An IMAX 3-D production illustrating the history and adventurers that won and lost when seeking and finding diamonds, with locations in Africa, Egypt, India, Asia, France and England.  

                                 Peter Shillingford

                          ufindshill@btinternet.com 

"DIAMONDS ARE A GIRL'S BEST FRIEND"

by

Peter Shillingford

A completed script for an IMAX 3-D production follows after the synopsis.

Most Large Format productions have avoided the use of truly experienced actors; this project will employ such actors to play the many roles of our historical characters. They will open each scene and break the fourth wall by embracing the audience with a conspiratorial enlightenment as to who they are, which exotic location they are at and the period of time their adventures took place.

SYNOPSIS

From the beginning of time, diamonds have littered the earth. Volcanic activity would fling them far and wide; rushing rivers would scatter these precious stones a thousand miles until they tumbled into the ocean.

We will follow that journey from the ancient San tribes of Africa to the high fashion and design of the 21st century.

A quote on diamonds by Gordon Williams, manager of De Beers in the 1880's.  

"to win them temples have been profaned,

palaces looted, thrones torn to pieces,

princes tortured, women strangled,

guests poisoned by the hosts and slaves disembowelled.

Some have fallen on battlefields, to be picked up

by ignorant freebooters, and sold for a

few silver coins. Others have been cast into

ditches by thieves or swallowed by guards,

or sunk in shipwrecks, or broken to powder

in moments of frenzy"

We will echo those words on a romantic yet intriguing journey from ancient times to the future; flamboyant historical figures will be conducting us through many a mogul's jewel laden emporium.

In Egypt, Cleopatra anointed her body with diamonds, capturing the hearts of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony; once she had dispatched her half brother, the king.

In mountainous Asia, Genghis Kahn discovered valley's rich with diamonds, poisonous snakes and eagles that retrieved the precious gems.

In Italy we will participate in Marco Polo's famous sword fight, fought amongst the bridges and canals of 13th Venice during the Festival of Masks. His departure to China by the Royal Barge began a journey of 24 years and resulted in the greatest travel book ever written.

His famous epitaph was: "I have only told the half of what I saw!"

On elephant’s back we will track down the Bengal tiger in India with the flamboyant French trader Tavernier, celebrating his acquisition of the alleged Koh-i-Noor diamond at the Taj Mahal festivities, next we climb  Tower of London with Captain Blood to steal the Crown Jewels of  King Charles ll.

His subsequent pardon by the King took place at Hampton Court’s summer fair. Then Southern Africa to scrabble in the rivers of Kimberly’s diamond prospectors after Jacob Erasmus' discovery.

We will thrill with a wild horseback ride alongside Cecil Rhodes and his men as he purchases the De Beers farm and the hundreds of prospector’s diamond mines, creating the De Beers Company, the country of Rhodesia and the Rhodes Scholarship.

Onwards to Paris for an audacious robbery of the French Crown jewels at the time of the French Revolution and a celebration at a ghetto drinking den.

Next it is onto the New York streets and a fashion and diamond photo shoot outside Tiffany's Emporium at the turn of the century.

At the  Smithsonian Museum in Washington, a technical analysis and computer enhanced exploration of their famous diamonds. We learn of the fatal legends of the Hope Diamond.

For the present and future, we dive into the Atlantic's stormy depths with huge vacuum extractors delivering the diamonds from the ocean seabed.

The final glittering climax is a Masked Costume Party Ball hosted by the historical characters of the film in a Celebration of Diamonds & Design.

Our last image is of a classic African sunrise and a balloon ride over the exotic animals in the reclaimed game parks of Africa.

Contact                                          

 Peter Shillingford

2 Creefleet House

280 Kew Road

Richmond

TW9 3EE

0208 940 4507

077866 421 71

findshill@btopenworld.com

 

A FULL SCRIPT WITH IMAGES FOLLOWS 

 

(c) "DIAMONDS ARE A GIRL'S BEST FRIEND"

by

Peter Shillingford

 

 The infamous and deadly Hope Diamond

Writers Introduction

This will be a very different film for the Large Format audience, rich with strange and exotic locations, brilliant costumes, intrigue, romance, humour, action, drama and danger. All contributing to the charisma of the Earth’s most precious stone, the diamond.

We will travel with such historical figures as Marco Polo participating in the Venice Grand Carnival of Masques, a Grand Mogul of India parading with his harem of a hundred wives and attendant eunuchs at the Taj-Mahal, French diamond thieves celebrating in a Paris bordello, Captain Blood expecting to be executed at the court of Charles II at Hampton Court Palace, to present day heroes manipulating great earth moving devices on both land and sea. 

These and other characters will take us on a visually extravagant journey through time as observers and participants in the exotic stories culled from the truth, the half truth, outright lies, intrigue, legends and myths. 

We will also travel with an uncut diamond from its ancient birthplace, to its hand to hand to hand, pauper to prince journey. Touched by many on its way to being a fine polished precious stone, worthy of Sammy Cahn’s lyrics “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend”.

The origin of diamonds in India, then their subsequent discovery in Africa with Australia and Russia also major sources, enables our film to visit many of the most inaccessible and fascinating locations rarely seen or photographed for the large screen.

As a filmmaker, experienced in working in over forty countries I wish to take the audience on a unique and fascinating journey which few us will be able to take in reality...but blessed with the immersive 3-D image of the big screen...we may well believe we were there!

 

“DIAMONDS ARE A GIRLS BEST FRIEND”  

Quote on diamonds from Gordon Williams,

manager of De Beers in the 1880’s.

 “to win them ancient temples have been profaned, palaces looted, thrones torn to pieces, princes tortured, women strangled, guests poisoned by the hosts and slaves disembowelled. Some have fallen on battlefields, to be picked up by ignorant freebooters, and sold for a few silver coins. Others have been cast into ditches by thieves or swallowed by guards, or sunk in shipwrecks, or broken to powder in moments of frenzy”.

Opening sequence. 

Black screen. Fade up, sound only of volcanic activity.

Deep and distant rumblings, the theatre trembles

Build to a crescendo. The theatre shakes.

Lightning strikes into the audience as film title snaps on.

The lettering is alive with fire.

1. DAY EXT. VOLCANO 

Title: 4.0 BILLION YEARS BC. 

Dissolve to massive volcano raining debris. Clouds of gases boil into the sky.

Camera moves down to a plateau of lava until it explodes into the ocean in a swirl of steam. Then silence except for a soft wind.

      NARRATOR vo        

A massive volcano is erupting...lava is

streaming from the vent, steam is rising

and the landscape is barren. It’s a vision

from hell...its where diamonds come from...

created millions of years ago, by forces

unimaginable, far below the earth’s crust. 

It takes the instant explosion of a volcano

or the gradual wearing down of the diamond

bearing elements to reveal these precious

gem stones.

2. DAY EXT. VOLCANO

Title: 7 - 4 MILLION YEARS BC. 

From the ocean move up to the aftermath, the land is blackened and desolate, vegetation and life wiped out...the volcano sits quietly in the background. Nothing stirs. The wind picks up in its intensity.

The sands swirl and in foreground the wind uncovers a large diamond protruding from a rock.   

 

NARRATOR vo

   
It’s a vision from hell...its where diamonds are born…

    created millions of years ago by forces unimaginable,

           far below the earth’s crust. It takes the massive explosion

          of a volcano or the gradual wearing down of the diamond

bearing elements to bring to the surface and reveal

these precious gem stones. The name diamond is

derived from the Greek word adamas …meaning

                                                 invincible.     

