D-notice by Bill Walker | Script Revolution

D-notice

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Page Count: 
122pp

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Logline: 
In his search for the meaning behind his father's mysterious World War II death, a British bureaucrat stumbles across a secret so horrific that his own government will stop at nothing to keep it quiet.
Synopsis/Details: 

Inspired by true events...

THE FATHER
Governments, like families, have secrets that run dark and deep, something MICHAEL THORLEY is about to learn, all too well. It is 1941, and England has been at war for two years. Rationing and blackouts are a fact of everyday life; and although the buzz bombs have yet to begin their deadly rain, her people hold their heads high—proud and resolute. Hitler be damned.
As a translator for the Foreign Office, Thorley is assigned to monitor radio broadcasts from the Third Reich, painstakingly transcribing every word into English. A vital, boring job. Yet, he thrives on being at the hub of the war.

All this changes one evening when he receives a summons to report to the Director of MI6, Britain's Foreign Intelligence Service. Thorley is told that he is needed for a vital mission inside Finland, where the Germans have discovered something...unusual.
With his excellent command of the German language and his knowledge of the culture, he will be able to pass as German, if necessary.

Thorley is astounded. An ex-academic being recruited as a field operative? It's ridiculous! But his superiors have their reasons: The Germans want an observer who is "clean," and the British have no wish to compromise a more experienced and valuable agent.
Without even being able to tell his pregnant young wife, LILLIAN, where he is going, he is whisked off to the Finnish countryside and shown evidence of a horrible atrocity: the wholesale slaughter of an entire British regiment—The Royal South Wessex. But the real question in Thorley’s mind is: What were his countrymen doing there in the first place?

One of the Germans, FRIEDRICH RAINER, takes Thorley aside and tells him that the massacre was the work of the Russians and then reveals the existence of a cadre of officers who oppose Hitler, Der Weisse Adler (The White Eagle), a group who want to end the war with Britain and enlist their aid in fighting the Bolshevik menace. As proof of the group’s intentions, Rainer gives Thorley a roll of undeveloped pictures of the massacre site and sends him home in the hopes of winning Britain’s support for their cause.
But Thorley’s superiors have another idea. They decide that no one must ever know the truth and ship him off to Egypt, ostensibly to gather vital information on Rommel’s movements. But Thorley suspects the truth: MI6 want him out of the way, where he can do no harm with the knowledge he possesses.

THE SON
It is now 1984, and MICHAEL THORLEY, JR. has grown up to be a handsome young man, though shy and reserved. When he thinks of his father, it is with sad regret and wistful longing, his memory filled with the nostalgic stories Lillian has told him. The only photograph he has, he keeps on the mantel in his mews flat in Kensington, an enigmatic shadow in silver halide printed on cheap paper browning with age.

A career bureaucrat with the War Graves Commission in London, Michael spends his days tracking down the final resting places of soldiers for relatives and descendants desperate for any news of those who never came home. But it is the sudden rash of requests for information about graves for the Royal South Wessex that are the most disturbing, especially when Michael is told--in no uncertain terms--that the regiment never existed.

And then there is ERIKA RAINER, beautiful daughter of Friedrich Rainer--recently murdered by a terrorist bomb--who appears on his doorstep desperate to see the late Michael, Sr.

Taken with her beauty and determined to learn more about what happened to his own father, Michael joins forces with Erika. Together, they uncover evidence of the Finnish atrocity secreted in a safe deposit box left by his father before he departed for Egypt.

Among the artifacts is an allusion to Stalin’s direct involvement in the crime, and a letter to Michael from his father. Reading the letter brings tears of anger to Michael’s eyes, for it seems that the elder Thorley knew his days were numbered.
With agents from three countries dogging their every move, and with someone killing the last surviving members of Der Weisse Adler, who are the only ones who can corroborate the existence of the crime, Michael and Erika travel to Germany to obtain the final piece of evidence: the actual order signed by Stalin.

By now, Michael wants far more than to vindicate his father, he wants to tell the world--to destroy those who destroyed his family. Before he can act, however, he is forced to confront the ghosts of his father’s past on a windswept ferry heading back to England.

There he discovers that the woman he has come to love is an impostor, an East German agent; and his own mother--now held hostage on board by Erika's father, the head of East German Intelligence--has been a deep-cover agent for the Russians for over forty years.
Caught between three rival factions bent on possessing the Stalin Order at all costs, Michael faces the hardest choice of his life: exposing the men responsible for killing his father, or saving the life of the mother who betrayed him.

Lillian tries to convince Michael that her duty to Russia never interfered with her love for him, or his father, but all this is too much for him to bear.

He wavers, torn between his own loyalties and the emotions threatening to overwhelm him.

The clock ticks, tensions mount.

At the last moment, a shot rings out of the dark. A backup team of Russian snipers wound Erika, giving Lillian's controllers the opportunity to turn the tables.

Gloating with smug satisfaction, Lillian’s superior and longtime lover, PAVEL HEDEON, hands her a weapon and orders her to kill Michael and the others, to prove, once and for all, her love for the Motherland.

It is the moment Lillian has waited for.

With astonishing speed, she turns, pistol blazing, kills Hedeon and his backup team, ending the standoff.

With the Russians dead and Erika’s father neutralized, Michael realizes that unless they do something drastic, they will all be arrested when the ferry docks in England. Lillian volunteers to look after Erika, while Michael goes to radio the press.
When the ferry docks, the quay is teeming with reporters armed with lights and cameras. Those officials there to arrest Michael watch helplessly as their duplicity is revealed to the world.

Four years later, Michael’s life has completely changed. He has married Erika and is now the proud father of a handsome little boy. As they sit in front of the television in Lillian’s parlor, Michael watches the Berlin Wall fall, content in the knowledge that his father’s spirit is finally at peace and the evidence he revealed to the world has changed it forever....

All Accolades & Coverage: 

SEMI-FINALIST 2020 WriteMovies Screenplay Contest
SEMI-FINALIST 2020 Los Angeles International Screenplay Competition

Submitted: February 3, 2020
Last Updated: September 2, 2020

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Bill Walker's picture

The Writer: Bill Walker

A graduate of Emerson College's prestigious film school, Bill wrote and directed his first feature film, Pawn , while still a student. After graduation, he founded Newbury Filmworks, Inc., an award-winning production company renowned for making high-quality corporate films and commercials. In 1990, Bill relocated to Los Angeles, and began a freelance story analysis career for various studios and independent production companies, while devoting his spare time to the writing of novels, short stories, and screenplays. He is also a highly-respected graphic designer, specializing in book and dust jacket design. He has worked on books by such luminaries as: Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Dean... Go to bio

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