Castle Keep (1969) Script

(TRUCK ENGINE CHUGGING)

ROSSI: Did you hear a scream?

Like a wild bird, maybe an eagle.

(JEEP SPUTTERS)

CLEARBOY: Major...

I hate this Jeep.


(ENGINE TURNS OVER AND SPUTTERS)

ROSSI: I baked an eagle once.

Made out of bread.

Finocchi's bakery in Los Angeles.

This nut from the wildlife federation ordered it.


We came to the wrong war.

If we harness that mother, he'll pull us to Maldorais.

Easily. Maldorais is just there, beyond the hill.

FALCONER: I see Sainte-Croix on the map. I don't see Maldorais.

Because Maldorais is not a village. It is a castle.

(JEEP STARTING UP)

-A castle? -Oh, we're gonna barrack in a castle.

It is my castle.

FALCONER: We're gonna barrack in your castle?

The Germans did the same.

We're Americans.

I am Henri Tixier, Comte de Maldorais.

Er... Captain Beckman.

Lionel Beckman, the art historian. Castles interest him.

Oh?

And this is Major...?

Falconer. Let's go.

Keen horse you got there, Mr. Tixier.

Thank you.

The Germans had no negro.

These kind gentlemen rescued me from a slaver off of Santo Domingo.

Went down with all hands.

They thought they could learn Swahili from me.

Private Benjamin wants to be a writer, so he talks like a writer.

Private Benjamin thinks the war was invented so he could write a book about it.

Yes, it is Maldorais.

Hey, how long was the Hundred Years' War?

Exactly 215 years.

There are rooms off the great hall.

The enlisted men can live in the keep.

-The keep? -Castle keep, the tower.

All right, gentlemen.

Has anyone got the exact time?

There you are, Benjamin, a title for your book: 'Castle Keep'.

Not bad.


BENJAMIN: Castle Keep by PFC Alistair P. Benjamin.

Once upon a time eight walking wounded misfits of the American Army entered a castle in Belgium.

But this cannot be a Gothic tale, because it was the Second World War.

Doesn't it give everything another dimension?

No.

Maybe the Duke could put in an elevator.

Yeah.

And a flush toilet.

You think my living here will lower the real-estate value?

You trained for the ministry, didn't you, Lieutenant?

Then why aren't you a chaplain?

(AMBERJACK LAUGHS)


BENJAMIN: And then the snow came.

It was a good time to write.

All of us had been killed twice.

Some of us three times.

Maybe that's why we were at the castle.

We had been sent to the castle as a replacement company.

Or maybe we had just been put there away from everything to nurse our wounds and sit out the war.

That was three weeks ago when the castle was occupied.

No one knows when the Major occupied the Countess.

But no one was surprised.

-(FOOTSTEPS HURRYING) (RAPID KNOCKING)

(DOOR OPENS)

FALCONER: Yes, Captain Beckman?

I'm sorry, sir, I didn't know.

You'll learn, Beckman.

It's 6 o'clock, sir. I'm sorry.

You can't do anything about that, Beckman.

-The men in the chapel? -Not yet, sir.

Three minutes.

Bitch.

BECKMAN: Sergeant Rossi, he's on the way down.

Do you have a pack of cigarettes for me?

I have a chocolate bar.

Do you want it?

ROSSI: The Major wants everybody to get his ass in the chapel!

It isn't necessary that we admire each other.

FALCONER: This is where one U.S. Division is holding a 23-mile front.

If the Germans decide not to lose the war so fast, they'll counterattack.

They'll hit that green division and those people will not stop them.

The Germans' first major objective will be to secure the hub of the road net in the Ardennes.

This town, Bastogne.

The easiest way to Bastogne is through Verviers.

But they're not coming that way.

Last night there were star shells over Sainte-Croix. You may have noticed.

They lit the crossroads. It interests them.

I just want to explain those star shells to you.

It means this is the way they're coming. Right here. This castle.

Any questions?

I thought the war was over.

-That's not a question. -Sir...

I think you ought to let the Indian express himself.

Make him feel part of the group.

Express yourself.

According to the book, the Germans couldn't move that many men without our intelligence knowing it.

That's right. Now you're part of the group.

BECKMAN: I have a question.

If the Germans counterattack, wouldn't we be more valuable via pulling back to the Meuse river?

Saving the castle, the paintings, the sculpture has nothing to do with your strategy?

Frankly, yes, it does.

Well, that's a business about which I understand nothing.

We were put here to service replacements.

But there are no replacements.

So we'll dig in, just like real soldiers.

I want the terraces mined; also the gardens.

Major Falconer.

Maldorais must not become a battleground.

Not a battleground, Duke, an island of resistance.

I'll make a diagram of the mining tonight. Also a patrol roster.

Any weapons left behind by the Germans I want put in firing condition.

Meantime, keep the men occupied. Find something. Anything.

Put on a play.

(RUMBLING)

BECKMAN: I got a good play.

This army stops at a medieval castle. They're embattled.

Now, they can surrender and save the castle, or they can hold...

It won't work, sir.

The play should be about screwing.

Screwing was invented by the Swedes during the First World War.

I got a play.

Tell it.

A small man comes on stage with a great erection.

Then what?

Well, that's all I got. Just the first act.

That won't carry the play by itself.

Well, suppose it goes down and down and down in each succeeding act?

-To infinity. -Nope.

Any actor who could play the part would get better offers.


Track of the animal.

A boar?

No, a German.

Why not an American?

Those are hobnail military boots. We don't wear them.

