion, anyway.
It sure seems out of the question
that we wouldn't have seen a fire.
Our combined visibility
was 100 miles in all directions.
You're not answering my question.
Do you think you could have seen him
had you been very close...
say, within 10 or 15 miles of the ship?
I'm sorry,
I think one of us would have seen him.
That leaves us with a very tough choice.
We can either go back to the same area,
and search more carefully...
on the theory
that you may have missed him...
or try an entirely new area.
When will it hit the search area?
I see.
And the route up?
Very good.
There's a new low pressure system
forming over Hudson Bay.
It'll hit Dooley in about 36 hours.
That's swell.
It's liable to last for days.
which is it?
All right, I can understand how you feel.
I'm inclined to believe you would
have seen him if you had been very close.
So it seems logical to strike that
particular area off the books and try...
searching along the same course,
only further east...
say, about 50 or 100 miles.
Anyone violently opposed?
Stutz's idea of going up on the stars
has a lot of merit, so let's try it.
We'll use every ship...
so you can spread out wide,
tomorrow night.
You'll have a good rest by then.
Because of the weather,
you'll be cutting things pretty fine...
I need hardly point out to you
that if we're so unfortunate...
as to miss him this time...
it's likely to be a little rough on Dooley.
- He's been up there six days, you know.
- Yeah...
and he's getting hungry.
Hey, Stutz...
you're supposed to call operator 52
in New York.
- They've been trying to get you all night.
- Okay.
Come on, Sunny, you're not through yet.
Honey, will you get me operator 52
in New York?
This is probably one of your dolls.
52, you got a call for a Capt. Stutz? Yeah.
Probably wants me to get you to marry her.
- Whatever's customary.
- Yes, speaking.
Yeah, your husband is Dooley's navigator.
No, we haven't.
We ought to find him tomorrow night.
Yeah, sure, I mean it.
We got some bearings on him today.
I mean yesterday.
I keep forgetting it's already tomorrow.
I'm sorta sleepy, I guess.
No, it's no trouble at all.
Don't you worry, we'll find him.
Sure, he's warm.
Sure they've got all kinds of stuff
to eat on those ships.
Charles? Oh, the baby.
He's over his cold.
Sure, I'll tell him.
- Is that all, Mrs. Murray? You still there?
- Yes.
I'm here.
Just tell him that...
we love him.
Hello, Mrs. Murray?
Mrs. Murray?
Yeah, I'll tell him.
No longer a pilot, a navigator...
a radioman, an engineer.
Now four men, welded into one spirit.
For hope can be murdered...
but seldom
the deep human strength of survival.
Every other urge
becomes reduced to nothing...
and so whole peoples may unite
in desperation.
Yet this strength,
is as tricky as it is powerful.
It can become miserable panic
if the leader falters...
or a member of the unit
says the wrong thing at the wrong time.
Then all the strength can explode
and be gone.
You asleep?
I can't sleep. I keep thinking.
Keep trying. We got a lot to do tomorrow.
If the planes don't come back, Dooley...
if they don't come back pretty soon...
They'll come back. You can depend on it.
But I've been thinking...
why should they come back
to this same place?
They looked here, didn't see anything.
Wouldn't they naturally look
somewhere else tomorrow...
just by the process of elimination?
Wouldn't you,
if you were flying one of those planes?
They'll figure it out
when they get back on the ground.
All we gotta do is build up a bigger fire.
Go to sleep.
It'll be swell to get back to my wife
and Charles.
Yeah, that'll be swell...
but I'm gonna ask your wife
if you keep her awake all night.
You're a lousy guy to sleep with.
Little Charlie keeps us up most of the night.
He's always yelling for something.
He's probably yelling for something
right now.
Then be glad you're here.
You're not kidding me, Dooley?
You're sure they'll come tomorrow?
I'm sure.
Try to get some sleep.
I miss my wife and the kid.
You said they'd come today, they didn't.
- Wind's getting louder, what's that mean?
- I don't know.
But if it keeps up like this all night,
we're gonna have a change of weather.
The weather's been good.
That means it'll be bad, doesn't it?
Maybe we ought to crank the radio at night.
No, I don't think
they'll try to come up at night.
Better save our strength for the day.
