The Shadow Line (1976) - full transcript

From Joseph Conrad's great novel comes the story of a young seaman trying to helm a damaged boat to Singapore and dealing with many unfortunate events. While on command of the situation, he also devotes himself to help his failing crew and some of the boat's many passengers, some of them who are in poor health conditions.

A film by Andrzej Wajda







Director of photography:

Directed by:

From The Vidar?

This is not a marriage story.

My action had more the character of divorce
almost of desertion

He's leaving us, going back home.

- Home?
- To England.

For no apparent reason
I abandoned the ship.

It was in an eastern port, Singapore.

Sign off and on again?

No, signing off for good.

Something wrong?

No. He leaves us
to go home.

I was the first officer on the "Vidar"
an excellent boat.

I had great respect for Captain Kent

He must have wondered
what came over me.

But he was a sailor,
and he, too, was once young,

and perhaps he understood what was
for me so hard to express.

These eighteen months...

Please do not think that I am

they were so good
filled with diverse experiences.

But I feel...

How shall I put it?

I feel that there was no truth
to be got out of them

What truth?

Well, this is as if you
think that you should go,

I can not keep you by force.

I hope you find something that
you seem to look for

You realize that within
next three or four days

there is no mailboat
sailing to England

Thank you.

And so, I left Captain Kent's ship

like a bird flies away
from a comfortable branch

One day I was perfectly right,

and the next everything was gone

glamour, flavour, interest, contentment
- everything

It was one of these moments when
one perceives the shadow line

A warning one that youth is gone

The green sickness of late youth
descended on me and carried me off

I was a man without a ship.

With three days delay
waiting for boat home.

A passenger.

I made my way to the
Officers' Sailors' Home.

Oh Dear! Oh Dear! What is it now?

I see you're not too busy?

Can you give me the same room,
as the last time?

It is only for a couple of days.

Perhaps you would like to pay in advance?

Certainly not! Never heard of such a thing!
This is the most infernal cheek

Oh, dear! Don't fly out like this.
I am asking everybody.

I don't believe it,
- Well I am!

And if you gentlemen all agreed to pay in
advance I could make Hamilton pay up, too.

He's always turning up ashore dead broke,

and even when he has some money
he doesn't want to pay

I don't know what to do with him

He swears at me and tells me I can't chuck
a white man out into the street here

Any one I know staying here?

Captain Giles had just returned
from a trip to Sulu Sea.

Two other guests
and, of course, Hamilton.

Oh yes, Hamilton!

Morning, Captain Giles.

- I presume you came ashore for a couple of days leave?
- No, I had left the ship for good.

A free man for a bit?

I suppose I may call myself that
since eleven o'clock

This infernal heat is
cutting anyone's appetite.

No doubt he's gone off to look after
your old job

He will be the death of me.

He does not pay, and I constantly
have trouble with the Harbour Office.

I wish he'd get this job.
Temporary relief for me.

You needn't worry!
He won't get that place.

My successor is already on board.
Who's that?

It was an officer of some Rajah's yacht.
Must have been "seeing life" last night

I remember him first coming
ashore here some years ago

Seems only the other day.
He was a nice boy.

Oh! these nice boys!

No! No! I didn't mean that
some of them go soft mighty quick out here.

It's this beatly heat.

Oh no, things out East
were made easy for white men.

That was all right. The difficulty was
to go on keeping white

and some of these nice boys
do not know how.

Why did you come off the ship?

Why? Do you disapprove?

I? In a general way...

And I'm starting to getting soft,
time for taking my little siesta.

I never refused my siesta,
when I'm on shore.

Very bad habit

Very bad habit, indeed

Having broken from family home,

deprived by great distances
of his comfort atmosphere

I could say without exaggeration that
sea became all my world.

The sole thread that connected me with
my homeland,

were mails sent by my uncle.

The letters reminded me the world that
I have left thirteen years ago.

Sometimes he sent a copy of the magazine

to encourage me to share
my travel impressions,

and by such means to support the memory
of my native tongue

And the customs I got handed down
in my childhood.


because, thank God, you do not forget
your Polish, for it let...

for this Let God bless you,
and I bless you.

It would be an exercise
in your native tongue,

and the tie with your homeland,
with fellow countrymen, and, finally,

tribute to your father,
who wanted to serve with writing

and served his fatherland."

