powered by AFI
While piloting a light plane to report the location of a hurricane to the U.S. Navy Hurricane Watch Center in Miami Beach, Willard Francis Slattery remembers the events that have brought him to this point: When out on a date with his girl friend, Dolores Greeves, Will bumps into Lt. F. J. "Hobby" Hobson, a pilot with whom he flew during the war. Hobby is now flying for the Navy's Weather Squadron and invites Will along on a hurricane early warning mission, during which they fly into the dead calm of a hurricane's eye. When Will and Dolores later invite Hobby and his wife out to dinner, Hobby's wife Aggie turns out to be a former girl friend of Will's, but she makes it clear to him that she is not interested in resuming the relationship. Will invites Hobby and Aggie for a flight in the private seaplane, a Grumman Mallard, he now pilots for candy manufacturer R. J. Milne. Dolores, who suspects that Will knew Aggie earlier, also works for Milne, although Milne's partner, Gregory, wants to fire her. Milne, however, realizes that she knows too much about their other business, drug smuggling, to let her go. Later, while Hobby is away on a mission, Will invites Aggie to dinner, and she accepts believing that Dolores will also be there. Despite Aggie's best intentions, she and Will end up embracing. Dolores is concerned about Will's interest in Aggie but is equally anxious for him to stop flying for Milne and tells him that she intends to quit. When Will tells Dolores that he desires Aggie, she tells him that she hates him for what he is doing to his friend. Later, Milne tells Will that Dolores has disappeared, but he makes no effort to find her. Milne then asks Will to fly him to a small island, where he says he is going to visit a planter friend. While there, Milne has heart trouble and on the return flight, collapses. When Will has to administer amyl-nitrate, he finds a packet of drugs taped to Milne's chest, and before they can get back to Miami, Milne dies. When Dolores sees the newspaper headlines about Milne's death, she phones Will to warn him to get out before Gregory can destroy him. However, Will gets drunk and, when he returns to the Milne estate, finds a letter from the Navy belatedly awarding him the Navy Cross for meritorious conduct during the war. Soon after, Gregory and his associate, Frank, come looking for the package of drugs Milne was transporting, and Will hands it over but tells them he wants more money and that he has a letter detailing all of Milne's and Gregory's activities in a safe deposit box in case anything happens to him. Dolores attends Will's award ceremony but when she goes to congratulate Will, Aggie is already by his side. As Will and Aggie then leave together, Dolores collapses. Later, after Will learns that Dolores has been placed in a psychiatric ward, a doctor tells him that she was very much in love with him and depended upon him for help. Will visits her ward, leaving his medal on her pillow and telling her that he will try to make up for the things he has done and will return for the medal when she gets better. Meanwhile, Hobby has found out about Will and Aggie, but Will assures him that Aggie is still in love with him. The Navy base then phones Hobby with an order for an emergency flight, but as Hobby has been drinking and would be court- martialed if he showed up inebriated, Will knocks him out and goes to take Milne's plane up in Hobby's place. During the flight, Will radios in vital information about the position of an approaching hurricane, enabling evacuations and preparations to take place. However, Milne's plane was not built to fly in hurricane conditions and Will loses an engine. Realizing that he may not make it back, Will radios that there is information about Milne's drug smuggling activities in his bank's safe deposit box. On the ground, meanwhile, Hobby and Aggie reunite. As Will is about to land, his other engine fails but he survives the crash landing. In Will's honor, the base commander then names the hurricane Slattery. Later, Will rejoins the Navy as a flyer. A recovered Dolores comes to see him off on an assignment and offers to return his medal, but he asks her to keep it for him and says that he will be coming back to her.