Monday, July 22, 2013


SCENE 2 – a military prison

Niven and Peck enter a military prison to troll for psycopaths that can be trusted for a dangerous mission behind enemy lines. They are led by the warden who has a big smile on his face.

Warden: So let me get this straight, you want to take away some of my best misfits? Well I happen to have a Lt. Col. Frederick who is very interested in them and he is coming by this afternoon and he’s offering $50 per vert.

Niven: Are you blackmailing me, warden?

Warden: If the combat boot fits, wear it.

Niven: How does $100 each sound and will you take it in cigarettes?

Warden: Deal.

Peck (motioning to the first cell): Here’s our first prospect. [looks at clipboard] This is PFC Eastwood. He’s in for desertion and bank robbery. He conned a squad of men into going behind enemy lines to rob a German bank where the Nazis stored all the silverware they stole from European homes. On the way back they were arrested by a bridging unit and no one knows what happened to the silverware. Not all of them, however. It seems a few of them thought it would be cool to commandeer a German Tiger tank and hook it up with a speaker system. They were heading back to American lines playing “Ride of the Valkyries” when they were hit by a flight of P-47s, several bazookas, and an artillery battery. There was not much left of them. I guess they didn’t know Wagner was a German. 1

Niven: Atten shun soldier!

Eastwood [slowly rises to his feet; he has cut a hole in his blanket and has passed his head through it]: What do you want?

Niven: I’ve got a proposal for you. How would you like to go on a suicide mission that might pass near wherever you hid those forks and spoons? [winks]

Eastwood: That would really make my day.

Niven and Peck move to the next cell.

Peck: This will be PFC Bronson.

Niven: Why are you in here, Pollock?

Bronson: I was recruited for a mission because I was a miner before the war. They needed someone to tunnel into the basement of a French chateau so the unit could kill a bunch of Nazi officers and their "girlfriends". Everything went well until a German came down to get some cognac and spotted us. He locked the door and we could hear grenades being dropped down the ventilation system. Those bastards. They have no concept of fair play in warfare. I managed to crawl back through the tunnel along with a black soldier named Black. When we got out the tunnel we were chased by German shepherds and they caught him. I guess they preferred dark meat. [laughs] It was him or me and he had no chance of outrunning a Polish guy. 2 I got back to England by stealing a row boat and stowing away on a neutral ship. 3

Peck: Where was the crime in that?

Bronson: Actually, I’m in here because my unit cheated in war games before our mission and I was accused of impersonating a general for an inspection. Damn it, that wasn’t even me! 4

Niven: We could use a tunnel rat. Are you interested?

Bronson: I prefer to be called a mole and yes I’ll join you. This cell is suffocating me. The walls are closing in on me. I need to get back to tunneling.

Peck [leading on to the next cell]: Cpl. Van Johnson. He was convicted of mutiny when he disobeyed orders to launch a suicidal attack during a hail storm on Okinawa. That was his second strike after he had stolen strawberries from the mess hall. 5

Van Johnson: Whatever you want I’ll do it. All I ask is that I get some eggs. I’m dying for some scrambled eggs. 6

Niven [chuckling]: I think we can do that.

Peck and Niven move to the next cell. Peck [referring to his clip board]: This next one is a strange case. He was a professional baseball player. Played for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was convicted of throwing a woman out of a hotel window. It was a first floor window, but she got run over by a cab. The judge found him guilty of manslaughter because he was in a hitting slump and the woman was a Yankee’s fan who was heckling him. The judge gave him the choice of prison or the Army. He’s in this prison because he and his buddies went into a bar that had some sailors in it and a fight broke out, naturally. Redford killed one of them with the bat he always carried. 7

Niven [looking at his list]: Do we have anyone from Brooklyn yet?

Peck: No.

Niven: [to Redford who is on his knees saying a "Hail, Mary"] How would you like to bash some Germans?

Redford: Can I bring my bat?

Niven: Naturally.

Peck: Next is John Doe from the Red Shirts.

Niven: Red Shirts?

Peck: The Red Shirts are an elite unit created in the replacement depots. The idea is to provide soldiers who are expendable to veteran combat units. Soldiers whose deaths would not hurt morale.

Niven [to Doe]: What are you in here for soldier?

Doe: Are you speaking to me? Can you see me? I’ve been in here for two weeks and nobody has noticed. Every meal the guards pass by my cell as though I’m not here. I’m not important to them.

