Before the Second World War
This is a brief display of contemporary humanity. The opening
effect is one of walking and hurrying crowds. Across this
appears and fades the legend "Whither Mankind?" A rapid
succession of flashes evoke the multitudinousness, the hurry
and confused inadequate efficiency of our world. Crowds and
cities appear and dissolve into kindred scenes in other
places; there are momentary flashes of crowded cities, Paris,
Tokio, Milan, Valparaiso, Timbuctoo, Moscow.
One of the following special scenes. Either:--
Crowds crossing Brooklyn Bridge and a great traffic and
activity in the river below.
The Tower Bridge open to let a steamer through, the pool
full of shipping, the cranes on the wharves active.
Port of Bremen similarly active.
Or traffic and crowds by the Eiffel Tower.
Any one of these scenes will suffice. It should correspond
with the one chosen for the end of Part VII, q.v.
After such scenes of City activity the screen reminds us
of such contrasted activities as: small cultivations and then
sweeping across it large scale harvesting; a peasant cart
joggling along a road and then crowded trains and platforms.
A peasant's cradle rocks and dissolves into the methodical
work of a modern child welfare clinic. A wheelwright melts
into a great motor car factory.
The mint is seen printing paper money.
Close up of machines turning out paper money and bank
clerks handling bunches of it faster and faster.
A Wall Street or Bourse panic scene follows.
All these are flashes of the briefest possible sort. They
are intended to recall to the audience outstanding aspects of
the contemporary world by shots of familiar and typical
scenes and activities. I believe it would be far better for a
competent editor and cutter to piece together this part of
the film from pre-existing material. The more bustling and
familiar it is the better.
As the flashes follow each other faster and faster, the
words WHITHER MANKIND? across the scene fade in again for a
moment and then fade out as we pass into the second part, in
which the localised and personal story opens.
The Shadow of War upon Everytown
Everytown is every town. That is to say, it is the average
great town of our times. It is backed by a very
characteristic skyline of hills which recurs throughout the
film to remind us that we are following the fate of one
typical population group, and it has a central "place," a big
Market Spare with big hotels, public buildings, cinemas,
kiosks, statuary, tramways, etc.
First, there is a general view of Everytown from a crest
above it. In the foreground we see workers going down the
hill into the town, and down the hill we see the whole of
Everytown, suburbs and Central Square together; it is a clear
Then we come to the Central Square in Everytown. It has
features recalling Trafalgar Square or a big-town Market
Square or a French Grand Place. There is a confluence of
trams and buses. The Christmas traffic is active. On one of
the chief buildings the moving light sign of a newspaper
flashes the latest news. "Europe is arming...."
The camera moves up from the traffic of the Square to this
"Alarming speech by Air Minister--"
Big shop window full of Christmas toys. Children and
An autobus stops and people get out of it. On the autobus
one sees the usual newspaper posters with a glaring headline
about the dangerous international situation. "Straits
dispute. Acute situation."
The entrance of a tube station. The usual traffic. A
newsvendor stands at the entrance. His placard reads:
"Another 10,000 aeroplanes." But he shouts, "All the
In an autobus a young girl opens her paper and glances
through the first page, which is full of headlines talking
about the war danger. She has only a cursory glance for that
stuff; she turns the page and plunges with passionate
interest into the fashion article.
During all these scenes, Christmas shoppers and people
with packages pass to and fro. It is a peaceful and fairly
happy Christmas shopping crowd. Nobody appears to be affected
imaginatively by the war danger. The voice has called "Wolf"
too often. Only the camera calls the attention of the
audience to the brooding threat.
At this point the essential story of the film begins.
A glimpse is given of a scientific laboratory in which
young Harding, a student of two-and-twenty, is working
intently. It is a small, reasonably well-equipped, municipal
school laboratory looking out on the Central Square. It is a
biological, not a chemical laboratory. Two microscopes are
visible and plenty of laboratory glass, taps, etc., but not
too many bottles and no retorts. (This laboratory has to
appear in a ruinous state later, sans glass or breakables.)
Through the open window comes the bellowing of the
newsvendor. "War crisis!" Harding listens for a moment: "Damn
this war nonsense." He closes the window to shut out the
sound. He looks at his watch and sets himself to put things
At first he is wearing a neat laboratory overalls. This he
A suburban residential road with little traffic and many
pleasant detached homes is seen, and Harding walking along
it. He approaches a house through a garden gate.
John Cabal's--Christmas Eve
A rather dark study is seen in which John Cabal is musing
over a newspaper. The furniture of the room indicates his
connection with flying. There is the blade of a propeller
over the mantel shelf and a model on the mantel shelf. On the
table are some engineering drawings partly covered by the
Cabal's arm, with wrist-watch, is resting on the evening
paper. He has a habit of drumming with his fingers which is
shown here and again later. The camera comes up to the hand
The headlines show:
London. December 24th, 1940. 1d."
Streamer headline: "STRAITS DISPUTE. ACUTE SITUATION."
Column headlines: "ALARMING SPEECH BY AIR MINISTER.
ANOTHER 10,000 AEROPLANES NOW."
(This newspaper should be practically a facsimile of the
London Evening Standard. It should show the customary insets
beside the title of the weather forecast and the lighting-up
time. It is the Final Night Edition and it also announces
Closing City Prices.)
Cabal pondering. He looks towards the door. Harding comes
in. He approaches Cabal. Harding sees the paper and the
"Hullo, young Harding! You're early."
"I had finished up. It was too late to begin
anything fresh. Why are the newsboys shouting so loud? What
is all this fuss in the papers to-night, Mr. Cabal?"
"Wars and rumours of wars again."
"Some day the wolf will come. These fools are
capable of anything."
"What becomes of medical research in that case?"
"It will have to stop."
"That will mess me up. It's pretty nearly all I
care for. That and Majorie Home, of course."
"Mess you up! Of course it will mess you up. Mess
up your work. Mess up your marriage. Mess everything up. My
God, if war gets loose again...."
Cabal and Harding turn towards the door as Passworthy
"Hullo Cabal! Christmas again!" (Sings.)
"'While shepherds watched their flocks by night, All seated
on the ground....'"
Cabal nods at the paper. Passworthy takes it up and throws
it down with disdain.
"What's the matter with you fellows? Oh, this
little upset across the water doesn't mean war. Threatened
men live long. Threatened wars don't occur. Another speech by
him. Nothing in it, I tell you. Just to buck people up over
the air estimates. Don't meet war half-way. Look at the
cheerful side of things. You're all right. Business
improving, jolly wife, pretty house."
"All's right with the world, eh? All's right with
the world. Passworthy, you ought to be called Pippa
"You've been smoking too much, Cabal. You--you
aren't eupeptic..." (Walks round and sings) "No-el! No-el!
In Cabal's living room. Christmas tree with freshly lit
candles burning and presents being taken off and distributed.
A children's party in progress. Each child is rosy in his own
way. Horrie Passworthy is donning a child's soldier's
"panoply." Timothy Cabal is laying out a toy railway system.
He is completely absorbed in his work, neither hearing nor
seeing anything, working with the intensity of the born
builder. A smaller girl and a very small boy enter the
picture. They have been attracted by the work and the worker.
They stare admiringly. In another corner of the room Horrie,
now in full uniform, beats his drum.
"Fall in! Fall in!" Three boys fall in behind him.
"Quick march!" They march off to the drum taps.
Timothy finishing his layout. He surveys it with a last
glance before starting the engine. Horrie enters the picture
with his followers. The camera shows only the marching feet
of Horrie's followers. Railway system spread out. Horrie's
foot kicks aside some part of the system.
TIMOTHY (nervously): "Don't!"
The marching feet pass by. Timothy has but one thought, to
save his gadgets. He succeeds. He lays out his railway again.
To a little boy:
"You work the signals." The little boy sits
down happily. To the little girl: "You--you look on." The
little girl sits down and plays her part; she admires.
Timothy starts his train. The train moves. Timothy is
earnestly observing it. The two children are delighted. Drum
going. Horrie and his followers return and halt. Horrie stops
"Make an accident!"
TIMOTHY looks up for a second: "No." Busy with railway.
"Make an earthquake!"
"Let's have a war."
Horrie goes off reluctantly.
The toy railway. Train going. One of the carriages
collapses. It turns over. It has been hit by a wooden pellet.
We see four guns being worked by Horrie and his friends. They
are delighted. Timothy realises that the whole layout is
being bombarded to pieces. He tries to protect the railway
with his hands. Protesting desperately: "Don't--stop!" His
hand is hit by a projectile. The little girl protests with
Horrie directs the firing of the guns. More projectiles
hit Timothy. Timothy jumps to his feet and goes to attack
Horrie. Horrie rises quickly, Timothy hits him. Horrie
disengages himself from Timothy, kicks over the engine and
disarranges the rails. Timothy claws hold of him, and they
begin a tussle which ends on the ground.
Uproar in the room. By the middle door Mrs. Cabal enters
and hurries towards the fighters. By the door from Cabal's
study enter Passworthy, followed by Cabal and Harding. Horrie
and Timothy fighting. Mrs. Cabal comes up and tries to pull
the boys apart.
"Timothy, Timothy, what's the matter?"
PASSWORTHY grabs Horrie: "Here, young man, what have you
"I only made a little war on him, daddy--and he
didn't play fair."
"Soldiers are to protect us--not to smash up
"But daddy, a war must smash up things."
"You go on sentry duty, see--soldiers are to
prevent war, not provoke it."
Horrie obeys reluctantly. Children resuming their
activities. Timothy with railway. Horrie doing sentry goes,
Cabal, Passworthy, Harding, Mrs. Cabal and grandfather are on
a raised dais at the end of the room.
"They're forgetting their troubles already.
Queer things kids are! Flare up in a moment--and then it's
"Nice toys they have nowadays, nice toys. The
toys we had were simpler. Ever so much simpler. Noah's Arks
and wooden soldiers. Nothing so complex as these. I wonder
perhaps if sometimes they don't find these new toys a bit too
much for them."
"Now that's an idea!"
"Aye. Just an idea."
"It teaches them to use their hands."
"Well, I suppose their grandchildren will
have still more wonderful things. Progress--and progress--I'd
like to see--the wonders they'll see."
"Don't be too sure of progress."
"Well, what's going to stop progress
"Well, firstly, there isn't going to be a war,
and secondly, war doesn't stop progress. It stimulates
CABAL, ironically: "Yes, war's a highly stimulating
thing. But you can overdo a stimulant. The next dose may be a
fatal one. An overdose."
PASSWORTHY, hesitating: "Well, after all, don't we
exaggerate about the horrors of war? Aren't we overdoing that
song? The last war wasn't as bad as they make out. One didn't
worry. Something great seemed to have got hold of you."
"Something still greater may get hold of you next
time. You're talking through your hat, Passworthy. If we do
not end war--war will end us. Everybody says that, millions
of people believe it, and nobody does anything. I do
"Well, what can you do?"
"Yes, what can we do?"
"Carry on. Carry on, and trust to the common
sense of mankind."
Christmas tree with the candles burnt half-way down.
Christmas tree with candles being extinguished by a maid.
Time has passed.
War Breaks over Everytown
The suburban road outside John Cabal's house. Various clocks
--one after another--are heard striking midnight. Cabal's
house. Door opens. Cabal, Mrs. Cabal, Harding and Passworthy
come out. Christmas bells are heard.
"Peace on earth, Goodwill to all men. It is
going to be a real old-fashioned Christmas this year. Fresh
and a little snow, a nip in the air."
A faint thud is heard. Everybody silent for a moment.
"What was that? It sounded like a gun."
"No guns about here. Merry Christmas, Cabal--
good luck to us for another twelvemonth. The last wasn't so
bad. Here's to another year of recovery."
Long shot of road. Suddenly searchlights appear in the sky
silhouetting the hill crest. The group at the door observe
the searchlights and turn questioningly towards one another.
"But what are searchlights doing now?"
" Anti-aircraft manoeuvres, I expect."
"Manoeuvres! At Christmas? No!"
Three thuds rather louder mingled with the pealing bells.
"Listen: Guns again."
The bells cease abruptly. The sound of distant guns
becomes quite distinct.
The group--mute suspense. Heavy concussion heard.
After this the noise subsides as though the trouble was
drifting away from Everytown. Nobody speaks. From the study
the telephone rings. Cabal turns and hurries back into the
house, the others go a few steps after him and listen
CABAL, heard off: "What, to-night--three o'clock at the
Hilltown hangar? I'll be there."
Cabal comes out again to the listening group.
"Perhaps it's only a precautionary
Cabal turns and goes into the house. The others follow.
Cabal's study. They will hear if the radio has anything to
say. Cabal turns on radio.
"The unknown aircraft passed over Seabeach and
dropped bombs within a few hundred yards of the waterworks.
They then turned seaward again. By this time they had been
picked up by the searchlights of the battleship Dinosaur and
before they could mount out of range she had opened upon them
with her anti-aircraft guns. Unfortunately without result."
"That's--that's alarming certainly."
"Of course everyone has said 'This time there
will be no declaration of war.'"
The RADIO resumes, crackling: "We do not yet know the
nationality of these aircraft, though of course there can be
little doubt of their place of origin. But before all things
it is necessary for the country to keep calm. No doubt the
losses suffered by the fleet are serious."
PASSWORTHY, interrupting radio: "What's that? Losses of
MRS. CABAL, impatiently: "Listen! Listen!"
"And it is imperative that the whole nation should
at once stand to arms. Orders for a general mobilisation have
been issued and the precautionary civilian organisation
against gas will at once be put into operation. Ah--
instructions have come to hand. We shall cut off for five
minutes and then read you the general instructions. Please
call in any friends. Call in everyone you can." Radio ceases.
"You've got your stimulant, Passworthy.
Something great has got you. War has come."
They all look at each other.
PASSWORTHY, to Harding: "I suppose we shall find our
marching orders at home. Nothing to do now but get on with
"War! God help us all."
Passworthy and Harding on their way home. Passworthy
garrulous. Harding darkly silent.
"My God! If they have attacked without a
declaration of war--then it's vengeance. No quarter, it's
vengeance. Punishment--punishment--condign--or an end to
civilisation for ever. It's just possible it's some mistake.
I cling to that. But if not--then War to the Knife. It's not
a war. It's a fight against dangerous vermin. A vermin hunt
without pause or pity. (Flatly) Good-night."
Harding has had nothing to say. He nods good-night, stands
watching Passworthy for a moment and then rouses himself with
a start to go his way.
The Central Square of Everytown. Large anti-aircraft on truck
comes into Square. Searchlights being mounted on a roof.
Electric signs going out.
Special service men in badges herding people to shelter.
Belated straggler running across the Square.
Searchlights break out.
Anti-aircraft gun being loaded by the light of a carefully
shaded lamp. Faces of the gunners seen closely.
All this is to be very quick and furtive. As lights go
down the lighting changes to silhouette effects and the
sounds diminish until at the end there is absolute silence.
Cabal and his wife in the children's nursery. Cabal is
buttoning on his airman's uniform. He looks at the sleeping
children. He turns his head, tormented by the thought of
"My dear, my dear, are you sorry we--had these
CABAL thinks long. "No. Life must carry on. Why should we
surrender life to the brutes and fools?"
"I loved you. I wanted to serve you and make
life happy for you. But think of the things that may happen
to them. Were we selfish?"
CABAL draws her to him: "You weren't afraid to bear
them--. We were children yesterday. We are anxious, but we
are not afraid. Really."
Mrs. Cabal nods acknowledgment, but cannot talk because
she would cry.
Timothy's bed, with Cabal and his wife standing beside it.
"Courage, my dear."
Whispering to himself: "And may that little heart have
A series of flashes recall the flashes of the second part.
Everytown is seen in a belated wintry dawn.
Suburban road. Men come from the houses carrying parcels
or suitcases and go off towards the station.
A young wife saying good-bye to her husband, who is
waiting for a tram.
Bus stop. Men get on the bus with their packages. A sort
of forced cheerfulness. Eyebrows raised and a forced smile
with the corners of the mouth turned down.
No march music here. None of the elation of 1914. The
shuffle, tramp, tramp of the doomed householders.
Passworthy with Horrie in the front garden of his house.
Horrie in his uniform of yesterday. Passworthy going out. He
puts on an armlet.
HORRIE, pointing to the armlet: "Are you an officer,
"We've got to do our bit, sonny. We've got to
do our bit."
"I'm an officer too, daddy."
"That's the spirit, old son. Nothing else for
it now. Carry on, sir. Carry on."
The two salute each other in brave burlesque. He lifts his
son and kisses him. He goes.
Horrie by himself. He taps his drum. First thoughtfully,
and then with more confidence. He beats the drum, begins to
hum and marches. Works himself up. Hums louder--sings
wordlessly. The beating of his drum passes into marching
music which carries on through the next flashes.
Faintly, behind little Horrie appear the shadows of
marching troops, keeping step with him and his drumming. They
intensify as he fades.
Effect of marching armies.
The Second World War
The marching troops become phantom-like and vanish. A
peaceful countryside, winter. The same country scene has
appeared in Part I, but now everywhere there are signs of war
preparation. In the foreground a smooth-flowing river, or
lake, that reflects the scene,--suddenly the mirror is broken
as enormous amphibian tanks crawl up out of the water. A
gigantic howitzer suddenly rears itself up from a peaceful
Scene from the air. Roadways choked with war material
moving up to the front. Closer detail shots of this same
scene. Long lines of tanks and caterpillar lorries. Long
lines of steel-helmeted men. Lorries full of men. Lorries
full of shells. Great dumps of shells. A fantasia of war
material in motion.
Chemical factory. Piles of cases being loaded.
The manufacture of gas bombs. The workers all wear gas
masks of ghoulish type.
The guns go off. A repetition of some of the foregoing shots
--but now the men and guns are no longer moving into action,
but are in action. Guns being fired, tanks advance firing,
battleships firing a broadside, gas hissing out of cylinders.
A gun crew round a gun, passing shells up to the gun.
Beneath an aeroplane a crew fixing bombs.
Squadron after squadron of aeroplanes take to the sky.
Everytown is seen with hostile aeroplanes in the sky. An
explosion in the foreground fills the scene. As the smoke
clears it reveals the suburban road in Everytown in which
Passworthy lives, and something small and dark is seen far
down the footpath.
We pass up the road and before the shattered garden fence
we see little Horrie in his panoply, sprawling dead.
(This is the first dead body we see on the screen.)
A long silent pause.
Bombs are heard receding in distance.
Scenes of Everytown being bombed. Sirens, whistles and
hooters. Panic working up in Square. Quick flashes of
military working anti-aircraft guns. Again to crowded Square,
terrified faces looking up. Increased panic. Aeroplanes
overhead. Anti-aircraft firing rather helplessly.
A tramcar runs down the street, it lurches and falls
sideways across the street. The facade of a gigantic general
store falls into the street. The merchandise is scattered
and on fire. Window dummies and wounded civilians lie on the
Bomb bursting in crowded Square. Cinema crashing in ruins.
A bomb bursts a gas main, a jet of flame, the fire
Officials distributing gas masks, the crowd in a panic.