3. DAY EXT. ROCKY OUTCROP

The sands now begin to cover the rock bearing diamond, grasses begin to emerge and an ape like creature passes by on all fours, then another, almost in an upright stance.

Then another until the creature is walking on two legs. These are the images of human evolution.

Prehistoric animal sounds drive these anthropomorphic creatures on.

4. DAY EXT. AERIALS

Title. AFRICA. 1 MILLION YEARS BC. 

Aerials of high speed, low level flight through ancient canyons, mountains, forests, and across desert landscapes to a river, which we follow as it twists and turns on its way to the Atlantic Ocean. 

The music is of the drum, the heart beat of Africa

                                            NARRATOR vo

As the earths crust changes and weathers...

and rivers cut through geological strata...

diamond-bearing deposits are exposed...

and the valuable gemstones find their way

into river gravel, and finally on to the

beaches and down to the ocean depths.

 

5. DAY EXT.  OCEAN HORIZON

The horizon is a distant horizontal line, faint in the early morning sunrise.

 

                                               NARRATOR vo

At first they thought the earth was flat and  

why not...it looked flat…the horizon was

almost flat...and the closer one got...it just

never changed.  The Flat Earth Society  

only had to look out of the window…

                   

6.  COMPUTER GRAPHICS 

The thin line of the horizon dissolves and tilts into a plan view of Planet Earth at the time of the fragmentation of Gondwanaland. 

                                               

NARRATOR vo

The Cambrian Period some 570-500 million

years ago. Multiple collisions between the

earth's crustal plates gave rise to the first

super-continent, known as Gondwanaland. 

    

Computer animation separates the continental plates, moving Australia from Asia, then South America from Africa.

NARRATOR vo

                            An ancient landmass that consisted of the

        present continents of South America, Africa,
 
Australia, and Antarctica as well as the 
             
Indian subcontinent. Gondwanaland is believed 
 
       to have been intact at least twice, about 350 
   
million years ago and at about 200 million 
   years ago. Between these two periods all 
      
   seven of the present-day continents probably
                           
formed a single huge landmass called

   Pangaea. 

7.    EARTH PHOTO/ARTWORK

N.A.S.A. photo.  Match dissolve to the space view of Earth. Move in on the continent of Africa.                                                                  

8. DAY EXT.   AFRICAN TERRAIN 

Title. AFRICA. 1000 BC.  

Dissolve to beauty montage of mountains and beaches.   Jungle and desert.  Animals roam at will.

9.  DAY EXT.   DESERT 

Move down to San family group travelling through desert.

  NARRATOR vo

The San have lived in southern Africa for

     thousands of years, they are an ethnic group

           living mainly in the Kalahari Desert of Botswana

   and Namibia. In the past, the San have been

called Bushmen, they are now often known

as the Khoi-San to reflect their cultural

affinities. The San speak Khoisan languages

                           characterized by click sounds.                             

Close on the women of the family as they converse.  The men hunt.

The children have small bows and arrows and they mimic the stalking actions of the men. 

The elders watch the youngsters with wise old eyes.   

NARRATOR vo

         The women gather wild plants and fruit, which

   provide most of the nourishment. The men

           supplement the diet by killing animals with light

            bows and poison-tipped arrows.                            

A San child finds and begins playing with the diamond, still imbedded in the  small rock. 

As he throws it into the air it catches the sunlight and the colours explode into a slow motion rainbow. 

The child looks directly into camera and smiles in wonder. The family hears the fearsome roar of a predator and move quickly on. 

A flock of vultures take to the wing as a pride of lion's reclaim their prey.

Again the child tosses the diamond it into the air and it smashes against a boulder. The gem separates from the rock. 

10. DAY EXT.   DESERT  

A small animal takes the child's attention next and the gem is discarded for this more interesting plaything. The elder's bony hand picks up the sparking object and the family walks on into the setting sun.

 NARRATOR vo

The San sometimes dwell in caves or thatched

shelters and wear short aprons and sandals

made of skins. They are skilled in painting and

engraving pictures on the walls of their caves.  

11. NIGHT INT.  CAVE

Flames flicker and shadow a human silhouette against a flat face of rock. 

  

The elder begins to draw on the cave wall with the diamond.

As smoke from a fire billows across the cave wall the paintings multiply as an indication of a passage of time in a series of dissolves. 

The family attends the fire, log upon log is heaped on the dancing flames as a witch doctor or sangoma begins his incantations to past spirits and future generations.  

 

NARRATOR vo

  It is one belief that all human kind originated

      in Africa.  Over millions of years the migration

                           took people to the far corners of the world.

      Many of the legends handed down from family

                           to family have their roots in Africa.

Tossing herbs and oil on the fire, the sangoma creates great gusts of smoke and flames.  

 
The family group begin to dance as the full moon rises above the trees.

12. NIGHT INT.  CAVE

Images of unknown faces appear, painted and tattooed, ugly and distorted in the flames of the fire...more dream like faces emerge in the scudding clouds on this moon lit night...ancient structures are seen in the billowing smoke of the sagoma's fire.

The dancers are chanting, heads back as if in a trance, their painted body's writhing to the drumbeat. The flames reach higher

13. DAY INT.  PALACE   LOST CITY

Title. EGYPT. 87 BC.

From out of the flames dissolves a vision of Cleopatra in her sumptuous palace boudoir.  A woman clearly aware of her charms and how to use them.

 
The camera moves through a series of huge veils held by exotic dancers. Cleopatra is being attended to by her handmaidens. She looks directly into camera, a cheetah at her side.
 
                                              CLEOPATRA

My name is Cleopatra…I am the

Queen of Egypt. The only Queen.

The handmaidens anoint her body and hair with gold and precious stones, many ground to a fine dust as eye makeup.  Her costume is adorned from head to toe with gold, diamonds, pearls and other precious stones.              

                                                          CLEOPATRA vo

     At 17 I was married, as was the

        custom, to my 12 year old brother 

  Ptolemy Xl.

Ptolemy Xl enters and they embrace.  A female musician plays the lyre.   Slaves move large fans of ostrich feathers in the smoky air.   

CLEOPATRA vo

                               We shared the throne but he turned

                               against me. During my enforced exile my

                               lover Julius Caesar killed Ptolemy Xl and                    

                               proclaimed me the Queen of Egypt.                

The young man leaves in distress.  Julius Caesar enters, sheaths his bloody sword and Cleopatra embraces him.

CLEOPATRA vo

           …but as my consort and my protector

         he was bound to follow the ancient

            customs and bade me marry my 11 year

                 old brother Ptolemy X1V… 

Another, even younger boy enters and kisses her feet.  Julius Caesar can be seen observing from the shadows.  His sword is slowly drawn then replaced.

The handmaidens arrange a cloak over Cleopatra's shoulders and she exits with Caesar, leaving the boy in her boudoir with the handmaidens.

14. DAY EXT  RHODES MEMORIAL   SOUTH AFRICA FOR ROME

Title. ROME. 88 BC. 

The City Steps.  The people welcome Caesar and Cleopatra.  A nurse brings a baby to Cleopatra.  The people cheer as flags and banners are raised.  A flock of doves are released in celebration. 

  CLEOPATRA vo

 In Rome I bore Caesar a boy child named

Caesarion, later Ptolemy XV.  They say

        I poisoned the child…why would I do that?   

15. DAY EXT.  RHODES MEMORIAL  ANOTHER ANGLE 

 CLEOPATRA vo

When Caesar was assassinated I returned to

my beloved Egypt with one Mark Antony…his

words at Caesar's funeral still ring in my ears.