-Should we not return for help? -No, it's a patrol.

They probably broke through our lines last night.

-Is there a place we can fort up? -The summerhouse.

Does it have a clear field of fire?

Yes.

Then we'll decoy them to the summerhouse.


What have you got there?

-Han vase. -What?

Second dynasty.

(GUNSHOTS)

They're high, about 2 o'clock.

-How's the vase? -Intact, commandant.

They'll rush us when they get into position.

That was harassing fire to keep us down.

-I've been in a war, commandant. -Then get rid of that junk.

It's cocked and ready to fire.

Wait till you've got a clear target.

I've got them all spotted.

(GUNSHOTS)

(MACHINE GUN FIRE)

(SHOTS ECHO AND RICOCHET)

They had no leader.

One man is missing.

I don't think so. There were only four tracks.

They wouldn't send a patrol this deep without an officer.

Their officer left them earlier.

Perhaps he went to the castle.

COUNT: To what purpose?

FALCONER: Maybe a mission of his own.

(CHURCH BELLS CHIME)

What is it, Captain Beckman?

Jealousy, I'm afraid.

In a chapel?

I've always wanted to live with... in a place like this.

Now that I'm here, I feel as if...

No. No, I am an intruder.

We are... unwelcome.

Captain Beckman, you are the one who belongs at Maldorais.

-FALCONER: I've got the German spotted. -COUNT: Where?

Standing under the topiary tree near the moat.

He's just left your wing of the castle.

He's waiting to make sure it's all clear.

He has a rifle, but he doesn't know where the shooting came from.

I'd estimate his range at 200 yards.

-My wing of the castle? -Yes.

-Is everything correct? -Everything is correct, M. Le Duke.

(GUNSHOT)

You shot well, commandant.

He has been a visitor when the Germans occupied the castle.

He treated the castle with respect.

Your niece seems upset.

My niece is my wife, commandant.

I think you'd better see to your wife, M. Le Duke.

COUNT: God is neutral, along with the Pope.

But as a traditionalist, he must respect the hierarchy.

The Maldorais.

The Maldorais line must continue.

And God must know where the Americans fit.

Americans are brave and that is why they seem like children.

They are young, wild animals.

So... what can you expect?

(POOL BALLS CLINK)

I can expect a child.

After the war, the flowers will be dead.

And the husbands will take over.

Excuse me, sir.

I'd like your permission to hang this Delacroix and some other paintings in the parlour for my lecture.

Your lecture?

I'm organising an entertainment programme for the men.

If it is a matter of their... requirements?

Requirements?

That can be taken care of in the village at La Reine Rouge.

-The Red Queen? -The whorehouse.

-A cigar, Captain? -No.

-Hobbema. -Yes, a very early one, isn't it?

You live with such things, Count.

Works I've read about, second-hand descriptions that don't do them justice.

I've begun an inventory. Unbelievable.

A Botticelli, two Corots...

-Fragonard... -We are in danger.

Do you intend to do anything about it, Captain?

(CAR ENGINE RUMBLING)

Wait! That's the Count's car!

Enlisted men can't steal the Count's car.

Right.

-Where you going at this hour? -ROSSI: Drilling, sir.

-Drilling? -Drilling the girls at the Red Queen.

BENJAMIN: So now we were on the way to Sainte-Croix.

The cowboy, the 24-carat Indian, the cook the baker and myself.

The rage of Paris, France, and all women everywhere.

You better bring out early in your book that you're very young and negro, unscrewed and unpublished.

(CAR SPUTTERING)

(ENGINE BACKFIRES AND DIES)

CLEARBOY: I hate this car.

Who's home to welcome the heroes?

Hey, Rossi.

Where there's a bakery, there's a baker's wife.

The place is closed.

(KNOCKING ON DOOR)

-Where do you come from? -We come from the castle.

To where are you going?

To the ends of the earth. And I think we're there.


(SPEAKING IN FRENCH IN UNISON)

(SPEAKING IN FRENCH) Greetings and welcome, my children.

(SHOP DOOR BELL TINKLES)

Parlez English?

Enough.

I'm a baker.

I'm a baker's wife.

Beautiful.

Beautiful.

Where's the baker?

Gone.


That's what a man needs.

A baker's wife, kid, family, home.

Come to bed.

FALCONER: I've been making an inventory too, Captain Beckman.

You should be interested in that inventory.

'Cause if those Americans don't hold that ridge your inventory's gonna be shot to hell.

We don't have to defend here, we can drop back to...

I do, Beckman.

Major, I don't think you know what this castle means.

It stands on the most important crossroads in the Ardennes.

-Yeah, it is impassable... -It stands on the road to Bastogne.

Major, I think we should pull back.

Don't think, Beckman.

If something isn't saved, then what's it all for?

You can't save anything by giving it to the Germans.

If you give them anything, you have to give them everything.

Is that what you wanna do, Beckman?

You know all about this... castle.

But you don't know how to hold it.

You want it in ruins. Everything.

Do I, Beckman?

"My purpose is madness.

"It's the only way you can tell what really happened in war.

"By lying, you can open the door a little crack on the truth."

Right, baby.

I love the red queen. Red queen is lovely.

Everybody loves the red queen.

Hey, where's EIk?

You're standing on him.

This whole thing has an ineffable, dreamlike quality.

Like I've been here before.

This place, this queen, girls...

-Major Falconer is a warmonger. -Yeah.

Besides that, he's immoral.

Huh, what?