Fight for masks. Official swept off his feet. Long shot of
aeroplanes, they distribute gas like a smoke screen. The
cloud slowly descends on the town. The gas cloud descends,
the guns continue to fire in the darkness. Long shot of the
gas cloud descending on and darkening the Square. People in
offices and flats trapped by the gas pouring into the
Long shot of the Square, now very misty and dark. No
civilians are moving about, but there are a few scattered
The Two Airmen
Enemy airman, a boy of 19, is in the air, distributing gas.
Close up of him in his cockpit. He finishes his supply and
banks to turn about. He looks up into the sky and discovers
he is being attacked. He is plainly apprehensive.
John Cabal in his aeroplane. He is heading for the enemy
Air fight. It is a one-sided fight between a bomber and a
swift fighter. Enemy airman crashes. Cabal nose-dives, but
Enemy airman crashing. Houses, etc., in the background
under the cloud of gas he has spread. (N.B.--This is no part
of Everytown, and the familiar skyline, etc., are to play no
part in this scene.)
Cabal landing with difficulty. He looks towards enemy
aeroplane and then hurries towards it. Fire breaks out in the
wrecked machine as Cabal approaches it.
Cabal arrives at enemy aeroplane. Enemy airman staggers
out as the flames spread. He is beating out the fire in his
smouldering clothing. He staggers and falls. The rest of the
scene goes to a flickering light because of the burning
aeroplane. Gusts of black smoke across picture.
Cabal helps the enemy airman, who is evidently very badly
injured. He is as yet too stunned to be in anguish but he
knows he is done for. Cabal settles him fairly comfortably on
"Is that better? My God--but you are smashed up, my
Cabal tries to make him comfortable. He desists and stares
at the enemy airman with a sort of blank amazement.
"Why should we two be murdering each other? How did we
come to this?"
The gas is drifting nearer to them. The enemy airman
points to it. "Go, my friend! This is my gas, and it is a bad
gas. Thank you."
"But how did we come to this? Why did we let them
set us killing each other?"
The enemy airman says nothing, but his expression assents.
Cabal and the airman take their gas masks. Cabal helps the
enemy airman with his mask and adjusts it. There is some
difficulty due to the airman's broken arm, Cabal desists and
has to try again.
"Funny if I'm choked by my own poison."
"That's all right."
Cabal puts the mask on and then puts his own on. Enemy
airman hears a cry and looks up.
Cabal follows his look, and he sees a little girl running
before the gas. She is already choking and presses a
handkerchief to her mouth. The girl, very distressed, runs
towards them and hesitates, not knowing which way to go. She
is heedless of the two men.
Enemy airman stares, then tears off his mask and holds it
out to Cabal. "Here--put it on her."
Cabal hesitates, looks from one to the other.
"I've given it to others--why shouldn't I
have a whiff myself?"
Cabal puts the mask on the girl, who resists, frightened,
and then understands and submits.
"Come on, kiddy, this is no place for you. You make
tracks that way. I'll show you."
Cabal goes off with the girl and then returns into picture
to see if the enemy airman has a pistol. He realises that he
has not, hesitates, and gives his own pistol to him. "You may
"Good fellow--but I'll take my dose."
The enemy airman is left dying in the flickering light of
his burning aeroplane. The gas is very near now. The wisps
drift towards him. He looks after Cabal and the girl. "I
dropped the stuff on her. Maybe I've killed her father and
mother. Maybe I've killed all her family. And then I give up
my mask to save her. That's funny. Oh! That's really funny.
Ha, ha, ha. That--that's a Joke!"
The gas drifts by him and he starts to cough. He remembers
Cabal's words. "What fools we airmen have been! We've let
them make us fight for them like dogs. Smashed trying to kill
her--and then I gave her my mask! Oh God! It's funny. Ha, ha,
His laugh changes to a cough of distress, as the gas
envelops and hides him. The cough grows fainter and fainter,
and vapour blots out the scene. "I'll take it all--take it
all. I deserve it."
He is heard again coughing and panting. Then comes a sharp
cry, then a groan of sudden unendurable suffering.
A pistol shot is heard. Silence. The screen is filled with
the drifting vapour.
The Unending War
A succession of newspaper headings marks the prolongation of
The first newspaper has the same type of heading as the
newspaper in Cabal's study before the Children's Party. Open
with a close shot on date of paper.
The weather forecast and the lighting-up time are no
longer there. Date is May 20th, 1941. Price threepence. In
place of "Closing City Prices" is "Prohibition of
Speculation," but the paper still claims to be FINAL NIGHT
Headline across two columns: THE END IN SIGHT.
Headline across two columns: THE RATIONING SCANDAL.
Subhead underneath the first heading: BENEFITS OF BLAKE'S
"The immense efforts and sacrifices of the air force
during the great counteroffensive of last month are bearing
Camera close up to the date again and the close up to the
date is repeated in the case of each of the newspapers which
A very roughly printed newspaper with blurs and
discolorations wipes across and replaces its predecessor. The
newspaper marks a great deterioration in social efficiency.
It is printed from worn-out type and the lower lines fall
THE WEEKLY PATRIOT
No. 1. New Series. February 2nd, 1952. Price One Pound
DRAWING TO THE END
"It is necessary to press on with the war with the utmost
determination. Only by doing so can we hope..."
A third paper wipes across this again:
THE WEEKLY PATRIOT
No. 754. March, 1955. Price One Pound Sterling.
THE UTMOST RESOLUTION. NO SURRENDER.
A desolate heath. Something burning far away. A sheet of
decaying newspaper is fluttering in the wind. It catches on a
thorn and as the wind tears at it the audience has time to
read the ill-printed sheet of coarse paper:
September 21st, 1966. Price Four Pounds Sterling.
"Hold on. Victory is coming. The enemy is near the
The wind tears the scrap of paper to pieces.
Here follows some still and desolate scene to suggest and
symbolise our contemporary civilisation shattered to its
foundations. The exact scene to be chosen could best be left
to the imagination and invention and facilities of the model
maker. It might even be different in the American,
Continental or British version of the film. One of the
following scenes will give all the effects needed:
The Tower Bridge of London in ruins. No signs of human
life. Sea gulls and crows. The Thames, partly blocked with
debris, has overflowed its damaged banks.
The Eiffel Tower, prostrate. The same desolation and ruin.
Brooklyn Bridge destroyed. The tangle of cables in the
water. Shipping sunk in the harbour. New York, ruined, in the
A sunken liner at the bottom of the sea.
A pleasure sea front, Palm Beach or the Lido, Blackpool or
Coney Island, in complete and final ruin. A few wild dogs
wander through the desolation.
Oxford University in ruins and the Bodleian Library
scattered amidst the wreckage.
The Wandering Sickness
The Central Square in Everytown. It is in ruins. A few ragged
street vendors and a primitive market in a corner of the
Square. A gigantic shell-hole is in the middle of the Square.
A group of people stand about a board on the wall. This is a
notice-board like the old Album on which news was written in
the Roman Forum. As the world relapses old methods reappear.
Close shot of this group reading a smudgy cyclostyled
notice on the board.
WARNING! A NEW OUTRAGE!
ENEMY SPREADING DISEASE BY AEROPLANE
"Our enemies, defeated on land and sea and in the
air, have nevertheless retained a few aeroplanes which
are difficult to locate and destroy. These they are
using to spread disease, a new fever of mind and
Close up to emphasise date.
A man in a worn and patched uniform comes out of the Town
Hall with a paper in his hand and turns towards the wall. A
few people are attracted by his activity. He pastes up a new
The inscription, which runs a little askew, reads:
"The enemy are spreading the Wandering Sickness by
aeroplane. Avoid sites where bombs have fallen. Do not drink
A woman comes out of a house. She is ragged and tired, a
pail in her hand. She goes to the gigantic shell-hole in the
middle of the Square. The woman descends with her pail. She
wants some of the water. A man comes into the picture.
"Didn't you read the warning?"
The WOMAN answers with a tired mute "No."
MAN, indicating the water: "Wandering Sickness."
The woman is struck by instant fear. Then she hesitates.
"I have to go half an hour away for spring water."
The man shrugs his shoulders and goes. The woman is still
The hospital under the laboratory. A dim dark place. The sick
are unattended. One of them--a man in a dirty shirt and
trousers--barefooted and haggard--rises, looks about him
wildly and darts out.
The Square, outside the Hospital. The sick man wandering.
He stares blankly in front of him. He seeks he knows not
what. People in the Square see him and scatter. The woman in
the shell-hole discovers the wandering sick man is
approaching her. She screams and scrambles away. A group of
men and women run away from the sick man.
A sentry with a rifle. A group of men and women enter the
MAN to sentry:
"Don't you see?"
"He is carrying infection."
The sentry does not like his job, but he lifts his rifle.
He fires. The wandering man collapses, writhes and lies
The SENTRY shouts: "Don't go near him. Leave him there!"
Dr. Harding's laboratory. Harding is at his work-bench,
assisted by his daughter, Mary. He is struggling desperately
to work out the problem of immunity to the Wandering Sickness
which is destroying mankind. He is now a man of fifty; he is
overworked, jaded, aged. He is working in a partly wrecked
laboratory with insufficient supplies. This laboratory has
already been shown in the opening part. (The rooms downstairs
have been improvised as a hospital, to which early cases of
the pestilence are brought.) Harding's clothing is ragged and
patched (no white overalls). His apparatus is more like an
old alchemist's, it is makeshift and very inefficient. No
power is laid on. There is no running water, though there is
still a useless tap and a sink. But the brass microscopes are
as before. They are difficult things to break. Bottles,
crucibles, and such-like hardy stuff has survived, but very
little fine glass. No Florence flasks, for example. Some old
cans have been utilised. Several of the windows are cracked
and have been mended with gummed paper.
Harding mutters as he works.
Mary is a girl of 18, dressed in a patched nurse's
uniform, with a Red Cross armlet. "Father," she says, "why
don't you sleep a little?"
"How can I sleep when my work may be the saving
of countless lives?--countless lives!"
A shot is heard without. Harding goes to the window,
followed by Mary.
Camera shooting from Harding's standpoint, showing the
dead man with the Wandering Sickness, lying in his blood;
Square deserted. A man walks across the scene, elaborately
avoids the dead man, and puts a rag over his mouth to protect
himself from infection.
Harding and Mary. HARDING says: "And so our sanitation
goes back to the cordon and killing! This is how they dealt
with pestilence in the Dark Ages."
He makes a gesture of desperate impotence, shrugging his
shoulders and throwing up his hands, and then turns back to
The room of Richard Gordon, a former air mechanic. It is like
all the rooms of this period, shabby, with improvised or
worn-out furniture. There is no proper table-ware, only a
sort of tramp's outfit of gallipots and tins. Richard's
sister Janet is at a wood stove cooking a meal. Her movements
are slow and spiritless. Richard Gordon, seated in front of
an old table, is obviously waiting for the meal. He is deep
Instead of serving the meal Janet turns from the stove,
walks a few steps and then stares into space. Richard, roused
from his thoughts, looks at her with growing terror and rises
hurriedly. "What is it, Janet? Your heart?"
He takes her pulse. Deeply impressed: "I'll put you to
Janet sullenly silent. She shakes her head. Richard very
tenderly tries to induce her to go to bed.
Return to Harding's laboratory. Harding at his microscope.
Mary near him. HARDING examines some preparation, and,
without looking back, says: "Iodine, please."
Mary takes a step towards him. A glass or container in her
hand. She looks at it and tilts it to ascertain its contents.
She is unable to speak because she knows the portent of her
"There is no more, father. There is just one drop."
HARDING turns back as if stabbed. "No more iodine?"
Mary replies with a shake of her head. Harding almost
collapses and sits down. "My God!" He buries his head in his
hands. His voice almost a sob: "What is the good of trying to
save a mad world from its punishment?"
"Oh father, if you could only sleep for a time."
"How can I sleep? See how they wander out to
He rises and looks at his daughter, deeply moved: "And to
think that I brought you into this world."
"Even now I am glad to be alive, father."
Harding pats her shoulder, a quick affectionate gesture.
Then he walks up and down in deep mental distress.
"This is the last torment of this endless warfare. To know
what life could do and be--and to be helpless."
He takes the slip from under the microscope eyepiece and
dashes it to the floor in impotent rage.
He sits down in utter despair.
Mary makes a futile movement to console him. A step on the
staircase outside. They both look towards the door.
Gordon enters. Harding stares at him, fearing his news.
"Her heart beats fast. She feels faint. And--and--
she won't answer."
Harding says nothing.
"What can I do for her?"
Harding pained, silent and beaten.
"I thought--something--might be known."
Harding does not move. MARY cries: "Oh Janet!--and you,
She approaches Gordon and Gordon makes a movement as if to
warn her that he too may be infected. She does not care.
"Richard," she whispers, close to his face.
Harding rises and goes without a word. It is the doctor's
instinct to try and help where everything seems hopeless.
Gordon's living room. Janet turns to and fro on her bed.
Enter Harding, followed by Richard and Mary. Harding
approaches the bed. He pulls back the sheets, listens to
Janet's breathing. Then he replaces the sheets and shakes his
head. He rises from the bed. Gordon asks a mute question.
"No doubt of it. And it need not be. Oh, to think
of it! There is just one point still obscure. But I cannot
even get iodine now--not even iodine! There is no more trade,
nothing to be got. The war goes on. This pestilence goes on--
unchallenged--worse than the wars that released it."
"Is there nothing to make her comfortable?"
"Nothing. There is nothing to make anyone
comfortable any more. War is the art of spreading
wretchedness and misery. I remember when I was still a
medical student, talking to a man named Cabal, about
preventing war. And about the researches I would make and the
ills I would cure. My God!"
Harding turns to the door and goes out.
The ruined and desolate Square as before. Harding crosses
it, returning despairfully to his laboratory.
Gordon's living room. Mary and Gordon sitting. Atmosphere of
hopelessness. Both stare towards the bed. Janet rises. Her
face is now ghastly white and her eyes are glassy. She comes
towards the two and towards the audience. Mary and Gordon
stare at her, horror-stricken, as she passes them. Her face
advances to a close-up. She leaves the room. After a second's
hesitation, Gordon rises and hurries after his sister. Mary
takes a few steps and then sits down.
The Square. Janet wandering. Gordon reaches her and tries
to take her arm, but she shakes him off. They go towards the
crowd about the notice-board in front of the Town Hall. The
crowd disperses, panic-stricken.
Janet and Gordon walking towards the sentry. The sentry
lifts his rifle. Gordon protects Janet with his body. To
"No! Don't shoot; I will take her out of the town."
Sentry hesitates. Janet wanders off the picture. Gordon
hesitates between the sentry and her and then follows her.
Sentry turns after them, still irresolute.
Janet and Gordon wander through the ruins of Everytown.
She goes on ahead feverishly, aimlessly. He follows her. We
are thus given a tour through Everytown in the uttermost
phase of collapse. A dead city. Rats flee before them--
They pass across a deserted railway station.
Public gardens in extreme neglect. Smashed notice-boards.
Fountains destroyed--railings broken down.
Suburban road with villas empty and ruinous. In the
gardens are bramble-thickets and nettle-beds. Janet and
Gordon pass the former house of Passworthy, recognisable by
the shattered fence.
Gradually the two figures, following each other, recede,
and what follows is seen across wide desolate spaces at an
Janet drops and lies still. Gordon kneels down beside her.
At first he cannot believe she is dead. He picks her up in
his arms and carries her off. He is seen far away carrying
her into a mortuary.
Hooded figures come out to take her from him--all very far
Mary waiting in Gordon's room. It is now twilight and we see
her face very sad and still and pale. She looks towards the
door when at last Gordon comes staggering in. He is the
picture of misery "Oh Mary, dear Mary," he cries.
Mary holds out her arms to him. He clings to her like a
Three dates on the screen.
Everytown under a Patriot Chief
The Square of Every town in 1970. It has a little recovered
from the extreme tragic desolation of the Pestilence stage.
Clumsy efforts to repair ruined buildings have been made. No
shops have been reopened and half the houses are unoccupied,
but the shell-hole in the centre has been filled up. There is
a sort of market going on with patched and ragged people
haggling for vegetables and bits of meat. Few people have
boots. Most people are wearing footwear of bast and rags or
sabots of wood. Few hats are worn and those old. The women
are bare-headed or have shawls over their heads. The vehicles
are not rude and primitive, but old broken-down stuff. One or
two boxed things with old carriage wheels or motor car wheels
--which people push. Few or no horses. A cow or a goat being
milked. There is a peasant with a motor car (small runabout
without tires) with a lot of carrots and turnips in it, drawn
by a horse. Several stalls are fairly full of second-hand
stuff--clothing, furniture and household goods. It is like a
small Caledonian Market. There is an old-clothes and
miscellaneous stall with jewellery and worn-out finery. This
is kept by an obsequious individual who might be an Oriental
bazaar dealer. He rubs his hands and inspects another stall
and watches the passers-by. No new stuff anywhere, because
industrial life is at a standstill. The camera moves round to
give a general view of the Square, coming to rest outside of
the Town Hall. A big rosette flag hangs over the portico of
the Town Hall. This rosette is the symbol of the ruling Boss
and his government.
A small group watching a rosetted guard writing with
charcoal on the wall:
At the top he has drawn and smeared a rough rosette.
Mayday A.D. 1970
THE PESTILENCE HAS CEASED. Thanks to the determined
action of our chief in shooting all wanderers. There
have been no cases for two months. The Pestilence has
THE CHIEF IS PREPARING TO RESUME HOSTILITIES AGAINST
THE HILL PEOPLE WITH THE UTMOST VIGOUR. Soon we shall
have Victory and Peace.
All is well--God save the Chief. God save our Land.
Inside an aeroplane hangar. Gordon, three years older, and in
a different, rather less dishevelled costume, is working on
an aeroplane engine on the bench. Behind him is the
dismantled aeroplane. Two assistants with him. He examines
the high tension wires.
"This rubber is perished. Have we any more
"We've got no rubbered wire at all, sir."
SECOND ASSISTANT: "Not a scrap of rubber in the place. We
used the last on the other motor."
GORDON slowly rises, defeated: "Oh, what's the use--
there's no petrol anyway. I don't believe there's three
gallons of petrol left in this accursed ruin of a town.
What's the good of setting me at a job like this? Nothing
will ever fly again. Flying is over. Everything is over.
Civilisation is dead."
The Market. Camera swung round to the stall of gew-gaws and
old dresses. Roxana sailing down upon the trader. Roxana is a
consciously beautiful young woman of eight-and-twenty. Her
face is made up rather skilfully. In contrast to the dirty
and dispirited people in the Square, she and her two
attendant women seem brilliantly bright and prosperous. Her
costume is best described as a collection of finery. It has
been got together from the wardrobes and presses that are
still to be found in the abandoned houses. It consists
chiefly of an afternoon dress of circa 1935. Wadsky's stall
is stocked with such findings.
ROXANA, advancing: "Where is Wadsky? I want to speak to
Wadsky, who has been lurking behind his stall as she
advances, pulls himself together and comes out to meet her.
"You had a piece of flowered stuff, a whole
length, seven yards, and you did not tell me of it. You kept
it back from me, and you gave it to that woman of yours. And
she's got a new dress--a new dress."
Wadsky disputes with his arms and shoulders while she
speaks and when she pauses he says: "Ooh Lady, I showed you
"Don't outface me, Wadsky. You have done that too
often. You kept it from me!"
"Lady! You said: 'I don't want stuff like that.'"