  "I come not to bury Caesar but to praise him"    

Antony delivers his famous speech to the murderers of Caesar.

The citizens of Rome roar their approval.

16. DAY EXT.  DIAMOND MINE FIELD EGYPT 

     CLEOPATRA

My appetite for diamonds and precious

 stones took me onto the Nile and into the 

   desert where such objects were scattered

             as if tossed aside by the Gods         

 CLEOPATRA vo

From the boat a short journey by camel

brought us to the minefield.

The slave miners working the diamond minefield are of many nationalities. 

One calls out Cleopatra's name and falls at her feet.  

Her guards almost behead the man but she stays their swords.

The slave presents her with a superb diamond he has just found.  The light catches the stone and a beam of colour fills the air.  Cleopatra has the guards remove his chains and bestows upon him his freedom.   Move in on the diamond as it catches the light and dissolve.

16a. NIGHT INT.  PALACE

Boudoir.  Close on the diamond then reveal Cleopatra feeding her snakes, which are kept in a sunken pit.

17. NIGHT INT. CORRIDOR

A group of four palace officials are almost running down a corridor, the lead official carrying a parchment. They stop before they enter Cleopatra's boudoir and exchange nervous looks.  They knock and enter.

18. NIGHT INT.  BOUDOIR

The parchment contains a message that Mark Antony has committed suicide having been deceived into believing she was dead.  Cleopatra is in tears and whirling like a dervish in her grief.

CLEOPATRA

This cannot be.  My beloved Mark Antony

                                         killed by his own hand…                                          

Her hand maidens come running at the sound of her cries.

 CLEOPATRA

       Leave me…my heart is broken…              

She reaches into the snake pit and pulls out an asp which wraps itself around her arm.  She then clasps the snake to her breast and falls to the floor.  

Burning torches that illuminate the room obscures our view.  Dissolve to.

19. NIGHT INT.  CAVE

Flames and smoke as the sangoma's fire flares up.   The dancers continue their frenetic dancing.  The sangoma throws a powder into the fire, creating a white smoke, which dissolves into a majestic waterfall.

20. DAY EXT.  VENICE  GRAND CANAL

Title. VENICE. ITALY. 1271 AD. 

Marco Polo appears through the falling cascade of water, he is at the prow of his ceremonial gondolier. His Horse Master and Guardian of Arms accompany him.

A guard is holding a large leather and metal bound book.  Polo is waving a rolled parchment to the waiting crowd.

POLO

The writings of Genghis Kahn and the famed

Valley of Diamonds

A woman calls out his name and wishes him bon voyage then throws him her silk scarf.  Polo makes a knowing smile into camera, kisses the scarf and doffs his hat.

He steps in to his ornate gondola and travels through the canals of Venice to the cheers of the citizens.  

The gondola docks and Polo hails the 12 horsemen who will accompany him.  His horse is a gaily-decorated white stallion.

21. DAY EXT.  VENICE

Polo moves through the crowed and narrow streets, waving farewell to his rich friends, all gaily masked and costumed for the Grand Carnival. 

A youth appears out of the crowd and attacks Polo with his sword. 

He waves his guards away and takes on the youth.

POLO vo

A youngster came at me with a perfect

execution of swordplay, defending myself was

not an easy matter against a lad intent on

        proving himself capable as any on my force.       

22. DAY EXT.  VENICE

A swashbuckling sword fight against the background of The Doges Palace, St. Marks Cathedral and Square, finally arriving at The Grand Canal.

POLO vo

           A classic sword fight without bloodshed

       the lad is an expert and wishes to

                                    accompany me on my travels…                             

They both find themselves backed into a corner but quarter is given and the fight continues, both smiling broadly.  It has become a game which both men, a gentleman and poor youth are happy to play.

POLO vo

What could I do but offer the young man

a position with my guards…as a good

swordsman…he accepts...swearing

                             allegiance and my protection.                                 

Drums beating as Polo embraces the young man and sends him to join the waiting horsemen.  Gondolas pass by with more costumed revellers.

23. DAY EXT.  THE GRAND CANAL

Marco Polo places Genghis Kahn's parchment in his satchel then leaps onto his horse.  His men group around him and they gallop away.  Polo waves farewell to the costumed crowd.                                                  

                                          POLO vo                                           

       Legend has it that Genghis Kahn found

     the Valley Of Diamonds north of the

                             Black Sea in the Scythian desert.                          

24.  DAY EXT.   VALLEY OF DESOLATION  SOUTH AFRICA FOR ASIA

Title. ASIA. 1219 A.D.  Mountain peak. 

POLO vo

This next journey of exploration across

  uncharted lands was due to a detailed 

report that had intrigued me.  Genghis Kahn,

early in this 13th century since Christ, had

written of a hidden Valley of Diamonds...

                         populated by poisonous snakes and eagles.           

A horseman calls to Genghis Kahn and points.                                       

SOLDIER

  Oh great Kahn...The Valley of Diamonds…

             and many snakes…tread careful my lord.             

From high atop a mountain range Genghis Kahn and his small band of men attempt to descend to the valley below, snakes appear from every crack and crevice…the eagles beat about their heads...they retreat in confusion.

Around a smoking fire at sunset, Kahn is aware of an eagle watching his every move...he tosses a piece of meat onto the ground…pebbles become attached to the sticky wet flesh…the bird swoops to the morsel and flies back to its perch in the tree. 

Kahn looks directly into camera, raises his bushy eyebrows and smiles...then taps his temple knowingly.

Dawn…and Kahn and his men have fashioned catapults and are firing chunks of meat into the valley below.  One man baits…the other leaps to a rock to shoot the meat high into the air.  

The eagles explode out of their eyries and descend to the valley below.  Moments later they return clutching the chunks of meat in their talons. 

The diamonds, stuck to the wet flesh, glitter in the hot sun.

Climbing to the eagle's nests the men are now confronted with talons and beaks.  One man attempts to bludgeon a creature but Kahn stops him…

KHAN

Kill not the eagles, they make good

watchdogs…we may need to return

one day!

Another man is confronted by a huge snake that appears from the forest…it almost constricts him...he fights it off.  One soldier takes a terrible tumble down a steep cliff face but emerges battered but alive.

The diamonds stuck to the rare and bloody meat and are retrieved.  The men celebrate.  Hold on their cheering faces.  Dissolve to.

25.  DAY EXT.  VENICE STREETS

Marco Polo and his band of horsemen gallop through the narrow streets. 

From their balconies the town's peoples cheer them on.  Polo turns for a last farewell to the camera and doffs his hat to the camera. 

POLO

That valley of diamonds and snakes is

there to be taken …riches to make a

man weep.  And to hell with the snakes!  

26.   ANIMATION LEATHER BOUND BOOK

As the book opens a map of Polo's journey snakes across the page. 

Detailed 3-D drawings illustrate the many aspects of this great exploration, a caravan of horses, a camel train. Small boats in a storm. Men slogging through thick forests. Beautiful women and children.  The Great Wall of China and the palace of the Ruling Emperor. 

27.   DAY EXT.   PALACE  LOST CITY  

Wide on the palace. Huge doors slowly open as Marco Polo enters the domain of the Great Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan the Great Mongol, the invader of China

He is being weighed in diamonds, the scales are creaking.  He is a big man.  His courtiers attend him.                                                

                                                   POLO vo

I carried sapphires as calling cards…

entering the court of the Great Kublai

Kahn required a certain amount of

aplomb…his entertainment was highly

amusing…such antics I had never

                                      gazed upon before.                                                        

Chinese's harem girls, slaves and entertainers crowd the court. 

