Things to Come

Synopsis: Things to Come (also known in promotional material as H. G. Wells' Things to Come) is a 1936 British black-and-white science fiction film from United Artists, produced by Alexander Korda, directed by William Cameron Menzies, and written by H. G. Wells. The film stars Raymond Massey, Ralph Richardson, Cedric Hardwicke, Pearl Argyle, and Margaretta Scott.
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, War
Production: United Artists
Rotten Tomatoes:
100 min


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

Christmas Eve.

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

light sign:
"Alarming speech by Air Minister--"

Big shop window full of Christmas toys. Children and

mothers admiring.

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

takes off.

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

and paper.

The headlines show:


London. December 24th, 1940. 1d."




(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."

"Crying wolf?"

"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

walks in.

"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

and thinks.

"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

been doing?"

"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,

rather sulkily.

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

all over."

"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."

"You--incurable pessimist."

"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.


"Oh--oh God!"

"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

the fleet?"

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.

CABAL, bitterly:
"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

their future.

"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

straightens out.

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

the ground.

"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

want this."

"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 war.

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



No. 1. New Series. February 2nd, 1952. Price One Pound



"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:


No. 754. March, 1955. Price One Pound Sterling.


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

breaking point..."

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.

It reads:


August 1968.



"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

cyclostyled inscription.

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

stagnant water."

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

his work-bench.

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

in thought.

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

bed, sister."

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


"Mary!--iodine, please."

"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.

"My sister..."

"How--do you--know?"

"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,

poor dear--"

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--

starving dogs.

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

increasing distance.

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

been conquered.



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

insulated wire?"

"We've got no rubbered wire at all, sir."

"Any rubber--tape?"

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

that piece."

"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."

Crowd laughs.

"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

his chief.

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

follow them.

"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,"

he begins.

"Never mind your orders. Shut--that--door." The

guard obeys.

"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

with him."

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."

"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

improves it:
"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

run ourselves."

"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

air again."

He looks for confirmation to Bunon, who nods approval and

then to Roxana. But Roxana is staring at Cabal to hear his

next words.

"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


BOSS, grimly:
"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

this way?"

"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--

under supervision."

"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."

ROXANA slowly:
"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

window bars.

"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

gallop off.

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

to another:

"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."

"What assistance?"

"Your prisoner."

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

my--technical adviser."

"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."

"They're--old associates."

"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?"

"Well, what?"

"The salute."

"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."

"You refuse?"


"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?"

"They shall."

"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

sky again."

"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

beating it."

"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

Reasonableness begins.

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."

CABAL stiffly:
"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?

He says:
"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

help you?"

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

towards Cabal.

"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.

Struggles 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?"

"Greater things."

"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,


"Gordon, sir."

The middle-aged man begins to dial a telephone.

"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

the table.

"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."

Attendant leaves.

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

begins again:
"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

greater gusto:
"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

beside him.

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

and patch-up.

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

existing types.

"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

about him.

"Your sentries seem to have gone to sleep. So I

came out.... All the town is going to sleep.... You made us

do it."

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

is heard.

"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

slumbering bodies.

"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

new aeroplanes.

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

accumulating intensity.

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

machinery down."

"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.

A.D. 2054.


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

aeroplane travelogue.

"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

conditioned air."

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

those stairs?"

"They were all tired and they had a disease

called colds. Everybody had colds and coughed and sneezed and

ran at the eyes."

"What's sneezed?"

"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

the stars?"

"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

saw him?"

"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

John Cabal.

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."

"With whom?"

"We think you had better see him. He is

waiting here."

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.

"Go on."

MAURICE PASSWORTHY: "We have talked about this over and

over again."


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

am, Sir."

CABAL, quietly:
"Tell me."

MAURICE PASSWORTHY: "We have been fellow students these

three years."

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

your own."

CABAL, after a pause: "I might have known."


"I see. My daughter.... Funny that I never thought

of her as anything but a little girl. Quite out of this....

My Catherine."

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

like this?"

"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."

"But when?"

"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

settled it."

"Fathers have said 'No' since the Stone Age."

"And is there no saving of our children from

this madness?"

"But would it be saving our children?"

"Yes--it would."

"For what?"

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

with me?"

"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

and Passworthy.

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

anything else."

"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

these things?"

"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?"

"Why not?"

"But--my son!"

"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

forbid it!"

"I thought--"

"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

portentous dimensions.

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

earth. Love-hunting."

"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

for me."

"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."

"What work?"

"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

and greatness."

"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

killed it."

"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

Stone Age."

"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

clear together.

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!"


CABAL grimly:
"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?"


World Audience

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....

"Hear! Hear!"

"No! No!"

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.

"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

anything else?"

"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."

"And find out nice new peculiar ways of

making lovey-povey."

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.

"To-day is my birthday."

"And how much is that?"

"A hundred and two."

"I'm only ninety-eight."

"But I score a hundred and nine."

"Where should we have been a century ago?"

"Under the earth."

"Or worse."

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."

"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

little dog.

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




"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."


"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."

"Morden Mitani?"

"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

already overdue."

"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 mirrors."

"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 whom?"

"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.

"That first."

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

and tell."

"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

Catherine's hand.

"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

brought up."

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--

Space Gun."

"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. is now five. If the gun is

fired about seven...."

" could be?"


Maurice and Catherine look at each other. They understand

each other.


"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

this structure.

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

the gun.

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

for mankind?"

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

big room.

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

the gun.

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

and retire.

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

unplanned advance.

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

second hand.

CABAL'S voice:

"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?"

"Little animals."

"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



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H. G. Wells

Herbert George Wells —known as H. G. Wells—was a prolific English writer in many genres, including the novel, history, politics, social commentary, and textbooks and rules for war games. more…

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Submitted by aviv on November 15, 2016

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