The Dawn Patrol (1938) Movie Script

I'd like to make a bonfire
of the whole blinking lot of them.
That's all they're good for.
Now, not even that.
They've been shot up so much they ain't
worth the blinking petrol to set them afire.
Hold on, my lad. That's the king's property
you're talking about.
- I know, sergeant, but look--
- I've looked. So has everybody else.
- What about it?
- Well, what about it?
Don't muck it.
Mend it and shut your mouth.
What about A Flight?
There's the major still stargazing.
That's what about it.
Headquarters, sir.
- Hello. 59th Squadron.
- Hello, Brand?
- Yes, this is Brand.
- What is the delay?
- Has A Flight returned yet?
- No, A Flight is not back yet.
They should be back before no w.
You send them out on a job
and expect them back in no time at all.
- What?
- Can you hear me?
- We have a bad connection.
- Yes, yes, yes. I can hear you.
Next time we'll get someone else.
We can't depend on you.
Oh, you'll get others to do it next time?
That'll be splendid.
- You do not seem to be giving cooperation.
- Yes, sir.
- After all, this is a war.
- We've done every job you dig up for us.
If our men can't do it, who can?
They're the finest in France--
If necessary, we'll transfer you
to a less important position.
Perhaps you can be taught
to obey orders as they are given.
- Right.
- Is that clear?
Right, sir.
- Here.
- Yes, sir.
- Officious, overdressed brass hat.
- He thinks the 59th can't do it, huh?
The 59th can do anything
he can think up.
You know what this place is?
It's a slaughterhouse and I'm the butcher.
No use calling your names, Brand.
- Duty is something you learn--
- Duty?
Do you realize how many men we've lost
this last fortnight? Do you?
- Yes.
- Sixteen.
- More than a man a day.
- Yes.
And here's A Flight
out on another rotten show.
Seven fine boys. Three of them
first time out, first time over the lines.
If half of them get back, we'll be lucky.
It is a rotten job, Brand,
but you mustn't let it get you.
They just got to say,
"Bombers after a bridge.
Go up and protect them."
You say, "Fine. Right. Cheerio."
You send up planes that have been shot
to pieces, stuck together with spit and glue.
Do our boys argue? Do they complain?
Never. They just say, "Right." And go up.
- And go up and do it.
- They do.
Here they are.
That's one.
Five out of seven.
That's it.
- Hello, sergeant.
- Sir, you've been in something this time.
- Shrapnel?
- Yes. Nearly blew the ship over.
Yeah, my word-- Look here, sir,
not 10 inches from your seat.
I needed that 10 inches, sergeant.
Oh, or every single ship--
- How'd you like it, Scott-o?
- All right. Are you intact?
- Yes, I think so.
- It was a hot one, wasn't it?
- Pretty warm.
- Who did we lose?
Blane and Machen.
Gonna lose Hollister, too,
by the look of it.
Don't take it to heart too much, sir.
We all gotta go some time, sir.
- Poor kid. Machen was his best friend.
- Yeah.
Let's go up.
I was telling him we all gotta go.
Sorry, but he went quickly.
He didn't feel any pain.
- Bobby Machen.
- Come on, Court.
Come on.
- A good stiff brandy, Bott.
- Yes, sir.
- Who was it, Blane?
- Blane, yes.
- Machen?
- And Machen. Blane and Machen.
- Here you are, captain.
- Thank you, Bott.
- Have you seen Tim?
- Here a moment ago, sir.
- Mr. Blane and Mr. Machen, sir?
- That's right, Bott.
Too bad, sir.
And the first time over the lines.
Hollister, have a drink, old man?
No, no, I-- I couldn't. Thank you.
What he needs is a cup of tea
and a nice lie down.
- A little headache powder--
- Quiet, you.
Just a suggestion.
You'd better come on down
and have a drink.
Bobby Machen.
He didn't come back, Court.
He didn't come back.
It couldn't have been Bobs.
It was burning.
- No, it couldn't have been Bobs.
- Steady. Here.
- Drink?
- No, I don't want it.
Come on. Sit down.
Look, get that into you.
You'll feel better.
Come on, bottoms up.
Look. Poor old Bobby.
Look at the....
You can pack his things later.
They didn't even give him time
to unpack.
You're from Harrogate, aren't you?
I used to have an aunt
that lived there.
When I was a kid, they used to send me
down to stay with her.
She was a funny old dame.
She used to have one of those great,
enormous ear trumpets....
- Hollister.
- Oh, where's Courtney?
- He's up there with him.
- Oh, there you are.
The C.O. wants to see you.
He does? Right.
Step into another world
and speak of lighter things?
- Very good idea.
- What'll you have?
Oh, the usual.
- Yes?
- We got to the bridge.
The bombers scored a direct hit
and wiped it out.
They did?
We lost two men.
Blane and Machen.
Oh, you did?
Yes. That's all.
Wait a minute, Courtney.
You were responsible for those new men.
Yes, that's right.
I was responsible for those two men.
We ran into that Heinie nest
on purpose.
We sent the Huns an engraved invitation
to come over and meet us.
- Yes?
- We were outnumbered...
...and forced to fly low.
We had to fight our way out.
All right, suppose you did.
You could have been more cautious.
Cautious? You don't think I enjoyed losing
those boys, do you?
Getting them burned up,
all over France.
Sending them up in crates that should
have been on the scrap heap months ago.
That's right. Now, tell me.
Tell me what's on your mind.
That I'm a murderer, I ought to give you
better planes, men, fliers.
Say it, why don't you say it?
I'm not blaming anyone, Brand.
Why don't they chuck it?
It isn't funny anymore.
You know what it is?
Brand is just about at the end of his tether.
His nerves are frayed out.
It's the responsibility.
Running the show on the ground
when he'd infinitely rather be...
...up there in a plane himself,
personally taking all the risks.
For a chap of Brand's temperament...
...a dangerous job is much easier
than sending other fellows into danger.
He has nothing against Courtney.
He relies on him and he needs him.
- It's a funny war.
- No, not, not awfully.