 

On a raised dais three contortionists perform. 

 POLO vo

We traded the coveted blue gems of

India, emblems of immortal sovereignty

for many times their value.  The Great

                        Kublai Kahn was not to be denied.                        

Diamonds scattered across the table are studied, bartering take place.  Gold and silver coins change hands.   Polo opens the great leather bound book for the Kublai Kahn.

28.   ANIMATION

A 3-D illustration in oils depicts two men 'o war battling in the Venice Lagoon, the last image is of Polo being taken prisoner.

POLO vo

Whilst captaining a battleship for the people

of Venice against the Genoans, I and my

crew were captured and thrown into a most

filthy jail…

29.    DAY INT.  JAIL

The barred door opens and Marco Polo is thrown in. A series of dissolves as Polo dictates.  He ages as he does so, as does the other prisoner, the youth, now his bodyguard.  

The book the youth has is the huge leather bound volume; he continues to write as Polo dictates.

POLO vo

It was time well spent, not in pondering all

the fates that had befallen us but to chronicle

the travels I and my band of men had

accomplished.  In time The Travels of

Marco Polo was published giving me great

                             pleasure.                                                                   

Close up of the great book as it is placed in foreground.  Dissolve.

30.   DAY EXT.  VENICE

Venice Lagoon.  Close on the book.  An aged Marco Polo returning on his barge, still dreaming of the secret valley…he closes the book and passes it back to his bodyguard.  A dream unfulfilled.  The quay is deserted.  He comes ashore, his bodyguard follows, carrying his great book.   Move up to the bell tower as the chimes ring out.

POLO vo

Venice in 1299, still the most beautiful city

I have ever seen, yes I have accomplished

            much, great riches have been bestowed.             

31.  NIGHT INT.  VENICE 

Polo's house.  In his richly furnished study we leave him staring into the flames of a great fire.   Move in on the fire as the flames flare up.

POLO vo

My only regret is we never found Genghis

Khan's Valley of Diamonds.  Such riches

would have spoilt us all.  But at times like

these we need such sparkling trinkets to

     remind us of our former glories.                 

 32.  NIGHT INT.  CAVE

Move from the whirling pattern of flames to the painted bodies of the native warriors and their women as they dance to the drums.  The sangoma has an animal skin with which he fans the flames.

33.  DAY EXT.  INDIA

Title. INDIA. 1665 A.D.    

Dissolve from the flames to the flowing cloak of famed traveller Jean-Baptiste Tavernier. 

Tavernier is a man given to wearing rich furs and opulent silks during his travels in India.  His cloak had many examples of jewellery attached, both outside and in.

As his cloak sweeps away the recently completed Taj-Mahal is unveiled.     

Tavernier's manservant's follow carrying a chest of exotic goods.

A court official listens to Tavernier whisper his name.  It is loudly announced with a fanfare of trumpets.

COURT OFFICIAL

Presenting to his Royal Highness the Shah

Jahan, the 5th Mughal and Emperor of India,

 Monsieur Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, a traveller

from France and a trader in precious stones.

Tavernier looks directly at the camera and winces. 

He is escorted to the Great Tent of the Shah on the ornate grounds of the Taj-Mahal.

Wine is taken and the eunuch's are sent for the Royal diamonds.  

The entertainers include sword swallowers, snake charmers, belly dancers, and other magical events.

  TAVERNIER vo

My eyes were lost in the beauty of these

great stones…one particular blue diamond

of some 112 carats became mine on the

exchange of some rather inexpensive

                 Italian jewellery I had about my wardrobe.                

The Shah, pleased with his acquisitions, claps his hand and a partition wall of the tent is removed to reveal the Peacock Throne.

 TAVERNIER vo

The famed Peacock Throne…I am

                                               honoured indeed.                                                  

The Shah seats himself on the Throne and bids Tavernier to sit at his feet.

 TAVERNIER vo

This the throne that Tamerlane began and

Shah Jehan finished. Some six feet long and

four feet wide and covered with gold inlay,

numerous diamonds, rubies, and emeralds.  

Pearls were part of the design as were other

                         precious jewels. 

The entertainers begin their acts and the distant bellowing of elephants takes Tavernier's attention.

TAVERNIER vo

I had the good fortune to visit the Shah's

royal estates and the journey was replete

 with sightings of the tiger, their audacity

  easily observed from a safe position atop

   the gentlest of creatures, the elephant.     

34.  DAY EXT. FOREST

Tavernier, swaying in the silk draped howdah on the elephant's back is observing the tigers at large in the forest and at ruins of the medieval fort at Ranthambhor.  The Shah hands him a leather pouch.   Tavernier opens it.

35.  DAY INT.  HOWDAH

A large blue diamond creates a colourful refraction from sun's rays. 

      TAVERNIER vo

On my return to Paris I sold the Tavernier

Blue...in my vanity a name that lasted only

until the moment Louis XlV, the Sun King

of France took possession.  He named

it the Great Blue Diamond.  Hardly original

but as the King...not to be argued with.

He only wore it once!  His great grandson,

King Louis XV loaned it to his mistress

Madame Du Barry...and Louis XV1 gave it to

        Marie Antoinette for a costume ball frippery!        

36.  NIGHT EXT.  TOWER OF LONDON

Title. LONDON. 1671 A.D. 

The clouds increase their pace across the face of the moon.  Stop motion tilt down as the clouds race by the moon to the silhouette of the Tower of London.

We hear the screams of those about to be executed.  We also hear the thud of the axe...and silence!

37.   DAY EXT.  HAMPTON COURT PALACE AND GARDENS

The English noble women are hosting a splendid garden fair with wandering minstrels, fire eaters, jugglers, costumed animals, colourful marquees, stalls and flags. 

King Charles ll is holding court…and playing croquet...badly  He gracefully acknowledges the camera and bids us follow.

Courtiers follow and laugh at every witticism of the King. 

 

We see the beauty of the gardens and the palace buildings as we move with the Royal Party and the hapless Captain Blood…who is clad in a profusion of chains and escorted by two burly guards.

KING

Tell me Captain Blood, why did you wish to

                 pilfer my Crown Jewels pray?                                 

BLOOD

It was a bet sire… a wager that the guards

were not doing their duty, I was only testing

               their mettle sire…on my life…honest!                    

38.  EXT. NIGHT  TOWER AND HOSTELRY DOOR

Tower in background and cobblestone alley in foreground.

Captain Blood stumbles from out of the hostelry. A bottle of grog in one hand, his other arm around a drunken clergyman. 

Giving the man of the cloth his bottle, Blood takes his religious smock.

The white collar is the final touch.

39.  DAY EXT.  HAMPTON COURT PALACE GARDENS

KING

Testing their mettle eh!  They seem to have

the measure of yours sir...pray tell me your

             story, I have a mind to be amused.                        

BLOOD

                         My wit is no match for a king.                                            

KING

Of course not Captain Blood.  My officers

tell me that you donned the garb of the

                clergy to gain admission to the Tower?                 

40.  INT NIGHT  TOWER

Tower entrance as Blood and three associates bundle the guard inside.  

Wide on Tower as Blood scales a wall.

        BLOOD vo

Bunked over the wall sire…was too easy

      by far…may I humbly suggest a higher wall?    

Reverse side of wall as Blood falls in heap.  Two Beefeaters on sentry duty pass by his prostrate body.

 He pulls himself to his feet, adjusts is priest smock and renews the attack on the Tower wall.