"Why! I had been asking for weeks for that very
thing for the summer--light flowered cotton stuff."
"Oh, but Lady!"
"How dared you? One would think I was of no
importance in Everytown."
ROXANA turns to her first attendant. "Don't you remember?
--I said I wanted light stuff with flowers."
Attendant remembers dutifully.
ROXANA appeals to her further. "What is the good of a
Lover--what is the good of a powerful lover, if one is to be
treated like this?"
ROXANA to Wadsky, who is bowing, very disgruntled. "I'll
tell the Chief. I've warned you before. Everything first to
Swing away from her to another part of the Market Square. A
little excited knot has formed round a ragged man.
"I saw it with my own eyes."
"First you drink and then you see things."
"First I heard the noise, then I looked up and there
it was--far away up in the sky--over the hills."
Gordon is seen coming through the Square towards them. He
hears the last remarks of the man. "What did you see?"
"An aeroplane--flying away there over the hills. Just
about dawn it was."
The crowd jeers at him. Gordon looks at the man, sums him
up, shrugs his shoulders, and goes on his way.
Mary is buying vegetables from the peasant with the horse-
drawn car. She is dressed in a rough simple costume of
brownish stuff. But it suits her style. Gordon appears and
they greet one another with the casualness of married people.
While Mary selects food, GORDON looks at the car with
professional affection. "It's a Morris, isn't it?"
"Yes--a good pre-pestilence machine. I oil it and
turn it over at times."
"You think it might go fast some day? Still?"
"Say! I'm not one of those petrol hoarders. But
all the same that engine turns over still. Why, I remember
when I was a boy--when it was new--we thought nothing of
going a hundred miles in it--a whole hundred miles. Less than
three hours I've done it in. But all that sort of thing has
gone--gone for ever! Eh?"
He looks with a sort of sceptical cunning inquiry at
Gordon and Mary finish their purchases and go towards the
"You are late to-day. Did you get any thing done?"
"Nothing. The machines are rotten. There's no
petrol. It's mockery for the Boss to set me at it. We'll
never get one of them up. Flying has become a dream for
Bosses and such--like drunken men. There was a drunken man
over there, by the by, swearing he saw an aeroplane this
"What is it?"
"You won't think me mad?"
"I heard an aeroplane this morning."
"At dawn. I thought it was a dream. But if someone
"Nonsense. I tell you flying is finished. We shall
never get in the air again. Never."
Fifes and drums are heard. They turn abruptly, with a
certain uneasiness of bearing.
The Boss with his retinue. They are a semi-military
brigand crew with little that is uniform about them except
the prevalent rosette badges. They march through the Square.
The Boss is a big swaggering fellow with a hat cocked on one
side bearing a rosette in front of it. His frogged tunic
might have belonged to a guards' bandsman. He has a sword, a
dirk and two pistols. Neat riding breeches and boots. A scarf
tied across his breast bears the rosette symbol. His manners
might be described as the decaying civilities of a London
taxi-cab driver. His underlings have compiled quasi-military
costumes similar to his own.
He recognises Gordon, glances at Mary, betrays a momentary
appreciation, decides to show off at her and halts. Gordon
makes a half-hearted salute.
"Anything to report, Gordon?"
"Nothing very hopeful, Chief."
"We must have those planes--somehow."
"I'll do what I can, but you can't fly without
"I'll get petrol for you, trust me. You see to the
engines. I know you haven't got stuff--but surely you can get
round that. For example, transfer parts. Have you tried that?
Use bits of one to mend the other. Be resourceful. Give me
only ten in working order. Give me only five. I don't want
them all. I'll see to it you get your reward. Then we can end
this war of ours--for good. This your wife, Gordon? You've
kept her hidden. Salutation, lady! You must use your
influence with our Master Mechanic, lady. The combatant State
needs his work."
MARY doesn't like the situation. "I'm sure my husband does
his best for you, Chief."
"His best! That isn't enough, lady. The combatant
State demands miracles."
MARY pauses and then speaks rather stupidly: "It isn't
everyone, Chief, who can work miracles--as you do."
BOSS, most elated: "I am sure you could work miracles,
lady, if you chose."
The voice of Roxana heard off "Rudolf!"
The manner of the Boss becomes slightly deflated. He turns
towards Roxana who approaches rustling with indignation,
followed by her three ladies in waiting. Gordon and Mary are
ignored forthwith. Behind, in a state of nervous
apprehension, hovers Wadsky.
"Here they are at their old tricks! Wadsky has
been keeping things back from me! Is that with your
"But she was shown it. She said she didn't want
"If Wadsky has been at his old tricks again he must
answer for them."
Roxana turns triumphantly towards Wadsky.
"It isn't only Wadsky who keeps things back. What do
you think of our Master Mechanic here--who won't give me
planes to finish up that little war of ours with the Hill
Roxana surveys Gordon with her arms akimbo, and then
considers Mary and the Boss more deliberately. She rather
likes the look of Gordon. She perceives that the Boss has
been showing off at Mary and she wants to take him down a
She speaks with a faint shrewish mockery to the Boss.
"Can't you make him? I thought you could make everybody do
"Some things can't be done, Madam. You can't fly
without petrol. You can't mend machines without tools or
material. We've gone back too far. Flying is a lost skill in
"And are you really as stupid as that?"
"I'm as helpless as that."
ROXANA to the Boss: "And now Chief--what are you going to
do about it?"
BOSS, becoming the strong man: "He's going to put those
machines in order and I'm going to find him--coal--stuff to
make his oil."
The throbbing of an aeroplane very far away becomes
faintly audible. Close up of Gordon's face.
"It's a lost skill. It is a dream of the past."
His face changes as the beating of the aeroplane dawns on
his consciousness. He is puzzled. Then his face changes. He
looks up in the sky. He points silently.
The whole group is shown. All are staring upward.
Wadsky and the market people, the general crowd in the
background, are all becoming aware of the aeroplane. The
aeroplane is seen circling in the sky. This has to be the
first novel aeroplane seen in the film. It is to be a small
new 1970 type. Its wings curve back like a swallow's. It must
not be big and impressive like the gas bomber which presently
arrives, but it must be "different."
People run out of houses. Everybody staring skywards.
Running, shouting--the excitement grows.
Gordon, deeply moved. He addresses Mary. "There it is--you
were right--a plane once more! He's shutting off--he's coming
The eye of the crowd follows the plane and indicates it is
circling down to a descent.
The BOSS is the first to become active. "What's all this?
Have they got aeroplanes before us? And you tell me we can't
fly any more! While we have been--fumbling, they have been
active. Here, some of you, find out who this is and what it
means! You (to one of his guards), you go, and you (to
another). There was only one man in it. Hold him."
The Boss is a centre of activity.
"Send for Simon Burton. Get me Simon."
A sly-looking individual, the right-hand man of the Boss,
appears from the direction of the Town Hall and hurries up to
The camera shows Gordon and Mary standing a little aloof,
perplexed, full of strange hope, at this wonderful break in
the routines of Everytown. Then it returns to Roxana. She
watches the Boss and his proceedings with the sceptical
criticism of a woman who knows a man too well. Then her mind
returns to Mary and she looks for her and discovers Gordon
also. She comes across to them.
ROXANA to Gordon: "What do you know about it? Do you know
anything of this? Who is that man in the air?"
GORDON speaks half to himself and half to Roxana and Mary.
"It was something new. It was a new machine. Somewhere they
can still make new machines. I didn't dream it was still
"But who is the man? How does he dare come here?"
Close up of her face as she surveys Everytown and realises
that after all it is not the whole world. Her eyes return to
the Boss who is still rather uncertain how to meet this new
"Fetch him to the Town Hall. Guard his machine and
bring him to me there."
The camera returns to Gordon and Mary.
"Come along, Mary. I must see that machine."
A field close to the town. People running. The aeroplane
glides overhead and lands just out of sight over the brow of
a slight hill.
A few ragged men, women and children run up so as to stand
out against the sky and look. They hesitate and keep their
distance. A child starts forward but his mother stops him--
they stare, and they begin to move uneasily right and left
from the centre of the ridge as something unseen approaches.
The two guards sent by the Boss appear and hesitate.
We are looking towards the aeroplane across a hollow so
that with quite dramatic suddenness John Cabal, the airman,
the father of the children in the opening part, rises above
the crest and comes towards us.
He is now grey-haired with a lined face. He is dressed in
shiny black and he wears a sort of circular shield over head
and body that makes him over seven feet high. It is like a
round helmet enclosing body as well as head. It is a 1970 gas
mask. The vizor in front swings down, so that his head and
shoulders seen from in front are suggestive of a Buddha
against a circular halo. The black mask behind his head and
shoulders is ribbed like a scallop shell. He stands out
against the sky, a tall portent. He walk through the watchers
who follow him--one guard goes over the crest towards the
machine, the other guard approaches him. This second guard
and Cabal go towards the town. This second guard is an oafish
unshaven creature, greatly puzzled by life at all times and
excessively puzzled now. A group of curious men and women
"Who's in control of this part of the country?"
"The chief. What we call the Boss."
"Good. I want to see him!"
"He sent me to arrest you."
"Well--you can't. But I'll come and see him."
"Well, you're under arrest--whether you admit it or
not. This country is at war."
The crowd and particularly various children come closer to
"I remember this place well. I lived oh--somewhere
down there." (Points.) "For years. Ever heard of man called
Passworthy? Any of you? No! Harding?"
Two children speak together. "Doctor Harding!"
"Yes, is he still here?"
"He's a good man. He's our only doctor here.
Oh, he's a good man."
"Look, here he is, sir!"
Harding, Gordon and Mary seen approaching. Crowd in
Cabal and Harding scrutinise each other.
"Heavens! Is that Harding?"
HARDING, perplexed: "I seem to remember something--
something about you."
"But you were a young man!"
HARDING cries out: "You are John Cabal! I used to come to
your house! Here! Endless years ago. Before the wars began.
And you are flying! You are grey but you look--young still!"
"How are things in this place? Who's in control?"
HARDING looks discreetly at crowd: "We've got a chief here
--a war lord. The usual thing."
CABAL takes Harding by the arm: "H'm. I've come to look up
your war lord. Where can we go to talk?"
Harding gesticulates to indicate where he lives. Cabal
makes to go with him.
"Here! You're under arrest, you know. You've got to
come to the chief."
"All in good time. This gentleman first."
"You can't do that. You've got to come with me.
Orders are orders. The Boss first."
Cabal lifts his eyebrows and goes off with Harding. GUARD
following with gestures of amazement and protest. "Here.
Here. Here," he says. Then come Gordon and Mary and the
rabble. The rabble is astonished at Cabal's cavalier
treatment of the guard.
In the laboratory. Remains of a meal. The meal has been a
squalid one. Cans--only a knife or so and a broken fork. No
cloth, cracked bowls. Mary, Gordon, Cabal and Harding in
conversation. Cabal has removed his great body gas-mask and
swings it beside him.
The guard opens the door and looks in.
"You keep out. I shall be all right here."
The guard seems about to speak and then catches Cabal's
eye and shuts the door again.
"And so you came back here after the war?"
"And became a sort of medieval leech. A doctor
without medicines or instruments. I do what I can in this
broken--down world. Good heavens! Do you remember how I used
to blow about the research I was going to do?"
CABAL comes and sits down: "Don't I remember? You had some
good ideas. But look here--tell me things. How are things
here? Are there any mechanics left? Any capable technical
"This is the very man."
Gordon comes forward and CABAL scrutinises him. "What are
"Ex-air-mechanic, sir. Jack of all trades now. The
last engineer in Evervtown."
"Yes, sir." (Salutes.) "Not so very skilful. I
wish I was a better mechanic."
The GUARD opens the door again and peeps in. "My orders,"
"Never mind your orders. Shut--that--door." The
"Tell me about this Boss you have here. What sort
of man has got hold of this part of the world?"
The Boss's headquarters in the Town Hall. He has staged
things for the reception of the strange airman. He sits at a
vast desk. A few guards, secretaries and yes-men around him.
Simon Burton sits at a side table. Roxana watches proceedings
--comes and stands close beside the Boss at his right hand.
Whispers to him. She displays the excitement of a woman
before a bull fight. A lively contest is going to happen and
she has an impression that the strange visitant may prove an
interesting novelty. Things have been dull in Everytown
The atmosphere is strained. The scene is set and the
principal actor does not enter. The Boss is impatient to see
Cabal and Cabal does not come. Messengers are sent and
"Where is this man? Why isn't he brought here?"
Everyone looks uneasy. The Boss turns to Burton.
"He has gone off with Doctor Harding."
The BOSS rises. "He has to be brought here. I must deal
ROXANA lays a hand on his arm. "But you can't go to him.
That's impossible. He must come to you."
The Boss hesitates and sits restless under her dominance.
"Send another man for him. Send three men. With clubs. He
must be brought here at once."
Burton hurries out to give the order.
The laboratory. The group talking.
"So that's the sort of man your Boss is. Not an
unusual type. Everywhere, you see, we find these little semi-
military upstarts robbing, fighting. That is what endless
warfare has worked out to--brigandage. What else could
happen? And we, who are all that is left of the old engineers
and mechanics, are turning our hands to savage the world. We
have the air-ways, what is left of them, we have the sea. We
have ideas in common; the freemasonry of efficiency--the
brotherhood of science. We are the natural trustees of
civilisation when everything else has failed."
"Oh, I have been waiting for this. I am yours to
"Not mine. Not mine. No more bosses. Civilisation's
to command. Give yourself to World Communications."
A knock at the door. They turn. The oafish guard comes
into the room. Three others who have been sent for him by the
Boss are behind. One of them says: "Tell him he's got to
come. If he won't come on his feet, we'll carry him."
The FIRST GUARD:
"Lord knows what will happen to me, sir,
if you do not come."
Cabal shrugs his shoulders, rises, reflects, hands his
great gas mask to Gordon and stalks out, the guards following
The gas mask is not in evidence in the next scene.
The Town Hall. The Boss at his great desk. Roxana very alert
behind him. Simon Burton at his own table. As the guard and
Cabal approach, the Boss draws himself up in his chair, and
attempts a lordly pose. Cabal's bearing is easy and familiar.
The Boss is sturdy and ornate. Cabal tall, lean, black and
"Well, what do you want to talk to me about?"
"Who are you? Don't you know this country is at
"Dear, dear! Still at it. We must clean that up."
"What do you mean? We must clean that up? War is
war. Who are you, I say?"
CABAL pauses before he replies. "The law," he says. He
"Law and sanity."
Roxana watches him. Then looks to the Boss.
BOSS, a little late: "I am the law here."
"I said law and sanity."
"Where do you come from? What are you?"
"Pax Mundi. Wings over the World."
"Well, you know, you can't come into a country at
war in this fashion."
"I'm here. Do you mind if I sit down?"
He sits down and leans across the table looking
intelligently and familiarly into the face of the Boss.
"Well?" he says.
"And now for the fourth time who are you?"
"I tell you Wings--Wings over the World."
"That's nothing. What Government are you under?"
"Common sense. Call us Airmen if you like. We just
"You'll run into trouble if you land here in war
time. What's the game?"
"Order and trade--"
"Trade, eh? Can you do anything in munitions?"
"Not our line of business."
"Petrol--spare parts? We've got planes--we've got
planes--we've got boys who've trained a bit on the ground.
But we've got no fuel. It hampers us. We might do a deal."
CABAL reflects and looks at his toes: "We might."
"I know where I can get some fuel. Later. I've got
my plans. But if you could manage a temporary accommodation--
we'd do business."
"Airmen help no one to make war."
BOSS, impatiently: "End war, I said. End war. We want to
make a victorious peace."
"I seem to have heard that phrase before. When I
was a young man. But it made no end to war."
"Now look here, Mr. Aviator. Let's be clear how
things are. Come down to actuality. The way you swagger
there, you don't seem to understand you are under arrest. You
and your machine."
Mutual mute interrogation.
"You'll get other machines looking for me--if I
happen to be delayed."
"We'll deal with them later. You can start a trading
agency here if you like. I've no objection. And the first
thing we shall want will be to have our own aeroplanes in the
He looks for confirmation to Bunon, who nods approval and
then to Roxana. But Roxana is staring at Cabal to hear his
"Yes. An excellent ambition. But our new order has
an objection to private aeroplanes."
ROXANA, softly for Boss to hear: "The impudence!"
BOSS half glances at her with a faint anxiety. She has
sometimes the habit of taking the word in discussions. "I am
not talking of private aeroplanes. The aeroplanes we have
here are the public aeroplanes of our combatant state. This
is a free and sovereign State. At war. I don't know anything
about any new order. I am the chief here, and I am not going
to take any orders--old or new, from you."
CABAL leans back in his chair and reflects. He says, with
a faint gleam of amusement: "I suppose I have walked into
"You may take that as right."
Simon Burton is about to say something, and then thinks
better of it. ROXANA is more outspoken: "Where do you come
CABAL smiles and addresses himself deliberately to her: "I
flew from our headquarters at Basra yesterday. I spent the
night at an old aerodrome at Marseilles. We are gradually
restoring order and trade all over the Mediterranean. We have
some hundreds of aeroplanes and we are making more, fast. We
have factories at work again. I'm just scouting a bit to see
how things are here."
"And you've found out. We've got order here, the old
order, and we don't want anybody else restoring it, thank
you. This is an independent combatant State."
"We've got to talk about that."
"We won't discuss it."
"We don't approve of these independent combatant
"You don't approve!"
"We mean to stop them."
"As you will. My people know I'm prospecting. When
they find I don't come back they'll send a force to look for
"Perhaps they won't find you."
CABAL shrugs his shoulders. "They'll find you."
"They'll find me ready. Well, I think we know now
where we stand. You four guards take this man, and if he
gives any trouble, club him. Club him. You hear that, Mr.
Wings over your Wits? See to it, Burton. Have him taken to
the detention room downstairs."
He stands up as if dismissing the assembly.
The camera goes to a smaller apartment behind the large room
of the previous scene. It is the Boss's retiring room. Roxana
enters first and turns to the Boss who is following her.
ROXANA, exasperatingly critical: "Now was that wise."
BOSS, irritated at once: "Wise!"
"Yes, wise; was it wise to quarrel with him at
"Quarrel with him! Confound him, he began to quarrel
with me!--'We must clean that up!'--Clean that up! My war!"
"But--but there's things behind him."
"Things behind him! Some sort of air bus driver.
Standing up to me--like an equal."
"So you lost your temper and bullied him."
"I didn't bully. I just took the fellow in hand."
"No, Rudolf. You bully. And you bully too soon."
"I don't seem able to please you to-day."
"Well, if you must go from one tactless thing to
another. Weakening your authority. Sacrificing dignity."
"Here! What's the matter with you?"
"Oh, I saw! There's your head mechanic--an
essential man for your work--and you can't keep your eyes off
his wife! Don't I know you? But never mind that. I've learnt
to overlook that sort of thing. What I ask again--whether you
bully me or not--is, whether it was wise to take this man in
"How else could he be taken? How else?"
"Well, look at it! This is the first real aviator
that has come our way for years. Think of what that means, my
dear! You want aeroplanes, don't you? You want your
aeroplanes put in order? Well--I've always doubted if that
young man Gordon was up to the job. He's good-looking in a
weak sort of way--but is he really skilful and scientific? He
--fumbles. He just goes about with this girl of his--whom you
think so good looking. A really clever man would have had
some of those machines up long ago. I'm sure of it."