I say, Courtney,
do you remember Griggs in the 37th?
- Yes.
- He was killed the other day near Allensville.
- Pulled the wings off an FE.
- Was he? I hadn't heard.
I'll never forget Griggie's first solo flight.
He pancaked on top of that house...
...found himself upside down,
looking into the girl's bedroom.
Yes. And she opened the window,
and bashed him on the nose.
You're not gonna play
that again, are you?
- It's a beautiful thing.
- It smells.
- Makes me want to cry.
- Yeah, me too.
Who did that?
You do not appreciate good music.
- Hey.
- Hey!
- Furniture, the furniture.
- I've gotta deal with these things--
- I'll take that.
- Please, no.
I told you you'd get hurt.
Now, why don't you sit down.
- Scotty. Scotty.
- Hey. Hey.
Come in.
Here, give it to me.
- Anything more, sir?
- No.
- Is there an E in "courageously," Brand?
- Courageously? Yes, of course.
I'm just sending a letter of sympathy
to Mrs. Machen.
I'm puzzled over that word.
It has an unfamiliar look.
Well, you've written it often enough.
Don't you think our letters of sympathy
are becoming stereotyped?
I think I'll try and alter my prose style
and humanize this one.
Well, no matter how you write it...'ll break her heart just the same.
Hooray! Hooray!
"Hurrah for the next man who dies."
Bluffing as though death doesn't mean
anything. Trying to live for the moment... if they didn't care a hang
about going up tomorrow--
And never coming back.
Because they don't come back... they?
No, but new ones keep coming up.
It goes on and on.
- Hello, yes, 59th.
- Brand?
- This is Brand.
- We have a nice job for you.
A good one this time. I understand.
Starting tomorrow you are to patrol
every two hours starting at 5, ask Emma.
Wait a minute, sir.
Where do I get the men to do it?
- Are you there?
- Yes? Yes, sir.
- Replacements move up tonight.
- Replacements?
- Oh, they're on their way here now.
- They report before dawn.
- Yes, sir.
- Send the new men up.
- Yes.
- They've had enough training.
Have you get that?
Yes, of course, of course, sir.
Of course we'll do it.
If we must, we must.
- The 59th--
- Wait a minute, sir.
- If any of them get back from a job--
- Speak louder. I can't hear you.
If any of them get back from a job like that
it'll be a miracle.
- Well, do the best you can.
- Yes, sir. All right.
- Goodbye.
- Goodbye.
A new something nasty, huh?
Four new youngsters
are on their way here.
They'll get their baptism in the morning
with Courtney, who'll have to take them up.
Strange how a man like that
can annoy you and yet...
...keep you worried to death
about his safety.
It's not strange. It's the responsibility.
Haven't you seen a mother
risk her life to save her child...
...then spanks it soundly for getting itself
into danger? Of course you have.
When I order him to take up replacements
again, you watch him.
He's going to stand there looking holes
clean through me. You watch him.
Then he'll say, "Right." Like that.
- Right.
- Come along, sir. Let's get to it.
One day you'll find my plane--
Turn that thing off, will you, Esmund?
Quiet, lads. Attention there, please.
Orders for tomorrow morning.
A Flight.
Come on, there, hurry up.
Stand to attention.
A Flight on the early show
over Baulay Sector.
We're making an advance
5:00 in the morning.
We're to patrol four kilometers
behind to the enemy lines.
Strafe enemy reinforcements
and munition convoys.
When the barrage starts, B Flight will cover
our observation ships and artillery.
You'll take up the details
amongst yourselves later on.
That's all. Thank you, gentlemen.
Good night.
Dismissed, gentlemen.
All right, what is it?
A Flight has only got five man.
- More replacements are on their way up.
- More replacements.
Yes. They'll be here first thing
in the morning.
You're telling me that I'm expected
to go out on a job like that...
- ...with two inexperienced men?
- Those are the orders.
- What?
- He said "right" just as you said he would.
I'm glad I'm not in A Flight.
Speaking of A Flight, where's Scotty?
He's down here.
Look at that. A couple of drinks
and he goes out like a light.
Hey, Scotty, come on.
Time to tucky uppy now, Master Scott.
No sign of life. Wait a minute. Here.
Come along, Master Scott.
Time to tucky uppy.
Rain, rain, go away, come back--
Come on.
- Up you come.
- Good morning, all.
- Say good night to the gentlemen now.
- Good night.
- That's right. Now to these gentlemen.
- Good night.
Good night, gentlemen. Alley-oop.
- Say good night to the gentlemen now.
- Good night.
Way to go, Scotty.
I've never heard of anyone like you.
Couple of drinks
and you get as fuzzy as an owl.
You can't even keep your eyes open.
A couple of drinks?
Maybe four, maybe eight.
Who knows? Who cares? Who--?
Oh, here are my piebald pajamas.
I will now discard
the lower half as usual.
I have spots in front of my eyes, Court.
- Well, what do you expect?
- Oh, these?
These were a going-away present
from a little froufrou.
- Who, who?
- Froufrou.
Froufrou, froufrou. Froufrou was sweet.
What's the matter with you?
You're moping about something.
Oh, No. No, I was just
thinking of Hollister.
It's pretty rough losing your best friend,
isn't it?
- And he's gone.
- Go on, go to bed.
Machen, he was just a baby.
Couldn't have been older
than that brother of yours.
Oh, little Donnie.
Oh, I hope this war is over
by the time he gets out of school.
I haven't seen him in so long...
...I probably won't even recognize him
when I do see him.
Court, I've got awful opening and shutting
trouble with my head. Awful.
All that seems pretty far away, doesn't it?
Home and all that sort of thing.
My head seems awfully far away.
Imagine being at home now,
peaceful and quiet.
Nothing to worry about.
Nothing to do except get up in the morning
and laze around.
Be able to know that you'll come back
to your own bed at night.
- I'm sorry, sir.
- What's the time, sergeant?
Nearly 5:00, sir.
Dawn's just coming up.
- How's the weather?
- A bit cloudy, sir.
