The Abandoned by John Maudlin | Script Revolution

The Abandoned

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Page Count: 
121pp

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Logline: 
A doomed menage a trois of three French rustic teenagers straddles the carnage of The Great War
Synopsis/Details: 

The Auvergne – 1912 - Jean (16) loves Marie-Louise (16). Jean’s cousin, Henri (17), his parents murdered, arrives from Paris. Marie-Louise feigns disdain but is secretly attracted to him and eventually gives herself to him after Henri’s liaison with a rival incites her jealousy. The rival lies to her parents that Henri has made her pregnant and he abandons Marie-Louise and returns to Paris. Jean is happy to see his rival gone but soon understands that Henri’s absence only makes Marie-Louise love him more. Inevitably she abandons the village for Paris to find Henri but cannot trace him. Destitute, she is taken in by a kindly baker and given work. In Paris rumours of war are rife. Outside the Baker’s a scuffle starts between two men – a patriot and a cynic. The cynic is dragged into the bakery for his own safety and Marie-Louise is astonished to see that it’s Henri. Henri excuses his behaviour and asks her to move in with him. She agrees but soon discovers Henri is mixed up in a darker world and that an old enemy, Louie, is out to get him. Henri persuades Marie-Louise to steal the Baker’s savings so they can flee Paris, conscription and Louie, but they are being watched. As they rendezvous, Louie steps out of the shadows with a gun. Marie-Louise throws herself in front of Henri and is shot. Henri deserts her but takes the money. Jean visits a wounded Marie-Louise in hospital and she confesses that she is pregnant. Jean promises to bring Henri back. Unable to find him in Montmartre, Jean enlists in the army. Knocked unconscious by a shell during the first Verdun advance, Jean wakes that night in a crater somewhere in no-man’s land. He discovers Henri, cowering underneath a pile of corpses. He drags Henri back to safety but is shot close to their trenches and Henri crawls back without him. Discharged and back in Paris Jean attempts to find Louie to persuade him to leave Marie-Louise and Henri alone. On the Brassai steps below Sacre Coeur and in a thick mist he waits outside Louie’s apartment. Henri surprises him. He is also waiting, but to assassinate his rival. Jean persuades him to return to Marie-Louise but Henri insists that first he must kill Louie in reparation; it was Louie that killed his parents for a bad turn Henri did to Louie as a young man. Knocking Jean out, he runs into the fog after Louie. Two shots ring out. Recovering, Jean finds no trace of either man. A week later, at the train station, Jean and Marie-Louise, with her daughter in her arms, wait for Henri to return. Jean has promised her, reluctantly, that Henri will come back to her. A soldier disembarks and she runs and embraces him but then pulls away realising it is not Henri. She blames Jean for lying to her. Henri never arrives.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

Well received by readers on the Zoetrope writers room

Submitted: May 5, 2018
Last Updated: May 5, 2018

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John Maudlin's picture

The Writer: John Maudlin

Graduate of Warwick University. Triple honours in Literature, Theatre and Film. Short listed for the Bridport Poetry prize in 2015. Have completed 3 screenplays and 3 teleplays, the latter based on my own short stories. I have also written drama and poetry. I write under the pseudonym of Ricky Hawthorne. Go to bio

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