"THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS"
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FADE IN ON
A TINY FIGURE OF A MAN hurrying toward camera. The figure gets larger as
he approaches. But as yet we cannot tell who he is or where we are.
MALE VOICE (over)
This is the most famous true story
of Africa. It happened a hundred
years ago, but even now, when
children ask about it, you do not
tell them at night.
(The FIGURE continues
It began with the race to build a
railroad across Africa.
But this is not about building a
railroad- it is about Patterson.
And now we can tell that the FIGURE is a YOUNG MAN, A LIEUTENANT COLONEL.
This is PATTERSON. He is gifted and bright and serious, serious about his
life, serious about his career. He has been successful in everything he's
attempted, in part because of his talents, in part because he is willing
to outwork anybody.
AND THIS IS WHERE WE ARE: ENGLAND.
More specifically, in a high-ceilinged corridor of an elegant building -
lovely woodwork all around. Everything is neat, everything is clean and in
MALE VOICE (over)
Patterson was thirty. A brilliant
engineer. A fine man, but do not
become attached to him- there are
many fine men in this story but do
not become attached to any of them.
So many of them die.
Patterson stops at a large ornate door, knocks. Waits.
MALE VOICE (over)
And remember this: only the
impossible parts of what follows
(Now the door opens
Just a wonderfully handsome man standing in the doorway. This is ROBERT
BEAUMONT - 40, with an irresistable smile. We're in his office and the
place reflects the man - clean, cold. There are maps and charts on the
walls. He ushers Patterson inside.
(The great smile flashes)
John Henry Patterson, come in. I'm
(They shake hands)
Firm- I like that, tells me a lot
-now why don't you tell me about me?
To get you started, many people find
me handsome, with a wonderful smile.
I'm sure you agree.
Winning personality, heaps of charm?
My wife is the game player in the
(staring dead at Patterson)
Look at me closely, Patterson: I am
a monster. My only pleasure is
tormenting people who work for me,
such as yourself.
(again the smile - only
now it's chilling)
One mistake and I promise you this:
I'll make you hate me.
PATTERSON, as he realizes Beaumont is serious. Beaumont turns sharply and
moves to a large map.
THE MAP. It covers a great deal of East Africa with a very clear line that
ends at Lake Victoria, a distance of some 600 miles.
(pointing along the line)
We are building this railroad
across Africa for the glorious
purpose of saving Africa from the
Africans. And, of course, to end
slavery. The Germans and French
are our competition. We are ahead,
and we will stay ahead providing
you do what I hired you to do-
A MORE DETAILED MAP. This one ends at "Tsavo," 130 miles in.
-build the bridge over the Tsavo
river. And be finished in four
months time. Can you do that?
I'm sure you've examined my record.
So you know I've never yet been
late on a bridge.
You've never built in Africa.
But I have in India- every country
You'll need your confidence, I
I've got a reason far beyond
confidence: my wife is having our
firstborn in five months and I
promised I'd be with her when the
Very moving, Patterson; I'm touched
you confided in me.
But I don't really give a shit about
your upcoming litter. I've made you
with this assignment-
-don't make me break you.
(smiling right back)
You won't have the chance.
(glancing at his watch)
Any further words of encouragement?
Then I've a train to catch.
They look at each other a moment in silence - and it's very clear they do
not like each other. Patterson turns, leaves and we
A RAILWAY STATION, IMMEDIATELY AFTER
A train is loading up. A lot of activity, a lot of noise. Patterson stands
in the midst of it, anxiously looking around.
HELENA PATTERSON, hurrying through the crowd. Early 20s, with the kind of
serene beauty of Jean Simmons. She is still slim, has not begun to show.
She spots him, puts a smile on, goes straight into his arms.
I tried to be late, John- it would
have been easier if you'd gone.
(They are nutty about
each other - he nods)
We're not much good at goodbyes,
Tell me about Beaumont- does he
understand how brilliant you are,
how lucky he is to have you?
It was embarrassing- the man showered
me with compliments.
They start to walk hand in hand along the platform toward a quieter place.
Patterson is suddenly very serious-
-you're geting that downtrodden look
-well, it's just...
...other men don't abandon their wives
at such a time-
-oh please- if I'd been against your
taking this, you would have abandoned
me. You've been desperate to see Africa
your whole life.
What if there are complications?-
-not "what if"- there will be, there
always are. Which only means that our
"son" and I- note my confidence- will
have an excuse to come visit.
THE TRAIN WHISTLE sounds.
(He kisses her hand)
Such a gentleman.
(Now he holds her)
I am desperate to see Africa- but I
hate the leaving.
HELENA. She hates it, too.
You build bridges, John-
-you've got to go where the rivers are.
They hold each other a moment more, then break, then back into each
other's arms a final time, then-
Роберт Фуэст. Фильмография (сценарист)
Тиффани Шепис. Фильмография (актриса)
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