But the photographs of my my uncle,

his wife

and the remaining family members,

It looked like it was a completely different
world, than the one in which I live.

My childhood in the Ukraine,

School years in Krakow
were only distant memories.

And my future lay on the path
that I choose.

I wanted to prove that from the land,
that has no outlet to the sea,

There also could come good sailors.

I spoke with your captain.
He's very sorry you left.

He had never had a mate that
suited him so well

I certainly hadn't been so comfortable
in any ship or with any commander

in all my sea-going days

Well then...

Haven't you heard, that I intend to go home

Yes, I have heard that sort of thing
so often before

What of that?

You shall see it done this time.

Aye, to be sure. You are right there

What was he trying to say?

I don't know. Mustn't be
down too much on a fellow.

He's feeling pretty wretched,
and to-morrow he'll feel worse yet

Well, he will have you to look after him.

They will be glad enough to
get a gentleman I imagine

There is no hurry

What? That young ass who fancies himself for having
been chief mate with Kent so long? Preposterous!

He's talking of you

Rubbish, my good man! One doesn't compete with a
rank outsider like that. There's plenty of time

What a very insulting sort of man
Very insulting

You haven't offended him in some way,
have you?

Never spoke to him in my life
Can't imagine what he means by competing.

He has been trying for my job after I left
and didn't get it

No, not likely either, with Kent
Kent is no end sorry you left him

He gives you the name of a good seaman, too

Nothing to be annoyed about

I had made up my mind to go home.
I told you!

Yes. You told me you meant to go home.
Anything in view there?

Nothing that I know of.

- Paid your passage money yet?
- No, I have not.

There would be plenty of time to-morrow.

Well, then I think you ought to know that
there's something going on here.

Had Steward spoken to you today?

No. And I didn't want the fellow
to speak to me at all.

A peon was seen walking that morning
on the verandah with a letter in his hand

It was in an official envelope

he had shown it to the first white man
he came across

That man was our friend in the arm-chair.

He was not in a state to interest himself
in any sublunary matters

He could only wave the peon away.

The peon then wandered until
he came upon me

I just happened to be by chance
on the verandah.

The letter was addressed
to the Chief Steward.

Now what could Captain Ellis, the Master
Attendant, want to write to the Steward for?

I do not know.
It's none of my business.

What would they be talking about?

I do not care.
They can both expire in hell!

What do you think about this?

Hamilton was not worth a thought.

What such an offensive loafer

I can't start a row with him
I should only make myself ridiculous.

You missed my point.

Have I? I am very glad to hear it

Considering what we happened to hear
just now I think you ought to do it.

Ought to do it?
Do what?

Ask the Steward what was there in
that letter from the Harbour Office.

Ask him straight out.
And Hamilton?

Exactly. Don't you let him.
You do what I tell you.

You tackle that Steward.
You'll make him jump, I bet

He is a very unsatisfactory steward
and a miserable wretch

but I would just as soon think
of tweaking his nose

Tweaking his nose
Much good it would be to you.

It's all too complicated for me
, Captain.

Oh, it is too complicated for me.
I can't understand anything.

Well-he's a-no account cuss
You just-ask him. That's all.

I say!
Wait a minute.

Why can't you answer when
you are spoken to?

"I understand there was an official communication to the
Home from the Harbour Office this morning. Is that so?

I could not find you anywhere.
I could not run all over the town after you

Who wants you to?
I want to know what was in the letter.

Nothing. You said that you're
going home, so. why should I?

I ask you to give me a letter!

Give me!

You would never believe it!

It was a notification that a master
is wanted for some ship

and this fellow puts the thing
in his pocket.

You will be the death of me!

Just three o'clock. You will be in time
In time for what?

Good Lord! For the Harbour Office.
This must be looked into.

It is nothing to me Nothing!

Kent warned me you were a
peculiar young fellow.

You will tell me next that a command
is nothing to you

After all the trouble I've taken, too!

The trouble! What trouble?

You want to see Him?

What do you think? Is it any use?

My goodness! He has asked for you
twice today.

Oh! He has asked for me twice.
Then perhaps I had better go in.

You must! You must!

Where have you been all this time?

