“A Captive in the Land” – Screenplay Coverage

The following is screenplay coverage I did long ago for an entertainment company.  The formatting is a little difficult to duplicate here, but you can get the gist.

Number of Pages: 119
Circa: Present
Publisher date: Nov. 1984
Location: the Arctic
Analyst: Ginger Marin
Author: Lee Gold
Date: May 22, 1991



The crew of a Royal Air Force transport plane, carrying American meteorologist RUPERT ROYCE (30’s) over the Arctic, spots a shadow on the ice below.  Despite orders to fly a straight course at high altitude so the accompanying scientists can take accurate readings, the PILOT, CO-PILOT, and Royce, decide to change heading to fly low over the shadow.  They discover that the shadow is the site of a plane crash.  Two bodies are seen near the plane, and the body of another, still strapped in his seat, is leaning against the wrecked plane’s instrument panel and the body moves.

Realizing that the man is alive, the RAF crew decide to drop one man with supplies by parachute to aid the injured at the wreckage.  Rupert Royce volunteers.  He will wait at the plane site while the crew of the RAF transport, flies on to THULE, a three hour journey, from where they will send help. That help isn’t expected to arrive until the next morning. Royce, along with a number of parachuted supplies makes the jump, then sets out to the site of the crashed plane.

The two bodies spotted while he was aboard the RAF plane are indeed dead.  Royce makes his way to the third, who is unconscious, and still strapped in the cockpit seat.  While unharnessing the man, Royce discovers the plane is Soviet, and that he is risking his life to save a Russian, an unsettling prospect.  Royce then carries the RUSSIAN into the part of the wrecked plane’s fuselage, which is partially intact, takes off the man’s icy clothing and pops him into a sleeping bag. Royce then holes up with parachute nylon stuffed into gaps in the fuselage to keep out the cold and snow.  Also inside the fuselage are the frozen bodies of other Russian crew members which Royce removes to the outside of the plane.

The next day, the RUSSIAN awakens, and in halting English, it is established that his name is ALEXEI ALEXEIVITCH VODOPYANOV, also in his 30’s. He slips back into unconsciousness as a storm rages outside.  Royce does his best to care for his companion and seek out other supplies and kerosene for a small stove that he found in the wreckage.  When Vodopyanov again awakens we discover that his back may be broken, as he cannot use his legs.
The two spend days and night inside the fuselage, trying to stay warm and communicate as best they can.  Meanwhile, storms continue outside, and there are two incidents when the snow rushes into the fuselage, nearly toppling the plane and burying the two of them.

Royce uses every ounce of his strength and then some, to maintain their safety amid the storms.  Vodopyanov becomes increasingly frustrated that he cannot help because of his injuries.  Over the length of time, night into day, and against the bitter cold and the darkness inside the fuselage, the two grate on each other’s nerves.  They do all they can to maintain civility but, of course, they know, it is just the two of them against adversity.  Eventually, however, they come to care for each other.

At one point, the sound of a plane engine is heard. But Vodopyanov, who awakes first, cannot move to signal it.  He tries to rouse Royce who is unconscious from a combination of carbon-monoxide poisoning from the kerosene and fatigue from his efforts to fight the storms and safeguard the shelter. Eventually, Royce comes to, rushes outside with his lantern to signal the plane. But he is too late. The plane is already leaving.

Times passes, two weeks and still no help has come for them. Using star charts and a sextant, they plot their whereabouts and the decision is made to leave the plane and head for land, and what they hope will be salvation. Royce fashions a sled to carry Vodopyanov.  They pack up tenting materials and food supplies and head off across the great expanse of ice. It is an extremely hard journey, and at one point, Vodopyanov tries to commit suicide by throwing himself into the icy water so that Royce won’t have to pull him any longer.  Royce saves him and tells Vodopyanov as best he can that there would be no reason to continue without him.

The going across the ice is made a little easier when Vodopyanov discovers he can use some of the parachute nylon to fashion a sail to catch the wind.  The two set up a tent camp at night, then continue on their journey during the day.  They are so exhausted and in pain that they hardly recognize the sound of dogs barking. The sounds near and we see sleds, dogs and people come toward them. The men are ESKIMOS from a nearby village who take Royce and Vodopyanov on their sleds to safety. It is clear that the American and the Russian, who have struggled against so much together, shall remain brothers till the end.

Box Scores:
Premise:          good
story line:       excellent to good
structure:        good
characterization: excellent
dialogue:         good

Author Ginger Marin is an actor, freelance writer and storyteller.  You can also find her on Google+

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s