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The Highwayman
Short screenplay of the classic poem The Highwayman.
[813 words]
Durfee's Student
[October 2006]
Untitled About Bugs (Short Stories) World from the perspective of another. Title suggestions appreciated! I can print the 2nd part if anyone likes it. [1,706 words] [Animal]
The Highwayman
Durfee's Student

Inn in the countryside; 1770's
ES: Lonely road, Dusk or night

Hoofbeats in distance, horseman appears in distance. HA of HIGHWAYMAN riding into innyard, stopping under window. MS of BESS opening window and looking down. She smiles.

    I came back, as I promised, fairest. Not even the King's men could stop me.
MS TIM, back to wall, listening in around corner. HIGHWAYMAN gives BESS a rose, which she slides into her braid as she speaks. Head shot of BESS.

        You have kept me waiting too long. When will you come for me?

 I have had much to do, and yet one more thing must be accomplished. But tomorrow, tomorrow, be ready, and listen for me. At midnight I will come, and we shall ride
    away, and be wed far off to live peacefully, without fear of soldiers.

CS of TIM, crouching in shadows, horrified and angry. ECU of clenched fist.

          Now ride, and be safe, and I will watch for you at midnight.

HIGHWAYMAN throws a kiss, gallops off. BESS sighs, shuts window softly. FS TIM,
pacing in the shadows muttering about BESS and HIGHWAYMAN. Kicks bucket over, curses. Suddenly looks up with the air of a man who has an idea, twisted smile.
ECU of TIM's eyes, with manic look. He laughs madly.

ES: Soldiers march up to inn door,afternoon

SOLDIERS drinking, laughing, as confused INNKEEPER is forced to serve them. TIM slinks in, whispers to SOLDIER.

   Ah, don't worry, we'll get the fleabitten scum, he don't stand a chance.

Head shot BESS looking out window at setting sun. Banging outside door and
SOLDIERS stumble in, grabbing her and tying her to foot of bed, propping musket by her side.

      Now, you be a good girl and keep watch, so we don't miss him.

SOLDIERS sit by window.

Shot of moon. MS BESS, fidgeting with her hands. SOLDIER stirs, she freezes. Carefully, she starts straining again. Head shot to tilt down to CU of her hands,
a drop of blood trickles down her wrist. ECU of her fingers stretching, finally touching the trigger. She slowly wraps finger around it and stops moving.
Shot of road. Hoofbeats in distance. Head shot BESS, ECU of her wide eyes. She trembles. Head shot TIM, ear to window, panting excitedly. SOLDIERS slowly bring muskets up to window. Side view of SOLDIER's face and barrel of gun as he takes
aim. TIM holds breath, shot rings out. TIM throws stable door open and runs out. He sees HIGHWAYMAN galloping away. TIM shrieks and kicks wall- starts hopping around clutching foot, howling in pain.

ES: small pub, morning

HIGHWAYMAN walks in and slumps on a chair in the corner. Two men nearby talk over their drinks.
                                  MAN 1:
           Did you hear about the happenings over at the ole inn?
                                  MAN 2:
                 (hoarsely, with an unrefined country accent)
  Yeah, some redcoats tried to catch the highwayman, but he escaped, bless him!
                                  MAN 1:
           Sure, but that in't half o' it. Ye know the man's daughter?

                                  MAN 2:
       BESS? O' course, she's the lovliest thing 'tween here and Boston!

HIGHWAYMAN raises his head and listens intently at mention of BESS.

                                  MAN 1:
      That she is, but last night when those redcoats came, they tied 'er up with
a gun at 'er side. Well, rumor has she loves the HIGHWAYMAN, so 'stead o' letting
the redcoats take her beloved, she warned him with a shot- an' it cost 'er her
life. She shot 'erself to save him.

                                 MAN 2:
      Those English cowards, they're filthy scumbags, the lot o' 'em!

During VO, HIGHWAYMAN listens to the men. Starting at "they tied her..." camera zooms slowly on his face, finally ending at his eyes at "she shot herself..."
MAN 2's sentence fades into silence in the background.

MS of HIGHWAYMAN urging horse on. He rides almost up to inn yard. SOLDIERS in inn yard run up and take aim. LA HIGHWAYMAN raising rapier, snarling. Shot of bird sitting in branch, gunshot rings out, bird takes flight. HIGHWAYMAN lands with a thud on the dirt road. SOLDIER turns him over with foot. Camera stays on the HIGHWAYMAN, who has glazed eyes and dead look.

    He's dead. That's one more stinkin' rebel off our hands. Let's go, boys.

SOLDIER kicks HIGHWAYMAN into ditch. Far away shot of BESS's funeral. Shot of HIGHWAYMAN lying in the ditch, forgotten.

                                MAN 1:
Ye know, there's some 'as say that if you listen carefully, or look out over the roads and fields at dusk, you can hear hoofbeats, or see those lovers riding together off into the distance. And even ye can hear them laughing together, in their own peaceful, happy world, where they don't need to fear or hide.

During VO, sepia shots of ghostly couple in distance, or echoing hoofbeats. Last shot CU of hands twing together, a rose laced into their fingers. Fade out.



"fantastic screenplay of the highwayman! it will really help me when i am teaching this! thank you :D" -- student, uk, uk, uk.


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© 2007 Durfee's Student
May 2007

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