A TITLE READS: "JUNE 25th - 5:00 A.M."

Sgt. Daly stands before his men.

                                                                 DALY
                                Fix bayonets.

The men do as they're told.  Bayonets snap into place.

Colonel Neville puts his whistle in his mouth and blows.  All the Captains, including Capt. Williams and Capt. Houghton, blow their whistles, too.  The Marines, as well as the doughboys, step off the road and into the wheat.  For a change of pace, no one is shooting at them.  It's only a short way into the remains of Belleau Wood . . .

EXT. BELLEAU WOOD (WITHIN) - DAY

Belleau Wood looks like the bottom of a barbecue: black, twisted, and charred.  The men make their way through wreckage and, miraculously, there are still living Germans that pop up and begin shooting at them.

The Marines first, then the doughboys following after, scream holy terror and attack.  Firing from the hip and jabbing with their bayonets they run at top speed through the smoldering obstacle course.  The Germans, though, put up a strong defense and before you know it the Americans are stopped.  Daly takes a bullet through his arm and goes down, then crawls to cover.

Everyone else crouches down in the blackened soot and takes cover as the Germans attack.  Bullets rip through the air over their heads.  The battle's on again . . .

Daly grits his teeth and holds tightly on to his wounded arm.

                                                                 DALY
                                Shit, shit, shit!!

Lt. Cates crawls up beside Daly.  He too looks like hell.

                                                                 CATES
                                How's it going, Gunny?

                                                                 DALY
                                Lordy, did I pick the wrong month to find
                                inner peace.

                                                                 CATES
                                Well, at least you had it for a minute.

                                                                 DALY
                                                           (shrugs)
                                Did I?

Cates shrugs, too, then helps Daly bind his wound.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:


EXT. BELLEAU WOOD (WITHIN) - NIGHT

A sodium flare explodes in the night sky illuminating Belleau Wood.  Everybody is now blackened with soot, streaked, smeared and grimy.  Bullets continue to whiz all over the place.  Weird shadows move and twist as the flares come down.

A TITLE READS: "THREE DAYS LATER - JUNE 28TH"

Daly's arm doesn't look very good, the battle dressing is soaked through with blood and filthy.  Daly pokes at it and winces in pain.

                                                                 DALY
                                What's with these Goddamn Germans?
                                We're supposed to be the Devil Dogs,
                                not them.

Cates has one of his boots off and savagely scratches his foot.

                                                                 CATES
                                It looked like we dropped every Goddamn
                                bomb we had on them.  These sons of
                                bitches just won't get the idea.

Hebel looks crazy.

                                                                 HEBEL
                                I say we sneak up on the sons of bitches,
                                see.  Dig a tunnel and pop up behind 'em.

Everybody looks at Hebel and shakes their head.

                                                                 DALY
                                You just keep thinkin', Hebel.  You're
                                bound to come up with a good idea sooner
                                or later.

Hebel looks straight at Daly.

                                                                 HEBEL
                                Oh really?  So what're we gonna do?  Just
                                stay here in this stinkin' shit-hole and fight
                                the Germans forever?  Is that the plan?  Huh?

                                                                 MEYERS
                                Calm down, Hebel.  Jesus!
                                                           (turns to Bonner)
                                Remember when this guy wouldn't talk at
                                all?  Now he won't shut up.

Zachio is clearly sick, his nose red and running.  He is busily packing and unpacking his pack.  Hughes is busily cleaning his rifle, while alternately scratching his crotch, where bad things are obviously occurring.

                                                                 ZACHIO
                                So is it like this now forever?

                                                                 HUGHES
                                Like what?

                                                                 ZACHIO
                                Like this!  We attack, they stop us; they
                                attack, we stop them, on and on and on,
                                until hell freezes over?

                                                                 MEYERS
                                What do you think, Zachio, we got some
                                extra information you didn't get?  We're
                                all sittin' here in the same stinkin' hole.

                                                                 DALY
                                Oh, shut up already, will ya!  You's guys
                                is drivin' me crazy!

Capt. Williams comes limping up.

                                                                 WILLIAMS
                                We attack at 0530.  Pass the word.

