Film: 5973

War + Military | 1940 | Sound | B/W


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Post World War Two pilot training and safety, aircraft maintenance, pilot safety checks using a female character called Prudence who reminds airmen of proper procedures, and not to take any risks like they did in the war 1940's

Couples dance to a swing band in a mess hall or canteen. Close up of a notice board poster that reads 'A lot depends on a strap - her modesty, his life'. Picture on the poster of a young woman (Prudence) wearing lingerie. Close up of other items on the notice board.
At the bar a couple of airmen are having a drink and watching people dance. They eye up a blonde woman getting the 'DI from the CO (dress inspection). The CO helps the woman with her back strap. Close up back on the poster on the notice board, the image of Prudence is missing (she has miraculously come to life).
Prudence talks to the CO. She says she has a passage booked to fly to India the following day. The CO introduces Prudence to the two airmen chaps at the bar who had been eyeing her up. The CO introduces himself as Flight Lieutenant Dickie. He dances with Prudence. Prudence asks Dickie about himself. He tells her about some of his missions during World War Two. They sit down and he tells her about low level flying. View of an aircraft flying very low over British countryside to do a calibration test. Flying low over British houses just for fun and nearly hitting a factory chimney.
Back at the dance hall, Prudence says she doesn't understand why pilots engage in dangerous flying when in peacetime it is not needed. Prudence and Dickie dance.
In a briefing room, the commanding officer tells the pilots and air crew what their missions are. Two of the pilots are not listening, they are looking at a comic book. The airmen are told one of their passengers is a VIP who will be travelling with them that day. Prudence tells the airmen to listen properly to their briefing. They are to fly to India with civilian passengers. Prudence tells them about an accident on the roads when the driver of a tanker collided with a locomotive at a crossing at Buxmor because the tanker driver had not listened to his briefing.
On the runway, the paying passengers line up to board the aircraft. The airmen call out the names of the passengers as they board. They are all flying to India. Prudence suddenly appears as if by magic! Prudence talks to Flight Lieutenant Dickie who is the pilot. Dickie gets into the cockpit and prepares for take off. He asks his co-pilot to go back into the aircraft to check that Prudence is alright and is comfortable. The co-pilot can not find Prudence on board, only an old woman who keeps complaining. The co-pilot thinks this must be the woman Dickie meant (though he is rather shocked that Dickie would think this woman desirable). Dickie is puzzled that the co-pilot could not find Prudence.
Dickie tells the passengers via an intercom that the flight will be eight hours and that they must keep their seat belt straps on whenever the aircraft takes off or lands. The old woman complains about the straps. View of the aircraft taxiing along the runway. Dickie is at the controls in the cockpit, he is still wondering what happened to Prudence. Because he is not thinking Dickie narrowly misses a vehicle that has been left on the runway. Prudence suddenly appears in the cockpit beside Dickie and tells him to keep his eyes on the job! Prudence disappears again. The ground crew flash an Aldis lamp to signal Dickie is clear for take off. Then another aircraft appears in the air and needs to land immediately. Prudence appears in the cockpit again and tells Dickie that the brakes are still on. The ground crew flash to Dickie that it is now unsafe for him to take off, but Dickie doesn't see the message. The two aircraft nearly collide, a near miss. Dickie is getting stressed. He puts the throttle on and the co-pilot and the navigator look concerned. Dickie takes the controls and the aircraft takes off, but it is a very bad take off as the aircraft immediately banks steeply to one side. View from the aircraft looking down on the airfield. Dickie's aircraft flying. They fly for some time. Dickie is at the controls in the cockpit and the co-pilot leaves to use the rest room. While the co-pilot is gone Prudence suddenly appears again in the cockpit. The navigator is asleep.
Prudence tells Dickie to stop humming a tune because he is not concentrating on flying the aircraft. She asks him how high are the mountains that they are flying over. The co-pilot comes back into the cockpit and Prudence disappears again. The co-pilot takes over the controls. Dickie asks the navigator about the height of the mountains below them. The navigator looks at a map while singing 'Oh dear, what can the Matterhorn'. Prudence appears again and tells Dickie to tell the navigator off for not being able to find the right map. The navigator leaves to try to find the right map. Prudence urges Dickie to fly higher to avoid the mountains. Dickie takes back the controls and climbs the aircraft up to 10,000 feet.
