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The APPROACH


[EXTERIOR FOREST - WIDE - LATE AFTERNOON

Deep fog has set in. A hand entering the frame scares the hell out of us. It moves a branch aside. It's Uncas. Spread to the right is Chingachgook, far to the left is Hawkeye. They hike up a steep forested slope in the heart of the Adirondacks.]

CORA: Much further?

HAWKEYE: Top of this ridge. Fort and Lake George are downhill of it.

[ALICE

Re-energized, her spirits pick up.]

ALICE: Will we be able to bathe?

[Before Cora can answer they hear a deep, rolling roar. Alice is alarmed.]

CORA: Thunder ... Papa will arrange something.

[UNCAS

looks over his shoulder, sees something in the far distance, gestures to Hawkeye and Chingachgook.

HAWKEYE'S POV: DISTANT HILLS

and the band of red-painted Ottawa and Coureurs des Bois, who have now split into two groups, are still on their trail. Meanwhile, oblivious ...]

HEYWARD: The men of the regiment will fetch water from the lake, build fires and provide every comfort you desire, Alice ...

ALICE: Duncan, you are absolutely gallant. If Cora doesn't marry you, I shall.

CORA: Alice!

[Heyward laughs. Hawkeye sees them. It bothers us: will these Europeans, including Cora, shed their frontier experience?]

ALICE: I can't wait to see Papa ...

CORA: And you, Duncan? What are you looking forward to?

HEYWARD: Posting to a different continent.

[He and Alice laugh. Cora does not.]

CORA: I think it's very important and exciting.

[Heyward looks at her. She's not kidding.

ANOTHER ANGLE: HEYWARD

helps Alice. As he does, he stares at Cora's seperation and now her proximity to Hawkeye, who's walking on ahead, is something Heyward doesn't like. His dark thoughts are distracted by a FLASH of light and more ROLLING THUNDER.

WIDE FROM THE FRONT - HAWKEYE

drops and pulls Cora to the ground.]

CORA: Lightning?

[Hawkeye doesn't answer as he, Chingachgook, Uncas and Heyward make their way to the top of the ridge.

CLOSER ANGLES: CORA & ALICE

join them and look down upon their expectation of a secure piece of England in the wilderness, a safe harbor, a father's warm welcome.

THEIR POV: FORT WILLIAM HENRY

is none of those things. The thunder is the roar of French siege cannon clouded in dense smoke. The flashes of light are mortar bombs exploding and illumination rockets' red glare. Fort William Henry is under a massive siege by a French and Huron army.

UNCAS

looks over his shoulder.

HIS POV: OTTAWA

pursuing them. There's no way back. They're propelled forward.

DISSOLVE TO ...

EXTERIOR BATTLEFIELD, FRENCH BATTERY #1 - CLOSE SHOTS - DUSK

French cannons roar black smoke and gouts of red flame.

TRENCH

dug by sappeurs behind the cover of a huge gambio pushed toward the fort by two poles and fascis on the sides.

ENGLISH GUN CREW

searching the night.

POV: BATTLEFIELD

is black.

ENGLISH ROCKETS

light the battlefield revealing the French trenches.

ENGLISH GUN CREW

excited. Colonial militia and Mohawk snipers fire their rifles. The British gun crew scrambles to adjust their 18 pounders.

FRENCH BATTERY #1

FIRES.

FRENCH BATTERY #2

FIRES.

EXTERIOR FORT, WEST BATTERY

TRACKING. French cannon FIRE rips into the fortifications, exploding wood and earth, shredding the English gun crew with cannister. The English fight stubbornly, but we feel they're outgunned. Meanwhile ...

WIDE ANGLE FROM THE WATER

A new artillery duel erupts. The action is to the west side of the fort. On the north, the fire fight is reflected on the black water of Lake George in our foreground. Then a dark shape wiping to the right cuts off those reflections. We see in silhouette the outline of a birch canoe moving silently, barely rippling the mirrored surface of the lake.

EXTERIOR LAKE GEORGE BANK - DEBRIS

Behind it, two Canadiens and a Huron alternately snipe at the ramparts.

LOW & WIDE: SNIPERS

Behind them is black water. Its surface is broken by the rising mass of Chingachgook, followed by Uncas and Hawkeye. Muzzle flashes from the cannon reveal the canoe and the forms of the girls further out. Chingachgook's war club is held low. The Huron senses and turns and Hawkeye's thrown tomahawk knocks him back. Hawkeye's knife flashes in the night. Chingachgook drives the war club up, smashing a Canadien onto the debris. The second Canadien jabs bayonet at Uncas, slashing his side. Uncas jerks him forward by the musket, folds him over and tomahawks him.

CUT TO ...

So that's how Uncas got cut! Wonder what happened to that scene?!

LAKE GEORGE & FORT WILLIAM HENRY ... The Arrival

 


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