Sounder script
Sounder (1972)
Synopsis: Sounder is a 1972 DeLuxe Color drama film in Panavision directed by Martin Ritt and starring Cicely Tyson, Paul Winfield, and Kevin Hooks. The film was adapted by Lonne Elder III from the 1970 Newbery Medal-winning novel Sounder by William H. Armstrong.

FADE IN:

Before titles.

EXT. HUNTING WOODS - LANDSDOWN COUNTY - NIGHT

It is a clear but cold Autumn night at some time in the nineteen thirties. The

Landsdown Woods are an assortment of various elements of nature: quiet water

streams, rushing rivers, heavy brushland, small trees, and the more dominant,

great tall pines. NATHAN LEE MORGAN, a Black man in his late thirties or

early forties, treks deep into the woods with his eleven year old son, DAVID

LEE, and his hound dog, SOUNDER. NATHAN LEE is a well built, strong manner of

a man with a deliberate and quiet manner - DAVID LEE, like his father is tall

and strong with big, bright active eyes. SOUNDER, their hound dog, is a

mixture of red-bone hound and bulldog, with great square jaws.

TITLES BEGIN:

NATHAN LEE carries an old rifle, and a burlap sack thrown across his shoulder

-- DAVID LEE walks with a lantern as SOUNDER tracks ahead of them. They keep

moving until they come upon a quiet river stream --

EXT. RIVER STREAM - NIGHT

They walk along the edges of the river, with deliberation. It is obvious that

they have walked this route many times. They reach a cut-off point and circle

back into the woods, and pick up a pathway --

EXT. PATHWAY - NIGHT

They pick up speed in close approach to a weeded area and stop. DAVID looks

about in disappointment. SOUNDER scratches the earth -- NATHAN looks out into

the darkness with a nagging expression on his face --

TITLES INTERRUPTED

DAVID LEE:

There ain't no possums in this woods tonight,

Daddy.

NATHAN LEE:

Looks that way, son. Guess the cold done drove

most of 'em down to the big water country --

but if there's one left out here -- we gotta

find him.

DAVID LEE:

It's cold, Daddy!

NATHAN LEE:

Here, put my jacket over you.

NATHAN takes his jacket off and drapes it over the boy's frame as SOUNDER

begins to scratch and whine with intensity. He moves to stand over the dog.

NATHAN LEE:

You all right, boy?

Suddenly SOUNDER's voice lets out and he breaks away in a burst of speed.

NATHAN and DAVID react quickly and take up the chase behind him.

TITLES BEGIN AGAIN

As SOUNDER makes his way through the woods -- NATHAN and DAVID rush behind

him, following the great unique sound of the dog's voice. It is a sound that

bounces -- soulful, louder and clearer than any purebred redbone. It is

spaced with precision, bouncing from slope to slope like a rubber ball,

filling up the night with music as though the branches of all the trees were

being pulled across silver strings.

EXT. THE BASE OF THE TREE WHERE THE POSSUM HAS TAKEN REFUGE - NIGHT

SOUNDER arrives and makes a leap to climb the tree as NATHAN and DAVID rush

on to the scene. NATHAN looks up and points to the spot where the possum is.

He puts his rifle down near him, and DAVID assists him in the shaking of the

tree as SOUNDER makes his leaps upward to the rhythm of the sound coming from

his voice. The possum gives way to the force and falls to the ground. SOUNDER

charges for the animal -- NATHAN quickly picks up his rifle and aims for the

animal. He fires into blank darkness and misses. The possum recovers from the

fall and scampers into thick brushland, with SOUNDER in close pursuit.

EXT. THE AREA OF THE THICK BRUSHLAND - NIGHT

SOUNDER cannot overcome the briar thickness of the brushland -- but the

possum with his smaller size manages to elude the dog.

EXT. THE EDGES OF THE BRUSHLAND AREA - NIGHT

SOUNDER comes out of the brush area, whining in frustration as NATHAN and

DAVID approach him. NATHAN immediately realizes that the possum has gotten

away.

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Lonne Elder III

Lonne Elder III (December 26, 1927 – June 11, 1996) was an American actor, playwright and screenwriter. Elder was one of the leading African American figures who aggressively informed the New York theater world with social and political consciousness. He also wrote scripts for television and film. His most well known play, Ceremonies in Dark Old Men won him a Drama Desk Award for Most Promising Playwright and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. The play, which was about a Harlem barber and his family, was produced by the Negro Ensemble Company in 1969. more…

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"Sounder" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 18 Nov. 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/sounder_936>.

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