The Gypsy Moths

Synopsis: On a 4th of July weekend, three barnstorming skydivers arrive to perform in a small Kansas town. They are hosted by the youngest member Webson's aunt, the unhappily married Elizabeth. While Browdy one-nights with a topless dancer, a doomed romance flares up between Elizabeth and Rettig. Tension builds, and explodes with a spectacular skydiving show.
Genre: Action, Drama, Romance
Director(s): John Frankenheimer
Production: Warner Home Video
107 min

How's your shoulder?

It's windy up there.

You came too damm close

before you opened your chute!

- They came for a show.

- They'll settle for a lot less than that!

You never can tell what they'll settle for

until you've tried it!


Three root beers.

It doesn't look like much now,

Mike, but we'll have a hell of a crowd.

We will?

People come into this town

on the weekends from 25 miles around.

I checked all that out.

You the fellows

they're putting up the stands for?

That's right.

Harry told me you were coming.

Who's Harry?

Fellow putting up the stands.

Never seen nothing like that

around here before. No' sir.

It's going to be something.

- Browdy?

- Yeah?

What about the highway?

What about it?

It's too close to the field.

Who's going to pay $2.50 for a ticket...

...when they can park along the highway

and watch for nothing?

Anybody who'd pull a cheap trick like that'

I don't want to think about.

- What do I owe you?

- Forty-five cents.

- You really charging $2.50?

- You're damn right we are.

And it's worth every penny of it!

Still and all, it seems to me

the young fellow has a point.

Kind of foolish for someone to pay $2.50

to see it, if he could...

...just park his car right along here

and watch.

Do me a favor, will you?

Don't spread that idea around.

Hell, no! Business. I know that.

Besides, I happen to own the land

for 150 yards both ways along here.

Anybody wants to park tomorrow

and watch, it'll cost them $1!

That pilot should be along soon.

We ought to get moving.

- You ever done this before?

- No, you tell me what to do.

How's your altimeter?

- Altimeter?

- Yeah.

- Fine.

- Are you sure?

Sure I'm sure. Why?

It'd help tomorrow if we knew

how far we are from the ground.

I've seen some altimeters

you wouldn't believe.

Mine you can believe.

You have an honest face.

I was born in this town.

Is that a fact?

You don't seem very excited about it.

I haven't been here in a long time.

I left when I was a kid.

That's the best time to leave.

I might even have some family here.

I thought you didn't have any family.

Not really family. An aunt and uncle.

It's a long story.

I know you don't like long stories

so I won't tell it.

Thank you.

Hell! I wouldn't even know what to say

to them if they were still here.

Start by saying hello.

See how it goes from there.

- Wind's out south. Hope it stays that way.

- Why?

From the north we'll have to come in

over those phone wires... get close to that grandstand.

We had a guy working with us,

hit the wires.

He get hurt?

Killed him, as a matter of fact.

How would you feel

about a home-cooked meal for a change?

I can hardly wait.

Cynical bastard.

We don't even know these people.

They're not going to adopt us.

They want to put us up for a night.

Will you do it here, Mike?

I think this might be a good spot for it.

You think? Who does it, you or Rettig?

Look, kid, this is a business.

They don't pay to watch us

walk across the street.

When are you going to get that

through your head?

If you're so concerned about Rettig

doing the cape jump, you can learn it.

Then you wouldn't have to worry

about him.

I have a better idea.

Why don't you do it?

Because I recognize my limitations.

It's the secret to my success in life.

Littering the public thoroughfare.

$50 or 10 days. Take your choice.

That's a choice?

I suppose we could make up a case

for flying that plane... a dangerously low altitude

but I haven't the faintest idea...

...of what the statute is on that.

And if we lived here we'd be home now.

It's Malcolm.


Well, Malcolm, look at you!

Look at you!

What about your friends?

Aren't they coming in?

They're a little shy. Browdy? Mike?

Looks pretty nice.

Sure is a hot one today, isn't it?

Yes, isn't it?

- Nice little town you have here.

- Yes.

Malcolm tells us that you have

a nice little college here too.

We have a college.

We have a college and a missile base.

Typical little American town.

- You connected with the college?

- No.

I almost went to college once.



Why didn't you?

You said you almost went to college.


It didn't work out.

Gentlemen. Sit down.

We really appreciate this, Mrs. Brandon.

We're delighted to have you.

We've plenty of room.

More than we can use.

We take in boarders all the time.

You make it sound as though we had

a "Rooms To Let" sign on the lawn.

What my wife means is that...

...we make a room available each year

for a student from the college.

To be precise.

Where is Annie, by the way?

At the library.

It's only lemonade, gentlemen...

...but if you'd care for something stronger...

No, Mrs. Brandon.

I haven't had lemonade for years.

Of course, the kid here,

he never touches anything stronger.

- Isn't that right, kid?

- Hardly ever.

Of course, Rettig will drink anything.

My! It's stuffy in here, don't you think?

With the windows closed

the house cools off.

No use letting all the warm air in now,

is there?

I'd rather have the warm air

than no air at all' but...


It's hard to believe.

It's been such a long time.

I think Malcolm was about 10 years old

when we last saw him.

He said it'd been a pretty long time.

The summer you fell out

the upstairs' window.

He didn't happen to fall on his head, did he?

That would explain a few things.

We've seen Malcolm since then... the funeral the following year,

wasn't it?

Yes, of course.

That was the following year.

You bear a marked resemblance

to your father, Malcolm.

Doesn't he?

Yes, you do.

How long are you thinking of staying?

Just through tomorrow night.

We have to leave first thing Monday.

But Monday is the Fourth!

We have a wonderful parade

and a fireworks display.

You should at least stay for that.

Thank you, Mrs. Brandon,

but we really have to be shoving off.

Do you expect a good crowd tomorrow?

We expect to pick up

a nice piece of change tomorrow.

Pays well, this sort of thing?

If we make it interesting enough.

How do you do that?

Make it interesting?

I shouldn't think

you'd have to do anything in particular... make it more interesting

than it is to begin with.

What Browdy means

is the closer we come to the ground...

...the more interesting it is

for the customers.

And for us too, of course.

How terrifying.

Elizabeth, it's 3:30.

You'll be late for your meeting.

Yes, so it is. You'll have to excuse me.

I'm the chairman. I have to be there.

Why don't you take one of them

along with you?

You could tell the ladies

all about your exciting show.

I expect you'd sell quite a few tickets.

I like it.

Mrs. Brandon,

would the ladies be interested?

- I'm sure they'd be fascinated.

- Why don't I go along with Mrs. Brandon?


While you put the posters out

around town.

- The posters would only...

- Am I dressed all right?

No, you're fine. I'll get the car.

It really does sound very exciting.

- You said it was terrifying.

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William Hanley

William Hanley (October 22, 1931 – May 25, 2012) was an American playwright, novelist, and scriptwriter, born in Lorain, Ohio. Hanley wrote plays for the theatre, radio and television and published three novels in the 1970s. He was related to the British writers James and Gerald Hanley, and the actress Ellen Hanley was his sister., more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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