I had heard there was a master needed for
some vessel, and being a sailing-ship man

I thought I would apply

Why! Hang it! You are the
right man for that job

They are all afraid to catch hold.
That's what's the matter.

Are they, sir. I wonder why?
Afraid of the sails.

Afraid of a white crew. Too much trouble.
Too much work.

Too long out here

Easy life and deck-chairs more their mark.
I began to think you were funking it, too

I haven't been long getting to the office

You have a good name out here, though

I am very glad to hear it from you, sir

Yes. But you are not on the spot
when you are wanted.

That steward of yours wouldn't dare to
neglect a message from this office.

Where the devil did you hide yourself
for the best part of the day?

Oh, take a seat.

Now, are these terms acceptable?

Yes, certainly.

This is your appointment to the command.

An official appointment binding the owners
to conditions which you have accepted.

Now, when will you be ready to go?

Today, even now.

You have heard that
sailboat captain has died at sea.

The ship was brought to Bangkok
by the first officer Burns.

Why to Bangkok, and not here?

Do you know Bangkok?
No white officers or telegraph.

Mr. Burns is an
experienced sailor,

But we think he has not up to the command,
although he disagrees.

Now, the steamer Melita is leaving
for Bangkok that evening about seven

I'll request her captain officially
to give you a passage

And wait for you till ten o'clock.

Mr. Rowley, let the harbor boat
wait under steam,

to pick up Captain
to "Melita" at half past nine.

Well, here you are
now you are commanding independently

registered officially
under my responsibility.

Good-bye and good luck!

Thank you, sir.

Thank you very much.

I say! I say! His own launch.

What have you done to him?

Was it for me?
I hadn't the slightest notion

Yes. And the last person who had it
before you was a Duke. So, there!

A Duke!

I have to have that ship of mine out
in the Indian Ocean.

From Bangkok to the Indian Ocean
is a pretty long step

I am familiar enough with the Archipelago,
except the Gulf of Siam.

The gulf... Ay!
A funny piece of water-that

- Goodbye.
- Bye now.

Goodbye, Captain Giles!

Steam-launch, ahoy!

Is that our passenger?
It is

Stand by and lower the sideladder

Ay Ay, sir!

Come along, sir! We have been delayed
three hours for you.

Our time is seven o'clock,
you know!

No! I do not know.

I am hanged if I would have waited another five
minutes Harbour-Master or no Harbour-Master.

That's your own business.
I didn't ask you to wait for me.

I hope you don't expect any supper
This isn't a boarding-house afloat.

You are the first passenger I ever had in my life
and I hope to goodness you will be the last.


There! That's your ship, Captain

We'll drift abreast her in a moment

I hope you are satisfied with her

I am your new Captain.

Where's the first mate?

In the hold, I think, sir. I saw him go
down the after-hatch ten minutes ago.

I'll tell him you're here, sir.

I felt like the latest
representative of the dynasty.

Continuous not in blood indeed,
but in its experience, in its training,

in its conception of duty and in the blessed
simplicity of its traditional point of view on life.

A part of composite soul
of my predecessors.

Burns, the first mate.

Let us go up!
Please lead going.


Mr Miles, the second officer.


Smart and very willing.


Gembril, trustworthy.


Not too experienced, but diligent.

Ransome, the cook.


He doesn't look good.

There is something wrong with him

Has there been any sick on the ship aboard?

- People look bad.
- They had hard flight.

Has the doctor been yet on board?
- No.

Ask the British Legation to send a doctor.


And, Mr. Burns, order to pull
sun awning over the deck.

I see you have kept her
in very good order

She is a good ship.

I suppose she can travel-what?

What's the matter? Can't you tell after
being nearly two years in the ship?

Ship like a man, needs the chance
to show the best she could do

this ship had never had a chance since he had
been on board of her. Not that he could remember.

The last captain.

Has he been so very unlucky?

No, he was not an unlucky man

he had not seemed to want
to make use of his luck.

Where did he die?

In this saloon.
Just where you are sitting now

- I mean, where he was buried?
- At the entrance to the gulf.

I knew him well and saw that he was dying

at seven bells in the forenoon watch
I mustered all hands

and told them to say goodbye to the captain

Was he conscious?

He didn't speak, but he moved
his eyes to look at them

What was he like?

