THE DAY THE CLOWN CRIED
Based on a Story Idea by
Additional Material by Jerry Lewis
I TOOK A CHILD BY THE HAND...
TO LEAD HIM ON HIS WAY.
I TOLD HIM OF THE LOVE OF GOD...
AND TAUGHT HIM HOW TO PRAY.
AND AS I SEARCHED FOR BETTER WAYS HIS GUIDE AND HELP TO BE...
I FOUND, AS WE WALKED HAND IN HAND, THAT HE WAS LEADING ME.
"THE DAY THE CLOWN CRIED"
EXT. PARIS CIRCUS - NIGHT
The normal activity and excitement of showtime around the
circus is in evidence where we see the half dark street and
alley directly adjacent to the circus tent which (in Paris
is an enclosure)... the animals, the midgets, the people and
the roustabouts moving with a fixed speed and getting faster
as we now know showtime is momentarily due.
We MOVE TOWARD the action, slowly but definitely picking up
SOUNDS and actions of the busy people as we go.
STRAIGHT CUT TO:
EXT. CIRCUS - FRONT OF CIRCUS - PEOPLE ENTERING - NIGHT
We see barkers, children, people, pushing... buying tickets,
hats, candy... SOUNDS of children laughing, MUSIC playing
from o.s. within the tent area... and we...
EXT. BACK OF CIRCUS - NIGHT
A continuation of the animals, trainers, clowns INTERCUT
with the action of the circus customers jamming the
entranceway to get in... (complimented CUTS from backstage
to out front... building to the final crescendo... as we see
the alley empty and clear out vs. the front area clearing
and also becoming empty.)
INT. CIRCUS PROPER - NIGHT
The fully dressed orchestra playing the oncoming people to
their respective seats as we PAN ALONG the happy faces and
excited children... DOWN and BACK within the circus backstage
and SLOWLY COME TO A STOP OUTSIDE: "CLOWN ALLEY".
CLOWN ALLEY - NIGHT
The heartbeat of any circus... The long row of unkempt, yet
beautifully neat trunks where the clowns make up, with many
of the clowns just coming in and setting their clothes and
things around their own little areas... midgets running and
playing, like the little children they are about to
entertain... MUSIC is in the deep background... as we COME
TO A STOP at the large trunk with the letters clearly printed
...'GUSTAV - EUROPE'S PREMIER CLOWN."
We PULL BACK and AWAY from the lettering on the trunk and
REVEAL the face of a gentle but drawn man, a man whose body
and movements indicate he has been at this for a long time.
As he sits, the little midgets run close to see what they
can do to help; one pulls the chair for him to sit on; another
brings a hot cup of coffee; another takes his coat and hangs
in on the hattree, adjacent to his trunk... as we PUSH PAST
HIM to introduce the other clowns... some half made up, others
finishing their make-up... and some just sitting and rapping
together, smoking, drinking coffee, waiting for showtime...
and in the very distant b.g., almost against the wall of
clown alley, we see the trunk and the body of a "CLOWN" in
silhouette... we CRAWL TOWARDS the body and the trunk... and
COME TO A STOP... HOLDING FULL FRAME. The clown, already
made-up and dressed in his tramp outfit, has his head in his
hands, leaning down on the trunk table top, a depressed and
sad looking hulk of a man... an o.s. voice:
Coffee? It's nice and hot.
The MIDGET slides the cup in front of the clown's face... as
he picks up his head and smiles and nods yes... he sips the
coffee and we see the clown is HELMUT DORQUE (pronounced
He is a depressed and very unhappy clown... the frown on his
face shows years of knocking around... plus fear that those
years are now over. From o.s. we HEAR the SOUND of a small
air horn being blown and carried by one of the midgets. He
is yelling through an old megaphone.
15 Minutes to circus... 15 minutes
Upon hearing this, "Clown Alley" really gets busy... all the
clowns get up and put their last minute touches together...
touching up their make-ups... getting their coats and props
together... and as they get themselves up and ready, they
exit the clown alley area and start for the arena. The last
one to go is Helmut, lingering behind intentionally as we:
INT. CIRCUS ARENA - CLOSEUP RINGMASTER - NIGHT
Ladies and gentlemen, we proudly
present... "The Clowns"!
INT. CLOWN ALLEY - NIGHT
Helmut hangs back until the very last clown exits Clown Alley,
INT. CIRCUS PROPER - NIGHT
The MUSIC is really going strong... and the clowns come on
like all forty. They explode in the ring... doing all their
bits and pieces which ultimately brings them back to the
entrance area they just came from and they make the "West
Point" arch for the TIMPANI DRUM ROLL and the grand entrance
of "Gustav" the Great.
"Gustav" makes his famous comedy walk into the tent with the
longest pair of tails ever seen (at least 75 feet long) and
at the end holding them from dragging on the floor is Helmut,
the "Tramp Clown".
We see Gustav taking the applause, and it is tremendous. He
stops center of the ring, but Helmut keeps walking and doesn't
see the post in front of him as he walks around the post,
still holding the tails and goes on his butt, pulling Gustav
down as well. The audience screams with laughter, believing
this all part of the act, as we:
INT. CLOWN ALLEY - NIGHT
All the clowns are sitting around their respective trunks
and there is a sense of gloom permeating the air, as Gustav
and MR. SCHMIDT pace back and forth behind Helmut, both going
at him unmercifully.
(in the middle of his
Not to mention how unprofessional
But it was an accident...
Oh, sure it was... A very well planned
and calculated accident!
I swear to you... it was an accident!
Gustav stops and grabs Schmidt's arm, and with a threatening,
I don't want to hear any more...
You will get me another stooge. I
don't want this man!!
Don't get excited, Gustav, you shall
You bet I will, or you shall have no
Gustav walks away, sits at his trunk, starts taking his make-
(moving to Helmut's
trunk, leaning over
into Helmut's ear)
You will run with the other clowns
and that's all you will do... is
Helmut, shattered, nods his head yes.
And if there is another one of your
cute tricks... I promise you will do
your bits for the "Cats" while
cleaning their cages!
Schmidt walks away... leaving Helmut stunned and shocked.
Helmut lifts his trunk cover, which opens on a hinge and
stays upright, as we SLOWLY CRAB AROUND to REVEAL the "One
Sheets" glued to the inside of the trunk lid... as Helmut
reaches for a towel to clean his face, we read:
RINGLING BROS. & BARNUM AND BAILEY
THE WORLD'S GREATEST CLOWN "HELMUT"
The one sheets are battered and torn and certainly appear to
be many years old. As we PAN the "Lid" to see them all,
Helmut's face is reflected in the mirror as we see the tears
rolling down his face. As we FREEZE FRAME, MUSIC hits for:
THE DAY THE CLOWN CRIED
EXT. DESERTED STREET AND BISTRO - NIGHT
Helmut, dejected and as sad as any man could be, strolls
down the deserted street, alone.
He comes to a small bistro and walks in... stands at the
Clause... give me a double whiskey
with beer chaser.
(who knows him)
You won't get "Funny" out of a bottle.
And you won't make a dime sticking
your nose in other people's business.
Clause pours the whiskey, and places the beer next to it; as
Helmut gulps the drink down and chases it with the beer from
the bottle... we:
STRAIGHT CUT TO:
INT. THE APARTMENT - NIGHT
Standing at the window looking out is a beautiful WOMAN,
simply dressed, no make-up and clean; she has the look of a
woman who has just bathed and one could almost smell the
fragrance of bath oil on her body. She is tense and
She sees something and moves toward the door and opens it.
There is a beat and finally the o.s. SOUNDS of feet scuffling
get to the door. It is Helmut, fairly crocked at this point.
Helmut, darling, are you all right?
Do I look like I'm not all right?
I was so worried about you... Your
dinner is cold and I couldn't imagine
what happened to you...
Were you really worried about me or
your stupid dinner was getting cold?
Ada is hurt by this, but knows something is really chewing
away at him... and deals with it even more tenderly, which
only digs in deeper on Helmut.
Sweetheart, I care about you... I
love you... I worry about you... I
can't help those feelings...
During the above Helmut is at the small bar in the living
room pouring another "blast" and gulps it down... he hears
the words but tries to ignore them.
If there is anything I don't need
right now... it's your super-
He flops down in the armchair and stares straight ahead...
Again, Ada is hurt by his blasting her, but she's wise enough
to know this isn't the man she loves... she has to get what's
eating him out of there.
Helmut... what's tormenting your
soul? Please let me help you...
talk to me... I don't care what it
is... I love you... I'm your
friend... you can trust me to
I can't trust anybody... I don't
know how to trust anybody...
I'm not anybody! I'm your wife!
Helmut, hearing these words, looks up at her and sees the
beauty in her eyes, and he is affected by this. He stands
up and takes her in his arms... almost breaking her in two.
I'm sorry, my love... I'm so sorry...
You're right! You're not anybody.
You're my wife and I love you, too...
So very much I just have no one to
fight back at... I'm lost and alone,
I can't handle the disgrace of
failure... the pain of being a has-
been is more than I can bear...
Ada knows now what's happened.
Schmidt again? Gustav again? When
will you learn they fear you and
they know how vulnerable you are
now... if they can beat you down
then they needn't worry about you
coming back to haunt them.
They worry about me? Don't be
ridiculous... they just took the
last comic bit away from me... because
of a silly accident... I'm now down
at the bottom, just a stooge assisting
a not-so-funny clown.
But they can't take your talent
away... That's your strongest force!
Walking away from her, getting angry again...
What the hell are you talking about?
What talent? And if I had any it's
being suffocated into nothing...
And that's just what I am now...
nothing... No one... just empty...
a prop to be used and mis-used...
how does my great talent stand up to
By not quitting... You must fight!
Creative survival is even more
difficult than human survival...
You must fight!!!
Helmut gets quiet and listens, and it makes sense... Ada
knows she's got him now.
Go to Schmidt... Force a
confrontation... Don't let Gustav
win... make Schmidt see what an
injustice they are imposing on you...
Please, my love, fight! Make your
world better by fighting for it...
You can do it... I know you can...
Helmut hears it all and it sounds so good and right.
I will go now and see Schmidt...
I will tell him I won't take any
more degradation... I will tell him
I am a "clown" not a stooge... A
"clown"... A special person... A
Ada happily gets his hat.
(placing the hat on
Go, my love... Go and fight for what
you know is right... I will warm
your dinner and wait for you to come
She kisses him, opens the door for him and he goes.
INT. THE EMPTY CIRCUS - NIGHT
The low key light and the silence of the circus is almost
ominous and a little frightening for Helmut as he walks across
the empty arena... with a small light burning from up high.
All the equipment is tied off. Slight ANIMAL SOUNDS in the
deep background... and the faintest SOUND of circus music is
heard. Helmut is now center of the main ring and stops and
HIS POV - THE EMPTY STANDS
CLOSE SHOT - HELMUT
His face tense, then eases as he looks around.
The stands are full, the lights come up, and the audience is
standing, applauding thunderously!
MED. CLOSE - HELMUT
In his clown outfit bowing and acknowledging the ovation.
HIS POV - THE AUDIENCE
as they stop applauding and sit down.
Helmut -- the chair and the trombone --
THE TROMBONE PANTOMIME
As the completion of the "Trombone Pantomime" Helmut walks
away from the position he was in with the trombone and bows
and milks the crowd for reactions and as he bows the second
time... WE SHIMMER:
CLOSE - HELMUT
In bowing position as he looks at the crowd.
HIS POV - THE EMPTY STANDS
CLOSE - HELMUT
His face shows signs of utter despair and dejection... the
dream is gone and the memory of what was really hurts deep
down. He looks around making sure he hasn't been noticed by
anyone and takes that deep sigh and strolls towards the back
of the circus tent area on his way to find Schmidt.
TRUCK WITH HIM, HOLDING the many empty seats in the b.g. as
he walks... trying to muster up the courage he's going to
have to call... something that has now become totally foreign
HIGH SHOT - THE EMPTY CIRCUS
We see Helmut as the tiny figure he feels like, walking out
of the tent area and into the backstage section.
BACKSTAGE OFFICE AREA - NIGHT
Helmut enters the section of the circus where Schmidt has
his "Temp" office quarters. It is a tent-like arrangement
with the canvas flap as his door and we see light streaming
from the half open canvas flap.
HIS POV - THE TENT OFFICE
Helmut looks and sees a shadow of a body moving around in
the tent office area and starts for it.
INT. TENT OFFICE - NIGHT
Schmidt pacing up and down... thinking, as we PULL BACK to
see Gustav seated in one of the fold-up chairs with a "I am
waiting" look on his face.
Naturally, I agree... Doork is a
nuisance, but to just let him go
seems a little unfair.
Schmidt! Don't make me put it on a
"either him or me basis".
All right... all right... I'll give
OUTSIDE OFFICE TENT - HELMUT - NIGHT
-- his two weeks notice tomorrow.
Will that satisfy you?
Perfectly!! Let's have a drink...
Helmut drops his head, completely discouraged and saddened
by what he knows is a losing battle. As he starts to walk
away we can HEAR the tinkling of glasses and the slight
laughter of the two men as we watch Helmut slowly scuff his
way towards the backstage circus exit, as we:
DISSOLVE (12-ft) HOLDING his walk over his limp body at bar.
INT. THE BAR - NIGHT
Helmut has had more than a few and really looks beaten and
shoddy -- he waves for the bartender to bring another.
(pouring still another
It's your funeral.
(not too clearly)
A funeral is usually in order when
Up to now, we have no idea, whatever, as to the time (in
history) we are indeed in Germany, but as Helmut downs another
blast we SLOWLY CREEP our CAMERA to include more of the bar
than we have seen before and it includes pictures, framed,
of soldiers, arms interlocked (looking somewhat like summer
camp stills), the German flag (1933 vintage / crisscrossed
with the Swastika), a large banner marked "Deutchland" Ober
Aliss... and finally, the larger than life photograph of
"Hitler". Helmut slowly CROSSES CAMERA as he takes another
drink and starts spouting again.
The trouble with man today is that
he takes everything for granted...
he thinks things he's told to think...
and accepts it! Just because we know
meanings of words we use them and we
fool ourselves... people should use
the dictionary more... look up words
like good... bad... honest... loyal...
especially loyal, I know what loyal
means, and I have always been that...
but does anyone care? No! Of course
not... Only when it is expedient...
When it isn't ---
(he slashes his throat
with his finger)
--- ZIPPPP! You're out!
Helmut stops with his BACK TO CAMERA looking straight at
"Hitler" and screams:
And that goes for you too... Mine
He shoves his right arm up and out at the photograph of
... you, too, are a fool. You allow
yourself to think you have "loyal"
followers... Ha! Wait until they've
had it with you... You'll get
yours... all the smiling, bowing,
heel clicking idiots will shaft you
too. And you will deserve it because
if you allow people like Herr Schmidt
to got about his business of lying,
and cheating, and being disloyal,
one day all the Schmidts in Germany
will turn on you and you will finish
as the dumb little corporal you
started as, and never know what hit
During the above dialogue, two S.S. men along with two Gestapo
men walk into the bar and sit at a table unseen by Helmut,
and as they sit, Helmut continues:
He really has to be stupid --
I could help him by telling him about
the people he thinks are good
The two S.S. men and the two Gestapo men just happened to
stop in the pub, they can't really believe what they are
hearing, and the two S.S. men make a move to get up and secure
Helmut. The head Gestapo man nods to them to stay seated
and wait and listen. Helmut continues his rave and gets
more violent as he goes on. Clause, the bartender, would
love to tell him the Germans are there, but chooses to go
about his business.
Helmut is really getting the effects of the booze now and is
bordering on flipping his lid, completely.
(He does the stagger routine trying to get to the table on
the other side of the bar furthest away from where the S.S.
men and Gestapo men are sitting)... We play this for visual
humor, but at the same time showing just how swacked he is!!!
Helmut finally reaches the table he has been trying
desperately to get to and falls into it, exhausted and
emotionally drained. He looks around at the few people who
have been watching him, most of which are frightened at what
he has said, trying vainly to stay out of it. Helmut catches
the eyes of the four men (S.S. and Gestapo) just looking at
What are you staring at? Didn't you
ever see a man drink before?
The four men just stare at him with no answer.
What's the matter? Haven't you guys
got a sense of humor? You must have!
Look how you're dressed! Grown men
in their little soldier suits... And
the black coats and gloves... Like
in a movie...
Helmut gets up and walks over to their table... mumbling,
and staggering as he goes...
Real cloak and dagger stuff... Didn't
you Gestapo guys ever know that
everybody can spot you a mile away?
(leaning over and
Listen, if you really wanted to be
unnoticed... You should dress like
plain people, then nobody would
know you... You might even wear straw
hats and shorts...
He hears this and gets hysterical laughing.
Straw hats and shorts!! That's funny!
Now that's really funny, isn't it?
Straw hats and shorts!
They just stare!
Well, isn't that funny? Think of
it... That's funny! Why don't you
HELMUT'S POV - THE S.S. AND GESTAPO MEN
They are really staring now, hard to believe their ears and
(gets an idea)
I know why you're not laughing...
Because things you hear, you have to
think about... I'll show you something
that you'll laugh at because all
you'll have to do is watch...
DIRECTOR'S MEMO!!! (INSERT CHAPLIN FOOTAGE)
Helmut goes over to the bar, where a little man is standing
drinking his beer. Alongside of the beer is a small plate
with crackers and brown jam. Helmut takes a comb out of his
pocket, dips it in the man's glass of beer, combs his hair
down over one eye, takes a finger full of the brown jam and
makes a shicklegruber mustache from it... and turns on the
four men yelling:
Ve vill conquer the world... Heil
me! Heil me! Heil me!
He screams the last "Heil" and collapses on the floor. The
four men get up and proceed to pick him up and carry him out
of the bar. As they get to the doorway and exit we STAY
on... Ada who has just arrived to see them pick him up and
carry him away. She is shocked. We STAY on a CLOSEUP OF
HER FACE showing the strain, pain and sadness as we:
INT. LT. REICHER'S OFFICE - OUTER OFFICE - BERLIN GESTAPO
HEADQUARTERS - DAY
We OPEN on the shiny black boots swinging the door open in
front of him and as we PULL BACK we see Helmut seated in a
slumped position on the hard wood bench as we introduce the
wearer of the black boots -- LT. REICHER -- he enters his
office as we go with him... (Feather Edge Set)... he walks
briskly to the desk where there are briefs and papers stacked
high on his desk... he bellows, after looking at the top
STEINER !!!! Get in here!
A frightened and spineless like corporal springs into his
office and clicks his heels and screams.
(shooting that stiff
arm out like on a
Reicher flips his wrist in answer to
the heil, showing complete annoyance
at having to do it.
Do I see what I think I see here?
The corporal leans over the desk, and in order to see puts
his hand on the desk to brace himself... Reicher smacks his
arm, knocking his face flat on the desk... he stays there
with his ass in the air, waiting for instructions. Reicher
leans down putting his nose right to the corporal's nose.
Never put your hands on my desk...
is that clear?
Still in the same position, the Corporal extends his arm for
a heil Hitler, which is virtually impossible in the position
he is in.
The Corporal rises and stands stiffer than ever...
(picking the folder
Now tell me, is this brief correct?
Is that prisoner, the drunk, the one
that impersonated the Fuehrer?
Yes sir! It is!
Reicher paces behind his desk... the Corporal still stiff at
attention... waits and watches in mortal fear.
I get all the weirdos... Alright,
Corporal, send him in!
The corporal clicks his heels, thrilled that he can go.
He exits, and returns with Helmut and one more guard. Helmut
stands in the doorway, frightened and unsure, Reicher still
pacing behind his desk feels Helmut's presence...
Alright, come in, sit down!
Helmut walks to the chair in front of Reicher's desk... The
spineless corporal moves towards the door... turns... and
takes his position on the opposite side of the door that the
guard is standing at...
Reicher picks up the folder again, fingers through it. As
he looks through the folder, he looks at Helmut and looks
and fingers pages and the silence and the anxiety is getting
to Helmut as he sweats and waits.
Reicher is toying with him, and each time Reicher looks up
the sick, little-boy smile crosses Helmut's face, hoping to
endear himself to this Prussian pig!
Reicher finally sits down beside his desk in a chair that
resembles a throne. It is high and it looks down on Helmut.
(Props: This chair must be higher and taller than Helmut's
chair... for POV shots diminishing Helmut seated there.
OVER REICHER ON HELMUT
Are you Helmut Doork?
Doork, yes sir, Helmut Doork! I am
he! Yes sir, that is correct, Doork!
