Destination: Golden Globes
The head of the studio has just called you to complain that they have totally exhausted every conceivable Jane Austen movie plot, and consequently need you to come up with a film script that centers upon another member of her extended family. Present a brief pitch for a new film about another member of her family that you feel could be a box office hit and a significant contender for motion picture awards. At the meeting, the group will vote on “Jannie” awards for the best drama, romance, and comedy.
FROM: Annie Ting Formoney (aka Margaret Harshbarger)
RE: Treatment for a new cheap movie as requested, incorporating JANE AUSTEN
Working Title: Sex and Violence on the High Seas: The Story of Charles Austen, brother of JANE AUSTEN
The scene opens with our hero, Charles, on board a sailing ship (one of those old, multi-masted jobs), watching the swabbing and floggings performed by sweat encrusted, naked-torso’d mates.
As his gaze shifts to the sky, the music swells for a flashback to a happy childhood with his beloved sister JANE AUSTEN. Suddenly, he is brutally ripped from her bosom and sent to HM Navy following in the footsteps of his older brother Frank. We watch our young hero as he learns the ropes (literally) and the subtleties of swabbing and flogging.
Flashback fades back to Charles and a frenzy of activity as an enemy ship appears. (All ship scenes can use stock footage for background and battle action (Mutiny of the Bounty, Master and Commander, etc.). After a satisfying scene of brutality and mayhem, the enemy ship is boarded and eventually sunk.
Scene shifts to Charles receiving his naval prize money and hurrying to buy topaz crosses for his sisters Cassandra and JANE AUSTEN.
Scene shifts to the high seas with land in sight. It is Bermuda, the island of Charles’ great love Harriet Palmer, where her father is the Great High Poo-Bah in Charge. On the way to see Harriet, Charles is driven by plantations with lots of evil slave labor (whips and stuff).
He and Harriet, after a steamy love scene, pledge their undying passion. Charles rushes off to her father to ask for her hand in marriage, but Harriet’s father is deaf and thinks Charles wants the older and plainer sister, Frances, and so gives his permission, glad to get her off his hands. When he realizes the mistake, Charles (having been taught manly honour by his sister JANE AUSTEN) rushes from the Governor’s Mansion and departs for a brothel in town to drown his sorrows. (We could have a Voodoo zombie scene here at the brothel, which would really vamp up the sex and violence. This would add 30 minutes to the film’s length. I leave the decision to the producers.)
Scene changes to a violent storm at sea (more stock footage). Charles’s wife is dying in childbirth. (Chance here for crashing waves and thunder corresponding to his wife’s screams and moans.) After a very affecting burial at sea (ten-hankie scene), our hero, who is now captain of the ship gives the command to make for Bermuda. (Swell of romantic music.)
Scene shifts to Charles and Harriet sailing into the sunset, which fades into a scene of JANE AUSTEN reading a letter from Charles, sobbing with joy.
I feel this movie would do well worldwide, as it will have the maximum of sex and violence. Also, it has the JANE AUSTEN cache and audiences will watch anything British. Viewers, especially in America and Australia, will eat it up. Trust me.