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Script Viking Script Evaluation Form

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

 

TITLE:  The Myrtle and The Rose

AKA:

AUTHOR:  Annie Messina

FORMAT:  NV

PUBLISHER: 

PUB DATE: 

BASED ON: 

BY: 

x

Feature

MOW 

Treatment

Mini-Series

Bible for Reality-based Series

Bible for TV Dramatic or Comedy Series

Documentary

Shorts

Foreign Feature

 

 

PROJECT NUMBER:  207

SUBMITTED TO:  Script Viking

DATE:  12/1/2001

PAGES:  174

SUBMITTED BY: Annie Messina, Author

TRANSLATED BY: 

EVALUATOR:  John D.

 

 

 

CIRCA:  1000 AD

GENRE:  Arabian Adventure

LOCALE:  Great Islamic Empire

ELEMENTS:

STATUS:

APPROX. BUDGET:  $25-30 million

 

 

 

x

 Evaluated in original language

 Translated into English before evaluated

 

 

DATE DUE:  12/31/01

DATE RETURNED:  1/5/02

PREMISE:  A great and courageous prince rescues an ethereal young white slave boy from being castrated and falls completely in love despite his lifelong heterosexuality.  The mysterious youth, who never remembers his own history, stays at his beloved’s side through many adventures and battles until they both jump off a legendary mountain precipice together so they will remain together for eternity.

COMMENTS:  Very unusual homoerotic novel is told in a sweeping, poetic manner.  While extremely well written and very enjoyable, story would be difficult sell to a mainstream audience and probably as difficult to translate correctly to film.  Story could succeed if done properly and could be sold to niche, foreign and arthouse markets.

PROJECT RECOMMENDATION (Recommend/Consider/Pass):  Pass

WRITER RECOMMENDATION (Recommend/Consider/Pass):  Consider


 

Script Viking Script Evaluation Form – Ratings/Synopsis

   SCRIPT RATINGS for The Myrtle and The Rose

 

EXCELLENT

GOOD

FAIR

POOR

PREMISE

 

XX

 

 

STORYLINE

XX

 

 

 

STRUCTURE

 

XX

 

 

CHARACTERIZATION

XX

 

 

 

DIALOGUE

 

XX

 

 

WRITING ABILITY

XXX

 

 

 

STYLE

 

XX

 

 

FINANCIAL VIABILITY

 

 

XX

 

 

SYNOPSIS: 

Story opens on the slave market run by BUTROS ES-SHAMI in a small lowland town.  The great prince HAMID EL-GHAZI and his personal guard, including the commander HASSAN and superintendent IBRAHIM, had stopped there while out shopping for gold for the ladies back at the palace.  Hamid is presented as a virtuous man whose healthy sexual needs are well taken care of by the ladies of his harem, especially the new arrival LAILAH.  He is also described as a man of mixed blood with a dark complexion who stands almost seven feet tall.  The slave trader is frustrated because he really has nothing exceptional to sell at the moment and we learn that Hamid has been separated from his wife and only son HARAZAD for some time now.  The wife Shirin and the twenty-year-old son Harazad live in their own palace and lands, and Hamid considers buying a slave for them so as to keep up appearances.  Butros and Hamid’s discussion is interrupted by the sounds of a great struggle going on in the other room.

We learn that a young white slave boy is about to be castrated and has put up a great fight. 

Hamid asks to see the boy and is brought into the castrating room. There is an immediate bond between the two and the boy has eyes only for the handsome prince.  Hamid tells the boy that he will have to give himself over completely in trust and the boy eagerly begs to be tested on that count.  Hamid takes his razor sharp dagger and cuts the boy’s face from cheek to chin, but the boy remains motionless and then swoons.  Butros is in shock at the damaging of his property but Hamid orders that the boy be purchased.