And are you a clown in the circus?
(ego setting in and
forgetting for a
moment his trouble
Not JUST A CLOWN! I am Helmut Doork,
Premier Clown! I've clowned for the
royal heads of many of our finest
countries, why there were times when
I had to...
That was years ago... According to
these papers you are now just a helper
in the circus with little or no
This stuns Helmut, his facade destroyed... His face drops
along with his fear...
Some things are only temporary...
Lt. Reicher! Only yesterday, I had
calls from one of the great circus
owners in all of Europe... he...
(breaking in, strong
You are NOTHING!! You are a HAS
BEEN!! You WERE A CLOWN...
You are now a prisoner of the State
and that's not funny... Can you make
something funny out of that, Clown?
Helmut sinks even lower in the over-stuffed chair, despair
in his eyes and a weight on his heart... the truth slashing
at his very being.
No! Lt. Reicher, I can't make
anything funny from that thought...
It is no thought... It is fact, Clown,
unquestionable fact!! Now down to
the issues at hand... Did you
willfully and with malice attack the
State and impersonate the Fuhrer?
I was drunk! It was a mistake! I
meant no disrespect... Sir...
Honestly, I was drunk and not
responsible for my actions and
thoughts! And my actions were
Subconscious?? Meaning it was all
motivated by truth that came out
under the influence of alcohol!
I am a LOYAL German!
And what kind of commendation would
you expect for being a loyal German?
I want nothing! But I'm more loyal
than most Germans I know...
Helmut realizes this was the wrong thing to say... he
Ah, like... re...
Names! Names!!! Who?
I don't know...
I don't know, sir...
But you said other Germans... What
OTHER Germans... Who are they? Why
aren't they loyal? Who?
to cop out)
I'm not responsible for what I say
Why? You're not drinking... you
said you weren't responsible last
night because you were drunk! Are
you drunk now?
Then why are you not responsible
I don't know!!
I don't know -- sir !!!
Why are you not responsible? Why?
Why? Why? Why?
On each attack of the word "why", Reicher creeps up closer
and closer to Helmut, really intimidating him... and the
sound of his voice echoes and becomes monotone and ominous...
[THE NEXT TWO PAGES OF THE SCRIPT ARE MISSING AS THEY ARE IN
The corporal gets Reicher's point and marks his notebook,
flips the cover closed, snaps to attention as we:
INT RAILWAY STATION - DAY
Ada walking as briskly as a woman can walk without running
and then her walk becomes a panic running, looking, sweating,
and the look on her face is evident that she is frightened
and close to shock... she gets to a train gate where she
sees the S.S. men pushing men through the gate to the train...
she knows she is where she has to be... she approaches one
of the S.S. men...
Excuse me, sir, but I wonder if you
would help me... you see...
No! Go away!
You don't understand...
You don't understand... I said go
Ada backs away from the gate, and stands to one side watching
the prisoners being moved from the back of the huge truck
backed up to the railway area... she is looking through the
iron bars (we SHOOT the bars holding depth of field snugly
so that the prisoners and the bars are in sharp focus)... we
make QUICK CUTS between Ada and the prisoners exiting the
huge truck... as we see the change of expression on Ada's
face we know she sees what she's been looking for... Helmut...
he is walking in a slow rhythm following a group of men who
look equally as broken and sad as he looks... Ada yells
through the bars...
Just as she yells, the voice of an S.S. Man drowns out her
scream as he yells...
Move along... you swine... move...
we haven't got all day... move...
move... one-two-three-four --
His voice rings loudly in echo in the vast station it's as
though he is timing his yells to each scream of hers... we
see her mouth moving with the SOUND of the S.S. Man's voice
coming from it... she is screaming Helmut... as the S.S. Man
Move it... move it... move... move...
hurry... faster... faster...
Helmut and the other men push ahead faster and faster...
with INTERCUTS of Ada, tears streaming down her face... with
CUTS of Helmut walking with his head down, embarrassed and
MED. - ADA
We MOVE the CAMERA SLOWLY towards her, peering through the
bars of the huge gate... and as we MOVE, we HEAR the doors
of the train slamming... the whistle... and the slow start
of the locomotive moving the train out of the station... by
the time we get to the (choker) of Ada... the train is almost
out of listening range... She drops her head, wipes her eyes
with her handkerchief, as we hear so.:
(the same one at the
gate who told her to
Now I would be glad to help you,
Fraulein... shall we start with a
drink? There is a lovely little bar
around the corner...
During the above dialogue we see another S.S. Man closing
and locking the gate to the train platform... She looks at
this "Pig", then down and up as though she were examining a
rare, never seen insect... and then right into his face...
and softly whispers:
Go away !!
She turns and slowly walks the long walk down the empty
station corridor as we
INT. THEIR APARTMENT - NIGHT
Ada is sitting at the kitchen table, the table is empty, the
light is low and we see the picture of a lonely heartbroken
woman, she has a small bowl of soup in front of her and the
spoon in her hand is doing nothing more than swirling the
soup around in the bowl... she can't eat, which is evident
and as she swirls the spoon around, we MOVE IN SLOWLY and
into the bowl of soup (choker)... and HOLD on the spoon in
the bowl as we
STRAIGHT CUT TO:
INT. CAMP MESS HALL - INSERT - BOWL OF SLOP - DAY
We see wooden spoon doing exactly what Ada was doing, just
swirling the spoon around in what looks like dirty water
with a carrot in it, the bowl is chopped and cracked, the
spoon is old and almost white from use... the handle still
retains its wooden look... as we PULL BACK we see Helmut is
swirling the spoon in the slop... behind him is a Guard just
watching his actions... after a beat, the Guard taps Helmut
on the shoulder...
Tsk! tsk! tsk! shame on you,
Doork... shame... don't you want to
grow big and strong like me?
Helmut knows he's in trouble and just waits indifferently
for the fireworks to start...
We must eat our food! Do we want
Uncle to feed the little man?
The guard pulls the man next to Helmut out of his seat and
practically throws him to the floor to make room for himself
to sit down next to Helmut which he does... he half turns
his body towards Helmut and turns Helmut around in the same
fashion so they are almost facing one another. The Guard
takes the wooden spoon and fills it with the soup and proceeds
to feed Helmut... he stuffs the spoonful of soup into his
mouth... and Helmut takes and swallows... then the Guard
takes another spoonful and makes believe he is blowing it
(like a mother blows the hot soup not to burn the baby's
mouth)... and forces the spoonful into Helmut's mouth.
(continuing to feed
him as he puts the
spoon in his mouth)
And now one for Aunt Ada...
As the Guard uses the name Ada, Helmut bites down on the
spoon and won't let it go... but if looks could kill... he
stares at the Guard with hate...
(pulling the spoon)
Let go, Doork, let go... it's the
soup that makes us big and strong...
not the spoon... LET IT GO!
Helmut still holds it clenched in his teeth, and the Guard
smacks his face full force. Helmut lets it go... and holds
his face, embarrassed and humiliated as any many would be...
Now let's try it again...
He fills the spoon and sticks it toward Helmut's mouth, but
Helmut clenches his teeth keeping his mouth shut.
I said let's try it again...
He shoves the spoon into his lips, as the soup drips all
over the front of Helmut's shirt. The Guard uses the spoon
to clean the front of his shirt and forces the liquid he
took from the shirt front into Helmut's mouth... Some of the
men at the table and surrounding tables feel for Helmut,
others think it's funny... they laugh quietly.
Oh, I know why you're unhappy...
soup without bread is terrible...
The Guard takes the large loaf of brown bread and rips a
huge piece out of the center of the loaf and proceeds to
stuff Helmut's mouth with bread, until he looks like his
cheeks are eight times their normal size.
Isn't that better? Now take some
He pushes a spoonful of soup into his mouth which is so full,
nothing can get in... consequently the bread spills out, the
soup spills out... and he is a mess... (We play this scene
for plot value, but it will work comically as well.)
I've had enough, thank you... No
The Guard just stares at him...
I'm surprised at you, Doork, you've
been here two years now, you should
have learned we, of the Third Reich,
never acknowledge the weak, sniveling,
begging of you swine... that's all
you're good for... begging...
pleading... praying... you're a
disgrace to the human race. That's
why we of the superior race must do
away with all of you...
The guard turns to the other men at the table, and goes into
one of his mentally unbalanced tirades...
And we will! We will! Do away with
all of you. You're worthless pigs...
with no courage, no guts, why if
anyone did to me what I just did to
Doork I would kill him!
(turning to Helmut)
Why don't you kill me, Doork? Go
on... kill me... kill me... take
the knife from the table and kill
Helmut looks at the knife on the table, picks it up, holds
it in stabbing style, thinks about it... and we know by his
look, he would love to...
(with knife in hand)
I would kill you... but I am getting
my release any day now... and I won't
do anything that would spoil my
Helmut digs the knife into the table top and buries his head
in his hands... totally shook from the encounter...
He begins to laugh, but hysterically.
Release? They told me you were
funny... but I never realized just
how funny you are... RELEASE ????
And the hysterical laughter really echoes throughout the
mess hall as the Guard makes his way towards the exit. The
men at the table slowly get up and exit the scene, as do the
others at the surrounding tables... leaving Helmut just
sitting there... we PULL BACK to reveal the empty mess hall,
and the lonely sad body of Helmut, as he looks around
realizing he's alone, gets up and slowly creeps out of the
hall like a puppy with his tail between his legs... as we
EXT. PRISON YARD - FULL SHOT - DAY
There are two rows of prisoners quarters, wooden buildings,
weather beaten each row consists of about a dozen barracks
each... joined at the ends, farthest from the CAMERA by the
administration building, a two story type making a "U" shape
of the compound... The entire yard is surrounded by two high
wire fences about ten yards apart and fifteen feet high.
At intervals of about twenty-five yards, in the area between
the fences, are the guard towers, each about eighteen feet
above the ground equipped with searchlights, sirens, machine
guns, with three Guards on duty. Along outer fence, also
about twenty-five yards apart, other powerful lighting
equipment mounted on high poles.
It is morning and although the sun shines brightly it doesn't
in any way alter the drabness of the compound... nor does it
help change the look of the men...
There are about three hundred men milling about, some still
chewing what was their breakfast, some pulling brown bread
from their shirt fronts and exchanging bread for cigarettes
or just making deals, one with another... some sit along the
barracks walls trying to get some sun... others walking in
circles... some talking, laughing, even playing cards...
doing whatever they can to kill time...
PAN the entire camp. At completion of the long PAN
introducing the prison camp, we pick up the sixtyish JOHANN
KELTNER (formally ANDERLICH), a warm, sensitive looking
greying man, thin but with a dignity and a serenity about
him... He walks briskly (and we know he'd love to walk slowly
and tiredly, but we can see he knows his attitude and conduct
will help those that can't help themselves...)
His face tells us he is good, kind and the reason men want
to live, he is special and he smiles at all those he passes,
greets the men and is generally what man wishes he could be
under the same circumstances...
He walks into the building, which we learn is the barracks...
INT. BARRACKS - DAY
The barracks are empty... Keltner enters the huge room and
looks around and sees Helmut at the other end of the barracks
just walking back and forth like a caged lion... angry, hurt,
sad, and generally out of sorts... he can't even hear Keltner
approaching him... he finally stops at the back wall of the
barracks and lays his head against the barracks wall...
(not aware Keltner is
Dear God, please hear me!
He hears you, my son...
Helmut jumps, scared... throwing his back against the wall,
like a man who fears being attacked at any time...
Here, here, easy, you can't do this
You frightened me, Johann, I'm
You have nothing to be sorry for...
Fear isn't something controlled by
man... fear can not be conferred
with... there isn't anyway known to
mankind where man can say to
himself... "I will not be afraid"...
Oh, certainly man can try to fight
it... but faith and believing are
man's only chance... You must have
faith... you must!
I have faith... but not always...
sometimes it eludes me... I can't
remember to remember it.
But that's natural... you can't expect
to be perfect in what you try to
I don't know...
He starts pacing again.
I heard what happened at breakfast
this morning with ROTHMAN, the
Helmut spins around, frightened again...
Will they do something to me? What
have you heard?
(putting his arm around
Nothing, absolutely nothing... don't
worry about it... I just wanted you
to know that I believe you handled
That was one time I didn't care for
the laughs I was getting from some
of the men...
Of course you didn't... but I'm sure
you know man laughs for two reasons...
one because something is funny...
two, because they fear showing fear...
they laughed because "there but for
the grace of God go I!"
Do you really think so?
I'm certain of it!
Helmut smiles and takes Johann's hand, tenderly, and warmly:
Thank you, Johann. I always feel so
much better after you talk to me...
I'm glad, Helmut, I'm very glad...
you know you can always talk to me,
Oh! I almost forgot...
Helmut puts Johann around the back of the barrack area near
the wall out of sight of anyone coming in...
Before breakfast this morning, I
spoke to one of the guards, a very
intelligent one, and he seems quite
nice and friendly too. Well, he
said that the Gestapo has set up a
special review board to handle cases
just like mine. And he said he would
get me a form, a special form. Just
been printed up. And I'm to fill it
out. Isn't that good?
Keltner looking at him, like a child that believes in the
How many times since you've been
here, have you filled out forms?
Twenty? Thirty times??
But this is different. It's entirely
Helmut takes out a set of papers from his back pocket to
See? These are made up by the Gestapo
itself... and the form will go
directly to Berlin, to Gestapo
headquarters. That's the important
thing about this... the Gestapo's in
on it. That's a very good sign.
Isn't it a good sign?
Yes, my son, it is a good sign.
(in fast, excited;
scanning the papers)
And I have to be very careful of
everything I put down on the form.
The tiniest detail could make the
difference. Don't you agree?
Helmut looks up and notices Johann is looking up towards the
ceiling of the barracks... watching something... Helmut looks
THEIR POV - THE BIRDS
Up and under the eaves of the barrack just above their heads,
two small birds are perched (apparently they flew in from
outside and decided to nest there).
BACK TO HELMUT AND KELTNER - TWO SHOT
Isn't it strange? They are free to
go anywhere they want, and they come
here to nest.
Helmut doesn't react to Keltner's dialogue, but goes back to
his creased and soiled papers that he's read a thousand times
before, and reads them again... as he reads... Keltner takes
a piece of brown bread from his shirt pocket and crumbles it
and throws the crumbs up to the little birds...
HIS POV - THE BIRDS
They scramble to chew the crumbs, and they do...
DOWN SHOT - KELTNER
watching. Johann just watches, smiling at the birds, turns
and looks to see if Helmut is watching, too...
HELMUT - CLOSE
Intense at scanning through the papers and totally oblivious
to Keltner and the birds...
KELTNER - CLOSE
Watch the birds eat, Helmut... it's
I'm sure I've got everything here...
The important facts from the moment
I was arrested, the questions the
Gestapo officer asked me... now
what was his name again? I can't
seem to remember what his name was...
What the devil was his name?
(coming out of it)
Oh, yes, Johann... I'm sorry... you
You're not a religious man, are you,
(thinking about it)
Well, I... ah...
Not sure I am myself anymore.
Helmut quite surprised by this remark.
Yet... when I see those birds, I
wonder... were they sent here to
let us know this place really isn't
He should have sent them elsewhere...
they could be eaten here!
Helmut goes back to studying his papers, Keltner ponders
Helmut's remark, looks backup at the birds... his face full
of compassion, as we:
INT. BARRACKS - NIGHT (DUSK)
We now see the Barracks completely (SHOOTING from flat on),
the wooden bunks are housed in a low wooden building with
eight two tier bunks on each side. A group of men are
clustered around Keltner's bunk. Here we meet: ADOLF, a
large, once powerful man, in his mid thirties. LUDWIG, once
a fairly prosperous businessman before his politics landed
him in prison, is older, and his bitterness is written all
over his face. FRANZ, is the youngest. He is a sensitive
looing twenty five year old, more than likely the "rebel"
type of the 1930s.
Helmut is in his upper bunk over Keltner writing on an old
piece of paper with a scruffy pencil, which he bites to make
a point of, and wets with his tongue like any fat butcher
selling liverwurst and marking the price on a brown paper
bag... (i.e. Brooklyn, circa 1928).
We TRUCK the CAMERA down the long barrack to include the
other men doing their things. A couple of men are getting
ready for a card game... several others are comparing
clothing, mending and helping one another, a couple play
chess. A few are sleeping, but for the most part, most of
the men lay in their bunks staring at the ceiling... The
floors are spotless... suffice to say they better be... the
walls have nothing hanging but a few socks drying... a torn
calendar, wrong year, etc.
CLOSE - KELTNER GROUP
Johann sits with his back to CAMERA... at the edge of his
bunk, leaving room on his bunk for Adolph, Ludwig, Franz.
He is showing something to them that we cannot see. Keltner's
body covers whatever it is that the three men are gawking
at, facing CAMERA... and they are indeed gawking with delight
I think we should eat it!
Not on your life...
Er, that is... I wouldn't...
Put it somewhere so it can brighten
up the place.
It would take a hell of a lot more
than that to brighten up this place.
It'll be better than looking at your
Chuckling, Keltner rises. We BOOM UP with him, and as his
head comes up over the top of the bottom bunk... he holds
out the object for Helmut to see... It is a potato, a sorry
looking spud... that Keltner has put in a small can of water
and is beginning to sprout two sick-looking shoots.
Do you see the way it's sprouting...
I told you it wasn't completely
(his mind on his thing)
That's nice, Johann. Do you remember
when I filled out those last forms?
The date might be important.
About four weeks ago, I think.
As Keltner walks away from Helmut's bunk.
I'll put it up here on the window
sill, it'll get the morning sun.
He reaches the window and starts to reach up, to place the
potato on the sill... a hand shoots out holding the hand of
Think you can trust your potato so
close to me, Reverend?
The potato he TRUSTS... it's you he
All the men laugh, including the "stout prisoner" who laughs
the loudest... Keltner hands the stout prisoner the potato,
who in turn takes same and places it gently on the window
sill just adjacent to his bunk... after placing it on the
sill, he gestures ala the trapeze artist after making a super
truck, looking for applause... Keltner pats his leg in a
gesture of "thank you". He starts back towards his bunk
when the front door of the barracks flings open and the Guard
The men jump, but quickly, to their feet, and stand at
attention at the front of their bunks, ala inspection in the
army. They are rigid and waiting to hear what's up. The
Guard takes a few steps into the barracks... behind him we
see several prisoners carrying bunks waiting to enter the
All the prisoners from the other
side of the camp are being moved
over to this side of the camp over
to this side of the camp. Barracks
"H" will make room for three
He takes a few steps down the aisle...
I want all the bunks moved down toward
the far end. Get them as close
together as possible. Now! GET MOVING!
The men scramble back to their own bunks and immediately
begin pulling, shoving, and grumbling comments about being
too overcrowded as it is...
Gotta have more room... We need more
space... Hey, watch where you're
going. This is stupid!
YOU! You down there at the end...
get those bunks right up against the
CLOSE - HELMUT AND KELTNER
As bunks are moved towards the far end of the barracks,
Keltner and Helmut prepare to move their bunks, the last
ones on their side. Helmut and Adolf, who have already made
their move, come up to Keltner to help him with his bunk...
Helmut sees that Keltner has help so he decides to back off
and hide in his little corner with his pencil and scrap of
paper... totally involved with his own pain and his undying
fantasy about his ultimate release...
WIDER SHOT - THE ENTIRE BARRACKS
The guard looks down the barracks as the men just about finish
the moving job...
Hurry it up! Come on, get moving!
The guard turns towards the door and motions for the SIX
PRISONERS to enter the barracks... they enter by pairs, each
pair carrying a double-tier bunk.
Their personal belongings are piled on the bunks and slung
over their shoulders in sacks (barracks bags)... the Guard
motions for the two bunks to be placed next to Helmut's and
one on the opposite side... next to the Stout Prisoner...
NOTE: This arrangement leaves space for one additional bunk
right by the door.
The guard motions for the Stout Prisoner and Herman to give
the new arrivals a hand with the placement of their bunks.
Get them close.
(he looks around the
You're all going to be nice and cozy
(in a loud voice)
Yeah, like triplets before they are
born to a mother weighing 98 pounds...
That's what I call cozy!
The guard smiles, and all the men laugh...
The guard starts for the door, satisfied with the
arrangements... as he gets the door open, Helmut runs over
to catch him before he makes his exit...
Excuse me, sir, the papers... Did
they arrive yet?
They'll have to wait!
He exits, closing the door behind him. Helmut, with a look
of despair on his face, goes back to his bunk.