Three of them. It just ain't right. Three of them.

-Who? -Major Falconer and the Duchess.

-Well, that's only two. -No, the Duke is there.

Probably tucks them in. It just ain't right.

I see. When there are two people it's okay, when there are three people, then it's dirty?

For Christ sake, Alistair, can't you see it just ain't natural?

Besides that, she's his nephew... niece. Anyhow, it just ain't right.

A cowboy like you. American cowboy!

So that's what goes on in that big, wide, white outdoor brain.

The movies never told us this about cowboys.

You wanna fight?

Not now, I'm thinking.

I could whip your ass.

Yeah, but that's not what concerns me.

Right now I'm working on your moral indignation.

(DRUNKEN SINGING FROM ANOTHER ROOM)

What the hell is that?

Your evangelists.

-My evangelists?! -The evangelists of the American Army.

(LOUD SINGING) ♪ Do not wait to shed your light afar ♪

♪ To the many duties ever near you now be true, ♪

♪ Brighten the corner where you are. ♪ Hey, you're waking everybody up! Go back to your outfit!

♪ Brighten the corner where you... ♪ -ROSS: Hey!

Excuse me?

You're waking everybody up. Go back to your outfit.

We have no outfit. We've withdrawn.

-We don't believe in fighting. -Well, who believes in fighting?

We believe in God.

That frightens you, doesn't it?

All you believe in is fornication and killing.

What?

We're conscientious objectors.

You mean you conscientiously object to fornicating?

J Brighten the corner where you are.

J Brighten the corner where you are. I Hey, didn't you tell 'em?

They're supposed to excuse you from combat.

They said that our sect was too small!

-Your what was too small? -Sect! S-E-C-T!

§ Brighten the corner where you... 3

(GUNSHOT)

Let the people of the city sleep.

(QUIETLY) Jlalalalalalala...

JdlLalalalalalala... $

(PIPE ORGAN PLAYS)


(PLAYING ENDS DISCORDANTLY)

What the hell's the matter with you, Lieutenant?

Can I tell you something?

I wish I had the courage to go to the Red Queen's.

It would be a way of breaking away from my father.

How does one get the courage, Captain Beckman?

You have to be an enlisted man.

In the story Cinderella left the ball in such a hurry, she forgot her glass eye... slipper. Now, that's how the prince traced her. She had the smallest eye...

-Foot in the world. -Now, wait a minute...

You say at midnight, if we don't get back to the castle

-we're gonna turn into soldiers? -No, we'll turn into soldiers anyway.

I just though it'd be nice to be in the castle when it happens.

-Where do you come from? -My bakery.

-To where are you going? -To that table where my buddies are.

Everybody should eat more bread. It feeds the heart.

And remember, the heart's the second most important organ in the human body.

(FLARES FIRING)


COUNT: It disturbs you, my wife and the Major.

You find me degenerate.

Or worse - French.

No, I am only impotent.

And I want a son.

What could be more bourgeois, puritan, even American, than that?

-You're how old? 207217 -23.

There ought to be an age limit on the Killing.

That doesn't interfere with you, does it?

The German officer under the topiary tree threw his life away.

He made it difficult not to kill him.

He was billeted here?

Yes.

In this room?

Well, how do you feel?

I don't understand.

You don't show much, do you?

What do you want me to do?

I guess there isn't much you can do.

You're not 20 or 23.

You're 1000 years old and you're trying to keep a castle, aren't you?

The war came close today.

I would like to end it. For a little while, if I can.

You want to end it, don't you?

For a little while.

For a night.

BENJAMIN: Just before the end of the world, Captain Beckman gave us soldiers, a lecture on the history of art.

I mean, here was a Captain in the American Army talking about the strength and the force...

Private Benjamin, if you feel more qualified to give this lecture.

Thank you, sir. No, sir. I'm sorry. Go ahead, sir.

Thank you, Private Benjamin.

We have the privilege of living in this monumental tribute to man's concept of beauty.

I want you to note the connubial chase in Rubens' finest, most supple style.

That must've been his horny period.

Sergeant Rossi.

Gentlemen, I suspect ten years from now, or twenty, at some American Legion convention one of your nightmares will be that day in the Ardennes when you weren't blown up by a bomb... you were bored to death by Captain Beckman.

Now, the purpose of my talk is to shock you.

Sir? Isn't the purpose to make sure the troops don't get an hour off?

The function of all art is to disturb and awake.

Now, if I may make a small analogy...

You do that, sir.

Corporal Clearboy. Was it your estimate that your General Patton planned in advance his breakthrough out of Normandy?

I sure as hell don't know, sir.

I wanted to hear you say that. Now, Cpl Clearboy was with General Patton.

He and I were never close, sir.

Nevertheless, I think it makes my point.

There's the same kind of spontaneity in war as in art.

War is an art of becoming, a culmination.

An orgasm?

Yes, art is like a sexual experience.

And the sexual experience, like art, cannot be culminated alone.

You certain about that, sir?

You gentlemen recall the training film Lieutenant Amber jack showed you?

The one on sex, sir?

I'd like to link that to the art of war which the film didn't cover, of course.

When you have a sex film, you can't cover everything.

No, but I mean seriously, gentlemen, erm, sex without love like art without feeling, is nothing more than masturbation.

Shall we write that down, sir?

No, I'm just throwing things out.

Could we pursue that sexual thought further?

No. No, no, no, no. My point is that...

Sex is an art.

-No, no. -Masturbation...

-No, no, de Vaca. -CLEARBOY: Sir...

