Friday, 15 May 2015

THE FLIGHT THAT DISAPPEARED













d. Reginald Le Borg (1961)


Resembling an over extended episode of The Twilight Zone (there's half a compliment there, anyway) this film tells the story of three people who meet on a flight to Washington and realise that they are all on the way to the same meeting, a meeting that might actually lead to the extinction of mankind. For the record, they are a nuclear physicist, a rocket expert and a theoretical mathematician and between them their heads hold the ingredients of a super weapon which would make the H Bomb look like the cordite strip from a Christmas cracker.  

As they fly towards the American capitol, however, something strange happens. Despite the pilot's best efforts, the plane keeps rising and rising, even after all four engines cut out. At a height of ten miles, the plane becomes frozen amongst the clouds, and only our three boffins are left conscious. They make their way onto a mist shrouded patch of land (in the sky!) and are met by a group of ticked off looking people representing the as yet unborn generations of Earth. Yes, it's a trial, an unusual court where people who may never exist are passing judgement on people for something they haven't actually done yet. 

Just as the trio of scientists are being sentenced to an eternity in stasis, an older white haired man emerges through the fog and challenges the verdict. I think he might have been God, he certainly didn't look like a human rights lawyer. In any event, the three are returned to the plane which is allowed to continue its journey.

At first, the three assume it was all a bizarre dream (perhaps not surprising given how many cigarettes, cups of coffee and glasses of scotch they had imbibed on the flight) but, when they get to Washington and informed that they are over 24 hours late, they admit that something truly cosmic has happened and throw all their notes into the nearest waste paper basket, presumably to be immediately picked up by the nearest commie spy masquerading as an airport cleaner.  

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