Where's that honey
you're always talking about?
Honey you could have had
right on this table.
Could I get anyone to help
with them bees?
Up they'll go
with their lives in their hands...
...but will one of them face a bee? No.
- It's a phenomena, sir. Phenomena.
- You're very good with the chicken.
How is it you could do nothing
with bees?
I put a sack over me head
as Mr. Scott recommended...
- ...and out I goes to be friendly--
- Scotty!
Out I goes to be friendly like,
I start buzzing back to them, like:
- How?
- Morning, Mr. Scott.
- Oh, good morning, sergeant.
- Good morning--
Oh, good morning, Mr. Scott.
It's a beautiful morning, Mr. Scott.
- Have an egg, Mr. Scott.
- Off from the nest, sir.
Coffee, Mr. Scott?
Don't stand there gaping.
Bring a couple of headache powders
on toast. Mr. Scott, a little coffee.
What's that singing outside?
Replacements coming up, sir.
- Send them in.
- Very good, sir.
Court, have you ever seen mice
on roller skates?
On bicycles, never on skates, old man.
- Morning, gentlemen.
- Good morning, sergeant.
Right this way, please, gentlemen.
That's all right. We'll look after
your luggage. Just follow me.
- This way, gentlemen, please.
- Here they are.
Will you wait here, please, gentlemen?
- The replacements, sir.
- They get younger every day.
If this goes on much longer,
they'll be coming in perambulators.
Come on, fix them up.
Gentlemen, Captain Courtney.
- Good morning, gents.
- Good morning, sir.
Russell, second lieutenant, sir,
reporting from the pool for duty.
I see. How do you do, Russell?
Nice to have you with us.
- At ease. We don't have any formality.
- Thank you, sir.
- What's your name?
- Burt, sir.
Burt, eh? Burt what?
- Henry Burt.
- Oh, I see. How do you do?
- And you?
- Cleaver, sir.
Hello, Cleaver.
- And what's your name?
- Smythe, sir.
Hello, Smythe. Nice to have you with us.
- How many hours have you fellows had?
- I've had 18, sir.
Eighteen. And you?
- Thirteen, sir.
- Fifteen, sir.
- And how many have you had?
- Seven and a half, sir.
Seven and a half, eh?
I'll take Russell and Cleaver.
Get your things on.
- We're going to strafe trenches.
- Now, sir?
- You won't have time for breakfast.
- We've had it, sir.
- When do we go, sir?
- You'll go soon enough. Get some coffee.
- Morning, Hollister.
- Morning.
- Breakfast waiting for you, sir.
- I don't want breakfast.
- I think you better have some breakfast.
- I don't want any breakfast, thank you.
Have some coffee or breakfast
or drinks or something.
- Kirby, bring some cups.
- Coming.
- Bott. The usual.
- Coming, sir.
Thank you.
Hollister, have a little breakfast.
- I'm just giving a little nourishment.
- I see.
I should explain
that this little spotted number on my left...
...goes under the name of Scotty.
He's in A Flight.
- First today.
- Nice fellow, but he drinks too much.
Have some of this.
Come on, old chap.
Good luck.
Come on, now.
What are you doing asleep?
Come on, wake up.
Will you come or must I--?
- No, wait. Hold on.
- Come on. Come on then. Quick.
They can wait for me.
- There you are, sergeant.
- Yes, sir.
Russell and Cleaver
will take four and five.
- This way.
- Don't forget to stick to my tail. Good luck.
You. You're an old hand now.
We're counting on you.
- Right, sir.
- Better watch him.
- Don't forget, you're protecting the tail.
- Yeah.
And watch yourself too, old man.
I don't want be left holding the bottle.
Thank you.
Is everything all right, Mac?
- Everything's all right, sir.
- Fine.
- Switch off.
- All right. Spin it.
Has the officer got any papers
that might give information to the enemy?
Has the officer got any papers
that might give information to the enemy?
Beat us to it
just by a few more flying hours.
Lucky devils.
"And mother and I talk about how much
you would love the old rock path now.
Last Sunday's rain
brought up the best primroses."
"Jenny's had seven darling puppies."
Well, well, the rain seems
to be accomplishing many blessings.
Think of it, Brand, a litter of seven.
"We'll have to give most of them away...
...because the milk rationing
is very strict now...
...and we won't be able
to buy enough for them."
Buy enough. Well, that's strange.
I always thought puppies were provided
with private rations by their mother.
Even England's getting muddled
with this war.
It'd be awfully nice if we had a dog
around here in the mornings... come in and cheer us up.
Come on, fella. Come on here.
Mind your muddy feet. Come on.
- What you doing?
- The dog.
Dog? What dog? Where?
No, I say it would be nice if we had a dog
to come in here in the mornings... sort of cheer us up, you know?
I thought it would be sort of cozy,
you know?
Not Mr. Scott, sir?
There were two Boches after me.
Scotty was trying to help me.
Yes, Courtney?
We fought off the counterattack
for an hour...
...and they found us.
We lost three men. Russell...
...Cleaver, Scott.
I'm sorry about Mr. Scott, sir.
To him.
I'll drink to that.
To Scott-o.
Sleep tight.
What happened, Courtney?
We were strafing that convoy
right after the first barrage...
...trying to get out under a cloud bank.
The Jerries came down on us like that:
Poor little Cleaver went first.
I don't think he even fired a shot.
Then Russell must have gone
at about the same time. I didn't see.
Then Hollister.
- Something must have happened.
- He funked?
Yes, he did a bit. He got in a jam....
And Scott-o went after him,
to help him out.
Jerry got on his tail
and shot him down out of patrol.
You sure?
Yes, I saw it.
It was right underneath me.
There was nothing I could do.
He had his tail surfaces all shot away.
He caught in a spin.
As he went down, he waved goodbye.
Where'd he'd go down?
I don't know, somewhere behind our lines.
I went after that Jerry bullheaded.
- Did you get him?
- No, I put a bullet in his motor.
He came down
behind our lines somewhere.
Behind our lines?
Hi there, fellas. Turn that off, please.