We then meet the prince’s personal physician, a Chinese slave called EL-HAKIM.  He is described as the “true” father to Hamid because of the personal bond they enjoyed as compared to Hamid’s distant biological father. Hakim is summoned immediately to the prince’s apartments to tend to the ailing boy. Hakim orders the boy put to bed after being given a sleeping potion but

Hakim is unable to determine anything about Hawk’s past other than his obvious noble bearing and a starving need for love – from Hamid only.

We see Hawk recover and begin to grow to manhood.  His relationship with Hamid also becomes more matured and his childlike need begins to change to self-sufficiency.  There is a subplot involving the hiring (at Hawk’s insistence) of an abused and very streetwise slave boy names OMAR who becomes an assistant to El-Hakim and devoted friend to Hawk.  Climax of story involves Harazad and Hussein’s betrayal and attempted coup of Hamid.  The prince learns of the takeover plans (involving publicly humiliating slavery and elongated torture of Hamid and Hawk) from Omar and manages to keep himself, Hawk and his personal guard alive.  He also sneaks in and decapitates his son before escaping his occupied palace.  The loyal servants are sent though a secret mountain pass to safety and Hamid is completely bewildered because Hawk refuses to abandon the prince and flee to safety.  Hawk remembers the precipice and the two jump off the mountain – so as to be together always and never be at the mercy of cruelty – just as the emir’s men spot them from the bottom of the hill.

Script Viking Script Evaluation Form –
Script Critique

CRITIQUE for The Myrtle and The Rose:

This novel has the most unusual concept this reader has ever seen for filmic presentation consideration.  It reads like one of the more obscure tales of the Arabian Nights and it is very effectively told.  The unusual nature of the story (an all-consuming love between a fully-grown man and a twelve-year-old boy) is also its biggest detraction.  This kind of story, while presented respectfully and almost purely, is simply not going to go over big in places like the conservative Midwestern and Southeastern United States.  There probably is an interested audience for this story but the material would have to be handled with the utmost of care.  In the wake of the controversy surrounding the recent release of the remake of “Lolita” it should be assumed that no matter how sensitively handled many will call the story pornographic.

All of the characters come right out of the stereotype textbook with the only twist being the love between two males.  The characters are all well written and thoroughly enjoyable, and the antagonists do their proper work of making us empathize even more fully with the unlikely couple of heroes.  Character development is also as it should be and the growing love between Hamid and Hawk is the central relationship.  As the men’s love grows so is the plot further complicated by a cruel and vindictive world at large.

Once the main storyline is presented and the protagonists established then their future becomes the driving force and main suspense.  We want to see the two go on continually to higher and higher aspects of their deep bond but we know this thing will not last.  Though the story is set in the year 1000 AD the exact same thing would happen today, and there would be an even greater hue and cry over the strange but true relationship.  We know the two want nothing more from life than to be together and in the best of poetic traditions they commit to each other unto death.  Story is structured like a fable or fairy tale (pardon the pun) and it unfurls in a linear timeframe.  There is no flashback because exposition is usually explained in dialogue or by the omniscient narrator.  Once the oddness of the story has given way to plain old storytelling we are hooked and the journey is enjoyable – again, however, probably not for everybody.

The commercial appeal of this piece is entirely up to the creators brave (or stupid) enough to attempt such a fable.  There is a definite fringe, gay, arthouse and overseas audience for the story if it is done properly.  It would be very easy for this thing to become one of the campiest turkeys ever to be filmed, and at that it could still possibly succeed!  Generally this could be a true film curiosity akin to the silent film version of “Salome” that was entirely cast with gay folks.  Today it is regarded as high camp and it was apparently a bomb when released in the twenties.  If done with sensitivity the rich and oddly majestic story could be translated into an escapist gay Arabian tale a la Merchant and Ivory, or “Lawrence of Arabia” taken to a further extreme.

 

Script Viking Script Evaluation Form –
Writer Critique

CRITIQUE for Writer, Annie Messina:

Biggest find here is the very brave and talented female (!) writer who either heard the unusual story or, better yet, made the whole thing up and managed to craft a lovely and serious meditation on love and how it can spring up in the most unexpected places.

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