Where is the violin?

He threw his violin overboard!

Once he mixed himself up with this woman.

He vanished for a week.

He came on board in the middle of the night and took
the ship out to sea with the first break of dawn

He steered for Hong Kong
against the monsoons.

Without ship's sufficient ballast.

It was an insane project

He never meant her to see home again.
He wouldn't write to his owners

He never wrote to his old wife.

He made up his mind
to break with everything.

He shut up in his cabin,

wedged in a corner of his settee

and played the violin,

or, at any rate, made
continuous noise on it.

He didn't care for business, or freights,
or for making a passage

He meant to have gone wandering about
the world till he lost her with all hands.


The captain died as near noon as possible

I read the service over him at sunset

then I stuck the ship's head north and
brought her in here


She would hardly have come in by herself

But why didn't you make for Singapore

The nearest port

Look here, Mr. Burns

You may as well understand that
I did not run after this command

It was pushed in my way.
I've accepted it.

I am here to take the ship home
first of all

And I shall see to it that every one of you
on board here does his duty to that end

This is all I have to say

If I hadn't a wife and a child at home

I would have asked you to let me go
the very minute you came on board.

And I, Mr. Burns, would not have let you go

You have signed the ship's articles as chief officer, and
till they are terminated at the final port of discharge

I shall expect you to attend to your duty

and give me the benefit of your experience
to the best of your ability.

I'm glad to see you, Captain!
How are you? You look tired.

I have difficulty with your cargo.

Sit down, please.

Sit down, sit down.

No, thank you.
I need bags for cargo.

I ask you, other than tobacco!
Please, these are decent smokes.

This is included in the bill.

I need 1,100 bags.

They tell me that I can not buy.

You can leave them up your sleeve.

Dear Captian
We are not obliged to warn you about

the possibility of any shortages

before signing the freight contract.

It is for you to prevent the delay.

It is not I who signed it up.

Mr. Burns.

What else can I do?

- Have you talked to Jacobson?
- No.

He is the biggest trader here.
He could help.

Mr. Burns hastened to sign a charter-party,

which gave us a lot of trouble.

It was only one episode.
But how to get out the ship?

Which was my ship,
with its all cargo and crew,

with her body and soul, weakening in the
fumes of the river,

how to get her into the sea?

Please, report -
Captain Joseph Conrad-Korzeniowski.

- Captain Joseph Conrad...
- Korzeniowski, to see Mr. Jacobus.

Captain Joseph Konn...

Get out! Get Out!

Isn't it a mistake?
Is this Mr. Jacobus' office?

- Please come. - Come in, come in!
Since you there.

- Sit down.
- I was instructed to come to you.

I have shortage of bags.

I didn't understand it
nor I paid the attention.

He should not bother me
at this time. Sit down, Captain!

Human nature is, I fear,
not very nice right through.

There are ugly spots in it.

And there is more difficult
to be the master of the ship

than to know how to set sail.

People have a great opinion of
the advantages of experience.

But in this connection experience means
always something disagreeable

as opposed to the charm and
innocence of illusions.

I must say I was losing mine rapidly.

Mr. Burns is ill.

He has got a fever.

The steward is ill as well.
I'll replace him for time being.

You are a cook. Keep your duties.

I can do it all right, sir

as long as I go about it quietly

What's the matter with you, Mr. Burns?

Can a man not ever take a break,
when his head breaks out with the pain?


Yes, sir?

Ransom, please keep
my door open.

Certainly, sir.


I am afraid, sir, I won't be able to give the
mate all the attention he's likely to need.

I will have to be forward in the
galley a great part of my time.

Do not worry, Ransome. We will put
Mr. Burns ashore.

And the doctor is on board, Sir.

Your arrangements appear to me to be
very judicious, my dear Captain.

You seem to have a most respectable
lot of seamen.

I suppose the only thing now is to take care of them
as you are doing till I can get the ship to sea?

The sea... undoubtedly.

This will require some days.
Mr. Burns signed the freight contract

But we have a problem with the load.

How serious is it, doctor?

Symptoms indicate cholera.
He may not survive tomorrow.

A nice boy.
Too bad.

Have you arranged for the replacement?

Our cook is filling in for him.
Are you talking Ransome?