No, no. Play it. Go ahead. Play it.
What's it matter?
You fellas don't appreciate good music.
Play it.
Maybe Scotty will hear it.
Funny if you really thought he could,
wouldn't it?
He was wearing
those bright piebald pajamas.
Remember, the one's with the spots?
It'll be funny if he shows up
before the devil in those.
- Right, bring him in.
- Great fellow, Scotty.
You may send the car back.
Just wait here a moment, Henderson.
- What's all this?
- Pardon me, sir.
An artillery car brought in a German.
One moment, Captain Henderson.
- Who brought him down?
- They say the leader of A Flight.
That's you, Captain Courtney.
Steady, old fellow.
- Good morning, sir. I have my prisoner here.
- Good morning.
Hauptmann Von Mueller.
Hauptmann Von Mueller, Major Brand.
And Captain Courtney.
Phipps, tell him Courtney
is the man that brought him down.
He says he's delighted to meet you.
Oh, sorry.
- So sorry?
- Sorry. Yeah. Will you have a drink?
Yes? Come on.
Bott, drinks.
What will you have, whiskey,
cognac, champagne?
- Nothing but the best.
- Cognac.
- Cognac.
- Cognac.
Hello, Hollister. Have a drink.
- This is Hollister, Captain Von--
- Von Mueller.
- Sorry.
- We are sorry.
He wants us drink to the day
they'll blow us out of the skies.
0h, no, no, no. Can't do that.
Ask him if he'll drink a toast to the dead.
To the dead.
- That's very nice.
- Sorry.
No, no.
Thank you very much indeed.
Very nice. Thank you.
Do you think you could manage
to say "the" next man "that" dies...
...not "zee" next man "zat" dies?
- The.
- The. That's it.
Very nice.
Very good.
You can laugh, joke with him,
a man who murdered your best friend!
- He's dead! You know that, don't you?
- Shut up!
So is Blane. And Machen, my best friend!
They're dead!
They aren't coming back.
They aren't coming back anymore.
Shut up.
I believe you've forgotten Scott-o already.
Brandy, Bott.
He wants to know if Hollister flies.
Tell him yes.
Off the handle more times than not.
Brandy, Bott!
"Pack Up Your Troubles."
Where did--?
Where did you get the champagne?
I don't know.
You-- You--
You know, we thought you'd gone west.
Tell us, what happened?
Well, the last thing I remember
was pancaking into a trench...
...and seeing my wings fold up.
Then I woke up with a bump on my head--
Feel it?
--and a stretcher bearer
pouring rum down my--
- You should have that rum.
- You didn't have any, did you?
Just a couple of drops.
I stopped on the way back...
...and I brought these.
Come on, open them up! Open them up!
Oh, what's that?
Oh, that's the man
that brought you down.
- Who?
- Introduce him, will you, Phipps?
- What does he say?
- I don't know.
He wants him to have a drink.
Oh, drink! Drink. Bott, drinks!
Oh! Don't waste it!
- Didn't understand a word. Did you?
- I took German in school, but--
So did I, but I can't understand
the way these foreigners speak it.
Thanks, old man.
Sir, there's a driver out here
named Flaherty.
- He's waiting for you, sir.
- Tell him to wait.
- I've got a car and chauffeur outside.
- What?
Gonna take me
on a personally conducted tour...
...of all the inns and taverns of France.
Wonderful. You wanna come, Fritzie?
Gentlemen, keep the war going, please.
We are going out to roll in a few gutters.
Flaherty! Flaherty, where's my horse?
Bring it on.
Boys, get comfy.
Come on. Come on. Come on.
Courtney! He can't go, he's a prisoner.
Oh, but he can sing.
Oh, well, goodbye, Fritzie. Goodbye.
Come on, Court, get in.
This is Mr. Courtney, Mr. Flaherty.
He's the best singer--
Best driver on the Western front.
- Coming up. Coming up.
- Get the captain to sing.
Oh, he's terrific.
- Bring him in. I want to talk to him.
- Yes, sir. Come.
Road hog!
I'm not disputing that.
Military police are for that purpose. What?
- You should put them under arrest.
- I do not think it's a good idea.
- Why not?
- Why?
Well, because I need them here,
that's why.
- What? They did?
- Some girl brought a minister down here.
- She did?
- Wants to marry both of them.
The Frenchman? His sweetheart?
Put him down in a well.
- Oh, they did?
- They're on their way back.
Oh, they are? Why didn't you say so before?
I'll discipline them.
All right, thank you, Yes. Goodbye.
Drunk as lords and raising Cain,
and you laugh, you old fool.
Well, really, you know,
confidentially, Brand, I envy them.
Don't you? Now, tell the truth.
Apparently, they've put some French girl's
sweetheart down a well or something.
If I didn't need them here,
I'd leave them to the military--
Wait a minute, there's B Flight.
More trouble. Come along.
This way, sir. Come along, sir.
- Squires, what happened?
- Von Richter has moved in across the lines.
- Von Richter?
- We ran into one flight and then another.
There was nothing we could do.
Suddenly, the air was full of them.
It is lucky to any of us got back.
They can really fly.
Many of them?
We were outnumbered four to one.
We didn't have a chance.
- Here. Now, take it easy.
- Yes, sir.
That's right. Get your tourniquet on there.
- What's wrong?
- Hello, Squires.
- Good morning.
- Good morning.
- How many men did you lose?
- Courtney, Von Richter's over there.
That's gonna make things lively
as if it wasn't bad enough already.
- Who'd you lose, Squires?
- Well, Thornley and Murrell.
- Verdan and Hollister.
- Hollister?
- Four out of seven.
- Hollister. How did Hollister go?
- He was trying to help Thornley.
- He was?
- Yeah.
- I'm glad. Out like a man.
Get Captain Squires
to the medical officer.
- Courtney, you'd better come with me.
- Can you get the m.o.? All right.
- Duck, cover!
- Enemy plane.
Stay where you are, sir.
- Look, Courtney, boots.
- Wait. Don't touch those.