"So along comes this stranger who is going to clean
me up. And you propose I shall hand over my aeroplanes to
him, lock, stock and barrel."
"Why talk nonsense? You could have persuaded him--
"Supervision. The sort of oafs I have here to
supervise him. He'd be too much for them."
"If he's going to be too much for you, hang him
and hide his machine before the others get after you. But if
he isn't going to be too much for you--"
"He's not going to be too much for me."
"Very well. The hand of iron in the glove of
velvet. Where is the benefit in ambushing him and locking him
"I don't agree with you. I don't agree with you. Oh,
I don't agree with you. Now listen. Listen to me. You don't
understand. Now is our time. You think I'm a fool. But let me
tell you one or two things I've had in mind. If you watched
my mind a little more and my movements a little less it might
be better for you."
Simon Burton joins them unobtrusively and listens
"This--this stranger--hasn't taken me by surprise. I
knew this thing was coming."
Close up of incredulous faces of Roxana and Simon Burton.
"Yes, I knew this was coming. I felt they'd got
ahead with their air force down there. I felt there was this
conspiracy of air bus drivers brewing somewhere in the world.
Very well. Now's the time. We've got this fellow bottled up
for a week or so. They may not begin to miss him for days.
I've got everything fixed now for an attack straight away up
the Floss Valley to the old coal and shale pits--where
there's oil too! And then--up we buzz. Wings over the Hill-
State. Everybody has laughed at my air force that never even
crawls on the ground. But they won't laugh then."
"My dear, that's all right. But it doesn't explain
why you treat that new man as an enemy. I don't believe
Gordon is a good mechanic. But evidently he is."
"Don't harp on that! You always think you know
better than I do--about everything."
"I'm going to talk to this man myself."
"If that sort of thing is what you are after--!"
"Oh, you don't understand."
"Don't understand! You spare neither youth nor age.
You leave that man to me. You leave that fellow alone."
Scene changes to a small bare room like the waiting-room of a
police station. It is poorly lit by a barred window. Cabal
sits on a wooden chair with his arms on a bare table and
contemplates the situation.
"I've tumbled into a hole. It's the old old story
of the overconfident wise man and the truculent rough.... It
may be weeks before I'm reported as missing. They'll think my
radio has broken down. Meanwhile Mr. Boss here does as he
He contemplates the room. Stands up and stares at the
"They'll have my machine guarded...."
Sits down again, laughs bitterly at himself and drums with
his fingers on the table exactly as he did in Part III of the
Then he jumps up impatiently. Goes to the window. Close up
of his face in the dim light.
"I suppose everyone must do something hopelessly foolish
at times. I've walked into it. I--the planner of a new
"Just at this time with everything ready....
"If this mad war dog here bites me--and I die--I wonder
who will carry on....
"No man is indispensable...."
He tries the firmness of the bars in the window. Fade out
upon his hands holding the bars.
Scene outside the Town Hall. A small troop of mounted men
with a flag leaving for the war. Two led horses are brought
up and the Boss and Roxana appear and mount.
The whole body rides off.
A small not very enthusiastic crowd watches their
departure. There is a feeble cheer as the detachment goes
Fight on a hill overlooking coal pits. The Boss directs
operations. With him are his irregular troop leaders. They
The coal pits. The Boss's cavalry attack some rough
trenches. The defenders are overwhelmed and seen running
away. One or two flashes of the little battle. The Boss's men
are plainly victorious, the enemy routed.
The Central Square. A troop of mounted men ride into the
Square. Following comes the Boss and Roxana triumphant. Flags
decorate the side streets. The crowd shows a new enthusiasm.
People cheer as the Boss and Roxana pull up outside the Town
Close up of a group of lookers-on. One man is explaining
"We have captured the coal pits, and the old oil
retorts, and we have got oil at last."
Close up of a lean, excited patriotic youngster wearing a
rosette badge. "Now we'll bomb the hills to hell."
In the Town Hall. A day later. The Boss still flushed with
triumph. Most of his usual entourage is present, but Roxana
is not there at first. Eight or nine officers of the little
army are present. Gordon is seen under arrest near the Boss's
desk. The Boss walks up and down and orates:
"Victory approaches. Your sacrifices have not been
in vain. Our long struggle with the Hill Men has come to its
climax. Our victory at the old coal pits has brought a new
supply of oil within reach. Once more we can hope to take to
the air and look invaders in the face. We have nearly forty
aeroplanes, as big a force, I venture to say, as any in the
world now. This oil we have got can be adapted to our
engines. That is quite a simple business. Nothing remains to
be done but a conclusive bombing of the hills. Then for a
time we shall have a rich and rewarding peace, the peace of
the strong man armed who keepeth his house. And now at this
supreme crisis you, Gordon, our master engineer, must needs
refuse to help us. Where are my planes?"
"The job is more difficult than you think. Half
your machines are hopelessly old. You haven't got twenty
sound ones. To be exact, nineteen. You'll never get the
others off the ground. The thing cannot be done as you
imagine it. I want assistance."
BOSS turns to him. "You want that fellow in black--Wings
over the World? You want him released?"
"He knows his business. I don't enough. Make him
"I don't trust you technical fellows."
"Then you won't get an aeroplane up."
"I want those planes."
Gordon shrugs his shoulders.
The Boss meditates, walking to and fro.
"And if you get him?"
"Then I want Doctor Harding out too."
"I can't help that. If anybody in Everytown can
adapt that crude oil for our aeroplanes it is Harding. If
not, it can't be done."
"We've had a bit of an argument with Harding."
"He's the only man who can do this work for
"Bring in Harding."
Enter Roxana with a certain quiet dignity while the
assembly awaits Harding. The Boss glances at her as if he
would rather she had not come. She stands regarding the scene
Harding is brought in. He is dishevelled, and his hands
are tied. He looks as if he had been manhandled.
"Untie his hands."
The guard releases Harding.
The BOSS pauses and looks at Harding. "Well?"
"Damn the salute."
The guard steps forward to strike Harding, but Roxana
"Never mind the salute now. We'll talk about that
afterwards. Now let us see where we are. You, Gordon, are to
direct the reconstruction of our air forces. The prisoner
Cabal is to be put at your disposal. Everywhere he goes he is
to be under guard and observation. No relaxing on that. And
neither he nor you must go within fifty yards of his plane.
Mind that! You, Harding, are to help Gordon with this fuel
problem and to put your knowledge of poison gas at our
"I tell you, I will do nothing with poison gas."
"You've got the knowledge--if I have to wring it out
of you. The Combatant State is your father and your mother,
your only protector, the totality of your interests. No
discipline can be stern enough for the man who denies that by
word or deed."
"Nonsense. We have our duty to civilisation. You
and your like are heading back to eternal barbarism."
The entourage is dumbfounded. Burton starts forward. "But
this is pure treason."
"In the name of civilisation, I protest against
being dragged from my work. Confound your silly wars! Your
war material and all the rest of it! All my life has been
interrupted and wasted and spoilt by war. I will stand it no
"This is Treason--Treason."
Guards rush upon Harding, seize him and twist his arms.
Harding snarls with pain. Roxana comes forward.
"No. Stop that."
The guards stop. Harding is sullen and silent. The Boss
comes very close to him.
"We have need of your services."
"Well, what do you want?"
"You are conscripted. You are under my orders now
and under no others in the world. I am the master here! I am
the State. I want fuel--and gas."
"Neither fuel nor gas."
"I do not want to be forced to extremities."
Roxana is whispering to the Boss, with her eyes on Gordon.
Gordon comes fully into the picture. He has a scheme of his
own. He looks hard at Roxana as though he was silently trying
to will her aid. The confidence in his manner, the faint
streak of impudence in his nature, increases.
"Sir--may I have a word? I understand you want all
of these out-of-date crocks of yours which you call your air
force, to fly again--and fly well?"
"With the help of that man--Cabal--you have in the
cells here, and with the help of Doctor Harding here--you may
even get a dozen of your planes in the air again."
"You are a traitor to civilisation. I won't touch
GORDON ignores him: "If you will give me Cabal and--if you
will leave me free to talk with the Doctor, I promise you
will see your air force--a third of it at any rate--in the
"You talk as though you were driving a bargain with
"I am sorry, Chief. It is not I who make these
conditions. It is in the nature of things. You cannot have
technical services, you cannot have scientific help unless
you treat the men who give it you--properly."
ROXANA to the Boss, but quite loud: "That's what I have
said all along! You are bullying too much, my dear. There is
a limit to bullying. Why! you can't make a dog hunt by
"I want those aeroplanes."
"And I mean to be master here."
"Then you have to be reasonable, my dear, and
that's all about it."
Close up of the Boss wondering where Mastery ends and
Gordon and Cabal at work upon that aeroplane engine which was
puzzling Gordon at the opening of this part. The two men
quite understand each other. Cabal works and Gordon learns
from him. The four guards watch and poke their noses about
and listen conscientiously but perplexedly. They glance at
one another. They are much too oafish to control the
CABAL between his teeth: "If only they'd let us go back to
my own plane. There's a radio there."
"Hopeless.... Won't even trust me."
"We'll have to make a job of this."
"I could send men for your reserve petrol. They'll
give me that. For this."
"Good." Then louder as if explaining the machine.
"One of the most difficult bits in this is what is called the
get-a-way--it's a sort of cut-out. But I have some ideas."
"We'll manage it I think. Now that Dr. Harding
understands his part of the job...."
They nod reassuringly to each other and then glance at the
stupid faces of their guards. It's safe.
Evening. Cabal is sitting in his cell lit by the light of two
candles. He looks bored and despondent.
He turns round at a knocking at his door. "Come in. Don't
stand on ceremony."
The door is opened deferentially by a guard. Roxana
appears, rather specially dressed. Cabal has not expected
anything of this sort. He is a man of experience with women
although he has none of the Boss's devouring enterprise. He
stands up. She walks in, carrying herself with a certain
consciousness of her effect. He bows and remains silent.
"I wanted to look at you."
"At your service, Madam."
"You are the most interesting thing that has
happened in Everytown for years."
"You honour me."
"You come from--outside. I had begun to forget
there was anything outside. I want to hear about it."
"May I offer you my only chair?"
Roxana sits down and arranges herself. Then she takes a
look at Cabal to gauge her effect. Cabal stands or leans
against the table in the subsequent conversation. He looks at
her only very occasionally, but they are scrutinising
"You know--I am not a stupid woman."
"I am sure."
"This life here--is limited. War--rich plunder.
Shining prizes. Of a sort. War always going on and never
ending. Flags. Marching. I adore the Chief. I've always
adored him since he took control in the Pestilence Days when
everyone else lost heart. He rules. He is firm. Everyone--
every woman finds him strong and attractive. I can't
complain. I have everything that is to be had here. But--"
CABAL looks at her for a moment. What is she up to? He
makes a faint encouraging noise: "M'm."
"This is a small limited world we live in here.
You bring in the breath of something greater. When I saw you
swooping down out of the sky--when I saw you march into the
Town Hall--I felt this man lives in a greater world. And you
spoke of the Mediterranean and the East, and your camps and
factories. I've read about the Mediterranean and Greece and
Egypt and India. I can read--a lot of those old books. I'm
not like most of the younger people. I learnt a lot before
education stopped and the schools closed down. I want to see
that world away there. Sunshine, palms, snowy mountains, blue
"If I had my way--you might fly to all that in a
couple of days."
ROXANA becomes pensive and looks down: "If you were
free.... And if I was free."
CABAL'S expression reveals a flash of curiosity about her:
"What is she up to?"
"I don't think any man has ever understood any
woman since the beginning of things. You don't understand our
imaginations. How wild our imaginations can be."
Cabal decides he will not interrupt her.
"I wish I were a man."
She stands up abruptly. "Oh if I were a man!... Does any
man realise what the life of a woman is? How trivial we have
to be. We have to please. We are obliged to please. If we
attempt to take a serious share in life, are we welcomed? And
all the while--. Men are so selfsatisfied, so blind, so
limited.... I see things happening here--! Injustice.
Cruelty. There are things I would do for the poor--things I
would do to make things better. I am not allowed. I have to
pretend to be eaten up by my dresses, my jewels, my vanities.
I make myself beautiful often with an aching heart.... But
I'm talking about myself. Tell me about yourself--about that
greater world you live in. Are you a Boss? You have the
manner of one who commands. You are sure of yourself. You
make me afraid of you. Of the people you come from. Of what
you are. Before you came I felt safe here. I felt--things
were going on as they have been going on.... Always.... No
hope of change.... Now--it's all different. What are you
people trying to do to us? What do you mean to do to this
Boss of mine?"
"Well, the immediate question seems to be what does
he mean to do to me?"
"Something foolish and violent--unless I prevent
"That is how I see things."
"If he kills you--?"
"We shall come here and clean things up just the
"But if you are killed--how can you say we?"
"Oh, we go on. That's just how it is, we are taking
hold of things. In science and government--in the long run--
no man is indispensable. The human thing goes on. We--for
"I see. And our Combatant State here?"
"Has to vanish into the shadows. After the
tyrannosaurus and the sabre-toothed tiger."
Roxana stands looking at him. He leans against the table
and smiles at her.
"You are a new sort of man to me."
"No. A new sort of training. The old Adam
She goes off at a tangent again. "I suppose at the bottom
of her heart every woman despises a man she can manage. And
all women despise men who run after women...."
"You're not by any chance thinking of the Chief?
Where is he to-night?"
"Drinking and boasting. And after that, he hopes
to betray me without my finding out. Vain hopes, I'm afraid.
We needn't think about him. If I said I still love him, it is
as one loves a dirty troublesome child. I love him and he
doesn't matter. What I am thinking about is you. And this new
world of yours--oh, it's your world--that I can feel
advancing on us."
"Have men of your sort no use for women?"
"Madam, I'm a widower and a grandfather. I see
these things with a philosophical detachment. And I don't
quite know what you mean by use."
"A man is a man till he's dead. Don't you still
want the help of a woman? Have you no use for that closeness
of devotion you can never get from any man? Don't you see I
have been working for you already? See what I have done for
you! I have saved Harding from ill-treatment. I got you half
released so as to work with Gordon. I may be able at last to
release you altogether. Why do you despise me?"
"I don't despise you in the least. I think you are
the most civilised being I have met yet in Everytown."
"More than your friends?"
"Oh, much more."
ROXANA is pleased. She presses on to her next step. "Why
don't you confide in me? There's Gordon, there's his wife
Mary and her father Harding, and you are all--together, in
some way. Something carries you all along. Do you think I
don't know you are planning things and doing things? Why
cannot I--help you? I know this place, these people. I am a
sort of Queen here. Am I nothing at all to you?"
Cabal looks at her now intently. Is she trying to find out
about his plans of escape in order to betray him to the Boss?
Or is she proposing to betray the Boss to him? Or is she in a
state of mixed intrigue, ready to do either and mainly
interested in getting some love-making going?
"And could you really restore me to my aeroplane?
Hasn't that been put out of action?"
"No. He wants to use it and doesn't know how to.
No one has touched it. There it is. With six guards night and
day. Even I could not get at that just now."
Cabal who has been leaning against the table stands up and
confronts her. She faces up to him.
"What are you really proposing to me?"
"Nothing. I came to see you. I was interested in
"And now I find you more interesting than ever. A
woman loves to help. She loves to give. I could give so much
--now. And if I gave--?"
CABAL speaking like a representative: "The Air League
would not forget it."
"The Air League will not forget! Air League! Who
cares for the Air League? Would you forget it?"
"Why should I in particular--"
"Are you stupid, man? Or are you insulting me? I
tell you I find you the most interesting man in the world, a
great eagle out of the air. And you stare at me with that
ugly face of yours and pretend not to understand! Have you
never met a woman before? Ugly you are and grey. It doesn't
Her manner changes. She comes close up to him and holds
out her hands as if disposed to clutch his arms. "Oh why
should I go on fencing with you? Don't you see--don't you
understand? I'm for you--if you want me. I'm yours. You big
strong thing, all steel and dignity. Now--now will you let me
They both become aware of a movement outside. She recoils
quickly. The door is flung open without ceremony and the Boss
appears in the doorway. He is wearing his conception of
ceremonial uniform. In a rough way he has a certain
splendour. He stands posed for a moment.
"So this is where you are!"
"I said I should talk to him and I have."
"I told you to leave him alone."
"Yes, and sat up there drinking and looking as
wonderful and powerful as you could. Rudolf the Victorious! I
know--you sent twice to ask Gordon and his wife to come! So
that she should see you in your glory. And here am I trying
to find out for you what this black invader means. Do you
think I wanted to come and talk to him"--she turns to Cabal--
"this grey cold man? While you are swaggering here, more
aeroplanes are getting ready away there at Basra."
"His headquarters. Have you never heard of Basra?"
"These are matters for men to talk about."
"Your lady has been putting me through a severe
cross-examination. But the gist is--that away there in Basra
the aeroplanes are rising night and day like comets about a
hornets' nest. What happens to me here, is a small affair.
They'll get you. The new world of the united airmen will get
you. Why, listen! You can almost hear them coming now."
The imagination of the BOSS is caught for a moment and
then it recovers. "Not a bit of it!"
"What he says is the truth."
"What he says is bluff."
"Make peace with the airmen and let him go."
"That means surrender of our sovereign
"But others will be coming. More machines and
"And he is here--hostage for their good behaviour.
Come, my lady. An end to this little--diplomatic excursion of
He holds the door open for her.
Roxana bridles. Is about to speak and goes out.
At the door she turns and fires a paning shot at the Boss.
"You have the subtlety of a--" She searches for a suitable
epithet and then jumps at the word she needs. "Bullfrog."
When she has gone out of the room the Boss turns and comes
"I don't know what she has been saying to you.
Perhaps I don't care. Not as much as she thinks. There's no
following her chopping and changing. I've had about enough of
it. But I'm not a fool. There's no making peace between you
and me. None at all. It's your world or mine. It's going to
be mine--or I die fighting. After all this threatening--
swarms of hornets and so on--you are a hostage. Understand.
No one comes near you. Your friend Gordon will have to manage
without you. And don't be so sure you'll win. So just go on
sitting here and thinking about it, Mr. Wings over the
The following day, bright daylight, shining into the
laboratory of Dr. Harding. Mary leans against the workbench
and Roxana is talking to her.
"It is not only that I want to protect you from
the insults of the Chief. Oh! I know him. But I want to talk
to you about this man Cabal and his Airmen's world they talk
about. What is this new world that is coming? Is it a new
world really? Or only the old world dressed up in a new way?
Do you understand Cabal? Is he flesh and blood?"
"He's a great man. My father knew him years ago. My
husband worships him."
"He's so cold--so preoccupied. And so--
interesting. Do men like that ever make love?"
"A different sort of love, perhaps."
"Love on ice. If this new world--all airships and
science and order--comes about, what will happen to us
"We shall work like the men."
"You mean that? Are you--flesh and blood?"
"As much as my husband and father."
ROXANA with infinite contempt: "Men! Sometimes--when I
think of lean grim Cabal--I believe this world of yours must
come. And then I think--it can't come. It can't. It's a
dream. It will seem to come but it won't come. It's just a
new lot of men at the top. There will be wars still.