Yes, Ransome. Why? Is there
anything wrong with him?

Nothing. But he had a bad heart.
He's getting tired very easily.

And Mr. Burns?

What is his condition?

Not good. Without proper medical care
it can be very bad.

I'm taking him to the shore.

Now-you've got-what you wanted
got me out of-the ship.

Ou were never more mistaken in your life,
Mr. Burns

- Where's Mr. Burns?
- This Way.

You do not want me to be on the ship.

You want to remove me off the road.

I suppose, sir, you want to make out
I've acted like a fool?

No! But I can not wait
otherwise fever fells all my man.

I have to get out the ship into the sea.

If you leave me in this godforsaken place,
I shall die.

I feel it. I'm certain of it.

You will leave me ashore.

I have a wife and child in Sydney.

I'm dying.

I'm dying here!

Orderly! Come here.

Well, is everything in order?

Thank you. In three days we
should be at sea.

And all our problems
will be finished at last.

Without first mate?

Send the telegraph to Singapore

even if you had to delay
your sailing for a week

Not a day longer!

Look here! Unless you tell me officially
that the man must not be moved

I'll make arrangements to have him
brought on board tomorrow

and shall take the ship out of the river
next morning

even if I have to anchor outside the bar for
a couple of days to get her ready for sea.

It is your ship and your decision, Sir.

It is not to me to change it.

But my duty is to warn you that
I consider it very unwise.

Only I hope that Mr. Burns
will not pay for it with his life.

Won't she answer the helm at all?

Yes, sir. She's coming-to slowly.

Let her head come up to south
Aye, aye, sir

Dead Calm.

The Old Man's tricks

Laying down there under the sea
with some evil intention.

Is there no chance at all to get
under way, sir?

All we can do is only drift.

Land on the port bow, sir.

Sighted Cape Liant at daylight.
About fifteen miles.

This is crawling.

No luck.

Better luck than standing still,

What is it again?

I am afraid we haven't left all sickness
behind us, sir.

We haven't! What's the matter?

At night Wright developed a fever, and
Kubrick got chills.

But I'm sure it is the one and
the same disease.

One burning, the other shivering.
Do they look very ill?

Middling bad, sir.
And Mr. Miles is also not himself.

Was there any wind at all this morning?

Can hardly say that, sir.
We've moved all the time though.

The land ahead seems a little nearer.

Only a little nearer.

Tronger breeze would have blown
away the contamination

which clung to the ship.

Well, we still have quinine.

He is here, Ransome!

What's the matter, Mr. Miles?
What are you doing here?

It is cool here.

No it's dark and musty!

Please, sir, leave me alone.

Ransome, quinine.

From the doctor.

"My dear Captain.

I didn't want to add to your worries
by discouraging your hopes

I am afraid that the end of your
troubles is not yet.

I'm sure you'll have to fight
with recurrent fever.

Fortunately, you have enough

And put all hope in it...

I feel I am getting much stronger.

I am not smothered by that heat.

In a very few days I'll be able to go
on deck and help you.

The only thing that really
can help us, it's the wind.

A fair wind

You think, it would be so easy?

He won't leave is in peace,

until we pass the
latitude 8 degrees 20 minutes,

where the Old Man is buried.

Are you still thinking of
your late captain, Mr. Burns?

I imagine the dead feel no animosity against
the living. They care nothing for them

You don't know that one!

No. I didn't know him, and he didn't know me. And
so he can't have any grievance against me, anyway.

Yes. But there's all the rest of us
on board.

You mustn't talk so much.
You will tire yourself.

And there is the ship herself

Now, not a word more!

It's like being bewitched, upon my word

Yes, I know what you think.

But you cannot expect me to believe that a dead man has the power
to put out of joint the meteorology of this part of the world.

Though indeed it seems to
have gone utterly wrong.

The land and sea breezes have got
broken up into small pieces.

We cannot depend upon them
for five minutes together.

In a very few days I will come up on deck
and then we shall see.

You will be most welcome there

If you go on improving at this rate you'll be
presently one of the healthiest men in the ship

Aren't the man improving?

Nobody dead?

Why is the ship so silent?

The only voice I do hear sometimes is yours,
sir, and that isn't enough to cheer me up.