MED. SHOT - HELMUT AND KELTNER
You'd think, since he was coming
over here anyway, the least he could
do was bring the papers with him.
This moving men around has undoubtedly
kept him very busy... don't worry,
he'll bring them.
I'm sure if I asked him again he'd
really become annoyed with me. Would
you remind him for me, please?
Of course I will.
Helmut climbs up to his bunk and goes back to his precious
As the new prisoners make up their bunks and arrange their
belongings, the regulars of Barracks H, among them Adolf,
Ludwig, Herman and Franz, begin moving towards them to meet
them. Keltner turns to the new white-haired prisoner whose
bunk is directly next to his.
I've seen you around the yard, but
About thirty of them got here
yesterday from the prison outside of
1ST NEW PRISONER
(who occupies the
bunk above the white-
For the last three months we've been
shuttled from one camp to another.
2ND NEW PRISONER
(his bunk is the lower
bunk on the direct
Now they're shuffling us from one
side to another. I think they're
trying to lose us.
Do you think they're bringing in war
I don't know why they're sending
them here... we're overcrowded as
No, no... it's got to be something
else... Otherwise they would have
left the bunks.
It could be possible that he is fixing
up the barracks for some of his lady
That many women?
(standing at attention)
Reverend, we Germans are SUPERMEN!
All the men break out in laughter at Herman's comment and
his actions... but the laughter is cut short as they HEAR
the door open again, and they all look in that direction.
SHOOTING OVER the men onto the door, entering is the same
guard that was just there... this time he enters with two
more prisoners carrying their bunks. One of them is JOSEF
GALT, a burly bully like man, who knows all the tricks of
survival, and ERNST UHLMANN, a think little man with a face
like a weasel... they follow the Guard into the barracks
The men quickly snap to attention. The guard indicates for
Galt and Uhlmann to put the bunk in the space right by the
We might as well be outside.
If I get pneumonia, I'll hold the
With a little luck, you'll both get
The guard turns and moves towards the door, stops, and turns
to see all is well, and exits the door, closing it behind
Galt sits on the lower bunk as Uhlmann sprints up to the
upper bunk and looks towards the original men, who are just
standing around watching the two new "fish"... then men sense
trouble and slowly and quietly return to their own bunks...
some of the other men just stare at the two new prisoners...
(sitting on his bunk)
It's sure quiet in here...
Uhlmann in his surveying the barracks spots the potato plant
on the window sill... next to the Stout Prisoner's bunk...
he jumps from his bunk and runs over towards the plant... he
takes it from the window sill and yells over to Galt...
Hey, Galt! Come over and look at
(coming over to Uhlmann)
What is it?
Ain't it cute?
It's a God damn posie!
He and Uhlmann burst into laughter...
Looks kinda sick, doesn't it?
It's one of them potato things...
and it sure as hell is sick!
Maybe we should put it out of its
No, we don't want to do that... we
might break someone's heart.
He looks around at the other prisoners.
Whose little plant is this?
The stout prisoner gets up from his bunk and starts to move
forward and challenge Galt... but Keltner jumps from his
bunk and gets to Galt first.
(with deep conviction)
The plant is MINE!
Is it now? Tell me precious... do
you knit, too?
If necessary, I can... and I do !
This brings a ripple of laughter from the others...
particularly the new prisoners who are delighted at seeing
someone stand up to Galt for a change... Galt with a sneer
on his face steps out into the aisle to face Keltner square
What do you think of that, Uhlmann...
Now, if he could just cook...
Galt and Uhlmann laugh, but they are the only ones that do...
(coming out of the
Can you cook, sweetheart?
Keltner knows damn well he can't fight the brute, yet he
realizes that if he steps down, life not only for him, but
for the others in the barracks will be intolerable under
Galt's bully rule. (During the following dialogue, Adolf,
Franz, Ludwig, Herman and the Stout Prisoner... easy up a
little closer to Keltner and Galt.)
If necessary, I can cook, yes! Now,
if you don't mind, I'll take that
He holds out his hand... Galt, wearing a deceptive smile,
eyes the older man...
Alright, old man, you really want
He raises his arm over his head with the plant in that hand.
Go get it!!
CLOSE - KELTNER
He looks past Galt at Helmut who is sitting up on his bunk...
CLOSER - KELTNER
He looks at Helmut. His eyes try to encourage Helmut to do
something, say something, do anything to show that he is on
CLOSE - HELMUT
He sits up on his bunk, and wants nothing to do with the
bully and his pranks... so he goes back to studying his papers
and looks up again to catch Keltner's look of disappointment,
and as Keltner turns away from Helmut... Helmut realizes he
should do something to show Keltner he, indeed, cares... he
jumps down from his bunk and grabs Galt by the arm and turns
him around... they are now face to face...
Why don't you pick on someone your
(shocked, but pleased
that he finally got
a rise out of someone)
You heard me! Give him his plant
back, and leave him alone... He
didn't bother you ... and if you
have to show your muscle, there's
plenty of other guys to pick on!
You're my size!
... and with this, Galt smacks Helmut a shot across the mouth
that sends him spilling into the corner, half knocked
unconcious... he lays there with blood flowing from his
Keltner leaves Galt and runs to the corner to see if Helmut
is okay. Galt follows him... Keltner is leaning down checking
Helmut... as Galt bends down next to the two of them... still
holding the plant.
He's alright... that'll teach him to
keep his nose out of my business...
here's your plant!
Galt makes like he's handing the plant to Keltner, who reaches
for it, and as he does Galt slowly stands up making Keltner
reach and reach and reach... and as Keltner gets closer and
closer, Galt stands to his fullest height... making it
literally impossible for Keltner to get it... Franz, Ludwig,
Adolf, Herman and the Stout Prisoner (more than likely
provoked by Helmut's stand, now circle Galt)...
(still holding the
plant up high)
Go on, little man, reach for it!
Keltner, torn between seeing that Helmut is alright, and
getting his plant back, tries to get it, and still looks to
see that Helmut isn't hurt too bad...
(in a low menacing
Give it to him!
Galt looks at him with a menacing stare...
You heard him... give it to him!
You've had your fun... give it to
(closing in on Galt)
Galt realizes this is no time for a showdown... and with a
childlike smile... grits his teeth...
Sure, here's your stupid flower or
whatever you call it...
Keltner takes it from him.
Keltner leans down and picks Helmut up and walks him to his
bunk, helps him onto it, and puts the plant on his own bunk...
The four men: Ludwig, Adolf, Franz and Herman stay with
Galt, as does the Stout Prisoner... They are clustered around
What's the matter with you guys?
Can't you take a joke?
Hell, all I was doing was trying to
have a little fun.
Have it with someone else!
What's so special about him?
That's the Reverend. Even when they
came and dragged him from his
church... he kept right on preaching
against them until they knocked him
Galt is silent for a beat.
Well, how the hell was I supposed to
NOW you know!
Galt shoves his way through the five men and walks beaten,
for the moment, to his own bunk... as the men disperse and
walk back to their respective bunks...
CLOSE - GALT AND UHLMANN
Galt walks over and sits at the edge of his bunk, while
Uhlmann swings his legs back and forth from his perched
position on the top of his bunk... Galt gives him a stare...
You and your posies...
That was close...
Where were you when I need you?
I make love, not war!
(goes giggly over
what he just said)
Hey, that's pretty good... I made
that up... Make love, not war! I
bet that would make a good slogan
Aw, shut up!
And he smacks his legs up and onto the bunk.
TWO SHOT - KELTNER AND HELMUT
Keltner with a wet towel in his hand cleaning the blood-
dripping mouth of Helmut...
That was really very nice of you,
Yeah, nice and STUPID!
Helmut grabs the towel and throws it to the floor and turns
on his side away from Keltner. Keltner bends down, gets the
towel, sits on the edge of his bunk... looks up, wonders and
ponders Helmut as we
EXT. BARRACKS H - NIGHT
The door to Barracks H slowly opens and Helmut peeks through
the opening to see that all is clear... he slips out and
walks along the dark, dreary alleyway towards the Guard's
shack... he moves like a prisoner trying to miss the
spotlights in a jail break...
Helmut gets to the Guards hut... he looks into the window,
and sees the Guard he wants... sitting at his desk eating
off a tray that has a meal fit for a king on it... including
the "doilies"... wine, and a steak that would satisfy six
men in Barracks H... Helmut looks around to be sure no one
notices him and slowly slips up to the front door of the
shack and knocks on the door...
INT. GUARD'S SHACK - NIGHT
(annoyed at being
The meek and frightened Helmut enters the shack and walks
over to the Guard's desk, and his eyes go immediately to the
tray of food. While the Guard just stares at him... somewhat
shocked at his presence in the shack.
(breaking the silence)
What the hell are you doing here?
Who gave you permission to leave
Helmut tries to talk as the guard gets louder and louder.
Are you some kind of privileged
Helmut nods no...
Then what are you doing out of the
The frustration of not being able to answer, and the
frustrations of being hungry... and the child-like treatment
Helmut is getting from this Pig becomes emotionally too
much... as he screams...
If you'll shut your stupid mouth
maybe I can answer one of your
The Guard looks at Helmut in disbelief... but at the same
time a little delighted at this chance to show his German
superiority... as he slowly gets up from behind the desk and
crosses to Helmut, with a sneer that would frighten Rommel...
(nose to nose with
I have a STUPID MOUTH?
Helmut backs away towards the door, and the Guard moves closer
and closer to him... backing him up against the door.
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to raise my
He bows his head in fear, as well as concern for what he
might have done to his chances of release.
The volume of your voice isn't the
issue... it's what comes out of
your mouth that disturbs me... maybe
you need a little lesson in respect
And he smacks Helmut across the face with his black glove...
... and maybe I've been a little too
soft with you...
He smacks him again, harder... the glove now feels like a
sword to Helmut... and his hands hang limp down by his sides.
You see, Doork, I knew why you came
in here... I knew why you left your
barracks without permission... It's
just that I hadn't heard you mention
your release papers for so long I
had hoped I could hear you begging
(in a whisper)
I'm sorry, I'm sorry... You're a
sorry specimen of a human being...
that's what you are...
And he smacks him this time with all the force he can
Now, I will help you to your quarters,
Herr Doork, here you will stay, and
pray for release papers that may, or
may not, ever come...
This wakes Helmut's soul and he becomes erect and stonefaced
at the words the guards just said... this look infuriates
the guard even more... he grabs Helmut by the scruff of the
neck... like grabbing a wet cat to be thrown out of the
house... and he opens the door and pulls Helmut by the back
of the office... out the door, down the three steps and onto
the ground... and pulls him like a sack of potatoes to the
EXT. BARRACKS H - DOORWAY - NIGHT
Helmut is just about beaten at this point as the guard opens
the door of the barracks and pulls Helmut into the doorway,
and his body stops on the threshold.
INT. BARRACKS H - NIGHT
SHOOTING OVER the men onto the doorway... in the deep b.g.
the sad body and figure of the man lays in the doorway, as
the Guard kicks him in the ribs, unmercifully...
Now, get inside where you belong and
don't ever let me catch you doing
anything without permission again.
Helmut slowly gets up... in pain and practically crawls to
his bunk... having to pass all the men, almost as though he
were ashamed .. he gets to his bunk, and tries vainly to get
up to the top where he lives... Keltner helps him... and as
he settles in his place...
CLOSE - THE GUARD
(yelling across the
Reverend! If you don't watch that
idiot, we may have to get him a
The guard storms out the door... slamming it shut.
CLOSE - KELTNER AND HELMUT
Keltner leaning over the side of Helmut's bunk whispering...
as the other men go back to their respective chores and
whatever they were doing when the guard stormed in...
Helmut, Helmut, how could you think
of doing such a thing? I begged you
not to irritate him... and that I
would ask him about your papers...
that wasn't smart, Helmut... not
smart at all... as a matter of
(gritting his teeth)
Leave me alone! ... and mind your
own business... Just leave me be...
Keltner knows this is nothing more than Helmut's dismay and
pain in his heart talking... The kindly man drops down to
his own bunk... just shaking his head... as if to say, how
can I help him? as we:
EXT. BARRACKS H - DAY
The same Guard is motioning for the men to hurry and get
outside... he is standing at the doorway to the barracks and
the men are moving out into the ice cold morning as briskly
as they can... the Guard moves inside after the last man has
made his exit...
INT. BARRACKS - DAY
SHOOTING OVER the Guard as he looks around, we see Keltner
coming out of the toilet area, rushing because he's late...
he throws his towel on his bunk, and as he does... he sees
what stops him in his tracks...
It is Helmut still sound asleep in his bunk...
Keltner moves towards Helmut to wake him...
(in a sotto voice)
Reverend, let him sleep... you move
out, I'll take care of this...
Keltner reluctantly starts to move out towards the front
door, as the Guard passes him on his way to Helmut's bunk...
Keltner goes out the door... the Guard sneaks over towards
the bunk where Helmut is asleep and very sneakily slips the
cover off Helmut's body... then proceeds to open the window
above his head and the window alongside... and across the
way and opens the back door... which is adjacent to the toilet
area... and walks out of the barracks leaving the front door
EXT. BARRACKS H - DAY
All the men are lined up for inspection, they are all looking
straight ahead as the Guard walks down the line.
All except Keltner who can't help but look in the direction
of the barracks where he knows Helmut is still sleeping. He
throws a glance at the guard as if to say... why? Why are
you doing this? Why did he leave Helmut sleeping, usually
the one thing that would send the guard up a wall... why is
he allowing this to happen?
(as he finishes his
You are a sick looking group of
things... I can't even call you
human... because you're not... you're
all lice... DISMISSED!
The men break up and go about their business, they move in
all directions, but Keltner starts for the doorway to the
barracks and is detoured by the guard who knew he would, as
he stands in the way of Keltner who has to turn away and go
about his business... the Guard peeks into the barracks.
INT. BARRACKS - GUARD'S POV - DAY
Helmut still sleeping...
EXT. BARRACKS - CLOSE - GUARD - DAY
He is delighted... he grabs the door and slams it shut with
a bang that would wake the dead... then opens it again and
INT. BARRACKS - CLOSE - HELMUT - DAY
He jumps from out of his hard sleep... foggy and unsure about
where he is, what time it is and he looks around and sees
the barracks are empty... and he panics... but he is also
shivering... the barracks feel like the inside of a meat
truck refrigerated somewhat below zero...
Helmut grabs his pants from the front of his bunk, pulls the
cover over him and tries to get the pants on under the
cover... It is cold! (Photographically, we can show "cold"...
He gets his pants on and jumps down onto the cold floor and
dances from the ice-like floor, he bends down looking for
his socks and shoes... he wears just a tee-shirt...
Having trouble finding both shoes, he grabs the blanket again
and covers himself with it, while searching for the other
He finds the other shoe and proceeds to put them on... takes
a beat and sees he has no socks on... reaches under the bank
and pulls out the pair of socks... which stand straight up
(from the cold ... he holds them in the air, and drops one
at a time and they sound like "pans" hitting the floor... he
takes one and blows warm air from his mouth into the socks,
one at a time, which warms them... (Props: the socks need
He then proceeds to put his shoes on and puts one on, and
then the other... now wearing both shoes he starts to tie
the laces... he pulls them straight away to tie and they
stand straight up! (Props: this is done with leather laces,
pure leather... it works without any unnecessary rigging!)
INSERT - THE STANDING STRAIGHT LACES
BACK TO SCENE
He finally gets them tied and starts, still sleepily, into
the toilet area... (We can go for a great sound joke here.)
He steps into the latrine, closes the door and we HEAR the
SOUND of crushed ice being poured into the bowl... he flushes
and we HEAR what might sound like an ice crusher... he steps
out of the latrine and walks over to the basin and turns the
The water spigots... they both read "COLD".
BACK TO SCENE
And as he takes some water on his hands to his face... it is
"cold" and his face just freezes from the pain of the cold...
he looks around and sees the little metal ashtray, that looks
like a small bowl or a tin from a used shaving cream lather
soap... he fills it with water.. and to show his ingenuity,
he takes a lighter from his pocket, places the tin on the
edge of the sink and lights the fire under the tin (which
couldn't possibly hold more than a handful of water) and
proceeds to heat same...
Once he is satisfied that it is at least warmer than the
spigot supplied, he grabs for the tin which is so hot from
the burning, he screams in another type pain... the pain of
"HOT" hurting... he decides to flick his fingers in the tin
bowl and splash some of the water on his face (which is by
now, just drips of water)... brushes his teeth with his finger
and soap... straightens his hair and exits the toilet to his
bunk to get his shirt... another "ICE COLD" item... he feels
how cold it is, and doesn't have the courage for another
climate blast... he rolls up his shirt and places it under
his armpit to warm it... as it hits under his arm... the
cold just about wipes him out... he decides to sit on it...
and he does.
CLOSE - THE GUARD - AT THE DOOR
He's been peeking all the while... He figures he's had his
laugh, and it's the first time we see he can laugh... he
steps into the barracks area, and yells:
Doork! Move it out, and on the
Helmut jumps with fright, unravels his shirt, runs towards
the open door putting on his shirt as we
INT. BARRACKS H - NIGHT
Most of the men are clustered around their bunks, and in the
dull light we see some of them in the aisles, talking, playing
cards... while most of the others are whistling, clapping,
and laughing as Uhlmann does his silly little clog dance...
it is apparent the ugly episode between Galt and Uhlmann has
been forgotten for the moment.
The lights are hung from cords down off the ceiling and for
a complex this size it could use ten... there are but two.
Uhlmann is having the time of his ignorant life... the more
the men applaud, the more he "clog dances".
MED. CLOSE SHOT - LUDWIG AND ADOLF
They are both seated on their top bunk, Adolf enjoying the
poor dance Uhlmann is giving as Ludwig looks down the aisle
towards Helmut's bunk.
It looks like Helmut found some new
ears to listen to his Super Star
Adolf takes a look, shrugs his shoulder, as if to say I
couldn't care less... and goes on watching the action of
Uhlmann and the other men...
(to himself, but for
Adolf to hear as
well; a la
Ringling Brothers would have done
anything for me to appear with them
but I had to do what was best for
CLOSE - HELMUT AND THE FOUR NEW PRISONERS
The four new men are surrounding Helmut on the top of his
bunk listening to his bragging.
So I told Mr. Ringling if he wanted
"Helmut" he'd have to bring his circus
to Germany... I am a German, I told
him, and my responsibility is to my
own people who are my biggest fans.
1ST PRISONER (NEW ONE)
Did you really say that?
Of course I did... they offered me
anything... anything I wanted to go
2ND NEW PRISONER
Hey! I saw the circus in Berlin about
four years ago... Didn't you make
your entrance in a long tail coat
with a pair of tails on the jacket
about fifty feet long? Sure! And a
funny Little clown at the very end
carrying the tails like a woman's
Helmut studies the prisoners glare and decides he couldn't
even remember the clown he saw was Gustav the Great, why
not? No one would ever know... and he nods with a kind of
studied humility... yes.
2ND NEW PRISONER
You were great!
Helmut eats it up.
2ND NEW PRISONER
You should have seen him... You'd
never know it was him... with the
long tails and white tie... red
nose... long hair... and a battered
top hat... with the hair hanging way
down to his shoulders... and, ah,
let me see... oh, yeah... your mouth
went from ear to ear.
3RD NEW PRISONER
How do "clowns" ever come up with
such ideas for faces and make-up?
It doesn't happen overnight... it
takes years and years... You try
many faces, then finally you hit the
one that's just right for you.
4TH NEW PRISONER
My kids will never believe this, I
can't wait to... tell...
His voice trails off as he realizes the hopelessness of what
he was about to say. This puts a damper on the discussion
and the men start to break up and get down off the bunk.
Helmut, seeing his captive audience leaving... panics.
Wait, let me tell you some other
things... I mean things that are
really exciting and... please!
Please... let me just have a few
1ST NEW PRISONER
What's going on with those guys?
He's looking off down the aisle where Uhlmann has his
audience... The four prisoners move out into the aisle to
get a better look, leaving Helmut perched on his bunk with a
pleading and broken look of despair...
(a last attempt)
Did you know "clowns" literally
bequeath their faces to their sons,
or sometimes to...
He realizes it's futile as the four new prisoners move towards
Uhlmann and the others down the aisle...
Come on, let's see what's such fun...
He moves and the others move along with him. Helmut thinks
about joining them, and starts to move off his bunk but his
body won't respond... he just hangs there limply... his head
lowered, a sad man.
SHOOTING OVER the men placing Helmut in the very deep b.g.
as we see the four new prisoners walk over to watch the
MED. CLOSE - UHLMANN, GALT, KELTNER, AND OTHERS
Uhlmann is just finishing his dance with a spin, when he
finally gets dizzy and topples over on one of the bunks.