What would you say if your best girl were sleeping with a 4F?

I don't have to answer that.

I wanna get back to the war.

But I wanna leave you with a thought that might do you some good.

I'll say to you bums that if you ever lecture an hour to a bunch of idiots... then resign your commission.

(KNOCKING)

-I'd like to be alone, Alistair. -You're a fun guy.

-Your talk on art turned me on. -I don't particularly wanna be a 'fun guy'.

-You mind if I sit down, sir? -No, you can stand.

You took your lecture too hard.

Is war a subjective thing, sir?

That's a good point.

You know I've...

Are you comfortable?

Do you mean that facetiously?

No, I mean, you being a private and me being a captain and everything.

-And everything? -Yes.

Well, the enemy, the whole American Army is out there and we're talking...

Never underestimate the intelligence of the American soldier, sir.

-You get that in a training manual? -You shouldn't be bitter, sir.

If a soldier didn't value art, he wouldn't be much of a soldier.

Napoleon before Venice said: "If my cannon destroy but one statue I would rather not take Venice."

Did Napoleon say that?

Doesn't sound like Napoleon.

Oh, well, no... he didn't, but I thought it would cheer you up.

I appreciate that.

But Napoleon was a louse.

I think all soldiering is a bore, don't you? -Yes, sir.

But I see you have the Purple Heart and Silver Star.

I got excited. For a whole year I was out of my mind, but I've recovered now.

But you'd fight for this castle.

Yes.

I don't know who.

I don't know which side would want to destroy it.

One thing more, sir.

Sorry I couldn't come to your aid during the lecture.

Oh, that would've been beyond and above the call of duty.

Still...

When you write your book you can rescue me.

No, don't bother.

Just write well about this castle and how we kept it.

It's really not a bad title: 'Castle Keep'.

Thank you, sir.

'Castle Keep'.

We will try, sir.

Will that be all, Captain?

That is all.


BENJAMIN: No one knew exactly when Corporal Clearboy fell in love with the Volkswagen.

But there he was one morning petting it, shining it up like a silver whore...

FALCONER: I understand you've been sleeping with the Volkswagen.

Yes, sir. Is there a regulation against it, sir?

Yes.

-Sodomy? -That's animals.

There's a regulation against using enemy equipment. Creates confusion.

Sir. She's a beautiful car, sir.

You must love the Volkswagen very much, Clearboy.

Thirty-six horses.

No water, sir. Hides her engine in her rear, air-cooled. No water, sir.

Is the world suffering a water shortage, Corporal Clearboy?

Not now, sir, but suppose this war just goes on and on and on and destroys everything in the world.

Since the Volkswagen can get along without water she's bound to survive when other creatures die off.

Someday the world will be populated with nothing but Volkswagens.

You've figured that out, have you Clearboy?

Very well, Corporal Clearboy, keep it.

Corporal Clearboy has this thing about the Volkswagen.

-Why doesn't he see a doctor about it? -Think that's abnormal, sir?

I think it must be frustrating as hell.

-It. Amber jack, I want patrols stepped up. -Yes, sir.

Be on the lookout for infiltrators.

They'll try to slip through town in advance of any attack.

I think the place to look for infiltrators is the Red...

Exactly. That's where I'd go if were one.

Sir, you want me to go to the Red Queen's ?

No, come back here and play the flute while Captain Beckman saves statues.

That's the way to fight a war.

ROSSI: Seen any infiltrators lately, honey, baby, pussy-lamb?

(FLUTE PLAYING A LULLABY)


I gotta draw a Lieutenant to lead a patrol who's a flautist.

AMBERJACK: Flautist.

I gotta draw a Lieutenant who plays the "flaute".

(WHISTLING LULLABY)

(WHISPERING) Shhh. Hey. Knock it off, you men.

VOICE: I'm a German.

All right.

You knock it off too.

-May I a criticism make? -No.

The 'Brahms Lullaby' goes: "Da da daa, da da daa...'

Not: 'Da da da, da da da...'

I studied music in London.

-What are you doing here? -Surrounding the castle.

-What century is it? -20th, for Christ sake.

He means the castle.

Tenth.

Beckman says the north wing is 15th.

Lionel Beckman, the art historian?!

Yeah.

Have you read his book:

"Twelfth-Century Ivory Miniatures'? It's wonderful!

No, I haven't.

That's right, don't tell him anythin'.

If you will throw me your flute, I will fix it for you.

I studied under Mayerhorn.

He's a good man.

He's liable to toss back a grenade.

Never trust a Kraut.

I'm not trusting a Kraut.

I'm trusting a colleague.

Suppose a high-ranking officer came and asked what you did with the flute.

What would you tell him?

The stops were not smooth. Now listen:

(FLUTE PLAYS 'BRAHMS' LULLABY" AT PERFECT PITCH)

(GUNSHOT)

What did you do that for?

That's what we do for a living, Lieutenant.


What were these old tunnels built for, Beckman?

Escape.

One branch there comes out behind Maldorais. The swamp.

This one goes under the moat to the northeast.

Toward the German lines.

You're a collector, Beckman.

I try to be selective, sir.

Suppose you were without an education.

I'd probably collect... old string, newspapers.

Fallen women.

Don't judge her, Beckman. She's not a work of art.

Hey.

-You guys hear somethin'? -Probably a goldfish spawning.

I hate myself for doing this.

I'll come back after the war and salvage it.


-What do we do? -Keep our heads.

Volkswagen can't swim. It's just showing off.