41.  DAY EXT.  HAMPTON COURT PALACE GARDENS

The King taps Blood on the shoulders and forehead with his mallet as if knighting him. The courtiers laugh.

KING

                              Thank you for that observation, you seem

                         to have proven your point.                                       

42.  INT NIGHT  TOWER

Blood is climbing a turreted gatehouse…he slowly traverses the curved wall. 

BLOOD vo

Then the damn pigeons sire…

43. EXT NIGHT  TOWER

A flock of pigeons burst into camera and Blood falls into the camera.

44.  DAY EXT.  HAMPTON COURT PALACE GARDENS

KING

                Pigeons sir?  As in pigeon pie?                             

BLOOD

A couple of tots of rum were my undoing….

lost my footing and fell some 10 feet sire.

     The Beefeaters…I must have awakened them...

                 but up I went again sire!                                          

45.  INT NIGHT  TOWER

Blood is now tip toeing across the battlements, he begins to climb again.

46.  DAY EXT.  HAMPTON COURT PALACE

  KING

Of course you did …can't hold a good man

down…could have ended up that pretty filthy

 moat...might get me a brace of crocodiles for

that bit of water...would save all this argy bargy.

Blood, crammed into an alcove, is sharing it with a dozen rats that crawl all over him.

47.  DAY EXT.  HAMPTON COURT PALACE GARDENS

BLOOD

…then I stepped on a birds nest…made the

window sills slippery, dam near hung myself…

got caught up on me cravat, best silk it was…

hanging I was 60 feet up…hanging by me

              neck!  Strangulating myself I was!                          

The comics amongst the courtiers mimic Blood's predicament.

48.  INT NIGHT  TOWER  

Blood, held by his cravat is 45 degree to the Tower wall and is scrambling to get back.

49.  DAY EXT.  HAMPTON COURT PALACE GARDENS

The King has Blood by his cravat.  He is laughing uproariously.  He turns to his smirking courtiers and then to the camera.

KING

Hanging!  That would have saved me the

                                   bother…pray continue.                                            

BLOOD

Then I looked down…never a good notion,

                     Sire...got the colliwobbles I did.                             

KING

Colliwobbles!   Explain yourself sir!

             Hardly the King's English...what!                

50.  EXT. NIGHT  TOWER  

Blood's POV down, the angle moves from side to side as if he is about to fall.

51.  INT. NIGHT  WIDE ON TOWER  

We hear a great sickly yodel and burp from the battlements.

52.  DAY EXT.  HAMPTON COURT PALACE GARDENS

The courtiers titter behind their fans.  The King silences their laughter.

BLOOD

Two dozen oysters…and the couple of

tots of rum…well I lost them all sire…

Do have pity on me; I did fight for your

                            father, King and Country!                                        

KING

       My father!...another blackguard I swear it!            

53.  INT. NIGHT  TOWER

Blood is now hoisting his leg over a window ledge.  His presence panics a flock of bats that dart around his head.

   BLOOD vo

            There were bats…. hundreds of them…            

KING

                     You must have been in the belfry no doubt…                      

54.  DAY EXT.  HAMPTON COURT PALACE GARDENS

The courtiers break out in laughter.  The King holds up his hand for silence.

BLOOD

There's more sir…there was the ghost

sire...awful it was…they chopped the

                             blighter's head right off.                                         

55INT. NIGHT  TOWER

Blood is now squeezing himself through a narrow window to fall upon a hard stone floor.

In the empty room, ghostly figures materialise and the execution takes place.

The axe whirls above the executioners head then falls with a resounding thump.

56.  DAY EXT.  HAMPTON COURT PALACE GARDENS

KING

One of my ancestors no doubt, but not my

father…we whipped his head off at Whitehall!

Did the fellow who lost his head look just

                              a little like you?                                                     

More laughter from the courtiers.

57.  INT. NIGHT  TOWER

Blood dashes from the execution room and into the chamber holding the Crown Jewels.

He plucks the crowns and sceptres from the display and stuffs them under his jacket.  

  KING vo

Where were my guards?…I may have to

                    remove a few heads there it seems…                     

Two Beefeaters tackle Blood and pin him against the wall.  He breaks away and makes a run down a torch lit passage way. 

After series of confrontations and the odd tumble down solid stone steps, Blood is apprehended and the Crown Jewels replaced.

58.  DAY EXT. 
HAMPTON COURT PALACE GARDENS
 

 KING

Now Blood, do I hang, draw and quarter you or do

I chop off your head…boil you in oil…a life

sentence in the Tower?  Do you want to go

back there again?  You do seem to have a

                    yearning for the dreadful place…                           

 BLOOD

  I am your servant sir…do with me as you wish.                                                                 

KING

I will Blood, I will!  You have amused me!

You will be banished to Ireland...I have no

                               love for the Irish…                                                                

Blood falls to his knees.

 KING

And you shall have an estate…a small one…

and a pension of five hundred pounds

per year.  You tell a good story…but leave

     my blessed jewels where they are!            

Blood, grovelling on the path, kisses the kings feet. 

Nell Gwwyne, a lover of the King appears from out of the crowd, kicks Blood out of her way and hands the King an orange.  They walk away arm in arm amongst a pack of fawning courtiers.

59.  INT. NIGHT  TOWER

Close on the Crown Jewels as they are replaced in their cabinet.  The two Beefeater's bow to the jewels then stand back and admire their arrangement.

 BEEFEATER vo

In 1911 the Koh-i-Noor was placed in the

crown of Queen Mary. Twenty-six years later,

Elizabeth, the consort of King George VI, had

a crown made to wear at her husband's

coronation.

One of the Beefeater's dusts the crown with his handkerchief then blows his nose.

BEEFEATER vo

It is now known as the Queen Mother's

Crown...one of nine splendid British

Crowns...and from it flashes the Koh-i-Noor.

It is one of the most popular treasures

                      displayed in the Tower of London.                         

60.  Another angle on Crown Jewels.

A speck of dust is removed...daintily.

 BEEFEATER vo

Another is the Black Prince's Ruby, reputedly

worn by Henry V in his helmet at the Battle of

Agincourt, during which the helmet deflected

a nearly fatal sword blow. The great gem, not a

true ruby but a red spinel, has never been

fashioned, only polished in its natural, irregular

shape. Today the Black Prince's Ruby occupies

the central position in the Imperial State Crown.

61.  NIGHT INT.   CAVE                                                                              

From the burst of flames from the sangoma’s fire we see the dancers now exhausted and reeling.  Some have fallen to the ground.  Camera follows the smoke up into the black African sky.  Dissolve to:

62.    DAY EXT.    LOST CITY  SOUTH AFRICA FOR INDIA

Title. INDIA. 1739 AD.  EMPEROR'S PALACE. 

In foreground, lone tribesmen pass close to camera, weapons at the ready.
A slave girl is gathering water. 

 

She sees a diamond being hidden in a turban and placed on the head of Mohammed the vanquished in the battle with her master, Nadir Shar. 

She splashes through the water in her haste to join the Council of War.

63.  DAY EXT  GARDEN TERRACE  

The two clashing heads of state, Nadir Shar and Mohammed are now sitting cross-legged on a carpet.  Gold and silver artefacts are piled high as ransom. 

Bodyguards from both armies are present.  The tension is unmistakable.

Food and drink are on a low table; both Rulers eat after a food taster has tried a morsel.  A huge servant fans the men with a dozen ostrich feathers.  Courtiers and harem slaves look on.  Both men maintain eye contact.  