- They're all right. Let's look at them.
- They're all right.
What's that?
"One pair of trench boots
for the use of British flying officers.
You'll be safer on the ground.
Von Richter."
Give me those boots.
Give me those. I'll get that--
- I'll take care of these boots.
- Order.
Give me those boots, Courtney.
Now pay attention.
There are going to be no volunteer patrols.
Don't you realize these boots
are a trick to get you up in the air?
None of you is going to commit suicide
by going up alone.
Don't worry. You'll die soon enough.
But not a man leaves the ground
without my orders. Understand?
- Yes, sir.
- Come along, Phipps.
Yes, sir.
About those boots, Court....
Yes, I was just thinking the same thing.
You can keep the boots. They don't fit.
Let her rip, Scott-o.
Oh, I can't see.
I can't see.
We're in a right-hand spin. Pull her out.
But I can't see.
That's it. Right forward. Left.
We're over our own lines, aren't we?
Yes, but the ground's just as hard here.
Look out. Here it comes.
Court, get me down.
Hello. Are you all right?
I'm fighting the wrong way.
Wait a minute. Look out for the petrol.
- Right.
- Right. Easy now, sir.
- Give me something, I can't see.
- Here you are.
Here's your scarf.
Well, we made it. We made it.
Mine is a farce.
They command themselves.
- Orders don't mean anything. It's a circus.
- Remember--
I remember giving orders.
Give me my tunic.
- Yes, sir.
- Those orders have been disobeyed.
With Infantry or other branch, an officer
can keep discipline. What can I do?
All right, thank you.
They're laughing up their sleeves.
- Or dead.
- Yes, or dead.
No, they're not dead.
Courtney! Scott!
- All right, you can go.
- Thank you, sir.
Good morning, gentlemen.
- Good morning, Phipps.
- Good morning, Phipps.
What do you fellows imagine
I'm here for?
To watch you turn the army
into a circus?
I've played fair, but this is organized
warfare not your own private feud.
You went out against Von Richter
outnumbered four to one.
You fools, when we need every man
and every plane.
I'm not gonna stand for it any longer.
I've made out a report on the situation
for headquarters.
- Fifty-ninth.
- There'll be a court-martial.
Somebody's going to get hurt.
Give it to me.
All right, stand at ease.
- Hello. Hello.
- Brand?
- This is Brand.
- Congratulations.
- What?
- Splendid job.
The drome was bombed?
What drome? Where?
We've learned your squadron
blew the air base off the map. Nice work.
- Here-- Wait. Excuse me.
- Splendid job of bombing the airdrome.
- Destroyed it?
- Yes, a perfect job.
- Really?
- Blew the whole place up.
Yes, sir. Yes, yes.
From here, yes they did.
- Did you send both flights?
- Only two of them.
- Only two ships? That's splendid.
- What?
General Barranger has ordered your
immediate transfer to Wing. Are you there?
Excuse me, excuse me, sir.
Would you mind repeating that again, sir?
Has ordered your immediate
transfer to Wing.
- Yes, sir.
- Appoint someone in your place.
With pleasure. Right away, sir.
We want more of this sort of thing.
We'll see that you are transferred
to a more important position.
- Is that clear?
- Thank you, sir, thank you.
Come on, fellas, come into my parlor.
- Oh, get me another glass, will you, Phipps?
- Yes, sir.
- Here, you are, Phipps. Courtney. Scott.
- Thank you.
- Thanks.
- And myself.
And now I've got you, Courtney.
I've got you where I want you.
So far, the war has been a personal
adventure for you.
Full of...and glory.
As an individual flier,
you've been admirable.
And you've evaded responsibility
with equally supreme skill.
Disobeyed orders, blamed me, accused me
of putting kids into canvas coffins.
Well, listen to this, my lad.
Headquarters liked your raid this morning.
They liked it so well
that they've appointed me up to Wing.
Excuse me, Phipps.
And before I go, I'm ordered to appoint
someone in my place.
- Here at my place at this little desk.
- What do you mean?
I mean that
that someone is going to be you.
See how you like it,
Mr. Squadron Commander Courtney.
- Goodbye, Phipps. I'll be writing to you.
- Goodbye, sir.
- Hello, 59th. Hold on.
- 59th?
- Hello. Yes?
- Hello, 59th. Hello.
Let me speak w ith
the commanding officer.
It's for the commanding officer.
That's you, Captain Courtney.
- Hello?
- Speak louder.
- I can't hear you.
- Hello.
At dawn tomorrow,
put both flights into the air.
- What is it?
- That's his third bottle going in.
He won't listen to me.
- Let the infantry get demoralized.
- We can't.
No. I can't put planes over them, because
I haven't got anybody left to fly them.
- You have no man left to fly them?
- No. Replacements?
- Six of them, poor kids.
- Never mind that.
Von Richter's shot us out of the air.
He's killed all our best men.
- What do you expect us to do?
- Green kids can't stop him.
- They've had enough training.
- He'll shoot them down.
You have your orders.
Now see that you follow them out.
All right, it'll be done, but I tell you
they haven't got a chance on earth.
Brass hats,
sitting up there in easy chairs.
- Trying to make excuses--
- Third of the bottle down the hatch.
- You'll have geese on your desk--
- All right, what?
- I'm sorry.
- Wait a minute. I'm sorry, old chap.
Scott-o, that's bad, isn't it?
I'm as jumpy as the dickens.
Oh, I get like that too.
You know, I can't get used to being
up there in front of that flight all alone.
- I miss you up there
- Do you? I miss it too.
- This is a rotten job.
- Well, somebody's got to do it.
But why me?
I'm supposed to be a flier, I think.
None better, my boy.
I heard a good story
from one of the mechanics just now.
- Two fishermen went out, three fisher--
- Not now, old chap. Do you mind?
I've been talking to headquarters.
We've got a rotten job ahead of us now.
Do you remember Brand
used to call himself the executioner?
Poor Brand. He was nearly half-witty
when he left this place.
Yes. I'm beginning to understand
a lot about him.