                                                                 DALY
                                Yes, sir.

                                                                 WILLIAMS
                                How're you doing, Gunny?

                                                                 DALY
                                Couldn't be better.  You?

                                                                 WILLIAMS
                                How'd I manage to get Trench Foot, we're
                                not even in a trench.

                                                                 DALY
                                'Cause you're lucky.
                                                           (he turns to his guys)
                                All right, we attack at 0530.  Pass the
                                word.

                                                                 ZACHIO
                                Oh, ain't that just peachy.  Here we go
                                again.

Daly moves down the line, spreading the word.  Once again, everyone prepares to go into battle: bayonets are affixed to the ends of rifles, clips of bullets are loaded into the rifles, extra clips are shoved into ammo pouches, half-eaten cans of rations are tossed aside.

Col. Neville, looking as grimy and sooty as everyone else, moves along the line, with a few filthy-looking officers in tow, making sure everybody is ready to fight.  Neville and his people stop beside Williams and Cates.  Everyone looks down at their watches.

The first thin rays of daylight filter through the charred limbs of the trees.

Col. Neville puts a whistle in his mouth as he looks intently down at his wrist watch.  Finally, he blows the whistle loud.

                                                                 NEVILLE
                                Move it out!

                                                                 DALY
                                You heard the man, let's move it!!

The Americans cautiously start forward through the charred, twisted trees.  Suddenly, German's pop up from all over the place and begin firing a lot of bullets at the approaching Marines.  The Americans begin to holler crazed war cries as they attack through the hail of fire.  It is now a mad rush through Belleau Wood.

Once again, the German's put up a strong defense and the Americans are stopped.  A thousand hand-to-hand battles begin.

Daly finds himself with his hands around the throat of a big German soldier who also has his hands around Daly's throat.  They tussle around and when they roll onto Daly's wounded arm the German sees Daly obviously wince and moves him back over onto his injured arm.  Daly winces again as he is strangled . . .

Capt. Williams finds himself in a fencing match with rifles and bayonets.  The two soldiers circle each other while thrusting, parrying, and jabbing . . .

Zachio crawls through the cinders, popping up every now and then, firing, then dropping back down and out of sight . . .

Hughes moves in a low crouch.  A German pops up directly in front of him.  They look right into each other's faces, raise their weapons, and Hughes simply fires quicker, blowing the German's head off . . .

Hebel is running and screaming like a complete crazy man.  He suddenly takes a bullet right through the face and goes down, lost in the melee.

Captain Lloyd Williams is shot through the heart, falls to the ground, and dies.

Daly and the big German, meanwhile, are still trying to strangle each other.  The German has Daly on his side of his wounded arm and is pounding him down on the ground, causing Daly to wince each time.  Daly suddenly lets go of the German's throat with one hand, reaches to the holster on his belt, removes the .45, swings the barrel right up under the German's throat and fires-brains and the helmet go sailing out the back of the German's head.  Daly tosses the dead German aside, turns and he has a truly fucked-up crazy look on his face.  He looks like he might spit or scream or just blow up.

                                                                 DALY
                                Sons of bitches!!!

Daly pushes through some brush and finds a whole nest of Germans.  Daly plugs each and everyone of them-five in a row-with his .45.  He raises the pistol over his head, pushes the release button and the expended clip drops out.  He has another clip out of the pouch on his belt and jams it into the bottom of the pistol.  He looks around and sees another nest of Germans just up ahead.

Daly cocks his .45, screams like a maniac and runs right at the Germans.  They all turn and see him as he arrives with his .45 blazing.  Daly shoots all six of these guys, goes crashing into some foliage and comes out . . .

EXT. WHEAT FIELD/ NORTH END OF BELLEAU WOOD - DAY

. . . At the north end of Belleau Wood and into a huge wheat field.  The old, round, stone, hunting lodge with its roof blown off, is to his left, Belleau Wood is behind him.  Daly stands there out in the open looking completely insane-he's wincing at the brightness, blocking the sunlight with his smoking pistol.

A moment later other American Marines begin popping out into the wheat field from Belleau Wood's north end.  They all look as dazed, befuddled and messed-up as Daly.

