Man in the Sky

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Man in the Sky
Man in the Sky FilmPoster.jpeg
A poster with the film's US title: Decision Against Time
Directed by Charles Crichton
Produced by Michael Balcon
Written by John Eldridge (screenplay)
William Rose
(story and screenplay)
Starring Jack Hawkins
Elizabeth Sellars
Cinematography Douglas Slocombe
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
January 1957
Running time
87 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $486,000[1]
Box office $500,000[1]

Man in the Sky (released in the U.S. as Decision Against Time) is a 1957 film starring Jack Hawkins and produced by Ealing Studios, although the on - screen credit was changed to Ealing Films as this was the first Ealing production to be made at MGM British Studios following the sale of the Ealing site.


Test pilot John Mitchell (Jack Hawkins) disappoints his wife Mary (Elizabeth Sellars) by refusing to increase their unsuccessful bid for a house. What she does not know is that the aircraft manufacturing company he works for is in desperate financial straits. Owner Reginald Conway (Walter Fitzgerald) needs to convince Ashmore (Eddie Byrne) to place an order soon or the firm will go bankrupt.

Mitchell takes the only prototype of a new aeroplane for a flight, with Ashmore and several others aboard. During testing, one engine catches fire. Ashmore and the others parachute to safety. Then, despite Conway's order and the urgings of others, Mitchell decides to try to land the aeroplane rather than crashing it into the sea. However, he has to fly back and forth for half an hour to use up the fuel.

During the tense wait, co-worker Mrs. Snowden (Megs Jenkins) takes it upon herself to notify Mitchell's wife. Mary goes to the airfield and watches as her husband manages to land safely. Later, at home, she demands to know why he risked his life when everyone told him to bail out. He explains that it was his duty and the company's fate hung in the balance. Then he phones their real estate agent and agrees to the seller's price.



According to MGM records the film earned $150,000 in the US and Canada and $350,000 elsewhere, resulting in a loss of $176,000.[1]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .

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