Niven [looking out the window]: I’m sorry. Did you say something?

Doe: Typical. I’m in here because after you’ve been wounded and left for dead four times on patrols (or treks as we called them), you decide to choke your commander.

Niven [bored]: Whatever. We could use a guy like you for a dangerous mission. It’s so secret you will have to remain anonymous. You may not come back alive.

Doe [sarcastically]: You think?

Niven: I’ll take that as a yes, Roe.

Doe: The name is … Oh, never mind.

Peck: Next is an Edward Slovik.

Niven [walking into the cell]: Private Slovik. How would you like to get out of here?

Slovik [sneering]: I’ve been listening to you talk to the other guys and you’re nuts if you think I’m going to risk my life. Why do you think I deserted? I’m not going to die in this war.

Niven: You do realize that desertion is a capital offense, don’t you?

Slovik [laughing]: You limey twit. Who do you think you are kidding? The Army has not executed a single deserter the whole war. You think they’re going to start with Private Eddie Slovik? Give me a break! I’ll be alive to vote for Ike for President. 8

Niven [whispering to Peck]: You can’t argue with that. Let’s move on.

Peck looks at his list and is visibly shaken as he drops the clip board.

Niven [picking up clip board and looking at the sheet]: Quinn. OSS agent. In for assassinating an American officer. He claimed he was on a mission to terminate an officer who had gone rogue and had created his own guerrilla army of gypsies. The brass disavowed any knowledge of the mission, of course. Poor sap. 9

Peck [kicking in the door of the cell]: Quinn!!

Quinn: Peck!!

A guard separates them.

Niven: You two know each other?

Peck: He was responsible for the death of my family. We used to be best friends and had been on many missions together. We were having a drink in a pub during the Blitz and he insisted on buying another round. When I got home, my apartment building had been blown up only minutes before. You killed my family, you bastard!

Quinn: I told you I was sorry. You were the one who pulled out a family photo in the pub. So who really is to blame?

Niven [pulling Peck aside]: I can see why you might have a problem with this guy, but we need him. He was imprisoned in the Schloss Aasgeier (Vulture Castle) which happens to be our destination. He is the only one who can get us in and out of the fortress. I’m afraid you will have to put your petty differences aside.

Peck [sneering at Quinn]: You can come along, but as soon as the mission is complete I swear on the bleeding bones of my family, I will kill you. 10

Quinn: You can try.
Peck: Oh, I will.
Quinn: Bring it on.
Peck: Count on it.
Quinn: You and what army.
Peck: I don’t need an army.
Quinn: I think you do.
Peck; Do not.
Quinn: Do too.
Peck: Do not.

Niven [interrupting]: Enough! If you too can’t get along, I’ll leave you both in England.

Peck and Quinn [sheepishly]: Okay. [Peck makes a strangling motion when Niven turns toward the warden]

Niven [to the warden]: I think we’re done here. No need to wrap them, I’ll take them the way they are.

Warden: Good riddance.

Niven and Peck lead the motley crew down the corridor and out into the sunlight of the prison yard. A shot rings out and a bullet whistles past Niven’s ear and hits Doe in the head, killing him instantly. Peck, shooting his Sten from the hip, blasts a tree nearby and the body of a German soldier falls out.

Niven: Christ. What’s a sniper doing in England?

Peck: It appears we have a mole. [He and Niven turn to stare at Bronson]

Bronson [nervous]: On second thought, you can call me a rat.

They step over Doe’s body and get into the deuce and a half.

Niven [to Peck who is driving]: Let’s stop at the repo depot to pick up a few more Red Shirts on the way home. [Peck laughs] Aye,aye, sir.

The scenario is based on The Dirty Dozen

1. Kelly's Heroes
2. Dirty Dozen
3. Great Escape
4. Dirty Dozen
5. Caine Mutiny
6. Battleground
7. The Natural
8. Execution of Private Slovik
9. Apocalypse Now
10. Guns of Navarone

plus references to Star Trek, Battle of Britain, The Devil's Brigade


  1. Now we know why Col. Frederick had to settle for Andrew Prine, Jeremy Slate, Vince Edwards, and Richard Dawson.

  2. the war movie buffJuly 24, 2013 at 7:36 AM

    Definitely a poor man's Dirty Dozen cast. The Dirty Dozen cleaned out the best of the worst from that prison. He did manage to get Richard F'in Jaeckel. That reminds me, I think I'm required to have Jaeckel in my movie.


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