It's still showing off.

Look, if we put a bullet right below the water line, it'll sink.

Put one below the water line.

-Jesus Christ, reverend, it's still alive. -Gimme that.

Whoa. It won't do any good. We're dealing with something supernatural, here.

Hey. My Volkswagen!

They're drowning her.

Through there. It's faster.

Damn!

I didn't know there's a stair here.

Probably a goldfish... spawning.

(VOLKSWAGEN ENGINE STARTING)

(ENGINE REVVING)

(CAR HORN HONKING)

FALCONER: What are you gentlemen doing down there?

Simplistic, Lieutenant. Play it real simplistic.

-What's that? -Tell him we're not here.

FALCONER: Who's that with you, It. Amber jack?

Private first class Alistair P. Benjamin, sir.

-What does the 'P' stand for? -Pearsall, sir.

Have you gentlemen been drinking?

We stopped off at the Red Queen to look for infiltrators, sir.

I want you boys to go home and sleep it off.

Will you see that Pvt. Benjamin gets to bed, It. Amber jack?

Yes, sir.

Will you see that the Lieutenant is taken to his quarters, -Private Alistair P. Benjamin? -Yes, sir.

-Sir, I have a report to make. -Keep it simplistic.

FALCONER: Yes?

There are three Puerto Ricans at the Red Queen's.

-New girls? -No, sir. All soldiers.

That's a very succinct report, Lieutenant Amber jack. Good night.

I haven't finished my report yet, sir.

Very well, Lieutenant, finish your report.

The Germans have broken through in the Ardennes.

Good night, gentlemen.

-Good night, sir. -Good night, sir.

COUNT: The castle is strong. It has never failed.

No.

No, and you've never failed the castle, not in 1,000 years.

But the end of a castle must come. Civilisation.

Falconer will try to stop the army of the Nazis right here if it costs a castle.

What's one castle?

Major Falconer is mad.

He looks like a buffalo, doesn't he?

Well, they've been close to extinct for a long time.

He could be extinct.

He fights that way, out of a kind of desperate doom.

And I wonder who is mad?

Major Falconer has the war on his side.

And we have history. We have the truth, Captain.

The beauty.

How many guns does truth have?

How many troops, mortars, grenades, anti-tank weapons?

When does beauty fight?

And who the hell wants history on his side?

Or going today, Captain?

We could sit here sipping wine through the whole war and win it with words.

If the situation called for bravery, I would be brave.

I am the bravest man I ever knew.

And yet...

I've never committed what you would call a brave act.

And what wars have you won?

Therese is pregnant.

We are going to have a child.

My home is a ranch on the slopes of the Jemez Mountains.

Where you can see everything.

Almost 100 miles.

It's a country of red and white mesas, sharp arroyos, and mountain meadows that roll all the way home.

It's a country of mud houses and hogans and tents of the Apaches.

And sky that goes straight up blue for a million miles.

It's a country where you see and feel so far you think you've seen and felt everything.

Then they start a war and you come to another planet to end it.

And you see all these castles.

-What's that? -What?

A plane?

Shh. Listen.

THERESE: Don't do it.

FALCONER: Don't do it?

THERESE: Don't defend the castle.

You mean you want to save it too.

I want to save you.

You wanna save me and you wanna save the castle.

I want to save you.

Thank you.

Thank you very much.

-(SOUND OF A PLANE ENGINE OVERHEAD) (KNOCKING)

-FALCONER: Beckman? -Yes, sir?

Go up on the roof. Man the .50 calibre machine gun and shoot that bastard down.

-Anything more, sir? -Yes, I'll be up when I'm dressed.

-Beckman? -Yes, sir.

Do I have to take you by the hand and lead you on the roof?

-No, sir, but I was thinking... -Don't think.

Yes, sir?

Get your ass up on the roof.

(RAPID MACHINE GUN FIRE)

(RUNNING FOOTSTEPS APPROACHING)

FALCONER: You're low, Beckman. Bring her up.

You're not leading, Beckman. Lead 10 yards.

Ignore it, Beckman. Get the engine.


Perfect, Beckman. Perfect.

You did a beautiful job, Beckman. Beautiful.

Thank you, Major. I still don't think we should defend... destroy the castle.

I warned you about thinking, Beckman.

Yes, Major. Yes, you did.

What do you see out there, Beckman?

-No Krauts yet, sir. -You never will.

You're a dreamer, Beckman. They'll get you first.

Take care of your arm. I'll see you in the chapel. Every man.

Very good, sir.

I want you to set up in town. Hold.

Do what damage you can to the German lead elements

-and before you're cut off, fall back. -Fall back where, sir?

Right here, gentlemen. We'll pull up the drawbridge.

Yeah. That'll drive the Germans crazy.

Give my compliments to the baker's wife. Tell Sgt. Rossi to re-enlist.

Sir, what happened to that division on the ridge?

They're in town, Clearboy.

But they're not holding.

If I can pick up stragglers from the retreat they can help to defend the castle.

-They say we have no vehicle at the castle. -BECKMAN: That's correct, sir.

-FALCONER: Catch me a horse. -BECKMAN: "My castle for a horse."

-FALCONER: What's that, Beckman? -BECKMAN: Nothing, sir.

FALCONER: Catch me a horse.

(SHELLS EXPLODING)

(RETREATING TROOPS SINGING)

(JEEP HORN HONKING)

(SHELLING CONTINUES)

We're gonna try to hold it.

Hold this.

It seems to me that with the front collapsing you could

-think of something else to do. -There's plenty to do.

