Come along, Harry Higgins by Kevin Machate | Script Revolution

Come along, Harry Higgins



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Based On: 
"A Retrieved Reformation" by O. Henry
Successful safe cracker Harry Higgins decides to hang up his drill for good when he meets the woman of his dreams, only to be tailed by the constable that put him away once already.

This script is based on O. Henry's 1903 short story "A Retrieved Reformation" in which I kept the primary plot, but changed some details, the names of the characters, and added SciFi elements.

Recently I sought out to find a short story to adapt into a short script. I finally landed on a story by O. Henry that was originally published in the April 1903 of The Cosmopolitan Magazine (Yes, that Cosmo). As I started working on the adaptation, I realized that I was going to have a difficult time in adapting it without making changes. As small changes grew to large changes, I decided to add the SciFi element and it turned from an adaptation to "Based on."

Had I written this 60 years ago (12 years before I was born) I would have had no trouble selling it to Rod Serling to turn into a Twilight Zone episode. It's even the perfect length.

Set in 1899, successful safe cracker Harry Higgins decides to hang up his drill for good when he meets the woman of his dreams, only to be tailed by the constable that put him away once already. Oh, and Harry's's an alien. This script would absolutely fit into the mold of a 1960 Twilight Zone episode.

"A Retrieved Reformation" was made into a film three times; in 1915, 1920, and 1928. It was also adapted into a highly successful Broadway play under the title "Alias Jimmy Valentine" which ran 155 performances at Wallack's Theatre in New York in 1910. There was also a radio series called "Alias Jimmy Valentine" that ran in 1938-39.

It should also be noted that the script was written and edited in less than 48 hours. While the plot and some of the dialogue was O. Henry's story, there were some significant changes that required a lot of original dialogue and story adjustment. In some ways I think it was harder to write this than it would have been to simply write an original story. Maybe. I don't know. Actually I think it was about as hard. I think...

All Accolades & Coverage: 

Semifinalist (TBD), Scriptation Showcase, 12/15/2020
Coverfly Red List - #19 for Sci-fi Shorts of the month September 2020
Coverfly Red List - #20 for Sci-fi Shorts of the month August 2020
Finalist (Award TBD) FilmQuest, Provo UT Date TBD
Best Short Script - Underground Indie Film Festival, Apopka FL 6/14/2020
Special Mention - New York Movie Awards, NYC 6/7/2020
Best Action Script - Hollywood Just4Shorts Film and Screenplay Competition, Los Angeles 6/29/2020
Finalist - Genre Celebration Festival, Tokyo, Japan 7/10/2020
Best Short Script - Mindfield Movie Awards, Albuquerque NM, 7/15/2020
Semifinalist - Filmmatic Short Screenplay Awards 5th edition
Finalist - Loudoun Arts Film Festival September 6, 2020

This Script Has Been Reviewed By Shootin' The Shorts

Come Along, Harry Higgins
Successful safe cracker Harry Higgins decides to hang up his drill for good when he meets the
woman of his dreams, only to be tailed by the constable that put him away once already.

While looking through scripts, I came upon one based on O. Henry’s short story, A Retrieved Reformation… but with a sci-fi twist! So, I just HAD to give it a read. And, boy, I did not come away from this disappointed…

In what seems like a traditional period piece, we’re taken to the year 1899, where convicted bank robber (and the story’s protagonist), Harry Higgins is serving a four-year sentence at Missouri State Penitentiary. Ten months into his sentence, while making shoes in the prison’s workshop, he’s called to the warden’s office, where he’s told that he’s just been pardoned by the governor.

Now a free man, the confident and charming Harry Higgins heads back to meet up with his old friend Davey, a bartender at the inn where Harry was originally arrested for his crime. But before he gets there, he finds a unique and possibly other-worldly way of communicating when arriving at the train station…
Harry walks toward the train station and sees a large crow land on a telegraph pole. He smiles and tips his hat.

Let Davey know I’ll be arriving
in about 3 hours, old friend.

The crow squawks loudly and flies away.

Hmm. I know crows are supposed to be smart. And who knows? Maybe Harry’s some kind of bird whisperer or something. Of course, we find out that isn’t quite the case when Harry arrives at the bar. Upon meeting with Dave, both their eyes glow green – suggesting that these guys aren’t of this world. The crow is in fact a communication device that allows them to converse using face-time – a technology that isn’t even explored until The Jetsons hit television sets.

After enjoying several seltzer-with-milks (gross), Harry heads to his room where he retrieves a hidden briefcase containing some sort of futuristic device that allows him to easily break into bank vaults and make away with piles of money.

As Harry bounces around from town to town, knocking off bank after bank, he decides to retire from bank-robbing and settle down in the quaint town of Elmore, Kansas. He starts a shoe-making shop and eventually finds love, marrying Anna Sharp who, ironically, is the daughter of a local bank mogul. But despite going straight, the string of bank robberies preceding his change of lifestyle has caught the attention of Jack Wolfe, the pesky police constable who initially put Harry behind bars.

Hot on Harry’s trail, Wolfe eventually tracks him down in Elmore, finding out that he’s living under the alias Robert D. Thompson.

Wolfe finally has his man in his sights at the local bank where Harry’s father-in-law presents to the public his new vault – a vault deemed to be “impenetrable”, opening automatically only at certain times of the day.

Unfortunately, as the presentation continues, a little girl finds herself trapped in the vault while goofing off with a friend. And with the vault not scheduled to reopen anytime soon, the little girl’s life is at stake. If only there was someone with the kind of technology to break into this “impenetrable” vault…

A unique story with a sci-fi twist and excellent characters with impressive arcs, “Come Along, Harry Higgins” is a story that NEEDS to be on the big screen.

Review by Michael J Kospiah
Submitted: May 20, 2020
Last Updated: October 23, 2020

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The Writer: Kevin Machate

Kevin graduated from the University of Texas, with a BA in American Studies and minor in History in 2015 and got his MBA in 2019. Not surprisingly, he uses none of these educational credentials for his job. Although he began his film career as an actor, he quickly moved into Producing and eventually Directing. Kevin's films have won numerous awards worldwide having been screened in various cities in the US, Europe, South America, Oceania, and Asia. Kevin has directed six short films and his credits as a producer have exceeded 50 at the time of this writing. His recent works include three short series starring Golden Globe and Tony Award winner Barry Bostwick and Saturn Award Winner Doug... Go to bio

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