The entire week on Loving the Language of Literacy will be comprised of me sharing a scene and its backstory that I wrote for an Independent Study Project having to do with Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I formatted it as if it were a professional Screenplay (which is a lot harder than I thought it would be) and attempted to translate it for film the best I could. Sadly, the proper margins and spacing didn't transfer over well into Blogger. Warning - There are spoilers for the novel if you haven't read it.
|This is what an average screenplay sheet would look like.|
Today's scene was the hardest for me to translate, mostly because so much of it was action and it was one of, if not THE most important scene in novel. Verity's death and the motive behind is such a central part of plot and if this scene were done incorrectly, it could put the entire story off-kilter. The perspective is another 360 mostly because of how much audiences need to know.
Int. Thiabut Residence - Late Evening
Maddie sits at a desk, attempting to type an incident report as the tears stream down her face.
Incident report on the attempted sabotage of Poitou River Bridge on Tours-Poitiers road with the intention of stopping German military bus carrying 24 French and Allied prisoners on Wednesday, the 1st of December, 1943. Paul was the one to think of it.
More than a dozen Allies biked and drove into Poitou, leaving their modes of transport at a riverside villa. Then they load up her boats with their explosives, and row up to the bridge. They exited the boats, then wired the bridge and waited for the bus. They disabled the bus’ headlights, blew up the bridge and partially damaged the bus. The surviving guard made the prisoners lie down on the side of the road. The guards set up floodlights and shoes their electric torches all over the place. While the four german guards are chatting, Verity makes a joke. They prod her with their rifles and one of them takes her face in his hand and she bites him. The bitten guard (Unnamed German Guard #1) wants to shoot her but the other one (Unnamed German Guard #2) stops her.
He says not to kill her. If they kill her there will be no fun.
Is she crazy? What the blazes did she bite him for? She’ll get herself shot!
German military enforcements arrive with equipment to lever the bus. A few of the prisoners make a run for and succeed in making it to Paul and the other Allies at the scene as they get shot after. The Allies shoot at the German’s supplies. Unnamed German Guard #1 held Verity down with his heel while she fought and got kicked. The guards picked some resisting men as well as Verity and hauled them to their feet to be shot. The guards shoot them one by one. The first gets shot at both elbows then made to walk, the second shot in the groin Verity cowers. Maddie bursts into tears and Verity realizes her best friend is there. Verity steps into Maddie’s clear view.
(laughs wildly and yells desperately)
Kiss me, Hardy! Kiss me, Quick!!!
Verity turns her face away and Maddie shoots her. Verity’s body flinches, and Maddie watches as the determination and light in her best friend’s eyes go out. Without a moment’s hesitation, Unnamed German Guard #1 pulls another female prisoner up from the ground to take Julie’s place.
UNNAMED FEMALE PRISONER #1
ALLEZ! ALLEZ! Resistance idiots sales, vous nous MASSACREZ TOUS!
“Filthy resistance idiots. You’re killing us all,” I would have to agree with her.
All of the prisoners as well as the Allies sent to rescue them run as fast as they can to the boats. The German Guards shoot at their backs and the Allies with guns return fire. Half of their entire group get killed, Paul included, while the rest of them make it to the boats with 5 of the fugitives. The Allies rowed as Maddie sat in the boat, head bent over her knees, crying. Mirtraillette uncurls Maddie’s fingers from the Colt .32 that killed Verity and put it away.
C’etait la Verite?
Was that Verity? Maybe she meant, “Was that the truth,” “Did any of this just happen?” “Were the last three hours real?”
Oui. C’était la vérité.
Don’t know how I kept going. You just do. You have to, so you do.
The still-stunned 7 Allies and 5 Fugitives arrived at the riverside villa.
MIRTRAILLETTE (In Background)
We must stick together. Vite! Vite! Make certain it seems like nobody was ever here.
Series of shots - Mirtraillette orders (closeups on the weary, dazed faces of Allies/Fugitives alike, focus on Maddie)
A) Allie/Fugitive mix hauls the boats back onto their racks.
B) Allie/Fugitive mix put oars away.
C) Allie/Fugitive mix dries off boats with dust sheets, then hides D) them beneath the floorboards.
E) Allie/Fugitive mix brushes straw from stables over oars/hulls.
Nazi search party arrives at riverside villa and investigates the scene while the Allies/Fugitives hide in the bulrushes/mud, waiting for them to leave. Nazis chatter with groundskeeper. Once Nazis leave, groundskeeper gives Allies/Fugitives the all clear. The Allie/Fugitive mix works quietly to ferry bicycles to the opposite river bank on canoes to send an Allie/Fugitive off. The 4 Fugitives/6 Allies lie awake in the barn, huddle side by side.
How did they catch you? What did you do?
BITTER UNNAMED FRENCH FUGITIVE #1
Just what you did. Blew up a bridge and failed to spotty German army.
Why didn’t they just shoot you?
Bitter Unnamed French Fugitive #1 grins to reveal his top row of savagely broken teeth.
BITTER UNNAMED FRENCH FUGITIVE #1
Why do you think, gosse anglaise? [English kid] They cannot question you if they shoot you.
How come only some of you were chained?
BITTER UNNAMED FRENCH FUGITIVE #1 (continues grinning)
Only some of us are dangerous, which is why they chain us. You saw the girl whose arms were tired behind her, yes? She wasn’t dangerous, she was a collaboratrice.
Bitter Unnamed French Fugitive #1 spits on the ground in disgust as Maddie draws her knees closer to her body.
Stop. Tais-toi. SHUT UP.
BITTER UNNAMED FRENCH FUGITIVE #1
Better off dead, that one. Did you see her, even lying in the road last night, sweet-talking the guards in German? Because her arms were bound, someone would have had to help her, on the way to wherever they were taking us - feed her, help her drink. She would have had to offer favorite to the guards to get them to do it. None of us would have done it.
Maddie punches Bitter Unnamed French Fugitive #1 in the mouth.
You wouldn’t have helped her EAT AND DRINK? SHE’D HAVE DONE IT FOR YOU!
The Allies around her sat on her to make her stop, but she sprung up again when they got off her.
I FREED YOU! You would still be IN CHAINS and packed in a stinking freight wagon LIKE A COW by now if it wasn’t for me! You wouldn’t have helped another prisoner EAT AND DRINK!
Mirtraillette weeps, taking Maddie’s face between her hands and holding a tin cup up of cognac/coffee to her lips.
Kathe, Kathe! Kathe, arrête - stop, stop! Tu dois - you must! Wait - attends.
Maddie sits in the corner, waiting for the concoction to kick in, poised on the balls of her feet until she slumps against the wall and passes out.