The great thing is to get the ship

past 8 d 20' of latitude

Once she's past that we're all right.

That's where you buried your late captain

Don't you think, Mr. Burns, it's about time
you dropped all that nonsense?

Not surprised... find...
play us some beastly trick yet

You're not for long in this world.

"So I am going out of the world, am I?"

Yes, Sir. you haven't many days left in it

One can see it by your face.

"My face eh?"

"Well, put up the helm
and be damned to you."

If I had my wish, neither the ship

nor any of you would ever reach a port.

And I hope you won't"

His head was not gone then,
He meant every word of it.

But I laughed at him,

and the old man cringed
and turned his head away.

No one has ever heard his voice.

Did he talk any nonsense to you of late?

Mr. Burns?

No, sir.

He told me this morning, sir,
that he was sorry

he had to bury our late captain
right in the ship's way

Isn't this nonsense enough for you?

I do not know, sir,
I haven't thought about it

Again during the night we lost
what we made yesterday.

We have no more quinine.
The jars were filled with sand.

I have put Mr. Burns back to bed, sir.
You have

Well, sir, he got out, all of a sudden,

but when he let go the edge of
his bunk he fell down

He isn't light-headed, though,
it seems to me

I need some time for cleaning.
Breakfast will not be delayed.

Not more than 10 minutes.

Let the breakfast wait,
Pick up this stuff and throw overboard.

Gather the men,
They have to be told about it

Well, sir?
It isn't well at all.

That confounded fellow has taken away the
scissors from me Does he think I am mad, or what?

I feel as if I were going mad myself.

I always thought HE would play
us some deadly trick

No! Well, how do you account for this?
How do you think it could have happened?

Why, yes, how in the name of the
infernal powers did this thing happen?

I suppose they have given him about fifteen
pounds in Haiphong for that little lot.

- Mr. Burns!
- Why not?

The stuff is pretty expensive in this part of the
world, and they were very short of it in Tonkin

And what did he care? You have not known
him. I have, and I have defied him

He feared neither God, nor devil, nor man,
nor wind, nor sea, nor his own conscience

And I believe he hated everybody
and everything

But I think he was afraid to die.

I believe I am the only man
who ever stood up to him.

I faced him in that cabin where you live
now, when he was sick, and I cowed him then.

He thought I was going to
twist his neck for him

But I just laughed at him.

If he had had his way we would have been
beating up against the Nord-East monsoon

as long as he lived and afterward, too,
for ages and ages

Acting the Flying Dutchman
in the China Sea!

But why should he replace the bottles
like this?

Why shouldn't he? They fit the drawer.
The wrappers were there

Did it from habit, I suppose and as to refilling,
there is always a lot of stuff they send in paper

A dirty trick. I always said he would

I feel it's all my fault.

Mine and nobody else's

That's how I feel.
I shall never forgive myself.

That's very foolish, sir

The man are waiting on the deck.

I have to face them.
To tell them the truth.

I'm not going to let the gossip
simply get about.

It is my duty as captain, I must describe
to you our predicament

in which we have found ourselves.

We have no more drugs
for the disease,

which have affected most of you.

I can do no more for the sick
in the way of drugs

I suppose man that,

you have understood what I said,

and you know what that means.

We can only rely
on our own volition.

I intend to go to Singapore,
where we'll get medical assitance.

The only chance for for the ship and
the men is in the efforts of all of us

sick and well, must make
to get her along out of this

That's all.

Surely there is a way out
of this blamed hole.

There is something going on in the sky
like a decomposition

like a corruption of the air,
which remains as still as ever.

After all, mere clouds

which may or may not
hold wind or rain

Strange that it should trouble me so

Won't she answer the helm at all?
Not at all Sir

You are not needed.
Go and lie down.

Very good, sir.
Thank you, sir.

I feel as if all my sins
had found me out

But I suppose the trouble is that
the ship is still lying motionless

not under command

and I have nothing to do to keep
my imagination from running wild

Why is the ship so quiet?

What's the matter with the men? Isn't there
one left that can sing out at the ropes?

Not one, Mr. Burns

There is no breath to spare
on board this ship for that

there are times when I can't muster
more than three hands to do anything

Nobody dead yet, sir?

- It wouldn't do

Mustn't let him. If he gets hold of one
he will get them all.