Colonel Neville appears, too, with an assistant holding a field telephone.  He speaks into the handset.

                                                                 NEVILLE
                                Hello, General Harbord?  Yes, sir, Belleau
                                Wood is now exclusively U.S. Marine Corps.

Everybody lets out a big cheer.  Daly lights his cigar, picks some tobacco off his teeth, flicks it and spits.  Meyers lets his rifle drop from his hands.  Cates smiles, rubbing the lump on his head.  Hughes drops to his knees, lets his head fall back, and starts to laugh.  Zachio grins and pushes Bonner who also starts to chuckle, then grabs his bandaged nose in pain.

Capt, Houghton, Lt. Bissell, and the other men of the 7th Motorized Machine Gun Battalion, all begin to appear out of the woods looking like they've been through hell.

And just then the doughboys begin to appear, stepping wearily out of Belleau Wood.  They look nearly as beat-up as the Marines - and, of course, there are now a lot less of them.  They stumble through the wheat, up to the road where the Marines stand watching.

Daly looks around for someone.  He sees the wiry Army Corporal from the Le Chat Noir Club.

                                                                 DALY
                                Where's your big Top Kick?

The Corporal shakes his head.

Daly rubs his chin, looking saddened.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

EXT. CROSSROAD - DAY

The Marines march up to the waiting line of trucks at the crossroads.  Sgt. Wood comes puttering up on his motorcycle.

                                                                 WOOD
                                For those of you being pulled back, you will
                                return with the same groups you arrived in.
                                Let's move it, boys, there's hot food and
                                showers waiting for us back there.

The Marines begin climbing into the trucks, the Vietnamese drivers are hanging around smoking cigarettes.

INT. TRUCK - DAY

Our guys climb aboard one by one.  They help each other get in, then sit quietly on the wooden benches and look around.  There are quite a few empty seats.  Everybody can't help but notice.  The Vietnamese driver appears at the back of the truck.

                                                                 VIETNAMESE DRIVER
                                No more?

Daly shakes his head.

                                                                 DALY
                                No more.

The driver nods sadly, leaving their view to get into the cab.  The truck shudders as the engine turns over.  Everybody is quiet and contemplative, the empty seats speaking volumes.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

EXT. THE CHEVAL BLANC CLUB - NIGHT

A cigarette butt drops into a pile of five others on the pavement.  Yvonne, the attractive, thirty year old waitress, appears out the back door of the Cheval Blanc Club.  As she passes an old wagon, Yvonne glances into the shadows and there crouches Zachio, grinning and waiting for her.  He jumps to his feet, walking along beside her.

                                                                 ZACHIO
                                Bon jour, Yvonne.

                                                                 YVONNE
                                                           (smiles)
                                Bon soir, Provet.  It's nighttime.  So, you have
                                been fighting?
                                                           (Zachio nods)
                                You will come home and tell maman and me
                                all about it?
                                                           (Zachio nods again)
                                Bon!

Yvonne takes Zachio's arm and the two disappear around the corner.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

INT. APARTMENT ABOVE THE BAKERY - NIGHT

M. LaFollette sits morosely in his chair.  The chessmen repose on the chessboard in their starting positions.  M. LaFollette looks grimly down at the chessboard, then drinks his glass of wine.  He pours himself another glass, closing his eyes and hanging his head.

The front doorbell rings.  M. LaFollette's head jerks up, his eyes popping open, a mild look of hope on his face.

INT. BAKERY - NIGHT

M. LaFollette comes down the stairs, steps up to the front door and opens it.  There stands Hughes, smiling.

                                                                 HUGHES
                                Bon jour, Monsieur LaFollette.

M. LaFollette puts his hand to his heart, sighs, then smiles happily.

                                                                 LAFOLLETTE
                                Ah, Monsieur Hughes.  You are alive.

                                                                 HUGHES
                                                           (nods)
                                Yes, I am.

M. LaFollette welcomes Hughes inside.

                                                                 LAFOLLETTE
                                Entrez, s'il vous plait.

                                                                 HUGHES
                                Merci.

