Spookymilk Survivor Challenge #16: Genre Swap

Week 16 of Spookymilk’s WGOM writer’s challenge again has one fewer former The Winner Group member (this week is for you, Eric B.B.. The current challenge: take a famous movie scene and rewrite it in a different genre, with the same characters coming to more-or-less the same conclusion.

Once I finally came up with the eventual concept for this one, I was really happy with the end results. Still, wasn’t quite good enough.

Originally I wanted to do some scene as a Shakespearean adaptation, and considered the mayor’s office scene from Ghostbusters (Shakespeare was a master at insulting people) and other movies, then decided to scan through the Top 250 movie list at IMDB.com to get ideas. I came across several military movies, then my eyes fell on #122 The Wizard of Oz. What if I did the initial throne room scene from The Wizard of Oz with a military movie genre feel? I tracked down a copy of the script, and as I began some initial modifications, I noticed that it was emerging with a The Dirty Dozen feel to it, so I intentionally made it a pseudo-mashup of the two movies. Here is the end result:

OUTER OFFICE
VICTOR “LION” FRANCO, JOSEPH “TIN MAN” WLADISLAW, ARCHER “DOROTHY” MAGGOTT, and SAMSON “SCARECROW” POSEY stand around office, staring at documents and photos on the walls —
 
LION
Oh, look at that! Look at that! This guy is all business; I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore!
 
Door on left opens —
 
OFFICER
The major will see you now.

MAJOR’S OFFICE

The Four enter from right, where MAJOR OZ REISMAN awaits, standing behind a desk, a cigar stub in his mouth with billows of smoke in the air —
 
OZ
I am Major Oz Reisman.
 
The Four salute, and look around nervously. Oz looking down and rifling papers —
 
OZ
Do any of you know why you’re here?
 
Oz looks up from papers —
 
OZ
Do you?!
 
The Four visibly jump — the others look to Dorothy —
 
DOROTHY
Sir — if you please, I – I am Sergeant Maggott. We’re all wondering why we’re…
 
Oz, smoke pouring from his cigar —
 
OZ
Silence! Archer “Dorothy” Maggott, court martialed for going AWOL … trying to get yourself sent back home, huh? You might act like some kind of selfish ringleader, but not in MY army! You’re nothing but worthless ass matter!

DOROTHY
(under breath)
Ohhh — Jiminy Crickets!

OZ
I know all about each one of you vermin. And none of it is pretty. You’re all a red-flag embarrassment to your country and to the uniform you’re wearing!
 

Oz flips to a particular personnel file –
 
OZ
Joseph “Tin Man” Wladislaw…you must be the pride of the whole damned armored division!
 
Tin Man continues to stare straight ahead —
 
OZ
Court martialed for freezing up in battle. Son, when you were trained to handle the 120mm in one of Uncle Sam’s galvanized geldings, and you and your fellow soldiers come under enemy fire, at what point were you taught to DO NOTHING, like some rusted pile of metal?!

TIN MAN
Well, sir, you see, it started when —

OZ
Quiet!

TIN MAN
Yes sir!
 

The Tin Man straightens up taller, while smoke billows from Oz’s angry cigar —
 
OZ
Samson Posey – “Scarecrow” – looks here to me like you tend to act before you think.
 
Scarecrow fidgets nervously —
 
OZ
Under court martial for some idiotic actions with a flame thrower in a mess hall. What is your major malfunction, soldier?! Didn’t the good Lord give you brains?

SCARECROW
I guess not, sir.

OZ
Victor “Lion” Franco: court martialed for extreme cowardice during combat. Are you some sort of peacenik? Do you have a medical condition? Or did your mother and father not give you enough attention when you we a kid?!
 

Lion tries to speak — faints and falls to the floor — Dorothy and the others try to revive him —
 
DOROTHY
What is the meaning of this? Why did you bring us here?

OZ
Shut up! Now, you all have court martials pending, but the beneficent U.S. Army has every intention of giving you a chance to earn an honorable discharge.
 

Lion suddenly revives —
 
LION
What’s that? Huh? What’d he say?
 
Dorothy helps the Lion to his feet — the four of them listen as Oz speaks —
 
OZ
But first, you must prove yourselves worthy by completing a very small mission. Bring me the battle plans of General Rheinhardt Von Wikked, the “Witch of Westphalia.”

TIN MAN
B-B-B-B-B-But if we do that, we’ll have to kill him to get it, sir!

OZ
Bring me his battle plans, and I’ll get your court martials rescinded.
 

The trembling Four — the Lion starts to speak —
 
OZ
Briefing tomorrow at 0600; dismissed.

LION
Sir, this sounds like a suicide mission…

OZ
I said, “Dismissed!”
 

The Lion hustles out the door, followed closely by the others —
FADE OUT

This one almost wrote itself. I read through memorable quotes from Full Metal Jacket to get some of ideas for the speaking parts (watered down to PG rating), and noticed that all the soldiers were called by their nicknames, so I used some names from The Dirty Dozen and had the Wizard of Oz names as their nicknames. I further made an effort to tie their court martials to their respective requests to the Wizard, and it didn’t take much to adjust their “mission” to be a military objective. Some of the dialogue is a bit hokey, but I intentionally tried not to deviate too much from the original Wizard of Oz script, which is understandably dated.

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One response to “Spookymilk Survivor Challenge #16: Genre Swap

  1. I happened to look at the other submits and their final judgement. I first thought yours would be kind of hokey, but the challenge of using older, dated material was interesting to me. I did not think too much of the script that did win as it didn’t seem to actually get anywhere. I guess I would never qualify as a judge but I likes what I likes.

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