"No, it will be civilisation. It will be peace. This
nightmare of a world we live in--that is the dream, that is
what will pass away."
"No. No. This is reality."
MARY, staring in front of her: "Do you really think that
war and struggle--mere chance gleams of happiness--general
misery--all this squalid divided world about us, do you think
it must go on for ever?"
"You want an impossible world. Nice in a way--
perhaps--but impossible. You are asking too much from men and
women. They won't bother to bring it about. You are asking
them to want unnatural things. What do we want? We women.
Knowledge, civilisation, the good of mankind? Nonsense! Oh,
nonsense. We want satisfaction. We want glory. I want the
glory of being loved--the glory of being wanted--desired,
splendidly desired--and the glory of feeling and looking
splendid. Do you want anything different? No. But you haven't
learnt to look facts in the face yet. I know men. Every man
wants the same thing--glory! Glory in some form. The glory of
being loved--don't I know it? The glory they love most of
all. The glory of bossing things here--the glory of war and
victory. This brave new world of yours will never come. This
wonderful world of reason! It wouldn't be worth having if it
does come. It would be dull and safe and--oh, dreary! No
lovers--no warriors--no dangers--no adventure."
"No adventure! No glory in helping to make the world
over--anew! It is you who are dreaming."
"Helping men! Why should we work and toil for men?
Let them work and toil for us."
"But we can work with them!"
"And what will they have to work for, then?"
"There's no flavour in those greater things. No
flavour. No flavour at all. These airmen--they will conquer
the world. And then we shall conquer them--lean and stern and
sober though they are."
"If I thought that was all we could do--"
"It is all we can do. Haven't you learnt anything
from marriage with Richard?"
Mary looks at her, detesting her. But she finds herself at
a loss for an argument.
The noise of an aeroplane is heard growing rapidly louder.
They turn to the window and look out. They become excited.
They crane up at an aeroplane circling overhead. It makes
a great old-fashioned roar.
"Look! It's your Richard, he's flying at last."
The aeroplane, flying. In the aeroplane is Gordon at the
controls. He is satisfied. Behind him sits a rosetted guard.
Gordon turning the machine round. Then a long shot of
Everytown far below. The machine flies on. The guard stirs.
He protests inaudibly because of the roar of the engine.
Gordon disregards him. Guard taps Gordon's shoulder, signs
for him to return and presently, finding no response but a
cheerful smile, points his pistol. Mutual scrutiny. Guard
weakly menacing. Gordon points over the side of the cockpit.
He smiles suddenly, having taken the measure of his man, and
puts his fingers to his nose. The aeroplane jerks sharply
upwards, and the guard, no longer pointing his pistol, but
gripping tight, is manifestly scared.
Aeroplane looping the loop--then the falling leaf trick.
Guard's ordeal through all this motion. He drops the
pistol and grips the side.
Pistol falling. Hitting the ground and exploding.
The aeroplane seen flying away over the hills.
"And so I got away," says Gordon's voice.
As the voice is heard the last scene dissolves into the
A conference room at Basra, rather like an ultra-modern board
room. It is bleakly and rationally furnished. Telephones have
been restored to the world. Through a large open window one
sees the great and growing aerodrome of Basra with a number
of aeroplanes coming and going. Far off there is a group of
smoking factory chimneys. It is a sudden contrast to the
general ruinousness that has prevailed throughout this film
since the war sequence. A dozen young and middle-aged men sit
at the table indifferent to these familiar activities
outside, and Gordon stands talking--too excited to sit.
"And so I got away. That is where you will find
Cabal. The Boss of Every town is a violent Tough--he may do
anything. There is no time to lose."
A MIDDLE-AGED MAN: "Certainly, there is no time to lose.
Half squadron A is ready now. You ready to go with them,
The middle-aged man begins to dial a telephone.
A YOUNG MAN:
"This gives us a chance of trying this new
anaesthetic, the Gas of Peace... I wish I could go..."
Wipe off to next scene.
The Boss's bedroom. It is a large untidy room furnished with
the best loot of the district. The Boss is in déshabillé, and
has just got out of bed. He is still heavy with sleep. With
him is Burton and by the door stands a messenger.
"At last we have definite news."
"What is it?"
An attendant brings in a tray of breakfast, and sets it on
"Gordon didn't fall into the sea. He got away. A
fishing boat saw him making the French coast. Perhaps he
reached his pals."
BOSS, disagreeably: "Well?"
"He'll be coming back. He'll be bringing the
others with him."
The BOSS is waking up slowly and is very peevish: "Curse
this Air League. Curse all airmen and gas men and machine
men! Why didn't we leave their machines and chemicals alone?
I might have known. Why did I tamper with flying?"
"Well, we needed aeroplanes--against the Hill
State. Somebody else would have started in again with
aeroplanes and gas and bombs if we hadn't. These people would
have come interfering anyhow."
"Why was all this science ever allowed? Why was it
ever let begin?" He turns listlessly to his breakfast. He
"Science!--it's the enemy of everything that is
natural in life. I dreamt of those chaps in the night. Great
ugly inhuman chaps in black. Half like machines. Bombing and
"I guess they'll come bombing, all right."
"Then we'll fight 'em. Since Gordon got away I've
had one or two of the air boys to see me. Those boys have
guts. They can do something still."
He walks up and down devouring a piece of bread. "We'll
fight 'em. We'll fight 'em. We've got hostages.... I'm glad
now we haven't shot them anyhow. I wonder if that fellow
Harding.... Of course! He can tell us what to do about this
gas. If we have to wring his arm off and knock half his teeth
down his throat to make him do it. Get him--get him."
Burton at door shouting for men and giving orders.
The BOSS is gathering courage and takes his food with
"They have to come to earth some time. What is
this World Communications? A handful of men like ourselves.
They're not magic."
A row of old and worn-out aeroplanes in front of a battered
hangar. A number of very young inexperienced-looking pilots
stand before them. The Boss is inspecting them. Roxana is
The BOSS begins his speech: "To you I entrust these good,
these tried and tested machines. You are not mechanics--you
are warriors. You have been taught not to think, but to do--
and--if need be, die. I salute you--I, your leader."
The boy pilots go off rather reluctantly to their machines
and start them up. It is an almost "Heath Robinson" scene of
our contemporary (1935) machines in the last stage of decay
A very long shot of a new type of air bomber flying with a
sort of remorselessness--in contrast with the hops and
misbehaviour of the Boss's machines. It is Gordon returning.
Two other big bombers follow, low down in the sky.
This machine has a distinctive throb of its own which
should mingle with the menace of the music.
Closer shots of parts of this great bomber. Aviators
(three men and two women) stand about looking down on the
world. One is Gordon. Gordon is anxious.
A large cavernous space arched over by the girder of a fallen
building. It looks out upon suburban ruins and a distant
hillside. The Boss is with Burton and Roxana and his staff.
The Boss studies the familiar skyline through binoculars.
Guards bring in Mary and Harding. The Boss turns to them.
"What do you know about these Air League people?
Have they gas? What sort of gas?"
"I know nothing of gas."
"Here, where are the masks?"
Two boys appear with a job lot of masks--caricatures of
"Tell us about these masks, anyhow."
Harding examines a mask and tears it and throws it down.
"Rotten! No use at all."
"What gas have they got?"
"Gas war isn't my business."
"Well, they can't gas us when you are here anyhow."
BURTON, in dismay: "Here they are. Listen. They're coming
The strange recognisable throb of Gordon's aeroplane is
heard and the music that accompanies it, gradually getting
The BOSS rushes forward and looks up with his binoculars:
"Clumsy great things! Our boys will have them down in five
minutes. They're too clumsy. What!--only six of us up. Where
are the rest of our fellows?"
Sudden consternation of the group at something unseen. A
machine falls in flames and crashes in the distance.
"Go on--up at him."
A loud report. Far off another aeroplane crashes in
"Poor boy--it's got him."
"They're both coming down. Cowards!"
"But they can't use gas--how can they use gas?--
when we have the hostages."
The BOSS turns and looks at the hostages. "Ah! the
hostages! I'm not done yet. Lead them out--there. Tie 'em up.
Out there in the open. Where they can be seen."
Guards take Mary and Harding out to the open and tie them
up to two posts. Closer shot of Mary and Harding being tied
to the posts. They look at one another with steady eyes. Then
they look up at the sky.
The BOSS comes over to them, brandishing his pistol. He
shouts up to the sky: "Come down, or I shoot them. Are you
bombing your own hostages? Come down or I shoot."
He remembers Cabal. "Where's the other fellow? He's the
Prize Hostage. He's the best of all. They'll know him. Four
of you--go and fetch him...."
A deep soft thud and a bomb explodes some distance off.
The sound the bomb makes is not a sharp explosive report; it
is more like the whoof of a puff of steam.
A SOLDIER cries out: "Is it gas?"
The BOSS waves his pistol at Mary and Harding. "You
anyhow, shall die before I do." Roxana stands near him.
Another bomb thuds nearer. The Boss points his pistol at
Harding with an expression of desperate resolution, but
Roxana knocks it up as he fires.
"You turn against me?"
"Don't you see--he's beaten you. Look!"
Soldiers in the distance are seen staggering and falling.
The gas this time is transparent, and is available only as
a sort of shimmering heat haze. The foreground now is still
perfectly clear, but the middle distance is flickering.
ROXANA rushes to Mary and clings to her: "Mary--I never
did you any harm. I saved your father. I saved you. Couldn't
you call up to your man--to stop this..."
Crescendo of whoofs close at hand. Whoof. Whoof. WHOOF.
The gas increases and creeps nearer and nearer. The picture
concentrates on the face of the Boss.
The Boss looks with amazement at his men gradually
succumbing to the gas. He starts and pulls himself together.
"Shoot them--what are you all doing--why don't you
move. I won't have it like this. What's happening? Everything
is going swimmy! Everything is swimming."
He wipes his hand across his eyes as if he can no longer
see or think distinctly. He wipes his mouth and rubs his
eyes. His face is suddenly distorted in a last violent effort
to resist the gas.
The flicker of the gas is now all over the screen. The
flickering becomes violent so that it is as if one saw the
face of the Boss through disturbed water.
"Shoot, I say! Shoot. Shoot. We've never shot enough
yet. We never shot enough. We spared them. These
intellectuals! These contrivers! These experts! Now they've
got us. Our world or theirs. What did a few hundreds of them
matter? We've been weak--weak. Kill them like vermin! Kill
all of them!... Why should I be beaten like this? Weakness!
Weakness! Weakness is fatal.... Shoot!"
The flickering broadens out to a swirling dissolve of
outwardly moving circles.
The dark figure of Cabal appears through the swirl. He is
wearing his great mask again and there is no sign of collapse
"Your sentries seem to have gone to sleep. So I
came out.... All the town is going to sleep.... You made us
Abruptly the picture becomes clear again. The Boss sprawls
headlong as it does so. As he becomes insensible you are no
longer supposed to see things with his eyes. He falls exactly
at the moment when the swirling ends. The tall black figure
of Cabal now stands up in the foreground.
All the rest are lying insensible before him....
"And now for the World of the Airmen and a new
start for mankind."
The camera pauses at the side of Cabal so that only the
side of his head and shoulders and arm frame the picture. You
do not get Cabal all in the picture again. You see the
profile of his mask and his black arm and hand.
Mary is in a sitting position at the foot of the post to
which she was tied and Roxana is grouped very gracefully
across her feet. The Boss sprawls on his face in the
foreground with his clenched fist outstretched. Harding
droops from his post. Burton a little further off lies on a
heap of rubble and beyond are soldiers and attendants. CABAL
comes nearer to the group. "You might be more comfortable,
Harding," he says, and releases the ropes, lowering the
inanimate Harding into a sitting position. "So."
Then he turns to the two women. "Well, my dears, you must
sleep for a time. There's nothing more to be done."
He stands looking at them. Close up of the two women's
faces in repose. Mary is quietly peaceful. Roxana even when
she is insensible contrives to be attractive. Cabal's voice
"Mary. And Madame Roxana! Queer contrast. Madame
Roxana. A pretty thing and a very pretty thing and what's to
be done with this very pretty thing? The eternal adventuress.
A common pretty woman who doesn't work. A lady! She has
pluck. Charm. Brains enough for infinite mischief. And a sort
of energy. She'll play her pretty eyes at men to the end of
hertime. Now the Bosses go the way of the money grubbers, I
suppose it will be our turn. Wherever power is, she will
follow. And let me confess to you, young woman, now that you
can't hear me or take any advantage of me, that considering
my high responsibilities and my dignified years, I find you a
lot more interesting and disturbing than I ought to do. Men
are men, you said, to the end of their days. You get at us. I
wish we could keep you under gas always. There is much to be
said for the harem idea. Must you still be up to your tricks
in our new world?"
The view of the camera widens to take in all the
"The new world, with the old stuff. Our job is only
Dawn breaking over Everytown. Dawn sky. Vista of a side
street. Sleeping figures lie scattered about. Gordon and a
knot of companions, several young airmen and two women, also
in black leather, come through the ruins. They are no longer
masked. One of them tears down a rosette flag in passing.
FIRST YOUNG AIRMAN: "They'll sleep for another day."
"Well, we've given 'em a whiff of
civilisation at last."
"Nothing like putting children to sleep when
they are naughty."
On the outskirts of the town, wondering country people in
their coarse canvas clothes and sabots are seen coming down
the hillside against the familiar skyline.
People coming into the Square which is littered with
sleepers. Some of the sleepers are beginning to stir. A bunch
of the new airmen in their black costumes, but not masked or
helmeted, appear and walk across the scene.
People staring at the airmen, the backs of the unkempt
heads very big in silhouette in the foreground of the picture.
It is decadent barbarism watching the return of
Return to the council room, the board room, at the aerodrome
at Basra. Much greater activity is now seen through the
window. Big lorries are running about. People go to and fro.
Aeroplanes of novel type are going up in groups of seven,
squadron after squadron.
The table is now covered with maps and a group of
secretaries stand ready to give any help. Costumes, very
slightly "futuristic," severe, and mostly mechanics' or air
The same council is present, but in addition Cabal is now
a dominant figure beside the Chairman.
CABAL leaning over a map: "This is how I conceive our plan
of operations. Settle, organise, advance. This zone, then
that. At last wings over the whole world and the new world
begins. More and more it will become a round-up of
The Airmen's War. Many aeroplanes of strange and novel shape
rising into the air. They fill the sky. A brief air fight
between three old normal fighting aeroplanes and one of the
Over a ruinous landscape, brigands with flags and old
military uniforms in flight as the new aeroplanes overhead
bomb them. The bombs explode and gas overcomes the brigands.
Sky writing by the new planes: SURRENDER.
Brigands crawl from hiding places and surrender, hands
over their heads. Brigands run out from the houses of another
town as the aeroplanes approach. They surrender.
The sky dotted with the new aeroplanes. Hundreds of men
drop from the sky with parachutes. The brigands stand
A line of prisoners marching. They carry regimental flags.
They are the last ragged vestige of the regular armies of the
old order. It is the end of organised war at last. A group of
the new airmen watch their march-past. Overhead the new
aeroplanes are hovering.
The object of this Part is to bridge, as rapidly and
vigorously as possible, the transition from the year 1970 to
the year 2054. An age of enormous mechanical and industrial
energy has to be suggested by a few moments of picture and
music. The music should begin with a monstrous clangour and
come down to a smoother and smoother rhythm as efficiency
prevails over stress. The shots dissolve rapidly on to one
another, and are bridged with enigmatic and eccentric
mechanical movements. The small figures of men move among the
monstrosities of mechanism, more and more dwarfed by their
An explosive blast fills the screen. The smoke clears, and
the work of the engineers of this new age looms upon us.
First, there is a great clearance of old material and a
preparation for new structures. Gigantic cranes swing across
the screen. Old ruined steel frameworks are torn down. Shots
are given of the clearing up of old buildings and ruins.
Then come shots suggesting experiment, design and the
making of new materials. A huge power station and machine
details are shown. Digging machines are seen making a
gigantic excavation. Conveyer belts carry away the debris.
Stress is laid on the work of excavation because the
Everytown of the year 2054 will be dug into the hills. It
will not be a skyscraper city.
A chemical factory with a dark liquid bubbling in giant
retorts, works swiftly and smoothly. Masked workers go to and
fro. The liquid is poured out into a moulding machine that is
making walls for new buildings.
The metal scaffolding of the new town is being made and
great slabs of wall from the moulding machine are placed in
position. The lines of the new subterranean city of Everytown
begin to appear, bold and colossal.
Swirling river rapids are seen giving place to a deep
controlled flow of water as a symbol of material civilisation
gaining control of nature.
A fantasia of powerful rotating and swinging forms carried
on a broad stream of music concludes this Part.
Flash the date A.D. 2054.
A loud querulous voice breaks across the concluding phase
of this "Transition" music. "I don't like these mechanical
The voice is the voice of Theotocopulos, the rebel artist
of the new era. His face becomes visible, very big on the
screen. He speaks with force and bitterness: "I do not like
this machinery. I do not like> this machinery. All these
wheels going round. Everything going so fast and slick. No."
The camera recedes from him until he is seen to be sitting
at the foot of a great mass of marble. He is wearing the
white overalls of a sculptor and carries a mallet and a
A second Sculptor, a bearded man, comes into the picture.
"Well, what can we do about it?"
Theotocopulos, as if he reveals the most obscure secret,
The bearded man shrugs his shoulders and grimaces
humorously as if towards a third interlocutor in the
THEOTOCOPULOS explodes: "Talk. Radio is everywhere. This
modern world is full of voices. I am going to talk all this
THE BEARDED MAN:
"But will they let you?"
THEOTOCOPULOS imperiously: "They'll let me. I shall call
my talks, Art and Life. That sounds harmless enough. And I
will go for this Brave New World of theirs--tooth and claw."
Flash back to date.
The Little Girl Learns about the New World
A large space, rather than a room, partaking of the nature of
a conservatory and large drawing-room. There are neither
pillars nor right-angle joins. The roof curves gently over
the space. Beautiful plants and a fountain in a basin.
Through the plants one catches a glimpse of the City Ways. An
old gentleman of a hundred and ten years or thereabouts, but
good looking and well-preserved, sits in an arm-chair. A
pretty little girl (8-9) lies on a couch and looks at a piece
of apparatus on which pictures appear. It has a simple
control knob. Some strange pet animal, perhaps a capuchin
monkey, is playing with a ball on the rug. A doll in an
exaggerated costume of the period lies on a seat.
"I like these History Lessons."
The apparatus is showing Lower New York from above--an
"What a funny place New York was--all
sticking up and full of windows."
"They built houses like that in the old days."
"They had no light inside their cities as we
have. So they had to stick the houses up into the day-light--
what there was of it. They had no properly mixed and
He manipulates the knob and shows a similar view of Paris
or Berlin. "Everybody lived half out of doors. And windows of
soft brittle glass everywhere. The Age of Windows lasted four
The apparatus shows rows of windows, cracked, broken,
mended, etc. It is a brief fantasia on the theme of windows
done in the Grierson style.
"They never seemed to realise that we could light
the interiors of our houses with sunshine of our own, so that
there would be no need to poke our houses up ever so high
into the air."
"Weren't the people tired going up and down
"They were all tired and they had a disease
called colds. Everybody had colds and coughed and sneezed and
ran at the eyes."