All the men applaud wildly. Uhlmann laying half down and
half up on the lower bunk he landed on, breathing heavily...
yells over to Galt...
Hey, Galt, it's your turn, how about
doin' one of your belly dances for
All the men agree and start yelling for Galt to do it...
Galt moves out into the center of the aisle in the clearing
made by the men, and holds up his hands for silence... they
quiet down and Galt looks around until he spots Keltner.
The men become very still, they look from Galt to Keltner
and back to Galt, their eyes reflecting suspicion of him,
wondering what he's up to now. Galt is fully aware of this.
Well, Reverend, what do you think?
Would a little belly-dancing be too
much for the boys?
Keltner studies Galt for a beat, then accepts his offer of a
(moving over towards
A little fun is what we need... so...
if you'll all hold the noise down,
I'll join in.
A hushed cheer goes up from the men as Keltner stands besides
Galt. Galt holds his hands over his head and nods for Keltner
to do the same thing. The Reverend does, and now Galt begins
undulating his hips. Keltner studies the move for a beat
and then does the same thing but with comical awkwardness.
Franz starts playing a slow sensuous rhythm on his harmonica.
The men clap and whistle softly.
CLOSE SHOT - HELMUT
He is sitting upright on top of his bunk, watching what Galt
has Keltner doing, a look of disgust passes his face as he
turns away from what he'd been watching and gets busy with
his papers and figuring again.
MED. SHOT - GALT, KELTNER
They are just finishing their dance. The men applaud wildly
but softly... Keltner, puffing, moves over to the side and
sits on one of the bunks to catch his breath. Galt takes a
few bows, and the men react with applause and whistling that's
beginning to take on "noise" proportions... Keltner motions
for the men to hold it down... and they do.
4TH NEW PRISONER
Say, why don't we get the clown to
A clown? Who's a clown??
You've heard of "Helmut Doork".
That's him down there!
Don't waste your time. You'll never
get the Great Doork to do anything.
as he starts walking towards Helmut's bunk...
1ST NEW PRISONER
Oh, I'm sure he will!
The others follow right behind. There is a look on Keltner's
face like he would like to stop them, but between his puffing
and his certainty that Helmut will be alright, he stays where
CLOSE - ADOLF
as he walks with the others.
You're wasting your time. He doesn't
perform for the likes of us... he'll
turn you down.
He's right, we've been asking him
for three years... I have a feeling
he only does his little routines for
the crowned heads of Europe.
And, of course, the BIG heads of
There is general laughter... as the group arrives at Helmut's
CLOSE - HELMUT
He sees something's going to happen, he puts his papers away
and sits upright... waiting... his eyes catch Galt's eyes
peering at him.
Galt tells it all with his eyes... This one isn't "sacred"
to the men... he might just be the pigeon Galt's been hoping
for... the one every bully looks for, for his own brand of
How about it, Doork?
(swinging his legs
around ready to jump
I'd like to, but I can't... really...
Can't? Did I hear you say you can't?
(it stops him in his
tracks; he stays up
on the bunk)
I'd like to do something... but...
(pointing to the 2nd
He can tell you... He's seen me
work... I need props... make-up...
I work with a lot of different
2ND NEW PRISONER
That's right... I did... and he does!
Sure, tell them... I can't just do
anything... I need lights, props,
Galt doesn't like no for an answer...
(gritting his teeth)
Now, me and these... gentlemen...
we don't expect you to do your "act",
just a little something that'll give
us a laugh, that's all.
Keltner moves in from o.s. and stands at the back of the
group watching and listening.
(to all the men)
Aw, forget it... and that's probably
his problem... he's forgotten how!
(trying to suck him
Wait a minute, you guys... show people
have to be in a mood...
Play a little music, like in a
Franz starts playing his harmonica... slowly...
There! Ain't that nice? Don't it
put you in a mood?
(getting fed up)
I TOLD YOU! I need things to do my
2ND NEW PRISONER
Hey, Doork, what about that drunk
routine... that was funny...
Helmut looks at him puzzled... he can't think or remember
anything at this point... certainly not anything relating to
any of the previous lies he's told...
(pacifying his head
Yeah, that drunk thing... that does
I still need many things... props
2ND NEW PRISONER
I don't remember you using anything
in that drunk routine.
(starting to fume)
Hey... are you trying to fool us?
With this Keltner moves in and up to Galt.
Leave him alone!
Stay out of this, Reverend. We're
not doing anything... We just want
him to join in the fun.
(to the men)
Right! If a Reverend can give us a
laugh, why not a clown?
All the men ad lib their agreement with what Uhlmann just
said; it appears that they are all on Galt's side, and Keltner
(to Helmut, softly)
It doesn't have to be anything
special... a little dance, maybe?
(taking it all out on
Like that disgusting exhibition you
did? Oh, no... not me!
4TH NEW PRISONER
Go on, Doork, so I can tell my kids.
Can't you get it through your heads,
WE need you to give us a laugh.
Galt grabs Helmut's jacket and pulls him off the bunk, nose
to nose to him...
Galt has Helmut by the neck portion of the jacket, practically
choking him to death... his vice-like hands are closing in
on his throat and Helmut's trying vainly just to breathe...
One of the prisoners starts pounding his feet and making a
march-like noise yelling from the other end... "So try!"...
"So try!"... "So try!"... "So try!"... the other prisoners
in the barracks pick up the chant and the stomping... Keltner
doesn't even hear the racket they've started because of his
concern for Helmut being choked to death... He tries to loosen
Galt's hands from Helmut's throat.
That's enough, leave him alone!
Stay out of it, Reverend!
Galt spins Helmut around so that his back is facing the aisle
and he walks him into the center area... the other men feeling
this violence happening, and watching. Helmut being choked,
triggers all of their venom and their hate and they really
come on strong... stomping, yelling...
Choke him harder... see if that's
funny! Make him dance! Hey, Doork!...
be funny now! He don't look so funny
to me! He sure as hell looks funny
to me! Hey, Galt, pull his string
and make the dummy funny!
And they stomp and they stomp and they stomp... "So try!"...
"So try!"... They get louder and louder... Helmut is kicking
his legs, which are off the ground, and Galt won't let go.
CLOSE - HELMUT
His face is turning color... he hasn't a lot of air left in
his lungs... and Keltner is practically hanging onto Galt
trying to get his hands loose... and Galt could carry another
three men without batting an eye. Galt puts him down slowly,
in the middle of the aisle, so that just his feet touch the
ground, but he keeps his hands around his throat.
Your public is calling, clown...
SHOOTING OVER Galt, Keltner and Helmut, we see the door of
the barracks slam open and bang against the wall making more
noise than anything all the men made together, and they all
MED. CLOSE - THE GUARD
He stands in the doorway, legs spread apart, hands on his
waist... and he is wearing a raincoat, the barracks has become
totally silent... all that is heard is the rain pecking away
on the roof. Galt has let go of Helmut who just lays on the
floor with Galt and Keltner on both sides of him...
(walking slowly into
What is going on here?
On your feet!
Helmut gets up, dizzily, just about getting oxygen back into
(like a little boy)
He was showing us some of his funny
The Guard surveys the faces of the others as they stare back.
Because of all the noise coming from
in here -- I have been called up
front to explain... I don't like to
be called up front... I don't like
to have to explain...
And, you might not like it, either.
Back to your bunks, all of you...
Turn out the lights, and keep it
As the guard turns to the door to go, Helmut takes a step
forward about to stop the guard, Keltner grabs his arm and
turns him the other way... the Guard exits closing the door,
quietly behind him... The men start to disperse... Galt gives
Helmut a "I'll get you for this" look and returns to his own
bunk with Uhlmann almost up his ass following... Keltner
leads Helmut back to their bunk.
I was just going to ask him about
the forms... my release...
(shaking his head)
That was not the time, believe me!
Keltner sits Helmut down next to him on his lower bunk, as
Helmut rubs his throat, and tries swallowing a few times...
No, I'm alright... thank you.
They both sit in silence... Helmut breaks the silence...
Johann, why do they pick on me?
I've never done anything to them.
You've never done anything for them!
Helmut dislikes Keltner's remark and gets up from the lower
bunk and starts up to his. He gets to the top bunk and starts
to get onto it, stops and whispers to Keltner.
You think I should have performed?
The men would have appreciated it.
Helmut rolls into his bunk, the lights go out and he lies on
his back staring at the ceiling. Keltner sits on the side
of his bunk and takes his shoes off... periodically the rays
from the searchlights revolving outside cross the windows to
momentarily flood the barracks with light. After a few
seconds, Helmut leans over to whisper to Keltner.
(he stands up, eye
level with Helmut)
What is it?
They don't believe me, do they? I
mean about being a clown?
Oh, I'd say you've convinced most.
(a long beat)
There is one you haven't convinced...
Helmut stares at Keltner, knowing full well what's coming...
yet doesn't have the courage to take the chance that it might
be another thought... so he waits...
You, Helmut... you!
CLOSE - HELMUT
The truth of Keltner's charge hits Helmut with an overpowering
force. He looks at Keltner for a beat... his eyes filled
with pain, then slowly turns away from him, leaving him
standing there as we PAN with Helmut and HOLD on...
CLOSE - THE WINDOW
The rain is pouring down.
FULL SHOT - YARD - DAY
It is the next morning, a chilly, damp day following a night
Attention! Attention! All prisoners
will assemble immediately in the
yard. All prisoners will assemble
immediately in the yard. Attention!
The loudspeakers repeat the command. Across the muddy, puddle
splotched yard, a barbed wire barricade about six feet high
has been erected, dividing the camp in two. A number of
guards patrol the fence on both sides.
EXT. BARRACKS H - WINDOW - DAY
Uhlmann is looking out into the yard. He motions to someone
to "take a look at this".
INT. BARRACKS H - DAY
Galt has just arrived at the window where Uhlmann is standing.
They've put up barbed wire!
MED. SHOT - FAVORING HELMUT, KELTNER
They look at each other in wonder as they start into the
aisle. The men in the barracks are frantically trying to
EXT. PRISON YARD - DAY
The prisoners are pouring out of the barracks doorway. Galt
and Uhlmann are already standing outside as Helmut, Keltner,
Herman, Adolf, Franz, Ludwig, Stout Prisoner, New Prisoners,
join them. All look o.s. momentarily speechless at what
What the hell... ?
FULL SHOT - YARD - PRISONERS' POV
Beyond the fence we see men, women and children standing in
groups near the barracks on that side of the camp. The SOUND
of children crying can be heard.
VARIOUS SHOTS - MEN
As they quickly scurry to line up in front of their own hut.
Youngsters! They've got youngsters
MED. SHOT - PRISONERS - FAVORING KELTNER
Helmut stands next to him.
What does it mean? What do they
need a fence for?
(shaking his head)
Misery loves company. Looks like
they're going to deny us even that.
The Guard is shoving the late-comers into place.
All right. All right, move. Hurry
it up. Move.
SHOOTING ACROSS the prisoners in f.g. toward the new fence.
Guards move among the men, herding them into lines. On the
other side of the fence, we can see the new arrivals lining
up, being prodded into place by Guards.
LONG SHOT - PRISON YARD - DAY
On both sides of the fence, the prison inmates have assembled
in the wet, forbidden yard. On one side are the regular
prisoners, who watch the guards warily as they straighten
their lines. On the other side are the new prisoners --
about two hundred frightened Jews of all ages, including
thirty or forty children and a number of very old men and
women. They stand in absolute silence as the loudspeakers
blare again, except for the crying children.
Attention! The Commandant issues
the following special order: the
north side of the camp is now
temporary quarters for non-Aryan
prisoners. Fraternizing between
Aryan and non-Aryan prisoners is
strictly prohibited. Any violation
of this order will be severely
punished. Heil Hitler... Repeating...
SHOOTING THROUGH the booted, outspread legs of a soldier
guard in f.g. toward the line of prisoners behind him. One
woman holds a child of about three who cries inconsolably.
The Commandant issues the following
As the announcement is read, the guard's legs turn around,
and he walks away from the CAMERA toward the woman. He stands
before her menacingly, and she clutches the child closer to
her in a futile attempt to hush its crying.
The north side of the camp is now
temporary quarters for non-Aryan
prisoners. Fraternizing between
Aryan and non-Aryan prisoners is...
MED. SHOT - PRISONERS
SHOOTING along line of prisoners from barracks H to show
their various reactions as the announcement continues --
disdain, surprise, sympathy and relief. The guard stands
with his back to the line at the end farthest from the CAMERA.
Galt is near the CAMERA.
(under his breath)
Prisoners nearest to Galt eye him questioningly.
... strictly prohibited. Any
violation of this order will be
severely punished. Heil Hitler.
The loudspeakers go dead. The prisoners stand silently
studying the new arrivals across the yard. The new prisoners
self-consciously file back into their huts on the other side
of the fence. As the prisoners begin to break rank --
Prisoners from barracks H remain in
line. Barracks H will remain in
The prisoners turn and look in direction of the Guard as
they straighten their lines. The guard paces slowly along
the line inspecting it silently. On the fringes of the scene,
we can see prisoners from other barracks gathering to see
what their fellow convicts are in for.
MED. CLOSE SHOT - GUARD
Finally he stops and contemplates his shabby charges with
I said last night I didn't think I
would enjoy being called up to account
for the noise coming from barracks
H. I can tell you this morning I
didn't enjoy it.
He walks down the line, looking at each man.
I don't know what caused the trouble
last night, but I'm not blaming you
I failed you. I should have seen
that you all have much too much energy
for the confined life you lead here.
(he smiles benevolently)
We're going to correct that. I've
been told that energy comes from
MED. SHOT - PRISONERS
Their faces reflect that they know what is coming.
SHOOTING PAST the line of prisoners in f.g. to the Guard,
who has paused to let his words sink in.
So... to help you... all rations are
canceled for the next... forty-eight
A hushed ripple of ad lib grumbling and growling rolls along
the line of prisoners.
And, if that doesn't quiet you down,
I'll think of some other ideas you'll
like even less. I'm going to make
this barracks the quietest in the
Is that clear?
The prisoners are silent but their faces register their
Now, don't blame me.
(with sly meaning)
I didn't start the trouble last night.
The truth of what he has said is reflected in the faces of
ANOTHER ANGLE - FAVORING HELMUT, KELTNER
As they stand with the other prisoners, watching the guard
move off. Keltner looks worried, the others are angry, Helmut
seems undecided as his eyes follow the guard.
I can't go without food. I'll starve.
Suddenly Helmut makes up his mind and starts off after the
Guard. Keltner, sensing the mood of the men, puts a
restraining hand on his arm, whispers to him hoarsely.
But Helmut shakes him off and hurries away.
The other prisoners notice where he is headed and exchange
looks. Keltner shakes his head. Galt's eyes narrow as he
watches Helmut run off after the guard.
He's the one we can thank for the
MED. SHOT - GUARD - MOVING
The CAMERA MOVES BACKWARD as the Guard strides toward it,
his face sour. Behind him we can see Helmut running to catch
up to him. When he is close enough...
The guard stops and turns so abruptly that Helmut almost
runs into him.
Doork. Helmut Doork. Remember?
The papers... You said... Remember
the special forms for the Gestapo to
review my case.
He stalks off. Helmut starts to say something more but thinks
better of it. Crushed, he starts back towards his barracks,
head down. He walks sadly for several steps, then looks up
and stops, his expression changing to one of uneasiness.
MED. SHOT - PRISONERS - HELMUT'S POV
A dozen of Helmut's barracks-mates, including Galt, Uhlmann,
Adolf, Ludwig, Herman, the Stout Prisoner, several of the
New Prisoners, are drifting across the yard towards him, and
the looks on many faces bode no good for Helmut.
FULL SHOT - HELMUT, PRISONERS
The men converge and form a half circle around him.
As the men close in on him, he moves back until we cna see
the barbed wire fence behind him. Helmut senses their
disposition and remains warily silent. Keltner and Franz
stand slightly behind the pack.
What'd you say now, Mr. Doork,
Last night he wouldn't give us a
laugh. Today they won't give us
What were you doing? Making a deal
with your guard pal to slip you some
No! I was asking him about the forms
he'd promised to get me.
Because of last night... I'm not
Keltner, seeing how disappointed Helmut is, moves up through
When this blows over, Helmut, we'll...
Don't feel sorry for him. He's got
no one to blame but himself. The
whole thing was his doing.
He's been telling us how great he
is; how funny. Why? Why couldn't
he have done a trick or two for us?
The Reverend did a turn. What's so
special about him?
The men voice agreement... Helmut should have performed.
Helmut starts to go around one end of the semi-circle but
the men bar his way.
Don't start anything here. We're in
The other prisoners in the b.g., those who have remained in
the yard to see what was going to happen to the men of
barracks H, sense trouble, the kind they want no part of,
and begin scurrying back to their own barracks.
We're not starting anything, we're
We've decided Doork here is going to
keep us laughing so hard we won't be
able to hear our stomachs growling.
Better hurry it up, clown. 'Cause
my stomach's growling already. Can
you hear it?
Hear it! The whole place hears it.
The men take a few steps toward Helmut as they call for him
Yeah, Doork, do a trick. How about
that night in Munich when they
wouldn't stop laughing. How about
it, Doork? Come on, just a little
trick. Give us one laugh. That's
all we're asking for. Come on,
Helmut, do something.
Helmut, hoping to stall the inevitable, still hoping to
preserve for a while longer his beautiful myth of being a
great clown, holds up his hands for the men to be quiet.
Franz interpreting the gesture as giving in to the demands
of the men...
He's going to do it! He's going to
The men quiet down and move back a few steps to give Helmut
Nothing pleases an artist more than
to perform. I'm going to do a real
show for you. All I ask is that you
give me a little time... time to
get things together... things I can
use as props... I'll even try to
make a costume, and...
You don't need a costume. We've got
Murmurs of agreement.
Do the drunk pretzel like the kid
suggested last night.
And do it now, clown. No more
Helmut, still trying to hold on to his dream of greatness,
draws himself up proudly and begins to move forward.
Let me through.
Aren't we good enough for you?
He'd do his tricks fast enough if
his guard pal asked him. Wouldn't
As the mention of the word "guard" the mood of the men turns
MED. SHOT - PRISONERS - HELMUT'S POV
Their faces show their determination that Helmut will perform
Do something, Karl. For God's sake,
And be sure it's funny.
MED. SHOT - HELMUT, GALT
Helmut is frightened. He strains to look beyond the men for
help. He opens his mouth to scream for the Guard, but Galt
puts his hand over Helmut's mouth.
(his face pressed
close to Helmut's)
You make us scream... scream with
laughter... or I'll tear you to
shreds on the wire.
Galt presses Helmut right up to the barbed wire fence so he
can feel the barbs in his back.
FULL SHOT - HELMUT, MEN
Galt takes his hand away from Helmut's mouth. Helmut doesn't
utter a sound. He knows that Galt and the men mean business
and he now must do something. He nods his head.
All right... all right.
The men move back to give him room. Frantically, he tries
to think of something to do... he knows it must be great...
or else his myth will explode. He walks around in a little
circle, trying, trying to think of something. Finally he
faces them. He bows his legs and pretends he's a bow-legged
man trying to walk a high wire, but he's so frightened the
result is pathetic, not funny.
PAN SHOT - PRISONERS
The camera works across their faces, which are expressionless.
MED. SHOT - HELMUT
Seeing that he is getting no reaction from his "audience",
Helmut tries something else.
He pulls his shirt over his head and walks around like a
headless man. He pretends to trip over some unseen object,
peers through the front of his shirt at it, and stamps on
the object. Again he tries to walk over it, and again he
MED. SHOT - HELMUT, MEN
as Helmut starts to repeat the same routine, many of the men
are openly contemptuous. Galt wears a smirk. Keltner, unable
to watch Helmut's degradation, moves away. Others express
their disappointment, their disdain.
If he's Germany's greatest clown,
God help the Fatherland. Doork, the
Great! You got paid for that? To
go without food is bad enough, but
to have to watch that!
2ND NEW PRISONER
You're not the clown I saw. You
lied. You're big all right. A big
4TH NEW PRISONER
And I was going to tell my kids!
He's no clown. Not even a bad one.
I am. I am a clown!
They move away from him.
Give me a chance. I just got started.
But the men continue to walk away. Helmut tries to do a
hand stand, but his hands slip in the mud, and he lands
ignominously on all fours. When he looks up, only Adolf,
Galt and Uhlmann remain.