The slave girl tries to whispers in Nadir Shah's ear.  A guard pulls her away but Shar beckons her forward. 

SLAVE GIRL vo

When the Koh-i-Noor became the spoils of war. 

It is said whoever owns the Koh-i-Noor rules

                       the world.                   

What she whispers brings a knowing smile to his face.  His look to camera is quizzical.  He gives her a diamond ring from one of the many on his fingers.

SLAVE GIRL vo

Nader Shah ransacked Delhi and was informed

that the diamond was hidden in the turban of the

Emperor Mohammed.  At a feast of the vanquished,

Nader Shah remembering a well known oriental

custom of exchanging turbans to confirm a peace

treaty, requested the turban of Mohammed for

         his own.                                                                       

The turban is slowly unwound and the Koh-i-Noor is held up to the light in the hand of the victor.

Close on the diamond and dissolve. 

64.  DAY INT.  PAINTERS STUDIO

Title PARIS  1775

The Court painter is at work with his sitter; the King of France, opulently dressed with many diamonds about his body.

 

The King and his courtiers admire the half-finished painting, much to the chagrin of the painter.

The painter, daubed with his own oils turns to camera.

PAINTER      

Then of course the Koh-i-Noor it was stolen

                 with the other French Crown Jewels in 1792.                

65.   NIGHT EXT.  PARIS BUILDINGS

Title. FRANCE. PARIS 1776 AD.  

Camera moves down from the scudding clouds in a stormy night sky.  The Place de la Concorde is suddenly illuminated by lightning.  

The Cathedral of Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Invalides, Sainte-Chapelle, then other classic Paris buildings are bathed in a red, white or blue light. 

 

Flames are superimposed over.  Flags are unfurled. The fighting begins.

66.  NIGHT EXT.   PARIS BUILDINGS

The French Revolution is underway. Shadows and silhouettes fight with staves, cudgels and pikes.  Gunfire and flames render the night sky.

67.   NIGHT EXT. GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS

Superimposed over the brilliantly lit buildings are the various flags, their many colours a wash against the ancient structures.  They are destroyed by gunfire.

One flag gradually takes ascendance and in slow motion the red white and blue tricolour fills the screen.

The music is the French national anthem, The Marseillaise.   The voices singing are proud and strident.

68.   NIGHT INT.   BORDELLO

The music continues over, now rendered by a violinist. 

A burning brazier of wood and coals warming the feet of thieves Paul Miette and Giles Depeyron in their favourite Paris drinking den.

The uniformed Government guards are there, a litre of wine, provided by Miette and Depeyron, their dinner for the night.

Two huge men are arm wresting, urged on by a prancing dwarf.   A burning torch awaits the back of the hand of the loser.   The tussle rages on.  With his hand burnt over the flame and screaming in pain, the loser is doused in a bucket of water. 

The winner drinks from a flagon of wine, spilling it down his chest.

Miette and Depeyron applaud the winner and as the camera moves in Miette opens his coat to reveal the French Crown jewels.  He slaps Depeyron on the back; they are the best of friends…now.  He turns to the camera with a wink.

DEPEYRON

I am Depeyron and this is my compadre

Paul Miette…we are the best thieves in

 Paris...no!  All of France!  The very best!  

Depeyron stands up and toasts Miette.  They fall into each other's arms.

MIETTE 

It is the time of the French Revolution.

Chaos!  Anarchy!  The time to strike! 

                                    To line our pockets!                                                 

 DEPEYRON

                                    You shall hear our story...                                        

69.   NIGHT EXT.  PARIS STREET    MAGIC HOUR

Wide on the Garde-Meuble at the Place de la Revolution. The museum holding the French Crown Jewels.  

Guards pass by the huge iron gates and disappear into their sentry box.

We hear the pop of a cork and the pouring of more wine.

The two thieves slip on their masks and climb the gates.

MIETTE vo

The King was in prison, what need did

he have of jewels and crowns, diamonds

and rubies…freedom and liberation was

 all around us.  We just wanted our share.  

70.   NIGHT INT.  CROWN JEWELS SHOWROOM

Display room, glass cabinets line the walls.  Between them are solid wooden chests.  We hear the tinkle of broken glass and a window being opened. 

Candles are lit and placed around the cabinets, the draft from the open window causes the flames to flicker and long shadows flit across the walls as the two thieves go about their business.

In the semi-darkness an oil lamp reveals a dazzling array of precious objects.  The two thieves fill a sack and climb back out of the window. 

The candles gradually get lower and lower, splutter and die.

Clocks strike in the distance. A cockerel announces the dawn.

MIETTE vo

The guards were in their sentry boxes,

their wine touched by brandy and other

secret tastes.  Certain to be sleeping at

their posts when we struck.  Voila! 

            Vive la Revolution!                                       

71.   DAY INT.  SHOWROOM

Match dissolve to the same set up as dawn floods into the room revealing the broken window and opened cabinets.  Many are unopened.

DEPEYRON vo

Such jewels felt so fine to the touch…

Of course we could not carry the whole

haul ourselves…we should have employed

            more men but one lives and learns…so…           

Officials run into the room and accuse each other of stealing the jewels.

A cleaner removes the broken glass and pockets a small diamond brooch. 

He acknowledges the camera with a Gallic shrug of the shoulders. 

The empty cabinets are covered with black cloth. The cleaner leaves. 

The room is left empty as the sun goes down.  The room falls into darkness.

72.   NIGHT INT.  SHOWROOM

We hear the music; it is the national anthem, the Marseillaise again.

Moonlight shines into the room and we hear again the tinkle of broken glass and a window being opened.  Miette and Depeyron have returned. 

The two thieves open the wooden chest of drawers and pocket the many diamonds there. 

Attempting to open a glass cabinet the thieves accidentally smash a huge pane of glass.  The noise reverberates around the room.  Panicked they make for the open window.

One superb example, the Great Sapphire of Louis X1V is left behind. 

MIETTE vo

Again...not enough hands but a good

                         nights work…enough for all but…                          

Wide on the room as the thieves make their escape, leaving the Great Sapphire and the oil lamp in foreground.

73.  NIGHT EXT.  BRIDGE

On the banks of the River Seine the two thieves are sharing the spoils.  

  

MIETTE vo

Depeyron wanted to keep the Kings Crown,

fool that he is…the agreed intention was

to melt down for the gold and silver…and

sell the diamonds separately…

I said no…he said yes…I said nothing. 

                                  I thumped him.                                                         

An argument starts which develops into a clumsy fistfight, whereupon a bag of jewels is knocked into the river, bringing both men to their senses. 

They leap into the river and rescue what jewels they can and hurry away into the night, arm in arm laughing.

MIETTE vo 

We always fought over the spoils…we always did!

74.   NIGHT INT. BORDELLO.                                   

 

They enter dripping wet, the bordello where a black girl is singing.  Dissolve.

75.   NIGHT EXT.  CAVE  SAN VILLAGE  SOUTH AFRICA

A black woman sings as she dances.  The sangoma spins and whirls with two huge burning branches above his head in the shape of a cross. 

76.  DAY EXT.  VILLAGE

Title. SOUTH AFRICA. 1867 A.D. 

The dawn sun breaking through a cross atop a picturesque church, replicates this image. 

A young man moves into frame...from the distant church steps, a woman calls…

 WOMAN

Erasmus Jacobs, get finished with that

ditch and come to church…the good Lord

   did not mean you to work on a Sabbath.   

 ERASMUS

I am sure the good Lord did not mean 

      me to dig ditches either…but here I am!      

