The Last Flight (The Twilight Zone)

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Kenneth Haigh: Flight Lt. Decker
Simon Scott: Major Wilson
Alexander Scourby: General Harper
Robert Warwick: Air Vice Marshal Alexander Mackaye
Harry Raybould: Corporal
Jerry Catron: Guard
Jack Perkins: Mechanic
Paul Baxley: Jeep driver

"The Last Flight" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. Part of the production was filmed on location at Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino, California. The vintage 1918 Nieuport biplane was both owned and flown by Frank Gifford Tallman, and had previously appeared in many World War I motion pictures.

Contents

Synopsis

A British World War I fighter pilot (Decker) lands his Nieuport biplane on a 1959 American airbase in France, after flying through a strange cloud. He is immediately taken into custody and questioned by the American base commander General Harper and his deputy, Major Wilson, who ask him if he was trying to make a film or was part of an air show. He identifies himself and his squadron and informs the American officers that the day is March 5, 1917. When in turn informed that it is March 5, 1959, Decker is shocked. Decker tells the officers that he and his comrade Alexander Mackaye were fighting seven German aircraft and that Mackaye died. Decker refuses to believe that Mackaye is alive, and has become an Air Vice Marshal in the Royal Air Force, as the American officers inform him. Mackaye had been a hero during the Second World War, saving thousands of lives from German bombing. The Americans also ask Decker if he knew that Mackaye was actually coming to inspect the base that day. After interrogation, General Harper concludes Decker was attempting to attack Mackaye, even though Decker had left his gun in the plane.

Major Wilson attempts to engage Decker to recollect and find an explanation. Decker recalls and confesses that through his service, he had actedly as a coward, only pretending to do his duty and managing to go off on his own during patrols. Only now he and Mackaye were together when confronted with a large number of German aircraft, and Decker chose to escape rather than support Mackaye. He refuses to believe that Mackaye somehow escaped with his life. At an off-hand suggestion of Wilson that maybe someone else helped him, Decker realizes that he has been given a second chance. He tells the American officer that there was no one within fifty miles who could have come to help Mackaye, so if Mackaye survived, it had to be because he went back to help him. Decker pleads with Wilson to release him from custody, but upon meeting with refusal, he assaults the guards and escapes. Finding his plane, he is about to take-off when Wilson catches up and puts a gun to his head. Decker tells him to let him go, as saving Mackaye would also mean saving thousands of lives that Mackaye had saved during the Second World War. Decker also tells Wilson to shoot if he wants to, because this was an opportunity for him to redeem himself from his previous cowardice. Wilson allows him to escape, and Decker flies his plane into the white clouds.

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