Tomorrow, instead of sending
straight signals...
maybe you better tap out
some kind of a message like:
"Return to same place.
Return to same place." Get it?
- How long could you keep that up?
- As long as the boys can grind.
Good, then we'll do it all day.
And then what?
Then I guess, we'll just need some rest.
Perhaps it would be better
if we started walking out of here.
There doesn't seem to be anything
to kill around this place...
it's like everything is already dead.
The planes didn't come back...
- the weather was good for flying...
- Shut up.
- We might find a river or a stream.
- Shut up.
But, Dooley, you said that they'd...
Now, listen carefully, all of you.
There's a boy up on that hill
who didn't listen to me.
He's dead.
Our only chance is right here.
If they can't see that ship from the air,
they couldn't see us alone, walking.
I'll shoot the first one of you
who leaves the camp area.
I'll aim for your legs...
but I may miss
and hit you in the back of the head.
Either way, serves you right.
Does everybody understand me?
Have you ever hit your own kid?
Hey, McMullen, where are you?
On top waiting for you.
About 14,000.
Stannish just broke through beneath me.
Okay, let's start climbing.
Hang on, now, we're breaking through.
Vega looks good, and I need one more shot.
- Kind of early, ain't it?
- Yeah.
Let's start cranking,
same rotation as yesterday.
It ain't even light, yet.
May not be hot coffee, but it'll be hot.
Man, that's all I got in me.
- He's had it.
- Okay, you take over, kid.
I'll have a go at it after that.
when you start breathing again...
get down to the ship
and break out the flares...
and the pistol.
That's where we'll need them.
We don't want to be running around
looking for anything.
That's right,
we don't want to be running around.
Bad for you, on a full stomach.
Okay, guys, this is it, I hope.
We're going down to see what we can see.
Stand by.
Stutzie better watch those hills.
Some of them stick up pretty high.
Ralph, you and I will listen to Stutz.
Keep your eye on that needle all the time.
- You listen in at 500 kilocycles.
- I am.
Listen with both ears.
Don't tell me. Say it isn't so!
You're not getting excited?
Me, excited? Everything's under control.
Stutz, where are you?
Don't bother me.
Stutz, are you in the clear, yet?
Not yet.
Stand by.
Getting a few breaks.
Hey, guys, we're in a valley.
The tops of the hills are just in the clouds...
find yourself a hole and auger on down.
Not for us, Stutzie, we got to go.
Only 450 gallons left.
Wowie, why didn't you say something?
Get going.
Me, too, Stutzie.
See you back in Presque Isle.
Good luck.
Hey, fellows! Hey, I've got him.
For the love of Mike, I've got him.
Where, Mac? Where? Do you see him?
No, on your radio, on your compass.
Listen, you hear the signal?
Look at your needle, look at it spin.
It's 40 degrees.
Quick, turn and let's get going.
He's sending a message. Shut up and listen!
He says to return to the same place.
I knew it, I knew it!
Oh, no.
He better keep those signals up,
or we'll miss him again.
Maybe we crank it too often.
No, we gotta keep doing it.
We gotta. Let's just take a little breather.
Stutzie, I guess we'll have to go.
- Gas?
- Yeah, I'll see you around.
Hey, Mac, have you heard anything lately?
- No, nothing. Have you?
- No.
Hey, wait!
He's on again, he's on, boys.
Thirty degrees. Ten left. You see it?
He's knocking my ears off. Turn!
Hold it.
Let's don't miss them this time.
- There's a flare up ahead!
- Where?
Ahead, I thought. Maybe I'm seeing things.
Hold that course. Hold that 30 degrees.
Hey, there they are!
There's the cross! There's the Corsair.
There's the guys!
There's two more,
bless them flying leather heads!
Right on the dime.
And blankets.
Dooley, I found a letter here.
It says my mother's all right! It says:
"Thank God we found you."
Murray, your wife, Violet...
little what's-his-name is over his cold.
"Ski planes take you all out soon."
"Dooley, your wife and kids
are waiting for you."
They wanna know what's wrong down here.
They count only four of us...
want us to make signs, big letters!
Grab an armful of boughs, make it fast.
That guy can't hang around here
much longer.
Get the other branches.
Hey, Dooley,
I didn't know you had a wife and kids.
six of them.