On BLACK SCREEN:
MAY 9TH 1940:
HITLER HAS INVADED CZECHOSLOVAKIA, POLAND,
DENMARK, AND NORWAY. HE IS NOW POISED TO CONQUER THE REST OF
IN BRITAIN, PARLIAMENT HAS LOST FAITH IN ITS LEADER, NEVILLE
THE SEARCH FOR A REPLACEMENT HAS ALREADY BEGUN…
INT. HOUSE OF COMMONS CHAMBER - DAY
...is in an uproar. The PRIME MINISTER, NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN
(71), sits with the MAJORITY, RULING CONSERVATIVE PARTY onone side of the house...
...whilst the LEADER of the MINORITY, OPPOSITION LABOUR
PARTY, CLEMENT ATTLEE (57) sits with the OPPOSITION PARTIESon the other side.
They face each other like two warring armies. Shouting.
Accusations. Wild gesturing. Paper darts thrown. Mayhem.
MAY 9, 1940
ATTLEE rises to his feet, amid jeers and heckles, to denounceCHAMBERLAIN, directly opposite him across the aisle
Mr Speaker! Mr Speaker!
The Honourable Leader of the
Opposition, Clement Attlee!
Mr Speaker--Mr Speaker--it seems I
have not been clear enough. Thenlet me leave no doubt regarding myfeelings about Mr Chamberlain’s
future as Prime Minister.
(over boos and applause)
Owing to his years of inactivityand incompetence -
(cheers and boos)
-we find him personallyresponsible, personally responsiblefor leaving our nation ruinouslyunprepared to face the present Naziperil. We are at war, Mr Speaker.
At war. And leaving aside whetherhe is fit to be a leader in peacetime
he has proven himselfincapable of leading us in wartime.
Cries of support to this -
Looking down from the LORDS GALLERY is - VISCOUNT HALIFAX(59), appalled by what he is seeing. He exchanges a look withthe bereft CHAMBERLAIN.
Therefore, in the national
interest, we the Opposition, arewilling to enter into a GrandCoalition--with the “ruling”
Conservative Party, so-called!...
An OPPOSITION MP stands and starts singing "Rule Britannia".
Others soon begin to join in.
...but not, and I stress this,
never, under the leadership of MrChamberlain...
(angle on CHAMBERLAIN)
...who has lost the confidence of
A REBEL CONSERVATIVE MEMBER rises and crosses the floor to
stand with the OPPOSITION MPs, betraying Chamberlain.
(directly to CHAMBERLAIN)
In the country’s interest man,
resign! Step down! And let usfind a new leader!
UPROAR, and many cry “HEAR-HEAR!” and “GO!”
I said, ORDER!
The camera passes along the CONSERVATIVE benches to findANTHONY EDEN (43), behind him sits KINGSLEY WOOD (59).
(into EDEN’s ear)
On the bench beside EDEN, as if to reserve a space, is an oldRoyal Naval Yacht Club CAP.
Ensuring his fingerprintsare not on the murder weapon.
The singing of “Rule Britannia” continues over -
INT. DINING ROOM/ SIR JOHN SIMON’S COUNTRY HOUSE - NIGHT
NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN addresses the other CONSERVATIVE guestsgathered around a circular dining table.
resign as Prime Minister.
GREAT FEAR in the faces of the NOBLES. CUT BETWEEN their
FACES, during the following -
As the Opposition refuse to join agovernment headed by me, we mustselect my successor.
I will step down tomorrow but Iwanted my own party, the gentlemenI most respect, to know first.
Halifax. There’s no question!
Our Foreign Secretary -
SIR JOHN SIMON:
No contest! HALIFAX
I appreciate your confidence but mytime has yet to come. However, onwhomever the task may fall, heshall be charged with the securityof these islands and of our Empire,
and shall be required to exploreall avenues.