3d Scene Summary

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COMMEMORATING AUSTRALIA’S
ONLY EVER EPOCHAL MILITARY
VICTORY CLIMAXING WITH THE
CONQUEST OF DAMASCUS
1 OCTOBER 1918

Exploits of the Billjim – 1916 to 1918
(24iii, 15m 33s, 98.9Mb)

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SPEC SCRIPT SCENE SUMMARY

[ACT I] CIVILIZATION TIME

o Fade in to huge swell rolling in to Byron Bay (The Cape 1902) dissolve to Egypt, Port of Alexandria – late 1918 end of WWI – Head Credits play over camp – preparations for return home on troop ships…
o 1961 – On the Set of David Lean’s “Lawrence of Arabia”
o 1890s English Home – young illegitimate ‘Ned’ Lawrence
o Introduce parallel development of key characters Lawrence & ‘Billjim’ (Australian Light Horse)
o 1890s Outback Australia – Lawrence’s Nemesis – The Billjim [Olden] and just as the real star of a LoA was the ‘desert’, in AoA it is the ‘Waler’, his horse [he names him “Wally” ??] – the close bond that builds between them from the first time they lie eyes on each other.
Some of the critical scenes throughout the Movie will be from Wally’s POV, particular the opening and closing.
o The Present – Introduce Narrator / Beleaguered AOA Producer – scene of him living in Japan in 1990s and getting the idea of respecting deeds of ancestors from O-Bon festival.
o ‘World History 101’ Montage: Cradle of Civilization – Damascus (oldest city and our destination), Egypt – Time reckoning, astronomy; Sumer (where would we be without critical inventions: the wheel, writing, Gilgamesh clay tablets; Indo-Arabic – numbers including ‘zero’; China – paper, gunpowder; Japan – Pottery (even effect of Admiral Perry’s U.S. Black Ships Pacific War Japan) ; [Relate ‘knowledge = power’ to modern times e.g. Jeff Bezos, Amazon visionary, with Kindle / eBooks]; Colonialism: MidEast Oil; Admiral Perry’s U.S. Black Ships ‘1853 force Japan to open up…
o We note the eerie ‘Billjim’ (William + James) link to Gilgamesh, the Babylonian / Akkadian name for the much older Sumerian ‘Bilgames’ = “The ancestor who was a hero”!
o 1914 – Outbreak of War – including recruitment in Outback of Australian Light Horse
o Billjim and their Walers on troop ships headed for Eqypt
o Alexandria – separated from their horses and sent to Gallipoli quagmire
o Enter Keith Murdoch – get our boys out
o Turks attack Egypt
o Billjim reunite with their Walers back in Egypt – start pushing Turks back across Suez Canal.
o We see a spearheading force highly suited to the conditions, harking back to the earlier montage of the Outback. Lawrence clearly has a minor role, and certainly not unique.
o Colonels Newcombe, Meinertzhagen, Dawnay just some of the officers involved in clandestine ops – dressed Arab costume – blowing up railway tracks (which the Turks quickly had rebuilt)
o Ross Smith and the ‘Australian Air Cav.’ doing the air strikes.
o Lawrence in the Kut fiasco – a go-between carrying a suitcase full of money to bribe the Turks into ending a siege of British troops in Mesopotamia (later made Iraq) – the British way to make progress against the enemy, not military manoeuvres, bribes.
o 1917 – Battle of Beersheba – 2 days later Balfour Declaration – Promising Jewish homeland in Palestine

o 2010 – ‘White Night’ – comes to aid of AOA Producer – kicks ass – gets things moving …

[ACT II] CREATION OF THE LAWRENCE MYTH

[Comparative Mythology 101 – James Frazer, Joseph Campbell, et al]
o Development of “Lawrence of Arabia” Myth by journalist Lowell Thomas to get ‘Isolationist’ America interested in the War
– 1919 – Brought by impresario Percy Burton to England where they have never heard of Lawrence – His show uses film taken by Australian Capt Frank Hurley
– sychophant biographers like, Liddel Hart…
o 1955 – Dissenting Richard Aldington Exposé published in France – inadvertently has opposite effect – rekindles interest in Lawrence
o 1961 – Making of Lawrence of Arabia movie
– casting of tall Peter O’Toole for short Lawrence
– Australians completely cut from script
o Montage – Australian public happy with Gallipoli defeat, Billjim exploits suppressed, embrace LOA myth. Even Australian War Memorial promotes the Lawrence myth as fact over our own soldiers. Prominent public broadcasters like our own ABC, BBC, PBS, et al, put out documentaries and book on Lawrence.
o Just when it looks like the AOA Movie might get off the ground, somebody is trying to kill it.

[ACT III] RACE TO DAMASCUS

o 2010 – ‘White Night(s)’ [/Aussie Filmmaking Elders / Mafia] come to aid of embattled AOA Producer and [Byrne] – We see parallels to the Billjim these people take shit from no one – they just get in get the job done, one way or another – overcome threshold guardians – against the odds, the AOA Movie is a miraculously going to be made.
o 1918 – Intercutting race to Damascus – Lawrence has come up with a sneeky way to beat the Australians by coming around the Eastern flank, not noticeable in his Arab costume.
o 2010 – Snag with going ahead with filming – after all the re-writes – the script still sucks – story pretentious, predictable, dialogue corny – not enough conflict, double-crosses – just not Top 5 Epic potential – would flop – go straight to DVD
o 1918 September 30 – Morining – Lawrence runs into an Indian patrol that he’s not expecting – they’ve just arrived on the Campaign – green, but do everything by the book – they’re suspicious of his story – even with their poor English they can see he’s a bullshit artist.
o 2010 – One of the Elders – has finally been able to contact his favourite script doctor – now over 70 – but uncredited on famous epics – but he refuses
o 1918 September 30 – Afternoon – Lawrence escapes the Indian patrol by conning a local Arab boy.
o The 10 ALH are coming up the Western flank – arrive on the outskirts of the city – these guys go at there own speed – they’ve had enough for one day, it’s been a long, and Great Ride – 2 and 1/2 years since they got over the Suez – they camp for the night and will attack Damascus in the morning.
o Lawrence is close, and has just spotted a way to get to Damascus faster.
o 1918 October 1 6:00am – Olden’s Australians beat Lawrence to Damascus. ‘Ned’ arrives around 9:00 in a Rolls Royce, not on camel. He’s livid with disgust at the Australians. Shows his disdain when he later has to deal with Gen. Chauvel, who has moved to control the City.
o ‘Killer’ Last Scene: Billjim are ordered to kill their beloved horses rather than pay the money to get them back home.
Not a dry eye left in the house.
   The End

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