"You know. Atishoo!"
The little girl sits up very greatly delighted.
"Atishoo. Everyone said Atishoo. That must
have been funny."
"Not so funny as you think."
"And you remember all that, great-
"I remember some of it. Colds we had and we had
indigestion too--from the queer bad foods we ate. It was a
poor life. Never really well."
"Did people laugh at it?"
"They had a way of grinning at it. They called it
humour. We had to have a lot of humour. I've lived through
some horrid times, my dear. Oh! Horrid!
"Horrid! I don't want to see or hear about
that. The Wars, the Wandering Sickness and all those dreadful
years. None of that will come again, great grand-dad? Ever?"
"Not if progress goes on."
"They keep on inventing new things now, don't
they? And making life lovelier and lovelier?"
"Yes.... Lovelier--and bolder.... I suppose I'm
an old man, my dear, but some of it seems almost like going
too far. This Space Gun of theirs that they keep on
"What is this Space Gun, great-grandfather?"
"It is a gun they discharge by electricity--it's
a lot of guns one inside the other--each one discharges the
next inside. I don't properly understand that. But the
cylinder it shoots out at last, goes so fast that it goes--
swish--right away from the earth."
LITTLE GIRL (entranced): "What! Right out into the sky! To
"They may get to the stars in time, but what they
shoot at now is the moon."
"You mean they shoot cylinders at the moon!
Poor old moon!"
"Not exactly at it. They shoot the cylinder so
that it travels round the other side of the moon and comes
back and there's a safe place in the Pacific Ocean where it
drops. They get more and more accurate. They say they can
tell within twenty miles where it will come back and they
keep the sea clear for it. You see?"
"But how splendid. And can people go in the
cylinders? Can I go when I grow up? And see the other side of
the moon! And plump back ker-splosh! into the sea!"
"Oh! They haven't sent men and women yet, that's
what all the trouble's about. That's what Theotocopulos is
making the trouble about."
"What a funny name!"
"It's a Greek name. He's the descendant of a
great artist called El Greco. Theótocopulos--like that."
"And he makes trouble you say?"
"Oh, never mind."
"It wouldn't hurt to go to the moon?"
"We don't know. Some people say yes--some people
say no. They've sent mice round."
"Mice that have gone round the moon!"
"They get broken up, poor little beasties! They
don't know how to hold on when the bumps come. That's why
there's all this talk of sending a man, perhaps. He'd know
how to hold on...."
"He'd have to be brave, wouldn't he?... I
Wish I could fly round the moon."
"That in time, my dear. Won't you come back to
your history pictures again?"
"I'm glad I didn't live in the old world. I
know that John Cabal and his airmen tidied it up. Did you see
John Cabal, great-grand-dad?"
"You can see him in your pictures, my dear."
"But you saw him when he lived, you really
"Yes. I saw the great John Cabal with my own eyes
when I was a little boy. A lean brown old man with hair as
white as mine."
A still of John Cabal is shown as we saw him in the
council at Basra.
The OLD MAN adds: "He was the grandfather of our Oswald
Cabal, the President of our Council."
"Just as you are my great-grandfather?"
The old man pats the little girl.
The scene should be wiped out by the next presentation, which
shows a hand and an arm on a table. The arm carries a light
gauntlet and on the gauntlet is a kind of identification disc
on which one reads the words: "Oswald Cabal, President of the
Council of Direction."
Such identification plates on the wrists or arms are a
usual feature of the costume of the period.
The New Generation
This hand and arm is held for a moment. The fingers drum on
the table in a manner reminiscent of John Cabal in Part III.
It is an inherited habit. Then the camera recedes to show
Oswald Cabal seated in his private room in the administrative
offices of the city of Everytown.
The room is of the same easy style of architecture as the
preceding scene. There are no windows and no corners, but
across a kind of animated frieze, a band of wall, above
Cabal's head, there sweep phantom clouds and waves, waving
trees, clusters of flowers and the like in a perpetual silent
sequence of decorative effects. There is a large televisor
disc and telephone and other apparatus on the desk before
Oswald Cabal is a calmer, younger-looking version of his
ancestor. His hair is dark and like all hair in the new world
trimly dressed. His costume is of a white silken material
with very slight and simple embroidery. In its fineness and
whiteness and in its breadth across the shoulders it
contrasts acutely with the close black aviator costume of
CABAL says to an unseen interlocutor: "Then I take it this
Space Gun has passed all its preliminary trials and that
nothing remains now but the selection of those who are to
The picture broadens out, and we see that Cabal is not
alone. He is in conference with two engineers. They wear dark
and simple clothes in the broad-shouldered fashion of the age
--not leather working-clothes or anything of that sort. In an
age of mechanical perfection there is no need for overalls
and grease-proof clothing. One sits on a chair of modernist
form. (All furniture is metallic.) The other leans familiarly
against a table.
"That's going to be the trouble."
"There are thousands of young people
applying--young men and young women. I never dreamt the moon
was so attractive."
"Practically the gun is perfect now. There
are risks but reasonable risks. And the position of the moon
in the next three or four months gives us the best conditions
for getting there. It is only the choice of the two now that
"There are going to be difficulties. That
man Theotocopulos is talking on the radio about it."
"He's a fantastic creature."
"Yes, but he is making trouble. It is not
going to be easy to choose these young people."
"With all those thousands offering?"
"We have looked into thousands of cases.
We have rejected everyone of imperfect health. Or anyone who
had friends who objected. And the fact is, Sir--. We wish you
would talk to two people. There is Raymond Passworthy of
General Fabrics. You know him?"
"Quite well. His great-grandfather knew mine."
"And his son."
"We want you to see the son, Sir--Maurice
"He asks to go."
"We think you had better see him. He is
CABAL considers and then lifts his gauntlet and touches a
spot on it. A faint musical sound responds. He says: "Is
Maurice Passworthy waiting.... Yes.... Send him up."
Almost immediately a panel opens in the wall and a
slender, rather lightly-clad, good-looking young man appears.
CABAL stands up and looks at him. "You want to talk with
The two engineers bow and retire.
MAURICE PASSWORTHY: "Forgive me, Sir. I came straight to
"You ask a favour?"
MAURICE PASSWORTHY: "A very big favour, I want to be one
of the first two human beings to see the other side of the
"It means danger. Great hardship anyhow. There is
an even chance, they say, you may never come back. And a
still greater chance of coming back crippled."
MAURICE PASSWORTHY: "Give me credit for not minding that,
"A lot of you young people don't mind that. But why
should you be favoured!"
MAURICE PASSWORTHY: "Well, sir, I'm the son of a friend of
yours. People seem to feel--you ought not to send two people
you do not know--" He leaves his sentence unfinished.
MAURICE PASSWORTHY: "We have talked about this over and
MAURICE PASSWORTHY: "You stand for so much in the New
World, the Great World of to-day,"
CABAL is leaning against his desk and thinking. He looks
keenly at the young man's face. "We?" he repeats.
MAURICE PASSWORTHY: "Both of us. It is her idea even more
than it is mine."
CABAL'S mind has already leapt forward to what is coming.
"Her idea? Who is she?"
MAURICE PASSWORTHY: "Some one much closer to you than I
MAURICE PASSWORTHY: "We have been fellow students these
CABAL impatiently: "Yes--yes but tell me."
MAURICE PASSWORTHY: "It is your daughter, Sir--Catherine.
She says that you cannot possibly send anyone's child, but
CABAL, after a pause: "I might have known."
MAURICE PASSWORTHY: "You see, Sir--"
"I see. My daughter.... Funny that I never thought
of her as anything but a little girl. Quite out of this....
MAURICE PASSWORTHY: "She is eighteen."
"A ripe age.... I'm a little--taken by surprise.
And you two have thought it all out."
MAURICE PASSWORTHY: "It's so plain, Sir."
"Yes, it's plain. It's just. It is exactly as
things ought to be. Exactly. All these other thousands will
have to wait their turn.... Sit down here. Tell me how first
you came to know my Catherine?"
MAURICE PASSWORTHY: "Ever since we began to work together.
It seemed so natural, Sir. She's so straight and simple...."
Cabal and Maurice Passworthy sit down for a talk and the
picture fades out. Cabal has still to assimilate this novel
Close up of Cabal. It is half an hour later. He is no longer
in his bureau. He is standing in a dark recess against a
gracefully patterned wall. A small clear sound is heard and
he attends to the telephone disc on his gauntlet. "Yes....
Who is it?... Raymond Passworthy.... Certainly...."
He waits for half a second. "Is that Raymond Passworthy?
Yes. I have been talking to your son for half an hour. Yes.
He is a splendid youngster.... You want to talk to me. At
your service.... I am going to see my daughter at the
Athletic Club. He is meeting her there. He has just gone to
her. Would you care to walk with me through the City Ways and
out through the weather?... I'll be with you...."
Scene changes to a view of one of the high-flung City Ways in
the brightly-lit cavernous Everytown of 2055.
Here for the first time one sees the ordinary social types
of the year 2055 at close hand, their costume and their
bearing. No one is ragged and only one man is wearing any
sort of working costume. He is a gardener and he is spraying
some of the flowers. The general type of costume is
reminiscent of men's costume in Tudor days, varying very
widely between simplicity and ornateness (see Memorandum
ante). Some of the young women are very lightly and simply
clad, but others are more consciously "costumed." One sees
also the very bold and decorative architecture of this semi-
subterranean city and the use of running water and novel and
beautiful plants and flowering shrubs in decoration. In the
sustained bright light and conditioned air of the new
Everytown, and in the hands of skilful gardeners, vegetation
has taken on a new vigour and loveliness. People pass. People
gather in knots and look down on the great spaces below.
The figures of Cabal and Passworthy come walking across
the foreground of this scene. Passworthy is a finer, fitter
version, leaner, cleaner and trimmer, of his ancestor the
Passworthy of the opening scenes. He walks talking with Cabal
for some paces, with the city scene passing panorama fashion
behind, and then the two come to a stop, leaning against a
parapet looking down on the city and talking earnestly.
"I grant you the reality of the progress the
world has made since the Airmen took control. It has been a
century of marvels. But cannot we have too much of progress?
Here I agree is a lovely world in which we are living. A
little artificial--but admirable at last. The triumph of
human invention and human will. Comfort, beauty, security.
Our light is brighter than the sunshine outside and never
before has mankind breathed so sweet an air. We have got the
better of nature. Why should we still drive on so urgently?"
"Because it is in the nature of life to drive on.
The most unnatural thing in life is contentment."
"Contentment! Contentment is Heaven!"
"And this is not heaven."
"No. Indeed not. When sons rebel against their
"And fathers listen to their daughters. We are both
fathers of rebel children, eh? An old problem, Passworthy. A
child that isn't a rebel is a vain repetition. What to do
with our sons and daughters? Fathers like you and I were
asking that question in the Stone Age."
"But to hurl them at the moon!"
"They hurl themselves."
"Desperate young people. Why should they be
"Humanity is tough stuff. If it wasn't for the
desperate young people it wouldn't have got very far."
"Anyone who attempts such an expedition must
be killed. You know that. Lost for ever on that frozen
"They're not going to the moon; they're going round
"That's a quibble."
"They will come back."
"If I could believe that!"
"The best thing for us both is to believe it."
"Why should our children be chosen for a thing
"Science asks for the best."
"But my boy! Always such an impetuous little
devil. All very well for you, Cabal. You are the great-
grandson of John Cabal, the air dictator--who changed the
course of the world. Experiment is in your blood. You--and
your daughter! I'm, I'm more normal. I don't believe my boy
would ever have thought of it. But the two of them got
together. They want to go together.
"They will come back together. This time there is
to be no attempt to land on the moon."
"And when is this--this great experiment to
be made? How long are we to have them before they go?"
CABAL (a little disingenuously): "I don't know."
"When the Space Gun is ready again."
"You mean some time this year?"
"In the old days it was different. Fathers had
authority then. I should have said 'No,' and that would have
"Fathers have said 'No' since the Stone Age."
"And is there no saving of our children from
"But would it be saving our children?"
PASSWORTHY (burst out): "Children are born to be happy.
Young people should take life lightly. There is something
horrible in this immolation--it is nothing less than
immolation--at eighteen and twenty-one."
"Do you think I have no feelings like yours? That I
don't love my daughter?... I'm snatching an hour to-day-
just to see her and look at her while I can. All the same, I
shall let her go...when the time comes."
"Where are they now?"
"She is away at the Athletic Club in the hills--in
training. Your son is there now. Come with me and see them.
Face to face with them we may not feel just as we do here.
Anyhow it will be well to be with them a bit.... It's fine
outside. Will you come--do you mind coming out in the weather
"Mind? I'm an open-air man. This conditioned
air may be better for us with its extra oxygen and so on, and
the light here steadier and brighter, but give me the old sky
and the wind on the heath, brother, and the snow and the
rain, the quick changes and the nightfall. I don't really
love this human ant-hill in which we live."
"We'll go and talk to the young people."
The next scene is introduced chiefly to give an exterior view
of the new Everytown. The old familiar hill-contour is in the
background and quite recognisable, but the old town itself
under the open sky has disappeared and given place to a few
terraces and exterior structures. There are unfamiliar
architectural forms, grass slopes and formal trees. It is
very tranquil and beautiful, the apotheosis of Everytown. A
few aeroplanes of novel structure pass across the sky. Cabal
and Passworthy have changed their costumes to something more
suitable for the open air, a fabric of the cloth type instead
of silky wear, and they have cloaks. The sky is cloudy, the
weather is showery, and in contrast to the serenity of the
city the sunlight drifts in patches across the scene. Along a
wide highway flows an almost noise-less traffic of
streamlined vehicles that come and go through a great
entrance, far more brightly lit than the world outside.
PASSWORTHY (with an effort to be easy-minded): "Here we
are up in the weather. Back to Nature. Well, well--don't you
feel the better for it?"
"If I did I should make trouble for our ventilation
department. I'll confess I like the varying breeze and the
shadows of the clouds--now and then."
"What changes those old hills there have seen
in the last two centuries. Prosperity. War. Want. Pestilence.
This New Amazing World. Look at it now."
"And the changes it has seen are nothing to the
changes it is destined to see."
"Those old hills there. They are the only
things our great-grandfathers would recognise. I suppose they
too in their turn will be swept away."
"All things are swept away in their turn. Blame
Nature for that, not man."
"There's some open-air people playing that old
game of golf away there. It's a good game. I swing a club a
bit myself. I don't suppose you do?"
"I don't. Why should I?"
"It keeps one from thinking."
Cabal lifts his eyebrows.
"It couldn't keep me from thinking to-day
anyhow. Oh! I can't keep my mind off it! These young people
of ours! My heart aches. I feel it here.... I'm out of sorts
with this modern world and all this progress. I suppose our
city is all very fine and vital, and the countryside trimmer
and lovelier--if you like--than it was in the days of
competition and scramble. I suppose there is hardly a bramble
or a swamp or a thicket left in the world. Why can't we rest
at this? Why must we go on--and go on more strenuously than
"Would you stop all thinking and working for ever
"Oh, not exactly that."
"Then what do you mean? A little thinking but not
very much? A little work but nothing serious?"
"Well, Moderation. Go on if you like--but go
"You think I drive? That my sort drives?"
"If you must have the truth--yes--you drive--
"No. Nature drives. She drives and kills. She is
man's mother, and she is his incessant enemy. She bears all
her children in hate and struggle. Beneath this surface of
plenty and security she is still contriving mischief. A
hundred years ago she did her best with what she found in us,
to keep our hands and hearts turned against each other and
make us destroy ourselves by war. She added her own peculiar
little contribution to that--the pestilence. Well, we won
that battle. People forget already how hardly it was won. Now
she wants to turn our very success against us, tempt us to be
indolent, fantastic, idlers and pleasure-lovers--betraying
ourselves in another fashion. A hundred years ago men like
you said that war didn't matter, and it was my sort had to
end it. And now you say going on doesn't matter. Life
couldn't be better. Let the new generation play--waste the
life that is in them.... A planet-load of holiday makers,
spinning to destruction. Just a crowning festival before the
The Hall of the Athletic Club. It is a glazed loggia, a half
out-of-doors place, and it has immense windows of flexible
glass. Outside are water chutes down which athletes (of
either sex) flash with great swiftness. What they do is not
very clear. It is as if they skied down a waterfall. You get
only a dim impression of people flashing by and of rushing
water and a rocky waterfall. A few spectators stand within
the loggia, and there is a coming and going of young athletes
and visitors. Cabal and Passworthy enter. They approach one
of the immense windows. A spectator stands there already. The
spectator follows excitedly the feats outside. He leans
against the glass. The flexible glass gives to the pressure
and produces a distorted view of the rocky scene outside.
Then as the spectator withdraws his hand the window adjusts
"Here again every day someone is injured or
killed! Why should anyone be killed?"
"Everything is done to eliminate the clumsy ones
before an accident occurs. But how are we to save the race
from degeneration unless this sort of thing goes on?"
"My God! Look at that fellow--"
Several spectators rush to the windows.
"He's all right."
"And here they are!"
He directs Cabal's attention towards the doorway. From the
doorway Catherine Cabal and Maurice Passworthy approach Cabal
The two young people are now both in athletic costumes,
very light, revealing their graceful young bodies. Catherine
Cabal is a little slighter than Maurice, pretty but
determined. They come forward to greet their parents, a
little shyly. Maurice halts. Catherine goes up to her father,
looks him in the eyes for a moment, is satisfied by what she
sees there, and kisses him. He holds her to him for a moment
and then releases her. Neither says a word.
PASSWORTHY (trying to take things lightly): "Well, young
people. What have you been doing?"
"Just a turn at the water chutes. No time for
"How many killed to-day?"
"No one. One fellow slipped and broke his thigh--
but he's being taken care of. He'll be well in a week. I just
missed him as he fell. Or I might have come a cropper too."
"Isn't life dangerous enough without doing
"My dear Father, it isn't nearly dangerous enough
for a properly constituted animal. Since the world began life
has been living by the skin of its teeth. It's used to it and
it's built that way. And that's what's the matter with us
"That's your philosophy, Cabal. My boy has
learnt his lesson."
"Not my philosophy. The philosophy of the new
CATHERINE, unable to remain uncertain any longer: "Father,
are we to go?"
"Yes--you are to go."
"It is announced?"
PASSWORTHY, dismayed: "It's announced?"
"The boy is of age. He has volunteered."
"But I want to talk it over first. I want to
talk it over. Why have you announced it so soon? Anyhow there
is still plenty of time to talk it over."
A pause. Very intense scrutiny of faces. Catherine and
Maurice look at each other and then at their parents.
"Not so very long now, Father."
Catherine seems about to speak but does not do so.
"I suppose we have some months yet."
"It is just one month and three days.
Everything is ready now."
"We could go now. The moon is coming into the
right position even while we are talking. But they are
waiting a month longer. To make sure."
"You are going in four weeks! Four weeks! I
"No, it's all arranged."
"That man Theotocopulos is right. This thing
mustn't be. It is human sacrifice. Maurice my son!"
Cabal takes his arm.
"There is still a month and more ahead of us. Let
us talk it over calmly, Passworthy. There is a month yet.
This is a shock to you. It was a shock for me. But perhaps it
is less dreadful--and something greater--than you think.