The aircraft has landed at their stop-over point. The passengers and crew are at a cocktail bar enjoying a couple of drinks. Dickie and the co-pilot watch the passengers relaxing and wonder which one is the VIP that is travelling with them. They help one of the passengers decide which night club to go to. Dickie wants to take Prudence to the night club but she will not go with him because he has to keep a clear head for flying the second leg of their journey the next day. They sit down together. Prudence asks Dickie to demonstrate how to fly. He uses an ashtray as if it was the controls of the aircraft. She criticises the speed of his 'pretend' take off (view of the two of them in the cockpit) she reminds him of his very bad take off that morning. Dickie 'pretends' to bring the aircraft back in to land and she congratulates him on his landing. Back in the bar, Dickie uses the ashtray to demonstrate how to fly a plane. He admits that he eases off on the drill sometimes, he is after all a WW2 pilot and has done a lot of flying. Prudence tells him that is how crashes happen. She tells him it is time he went to bed, even though the other passengers are still drinking.
Very early the next morning, it is still dark. The passengers line up to board the aircraft again for the last leg of their flight to India. Some of the passengers are a bit the worse for drink from the night before. Prudence greets Dickie as she gets on the plane. Dickie takes the controls in the cockpit and takes off, he can hear Prudence's voice in his ear instructing him on how to take off safely and fly the aircraft. He takes off perfectly and the co-pilot congratulates him on his take off. The weather gets much worse, they are flying into a storm. Prudence appears to Dickie in the cockpit but he says he can manage without her, so she disappears. Prudence then appears to the navigator. She asks him to show her their course on a map. She sees some symbols on the map and asks the navigator about them. He explains that they are not supposed to fly over those areas, but sometimes they cut corners. Prudence asks him not to cut corners tonight. The passengers are getting nervous about flying through the storm. The co-pilot suggests to Dickie that he should turn the aircraft around and fly back to their stop-over. Dickie says it will take more than a storm to make him turn back. Prudence appears and tells Dickie to turn back, then she disappears again. Dickie asks his navigator to find out exactly where they are and if there is anywhere close by where they could land.
They have landed in a desert and the passengers and crew are inside a tent (looks like some elaborate Arabian type tent). The old woman passenger wants to go and sleep inside the aircraft but Dickie and his co-pilot tell her the plane is locked. The woman complains. It seems they have all been given the tent to sleep in for the night. Dickie leaves the tent and the grumpy old woman passenger says he doesn't know his own business. The other passengers inside the tent look uneasy.
Outside Dickie walks through the desert to another tent. Prudence is inside. Dickie goes to kiss her but she will not let him. She tells Dickie he behaved like a fool for getting caught in the storm. She tells him he should have turned the aircraft around and gone back. She says in peacetime they need men not maniacs.
The next day the aircraft is flying. Dickie talks to the navigator who says he thinks they have got a ghost on board (Prudence). Dickie says he has seen her too. Prudence appears and says they are both forgiven if they don't cut corners again. Dickie takes over the controls from the co-pilot. Prudence appears in the cockpit to oversee their final landing in India. Prudence tells Dickie to check the oil pressure. Dickie sees to it. Prudence tells Dickie she has been flying for a lot longer than he has. The co-pilot comes back into the cockpit and Prudence disappears. Dickie looks around for her. He hears her voice in his ear to help him down for the landing. Dickie lands the aircraft successfully in India. The passengers disembark. Dickie and the aircrew go into the airport building. Dickie sees Prudence again. She tells him she will always be with him, even if he can not see her. She goes to kiss him but disappears in his arms. Next to Dickie is a poster on the wall. Close up of the poster. It reads 'A lot depends on a strap - her modesty - his life' and a picture of a pin-up girl adjusting her lingerie and an image of a pilot using his strap. Close up of another poster with a pin-up girl that reads 'check your brake pressure'. Another poster with a pin-up girl and a pilot. Another poster with a picture of Prudence on it. It reads 'Fly with Prudence for safety's sake.'
The end.

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