Hughes enters the bakery.  M. LaFollette shuts the door.

INT. NATALIE 'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Natalie, the very cute, dark-haired, seventeen year old girl, lies in her bed, asleep.  She hears the branch of the tree outside scraping at her window.  Her eyes open and a smile appears on her face.

                                                                 NATALIE
                                                           (happily)
                                Ah, Matthews, mon amour.

She jumps out of bed in her white nightgown, dashes to the window and looks out . . .

EXT. NATALIE'S HOUSE - NIGHT

. . . We see Natalie at the upstairs window looking out - there's no one there; it's just the wind blowing the branches of the tree.  Natalie lowers her head sadly, slowly turning away from the window.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

INT. YMCA KITCHEN - NIGHT

Mary McBrian, the forty-year old woman in a Salvation Army uniform, washes coffee mugs in the kitchen of the YMCA.  As she scrubs the mugs and sets them aside, we can see that her eyes are red.  Finally, Mary sits down, dries her hands and lights a cigarette.  As she takes a puff, she glances down at the floor - there is the pile of butts she and Hebel smoked together.  Mary kicks them aside, dropping her face into her hands and sobbing.

The back door to the kitchen opens with a creak.  Mary glances up quickly.

                                                                 MARY
                                                           (hopefully)
                                Frank?

The dark figure in the doorway steps forward and, in fact, it is Private Franklin Hebel, a bandage around the entire lower half of his face.  Mary can't believe it.  She's so happy that she jumps to her feet and hugs Hebel tightly.

                                                                 MARY
                                Oh, Frank, Frank, what happened?  Are
                                you all right?

Hebel makes muffled, mumbling sounds, then takes out a pad of paper and a pencil.  He writes, "I got shot through the mouth.  I can't talk."

Mary hugs Hebel again, even tighter than before.

                                                                 MARY
                                That's OK, Frank, you don't have to talk.
                                I can do all the talking for both of us.

Hebel raises his hands and hugs Mary back.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

EXT. LE CHAT NOIR CLUB - NIGHT

Sgt. Daly steps outside the Le Chat Noir Club, wearing a clean uniform with one of his arms in a sling.  He flicks his cigarette butt and goes inside.

INT. LE CHAT NOIR CLUB - NIGHT

Daly steps inside and looks around.  No one familiar sitting at the bar; no familiar anywhere.  He frowns, scratches his chin, turns around and exits the club.

EXT. STREET - NIGHT

Daly comes walking up in front of the butcher shop and the bright yellow door.  Just as he's about to knock, Brigitte opens the door and comes out, dressed up and looking good.

                                                                 BRIGITTE
                                                           (smiles)
                                Ah!  The great Sergeant Daly, who doesn't
                                get angry or fight.

                                                                 DALY
                                                           (grins)
                                That's me.

                                                                 BRIGITTE
                                It looks like you've been fighting anyway.

                                                                 DALY
                                Me?  Naw!  I told ya, I don't go in for that
                                sort of thing.

                                                                 BRIGITTE
                                So how did you hurt your arm?

                                                                 DALY
                                A fella hit me with his pillow.  But he's
                                a really nice guy and didn't mean it.  So,
                                where are you off to this fine evening?

                                                                 BRIGITTE
                                I was thinking of perhaps getting a drink.

                                                                 DALY
                                Ah!  What a novel idea.  May I join you?

                                                                 BRIGITTE
                                Please.

She takes hold of Daly's good arm and they go walking off together.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

INT. TRUCK - DAY

We're back in the idling truck with our guys: Daly, Meyers, Hughes, Bonner, Zachio, and Cates.  They all sit quietly, still thinking about the empty seats all around them.  We see a quick smiling, laughing moment in the truck on the way to Belleau Wood of each of the missing guys: Arbuckle, Argaut, French, Gastovich, (Hebel), Maggione, Matthews, Swenson, and Williams.

EXT. CROSSROAD - DAY

The long line of trucks begins pulling away from the crossroad heading back west, from whence they came.

EXT. HILLTOP - DAY

We are on the familiar hilltop looking down on Belleau Wood and the surrounding wheat fields.  Belleau Wood is blackened, charred, and utterly destroyed.