Erasmus continues digging until something catches his eye.  He reaches down and picks up a beautiful coloured stone, pocketing the find he makes his way to the church where his family is waiting.

77.  DAY EXT.  CHURYARD

On joining his family group he sweeps his hat off and makes a great play in presenting the stone to his sister Louisa.

Outside the church a game of five stones is played, this entails five stones, one of which is Erasmus's present to Louisa, being tossed in the air and caught on the back of the hand.  

The four girls playing are called into the church and the stones are left scattered on the wall.  

78.   DAY INT. WORKSHOP.

A hand appears and removes the one stone and places it in a clamping vice and the process of cutting and polishing begins.   

The diamond is removed from the vice and held up to the eye of the workman.               

 

After cutting the final result is a fine diamond called Eureka

 

  ERASMUS vo

We never saw the stone again but we

heard that it was named Eureka and

exhibited at the 1867-68 World’s Fair in

Paris as the first diamond to be found in

South Africa. The family refused to accept

any money for the treasure, saying that a

                   simple pebble was worth nothing.                          

79.  DAY EXT.  ORANGE RIVER AND FARMLAND.     

From an empty vista of pastoral fields, a series of dissolves as the eager prospectors set up their tents and workings.

 

The view is soon obliterated with the debris of mankind.  Rough shelters are hastily erected. The era of the Tent City is here.

 ERASMUS vo     

That was the end of life here as we knew it!         

80.  DAY EXT.  FARM

Farm workers toss their tools aside.  The farmer rages then joins them.

81.  DAY EXT.  CITY STREETS

Office workers throw their paper work out of the window to the streets below.  Pouring out of their offices they join the trek north.

 ERASMUS vo

Thus began the great “Digger Rush”...

prospectors arrived in their thousands,

ready to dig with their bare hands if necessary. 

Sailors jumped ship; farmers left their fields

and white-collar workers tossed their papers

out of office windows...the first ticker tape

            celebration...                                                             

82.  DAY EXT. ORANGE RIVER 

At one of the first diamond fields in Africa, prospectors are shoulder to shoulder tearing the earth from the banks of the river.

Others are knee deep in the shallows sifting sand in pans.  Crocodile sequence.

One man shouts as he discovers a diamond, the other miner's crowd round then frantically get back to work.  More diamonds are discovered.  Shouts go up from downstream.  We hear their work song.

83.  NIGHT EXT.    TENT CITY

As night falls the miners are huddled around a huge bonfire, a bottle is being passed around.  The work song continues.  The bottle is thrown into the flames and sparks fly up into the night sky.  Dissolve.

84.   NIGHT EXT. SKY

The night sky is alive with sparks and smoke.  Beyond, the diamond sparkle of the planets and stars.

85.  NIGHT EXT.  CAVE

Dissolve to the sangoma pulling burning brands from the fire, each member of the family takes one and dances ever closer to the fire. 

The sangoma throws his cloak of skins over the fire and the camera, creating a black out. 

86.   DAY EXT.  TENT CITY

A tent being pulled off the camera reveals the De Beers brothers surveying the shambles of the shantytown on their farm. 

 

 

  ERUSMUS vo

The De Beers brothers Johannes Nicholas

and Diederick Arnoldus de Beer had bought

the farm for 50 pounds.  Appalled at the miners

squatting on their land, they sold the property

for 6,300 pounds wherein it was sold on to a

young Englishman named Cecil Rhodes.

Cecil Rhodes rides up, hails the camera and the De Beers, shakes hands with each of the brothers and waves the purchase documents above his head and rides off.

87.  DAY EXT. TENT CITY

Rhodes continues his ride through the Tent City.  He is handing out cigars and shaking hands with miners who are departing, their possessions stacked up in handcarts.  We see a rough hand painted sign.  Kimberly Central.

ERUSMUS vo

He acquired other miner's claims and in time

created a diamond monopoly with his company

                    De Beers Consolidated Mines. Smart fella!                              

Amongst diamonds scattered across an exterior workbench, a cheque is signed with a flourish. 



Rhodes stuffs the cheque into a bank official's top pocket.

ERUSMUS vo

Rhodes purchased Kimberly Central for

       £5,388,650. An enormous sum in those days.       

88.  DAY EXT.   TENT CITY

Montage of newspaper headlines. 

Montage of mining signs being ripped down and burnt.  

89.  DAY EXT.  KIMBERLY.

The De Beers Consolidated sign is hoisted on to the side of a new wood building.  

 
90.  DAY EXT.  BALCONY

Rhodes hammers it into place. Hats fly into the air.  Champagne is spilt.  Glasses are raised. 

A brass band strikes up a few discordant notes, collects itself and finds the perfect pitch.

As Rhodes flings his hat into the air in celebration the camera lingers on the cloud flecked sky.   Dissolve.

 RHODES vo

Once all the mines were consolidated under

the one company, De Beers Consolidated 

Mines Limited, my plan was to industrialise

Africa. This required railways from north of

the Sahara to the Cape, road building from

          coast to coast, connecting ocean to ocean.         

91.  DAY EXT.

A 3-D animated map of Africa with Rhodes' plans for rail and road expansion coast to coast, north to south.

RHODES vo

Countries had to be established, the territory

                                        is to be called Rhodesia. 

I am proud to be the only man in the world

            to have had a country named after him.                 

92.  DAY EXT.  OXFORD

Title.  ENGLAND. 1899. 

The gleaming spires of the Oxford colleges.

 

 RHODES vo

The Rhodes scholarship, endowed with the

De Beers diamond money enables students

                                     to attend colleges in Oxford.

   RHODES vo

                        Long may this continue.                                           

93.  DAY EXT.   COLLEGE  SLOW MOTION

Dissolve to a quadrangle with students in gowns and mortarboards passing through.   We hear the Roll Call of all the famous and infamous Rhodes scholars, calling their name out as if at college assembly. "William Jefferson Clinton"…a young but unmistakable voice replies, "present sir".

The students doff their hats on passing Rhodes' statue.

94.  DAY EXT.  OPEN MINE

Title.  PRETORIA. SOUTH AFRICA. 1905.  Low angle looking up at blue African sky, a pickaxe swings into frame and a dozen miners are revealed working in a 30 foot pit.

Frederick Wells, a superintendent of the Premier Mine is amongst a group of dignitaries at the top edge of the pit.   Addressing the camera he politely takes his hat off.

 WELLS

It was here in 1905…this is where

                             I found it.                                                                    

A voice calls down from the edge of the pit.

VOICE vo

                      Superintendent Wells…what have you found down there?         

         

Wells is now in working clothes at the bottom of the pit and inspecting a wall bracing, a glint catches his eye and he digs out a huge diamond.

WELLS vo

The pit was only 30 feet deep. I dug out that

unbelievable chunk of diamond with my penknife. 

It weighed 3,106 metric carats…one pound, six ounces…

and was named the Cullinan for Sir Thomas Cullinan,

                        discoverer of this, the Premier Mine.                                                        

95.  DAY EXT.  MINE OFFICE

Wells with the Cullinan in hand is about to weight the fist-sized monster when another superintendent tosses the diamond out of the window. 

All the other men in the office laugh.

WELLS vo

A hoax he called it… a piece of glass…

out the window it went…even Mr. Cullinan

himself, on receiving the telegram said,

"just a piece of crystal no doubt".   Wrong

                                    they were, bloody wrong!                                        

96.  DAY INT.  MUSEUM

Close on the Cullinan Diamond as it is placed on the scales, then dissolve to the cut and polished diamond in a museum setting.