That's what we've been eating our
hearts out to see!
You stink. You really stink.
I... I slipped. I can do it.
Seeing the disbelief on their faces, Helmut becomes almost
hysterical. He is still on his knees.
I am a clown. I am. I am.
He pounds on the ground in frustration. Galt spits
contemptuously, and the three start to leave. Galt turns
back, looks down at Helmut. Very deliberately, he comes
forward to stand at a mud puddle.
Doork the Great.
With that he kicks a shower of mud directly into Helmut's
CLOSE SHOT - HELMUT
The mud splatters over his face. He cries out. His hands
go to his eyes instinctively. he kneels there, rocking back
and forth in misery. Then from o.s., we HEAR a tiny,
tentative laugh -- the tiniest laugh ever heard. Helmut
looks up quickly. He isn't sure that he heard it.
Then it comes again, a little stronger. He looks around
quickly to see who has come back to taunt him, to ridicule
LONG SHOT - PRISON YARD - HELMUT'S POV
The yard is empty except for a few prisoners from other
barracks way off on the other side.
CLOSE SHOT - HELMUT
He is puzzled. Then again he hears the laugh o.s. He turns
slowly to look behind him.
MED. SHOT - BOY - HELMUT'S POV
On the other side of the fence stands a wide-eyed boy of
about eight, who is watching Helmut timidly. The ragged
youngster laughs again, hesitantly, as if unsure what Helmut
is doing is supposed to be funny, but finding it so
CLOSE SHOT - HELMUT
He looks uncertainly at the youngster. Is the child
ridiculing him, too? He leans over the mud puddle and looks
at his reflection. He likes what he sees. The mud on his
face looks almost like a primitive clown mask. Very
deliberately Helmut scoops up more mud and puts a blob of it
on the end of his nose. He waits for the child's reaction.
CLOSE SHOT - BOY
His eyes are laughing, but his little lips are pressed tight
together. He has been taught not to make sounds... not even
sounds of laughter. But finally what he is looking at becomes
too much for him and the laughter spills out between his
lips as they form a smile. He laughs delightedly now,
satisfied that Helmut is being purposely amusing.
TWO SHOT - HELMUT, BOY
Helmut gets to his feet, bows slightly and stiffly to the
child, and then attempts another hand stand. This time he
holds himself up for a moment and then deliberately allows
himself to fall on his back in the mud.
CLOSE SHOT - HELMUT
As he lands, he quickly glances off towards his barracks,
but from the look of disappointment on his face, we know
that none of his barracks mates are watching. When he hears
more laughter from o.s., he quickly rolls on his side to
MED. SHOT - CHILDREN - HELMUT'S POV
Two more youngsters have joined the first, and all are
laughing excitedly. The first child jumps up and down,
clapping his hands.
WIDER ANGLE - FROM THE FENCE - FAVORING HELMUT
Helmut gets up and bows, more deeply this time, a tribute to
the children's vindication for his claim that he is a clown.
He turns toward the direction of his barracks.
(screaming at top of
Come back, damn you, come back. The
children... they're laughing. They're
laughing. I am a clown. I am a
He turns back to the children and again bows. He quickly
leans down, looks at his reflection in the puddle, and scoops
up a handful of mud which he plasters on his nose to make a
bulbous, artificial proboscis. He turns back to the children
and in pantomime, pretends to see a fly buzzing about and
tries to swat it. The imaginary fly buzzes closer. The
CAMERA MOVES UP to --
CLOSE SHOT - HELMUT
As the "fly" lands on his nose. He looks cross-eyed at the
mud blob, then swats at it. The blob falls off.
MED. SHOT - CHILDREN
There are now nine or ten youngsters at the fence, all
squealing with delight.
CLOSE SHOT - HELMUT
He bows again, and as his head comes up he looks o.s. toward
his barracks, still hoping that someone will be watching his
"great" success. When he turns back to the children, we see
that he continues to smile -- while tears course down his
cheeks through the mud still caked on them.
EXT. MESS HALL - DAY
The last barracks on the open end of the camp on the political
prisoners' side. Outside the building is a low counter
arrangement with two prisoners behind it serving mush and
black bread to a long line of men, all of whom carry bowls
This time in mid-July, three weeks after the incident at the
fence. The day is bright and hot. Our ANGLE FAVORS Helmut
as he nears the prisoner who is serving up the mush.
MED. SHOT - HELMUT
As he moves up to be served and holds out his bowl. The
prisoner - messman spoons a blob of mush into it. Then he
looks around quickly and, before Helmut can pull back his
bowl, slops another half spoonful into it with a wink at
Helmut, who gives him a grateful smile in return. Helmut
moves on to the bread server, who gives him a big grin as he
slips two pieces of bread into the bowl on top of the mush.
Helmut hurries away, the CAMERA FOLLOWING him.
He walks strangely, as if having trouble controlling his own
feet. Helmut ducks around the corner of the barracks nearest
the mess hall, then peers cautiously back into the main yard.
Satisfied that he hasn't been noticed, he quickly puts one
piece of bread into his pocket and takes out his spoon.
Holding the second piece of bread beneath the bowl, he wolfs
down a few mouthfuls of the mush. Then he smooths out the
remainder with the spoon to make the mush appear untouched.
He places the one slice of bread back on top of it, and
studies the end result. Nodding approval, he licks his spoon
clean and puts it back in his pocket. He goes back around
the corner of the barracks into the main yard and heads for
the next building.
CLOSE SHOT - BARE FEET
This pair of massive feet are the property of the Big
Prisoner, a massive hulk of a man.
OLD PRISONER'S VOICE
Don't know how you can go without
shoes. Soles of my feet are too
The CAMERA PANS UPWARD to the Big Prisoner and an Old
Prisoner, sitting against the side of their hut. The Old
Prisoner, a frail man, with shirt off, is finishing his mush.
It's my stomach that's sensitive.
(looking o.s., smiles)
Here comes your second helping.
As Helmut's feet walk into FRAME and stop next to the Big
Prisoner, we see the reason for his peculiar walk. He is
wearing a pair of enormous shoes, many sizes too large for
him and cut open along the soles from the toes to the insteps
so that they flap as he moves along.
as Helmut joins them and holds out his bowl of bread and
mush to the Big Prisoner.
Still grinning, the Big Prisoner puts his empty bowl on the
ground beside him and takes Helmut's bowl. Holding the bread
aside, he digs into the mush. Helmut watches him eat, his
own hunger written all over his face. After a few bites,
this makes the Big Prisoner a little self-concious.
How're the shoes?
The Big Prisoner nods and goes back to eating, satisfied
that he has made a fair bargain and shouldn't be embarrassed
about taking Helmut's food.
Don't forget the bowl.
The Big Prisoner, his mouth full of mush, only nods. Helmut,
tearing his eyes from the food, moves off. The Big Prisoner
watches him go. Suddenly, he looks down at the departing
Helmut's feet, and his face darkens.
Helmut stops and turns as the Big Prisoner shoves himself
away from the hut and goes to him, staring down at the shoes.
The Big Prisoner reaches out with the large toe of one bare
foot and lifts up the flapping toe of one of Helmut's shoes.
He lets it drop again.
I said you could use 'em, not ruin
I had to fix them this way... for
the act, you know. Wait till you
see how funny it is.
Yeah. But will I feel like laughing
when it gets cold!
Worry! I'm the one who'll get frost
bitten toes, not you.
When I return them, they'll be like
new. I promise.
The Old Prisoner has finished his mush and puts his bowl
down on the ground and moves forward to join Helmut and the
For what you've done to my shoes I
should get more food.
He's got to have something to eat.
The Big Prisoner looks at him questioningly.
If he gives you his other meal...
he'll starve to death. Then you
won't get anything.
This reasoning makes sense to the Big Prisoner.
Remember... you fix them before you
bring 'em back.
Helmut shakes his head "yes", turns and quickly hustles off
in the direction of his own barracks, the CAMERA MOVING with
him. After a few steps.
BIG PRISONER'S VOICE
MED. SHOT - BIG PRISONER - HELMUT'S POV
The Big Prisoner looks at Helmut, then at the piece of bread
Helmut had given him. His manner is self-conscious. He
tosses the piece of bread to Helmut.
MED. SHOT - HELMUT, BIG PRISONER, OLD PRISONER
Helmut catches the bread, his smile expressing his thanks.
The Old Prisoner puts his arm around the Big Prisoner's
shoulder, while the Big Prisoner tries not to show that he
is pleased with himself for his "generous" act.
MED. SHOT - HELMUT
Taking bites of the bread, Helmut, rather jauntily, lopes
off toward his own barracks. As he moves among the other
prisoners, the CAMERA MOVING with him, we see many of them
point or nod toward Helmut and smile good-naturedly. Helmut
is completely unaware of them, so lost is he in his own
EXT. BARRACKS H - MED. SHOT - KELTNER, FRANZ, HERMAN - DAY
They sit in the shade beside their barracks. Herman is using
his empty bowl as a fan. Keltner is just finishing his food.
Franz is examining his jacket, his empty bowl beside him on
I mean it this time.
Don't tell us. Tell him.
Franz holds up the tattered jacket to show that a button is
What am I supposed to do? Use pins?
Who has a pin?
You can laugh. He isn't always after
you for something.
He fishes in a pocket and pulls out a large piece of chalk,
holds it up.
Says he can mash it into a powder
and put it on his face.
Herman stops fanning along enough to ask...
Where'd you get it?
From a guard.
Astonished, Herman and Franz look at him questioningly.
(lowers his voice)
A very bad Nazi. Still has a heart.
Herman and Franz smile. Then Franz holds up his tattered
I wish he'd have a heart and use
someone else's coat. Or better yet --
(looking o.s. and
WIDER ANGLE - FAVORING HELMUT
As he comes flapping up, still munching on the piece of bread
given to him by the Big Prisoner. Keltner holds out the
chalk to him.
Finally got it.
Helmut takes it and examines it in a very professional manner.
Herman and Franz exchange looks. Keltner waits for Helmut
(a little annoyed)
Isn't that what you wanted?
(holding up the chalk)
This will do more for the act than
anything. Wait'll you see!
(a sigh of relief)
For a moment there you had me worried.
Helmut's nibbling on)
I see you got smart.
His conscience bothered him.
I thought he would kill you when he
saw what you had done to his shoes.
So did I.
The men laugh.
I don't know what I'm laughing at...
look at what he's doing to my coat.
(holds it up)
Look at it! Yesterday a button off.
And you've got it ripped here under the arm. Besides all
that falling down isn't doing it any good.
I've got to have it. It is the only
one I can get on and still is tight
enough to look funny.
At the rate you are tearing it up,
it's going to look a lot funnier.
SHOOTING PAST Helmut and group and in f.g. toward the main
yard, where we see Galt and Uhlmann approaching. During the
ensuing dialogue, Galt spots Helmut, nudges Uhlmann and
together they come toward him.
Give in, Franz. You know he's going
to talk you out of it again.
I'll be careful. I swear. Besides,
I've got to have it. I explained
before... a clown can't change his
costume. It's his trademark.
I know... I know... but...
Galt and Uhlmann join the group, looking to start trouble.
Why should he give it to a Jew clown?
That's got nothing to do with it.
What's the matter with you bastards
anyway? All he ever did for us was
cause trouble, but for them...
(nodding toward the
... he can't do enough.
I say he's one of them.
If he were, he'd be over there
Through this Helmut remains silent -- his eyes focused on
That's where he belongs.
Franz and Keltner get to their feet. Herman remains seated.
What're you so hot about? It's no
skin off your...
We've got a good reason for not liking
If it wasn't for them... we wouldn't
be in here.
This surprises the men. Herman gets to his feet.
What'd you mean?
A bunch of them got picked up with
papers we'd sold them. And what'd
they do? Turn us in, they did. The
So that was it! Counterfeit papers.
I can imagine the prices.
Supply and demand, Reverend. Supply
Deliberately, Franz hands his coat to Helmut.
Take it, Doork -- anytime you want
Helmut accepts the coat... nodding his head in the gracious
manner of a ruler accepting homage from a faithful subject.
He turns smartly and slowly struts away with as much dignity
as he can muster in his big shoes which flap with every step
he takes. The others stand and stare at Galt and Uhlmann.
What's so terrible about what we
did? Lot of them got out of the
country with our papers. They were
damn good counterfeits.
Keltner, without a word, turns and goes off after Helmut.
(calling to Keltner,
And what's more, we never charged
for children. Never.
MED. SHOT - HELMUT, KELTNER
As Keltner catches up with Helmut. The CAMERA MOVES BACK as
they walk along the side of the barracks toward the door.
I've been meaning to ask you. Heard
anymore about the request for a review
of your case?
Helmut doesn't hear him as he's deep in his own thoughts.
Did you hear the laughs I got
Not just from the children... but
the adults, too.
You know where a lot of clowns make a big mistake? They
play just for the children.
They forget... it's the parents, the adults that buy the
Never thought of that.
Helmut stops, faces Keltner, a sly smile on his face.
They said I couldn't come up with
Keltner looks puzzled.
At the circus. Schmidt and the rest.
Wait'll they see my act now. It's
funny. Really funny.
The children certainly enjoy it.
Helmut begins to move along again with Keltner following.
What I needed was time. Time to
concentrate on new material. A man's
got to have time alone.
You call this being alone?
Helmut takes a few more steps then stops short.
Do you think... maybe... they'd let
me go to other camps and entertain?
Keltner is about to say something... but shrugs his shoulders.
He knows there's not much point in trying to make Helmut
look at things the way they really are. Helmut starts to
I'd have to get to the Commandant.
Would need his permission.
They arrive at the steps to the barracks. Helmut swings
Franz's coat over his shoulder as he starts up the steps.
If you have time later, I'd like you
to see something I've been working
on. I hunch down and do a tiny
soldier parading. Think they'll
Who? The adults?
(matter of fact)
The children, of course.
I thought the smart clown only played
to the adults.
Helmut, caught in a contradiction of his own "theory" of
clowning, gives Keltner an annoyed look, then goes into the
barracks letting the door slam behind him.
CLOSE SHOT - KELTNER
As he stands at the bottom of the steps -- he shakes his
head and smiles as he marvels at the change taking place in
the pompous Helmut as the little gentle clown within him
struggles to emerge.
EXT. PRISON YARD - PAN SHOT - CHILDREN - DAY
The CAMERA is PANNING across the faces of about forty children
behind the fence as they watch Helmut o.s. Some of them are
laughing; some clapping; some squealing with glee, and a few
just watching quietly, but with laughter in their eyes.
Behind them, near the barracks on the non-Aryan side, a number
of adults also are looking on, but they hang back, fearful
that getting too close to the fence might provoke the always
anticipated wrath of the guards.
EXT. PRISON YARD - FULL SHOT - DAY
We see now that Helmut on his side of the fence is performing
for the children on the other side of the menacing barbed
wire fence. Behind him, also at a safe distance because
they still aren't certain of the official reaction to all of
this, a number of his fellow political prisoners are watching
his antics. But, in spite of his talk about the importance
of playing to the adults -- it is the children that Helmut
plays to -- and it is for their laughter that he listens.
The CAMERA MOVES IN to --
MED. FULL SHOT - HELMUT
And we see that he has used the chalk to whiten his face.
With charcoal he has blackened his eyebrows, formed a wide
black mouth and drawn lines down over his eyelids to his
cheekbones, giving him the appearance of a clown at once sad
and happy. At the moment he is coatless, but Franz's coast
lies nearby on the ground. For the stunt he is doing now
Helmut carries the remains of an old broom and a piece of
cardboard. He is trying to sweep a small heap of dirt he
has gathered onto the cardboard, but each time he tries, the
dirt goes over the cardboard and he must sweep it into a
pile again. After a few attempts he feigns exasperation and
ponders the problem. Inspiration comes. He sweeps the dirt
into a pile again, bends over and very carefully sweeps it
into the front of one of his shoes, holding up the split top
to let it in. This accomplished, he is very proud of himself,
but when he tries to take a step, some of the dirt comes
out. Frustrated, he ponders again, and again has an
inspiration. He removes the shoe and puts it under his arm.
But as he walks away with it, all the dirt slides out through
the open toe. The children roar with delight.
CLOSE SHOT - LITTLE GIRL
She is a flaxen-haired youngster of about five who holds a
weathered rag doll as she jumps up and down for sheer joy at
CLOSE SHOT - LITTLE BOY
He is a completely delighted boy of perhaps seven. Each
time Helmut does something he particularly enjoys he hugs
himself and spins around.
CLOSE SHOT - BROTHER AND SISTER
The girl is no more than four; the boy about eight. He clings
to her hand as they watch Helmut, unsmiling, perhaps not
understanding. The boy looks at his sister, and a tiny smile
tugs at her mouth. The boy smiles back. The girl giggles.
The boy laughs outright. They have re-discovered happiness.
They look back at Helmut, both laughing.
CLOSE SHOT - SISTERS
The older girl is ten or eleven; her sister five or six,
tugs at her arm, and the older girl bends down to her. The
younger girl whispers to her, pointing to Helmut, and the
older girl picks her up. The little one puts her arms tightly
around her sister's neck. Both laugh merrily.
MED. FULL SHOT - HELMUT
He is putting on Franz's too-small jacket. He tries to button
it, but it won't go around him. He sucks in his belly, but
then his pants begin to slip, and he grabs at them with an
embarrassed look at the laughing children.
Deciding that the only way to button the coat is to hunch
his shoulders, he tries that, but now his shoulders must
remain hunched. He manages to pick up the broom and puts it
over his shoulder, playing soldier. But when he tries to
snap to attention, the coat pops open again, bringing another
roar of laughter from Helmut's audience.
Now he marches a few steps toward the CAMERA, stops, snappily
puts the rifle down at rest position and salutes -- knocking
himself flat. Another roar of laughter. As it swells, we --
PAN SHOT - JEWISH PRISONERS
The laughter o.s. continues to swell as the CAMERA PANS across
the faces of the adult Jewish prisoners huddled near their
huts. They smile, fearfully at first, then break into
ARYAN PRISONERS - PAN SHOT
As the laughter swells even more, the CAMERA MOVES over the
faces of the political prisoners on Helmut's side of the
camp. They, too, are laughing -- some tolerantly; some at
Helmut rather than with him, but they are laughing.
As the laughter continues to SWELL, the CAMERA PANS over to
yard-guard. He is trying very hard not to laugh. The result
is a self-conscious giggle.
As the laughter grows even louder, the CAMERA PANS as though
wafted on the waves of laughter, up to a guardtower, and we
see two rifle-armed soldiers in the tower watching the
performance below them. They gesture in Helmut's direction
The CAMERA continues to PAN over to the administration
building and UP to an open window on the second floor.
INT. COMMANDANT'S OFFICE - FULL SHOT - DAY
LT. SCHARFF, handsome, mid-30's, stands with his back to
CAMERA at an open window in a small, but luxuriously furnished
office. The window through which he is looking opens onto
the prison yard. An AIDE pokes his head in the doorway.
(in a loud whisper)
He's coming back down the hall.
Scharff nods, quickly closes the window, gives a look around
the room, and follows the Aide out.
INT. COMMANDANT'S OUTER OFFICE - FULL SHOT
As Scharff comes through the door from the adjoining room.
The Aide is standing in front of a small desk. Scharff takes
his position beside the door into the outer office. They
wait. After a beat, the room's other door opens and in comes
COL. HEINRICH BESTLER, a slightly built, pinch-faced SS
officer in his 50's. Scharff and Aide spring to attention
and give him the salute.
SCHARFF AND AIDE
(striding into his
inner office as he
INT. COMMANDANT'S OFFICE - FULL SHOT
Bestler goes directly to the desk and sits down. Scharff
stands at attention just inside the door.
Oh, stand at ease. And, close the
Scharff closes the door and moves over to stand near the
I don't have to tell you why your
Commandant was relieved of his command
here. This prison is a disgrace.
Disgrace! The latitude allowed by
him will not be tolerated by me.
Scharff nods his head. Bestler gets up from the desk and
walks around it.
That includes the staff. I'm going
to turn this place into a model
prison, a credit to the Reich.
Scharff again nods his head.
Bestler returns to his desk, sits, and opens a folder. He
glances up to study Scharff.
This isn't the first prison the SS
has had to take over from the
military. Military men are too soft
to deal with those...
(he nods toward the
Scharff starts to speak but quickly
changes his mind.
You were about to say something?
Oh... I... was just going to say
that I didn't hold with the soft
treatment of the prisoners.
(taking papers from
Our first order of business is to
He is interrupted by the SOUND of laughter o.s. He turns
slightly and looks curiously at the window, then turns back
to read from the papers in the folder.
