Sgt. Daly stands before his men.
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.
Lt. Cates crawls up beside Daly. He too looks like hell.
Cates shrugs, too, then helps Daly bind his wound.
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.
Cates has one of his boots off and savagely scratches his foot.
Hebel looks crazy.
Everybody looks at Hebel and shakes their head.
Hebel looks straight at Daly.
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.
Capt. Williams comes limping up.
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.
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
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.
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.
Daly looks around for someone. He sees the wiry Army Corporal from the Le Chat Noir Club.
The Corporal shakes his head.
EXT. CROSSROAD - DAY
The Marines march up to the waiting line of trucks at the crossroads. Sgt. Wood comes puttering up on his motorcycle.
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.
Daly shakes his head.
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.
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.
Yvonne takes Zachio's arm and the two disappear around the corner.
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.
M. LaFollette puts his hand to his heart, sighs, then smiles happily.
M. LaFollette welcomes Hughes inside.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hebel raises his hands and hugs Mary back.
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.
She takes hold of Daly's good arm and they go walking off together.
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.
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.
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.
INT. TRUCK - DAY
Lt. Cates continues to rub the huge lump on his head, checking his hand to make sure there's no blood.
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.
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 nods in agreement.
Bonner turns to Meyers.
Meyers hands Bonner the picture, then turns to Daly.
Daly rubs his weary eyes.
Everybody sees the injustice in this and nods.
Hughes begins whistling the song Over There. In a second everyone joins in singing:
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.
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