Consider it for a day or so. Let us all dine to-gether--let
us meet in three days' time, and tell each other plainly all
that we have in our minds."
CABAL is shown in close-up with Passworthy: "I won't come
back to the city with you. There is someone else to whom I
must talk. I have to talk."
"No one is as closely interested as we are."
"I don't know. She has a kind of claim. Many people
would say it was as strong a claim as ours."
"And who is that?"
"Catherine's mother. The woman who used to be my
wife.... Didn't you know I had a wife? Or do you think
Catherine came suddenly out of my head? Like Pallas Athene? I
had a wife and she was very much a woman and we parted years
Evening passes to twilight. After-sunset glow in the sky. A
terrace with clipped yew trees (new type of yew) looking out
over a wide landscape with the sea in the distance. Standing
out against the sea is a huge heavy mortar-like structure.
This is the Space Gun. It is our first sight of this. It
crouches monstrously, dwarfing every other detail in the
landscape. A certain mistiness enhances, if anything, its
An aeroplane sweeps down and its shadow passes across the
A momentary glimpse is given of Cabal descending from the
plane he has flown to this place. Then the camera returns to
the terrace to await him.
Cabal enters and walks slowly to the terrace balustrade.
He stands musing, looking at the Space Gun. His hands are
behind his back. So he remains for some moments.
He turns at a footfall and Rowena enters. Rowena is the
descendant of Roxana, the favourite of the Boss of Everytown
in 1970, just as Oswald Cabal is the descendant of John
Cabal. She is physically like her prototype--the part is
played by the same actress--but she has none of the arms-
akimbo dash of her ancestress. She is better bred. She is
dressed much more beautifully and with nothing of Roxana's
sluttish magnificence, and her gestures are well under
"And so at last I am permitted to see you again."
"You heard the news quickly, Rowena."
"It is all over the world now."
"On the air everywhere. The whole world talks of
nothing else. Why have you done this thing to me? Our
"I did not do this to you. She determined to go.
What do you want with me?"
"You are a monster. You and your kind are
monsters. Your science and your new orders have taken away
your souls and put machines and theories in the place of
them. It is well I left you when I did."
"And you have come here--you have insisted on
seeing me in order to tell me that--now."
"Not only that. I forbid you to send our daughter
on this mad expedition."
"Our daughter! My daughter. You left her to me when
you went away. And she goes--of her own free will."
"Because you have poisoned her mind. She, I
suppose, is one of the new sort of women just as you are one
of the new sort of men. Do you think I do not care for her,
simply because you have never let me see her?"
"Usually you have been on the other side of the
"Reproach me! All the same I care. Who left me
love-hungry?... Cabal, have you no pity? Have you no
imagination? If I cannot forbid--well, then I implore. Think
of that body of hers--scarcely more than a child's body--
crushed, broken, frozen!"
"I won't. One can think too much of bodies,
"Hard you are and terrible. What are you doing
with life, Cabal?"
"Soft you are and sensuous. What are you doing with
"You turn it to steel."
"You fritter it away."
"Who made me fritter it away? I have been wanting
to meet you face to face for years, and have this out with
you. I hated leaving you. But you made life too high and hard
"I hated your going. But you made life too
distracted and vexatious for me. I loved you--but loving you
was an all-time task. I had work to do."
"The everlasting work of fighting danger and death
and decay for mankind."
"Fanatic! Where are danger and death to-day?"
"In ambush everywhere."
"You go out to meet them."
"I had rather be the hunter than the hunted."
"But if you are hunting danger and death all the
time, what is there left of life?"
"Courage, adventure, work--and an increasing power
"Give me love."
"You left me for that. Poor love-huntress. My love
wasn't good enough--not flattering enough--not sedulous
enough. Have you ever found that love of your dreams? Was
there ever a lover who made you feel as glorious as you
wanted to be? Could any lover do that? Wherever you found
love, you gripped it as a child plucks a flower--and you
"Have I been anything but human?"
"I have loved after my nature. Even if at last I
have to grow old and die."
"But let me live after my nature. You may want
love, but I want the stars."
"But love too! You wanted human love once, Cabal."
"I wanted my work more."
"But isn't that girl of ours at least human? As I
am? Isn't she entitled to the freshness of life--to the
novelty of life? Is she to begin where you leave off? Suppose
after all love does come to an end--gets found out? Why
shouldn't she have her years of delusion and excitement?"
"And end in futility? Left behind by all your
loving? Painted? In an imitation of youth? Clinging to
"Oh you can sting. Which of the two is futility?
To obey your impulses or deny them? That girl, I tell you, is
a human being, and she has to follow the human way. She's a
"Not one of the old son, Rowena. Not of your sort.
Do you think that everything else in human life is going to
alter, scale and power and speed, and men and women remain as
they have always been? This is a New World we are living in.
It drives to new and greater destinies. And that desperate
old love story which has been acted and told so often, as
though it was the very core of life, is almost finished
"And you think she has finished with it?"
"What do you know of our daughter? What do you
know, you love-huntress, of the creative drive a woman can
feel as well as a man? She has loved and she loves; she has
found a mate and they are driving on together. Shoulder to
shoulder. Almost forgetting each other in their happy
identification. She lives for the endless adventure--as he
lives for the endless adventure. And that is the increase of
human knowledge and power--for ever...."
"Cabal, all men are fools about women. All of
them. That girl of yours. And your endless adventure! You
think she is a new sort of woman. There is no new sort of
woman. She flies off--with her lover. Well, what sort of
woman wouldn't--old sort or new sort? What could be more
"Anyhow she shall fly off."
"The new sort of man seems to me to be very like
the old sort of mule. Now tell me, tell me, if men are going
to give themselves to this everlasting adventure of yours,
what is to become of women?"
"There's no sex in that sort of adventure. It is as
open to you as it is to us. Drop the old sex romance. Come
and work with us."
"Work with you!"
"Why not? You have hands and brains."
"You mean, my dear, work for you. There speaks the
old sort of man asking woman to be his slave. When it comes
to women, is the new sort of man any different from the old?"
"Why for us and not with us?"
"Because you men have a way of taking the lead and
getting hold of things."
"Very well! For us if you like. And why not? Pick
your man for the work he does, and the powers he has. Follow
him and be his woman?"
"We, we women, are to help and comfort and cherish
--play the role of handmaid--to the end of things?"
"If that's how you are made, and it seems to be how
you are made; why not?"
"It isn't how we are made."
"If you are not made for knowledge and power as men
are, if you are not made to serve knowledge and power, then
what on earth are you made for? If you are more than a love-
huntress, what do you dream you are hunting?"
"Oh, we argued like this fifteen years ago?"
"Fifteen years ago! This argument began before the
"And it will end--! Will it ever end?"
"Never for us, Rowena. Never--for generations yet.
You go your way after your fashion--and I go mine."
"And that is your last word for me--you who once
knelt at my feet!"
Old memories come back to Cabal, a rush of forgotten
emotions. He turns towards her. He seems full of things he
cannot express and he says nothing.
Fade out of the two facing each other in the twilight, man
and woman, bereaved of all the illusion they ever had for one
another and still--perplexed.
Cabal is in his brightly-lit office again. He still wears his
out-of-doors cloak and he sits down with a certain weariness.
He turns to the apparatus on his desk. "And now let us hear
what Mr. Theotocopulos has to say about it all. This is the
time for him."
He touches a button.
"I want to hear and see Theotocopulos. He must be talking
now upon the mirrors everywhere."
Then the scene is changed to a great open space in which a
big crowd has assembled before a gigantic screen at the head
of a flight of stairs.
Theotocopulos is seen in the midst of a group of friends.
He is no longer in his sculptor's overalls. He is dressed in
an ornate, richly-embroidered, coloured satin costume, with a
great cloak about him which he flourishes dramatically. He is
ascending by the side of the gigantic screen in comparison
with which he and his party are quite minute. They glance at
the crowd and their voices are lost in the general babble.
They pass behind the gigantic mirror and then suddenly
Theotocopulos appears in the mirror, vastly magnified, and
his voice dominates all other sounds. The crowd of small
figures sways with excitement as he prepares to begin.
Then the picture goes back to Cabal sitting in his study
and preparing to listen to the discourse of Theotocopulos.
The room is silent. Then a confused sound like the sound of a
crowd is heard and the televisor disc becomes cloudy. Cabal
makes an adjustment and the sounds and the picture become
The televisor disc advances so as to occupy the great area
of the screen. It is framed below by Cabal's head and
"What is all this Progress? What is the good of this
Progress? Onward and onward. We demand a halt, we demand a
rest. The object of life is happy living...."
"One would think the object of life was everlasting
"We will not have life sacrificed to experiment. Progress
is not living, it should only be the preparation for living."
Cabal stands up, walks a few paces away from the disc, and
turns to hear more.
"Let us be just to these people who rule over us. Let us
not be ungrateful. They have tidied up the world. They have
tidied it up marvelously. Order and magnificence is
achieved, knowledge increases. Oh God, how it increases!"
"So they laugh at that."
"Still the hard drive goes on. They find work for all of
us. We thought this was to be the Age of Leisure. But is it?
We must measure and compute, we must collect and sort and
count. We must sacrifice ourselves. We must live for--what is
it?--the species. We must sacrifice ourselves all day and
every day to this incessant spreading of knowledge and order.
We gain the whole world--and at what a price! Greater
sacrifices and still greater. And at last they lead us back
to the supreme sacrifice--the sacrifice of human life. They
stage the old Greek tragedy again and a father offers up his
daughter to his evil gods."
With an impatient movement CABAL extinguishes the
televisor. "And that voice is sounding over all the world. I
wonder what the world is making of it."
He faces his apartment.
"We might suppress it.
"Make an end of free expression. That would be the
beginning of the end of progress.
"No. They have to hear him, and make what they can of him.
But I wish I could be all over the world now, listening with
every listener. What will they make of him?"
This is a sequence of scenes and passing shots to portray the
enormous range and the simultaneousness of thought and
discussion in the new world. The discourse of Theotocopulos
goes on almost uninterruptedly except for occasional shouts
and outcries, until at last he comes to his end. He appears
in different mirrors and in different frames and at times he
is heard and not seen. But the reality of a single person
being able to speak to the whole world, so far as it is
interested and will listen, and the swiftness with which a
common response can be evoked at the same time in every part
of the earth where listeners can be found, is made plain.
We see first of all the backs of a considerable number of
people who are dining together. They give a glimpse of the
fashions of 2055, and the tableware of an eating place. They
look up at a large frame in which Theotocopulos is seen and
heard talking. The crowd is attentive, but displays little
reaction to his speech. Then the flash passes to the edge of
a swimming pool or to the border of a lawn on which a number
of young people in athletic clothing applaud a wrestler who
has just put down an antagonist. A man stands up and switches
on a televisor and everybody listens. Some of them mutter
comments to each other and opinion is divided. Then one
passes to a number of scientific people working in a
laboratory. Theotocopulos is seen talking on the televisor.
One man is irritated and says: "Oh, stop his nonsense."
Theotocopulos is switched off. Then an Oriental young woman
with a fan, reclining indolently on a couch under a window
that looks out upon palms, listens gravely to an oval
televisor on which Theotocopulos continues his speech. Then
there is a mountain hut with a glass window giving upon a
violent snowstorm. Two workers in arctic costume occupy the
hut; one lies on a bed; the other sits at a table and listens
to the voice. They switch it off. "I suppose that rubbish
appeals to the crowds in the town. What do they know of real
A group of modellers is seen in a studio. It is large, but
not fundamentally different from an art studio of to-day.
There have been no great changes in the plastic arts. In the
background is the televisor. An artist is focusing this and
Theotocopulos becomes visible and audible....
He turns the televisor off. "A man has a right to do what
he likes with himself."
"Never. That Space Gun ought to be
destroyed. And now!"
"The things ought to stop. Look!"
He takes up a model.
"Good for Theotocopulos."
"But here!" He holds up an ugly
caricature of Cabal. (Laughter.)
This is the discourse of Theotocopulos which is distributed
over these scenes.
"These people who are so kind as to manage our world for
us declare that they leave us free to do as we please, they
assert in season and out of season that never has there been
such freedom as we have to-day. And as the price of this
limitless freedom we enjoy, they ask us to ignore the hard
and dreadful persistence of their own inhuman researches. But
is our freedom really the freedom they pretend it is? Is a
man free who cannot protest at what he sees and hears? We
want the freedom to arrest. We want the freedom to prevent.
Have they the right to use the resources of this world to
torment us by the spectacle of their cruel and mad
adventures? Have they the right to mar the very peace of our
starry heavens by human sacrifices?
"In the old days, as we all know, there lay deep dark
shadows on the happiness of men, and these shadows were
called religions. You have heard of them. Puritanism and the
mortification of the flesh, shaven heads and cropped spirits.
Thou shalt and Thou shalt not, oppressing the free hearts of
men. You have learnt about these tyrannies of the spirit in
your histories. Those old religions were bad enough with
their sacrifices and vows--their horrible celibacy, their
gloomy chantings, their persecutions and inquisitions. We
thought we were free of religions for ever. But have they
really left us--or have they merely adopted new names and
fresh masks? I tell you this science and exploration of
theirs is no more and no less than the spirit of self-
immolation returning to the earth in a new disguise. No more
and no less. It is the old black spirit of human subjugation,
love, the pitiless monster, coming back in the midst of our
freedom and abundance--the old dark seriousness--the stern
unnecessary devotions. What has brought it back? Why have we
all this insistence on duty and sacrifice for the young, on
discipline, self-restraint and strain now? What is the need
for it now? What does it mean? What does it portend? Make no
mistake about it! The servitudes they put upon themselves to-
day they will impose upon the whole world to-morrow. Is man
never to rest, never to be free? A time will come when they
will want more cannon fodder for their Space Guns--when you
in your turn will be forced away to take your chance upon
strange planets and in dreary and abominable places beyond
the friendly stars. I tell you we must stop this insensate
straining towards strange and inhuman experiences--and we
must stop it now. I say; an end to this Progress. Make an end
to Progress now. We are content with the simple sensuous,
limited, lovable life of man and we want no other. Between
the dark past of history and the incalculable future let us
snatch to-day--and live. What is the future to us? Give the
earth peace and leave our human lives alone."
A phosphorescent drusy cavity deep in the earth. A drusy
cavity is a cavity in a rock into which minerals have been
free to crystallise for immemorial ages. There are big dark
and light crystals in crowded confusion. Into this the nose
of a borer pierces its way laterally and comes to a stop. It
withdraws and two young men and a girl, in shiny, white,
close-fitting clothes with glow lamps on their foreheads,
creep into the cavernous space.
FIRST YOUNG MAN:
"Here we are ten miles below the surface.
And no molten rock but instead this Aladdin's cave."
"And precious stones! What wouldn't my great-
grandmother have given for them!"
SECOND YOUNG MAN: "I wonder what is going on up above."
He is carrying a small televisor on his chest in the
position of a breast-pocket and he swings it into position to
look at it. The others look also over his shoulder. The
televisor shows Theotocopulos bowing and turning away. Sound
a rush of applause.
"It's Theotocopulos. He's finished. But we know
what he had to say. We have heard it all before. Is there
FIRST YOUNG MAN:
"This Theotocopulos is an old imbecile."
SECOND YOUNG MAN: "The dear little children are not to
take risks any more for ever. Just play with their little
painties and sing their little songs."
FIRST YOUNG MAN:
"And find out nice new peculiar ways of
SECOND YOUNG MAN: "But mind you, that stuff is going to
stir up a lot of the lazy people in the towns. They hate this
endless exploration and experimenting. What business is it of
theirs? It's a sort of envy they feel. It wounds their pride.
They do not want to do this work themselves, but they cannot
suffer anyone else to do it...."
The scene changes to the crowd which has assembled before the
great central screen behind which Theotocopulos has been
talking. The crowd is dispersing, and we see their faces. One
man says to another: "He's right. The Space Gun is an offence
to every human instinct."
"If I was that man Passworthy I would kill
"It makes me long for the good old days when there
was honest warfare and simple devotion to honour and the
flag. Space Guns indeed! What is the world coming to?"
"I wish I'd lived in the good old days before
all this horrible science took possession of us."
Three very old men sit in a pretty vine-covered arbour
drinking and talking. They are hale and hearty. They might
well be lean good-looking old gentlemen of sixty. Like all
the people of the new age, their abundant hair is trim and
neat--but artificially silvered.
FIRST OLD MAN:
"To-day is my birthday."
SECOND OLD MAN:
"And how much is that?"
FIRST OLD MAN:
"A hundred and two."
SECOND OLD MAN:
"I'm only ninety-eight."
THIRD OLD MAN:
"But I score a hundred and nine."
FIRST OLD MAN:
"Where should we have been a century ago?"
SECOND OLD MAN:
"Under the earth."
FIRST OLD MAN:
THIRD OLD MAN breaks into song: "Oh your glasses raise to
the good old days."
"Gout and rheumatics and toothless jaws."
"That are gone for ever, to God be praise.
The dark and the haste and the dirty ways.
Diabetes and body rot.
Deafness and blindness, the pitiful lot."
"Gout and rheumatics and toothless jaws."
THIRD OLD MAN:
"Of ancient men in the good old days."
They drink to each other.
FIRST OLD MAN, after an appreciative pause: "And that's
one for Theotocopulos."
A nursery of children. Anno 2055. They play with plasticine,
draw on sheets of paper (as they do at Dartington), build
with bricks or run about after each other. There may be a
Siamese or white Persian kitten in the party or tame red
squirrels scampering about.
Two women in the foreground converse.
"In 1900 one infant in every six died in the
first year. Now it is the rarest thing in the world for an
infant to die."
"Was it one in six?"
"That was the best in all the world. That was
the English rate. And out of every hundred women who bore
children, three were doomed to die. Think of it: Thousands of
them every year. Death in childbirth is now a thing unheard
of. But that was the natural way of life."
A very great scientific laboratory in the year 2055. It is in
tier above tier in a huge space, so that there are hundreds
of workers, men and women, mostly clad in white overalls,
visible. Scientific work has become multitudinous. They work
at benches and tables. At certain points there are vivid
splutterings of light. In the foreground two men are watching
some brightly illuminated globes and tanks in which small
fish-like creatures are seen moving, not very distinctly.
Their attention is called to something off the screen and
there enters a woman carrying a very intelligent-looking
FIRST SCIENTIFIC WORKER: "Hullo! What have you got there?"
"This is the last word in Canine Genetics.
Pavlov started this work in Russia, six score years ago. Look
at this little dear. It can almost talk. It will never have
distemper. It will live to be thirty, good and strong. And it
runs like the wind. Wag your tail, my darling, and thank
Uncle Science for your blessings."
Somebody shouts to the other workers: "The Dog up to date.
Come and look."
Workers on various of the tiers leave their benches and
come down to see. Others intent on their work disregard the
excitement. A little crowd assembles about the new specimen.
SECOND SCIENTIFIC WORKER: "We must teach him to bite
THIRD SCIENTIFIC WORKER, with disgust: "Oh!
"The dear old world! I suppose you and I would
have been working in a slum for fourpence an hour. Instead of
being friends with the very best little dog in the world."
Petting. "Ain't it? Yess."
Crowd about the dog.
FIRST SCIENTIFIC WORKER: "Most of us would hardly have
learnt to read--and we should have been clerks and drudges."