Our first order of business is to
prepare all non-Aryan prisoners for
shipment in two weeks.
Where are they being sent, Colonel?
Again the SOUND of laughter from o.s. and Bestler looks
quickly at the window, irritated. Scharff, uncertain of his
superior's reaction, tries to cover up.
(speaking a little
But we have about 40 children, some
only babies, with more scheduled to
arrive tomorrow or the next day.
They're not going to be much use in
a work camp.
(his attention diverted
back to Scharff)
I'm aware of that. This order covers
only the adult prisoners over fifteen.
We won't have to wet nurse the
children for long. Other plans are
being made for...
Again he is interrupted by the laughter o.s.
What is that?
Before Scharff can answer, Bestler goes to the window and
PRISON YARD - LONG SHOT
SHOOTING PAST Bestler through the window, we can see Helmut
performing for the children. Bestler watches for a moment.
What is that supposed to be?
BESTLER, SCHARFF - MED. SHOT
Scharff goes to the window and looks over Bestler's shoulder.
That! Well, you see, sir, one of
the prisoners used to be a circus
clown. Sometimes he gives a little...
well... a sort of show -- for the
(turning away from
A show! Is this a prison camp or a
(he looks out window
Am I correct in assuming that those
children are on the non-Aryan side
of the camp?
(almost in whisper)
And the... buffoon? A German?
Bestler sits on the side of the desk and looks at Scharff,
who tries very hard not to show how uncomfortable he is.
Am I to believe you aren't aware of
the general order absolutely
I know about it, sir.
Close the window.
Scharff carefully closes the window. Bestler walks around
desk to stand leaning against the wall.
Just what do you think fraternization
means, Lieutenant Scharff ?
Communication. Social contact.
Giving aid, talking...
How long has this been going on?
Just the last two or three weeks.
And the Commandant approved?
Well, sir, children are very hard to
This clown! Who is he?
(trying hard to
It's... I know. It's Doork, the
Not his clown name, you idiot. His
number. His identification.
If I have the Colonel's permission
to leave, I will check it at once.
Later. Right now I want these
performances halted. Understand?
Bestler begins shuffling papers from the folder. Scharff,
uncertain whether he has been dismissed or not, hesitates.
Bestler glances up.
Yes, sir !
He salutes and bolts from the room, almost crashing into the
door in his flight.
PRISON YARD - FULL SHOT - DAY
Shooting past the children in f.g. to Helmut through the
fence, as he bows to the applauding youngsters. Behind him
we can see a number of soldier-guards coming through the
cordon of watching prisoners, and waving them to disperse.
They do so reluctantly, as the guard from Helmut's barrack
moves forward to Helmut, who is just about to start another
That's all. Show's over. Everybody
Helmut stops, startled.
MED. SHOT - HELMUT, GUARD
ANGLED to include children across the fence.
Get back to the barrack.
You heard me. Show's over.
The children don't move, but stand staring at Helmut as if
waiting for him to tell them what to do. This frustrates
the guard, who isn't accustomed to being questioned.
Go on. Get away.
Still the children refuse to budge. Angry, the guard goes
close to the fence, waving his arms at them.
Move, damn it, before I come over
The youngsters scuttle back a few feet fearfully, but there
they stop, their eyes still on Helmut. The guard turns to
Get them moving before somebody gets
Helmut goes up to the fence and speaks to the children softly.
That's all the show for today. Go
The children back away with long faces. Finally convinced
that Helmut is through, they turn and wander back toward
their barracks, but with many a backward look at him. Helmut
continues to encourage them, as the guard looks on.
That's right now, go along. I'll
see you tomorrow. Goodbye. Goodbye.
Many of the children wave to him. The guard takes Helmut by
the arm, turns him toward the barrack and hustles him off.
MED. TWO SHOT - HELMUT, GUARD
The CAMERA MOVES BACK as they come toward it, the guard firmly
propelling Helmut along.
Get inside and take that stuff off
I don't understand. What's the
Orders. No more shows.
You mean... not ever?
But we weren't doing any harm.
The Commandant thinks you are.
The new Commandant. He minds.
Just because I make them laugh a
You know the rule... no mixing with
I wasn't mixing! I was only...
The guard stops him and turns him so that they are face to
face. The CAMERA MOVES UP TO --
TIGHT TWO SHOT - HELMUT, GUARD
Look, it's not my order. It's the
Now do what I tell you and save
yourself a lot of grief.
He pushes Helmut toward his barrack and then turns and walks
off, the CAMERA PULLING BACK to --
Helmut watches the guard go, then, dejectedly, shuffles toward
his barrack. As he nears it, Keltner, Franz, Adolf, Herman,
Ludwig, and the other regulars intercept him.
MED. SHOT - GROUP
They crowd around Helmut, anxious to know what's happened.
He says I've got to stop -- with the
I've been expecting it.
Because they're Jews?
Because of the laughing.
Why should that bother them?
When you rule by fear, laughter is
the most frightening sound in the
Silently the men walk up the steps and into the barrack, the
CAMERA PANNING with them until we...
EXT. PRISON YARD - FULL SHOT - DAY
It is a warm, sunny afternoon and most of the prisoners on
both sides of the fence, are out warming their weary bones.
On the Aryan side, a number of prisoners, including Ludwig
and Herman, are having a makeshift soccer game using a bound
bundle of rags for a ball. They play with fierce rigor for
such emaciated men, yelling at each other and kicking up
clouds of dust as they try to work off their frustrations.
On the non-Aryan side of the fence, the children, now about
50 in number, are grouped near the wire barricades staring
across it, their faces dour. It appears they are watching
MED. LONG SHOT - CHILDREN
Shooting past the soccer players in f.g. toward the fence.
Through the men we can see the children, but the play moves
away from them. They continue to stare straight ahead,
obviously watching something else. Suddenly many of them
press close to the fence straining to see.
EXT. BARRACK "H" - CHILDREN'S POV
Helmut can be seen standing in the doorway. After a beat,
he quickly retreats back into the barrack.
INT. BARRACK "H" - DAY
The CAMERA MOVES BACKWARD down the aisle between the bunks
as Helmut walks dejectedly down the aisle, nervously fingering
his white ascot. The barrack is empty except for Keltner,
who is arranging the sprouts of his potato plant over a little
trellis of sticks. Helmut turns and walks back up the aisle
to stand in front of Keltner.
I can't go out there. I can't take
another day of them staring at me.
They'll get over it. Disappointment
is no stranger to those children.
They look at me as though it was all
my fault. Haven't they been told
why I can't...
I'm sure they have.
Then why do they stare?
(holding up the plant)
It's amazing how a thing like this
can feed off itself. Think how lucky
we would be if we could do that.
Helmut glances disinterestedly at the plant as he reaches up
to his bunk and brings down the coat belonging to Franz. He
holds coat up for Keltner to see.
I sewed a button on. Look all right?
Helmut gently pats the coat, then folds it and puts it back
on his bunk.
I did make them laugh. Didn't I?
I wish they'd get them out of here.
Prison is no place for little
We've been all over that before.
You've got to stop thinking about
(trying to convince
You're right! I've got to think of
Keltner puts the plant under his bunk and gets up.
It's too hot in here. I'm going to
get some air.
Johann... do you think there's any
possible way I could talk to the
Commandant. Maybe I could make him
The sentence trails off as Helmut realizes how useless his
There's nothing you can do... but
How can I! They were my own very
special audience. And now they stare
at me as if I had betrayed them.
They're children, Helmut. You can't
expect them to understand the madness
If I could talk to them. To the
children themselves -- that would
help, wouldn't it?
Keltner doesn't answer but he watches Helmut with new
If I explain it to them -- then
they'll know I am not mad at them.
You go near that fence once again...
and you're taking your life in your
own hands. You know that as well as
I would just need a minute. A minute
to talk to them.
Helmut goes to the door and looks out.
LONG SHOT - CHILDREN AT THE FENCE - HELMUT'S POV
The children are still pressed against the fence, still trying
to get a glimpse of Helmut
MED. SHOT - BARRACK "H"
Helmut stands just inside the doorway... looking out.
I wish to God I didn't care. I wish
to God I could forget them.
Helmut walks back to Keltner.
But I can't.
Helmut looks at Keltner, his eyes pleading for help.
I'm going to ask you a question,
Helmut, and I want you to think
carefully before you answer.
The reason you can't get them out of
your mind -- is it because you need
them -- for you audience?
Helmut drops his eyes as he attempts to find the right answer.
I want the truth.
(after a moment)
I know I can't perform for them
anymore. I know that.
I really don't know what the reason
is. I think it's got something to
do with... well, I don't want those
little ones to think I've turned
against them, too. That's why I've
got to do something. Something.
Keltner studies Helmut for a moment.
You'll be taking a chance. A great
Helmut nods that he know this.
All right! Come on then.
Where are you going?
You want to talk to the children?
Well, I think I can help you.
There's no reason for you to get
involved in this.
Reason? When war is waged against
children! That is reason enough for
the whole damn world to get involved.
And it will, believe me, it will.
Keltner puts his arm around Helmut's shoulder. Helmut grins,
a broad grin of thanks.
So, come on, Doork the Great, let's
start getting involved.
They both walk quickly to the door.
EXT. HELMUT'S BARRACK - DAY
As Keltner and Helmut come out. In the b.g. we can see the
soccer game still going on, the players shouting excitedly
at each other. Keltner surveys the scene for a moment.
He moves down the line of barracks toward the mess hall.
EXT. PRISON YARD - FULL SHOT - DAY
As Keltner moves among the men lounging around the barracks,
talking and watching the soccer game. Trying to appear as
nonchalant as possible, we whispers something to a group of
prisoners. They glance back at Helmut and then nod. Keltner
moves on to another group, taking care to avoid the two yard
guards, one of which is the guard in charge of Barrack "H".
Again Keltner murmurs something to the other prisoners, and
again they look at Helmut and nod assent. Keltner goes on
to another group. As he does, the men in the first group
casually disperse and start across the yard toward the fence,
moving around the soccer players. One of them goes up to
Ludwig, who is playing in the match, and whispers something
to him. Ludwig nods, and the other prisoners move away.
Ludwig runs off chasing the "ball".
MED. SHOT - LUDWIG
as he storms into a clutch of players, including Galt, all
kicking at the "ball".
(low to Galt)
Kessler is going to talk to the
children. Cover him.
Who says so?
The Reverend says cover him... so we
The players around Galt give him a meaningful look and he
gets their message.
All right! I was just asking.
As Keltner's plot takes shape, we see a dozen or so prisoners
wander, apparently aimlessly, across the yard and form a
spectator's section for the soccer game with their backs to
the fence, thus providing a shield between the children and
the guards. The game picks up tempo, but the play somehow
stays in the center of the yard, strengthening the shield.
MED. SHOT - HELMUT
As he watches the plan in action. Keltner rejoins him.
You know what to do?
Stay behind the men and keep an eye
out for the guards on the other side.
Make it quick. You won't have much
Helmut nods again and starts away, but Keltner stops him
And Helmut, keep the children quiet.
We don't want trouble.
Helmut nods and moves off across the yard. The CAMERA FOLLOWS
him as he circles around the soccer players, trying to look
as if he is just wandering over to join the other spectators.
As he nears the other side, the children spot him and react,
pressing closer to the fence and pointing to him.
MED. LONG SHOT - HELMUT
Shooting past the children in f.g. toward Helmut as he nears
the line of prisoners, who continue to ad lib shouts of
derision and encouragement to the soccer players. The
children begin ad libbing cries of greeting to Helmut. He
puts his fingers to his lips to silence them and takes his
place in the line with his back to them.
MED. SHOT - HELMUT
as he stands pretending to watch the soccer game with the
Kick it, Ludwig. Kick it!
The prisoner next to him gives him a sidelong glance and
nods almost imperceptibly. Quickly, Helmut ducks behind the
MED. SHOT - HELMUT
Behind the line as he scurries, bending over, to the fence.
The children flock to him. The CAMERA FOLLOWS him to the
Doork, Doork, Doork is back. It's
Doork. It's Doork.
Helmut tries to silence their squeals of delight. Holding a
finger to his lips:
Shhh. Shhhh. The guards...
The children quiet down and press closer to the fence. Helmut
drops to his knees, looking around.
Do a trick, Doork. Please, Doork,
No, no. I can't. The guards won't
let me. Not now. Maybe some other
CLOSE SHOT - LITTLE GIRL
This is the same flaxen-haired little five-year-old with a
doll we saw before. She regards Helmut solemnly.
MED. SHOT - HELMUT, CHILDREN
Smiling wryly at the simplicity of this appraisal, Helmut
reaches through the fence and pats the head of the girl's
Eager to touch Helmut, another child take his hand, others
grab at his arm. Still other youngsters, following this
lead, try to reach through the fence to touch him. Obviously
enjoying this adulation, Helmut takes as many of the little
hands as he can, squeezing them affectionately. Only one
group of eight children hangs back. They do not seem to
understand what this is all about. Their little faces are
fearful, yet they are fascinated by Helmut. Suddenly one
little boy gives a yelp of pain and backs away from the wire,
clutching his forearm.
What is it? What happened?
He hurt himself.
Wide-eyed with fright, the little boy takes his hand away
from his arm to reveal a nasty looking scratch from one of
the barbs on the fence. Seeing his own injury, the youngster
bursts into tears.
Shhh. Shhh. Don't cry. It's going
to be all right.
(to the other children)
Be careful when you're near this
He consoles the little boy, who continues to cry and holds
up his wounded arm for Helmut to see. Helmut looks around
frantically, as if hoping to find help somewhere. Then he
quickly removes his ascot -- his precious trademark, the
symbol of his self-accorded status -- and hands it through
Here, wrap this around it. I'll
make it all better.
The little boy goes on crying, but some of the other children
take the cravat and fashion it into a crude bandage around
the youngster's arm. It fails to silence the boy's crying,
Hush now. Stop crying. Please.
Look... Look at this.
He begins shuffling around on his knees, imitating a duck in
an effort to appease the crying child. As he goes, Helmut
quacks softly. The boy stops crying, but his face remains
unhappy. The other children laugh in spite of Helmut's
efforts to keep them quiet, all but the group of eight
youngsters who only stare at Helmut in awe. Seeing that he
is making progress with the crying child, Helmut next pulls
his coat up over his head and, still on his knees, moves
around like a headless man, groping ahead with his hands.
CLOSE SHOT - LITTLE BOY
His frown gradually dissolves and, in spite of his sniffling,
he smiles, timorously at first, then broadly. Finally, he
MED. SHOT - HELMUT, CHILDREN
Helmut shrugs his jacket back into place and smiles at the
There, that's better. No more crying
For the first time he notices the other group of frowning
children. Among the other smiling and laughing youngsters,
they seem to stand out. When Helmut fastens a quizzical
look on them, they back away a little, fearfully.
What's the matter with them?
They're new. We can't understand
them. All they do is cry.
They're all the way from
The eight just start at him wordlessly, their fear naked in
(to the silent ones)
There's nothing to be afraid of.
Everything is all right.
When there is no reaction from the children, who obviously
don't understand him, Helmut looks over his shoulder,
wondering if he has time.
MED. LONG SHOT - PRISONERS - HELMUT'S POV
The prisoners are still rooting for the soccer players, but
as Helmut looks, Adolf, in the middle of the cheering section,
turns and sees him.
(a hushed call)
MED. SHOT - HELMUT, CHILDREN
Helmut nods to Adolf and then turns back to the youngsters,
afraid but still unable to tear himself away.
Here. Look. I'll show you... No
In pantomime, he pretends to pull a hair from his head and
threads it through an imaginary needle. Finally accomplishing
this, he pretends to be sewing a button on his jacket, holding
the thumb of his left hand under the button while he sews
with his right. When he has finished, he pantomimes that he
has sews his thumb to the jacket. He pretends to be
embarrassed and tries to hide his hand in his trouser pocket,
but in order to put his hand in his pocket the jacket goes
too. The children giggle, then roar with laughter at his
frantic efforts to detach his thumb from his jacket.
The silent children press closer to watch Helmut's antics.
Some look at each other and smile, then grin. Suddenly the
entire group is laughing. Helmut holds up his hands for
silence, but the grin on his face says he loves it.
No, no, be quiet. Be quiet. Shhh.
The children go on laughing as if this is just part of the
MED. LONG SHOT - TOWER GUARDS
The SOUND of the children's laughter floats up to two guards
in a tower on the non-Aryan side of camp. One of them, who
has been watching the soccer game below, nudges his partner
and points down to Helmut.
LONG SHOT - PRISON YARD - GUARDS' POV
Between the children at the fence and the line of soccer
spectators we can see only the top of Helmut's head bobbing
up and down. But that is enough.
MED. LONG SHOT - TOWER GUARDS
After a long look, one of the guards picks up a telephone
and starts to make a call.
MED. SHOT - HELMUT, CHILDREN
Helmut seems to have thrown caution away under the stimulus
of the children's laughter. He is on his feet trying a hand
spring. He lands flat on his back, but rolls over on his
side and grins broadly at his audience, which laughs
appreciatively. This is the old Doork. Their Doork. Again
Helmut tries the hand spring and again he flops.
FULL SHOT - PRISON YARD
A HIGH ANGLE with Helmut and the children in f.g. and beyond
them the Aryan side of the yard. The soccer game is still
in progress, with the spectators on both sides of the action
whooping it up. Then in b.g. we see two soldiers, two SS
officers, and the guard in charge of barracks "H", come
bursting through the spectators near the huts and into the
game itself. The players slowly subside as they realize
what is happening. They watch the guard cross the yard.
The cheering trails off, and the yard becomes strangely quiet,
the prisoners' warning to Helmut.
MED. SHOT - HELMUT, CHILDREN
Oblivious to all this in his joy at performing for the
children again, Helmut is just pretending to slip on something
underfoot. His arms flay the air as he tries to regain his
balance, but he falls. Through this, however, the children
seem to be watching something behind Helmut, and when he
lands on the ground, they do not laugh.
Again their faces are frightened as they look o.s. Helmut
looks at them, puzzled. Then, realizing that something is
wrong, he turns and looks up from the ground.
SHOOTING PAST Helmut in f.g. toward the guard, SS men, and
soldiers, who have come through the line of spectators and
stand glowering at him. The prisoners have moved back, warily
watching for the next move.
You wouldn't listen, would you?
Almost wearily, he goes to the fence. This isn't something
he likes, but his authority is at stake here, and he has no
choice. As the CAMERA PANS him to the fence we see that
some non-Aryan adults have drifted over to see what the
(to the children)
Go on. Get back.
The children don't move. Their eyes are on Helmut. The
guard shouts over to the adults standing behind the children.
You back there, get them out of here.
The adults begin to gather up the children.
They had nothing to do with it. It
was all my doing.
The guard turns and comes up to face Helmut. He studies him
for a moment, then hits him a vicious backhand slap across
the face. Taken by surprise, Helmut staggers backward and
falls. A murmur runs through the prisoners. The children
still near the fence, cry out with alarm. Seeing their
terror, Helmut is determined to make it look like just another
act. With a painful effort he gets to his feet, smiles at
the children, turns and salutes the guard, knocking himself
down again. A couple of children giggle. The FIRST SS
OFFICER quickly steps forward to stand behind the guard.
He holds a swagger stick in his right hand, which he
repeatedly whacks into the palm of his left hand. He looks
down at Helmut.
FIRST SS OFFICER
Helmut struggles to his feet. He glances over at the
children. They are all watching him. He takes a deep breath,
winks at the little ones, then salaams before the SS Officer
and the guard. Some of the children giggle. This infuriates
the SS officer. He raises the swagger stick and brings it
down hard on Helmut's head knocking him to his knees. The
children scream with terror. The SS Officer raises the stick
to hit Helmut again, but Keltner, in an almost instinctive
reaction, catches hold of his arm.
The children! Not in front of the
TWO SHOT - FIRST SS OFFICER - KELTNER
The SS Officer turns and brings the stick down on Keltner.
He hits him over and over, each blow more vicious.
MED. SHOT - HELMUT - FRIGHTENED CHILDREN IN B.G.
Helmut turns away from the beating, pulls his jacket up over
his head and starts to walk around like a headless man
stumbling and falling over his own feet. The children, many
still screaming, turn their eyes away from the SS Officer to
watch Helmut's antics.
FULL SHOT - FRANZ, GALT, UHLMANN, LUDWIG, ADOLF, HERMAN AND
The horror-stricken men stand frozen as the SS Officer
continues to hit Keltner until he drops to the ground.