He's probably in Paris with a bottle
in one hand and a blond in the other--
More lambs for the slaughter.
Fix them up.
- Make them as comfortable as you can.
- I will.
Oh, they're really young this time.
How many hours
have you actually had?
Hours? Nine to be precise.
That was at Hendon, of course.
I got my wings on a Longhorn.
Finished off in a good old Avro
all the way out.
An FE for me, though, any day.
- Donnie.
- Scotty.
- Where did you come from?
- Oh, Hendon.
Gents, this is my brother, Captain Scott.
- I thought you were in school.
- Not much. I had to get in this.
I went through ground-school
in precisely four weeks and two days.
- You did, huh?
- Yes.
- Well, aren't you glad to see me?
- Yes. Of course I am.
- This is my baby brother.
- How do you do, sir?
- How do you do, sergeant?
- Come on inside.
I'm the skipper of A Flight.
Lieutenant Billings, sir,
reporting from the pool for duty.
Stand at ease, gentlemen.
There's no formality here.
- Will you take care of these officers for me?
- Yes, sir.
- You've got a bar in here and everything.
- I suppose you drink now, do you?
I did have a couple coming over
on the boat. It made me sick.
- Good.
- I could try one with you.
- Now, look here, Scotty.
- Or what?
Hold down on this baby stuff.
You're the big lad of the family...
...but I'm in this with you now,
officer-and-gentlemen stuff.
- How many hours have you had?
- Nine.
Oh, now, listen, Scotty. I went through
combat maneuvers without a hitch.
You should have seen me.
I'm sure you did, Donnie. I'll show you
your room. You can share mine with me.
That's great. By the way,
isn't Court in command here?
- Yes.
- Well, can't we go and see him?
You'll see him soon enough. Come on.
Come on, old chap. Ready for orders?
Come on.
Turn that thing off, will you, Aimes?
- Attention, men.
- Quiet, lads. Line up, please.
Orders for tomorrow morning.
Good evening, gentlemen.
There's no secrecy about these orders.
GHQ has discovered that Fritz is making
a big push the day after tomorrow.
They've started minor advances already.
You're to patrol
the Mantez Woods Sector.
That's opposite the German 6th army.
You'll fly four patrols a day...
...which means that every man
will be in the air at dawn.
As usual, you've got the dirty work to do,
low flying, machine gunning infantry...
...strafing supply trucks
and any shock troops they try to bring up.
You're flying directly below Von Richter's
patrols, so you better watch out.
- That's all.
- Court?
- Oh, may I say hello, sir?
- Donnie.
- Donnie Scott. Where did you spring from?
- Hendon.
- You're one of the replacements?
- Yes. I go up tomorrow, don't I?
Yes, you do.
Court, you're not sending him up
on patrol tomorrow. You can't do that.
Every man goes up tomorrow, Scott-o.
If you think I'm taking him up,
you're crazy.
- Oh, but, listen, Scotty, I'm an excellent--
- Oh, shut up.
He's not going up.
- Be ready at dawn tomorrow.
- Yes, sir.
Now, look here, Scotty--
You wait here.
And you're the one that gapped to Brand
about sending green kids up to get killed.
Combat maneuvers. Ground-school.
He doesn't know.
What chance would he have up there?
He'll have as much chance as the others.
There can't be any exceptions.
Do you think I want to do this?
Those are the orders.
Oh, I know it's orders, Court.
Give me three days, two days.
Then I can get him up in the air...
...and teach him a few basic tricks.
At least he'll have a fighting chance.
He doesn't know anything.
Court, he can't even do a half-loop
and roll out.
Do you hear that? He can't even roll out.
What good's he gonna be up there?
Do you think he's gonna bring down
any Boche plane? No.
They'll slaughter him, Court.
Give me just a few days.
I said every man goes into the air
at dawn.
- I'm sorry, Scott-o, but there it is.
- I won't take him up.
- Those are the orders.
- I don't care. I won't do it.
Those are the orders! Now, get out!
Get out.
- Headquarters.
- Hello, headquarters.
- Are you there?
- Yes.
This is 59th Squadron.
I want to talk to General Barranger.
- Is it urgent?
- Yes, it's very urgent.
- Hello, hello.
- Hello, yes? Yes, sir, Courtney.
I wouldn't have bothered,
but we've got an impossible situation.
- Didn't your replacements reach you?
- The replacements? Yes, they arrived.
- They're kids.
- They've had training.
They'll be no earthly use
against Von Richter.
They haven't even the first idea
of combat tactics. Green kids.
- We sent the best men we have.
- Yes, I know, sir.
- But this job's--
- It's the best we can do.
- What do you expect us to do?
- Yes, sir.
- May I go on?
- Well?
If I could have a week with them,
a few days to teach them some things.
Show them a few tricks so they'll be
of use before they get killed--
Don't bother me again about this.
Do as you're told. Goodbye.
I know it's against the rules and regulations
to burst into your sanctum sanctorum...
...but could I have just one word with you,
please, Court?
Of course you could, Donnie.
- Good old Court.
- I'm glad you came. What is it?
Well, I wish Scott-o and you
wouldn't scrap about me like this.
Honestly, I'm an excellent flier.
I've had combat maneuvers--
Combat maneuvers, have you?
Now, don't you laugh too.
Scotty lost his head completely.
- Oh, we all do here sometimes.
- Yes, of course.
Your nerves get jumpy.
A lot of fellas bunched together.
Scotty's responsible
for the other fliers.
When he sees me fly,
he won't worry then.
It's not just a question of flying. You see,
you're gonna be up against veterans.
Fliers like Von Richter.
Are you trying to say that,
that you think I won't get back tomorrow?
No, no. There's nothing so terribly difficult
about combat flying...
...except remember that Scotty
and those fellows have had experience.
They're old hands.
You can't afford to be too careless
or overconfident at first.
It's rather like a game at school. You gotta
be on your toes, watch everything.
Never forget anything you learn.
- You won't have any trouble.
- I'm glad to hear you say that.
It's true.
When you go out tomorrow,
you stick close to Scotty.