Will you go down and try to eat
something, sir


How long have I been on deck?
I am losing the notion of time

Twelve days and it's just a fortnight
since we left the anchorage.

All my life seemed to me
infinitely distant.

We may have all our sails blown away
And that would be like

a death sentence on the men

We haven't strength enough
on board to bend another suit

It's like being bound hand and foot
preparatory to having one's throat cut.

It seems that for the first time
we will have a bit of rain.

I oppose to go on deck and face it.

Now I understand,

why in the past I felt

strange sense of insecurity in my past

I've always worried,

that I might be no good

And here is proof positive

I am no good.

- Somebody's dead?
- No, sir, nobody's dead.

How does it look outside?

Very black, indeed, sir.
There is something in it for certain.

In what quarter?

All round, sir.

You think I ought to

be on deck?

Yes sir, I do.

Shut the door of my room, will you, steward
Certainly, sir.

Are you there, men?

All here, sir.

All that are any good for anything, sir

There might be a lot of wind.
Try to remove the top of the sail.

We must try to haul this
mainsail close up

Then we fix the rails.

Gembril, stand by the helm!

Keep the helm right amidships.

Right amidships, sir.

You have been helping with the mainsail!

What were you thinking of?
You mustn't do that sort of thing.

I suppose I mustn't.
I am all right now

Are you there men?

Lay down all halyards on
deck clear for running.

I'll see to that, sir.

Go about it quietly, Ransome.

Clear the sheets and turn down the mizzen!

Do you feel strong enough to prevent the rudder
taking charge if she gets sternway on her?

It wouldn't do to get something

smashed about the steering-gear now.

We've enough difficulties
to cope with as it is.

I will not let the steering wheel out
of your hands what next I do not know.

All ready, sir.

There remains the jib.

Let it claps.

We've done all what's possible for the ship

Let's see what she is capable, when
there is a lot more wind.

Hang on to the wheel!

- Never mind. You don't want the light.
- But I should like to have a light.

All you've got to do is to keep the wind at
the back of your head! Do you understand?

- Ay Ay, sir.
- All right!

Sir! First Mate!
First Mate!

Get out, Frenchy!

Confounded dump ship!

With a craven, tiptoeing crowd. Why
couldn't they stamp and go with a brace?

Wasn't there one Godforsaken lubber
in the lot fit to raise a yell on a rope?

You must go for him boldly-as I did

Show him that you don't care for any of his
damned tricks. Kick up a jolly old row.

Good God, Mr. Burns
What on earth are you up to?

What do you mean by coming up
on deck in this state?

Just that! Boldness. The only way to scare
the old bullying rascal.

- Captain! Sir!
- Hold on to it!

I think wind picks up.
I can't see the upper sails, sir

Don't move the helm. You'll be all right
You are all right now, my man.

All you've got to do is to keep the wind
at the back of your head.

A child could steer this ship
in smooth water

Aye! A healthy child.

We have never had so much wind
as this since we left the roads.

There's some heart in it, too

It was about time I should come on deck

I've been nursing my strength for this

Do you understand it, sir?

Go below and rest!

Go below? Not if I know it, sir.

You don't know how to go about it, sir.
How could you?

You never heard him talk
Enough to make your hair stand on end

No! He wasn't mad
He was no more mad than I am.

He was just downright wicked.

And do you think he's any different
now because he's dead? Not he!

His carcass lies a hundred fathom under

but he's just the same...
in latitude 8 d 20' north.

I ought to have thrown the beggar out
of the ship over the rail like a dog.

It was only on account of the men...

Fancy having to read the Burial Service
over a brute like that!

'Our departed brother'

I could have laughed.

That was what he couldn't bear.

I suppose I am the only man
that ever stood up to laugh at him.

Hallo! Calm again!

This is the sort of thing we've been
having for fourteen days, Mr. Burns

A puff, then a calm, and
in a moment, you'll see

she'll be swinging on her heel with
her head away from her course

to the devil somewhere.


The old dodging Devil,

Who's that gone crazy, now?

It's the mate.
Lay hold of him a couple of you

You've found your tongues-have ye?
I thought you were dumb

Well, then-laugh!

Laugh-I tell you.
Now then-all together.

One, two, three!