Suddenly Franz breaks away from the men and charges at the
First SS Officer.
MED. SHOT - SS OFFICER - FRANZ
Franz runs INTO CAMERA and attempts to stop the First SS
Officer. The Second SS Officer whips his pistol out, aims
carefully and FIRES a shot into Franz's head.
VARIOUS SHOTS OF THE PRISONERS
Uhlmann stands speechless and dumbfounded. Galt cowers.
Beads of perspiration pour from his brow. Adolf weeps bitter
tears as Herman places his arm around his shoulder to comfort
him, and himself as well. Ludwig, dead to any emotion, simply
turns and walks away into the crowd.
MED. SHOT - HELMUT
Helmut is now, more than ever, the clown, as he goes into a
frenzied version of the "Clap Dance". The complete
incongruity of his behavior leaves the spectators stunned.
WIDER ANGLE - SHOWING THE CHILDREN IN B.G.
The children are no longer screaming, instead they are
watching Helmut as though they are hypnotized.
FULL SHOT - HELMUT, GUARD, SS MEN, OTHER GUARDS
The guard, fully aware that the sadist SS men may take action
against Helmut, quickly motions for two of the other guards
to take Helmut away. The First SS Officer, still panting
with exhaustion, shows his approval of the action taken by
the guard. The two guards seize Helmut by the arms and begin
dragging him off toward the administration building. The
prisoners move away before the guards holding Helmut, forming
a sort of line of march for them. As they drag Helmut along,
he waves back at the children, makes a funny face and moves
his feet in something approaching a dance step.
INT. SOLITARY CONFINEMENT CELL - NO LIGHT
SHOOTING FROM THE BACK of the cell toward the door. The
cell is about eight feet long and four feet wide with a steel
door at the far end. The cell is bare. We HEAR men
approaching, and a guard opens the door letting in a shaft
of bright light. Two guards hoist the unconcious Helmut
into the cell and drop him onto the floor.
CLOSE SHOT - HELMUT
He lies in a heap on the floor, his face swollen from a severe
MED. SHOT - CELL
The guards walk out, slamming the door shut leaving the cell
CLOSE SHOT - WINDOW WITH WINDOW SHADE
Window shade quickly rolls up letting in a steam of blinding
INT. COLONEL BESTLER'S OFFICE - DAY
Lt. Scharff is by the window, having just rolled up the window
shade. Colonel Bestler is on the phone and obviously
exasperated by what he is hearing.
MED. SHOT - BESTLER, SCHARFF
Yes. Yes, I understand perfectly.
However, I don't see how we can be
Our orders were very clear. We were
to have the freight car ready to be
picked up at midnight.
Of course, I'm aware the operation
must be kept secret.
I just don't have the staff to send
down there now and... Yes, I'll wait.
He puts hand over mouthpiece to talk to Scharff.
The freight car wasn't picked up.
It's still down there on the siding!
Some stupid mix up. If they think...
The SOUND of the voice coming over the phone causes him to
literally snap to attention.
Yes, I'm as distressed about the
situation as you are.
(long pause during
which he nods his
Yes. Personally! Immediately!
Yes, General. You can leave it in
He puts down the instrument and turns at once to Scharff.
Who did you leave in charge down
Sergeant Hoffman. Very reliable.
Apparently not reliable enough. The
cargo seems to be raising quite a
Fifty children, sir! In a boxcar!
I know. I know. But the siding
isn't far from town. The General
doesn't want unauthorized persons
getting curious. Understand?
I'll get some men down there right
Men! You'll get yourself down there.
And take at least a dozen guards
with you. Don't let anyone get close
to that boxcar... under any
circumstances. No one !
Scharff turns to leave the office, but after a few steps he
stops and turns back toward Bestler, a look of concern on
Bestler looks up.
I wondered, sir, if you might have
any suggestions as... well... how
do we quiet children?
Use any method you can, but shut
them up. That's an order.
Scharff is disappointed at not getting some help from Bestler.
Suddenly his face brightens.
Sir, the clown!
Bestler looks at him quizzically.
The one who amused the children
Out of the question. The man's being
disciplined for that very thing. We
can't change our position now.
No one need know.
Scharff thinks this over. Suddenly his face brightens.
Sir, if I could guarantee he'd never
Bestler looks interested.
You see, sir, he's been trying to
get a review of his case. Claims
he's here by mistake. I could tell
him you would recommend the review.
A man who wants something. Good.
Very good strategy, Lieutenant.
(he turns to face
However, when you bring him back
here, return him to solitary and
keep him there.
I've seen the best of men, after
several years in solitary, unable to
remember even their own names.
Then I have your permission to take
LONG SHOT - OPEN ROAD - DAY
A small open truck with 12 soldiers in the back, followed by
a staff car, move along the road.
INT. STAFF CAR - MOVING - DAY
DRIVER is in the front seat, Helmut and Scharff in the back.
MED. SHOT - HELMUT - SCHARFF
Helmut has been cleaned up, but still shows the effects of
the beating and his stay in solitary. Holding a small mirror,
he is applying his makeup. He occasionally closes or tries
to shade his eyes from the light. They ride on in silence.
Scharff stares straight ahead.
Wish you could've gotten the big
shoes. The children laugh so when
they see them flopping up and down.
Scharff makes no reply. Helmut starts to put on his big
(a touch of the old
The Commandant, himself, asked for
You say he's personally requesting a
review of my case! Why, that means
I'm practically on my way back to
(studies mouth in
Should be red. Mouth looks better
Know the first thing I'm going to do
when I get to Berlin? Buy an overcoat
with a fur collar. Had such a coat.
Very elegant. Very elegant.
(finishing the up-
turned corners of
It's a good idea... moving the
Scharff reacts to this. He looks sharply at Helmut.
Prison's no place for children. I
said all along that it was some kind
Finish your makeup. We're almost
Know what Johann Keltner said?
Keltner. From my barracks. The
minister. He said... Let me think.
He said... men who wage war on
children. That's it. Men who wage
war on children... commit such a
(a beat as he thinks)
... such a heinous crime. That's
it. Men who wage war on children
commit such a heinous crime that
even the devil damns their souls.
Scharff looks as though he'd just been slapped across the
face. He quickly turns toward the window. Helmut inspects
his reflection in the mirror as he draws black vertical lines
down over each eye -- giving him a very lost, sad, dejected
EXT, RAILROAD SIDING - LONG SHOT - DAY
as the truck and staff car leave the highway and jolt down a
short roadway to a railroad siding where a boxcar sits on
the tracks. Uniformed GUARDS stand watch on both sides of
the car, which has the door nearest the CAMERA, partially
open. The truck and staff car pull up to the nearest boxcar.
The soldiers jump from the rear of the truck, one of them
carrying a large burlap sack.
as Scharff gets out of the car, from the boxcar comes the
SOUND of children crying.
(to Helmut in car)
Scharff strides purposefully over to Sergeant Hoffman, the
guard beside the open door. Hoffman salutes Scharff.
Any word about the train yet?
No, sir. The last we heard -- it
won't get here until evening.
Anyone been around?
With all that wailing, it's a wonder.
Couldn't you keep them quiet?
I didn't know what to do, Lieutenant.
I was afraid to close both doors.
(to other soldiers)
Keep a tight guard on the whole area.
No one gets near here. Understand?
You post them.
Hoffman moves over to soldiers and begins giving them their
(to soldier holding
Leave that here.
The soldier puts down the sack, and hurries off after the
others with Hoffman leading the way. Scharff turns toward
the staff car.
(calling to Helmut)
Over here, Clown.
Helmut quickly gets out of the car and moves over to Scharff.
He looks toward the partially open door.
(indicating the sack)
Take that in to them.
Helmut picks up the sack and peers into it.
What is it?
Bread. They won't wait so loud with
their mouths full.
How... how long have they been here?
You just get in there and keep them
quiet. You can do that, can't you?
Helmut nods. Scharff puts his hand on Helmut's shoulder.
Helmut stiffens under his touch.
Do a good job and I'll personally
ask that you get a favorable decision
on your case. Understand?
Helmut moves over to the half open door of the boxcar, the
CAMERA MOVING with him. Just before he looks inside, he
puts a wide grin on his face. But when he does peer into
the car, his eyes cease to smile.
INT. BOXCAR - HELMUT'S POV - DAY
In one end of the car the children are huddled together in
one frightened, wailing mass. They do not even notice Helmut
at first, so great is their sorrow. The little ones cling
to the larger youngsters, who, in turn, cling together. The
small ones weep hysterically , as children do when they have
been crying for a very long time. The CAMERA PULLS BACK so
that Helmut is in f.g. He slides the boxcar door open fully,
throwing more light on the children. This brings renewed
walls of anguish from the youngsters, who cluster together
more fiercely. But one little boy sneaks a look at the door,
expecting to see more guards. When he sees Helmut, his tear-
filled eyes widen. He can scarcely believe what he sees,
much less verbalize it. He tugs frantically at an OLDER
GIRL he has been clutching. She looks first at him, then at
Helmut. She, too, can hardly believe it.
It's Doork. It is! It is!
The children begin untangling quickly. Faces appear between
legs, around skirts and over shoulders. For a moment they
can only stare at Helmut, speechless with wonder.
So this is where you've been hiding?
That breaks the silence, and the children begin squealing ad-
libbed expressions of greeting and relief. They repeat his
name time and again: "Doork, Doork, Doork." As one... the
youngsters surge toward him. The little boy who first saw
him reaches him first. He drops to his knees and puts his
arms around Helmut's neck, hugging him furiously. Helmut
returns the embrace.
I want to go home. Take me home.
Now, now, there's nothing to cry
about. We're going to have fun.
and picking up the
Here. I brought you something.
(he tosses it into
The children pounce on the sack and
tug at it, unsure what it is except
that it's a gift from Helmut.
Wait now. Don't open it yet. Wait'll
I get in. You help me.
He backs up a few steps, the CAMERA PULLING BACK with him.
Then he runs toward the car and, with strength he really
doesn't have, jumps up so that he gets his arms on the floor
of the boxcar. He heaves himself forward partially into it,
and the children grab his clothes to help him inside. A
couple of the older boys seize the seat of his pants and
finally pull him in.
INT. RAILROAD CAR - DAY
FAVORING Helmut as he rolls over and jumps up, waggling his
head from side to side in the manner of a Jack-in-the-box.
The children watch him big-eyed. A few giggle.
Look, I'm a Jack-in-the-box.
He gestures around to indicate that he is, indeed, in a box.
We're all Jacks-in-the-box -- the
The children laugh, and some begin imitating Helmut's head
movements. Others do the same, and still others, including
the Czech youngsters, until all are waggling their heads at
each other and loving it. Then, out of sheer adoration, the
youngest of the children close in on Helmut and hug him around
his legs. Slowly he stops waggling his head and stretches
out his arms to embrace as many of them as he can -- almost
as if trying to protect them. Suddenly the gaiety dissolves,
and the children go solemnly silent. Helmut reacts.
Well... who's hungry.
Almost in unison, the children shout "I am", again forgetting
All right, I want everybody to sit
down. When I count three, everybody
sit. Ready? One, two...
On the count of two, many of the youngsters sit down. Helmut
Oh, you're too fast. Three!
This brings a burst of giggles, and the remaining children,
sit down... the Czechs following the example of the others.
Helmut opens the burlap sack and begins handing out pieces
of black bread. The children grab at the chunks and gnaw it
voraciously. When all of the youngsters have been given the
bread, Helmut takes a piece and bites into it with great
relish. After a few chews on the bread:
Now... what'll we do?
There is a long moment of silence, then the little blonde
girl with the rag doll speaks up timidly.
I want to see my Mommy.
Helmut is brought up short. For a beat he searches his brain
frantically for an answer. Then he goes to the child and
kneels beside her.
You would? All right.
You know where she is?
She's right here with you.
I don't see her.
That's because you don't know how to
look. I'll show you. Close your
(to the other children)
All of you... close your eyes.
The little girl closes her eyes and one by one the other
youngsters do also. The Czech children look at each other,
then at the other children, then they too close their eyes.
Everybody's eyes shut? Now, think
about your mommys and Daddys... There,
don't you see them? Can't you see
The children, marvelling at this feat, ad lib expressions of
So you see! They're right here with
you. All you have to do is look in
(putting her hand
over her heart)
Does Mommy see me, Doork?
Yes, she does. She has you safe in
her heart, too.
The silence in the car tells Helmut that sadness has returned
to the children. He brightens quickly and rises.
I've got an idea. You all know my
name, but I don't know yours. So
let's find out everybody's name,
He points to a boy of about ten in the group.
You... come here and I'll show you
what we'll do.
The boy, honored at being singled out, rises and comes to
Helmut, who takes a stubby pencil from his pocket.
What's your name?
Willie. That's a good name. How do
you spell it?
Fine. I'll just write that on top
of your head.
Using the eraser end of the pencil, Helmut carefully traces
the letters on top of the boy's head. The youngster peers
There. See, this way we'll all be
able to tell everybody else's name
just by looking at his head.
CLOSE SHOT - BOY
still looking up, but now doubtful.
Did you really?
MED. SHOT - THE GROUP
Of course I did. Here...
He pulls an older boy to his feet, winks at him and points
to the first boy's head.
(to the older boy)
Tell him what it says.
It says Willie.
He puts his hand to his head.
Be careful. Don't smear it.
(he glances around)
Let's see now... Yes. You shall be
He points to a Czech girl of about six. He motions for her
to come over to him. She shyly bows her head. Her friends
push her forward. Helmut holds out his hand to her, she grabs
What is your name?
She looks at him, then at the other Czech children. They
(squatting down beside
Forgive me. I don't speak your
He gently plants a kiss on her cheek and she puts an arm
around his neck.
See! We understand each other.
(he points to Willie)
(he points to himself)
(points again to Willie)
(pointing to himself)
The child's eyes light up and she whispers into Helmut's
A beautiful name! Now you tell all
(almost a whisper)
It's such a pretty name... say it
(more sure of herself)
She quickly bows her head for Helmut to outline her name on
the top of it.
(with a flourish of
I-N-G-A. There it is.
The little girl gives a quick curtsy and hurries back to her
group. Helmut glances around at the children.
Let's see now. Who wants to be next.
The little girl with the doll presses forward.
Shaking her head she holds up the doll.
So the little children will know her
Of course. That way she can't get
lost, can she? What's her name?
He studies the top of doll's tiny head. Then he holds up
his hand and measures off a distance of about three inches
in the air with thumb and forefinger.
Next he puts the doll's head between his thumb and forefinger,
illustrating that the head is too small for the name.
Couldn't we just make it Freda?
Oh, no! Frederika.
Helmut shrugs, closes one eye and begins writing in tiny
letters on the doll's head. The children laugh delightedly.
EXT. RAILROAD SIDING - FULL SHOT - DAY
Sergeant Hoffmann is walking his post beside the open door
of the boxcar. Inside we can see Helmut and the children
and HEAR their laughter.
The CAMERA PANS over to the staff car, where Scharff sits in
the front seat smoking a cigarette and waiting.
EXT. RAILROAD SIDING - FULL SHOT - AFTERNOON
It is perhaps two hours later. Sergeant Hoffman is now
leaning wearily against the boxcar near the door. The CAMERA
PANS over to the staff car, where Scharff is dozing in the
MED. SHOT - SERGEANT HOFFMAN
From within the boxcar we can HEAR Helmut SINGING softly to
the children. Sergeant Hoffman is listening. Finally he
takes something from his pocket, goes to the door of the
boxcar and sticks his head inside.
The children are scattered about, either sleeping or near
sleep, many of them cuddled close to Helmut, who sits near
the door with his back against the side of the car, crooning.
Clown. Clown, can you play one of
He holds out a harmonica. Helmut leans over to get it, being
careful not to disturb the children.
I got it to send home to my boy...
but if it'll help...
TWO SHOT - HELMUT, HOFFMAN
It will. It will.
(he takes it)
You won't say anything to the
He leans back and looks at the harmonica, then he has a sudden
thought as Hoffman's head disappears. He leans back toward
Hoffman reappears at door.
It's going to be dark soon. The
little ones may be afraid. Do you
think... well... could you get some
kind of a light for in here?
Want to get me in trouble?
Helmut nods that he understands Hoffman's situation.
(trying to justify
I would if I could.
I know. I know you would.
Again Hoffman's face disappears. Helmut leans back and begins
experimenting with the harmonica. Actually he can play it
only slightly, but he manages to get some sort of soft tune
out of it. The CAMERA PULLS BACK SLOWLY to include the
children, most of who are resting peacefully, secure in
Helmut's presence. But suddenly a little dark haired, dark-
eyed girl of about six, sits upright and cries out, frightened
by a bad dream. Helmut reacts. The child looks around the
boxcar as if she can't remember how she got there and begins
crying inconsolably. Some of the other children stir. Helmut
quickly but carefully disengages himself from the tots around
him and picks his way over to the girl. He kneels beside
her, and the CAMERA MOVES UP to --
TIGHT TWO SHOT - HELMUT, DARK-EYED GIRL
The child continues crying, but more softly, he wide wet
eyes on Helmut.
What's the matter?
(she only stares at
It's all right -- just a bad dream.
He tries to put a comforting arm around her, but she shrinks
away continuing to sob softly. Realizing that words won't
help, he turns to the harmonica for communication, serenading
her with a soft but sprightly tune of his own improvisation.
It is hardly a masterpiece, but it has the desired effect.
The girl stops sobbing, and when Helmut finishes the tune he
makes a real funny face and she timorously puts a hand up to
touch his make-up, but pulls it back quickly. With an
affectionate smile, Helmut takes her hand and runs it over
his face, pretending that her touch tickles him. As he
laughs, the child begins to smile faintly. He shows her the
traces of chalk make-up on her fingers, and she giggles.
His conquest is all but complete. He picks the youngster
up, and holding her like a dancing partner, pretends to dance
with her to a little tune he hums. She loves this and laughs
outright. When Helmut finally puts her down, he kisses her
on the cheek and turns his cheek in an unspoken request for
a return kiss. The girl shyly and quickly gives Helmut's
cheek a peck. Grinning, Helmut pats the spot where she kissed
him to show his appreciation for her wonderful gift.
The older girl we saw earlier calls to him in a hushed voice.
Helmut moves over and squats down beside her and the CAMERA
MOVES IN to --
CLOSE TWO SHOT - HELMUT, OLDER GIRL
Where are they sending us?
(shaking his head)
Do you have children?
Helmut looks around at the children. He smiles sadly.
I do now.
INT. STAFF CAR - NEAR DUSK
Scharff, dozing in the back seat, is awakened by the SOUND
of an approaching train o.s. He listens, glances at his
watch, shakes his head and gets out of the car.
EXT. RAILROAD SIDING - NEAR DUSK
As Scharff strides to the boxcar, where Sergeant Hoffman has
also hear the locomotive. He salutes as Scharff comes up,
the CAMERA FOLLOWING him.
It finally got here.
Help them get the car coupled on.
We want to move it out of here as fast as possible. Be sure
the doors are locked. And, get the clown off.
Hoffman salutes, and Scharff moves off toward the approaching
locomotive and freight cars being backed up to the boxcar.
FULL SHOT - FREIGHT TRAIN - (STOCK)
It is backing down the siding toward the boxcar.
MED. SHOT - SERGEANT HOFFMAN
With a cautious look around, he reaches under the waiting
boxcar and brings out a box-type, battery operated lantern.
He goes to the boxcar door and peers inside.
All right, clown, time to get off.
Helmut appears at the door and looks down.
What is it?
Train is here. They are hooking it
(he hoists the lantern
Here. Tell them not to light it up
until the doors are closed.
Helmut gives him a look of deep gratitude.
And get off right now.
Just then the boxcar is jolted as the locomotive makes contact
and Hoffman runs off toward the front of the car.
INT. BOXCAR - EVENING
The jolt has awakened several of the children, who gather
around Helmut in the dimness of the car, frightened and
We're moving. What's happening?
What was the noise? Doork, where
are we going?
It's nothing. You're going for a
train ride. What do you think of
that? A real train ride.
(pressing close --
sensing his anxiety)
Is it far? Are you coming, too? I
don't want a train ride.
Oh, it'll be fun. I would like to
come, but I don't think I can.
Please come, Doork. Please. Please.
I can't. They want me to stay here.
There are cries from the children, whose pleading eyes make
Helmut terribly uncomfortable. He backs toward the door.
But... I'll come to see you. Soon
as I can. And, I want you all to
promise me to be very good. No
The children stare at him silently, their eyes unconsciously
accusing. With him goes all their security. Helmut knows
it, but he has no choice. When he reaches the door...