I want to give you an order.

Yes, sir.

I'd like a piece of bread.

I've got no place to go. No place to retreat to.

(INCOMING SHELL WHISTLING)

(SCREAMING)

You give me ten of your best men, I can hold this whorehouse.

You want the day's communiqué to read: "the whorehouse is ours"?

Commands the town.

I haven't got ten men. We got us four.

We're trying to stop the German army with a cowboy, an Indian...

...a book.

-The book bother you, Sergeant? -Yes, sir. It does, sir.

What the hell happened to you, reverend?

-German tanks will be here any minute. -We better have a drink.

-Or is it; "the most reverend"? -The very most.

We should state the things of this world with precision.

-What's wrong? -I'm okay.

-Did you hear a bird cry? -No.

ROSSI: Jesus! I see a buffalo riding a horse!

Looking at us from on top of that white horse.

Looking at me, Billy Byron Bix, who knows the Word.

Billy Byron Bix, who is not a fornicator.

Who is not up on a white horse.

That man on the white horse wants to protect his castle.

Wants to protect his fornication. I have the Word! The Word...

I was born again, born with the Word.

They think that I'm a chaplain!

They think I'm still Billy Byron Bix, the Lieutenant from...

-Where to, soldier? -Following my Captain, sir.

-Your Captain's dead. -Yes, sir. He's up ahead.

They don't know that I have been reborn again!

The prophet and the...

-Where's your outfit, Lieutenant? -Where is everybody else, sir?

Go to that drugstore. The one right behind you.

Wait for me. The one with the red bottle in the window.

-The red bottle. -Yes. We've got a castle here to defend.

-Red bottle and wait. Thank you, sir. -That's right.

They want their Sodom and Gomorrah!

-This your horse? -Yes, Lieutenant. Now do as I say.

You got a castle and a white horse, and you want me to do as you say?

Yes, general.

The man on the white horse, my enemy, he has lost the war!

Yet he is unafraid!

And he has something too! It is not the Word!

But he has something.

Bonjour, Monsieur Honey.

-Bring the girls over here. -Pourquoi?

Clearboy, see if you can drum up a jerrycan of gasoline.

-Anything else, sir? -Yes. Make it back.

When the German tanks get here, we'll have a reception.

They're brave sons of bitches and we should not allow their heroic actions to go unsung.

-They should all have a cocktail. -Cocktail?

-Cognac bottles filled with gasoline. -Who will the damage pay?

I will the damage pay. -But you will away go.

Fine. We'll blow the café. We'll put it out in the street.

That'll stop the Germans for a while.

Okay. I'll help. Venez, venez, girls.

The Corporal will come back with gasoline. Fill each bottle, then cork it.

Tie a wick around the neck just like this.

Then get your make-up on so the Germans can see how beautiful you are.

Go up to the balcony, light this. Drop it.

When it hits the tank, the war will end.

No, Monsieur Major honey. The war, it will begin.

And the woman was arrayed in scarlet colours and decked in gold!

And then across her forehead was written:

"Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots!"

-You need help. -We've come to save.

Come back to the castle, there's protection there.

Germans will shoot you, you'll make lousy prisoners.

It's too late for that.

Did you think about all that while you were sinning?

-I've got a job for you. -I'm sorry, Major.

You don't have to be sorry because you're gonna do it.

-Are you threatening me, sir? -I'm simply gonna blow your brains out

-if you don't follow orders. -What orders?

Those people are in shock, they'll follow something.

A group, a noise. That tambourine, a drum.

Now, sing something, play something. Lead them to the castle.

I'll do it under protest.

I don't care how the hell you do it, you just do it.

-"Shall We Gather at the River"? -That's fine.

♪ Shall we gather at the river? ♪ Louder!

♪ Where bright angel's feet have trod ♪

♪ With its crystal tide forever ♪

♪ Flowing by the throne of God ♪ BIX: Yes, you're going up the gangplank to home.

Your castle, your ship, has arrived!

There stands all that hope rising up to infinity and all the beauty, all that love and hope and surcease!

It's all in the book, all writ in the book!

And the end too. Remember the ending?

That terrible ending?

That's all in the book!

I'll see you gentlemen at the castle.

Gentlemen, what are you doing?

We'd like some bread.

Bread?

Elk and I have a plan to end the war.

-What's that? -Win it.

It's been tried before.

Winning wars is for children, Generals and recruits. Get over that.

Settle for a meal, for a drink, a lay, a house, a castle, a horse.

We thought we'd bring the Major a German tank on our shield.

What are we, in the Middle Ages?

Is Major Falconer some knight with a flower in his ass?

Sorry, reverend.

Cut it out, Sergeant.

He's a soldier. He looks like a buffalo.

But we can't let him try it alone.

No man alone.

None of us a goddamn island. I know the bit.

Who's gonna take care of the bakery?

You're entitled to one day off for the war, Rossi.

Don't you wanna end the war, Sergeant?

I tried it. When I landed in North Africa, I was gonna win the war that day.

All through Normandy it was gonna be the next day, the next week.

At the Siegfried line I figured: "All right, maybe it'll take me a year."

When I saw it running into centuries, I came here and started a small family and a reasonable business.

End the war.

Game, Rossi?

How you gonna take a tank away from the Germans? It's theirs.

Bazooka.

Aim for hitting a track. They bounce off the Armour.

-You game, Rossi? -Yes, but I'm not crazy.

Screw the castle. I've got a better idea.

