Monday, July 15, 2013


           Two years ago I participated in a fun thread on Arm Chair General's forums which involved writing a screenplay for a war movie.  The project was initiated by a bloke named Tommy Atkins and it was a lot of fun.  It turned into a parody of war movies, in particular the suicide mission subgenre.  It fizzled after a while and I always planned to revive it.  I have decided that rather than simply adding on to the last scene, to instead rework the screenplay and then carry it on to a conclusion, hopefully.
           Whenever you see a red number, it's a footnote referring to what movie is being satirized.
            I plan to post a new episode at the beginning of each week.
            Enjoy the ride!

Act I Scene 1
Somewhere in England - Summer 1942

Camera follows a pair of highly polished army brogues as they stride briskly down a corridor.

Martial music scored by Elmer Bernstein plays in tune to the footsteps. Lots of drums and some whistling.

Credits roll and conclude with “Based on a true story - sorta”.

The shoes enter the door and we see that they belong to British Army commando officer David Niven.

Niven waves his arms to cut through the cigarette smoke. In the room is an eclectic mix drawn from the allied forces. Most look tough, some look psychotic, some just look mysterious. One looks sexy.

Lieutenant Colonel Niven casts an eye over the crew and says: "Well chaps and chappette, I suppose you are wondering what this is all about."

Pre-war career criminal and ace safe-cracker U.S. Marine Corps NCO Steve McQueen removes the match he is chewing from his mouth and says: "I'm not your chap and I don't care what this is about. I only came because I heard the food would be better than the limey crap I've been having to eat. If I have to eat one more bite of mutton I’m going to strangle someone."

Pvt. Terry Thomas chirps up: "I say, Guv'na, why am I here with these Yanks? I'm just an orderly."

Niven looks over the group and says: "You each have a special talent that the Allies need for a very special mission. Pvt. Thomas, for instance, is able to mimic any voice."

Sgt. Aldo Ray stands up and growls: "What's the dame doing here? No dames on a mission. They are bad luck!"

He cast's a scornful look at Ava Gardner.

A sexy sultry voice comes back at him: "Sit down and stop talking out of your ass. And put your damned shirt on. Who do you think you are - Brad Pitt?" 1

Sgt. Ray glares at Ava Gardner and says: "That's no way for a lady to talk."

Ava glares back at him and says: "That wasn't me. It was Terry Thomas. And I’m no lady."

Niven interrupts the spat with a wave of his riding crop.

"Gentlemen, and lady [he bows to Gardner], we have a job to do and little time to plan it. I suggest we get down to business."

"And what, may I ask, is the nature of our business?" Thus questions PFC Burt Lancaster as he playfully twirls a vial of nitro-glycerine between his fingers.

"You must be the explosives expert" said Niven.

Lancaster pretends to fumble the nitro - "At your service, sir".

Niven gives him a cold glare and perpetual coward PFC Don Knotts throws himself on the floor and whines: "Excuse me, Mr. British officer, sir. I don’t think I’m cut out for anything strenuous. I have asthma, I’m allergic to face paint, I’m afraid of heights and loud noises like explosions, I can’t keep a secret, and I have pisciphilia."

Niven: “What in the hell is pisciphilia?”

Knotts: “It means I have a desire to be a fish. I don’t suppose this mission has anything to do with u-boats, does it?”
Corporal Michael Caine (the knife expert) shouts, "I've had just about as much as I can stomach from this little nutcase. If someone don't shut him up I'll gut him like a fish." He throws a switchblade that lodges in the chair inches from Knotts nuts (if he has any).

Niven stands between the two and says to the group "If you perform like this behind enemy lines you'll get us all killed! There’s no 'I' in camaraderie." A couple of the others look puzzled, but noone says anything.

The silence is broken by McQueen: "Say... what’s all this about going behind enemy lines?"

Niven takes his time about lighting a cigarette and says: "Now that I have your attention"...

1- "Inglourious Basterds"
2 - “The Incredible Mr. Limpet”
3 - The basic scenario is from “Guns of Navarone”


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