If you want me... remember, just
close your eyes.
CLOSE SHOT - LITTLE GIRL WITH THE DARK EYES
Wordlessly, she shuts her eyes -- tight.
PAN SHOT - CHILDREN
Following the dark-eyed girl's example, the smaller children
one by one, close their eyes.
CLOSE SHOT - HELMUT
Near tears with emotion, he wavers. Then with great control..
MED. SHOT - HELMUT
He turns and sits down on the floor of the car with his feet
hanging outside. He is just about to jump down when he is
stopped by a LOUD WAIL of anguish from one of the children
behind him. He turns and looks back at them.
MED. SHOT - CHILDREN - HELMUT'S POV
A BOY of about six, one of the Czech youngsters, is crying
with the dejection of a lad who has just lost everything.
The other little Czechs and the older girl who first
recognized Helmut at the boxcar door are trying unsuccessfully
to console him. Between cooing and patting the boy's
shoulder, the girl throws accusing looks at Helmut.
WIDER ANGLE - TO INCLUDE HELMUT
Uncertain what to do, Helmut glances around outside.
Satisfied that the train isn't going to move at once, he
gets up and goes to the children.
What's this now? Crying? After all
the fun we've had?
The boy only looks at Helmut and goes right on crying. Helmut
looks helplessly at the older girl.
It's his birthday. He thought there
would be presents.
He's a Czech. Do you speak...
Of course not!
Helmut is angry with the girl because he really wants to get
off the train and yet can't because of the accusing look in
Then how do you know it's his...
(with typical child
He told me.
He speaks German?
But he told you it's his birthday?
The girl nods firmly as do the other children. The boy
watches it all, wide-eyed. Helmut figures to put an end to
What date is this?
(after thinking it
Why, it's his birthday!
This is too much for Helmut to fathom. He turns his head
away, trying to think.
Don't you believe him?
Helmut turns back to them, looking first at the girl, then
at the boy, his little upturned tear-stained face full of
wonder. Helmut softens, recalling perhaps his own birthday
Of course, I do.
(pats boy's head)
Tell him I wish him a happy birthday.
He knows that. But... but what're
you going to do about a present?
Helmut fans his clothes, finds the harmonica and produces it
with a flourish.
Aha, the very thing. He can be the
clown while I'm gone.
ANOTHER ANGLE - FAVORING THE CZECH BOY
As Helmut bows and holds out the harmonica to him.
The boy looks solemnly at Helmut and the harmonica. He
doesn't quite seem to understand what this is all about, but
the harmonica is enticing. He looks up at his countrymen
for encouragement. They smile at him, and he takes the
harmonica, examines it, then blows into it experimentally.
When he hears the SOUND that comes out, he brightens. Then
the little girl with the rag doll comes forward and offers
it to the boy. He looks at her strangely, one of the older
German boys scoffs.
He's a boy! Dolls are for girls.
The little girl is hurt, and looks to Helmut for support.
When you give something you love...
it doesn't matter if it's the right
He takes the doll and puts one of it's hands in the boy's
hand, the other in the little girl's. They stand looking at
each other and sharing the doll. Helmut looks towards the
door apprehensively, but there seems to be no action outside --
and there are the eyes of the children on him.
Maybe we have time for a birthday
game. A quick one. Let me take a
INT. BOXCAR - FULL SHOT
Helmut goes back to the door. He glances around outside.
There still seems to be time. He returns to the children.
Everybody line up behind me now, and
I'll show you how a train goes.
Wait -- the harmonica.
Helmut looks around for the new owner of the harmonica. He
goes over to him.
May I borrow it back... for just a
minute or two?
The boy studies him dubiously with that "Indian-giver" look
in his eyes.
For just a minute -- then I'll give
it right back to you.
(trying a sort of
Just for the game.
Finally the boy hands over the harmonica and manages a smile
because he sees all the other children smiling at him.
Good. Now everybody... line up
The children scramble into line behind him. Helmut looks
back at them.
Grab hold of the one in front of
you... 'cause we're going to be a
fast express train.
The children, laughing and giggling, grab hold of one another.
All aboard. All aboard.
He puts the harmonica to his lips and begins huffing and
puffing on it, imitating a train. He begins to shuffle his
feet and move slowly down the side of the car... the children
holding on for dear life and following him... their eyes
shining with expectation as Helmut begins to quicken his
INT. BOXCAR - NEARLY DARK
Dim shafts of light from the two small square vent openings
near the top on each side, gives the boxcar an eerie look.
Helmut stops abruptly as he hears the slamming of the door.
The children pile up behind him.
He moves quickly to the door and tugs at it. Finding it
locked, he pounds on it.
Open the door! Let me out... LET
But the train NOISES drown his voice. Then the boxcar
suddenly lurches and starts to move forward. Helmut's
pounding weakens and stops. He turns from the door, his
face reflecting his fright. The children, not quite
understanding what has happened, gather around him, and pull
on him. He manages to control his fear, and looking at the
children, he manages a big smile.
Guess I'm going with you after all.
He switches on the lantern and holds it high so its rays
cover all the children.
Let's play some more, Doork?
Helmut glances down at the tot, started by the suggestion.
Then he nods in a stunned sort of way. He puts the harmonica
to his mouth and begins puffing on it.
EXT. RAILROAD SIDING - EVENING
Scharff and Sergeant Hoffman stand watching the boxcar move
MED. TWO SHOT - SCHARFF, HOFFMAN
I'm glad that's over. Call in the
He starts to move away.
Kessler in the car?
I... I guess he is, sir.
Scharff races to the car with Sergeant Hoffman right behind
him. The CAMERA FOLLOWS them.
Scharff peers inside and finds the car empty. With an angry
glance at Hoffman, he hurries to the truck and looks in the
cab. It too is empty.
(moving back toward
I told you to get him off the train.
I told him, sir. HE was standing
right by the door. I'm sure he got
Did you see him?
You told me to see that the car was
coupled on. When I came back...
Why wouldn't he get off?
The other soldiers come running from o.s.
The clown prisoner is missing. He
may have escaped. Search the area.
If he got off the train he must be
around here someplace.
The soldiers rush o.s. into the deepening darkness.
CLOSE TWO SHOT - SCHARFF, HOFFMAN
You know what happens if he gets
He can't get very far.
Scharff looks o.s. after the disappearing train.
If he's on that train -- he's going
farther than you know ---
LONG SHOT - TRAIN - EVENING (STOCK)
The rear of the boxcar is just disappearing from sight in
CLOSEUP - SCHARFF
... or he knows.
INT. BOXCAR - MOVING - DAY
It is the next morning. Light is coming from the vents and
the lantern which hangs from a peg in the middle of the right
side of the car. Helmut is asleep on the floor with the
children huddled around him. He lies on his side with one
arm thrown protectively over the little Czech girl, Inga,
and Willie. Behind him, the Czech birthday boy and the girl
with the doll are cuddled close to him. Other youngsters
have their heads on his legs and feet, and all are as close
to him as they can get.
He is, in fact, a sort of human bed. From the train NOISES
o.s. we can tell that the freight train is slowing down.
Then, with a jolt, it stops, and o.s. we HEAR a truck engine
approaching. Helmut stirs and sits up, trying to get his
bearings. This arouses some of the children and they too
sit up and look around.
What is it? Are we there, Doork?
Where are we? Why are we stopping?
I don't know.
He untangles himself, rises and stretches his numbed arms
and legs. He starts toward the door, but it slides open
suddenly and a BURLY GUARD vaults inside. Behind him we
see a truck similar to a moving van being backed up to the
boxcar. Helmut blinks uncertainly at the light pouring
through the door.
Everybody up. No noise.
The children are too startled to move. The guard notices
Helmut and reacts.
Who the hell are you?
Where are we?
How the devil did you get in here?
I... I'm from the other prison. Got
locked in -- by accident.
(shouting out the
EXT BOXCAR - DAY
We see now that the train has stopped at an isolated siding.
The truck has backed up almost to the door of the boxcar. A
SERGEANT climbs down from the cab of the van and hurries to
the boxcar door, the CAMERA PANNING him there.
What's the matter?
Look at this. He's from the other
camp. Got in here with the shipment.
How did that happen?
I... I was taking care of the children
back there and... accidentally got
Of all the... What's your name?
(realizing he's in
Doork. Helmut Doork.
The Sergeant fumes for a moment, then...
(to the guard)
Put him in the truck with the others.
And, let's get going.
INT. BOXCAR - DAY
ANGLE to the door as the Sergeant disappears. Reaching out,
the Burly Guard lowers the tailgate of the truck so that it
forms a bridge to the boxcar.
(to the children)
All right, in the truck, quick now!
The children, most of whom are on their feet now, hesitate,
looking to Helmut for guidance. The guard seizes one
youngster and shoves him toward the door. Instead, however,
the child flies to Helmut and grabs him around the legs.
I said move!
Wait. Let me.
(to the children)
Everybody up. Come on. Up, up, up.
He moves around, helping the still seated children to their
feet. When they're all up...
Don't you want me to stay with them?
They'll be frightened without me.
Not for long, they won't.
That's enough. Get them inside and
keep them quiet.
Burly guard starts to prod the children but they don't move,
their eyes are fixed on Helmut.
Do as he says. And, don't worry,
I'll be with you soon. I promise.
Reluctantly, the children march off. They look back
frequently at Helmut who waves to them.
Come along, now.
They walk over to a two-story building. Helmut looks back
in the direction of the children, then looks about the camp.
This is just another prison.
What'd you expect?
I thought the children were going to
a better place.
The Sergeant, with an incredulous look on his face, stares
INT. CELL - DAY
The cell is a small, bare cubicle containing only a cot and
an open toilet. In the wall, fronting on the prison yard,
there is a small barred window. Helmut stops pacing and
moves over to it, and looks out. The CAMERA SWINGS so that
it is SHOOTING PAST Helmut's head through the window. At
the far end of the yard we can see the windowless stone
buildings. As Helmut stares out at them, we HEAR approaching
footsteps. Helmut stiffens, turns toward the door as the
SOUND of the footsteps grows louder and louder.
The CAMERA SWINGS toward the door as it opens to reveal
CAPTAIN CURT RUNKEL, a slender, impeccably groomed and
thoroughly Nazified officer of the elite S.S. He is the
embodiment of all Hitlerian ideals. Runkel strides into the
(over shoulder to
guard at door)
Close the door, and wait out there.
Guard closes the door. Runkel studies Helmut coldly. Without
taking his eyes off Helmut, he pulls out a cigarette case,
takes out cigarette, lights it and slowly inhales.
You're a remarkable man. Very
Helmut stirs uneasily.
Have you any idea where you are?
Helmut shakes his head.
Auschwitz. This is Auschwitz.
Mean anything to you?
(before Helmut can
You may have observed we're enlarging
He moves over to the window and looks out, puffing slowly on
Still a great deal of work to be
It's going to be our most efficient,
most modern prison.
(he turns and smiles)
And, I might add, most unique.
(walks back towards
Helmut, studying him
Yes, you are a remarkable man. I
always wonder about remarkable men.
Why did you come here?
I explained. I got locked in the
(cuts in - still bland)
Ah, yes. An accident. Unavoidable
I was taking care -- I mean, the
Commandant requested me to take care
of the children.
(a slight note of
Runkel tosses his cigarette on the floor and very deliberately
grinds it out with his boot.
I've spoken to YOUR Commandant. He
hs you listed as an escaped prisoner.
(finishing it for him)
... it was an accident.
(his face close to
Are you one of them, clown?
(terrorized at the
thought of death)
No... no! I'm not one of them. I'm
Runkel smiles, moves away from Helmut.
You misunderstand completely. The
Judas goat is never killed. He isn't
(moves to cell door)
I'm just asking you to lead them.
ANOTHER ANGLE - FAVORING HELMUT
His eyes plead, "No. I can't do it. No."
Not... even to save your own life?
For a brief moment, Helmut struggles to find the courage to
stand up to Runkel -- but he has no courage and he sinks
slowly to his knees, his head bowed.
CLOSE SHOT - RUNKEL
I'm glad to see you're not a self-
TWO SHOT - HELMUT, RUNKEL
Runkel towers above Helmut who sits back on his haunches,
leaning against the wall.
Just think! Now you're really one
The truth of Runkel's remark hits Helmut like a devastating
blow. He turns his face to the wall in shame. Runkel walks
to the door, raps on it, the guard outside swings it open.
(attempting to get to
Sir... Sir... could I... could I
have a little time with them before
His voice trails off. Runkel looks at Helmut while he thinks
it over. He moves back to the middle of the cell.
Yes. Yes, of course.
(he looks at his watch)
I can give you about half an hour.
(a little smile lights
You see, we're not heartless men
EXT. CHILDRENS' HUT - DAY
ANGLE to the door as Helmut and the Sergeant approach from
o.s. Helmut has freshened his make-up.
Remember what I told you.
There won't be any trouble.
Helmut goes to the door and starts to open it. The CAMERA
MOVES UP to --
CLOSE SHOT - HELMUT
With a great effort, he composes himself and throws open the
INT. CHILDRENS' HUT - DAY
ANGLE to the door, where Helmut stands wearing an enormous
grin. The children are about the barren room in little
groups. When they see Helmut, they leap up and run to him,
clinging to him as he closes the door behind him and moves
into the room.
Doork, Doork, you came back. You
came back. We thought you'd left
us. Don't leave us, Doork.
The children continue to ad lib expressions of mingled fear
and delight at his return. Helmut goes among them, patting
their heads comfortingly.
There. There. It's all right. It's
all right. Everything is going to
be all right.
When the youngsters are calmed, Helmut holds up his hands
Now I want everyone to put on a big
smile and sit down, because we're
going to have more fun than we've
Slowly, still unconvinced that they have nothing to fear,
the children sit on the floor.
Good. We'll start by seeing that we
all have our names on our heads.
The children begin to lower their heads so Helmut can check
to see if their names are still there.
(as he moves among
Yes, yes. There's Fritz, Maria,
Sadie, Inga, Josef, Nathan, Helga,
The little girl with the rag doll holds up the doll for Helmut
Ah, yes, Frederika! Good. I see
all of your names.
This is almost too much for Helmut, but he manages to control
himself by turning away for a beat. Then he turns back to
the children, his big smile back in place.
Now... on with the show. Just watch
PAN SHOT - CHILDREN
Their little faces are troubled, worried.
PAN SHOT - CHILDREN
It is a half hour later, and now the children are laughing
at something Helmut is doing o.s. The CAMERA PULLS BACK to --
MED. SHOT - THE GROUP
Helmut is walking an imaginary tightrope. Every few steps
he almost loses his balance, but with comical gyrations he
manages to complete the walk. He bows deeply to the children --
and falls flat on his face. The youngsters laugh, applaud
and squeal delightedly.
TWO SHOT - HELMUT, WILLIE
Helmut is lying on the floor near the boy. He looks up at
the tot and grins.
Doork! Doork... you're great !
Helmut grabs Willie and holds him close while he fights back
his tears. Willie plants a big kiss on his cheek. Helmut
scrambles to his feet, the CAMERA PULLING BACK to --
SHOOTING PAST Helmut to the door as it opens, revealing the
Sergeant, his face expressionless. Helmut reacts.
Just a few more minutes?
The sergeant shakes his head.
I'll bring them.
The children are watching him, puzzled.
What's the matter, Doork? Where are
we going? You come with us this
time. Where're they taking us.
(trying to think what
They... they want us to move to
another building... where we'll have
more room... to play.
Tell you what. Let's make it a big
circus parade. Everybody get in a
He picks up Willie and stands him near the door.
... behind Willie here.
The children scramble up and begin forming a line behind the
very proud Willie. Helmut looks around for the boy with the
Now, where's our band? The harmonica?
He sees the boy and goes to him. Helmut pantomimes playing
the harmonica and points to himself. The boy smiles widely,
fishes the harmonica out of his pocket and holds it up.
There we are? Everybody ready?
Here we go.
Helmut takes his place at the head of the line, like the
Pied Piper, leads the youngsters out the door, playing a
crude sort of circus parade music. The little children giggle
excitedly as they troupe out. The older ones seem less
certain, but as long as Helmut is with them, they feel secure.
EXT. PRISON YARD - DAY
As the procession of youngsters emerges from the barracks
with Helmut dancing along at its head. The Sergeant and the
other two Guards stand watching in disbelief as the line
turns and moves along toward the first of the windowless
MED. SHOT - SERGEANT, GUARDS
They look at each other incredulously. What they are seeing
surpasses their imagination.
FULL SHOT - HELMUT, CHILDREN
SHOOTING from a HIGH ANGLE as the procession moves toward
the CAMERA. Helmut looks back at his charges from time to
time, smiling and waving and always puffing away on the
harmonica. The children smile back, some timidly and some a
bit fearfully, but all smile.
PAN SHOT - PARADE
CAMERA PANS in on the children as they march behind Helmut.
We see some of them strutting, their little arms swinging
freely. Some of the little ones have to skip to keep up
with the others. They are all smiling.
CLOSE SHOT - HELMUT
With each step, Helmut looks about, his eyes searching heaven,
praying for the miracle that will save the children... the
sudden blast of thunder, the striking down of the guards.
CLOSE SHOT - SERGEANT, GUARDS
As they follow the parade warily, almost as if expecting a
trick. They wear scowls worn into their faces by long use.
MED. SHOT - BUILDING - HELMUT'S POV
Its steel door gapes open. Through the open doorway we can
see a bare room in which what appears to be shower heads
jutting from the wall. A single ceiling light gives the
room a stark appearance. The CAMERA PULLS BACK and UP as
the procession comes up toward the building.
CLOSE SHOT - HELMUT
Despair fills his eyes as he realizes that there is to be no
miracle. He looks ahead into the room, his courage fails
him and he stops so abruptly that the children behind him
run into his legs. He turns and looks at them, then back to
Almost reluctantly, Helmut stands aside. He tries to smile,
but the result is almost grotesque. He tries to speak, but
no words come. The Sergeant and the guard drift up toward
him, scowling. Gently, Helmut tousles the hair of little
Willie and steers him through the door into the room. The
other children follow him hesitantly. Helmut puts the
harmonica to his lips and begins playing again.
ANOTHER ANGLE - TAKING IN SERGEANT AND GUARDS
Their clothes! They've got to
The sergeant starts to move toward the line of children, the
Sergeant grabs his arm and stops him.
Leave them alone.
MED. SHOT - HELMUT, CHILDREN
SHOOTING over Helmut's shoulder down at the children as they
file past him. Each one hesitates a beat before him and
looks up at him.
Their faces are wondering, but trusting. They smile
tentatively. Only the little girl with the doll hangs back,
waiting for something rather than fearful of entering. When
all of the other children have gone in, she goes up to Helmut
and wordlessly holds out her hand in a silent request to
enter with him. In her eyes is the absolute certainty that
CLOSE SHOT - HELMUT - LITTLE GIRL'S POV
He looks down at her hand for a long beat.
MED. SHOT - HELMUT, LITTLE GIRL
The little girl waits for Helmut, but he doesn't take her
hand. Shyly, she begins to withdraw it. Suddenly, Helmut
reaches out and grabs her hand, clutching it desperately as
he needs her innocence to control the panic that is tearing
at him. Holding on to her to steady himself, they walk
together into the room, the CAMERA PANNING with them.
INT. CHAMBER - DAY
ANGLE to the door as Helmut and little girl enter. Suddenly,
the door slams shut behind them. Helmut whirls to it
instinctively, as if to shove it open or cry out for help,
but he does neither.
CLOSE SHOT - HELMUT
His face is pressed against the steel door. He fights the
panic within him. Then, he quickly wipes his eyes and turns
back towards the children. Slowly he takes three chunks of
stale bread from his coat pocket and begins juggling them,
at the same time waggling his head from side to side, slowly
at first, then more gaily. From deep inside him comes a
tiny, tiny laugh. The CAMERA PULLS BACK SLOWLY to reveal
the children in the f.g. Suddenly, Helmut tosses the pieces
of bread high, high into the air and stretches out his arms
to encompass all the children. As they gather around him,
they take up his soft laugh, timidly at first, then more
assuredly until the chamber resounds with gentle laughter.
IF ANOTHER MAN'S CHILD IS THREATENED AND YOU MOVE NOT TO
PROTECT IT, THE CHILDREN OF ALL MEN ARE IN JEOPARDY AND YOU
STAND AS GUILTY AS THOSE WHO THREATEN.
JOHN F. O'BRIEN
Copyright © WeeklyScript.com | Scripts Copyright © their respective owners