My idea is that we stay here and pass out bread to both sides.

We can't do that, Rossi, it would upset the whole war.

Furthermore... furthermore... we had our idea first.

Are you ordering me into a German tank?

No. Just give us some more bread.

Bread, bread, bread! Bread is for people that wanna live.

No bread?

Then we'll count you out.

Did you hear a scream? No.

Like a woman. Or an eagle.

Or a world coming to an end.

Everything I've never heard.

Nothing.

I don't wanna be alone. -Then we'll count you in?

Yeah. We'll shove the castle up their ass.

Tell the Major, the cowboy, that knight... tell the buffalo to deal me in.

Let's get a bazooka.

It was so quiet around here.

And business was so good.

You think she'll throw the cocktails?

There's been a lot of sentimental junk wrote about whores.

But they're just plain defeated women.


WOMEN: Allo! Allo! Oooh! Hello!


Those defeated women are serving cocktails!


"He leadeth me beside still waters.

"And though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death

"I shall fear no evil, for thou art with me."

Are you finished with it?

"And surely

"goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life."

Fire at the son of a bitch!

I'll be back, Suzanna, baby, honey-screw.

While I win the war, you make the bread.

Save the cat.

Punch David.

DE VACA: Why they sent us to this castle in the first place?

AMBERJACK: Because we're...

we're the kind of soldiers who would defend a meaningless castle.

Maybe we oughta check out that second panther.

CLEARBOY: It's in church.

-I'm gonna make a run for that cellar. -Okay.

When they start firing at me, you fire at them.

Yes, Sergeant.

-Then follow me. -Okay.

Thank God we got rid of him.


Two... three...

We'll run this tank right up Major Falconer's drawbridge.

What's so hard about operating a tank?

I used to run a tractor for years.

Why don't we take him one of our own abandoned tanks?

Theirs are better.

I believe, sir, if we don't get out of this church, we're gonna be dead of carbon monoxide.

If we get caught, can they shoot us for wearing a German tank?

This holding action is over! Pull back to the castle!

Red Queen!

You're the only Red Queen... in the world!


(FOOTSTEPS ECHO)


You are with them now.

They planned this war... because there was something they hadn't yet smashed.

The enemy's neither side.

To them, the enemy's something in between.

They don't want to destroy each other, they want to finish us.

Who are we, Henri?

We are the keepers.


Why, Captain Beckman?

Why?

To stop the tanks.

But I had counted on you.

They'll grow back in 50 years.

Captain Beckman, you are a traitor.


-What's wrong, Beckman? -Everything. It'll all be destroyed, sir.

-Will it, Beckman? -Europe is dying.

No, Beckman, she's dead. That's why we're here.

Don't you read the newspapers?

-See anything, sir? -Paths of glory.

We're fighting a war in a garden.

Cowboy?

Here.

When it's over, I'm gonna give up punching cows and buy a gas station and water the goddamn gas.

That's good, Corporal Clearboy.

Now, move on up into position.

-Sergeant de Vaca. -Sir?

I think that mortar would be better off up on the battlement.

Lieutenant Amber jack, that's good enough.

Private Benjamin, put your book away.


Don't fire on the first rush. Wait till they hit the wire.

-I'm gonna go up on top to have a look. -Check the Duke.

-He's harmless. -No. He's not gonna let this happen.

I see, Beckman. The Duke will have the Germans build a wooden horse.

We'll be so curious we'll bring it in the castle.

At night the Duke will let the Germans out and they'll conquer the castle.

And the castle will not be destroyed by the battle.


FALCONER: Private Benjamin, up here.


Wait.

Wait.

Now.

Drop two-zero.


-You leave your position to tell me this? -He'll do it, sir.

There's no wooden horse but he knows that passage under the German lines.

We'll blow the passageway.

Let the water from the moat into the cellar.

That's where I hid the Corots, two Fragonards, Delacroix...

Fine. We'll let the Germans take us. We'll let them take everything.

But we'll save your paintings. Great, Captain Beckman, great.

There'll be no more private wars, Captain Beckman.

Private wars are over. You lost yours. That's how that one ended.

Attach the detonating wires to the blast charges in the passageway.

You'll find the detonator box inside, under the main entrance.

THERESE: You wanted to save the castle.

Yes.

Where is Major Falconer?

Probably throwing rocks at the Germans.

Kicking their teeth in as they come over the hedgerows.

Staring 'em down with his one eye.

Preparing vats of boiling oil to pour down on the Huns.

The Duke is being helpful. He's delaying the fight.

He's going to give us a bunch of Germans in the passageway.

-He won't be with them? -They don't trust him.

-Therese, I want you to... -No.

I won't leave.

Everything is here.

-You are here. -Private Benjamin.

Stay. But you'll have to watch with these.

The Germans will enter the passageway by that motte of woods.

I want you to count to about 50 and then signal Captain Beckman.

Captain Beckman will blow the passageway, Therese.

I know.

Let me see you.

Private Benjamin.

-Right here, sir. -Come with me.

(SOUND OF TANKS APPROACHING)

Diesels.


Nineteen.


Elk!

You goddamn Indian!

I knew all along the war would never end.


CLEARBOY: Rossi, you got any bread?

The best.

They let the drawbridge up.

I can't see. There's too much smoke.

You don't shave, do you, Alistair?

No, sir. I don't have to yet.

Alistair, you're gonna come out all right.

-Do you still have your little book? -Yes, sir.

You can finish it.

-That's what you are, isn't it? A writer? -Yes, sir.

