Our first screenplay submission! “Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story” (Scene 1, Havana, February 15th, 1898)

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A filmed “fake” recreation of the battle of Manilla Bay, circa 1898

Lady Bug, Oil on Canvas, 1957

For those of you new to Talker, we have asked for poetry submissions. And received some. (See Lady Bug”  for all poems.)

And we are expecting some photographic contributions. And our eyes set on serializing a novel.

Now we are asking for screenplay submissions. Much to our delight — even before announcing it! — we received this submission. Below is Scene 1 of Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story.  (To learn more about war films see Filming, faking and propaganda: The origins of the war film, 1897-1902)

and On Spanish-American War Monuments and Rochester. And remembering the Buffalo Soldiers on Veteran’s Day

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from 1896 film, Boxing match or Glove Contest

Scene 2: Pawtucket, Rhode Island, February 1898

Scene 3: Washington

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220px-StephenCraneandCora1899Scene 5: New York, February 1898

 

Scene 6: The Cuban Countyrside, February 1898

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Scene 7: Havana, May 1898

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1893 edition

Scene 8: Havana, May 1898

  shafter on cart Scene 10

Scene 11 negro troops Scene 13 Black_Maria

Scene 15

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Scene 16

 

 

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Scene 18

Scene 19

All scenes 1 – 24

Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story

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Stephen Crane in Greece, 1897

Scene 1

Havana Harbor, February 15th, 1898. Steamy Caribbean evening.  The battleship USS Maine  is moored offshore.   The American officers are dining with the Spanish civilian elite. The harbor is lit up; there is dancing, music, frivolity, etc.  The ship is close enough that toasts are made back and forth. The best families of Havana are entertaining Captain Sigsbey, captain of the of the Maine.  All are white.

Mayor DeLome: Welcome to Havana, Captain Sigsbee (greeting him heartily)

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Havana, 1898

Sigsbee: I am very appreciative of your hospitality, your Excellency.  I must admit I was not sure what reception we would receive.

DeLome: Ah, dear Captain I fear you have been reading too many newspapers.  If I read your yellow press I would think we Spaniards were bloodthirsty barbarians left over from The Inquisition.  Not at all, sir.  That is why we welcome the Maine.

(Three cheers to the USS Maine. Toasts go out to ship and are returned)

DeLome: You will see yourself that Havana has no quarrel with the United States. Quite the contrary. Are we not from the same race after all?

(A flash as photographers take a shot)

DeLome: Has not America blessed us with the “Kodak?”  (toasts Sigsbee)

Sigsbee: Very kind of you, sir.  And has not Spain (Sigsbee looks about) blessed us with pictures worth taking.

DeLome: Ah, there I must agree.  400 years ago, God sank the Armada but in return he gave us the Cuban Woman.   One question, what exactly is a Kodak?

Sigsbee: Why nothing at all. George Eastman wanted a word that was in no language.

DeLome: Bravo! The new word for the next century!

Sigsbee: (glancing at the frivolity) I must say that you Havanians know how to enjoy life.  Except for that couple (pointed to two isolated, grim looking figures).

DeLome:   Why they are the Quesadas, the parents of Margharita.  (Sigsbee looks puzzled).  Have you not heard of Margharita Quesadas?

Sigsbee: I’m afraid I spend too much time on that old boat of mine.

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Advertisement for Cuban cigars

DeLome: Margharita betrayed her parents by joining the rebel cause.  She has broken their hearts.  (Sigsbee seems to be holding back his thought)

DeLome: Ah, sir I sense what you are thinking.  Victory for the rebels against the Spanish king.  It is those newspapers again. Portraying an outlaw band of thieves and terrorists as if they were George Washington and the Minutemen.

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Evangelina Cosio y Cisneros (September 23, 1877 – April 29, 1970) was the focus of events that played out in the years 1896–1898 during the Cuban War of Independence.

I assure you, these rebels are not what they seem. I have seen their pictures in their newspapers. Strange indeed sir.  Your yellow press has turned black men into white.  If the American people knew that the great Cuban patriots were as dark as tonight’s sky, they would not be chanting Cuba Libre.

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Cuban soldier fighting for Cuban independence from Spain, circa 1898

Sigsbee: (musing) Hmm, actually I do recall the story of Margharita.  Isn’t she called (by those papers) the beautiful brown-skinned Cuban Joan de Arc?  I wouldn’t have guessed from her parents.

DeLome: She got that from that from her grandfather. He was in the last revolution 25 years ago.  Quite the utopian.  It is said that he once visited Karl Marx and that he gave Margharita a signed copy of the Communist Manifesto. Long Live the Proletariat! (facetious toast)

Sigsgbee: Still, I heard she’s having a rough time of it prison.

DeLome: Yes this is true.  Unfortunately, the Casa de Recogidas is the home of every prostitute in Havana.  We will let her out soon.  After she has learnt her lesson.

(BOOM)

All scenes 1 – 24

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The destruction of the USS Maine, February 15, 1898

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USS Maine Tablet (1912), old Rochester City Hall, Fitzhugh Street