Watch everything he does.
See the way he handles his ship.
- He is a fine flier, isn't he, Court?
- The best.
- Do you smoke?
- Yes, sir.
Oh, thanks, Court.
You know, I liked your comparison
about this and a game at school.
Did you? That's just about what it is.
Great, big, noisy, rather stupid game
that doesn't make any sense at all.
None of us know
what it's all about or why.
Here we are,
going at it hammer and tongs.
I bet you those fellows there
feel exactly the same way about the enemy.
Then one day I suppose it'll all end
as suddenly as it began. We'll go home...
...till some other bunch of criminal idiots
sitting around a large table...
...shoves us into another war,
then we'll go at it again.
Do you remember my father? He used
to be a professor of biology at Queens.
He always used to say:
"Man is a savage animal who, periodically,
to relieve his nervous tension...
...tries to destroy himself."
That's just about what it is, Donnie.
I see.
- Good night, Donnie.
- Good night, Court.
- Sleep tight.
- Thanks.
Oh, I--
I suppose it is just possible
that one might not get back.
It has been known, hasn't it?
Well, in that case, I....
Would you mind if I left this with you?
What is it?
Oh, it's something I got
on the crew last year.
It's silly, but, well,
it's rather important to me.
Good night.
There's Mantez
and the 6th German army.
- Right under Von Richter's patrol.
- Where's Von Richter?
Gentlemen, Major Courtney.
Good morning.
I wanted to wish you good luck.
Sorry I didn't have any chance
to meet you last night.
- Best of luck. Same to you.
- Thank you.
- And you.
- Thank you, sir.
- Good luck.
- Thank you, sir.
- Is Captain Scott down yet?
- On his way, excuse me.
Gentlemen, these are your planes:
Mr. Moorehead, Number 6.
- Mr. Rutherford, Number 5.
- They're game lads, aren't they?
- Young England.
- Yes.
This is Number 3, Number 4 on the end.
Hello, Court.
- Good luck.
- Thanks.
Now, remember,
stick close and I'll get you through.
Don't worry about me, Scott-o.
I'm fine, couldn't be better.
- Switch off.
- Switch off.
- Contact.
- Contact.
Switch off.
- Switch off.
- Contact.
- Two planes back.
- I know.
- Who?
- Scott-o, Billings.
You got what you wanted.
He's gone, just as I knew he would.
I watched him burning.
You killed him.
I didn't kill him.
You sent him up, you dirty butcher.
All right, gentlemen.
What a rotten war.
Come on, Ronald, say good morning.
Say good morning.
There you are, sir. There you are.
Personality, that's what you said.
- Hello, Brand.
- Hello, Phipps.
- You look like a new man.
- I never felt better in my life.
- Have you missed me?
- Well, yes, sir.
Hello, sergeant.
How are the chickens?
- Top old eggs, sir.
- How's Courtney?
- Oh, he's inside.
- Go on, driver. Hop on behind.
Hello, Brand.
Hello, Courtney. How are you?
- You're looking fine.
- I couldn't feel better.
- Same old place, eh?
- Same old place.
- Well, how are you, old boy?
- Wonderful.
I was wondering
if you could stop playing with that.
Oh, I'm sorry. Nerves, I know.
I say, Courtney, do you remember
those Gyppie cork tips...
...that you used to scream about?
I found a tin of them in the mess.
- You mean you brought these along for me?
- Yeah.
Well, thanks very much.
- Have a drink or something.
- Oh, thanks.
- Glass behind you.
- One for you?
- Yes, thanks.
- Hey, where's Scotty?
I don't know.
How is he?
He's all right, I think.
Scotty and I haven't talked to each other
for about two weeks.
Oh, I'm sorry.
Courtney, I hear headquarters
have been giving you a rotten time lately.
The old man says
you've been kicking up the very devil.
Is he? Well, you ought to know,
you're up there.
Come on, Brand, come on. What is it?
Too important to telephone about.
- That's insane. You know that, don't you?
- Yes.
The enemy are making their biggest push
the day after tomorrow.
They've concentrated the munitions
at the Soulet railhead.
You destroy that railhead,
you'll stop their drives.
But, Brand, you're crazy.
Soulet is 60 kilometers
behind the enemy lines.
The German air force would be on our tails
before we were halfway.
- The flight couldn't make it.
- One plane could.
- What do you mean, one plane?
- One plane. One man. At dusk.
It's up to one man to go alone... take a chance at getting through
before they can stop him.
Do you think I could ask a man to do that?
He'd be dead before he started.
What can you do? You can't refuse.
No. I'll go myself.
I'm afraid you can't do that.
I know exactly how you feel.
I had it myself for months.
Here at this desk, chained to it.
You'll have to ask for a volunteer.
The instructions are all here.
All right.
Attention, gentlemen.
Stay where you are, gentlemen.
I have a job for you.
This just came in from Wing, gentlemen:
"Enemy in the 22nd and 23rd sectors
plan major offensive...
...on the entire front
19th instant at ack-emma.
Munitions for the advance concentrated
in a dump at railhead at Soulet."
Our squadron's ordered to destroy it.
Soulet's 60 kilometers
behind the German lines.
There's no chance for a flight
to get through.
But one man, flying low, hedgehopping,
might possibly succeed.
- Chances are 10-to-1 he won't come back.
- I'll go.
- I'd like a volunteer.
- I spoke first. Do I get that job?
Is it mine?
Here are your instructions.
You leave at dusk.
You've got about two hours.
Tell Sergeant Watkins
to get my plane ready.
- Get that out by the first post, Kirby.
- Yes, sir.
Here's this razor you like so much.
You take that.
- For me, sir?
- For you, sir.
I couldn't, sir. You'll be wanting it
when you come back from the flight.
Tomorrow morning, you'll be yelling,
How'd you think I can shave
without me razor?"
No, Kirby. From now on,
I'm going to grow a long beard.
Take this.
Make you smell like a geranium.
Very good, sir, if you insist.
Shirts, socks.
Here, take the whole lot, Kirby.
- Come in.
