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A grounded flier gets mixed up with smugglers in Madrid.
Only one month after being discharged from U.S. Air force duty in the Korean War, distinguished pilot Lloyd Tredman sends his wife Phyllis a letter from Madrid requesting a divorce. Discovering that she has no grounds for divorce without alleging misconduct, Phyllis decides to fly to Madrid to find out if Lloyd is having an affair. At the Villa Del Oro in Madrid, the unemployed Lloyd is wasting the last of his money drinking and gambling with a permanent houseguest named Toto del Oro. His war buddy Jimmy Heldon lives next-door with wife Paquita, who regularly warns Lloyd that his behavior is self-destructive. Lloyd, taken with her motherly concern, believes he is smitten with Paquita. When he is finally offered a job as a stunt pilot, Lloyd, afraid to return to flying, refuses. Later that day, Phyllis arrives at the apartment and allows Lloyd to believe that the divorce is complete. When she asks why he sought divorce, Lloyd explains that as part of his war duty, he assigned men to fly dangerous missions from which he knew few would return alive. The apathy caused by the duty made him unworthy of any relationship. Soon after, businessman Bert Smith piques Lloyd's interest with an offer of $25,000 for a proposition and then claims he must know Lloyd better before he reveals the details. The next day at the racetrack, Lloyd is about to bet his last thousand dollars on a horse, when Smith divulges that he wants him to smuggle illicit currency from Cairo, Egypt to Madrid by plane. The plan is to fly from Cairo to a small desert strip, where he will pick up a box carrying the contraband. After reporting a failure in landing gear, the plane then will detour over a private field, where Lloyd will push the box out of the plane to be picked up by Smith. Lloyd suggests that his decision rests on the outcome of the race and returns to the track, where he watches as his jockey Alfredo is thrown and killed. When Lloyd, suspecting foul play, then vehemently rejects Smith's proposition, Jimmy offers to take the job, insinuating that Lloyd is too afraid to accept it. To help solve Lloyd's financial trouble, Phyllis offers to rent his villa and allow him and Toto to remain as houseguests during her extended stay in Madrid. Later that evening, Phyllis is trying to ease Lloyd's restlessness with tender memories of their earlier romance when Jimmy arrives to wish them goodbye. Guilt-ridden that he is unable to stop his friend, Lloyd decides to move out of the apartment. When Jimmy fails to return on time, Toto finds Lloyd at a run-down hotel and begs him to help Paquita find the lost pilot. Paquita is horrified to learn that the job involved smuggling and blames Lloyd for her husband's disappearance and orders him out of her life. Upon Lloyd's return to Villa Del Oro, Phyllis admits that their divorce was not final and tells him he is a coward who fears responsibility. She accuses him of pursuing the one woman he cannot have, his best friend's wife, and then letting Jimmy "get rid of himself" by going on the mission. Lloyd is about to explode with rage when Jimmy suddenly returns, having been ordered by Smith to do only a test run. Paquita, overjoyed by her husband's return, apologizes to Lloyd. When Jimmy reveals his inexperience while describing the run later that evening, Lloyd grows concerned and offers to go in his stead, but Jimmy insists that Lloyd is incapable of flying. Unable to stop Jimmy with explanations, Lloyd resorts to knocking his friend out, then admits to Phyllis that she was right and leaves to finish the mission. The next morning at the airstrip, Lloyd, accompanied by the loyal Toto, is temporarily paralyzed by his fear of flying, but as the plane nears the end of the runway, he gains his confidence and clears the ground. When the plane's propeller is damaged while picking up the box, the repairs put them several hours behind schedule, alerting air control officials ahead that they have made a stop. When Lloyd and Toto arrive in Cantania, Sicily for refueling, two officials note the irregularity in their flight plan and ask them to wait. Under the pretense of moving the plane for repairs, Lloyd and Toto take off and narrowly escape. Familiar with the flight regulations, Lloyd explains to Toto that Interpol, or international police, will alert sixteen different countries ensuring that when they land, they will be arrested. Knowing that they do not have enough fuel to return to Madrid, Lloyd chooses to stop at a small airport in Ajaccio, Corsica to refuel. When officials approach the plane, Lloyd and Toto return to the air, where a military pursuit plane begins following them. After Lloyd lands in a nearby field, however, the pursuer is forced to fly on. Spotting an approaching military jeep, Lloyd decides to hide the money in the nose of the plane, but discovers the contraband also contains drugs. Knowing the drug smuggling will carry a much higher penalty, Lloyd and Toto quickly take off again. Lloyd then radios the Madrid narcotics department and reports his cargo. When they fly over the designated spot and drop the box with a parachute, Smith, his chauffer Felipe and the Egyptian client, Mr. El Fuad, rush to open it. After Smith shoots El Fuad to take the money and drugs for himself, the police arrive and arrest him and Felipe. Later, customs bureau captain Manello thanks Lloyd and absolves him of any wrongdoing. Lloyd returns to Villa Del Oro, where Phyllis is dressed in sexy lingerie to seduce him. Lloyd feigns exhaustion, but when he returns from his bedroom with his belongings and deposits them in her bedroom, Phyllis rushes to their bed.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 6 Sep 1957|
|Release Date:||1957||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Loew's Inc.|
|Sound:||Mono (Westrex Recording System)||Production Co:||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.|
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