EXT. WOODED ISLAND - DAY

In the wooded island in the middle of the wheat field, we see several dead German soldiers beside a Maxim gun.


                                                                 V.O. NARRATOR
                                The allies would finally win the war after five
                                more months of very brutal fighting.  However,
                                the German soldiers that were killed on the west
                                side of Belleau Wood were the ones that made it
                                further west then any other Germans during the
                                entire war.  Belleau Wood is where the German
                                advance on Paris was stopped dead.  By the
                                Americans.

EXT. WHEAT FIELD (WEST OF BELLEAU WOOD) - DAY

The wheat field west of Belleau Wood is strewn with dead Marines.  The remains of Belleau Wood loom beyond.

                                                                 V.O. NARRATOR
                                27,000 Americans fought at Belleau Wood;
                                10,000 were wounded; 2000 died.  On June
                                6th 1918, the United States Marine Corps lost
                                more men on a single day than ever before-
                                one thousand and fifty-seven.  Belleau Wood
                                was renamed by the French, "Bois de la
                                Brigade de Marine,"
or, "The Wood of the
                                Marine Brigade."

INT. TRUCK - DAY

Lt. Cates continues to rub the huge lump on his head, checking his hand to make sure there's no blood.

                                                                 V.O. NARRATOR
                                Lieutenant Clifton B. Cates eventually became
                                a General and was one of the highest-ranked
                                Marines during World War Two.

Daly pulls a chewed-up stub of a cigar from his pocket, inspects it, picks off the fuzzballs, puts it in his mouth, then searches for a match.

                                                                 V.O. NARRATOR
                                Gunnery Sergeant Daniel J. "Fighting Dan"
                                Daly, the only enlisted Marine to ever win two
                                Medals of Honor for separate actions, also won
                                both the Army and Navy Distinguished Service
                                Crosses and the Croix de Guerre for his actions
                                at Belleau Wood.  Sgt. Daly was wounded again
                                three months later at the Battle of the Somme.
                                Daly moved back to Brooklyn, New York and lived
                                to be 64 years old.  Marine Corps Commandant
                                John A. Lejeune called Sgt. Daly "the outstanding
                                Marine of all time."

Lt. Cates lights Daly's cigar for him.  Daly puffs several times to get it going, blows out the match and nods in thanks.

                                                                 CATES
                                So, Gunny, you still going to try for that
                                early discharge?

                                                                 DALY
                                Naw.  I'll just stay and fight.  Besides, four
                                more months until I've pulled my 20, what
                                was I thinkin'?

                                                                 CATES
                                You were saying that you didn't want to
                                fight anymore.

                                                                 DALY
                                                           (nods)
                                Yeah.  Inner peace.  I suppose I'll just have
                                to wait until the war's over, just like everybody
                                else.

Cates nods in agreement.

Bonner turns to Meyers.

                                                                 BONNER
                                Let me see that pitcher of your sister, will
                                ya, Sam?

Meyers hands Bonner the picture, then turns to Daly.


                                                                 MEYERS
                                When in December, Gunny?

Daly rubs his weary eyes.

                                                                 DALY
                                                           (confused)
                                What?

                                                                 MEYERS
                                Your birthday.

                                                                 DALY
                                Oh.  The twenty-fifth.

                                                                 ZACHIO
                                Hey, that's Christmas.  That's great.

                                                                 DALY
                                                           (waves his hand in disgust)
                                Nah!  I'd only get one present for both.  It
                                stunk!

Everybody sees the injustice in this and nods.

Hughes begins whistling the song Over There.  In a second everyone joins in singing:


                                                                 MARINES
                                                           (singing)
                                Over there/ Say a prayer/ But beware/
                                Cause the Yanks are comin'/ Yes, the
                                Yanks are comin'/ And it won't be over
                                'til it's over over there.

Meyers turns to Daly and sees that he's dozed off.  Meyers smiles and starts to sing.

EXT. ROAD - DAY

Against the flaming background of the setting sun, the long line of American trucks leave Belleau Wood behind.

                                                                                                       FADE OUT:


THE END

 

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