- Oh, don't say that, sir.
I've been going over this and I've found
a route that'll give you a better chance.
Don't bother.
I don't want to hear anything from you.
I'm in command here
and you'll listen to what I have to say.
I want that plane back, you understand?
We need them all.
- I want you back.
- Back.
Yes, back.
- Bring some chairs, Kirby.
- Yes, sir.
Thank you. All right, that's all.
I've been in touch with Intelligence
and they've given me some--
- No, thank you.
- No?
They've given me some rather interesting
information about this section here.
It seems that for a quarter of a mile,
there's hardly anti-aircraft.
That'd be a very good place to cross.
Go north then fly low
into the entrance of the Luonne Valley.
Fly low--
I say you fly low
into the entrance of Luonne Valley.
As you know,
there's no activity there, either.
The hills will hide you
until you're through it.
And then you go north.
Hit the railway here.
Then east following the tracks
right into Soulet.
Around here, all the big ammunition
dumps. They're all grouped together.
A hit anywhere in that vicinity
will set the whole thing off.
The enemy high patrol
gets back at dusk... you'll have to fly low
to avoid them.
Your only chance is to get there
before they spot you.
That's amazing.
From that point on,
the place is alive with archies.
They'll phone ahead and you'll probably
run into some barrages...
...but you'll just have to keep on going...
...and that's all.
Yes, that is undoubtedly all.
- I've a suggestion to make.
- What's that?
You've got an hour and a half.
Why don't you lie down and have a sleep.
It'll do you good, freshen you up.
Get on your toes.
No, I couldn't sleep.
No? Well, how about one for the road?
No, I had two already.
This stuff works too quickly on me.
- Oh, come on. One more won't hurt you.
- No, thank-- Well....
To the job.
I'll drink to that.
- To the job.
- Right.
- You're a funny bird.
- Really?
I found myself very amusing lately.
You know, I've never seen one
of those big munition dumps hit the ceiling.
When it does, you'll probably hear it
back here. If you do, you can think of me.
Right. I'll think.
It's all the war, isn't it?
Donnie going and the old brass hats.
- A Flight, B Flight.
- Orders.
Drinks, friends.
I shouldn't go up there bad friends
with anybody, should I?
Be a good idea if you didn't.
What I mean is especially with you.
It has been a long time, hasn't it?
London, home, and all that.
- We've had some fun, though, haven't we?
- Yes. Pretty good times.
I've missed you,
especially when I'd had a few beakers.
Nobody to take care of the corpse.
Good old Scotty blotto again, you know.
- You never did now when to stop anyway.
- Oh, it's no fun if you stop.
You ever forget that awful night at Carsnips
when I fell over with my head in the soup...
...and you weren't there
to pick me out?
You should've seen her
when the soup arrived in her lap.
Oh, she never had a lap. Ever see anything
quite so straight sitting down?
- No. A lamp post.
- Optical Illusion.
There go me beads.
Oh, well, it's fun looking back, isn't it?
You're an awful old fool, you know?
How about that 40 winks?
- Little froufrou. She hasn't altered much.
- No. Still the same.
I shall now wake up with a nice,
fresh smile for Fritzie.
Good morning, Fritzie.
Here is your morning cup of tea:
And your morning bun:
- Court, I shouldn't be doing this.
- Oh, lie down. You've got lots of time.
- Well, you get me up. I rely on you.
- Leave it to me.
- The C.O. coming to see him off.
- Gun's are all right.
They'd better be. The rest of the plane too.
She's going on a real trip this time.
- Good evening, sir.
- Good evening, sergeant.
- Check the guns?
- Yes. They're all checked, sir.
- You're not flying, sir.
- Yes, I am, sergeant.
- Good luck, sir.
- Thanks, sergeant.
As a matter of fact,
thanks for everything.
Give my love to the bees
and the chickens.
- Switch off.
- Switch off.
- Contact.
- Contact.
- Have you got that?
- Yes. Replacements tonight.
A Flight at dawn.
B Flight accompany bombers.
- You got that, Phipps?
- Yes, sir.
And another thing...
...keep in touch with the observation posts
at Mainz for news of Courtney.
- I think we--
- You think? Well, don't think!
Tell them to keep their eyes open.
I think he's coming back.
- Just a little bit, sir--
- No, no.
I think you take a little, sir.
We've got a petrol trench
down the side of the field.
When we hear his motor,
we'll light it, of course.
Yes? Any news.
- Here's good news for you.
- Good news?
You have received special mention for
your part in stopping the enemy advance.
The 59th
has received special mention...
...for their work in stopping
the enemy advance.
Why wasn't it me up there, Phipps?
I'm the one to be up there.
If only I'd known he was--
He may come back.
Here he is!
Enemy plane!
It's his helmet and goggles.
It means a very gallant gentlemen
died this afternoon.
And for what?
What we have all these deaths
So many fine chaps
who have died in this war...
...and are going to die in the future wars.
That's all, gentlemen.
Goodbye, Court.
Come along, sir.
Fall in, gentlemen.
Come along, lads. Line up, please.
Orders for tomorrow morning.
Come along.
The 59th
has received special mention...
...for its part
in checking the enemy advance.
I know that--
Pardon me, gentlemen.
Commanding officer's inside, sir.
Will you follow me, please?
Wait here, please, gentlemen.
- Replacements, sir.
- Bring them in, Sergeant Watkins.
This way, please, gentlemen.
Lieutenant Carter,
reporting from the pool for duty, sir.
Very good, lads. Fall in.
Attention, commanding officer.
Stand easy.
Gentlemen, you will be glad to know...
...that the 59th Squadron
has just received special mention...
...for its part in checking
the enemy advance.
Orders for tomorrow:
A Flight,
ready to take off at dawn.
Patrol Marne Sector, 3500 meters.
B Flight, accompany bombers.
Mantez Wood Sector, 4000 meters.
You understand, gentlemen, that this sector
is a particularly dangerous one.
You new men, watch your flight leaders.
Act instantly on their signals.
That will be your only chance
of coming through.
That's all.