Then you must have imagination, insight.

But you don't have a weapon. Where's your gun?

Here, sir.

When it's all over, I want you to get her out.

Take her through the passageway.

The one that comes out at the swamp. There are boats.

They're getting ready to attack again.

They're regrouping behind that statue of the naked woman.

You see it, Alistair?

Yes, sir. It's beautiful, isn't she?

They'll try to come through the rose garden.

Clearboy, Amber jack and Rossi are holding.

-Hold my ass! -Or we can swim the moat.

The moat? What the hell war is this?

-I can't swim. -What the hell war is this?

Beckman, get de Vaca.

-We're screwed. I got a plan.

-Jesus. -My plan is take my Volkswagen, drive it back to the Red Queen's and buy her a drink.

-We could go back to the bakery. -The bar.

I got a family there.

-Jesus, it's hot. -Where's EIK?

Listen, battles are lost because people get excited.

There's one way to calm the situation down: go to bed with a woman.

Afterwards, I'll be able to concentrate.

Did it ever occur to you gentlemen there's a war on?

Easy, Lieutenant. I'll take care of everything.

I've already told Alistair how to write a book

-and Beckman where to hide a statue. -Where's Elk?

Now I've gotta tell Falconer how to win a war.

You're hit again, Clearboy.

You better get back to the castle.

Go down that column of roses and across the moat.

-Yes, sir. -Can you make her?

No. I can't swim, sir.

Can you, Rossi?

If I have to.

Look, I'll swim the moat, drop the drawbridge, you dash in.

We'll cover you.

Keep your helmet on so the Americans in the castle can see you're one of us.

Get going.

-Take the bread. -All right, get going.

One thing, Lieutenant...

If I were to get badly hurt or even killed, what would the report say?

Would the bastard say: "Killed crossing a moat"?

You won't get killed.

The report will say you took a castle.

To get some wine for the bread.

Clearboy, in minutes now, Rossi will swim the moat.

He'll scale the chain, lower the drawbridge and we'll cross it to safety.

The castle's rescued us. Right?

If it'll make you feel any better, Lieutenant.

I don't need a lot of your crap, Clearboy.

Very well, Lieutenant.

(EXHALES DEEPLY)

-Does it hurt real bad? -Yes, sir.

It should just be a minute now.

Lieutenant, they tell me you're a goddamn preacher.

Don't talk.

They tell me you're a preacher.

Tell me a story about a castle.

Keep your eyes open.

Jesus.

I'm pretty bad, aren't I?

Yes, you are.

Did I talk bad?

Yeah, you did.

We're doing lousy, aren't we?

Where's all my buddies?

Where's Rossi? Elk?

De Vaca? Where's Benjamin?

As long as the band's playing, I wanna play.

Easy. You'll be more comfortable lying down.

-On the bench. I don't think you can stay on it.

There'll be plenty to eat in the castle.

And drink.

And the Duke's young wife will be there too.

She's his sister, actually.

(LAUGHS) The French.

Egyptians used to do it too.

-Cleopatra slept with her brother. -Did she?

You ain't using obscene language anymore, Clearboy.

What's wrong?

I'm tired.

Well, we'll have you asleep in a nice, warm bed in the castle.

It'll be very nice.

Thanks, Lieutenant.

I think I hear Rossi swimming.

Do you hear him swimming, Clearboy?

He swims beautifully, doesn't he?

He must have got up the wall when we weren't looking.

Soon he'll drop the bridge.

-Will you feel strong enough to make it? -Sure.

I've always followed you...

Haven't I, Lieutenant?

There goes the bridge.

We're home.

Follow me, Clearboy.

BENJAMIN: They both got up in the forest of dead roses and moved toward the stricken castle.

They walked and staggered fine formation to the moat.

The water was cool and clear, blue.

They swam beautifully across the cold moat.

They entered the castle and marched up the wide marble stairs clear to the high alone turret on top where they could see all the way home.

It. Amber jack, Sgt. Rossi and Cpl. Clearboy all dead in the rose garden, sir.

Now we can raise the drawbridge.


"Hang out banners on the outside walls!

"And the cry is still " They come!'

"Our castle's strength will laugh a siege to scorn.” Get Beckman.

-You come to reinforce the castle? -Yes, sir. Yes, sir.

You behave yourself, sir.


-Private Benjamin. -Yes, sir?

Get the rest of that gasoline in the moat right away.

Bring me some more ammunition. Probably better if you keep busy.

(SIRENS WAILING, APPROACHING)

Benjamin!

Can they do this, sir?

They're doing it, Beckman.

(FIRE ENGINE SIREN)

(SIREN CEASES)

-Benjamin! -Sir!

Look for her.

In the chapel.

-Isn't that where you said, Beckman? -When I took de Vaca down, she was.

-I want you to get out too, Beckman. -I can't.

-How do you feel? -I feel all right, sir.

There's only something wrong with my legs. They won't move.

(FIRE ENGINE BELLS RINGING)

-Where's Alistair? -Here, sir.

We can hold till you make it down the stairs.

Sir, we could all make it down through the passageway.

No, we can't. Beckman and I are hit.

-Sure you can't make it out, Beckman? -I'm certain, sir.

Alistair Pearsall Benjamin.

Major Falconer?

-Get going. -Captain Beckman?

Get going.

No! No!


How you doing, Beckman?

Keeping busy, sir.


BENJAMIN: 'Castle Keep' by Alistair P. Benjamin.

Once upon a time, eight walking wounded misfits...