SECOND SCIENTIFIC WORKER: "Or out-of-works."
"And now there is always something new and
something exciting. Oh! save me from that natural life of
FIRST SCIENTIFIC WORKER: "What is the natural life of
SECOND SCIENTIFIC WORKER: "Lice and fleas. Endless
infections. Croup to begin with and cancer to finish. Rotten
teeth by forty. Anger and spite.... And yet these fools
listen to Theotocopulos. They want Romance! They want flags
back. War and all the nice human things. They think we are
Robots--and the drilled soldiers in the old days weren't.
They want the Dear Old World of the Past--and an end to all
this wicked Science!..."
The Struggle for the Space Gun
The scene is an ante-room to the dining alcove where Cabal,
Passworthy, Catherine and Maurice are to dine. They dine at
half-past four or five, for dinner has got back to the hours
it had in the seventeenth century and lunch has disappeared.
People breakfast, dine and sup, and there is a great variety
about the meal hours, because there is no twenty-four-hour
alternation now of light and darkness.
The alcove is a sort of glazed balcony projecting over one
of the great City Ways. When the glass is closed, it is quite
silent. When it is opened sounds come up from below. On a
couch Maurice and Catherine sit close together, and very
content with each other. They look up as if through the
transparent ceiling at something in the air and then stand up
as Passworthy appears through a small door that leads from
"And so we've had our three days for
reflection. Haven't you two thought better of it?"
"We couldn't think better of it, Father. Don't
make things hard for us."
PASSWORTHY to Catherine: "Where is your father?"
"He was coming here with me, but he had a call
from Morden Mitani, who had something urgent to say to him."
"The Controller of Traffic and Order. My father
waited behind to talk to him."
Cabal's apartment. Cabal is greeting Morden Mitani, who is an
efficient good-looking man in a dark costume. CABAL says: "I
was starting out to dine in the Cupola buildings. I am
"Then I won't keep you here talking. I will
come with you towards the Cupola through the City Ways. It
will be best like that. There are things I want you to see
and know about."
One of the City Ways. Morden Mitani and Cabal walk across the
scene and arrive at a vantage point on a high bridge looking
down over a great arena far below.
"That is what I want you to see."
Far below a little straggle of people is gathering into a
sort of procession. Camera shot at them from high above. They
are singing a song of revolt.
"What are they doing? Is it some procession? It
straggles a lot."
"That's--what do they call it? A demonstration.
"But what's the trouble?"
Mitani draws him back behind a pilaster. Other people come
to the bridge in order to see the crowd below. They do not
observe Cabal and Mitani.
Confidential close up of Cabal and Mitani.
MITANI (in a low tone): "That is the outcome of
Theotocopulos. He ought never to have been allowed to talk on
"The world must have free speech. We can't go back
on that. People must think for themselves."
"Then the world will have to have policemen again.
Just to keep people from acting too quickly on a chance
"What can he do?"
"People are taking him very seriously. They are
taking him very seriously. They want to stop the firing of
the Space Gun by force. They talk of--how do they put it?--
rescuing the victims."
"But what is this? If the victims choose to go?"
"Still they object."
"And if they object?"
"They will interfere with things. They are making
--what did they used to call it?--an insurrection. That down
there is insurrection."
"Against the Council."
"An insurrection! I cannot imagine it. In the past
insurrections were risings of downtrodden classes--and now we
have no downtrodden classes. Everyone does a share in the
work and everyone has a share in the abundance. Can mankind
rise against itself? No. That down there is just--a little
excitement. What can Theotocopulos do with it!"
"He gathers large crowds. That sort of thing is
going on all over the city. We have no police, no troops, no
weapons nowadays to keep crowds in order. We thought that was
done with for ever. 'Rescue the victims from Cabal,' he says.
He keeps on against you. 'Rescue the victims from Cabal.'"
"Isn't one of them my daughter?--My only daughter."
"He says that merely shows your hardness of heart
--shows what a monster science may make out of a man. He
compares you with those Greek parents who sent their children
to the Minotaur."
"And if I sent other people's children and saved my
"You'd be in the wrong with him anyway."
"But after all--what can he do?"
"There is the Space Gun out on the seashore. It is
hardly guarded at all. Nothing has been guarded on this
planet for the past fifty years."
"Then you'll have to organise some sort of guard.
Alter all you have your way-men and your inspection planes.
That ought to be enough. And if there is much disturbance--
isn't there still the Gas of Peace?"
MITANI "There is none."
"Is there none?"
"Officially anyhow. There has been no need of it.
The world has been orderly because it has been happy, and it
has been happy because everyone has had something to do.
There has been no reason to keep any of that gas. There has
been no use for it for seventy years. But now I want to call
up the Council and get a sanction to make it at once--and use
it if need be."
"Call the Council, but won't that take too long?"
"Well, I have been anticipating a little. I have
been having some made."
"That is right. We can endorse that."
"In a few hours some tons at any rate will be
ready and our planes will be ready to distribute it. But
still--it will take a little time. Some hours, perhaps."
"That old Gas of Peace. We shall hate to use it
again. But if the people will not give us the freedom of
outer space--we shall have to use it."
"I have your support then in what I am doing?"
"Fully. Yet all this is incredible to me.
Insurrection! Against exploration! Mankind turning upon
science and adventure. Wanting to call a halt. It's a mood,
"It is a dangerous mood."
"It's a fit of nerves--at the thought of stepping
off this planet and leaping into space. Well--first we must
save the gun.
Mitani goes and Cabal approaches the screen.
CABAL in soliloquy: "Have we been making the pace too hard
for Humanity? Humanity! What is Humanity? Is it
Theotocopulos? Is it dear old Passworthy? Is it Rowena? Is it
The dining alcove. Far below, the streets are seen. The meal
is nearly finished. Cabal, Passworthy, Catherine and Maurice.
Maurice touches a button, and a plate with fruits arrives on
a glassy band. Maurice puts the plate on the table. Catherine
and he begin to eat. Passworthy does not eat. He looks at the
young people. Presently he speaks.
"Isn't life good enough for you here? Here you
are in a safe and lovely world. Young lovers. Just beginning
life. And you want to go into that outer horror! Let someone
go who is sick of life."
"They want fit young people, alert and quick.
And we are fit young people. We can observe, we can come back
"Cabal! I want to ask you one plain question.
Why do you let your daughter dream of going on this mad moon
CABAL was sitting silently in thought. Now he looks it his
daughter and answers slowly: "Because I love her. Because I
want her to live to the best effect. Dragging out life to the
last possible second isn't living to the best effect. The
nearer the bone, the sweeter the meat. The best of life,
Passworthy, lies nearest to the edge of death."
Catherine stretches out her hand to him. Cabal takes
"I am a broken man. I do not know where honour
CABAL to his daughter: "My dear, I love you--and I have no
"A century ago, no man who was worth his salt
hesitated to give his life in war. When I read about those
fellows in the trenches--"
"No. Only a few men gave their lives in war. Those
few men were caught in some tragic and noble necessity. What
the rest did was to risk their lives--and that is all you two
have to do. You two have to do your utmost to come back safe
and sound. And you are not the only ones who are taking risks
to-day. Have we not men exploring the depths of the sea,
training and making friends with dangerous animals and with
danger in every shape and form, playing with gigantic
physical forces, balancing on the rims of lakes of molten
"But all that is to make the world safe for
Man--safe for happiness."
"No. The world will never be safe for man--and
there is no happiness in safety. You haven't got things
right, Passworthy. Our fathers and our fathers' fathers
cleaned up the old order of things because it killed
children, because it killed people unprepared for death,
because it tormented people in vain, because it outraged
human pride and dignity, because it was an ugly spectacle of
waste. But that was only the beginning. There is nothing
wrong in suffering, if you suffer for a purpose. Our
revolution did not abolish death or danger. It simply made
death and danger worth while."
Morden Mitani enters suddenly. He is in a state of intense
excitement. Cabal stands up abruptly with an anxious face.
"Cabal! The gun is in urgent danger. It is a race
against time now to save it. Things have happened very
rapidly. Theotocopulos is out with a crowd of people already.
He is going to the Space Gun now. They are going to break it
up. They say it is the symbol of your tyranny."
"Have they weapons?"
"Bars of metal. They can smash electric cables.
They can do no end of mischief."
"Are there no weapons on our side? Cannot your
traffic control produce a police?"
"Very few.... We have nothing but the Gas of
Peace. And it isn't ready. It will take hours yet. There are
some young people we can gather. We must hold this crowd back
--at any cost--for a time; until the Gas of Peace can be
PASSWORTHY, at a window: "Look!"
Cabal and the rest come to the window. Passworthy points
to the streets far below. He opens the window. Sudden sound
effects. Camera follows his eyes from above. Crowd marching
and singing their song of revolt. Cabal and his party looking
down. A technical assistant hurries in and goes up to Mitani.
He speaks but is inaudible. Cabal makes gesture to the
window, which Mitani closes. Noise cut off.
"It is a riot. It is barbarism come back."
"Who are you?"
Assistant shows the identification disk on his gauntlet.
Disk with inscription: "William Jeans. Astronomical Staff--
"They must go afoot. We have stopped the air ways.
They will take an hour or more to get there. Even those who
have started already. And then they will hesitate."
"That gun must not be broken up. That vast
piece of work. The pity of it!--if they smash it! When the
trial experiments have all been made! When everything was
"When everything was ready." He is struck by a
thought; he looks at Catherine. Catherine understands him.
"And if they smash up this infernal gun--then
honour is satisfied and you need not go."
"Oh, Father! Father!"
"They won't smash the gun."
MAURICE, eagerly to assistant: "Suppose the gun was fired
now? Would the cylinder reach the moon?"
ASSISTANT, looking at his watch: "It would miss now and
fly into outer space. But...it is now five. If the gun is
fired about seven...."
"And...it could be?"
Maurice and Catherine look at each other. They understand
"We go now."
"And why not?"
"That is perfectly possible."
PASSWORTHY cries out: "I protest!... Oh! I don't know what
to say. Don't go. Don't go."
"If we don't go now--we may never go. And all the
rest of our lives we shall feel that we have shirked, and
lived in vain.... This supremely is what we two are for....
Father, we have to go."
A tunnel leading out of the city. Effect of mob marching to
the gun. Effect of mob coming out of tunnel.
Mob groups from different city entrances collecting
together and marching to the gun. (This mob, by the by, is as
well dressed as any other people in the film. It has the
well-groomed look which is universal in the new world. It is
not a social conflict we are witnessing. It is not the Haves
attacked by the Have Nots; it is the Doers attacked by the
The Firing of the Space Gun
In an aeroplane. Cabal, Passworthy, Catherine and Maurice.
They are flying to the gun. They look out of the windows. The
gun is seen in the distance like a great metallic beast
brooding among the hills.
Through the windows we see next that the plane is
descending vertically close to the Space Gun. First clouds,
then cliff, and then through great girders, cables and
machinery. The plane comes to rest close to the colossal
shock absorbers of the gun.
Mitani meets Cabal, Passworthy, Catherine and Maurice as
they are getting out of the aeroplane, and they look upwards
at the gun. The camera reveals the massive proportions of
The Space Gun, monumental, tremendous, overwhelming. On
the framework are young athletes who discover Catherine and
Maurice and hail them enthusiastically. Catherine and Maurice
go towards their friends. Fraternal reception. Cabal,
Passworthy and Mitani follow slowly.
They come to a lift. Cabal and Passworthy stand at the
entrance. Mitani is beside the door.
MITANI to Cabal:
"Go up to the platform. We can guard this
Cabal and Passworthy enter the lift.
The lift arrives on a high platform a score of yards or so
below the level of the cylinder which is to be shot at the
moon. This hangs at present over the mouth of the gun, and is
held by almost invisibly delicate metal supports.
Cabal comes out from the lift upon this high platform,
followed by Passworthy. Cabal goes to a railing and looks
down. Camera follows Cabal's eyes and shows the Space Gun
from above. In the distance are Theotocopulos and his crowd
advancing through the supports towards the Space Gun. Cabal,
Passworthy, Catherine, and Maurice stand on platform. They
look up. The cylinder is seen close above their heads being
lowered slowly towards the muzzle of the gun.
The insurrectionary song increases in volume as it draws
Theotocopulos and his mob appear. They appear at the edge
of the cliff, they come up against the sky and no
difficulties in production must be allowed to minimise the
dramatic effect of their appearance upon the cliff edge.
They stop abruptly--(the song stops also)--and they stare.
Shots of Theotocopulos and his crowd staring upward.
The cylinder being lowered until it hangs at the mouth of
THEOTOCOPULOS discovers Cabal and points: "There is the
Cries of indignation.
Camera passes slowly over to Cabal across the framework
and structures about the gun, giving the impression of a
great gulf between the two men. The subsequent conversation
is shouted by means of amplifiers across a great space. These
amplifiers must be indicated, but not obtrusively.
Behind Cabal are Passworthy, Catherine and Maurice. A
young mechanic approaches them.
"Everything is ready."
There is a moment of tension.
Catherine takes a quite silent leave of her father.
Maurice grips Passworthy's hands in both of his in an attempt
to reassure him and give him courage and dignity.
Catherine and Maurice turn away, followed by the mechanic.
A close-up of Cabal shows his face distressfully calm.
THEOTOCOPULOS (Off): "There is the man who would offer up
his daughter to the Devil of Science."
CABAL becomes aware of these words, and is roused by them;
he walks to the railing and addresses Theotocopulos: "What do
you want here?"
The picture now passes to Theotocopulos and remains with
him during the subsequent talk. Cabal is heard but not seen.
"We want to save these young people from
your experiments. We want to put an end to this inhuman
foolery. We want to make the world safe for men. We mean to
destroy that gun."
"And how will you do that?"
"Oh! we have electricians with us too."
"We have a right to do what we like with our own
lives--with our sort of lives."
"How can we do that when your science and
inventions are perpetually changing life for us--when you are
everlastingly rebuilding and contriving strange things about
us? When you make what we think great, seem small. When you
make what we think strong, seem feeble. We don't want you in
the same world with us. We don't want this expedition. We
don't want mankind to go out to the moon and the planets. We
shall hate you more if you succeed than if you fail. Is there
never to be rest in this world?"
The picture returns to Passworthy and Cabal on the
Passworthy has listened to the dialogue, suffering mutely.
Now he turns upon Cabal. But he shouts for everyone to hear.
"Yes, I too, ask you, is there never to be
rest? Never? This is my son. And he has rebelled against me.
What he does, he does against the instincts of my heart.
Cabal, I implore you. Is there never to be calm and happiness
A tremendous outburst greets his words from the mob. The
picture passes to the crowd. They begin to move by a common
impulse towards the Space Gun. We see them first as a flash
of faces and then from very far off. They are seen then like
a streaming multitude of ants pouring across the floor of a
The top of the gun with the cylinder in its muzzle.
Catherine and Maurice stand by a screw door, which resembles
the window of a liner's port-hole, in the bottom of the
cylinder. They have special clothes on now, very simple, and
close to the body. They are assisted by mechanics to take
their places within the cylinder.
Flash back to the crowd scrambling down lattices from the
cliff edge towards the gun.
Inside the cylinder which is lit from below. Catherine and
Maurice, hanging to their handfasts, spread-eagle fashion.
The faces of the mechanics are seen below. Maurice looks at
"Do you want to go back?"
CATHERINE smiles: "Hold firm, my dear."
The door of the cylinder is screwed in slowly--gradually
the scene becomes dark, until it is quite dark, and the faces
and figures of Catherine and Maurice are lost in the
The crowd is seen swarming upon the framework over against
On the platform, Mitani looks down at the crowd and then
at his wrist watch. He looks up at the cylinder.
The cylinder from below. It is very slowly lowered and it
disappears entirely into the gun. Its supports are detached
The crowd is seen clambering amidst the framework at the
base of the gun.
CABAL is seen standing alone. He is moved by his own
thoughts and feelings to speech. He comes to the railing:
"Listen, Theotocopulos! If I wished to give way to you, I
could not. It is not we who war against the order of things,
but you. Either life goes forward or it goes back. That is
the law of life."
THEOTOCOPULOS dismisses the argument by a gesture: "We
will destroy the gun."
His following shout agreement and resume their scattered
Cabal and Passworthy are seen on the platform and in the
background stands a mechanic in front of the small heavy open
door of a concussion chamber. Cabal leans over a railing
watching the crowd below.
CABAL (shouting down): "Before you can even reach the base
of the gun, it will be fired. Beware of the concussion."
He turns back. Passworthy motionless. Cabal pulls
Passworthy towards the heavy door.
The mob is seen on the ground swarming about the gun
supports. People, many of whom carry heavy metallic bars, are
attempting to injure the big metallic masses.
A table in an observation chamber. A hand rests by a
button, waiting. There is a clock dial with a long delicate
CABAL'S voice: "Beware!
"Beware of the concussion."
The crowd hesitates. The noise of a heavy iron door as it
clangs shut. A silence of expectation. The crowd realises it
is too late. It wavers and then turns and begins to clamber
down through the lattices into which it has struggled, and to
run away in the spaces below the gun.
The table and the hand in the observation chamber. The
second hand of the clock dial moves towards a marked point.
As it does so the finger extends and presses a button.
Large scale effects of concussion. Gun recoiling.
Whirlwind sweeping the crowd.
Theotocopulos, standing out against the sky on a great
metal girder, is caught in the whirlwind, and his cloak is
blown over his head. He is left struggling ridiculously in
his own cloak, and that is the last that is seen of him.
Clouds of dust obscure the screen and clear to show the
crowd after the shock. Some press their ears as if they were
painful, others stare under their hands up into the sky.
Then the crowd begins to stream back towards the city.
Shots of them re-entering the city, in a straggling aimless
manner, and pausing ever and again to stare at the sky.
An observatory at a high point above Everytown. A telescopic
mirror of the night sky showing the cylinder as a very small
speck against a starry background. Cabal and Passworthy stand
before this mirror.
"There! There they go! That faint gleam of light."
"I feel--what we have done is--monstrous."
"What they have done is magnificent."
"Will they return?"
"Yes. And go again. And again--until the landing
can be made and the moon is conquered. This is only a
"And if they don't return--my son, and your
daughter? What of that, Cabal?"
CABAL (with a catch in his voice but resolute): "Then
presently--others will go."
"My God! Is there never to be an age of
happiness? Is there never to be rest?"
"Rest enough for the individual man. Too much of it
and too soon, and we call it death. But for MAN no rest and
no ending. He must go on--conquest beyond conquest. This
little planet and its winds and ways, and all the laws of
mind and matter that restrain him. Then the planets about
him, and at last out across immensity to the stars. And when
he has conquered all the deeps of space and all the mysteries
of time--still he will be beginning."
"But we are such little creatures. Poor
humanity. So fragile--so weak."
"Little animals, eh?"
"If we are no more than animals--we must snatch at
our little scraps of happiness and live and suffer and pass,
mattering no more--than all the other animals do--or have
done." (He points out at the stars.) "It is that--or this?
All the universe--or nothingness.... Which shall it be,
The two men fade out against the starry background until
only the stars remain.
The musical finale becomes dominant.
CABAL'S voice is heard repeating through the music: "Which
shall it be, Passworthy? Which shall it be?"
A louder stronger voice reverberates through the
"WHICH SHALL IT BE?"