Anxious to get building the F.P.1 on the way, ace pilot Ellison (Hans Albers)
will not even stop at breaking into the Lennartz company (a company that has
shelved the plans for the F.P.1 years ago) as a publicity stunt.
The F.P.1 is essentially a giant floating platform in the middle of the
atlantic, where passenger planes that cross the seas can land to refuel, thus
enabling for the first time passenger flights across the Atlantic. &
furthermore, the F.P.1 is constructed by Ellison's best friend Droste (Paul
& it not only works & the floating platform is built, Ellison even
wins the affection of Claire Lennartz (Sybille Schmitz), sister of the company
owners (Werner Schott, Erik Ode). But the night Allison wants to ask Claire to
marry him, he gets the unbeatable offer to fly nonstop around the world instead
(as the first man to achieve that), & he just ditches the girl ...
in charge of building, Droste encounters certain irregularities, suspecting
sabotage, & of all people only Claire seems to listen to him. Tender
romance soon develops ...
2 years later, the F.P.1 got made despite all,
& is launched to reach its final position in the middle of the ocean.
Around the same time Ellison comes back, a brokn man who has not only not
achieved his goal to fly around the world nonstop but also had heaps of bad
luck every sep along the way, & has realized with Claire he has left behind
the only thing he ever really wanted. He swears her that he will never fly
again, but alas too late ...
On the F.P.1, Droste can finally unmask the
saboteur, his trusted first officer Damsky (Hermann Speelmans), however Damsky
shoots him down in cold blood - even though Claire & her brothers listen in
on the radio - & abandons platform. Now the Lennartzs need a pilot who can
reach the platform, unofficially of course, & put things back into order.
& the only man who can do it is (you might have guessed it) Ellison, &
the only woman who can persuade him to is (& this one, you will have
guessed, right ?) Claire ...
But when Ellison & Claire try to land at the
F.P.1, they are shot at by Damsky (which ultimately ruins the plane),& once
aboard the platform they find the whole crew gassed (though most of them still
alive), the flöoodgates of the platform are opened to slowly sink it & the
much needed oil to close the floodgates again is gone.
It is only then
that Ellison realizes Claire has flown with him to the platform only for
Droste's sake, & while most of the crew abandon ship & the rest are
traing to build a makeshift airplane to get help to keep the platform afloat
(the radio has of course been wrecked, too), Ellison gets royally drunk, &
only some words of reason by his trusted sidekick, photographer Johnny (Peter
Lorre) can persuade Ellison to take it onto himself to make a scouting flight
to the next ocean steamer to radio for help.
Ellison, despite being the hero
of the day, realizes he has lost everything, & since he has nothing better
to do, he goes condorhunting to Peru with the ship's crew ...
film does actually fall into 2 parts: the first part is a romance vehicle,
perfectly tailored to its leading man Hans Albers, who plays his typical role
of rough-edged but good-hearted jack-of-all-trades-style adventurer, which made
him the most popular German actor of pre-war- & wartime-cinema. This part
is, while not all bad, essentially forgettable. It is only when Albers &
Sybille Schmitz enter the F.P.1 to find a gassed crew, that the film suddenly
boasts an eerie atmosphere & the narration gains momentum, & actually
becomes a quite interesting piece of cinema.
Simulatnously with the German
version of this movie, director Karl Hartl also direted an English language
version (F.P.1 doesn't answer)
& a version in French (I.F.1 ne répond plus), for the respective
foreign markets, with Conrad Veidt & Charles Boyer in the lead,
respectively. The 3 versions differ from one another quite considerably,
despite the fact they were made in the same sets, & for large parts almost