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)
Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.