I think he has fainted, sir

Get hold of his legs, some one.

Come aft somebody! I can't stand this Here
she'll be off again directly and I can't

How am I to steer her, sir?

Dead before it for the present.
I'll get you a light in a moment.

You won't let me go
when we come to the ladder?

You manage to steer
very well in these conditions.

What does this mean?
A hint to my predecessor?

I do believe, sir, that his brain began
to go a year or more before he died.

What would you have me to do, Mr. Burns?

We can neither furl it nor set it.

I only wish the old thing would thrash
itself to pieces and be done with it.

That beastly racket confuses me.

How will you get the ship into harbour,
sir, without men to handle her?

This breeze seems to have done
for our crowd

It just laid them low-all hands

Yes, I suppose you and
I are the only two fit men in the ship.

Take it.

Frenchy says there's still
a jump left in him

I don't know. It can't be much

Good little man that.

But suppose, sir, that this wind flies
round when we are close to the land

what are we going to do with her?

We close in with the land and we will
either run ashore or get dismasted or both

We won't be able to do anything with her.

She's running away with us now.

All we can do is to steer her.
She's a ship without a crew.

Yes. All laid low

I do give them a look-in forward every now and
then, but it's precious little I can do for them.


I, and the ship, and every one
on board of her

are very much indebted to you, Ransome

I'm sure.

Mr. Burns,
Your laughter had done it!

Forces of nature - take our side!


There's nobody dead in there,
if that's what you want to know

The whole crew!

- And very bad?
- And very bad.

Heavens! What's that?

That is Mr. Burns, my chief officer.

Is he going to the hospital, too?

Oh, no, Mr. Burns can't go on shore
till the mainmast goes.

I am very proud of him.
He's my only convalescent.

- You know, you look...
- I am not ill.

No... You look queer.

Well, you see, I have been
seventeen days on deck.

Seventeen!... But you must have slept.

I suppose I must have. I don't know.

But I'm certain that I didn't sleep
for the last forty hours.

You will be going ashore
presently I suppose?"

As soon as ever I can. There's no end
of business waiting for me there.

I strongly advise you to get this
prescription made up for yourself ashore.

Unless I am much mistaken
you will need it this evening

- What is it, then?
- Sleeping draught

Yes, thank you very much.

Do not let them drop me, sir!
Don't let them drop me, sir.

I beg your pardon sir but I would also
like to sent ashore too

Could I be pleased paid off as well?

You don't mean to leave the ship?

I do really, sir.

I want to go and be quiet somewhere

The hospital will do.

I hate the idea of parting with you

I must go

I have the right!

Of course I shall pay you off
if you wish it

Only I must ask you to remain
on board till this afternoon

I can't leave Mr. Burns absolutely
by himself in the ship for hours.

Yes, sir, I understand. Of course.

What is it I hear?

21 days from Bangkok?

Is this all you've heard? I want you to know exactly
what you have let me in for, Captain Giles.

You must feel jolly well tired by this time

I'm not tired.

No, not tired. But I'll tell you,
Captain Giles, how I feel.

I feel old. And I must be.

All of you on shore look to me just a lot of skittish
youngsters that have never known a care in the world

That will pass. But you do look older
- it's a fact.

No! No! The truth is that one must not make
too much of anything in life, good or bad

Live at half-speed
Not everybody can do that.

You'll be glad enough presently if
you can keep going even at that rate

And there's another thing: a man should
stand up to his bad luck

to his mistakes, to his conscience
and all that sort of thing.

Why-what else would you
have to fight against.

Why-you aren't faint-hearted?

God only knows, Captain Giles

That's all right. You will learn soon
how not to be faint-hearted

A man has got to learn everything

that's what so many of them
youngsters don't understand

Well, I am no longer a youngster


Are you leaving soon?

I am going on board directly

You will. that's the way.
You'll do.

What did you think? That I would want
to take a week ashore for a rest?

There's no rest for me till she's out in the
Indian Ocean and not much of it even then

Yes. That's what it amounts to.
Precious little rest in life for anybody.

Better not to think about it.

It may be of some good to you
when you leave the hospital

How are you feeling now?

I don't feel bad now, sir
But I am afraid of it coming on

I am in a blue funk about my heart, sir.

Won't you shake hands, Ransome?