WELLS vo

I was to learn it was purchased by the

Transvaal Government for about $750,000,

and presented to King Edward VII on his

birthday.  I got the princely sum of 2000

pounds sterling.  That's fine by me! 

97.  NIGHT EXT.   TOWER OF LONDON

Wide on Tower then a series of cuts moving in.

98.  NIGHT INT.   TOWER OF LONDON JEWEL ROOM 

Close on the Cullinan Diamond now in the Crown of Queen Mary. 

 NARRATOR

The Koh-i-Noor was placed in the crown

of Queen Mary. Twenty-six years later,

Elizabeth, the consort of King George VI,

had a crown made to wear at her husband's

coronation...

99.   NIGHT INT.  ANOTHER ANGLE ON CROWN                     

     NARRATOR  

It is now known as the Queen Mother's

Crown…one of nine splendid British

Crowns…and from it flashes the

Koh-i-Noor.  It is one of the most popular

         treasures displayed in the Tower of London.        

100.  DAY EXT. SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTE 

Title.  WASHINGTON. 1855. 

An artistes impression of the main building as it was then, dissolve to a photograph of the building as it is today.

101.  NIGHT INT.  SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTE 

Move in on an elaborate cabinet as white gloved hands open the glass door and remove the Hope Diamond and place on a silk cushion which in turn is on a revolve.

NARRATOR vo

The Smithsonian Institution should heed

the words of the English poet Southely as

he reflects on the history of the Hope Diamond,

“And the curse shall be on thee...for ever

                    and ever”.  Thrilling words indeed!                    

102.  NIGHT INT. BOUDOIR

Montage of oil paintings and live action sequences of the following characters. Marie Antoinette, Madame Athenais de Montespan and Princesse de Lamballe. All are wearing the Hope diamond.

Marie Antoinette in her boudoir. Her dresser places the diamond around her neck. She preens in the ornate mirror. Palace guards rush in and arrest her.

   NARRATOR vo

The curious coincidences are, that its owners

in 300 years of its known history, have been

unluckier than most.  They include Marie

Antoinette, of the "let them eat cake" fame.

She was sentenced to death for treason. 

She was guillotined in Paris in 1793. 

We hear the sound of the crowd baying for blood then the guillotine and impact of the blade.

103.   NIGHT INT.  STUDY 

Louis XlV in his private study. Guards are in attendance.

He removes the Hope Diamond from his neck and places it with an extensive selection of jewels in a cabinet.  He steps back to admire them and his painting.

NARRATOR vo

Louis XlV, the self-anointed Sun King of

France amassed the finest collection of

   jewels in Europe…After sending France

into four major wars he died of fever and gangrene.

We hear the sounds of war and intonations of a priest giving the last rites.  A black drape appears over the painting.                                

A roughly dressed peasant rips down the painting with a pike

104. DAY INT.  PAINTERS STUDIO

Louis XVI.  A court painter is completing his portrait, the final touch, the sparkle from the Hope Diamond prominent on his chest.

 NARRATOR vo

Louis XVI, the king of France from 1774-92,

lost his throne in the French Revolution. 

The revolutionary leaders later beheaded him.    

105. DAY EXT.  COURTYARD

The blade of the guillotine slowly rises to the top of the frame, hesitates for a moment then plunges swiftly down.

We hear the sound of the crowd gasp and impact of the blade.  A woman screams.

NARRATOR vo

It took two attempts to sever his head; his neck

too thick to yield to one blow.

The bloody blade of the guillotine rises into the dawn sky and drops again.

106.    NIGHT INT.   NIGHT CLUB STAGE

A beautiful dancer is performing a dance of the seven veils. A shot rings out and she falls. The Hope Diamond from around her neck rolls into close-up.

Prince Ivan Kanitowsky.

NARRATOR vo

Prince Ivan Kanitowsky, was described a

a Russian or Eastern European prince.

He gave the diamond to his lover.

The infamous Flo “Bert” Bertram from

Bow, London

A Folies Bergeres actress who was shot across the footlights by either her husband or the Prince as she wore the stone.  An unsolved crime.  Revolutionaries later stabbed the Prince to death.

107.   NIGHT INT.   NIGHT CLUB BACK STAGE

A man's shout, a shot rings out, then a woman's cry.

108.  NIGHT INT.  GALLERY PARIS

A knife thuds into the painting of Prince Ivan Kanitowsky.  We hear a long drawn out scream from a man.  The painting crashes to the floor.

109.  NIGHT INT. GALLERY  NEW YORK 

Painting  of Henry Philip Hope.                

NARRATOR vo

The American, Henry Philip Hope purchased

the diamond, still believed to be the Great

       Blue. It was he who re-named it the Hope Diamond. 

Nothing untoward happened to him but his

son on receiving the diamond in his will,

   died at the comparatively early age of fifty-four.   

The painting slips sideways and hangs at an angle.

110. NIGHT INT.  SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION

Move in on the Hope Diamond  as it is placed back on its silk cushion and the cabinet door gently closed and locked.

111.  DAY EXT.  ORANGE RIVER

Title: SOUTH WEST AFRICA  1930. 

Two young prospectors are grubbing in the tidal flow of the Orange River...

They hear the surf booming on the coast...they race up and over the dunes and from the crest marvel at the pounding Atlantic Ocean.  The raging surf line is littered with ancient wrecks.     

112.   DAY EXT. BEACH WRECK 

On the beach alongside one of the many hulks they rake thru the sands and find a diamond...joyous whoops and a dash down to the shoreline and in a foot of water they find more diamonds. 

 
A howl stops them in their tracks...a jackal is chasing down seagulls to no avail.

113.   DAY EX.T   BOAT

Title: 1935. 

The same two prospectors are off shore some 10 metres in a 15' whaler.  A dredging pump on board is searching in 6 foot of water, they find more diamonds in the sea bed debris on the deck.

114.  DAY EXT.  BOAT TO BEACH   BARGE

Title: 1940...from out of the dunes a lion chases down a prospector down tothe shoreline...he can only swim out to a barge...the lion stops at the waters edge.

115.  DAY EXT.  FISHING BOAT

Title: 1948.

On board larger boat, an old fishing vessel rigged out with a dredging pump, finds them directing the crew and a hard hat diver to a depth of 15 feet where another diver is sucking up the sea bed gravel to the boat above.

On shore a herd of elephants are bathing and splashing in the surf.

116. DAY EXT.  SHORELINE

Mechanism comes to the diamond fields. The shoreline is picked clean.

Two prospectors wade into the ocean and grub around in three feet of surf.                   

117.  DAY EXT.  YACHT

Title: 1950.

Sam Collins the American millionaire  arrives on his private yacht and hails the two prospectors; they climb aboard and show him the proceeds of the ocean bed below. 

118.  DAY EXT. LARGE BOAT

Title: 1961.

Sam is next seen onboard a large diamond prospecting boat directing operations of a 20 man crew. 

Hold on Sam staring into the deep then tossing a stone overboard...we follow the stone into the black depths... 

119.  ANIMATION

Title: 2009. SOUTH AFRICA/NAMIBIA
 
On the Atlantic Ocean seabed a huge underwater tractor is vacuuming the ocean floor for diamonds at a depth of 140 metres.  A submersible is in attendance.

Whales and sharks move in close to our view from the submersible window.

The tractor moves steady forward over the rocky ocean floor.  As it mounts obstacles and manoeuvres around rocks we follow the vacuum line back up to the ship above.

120.  DAY EXT.  MODERN SHIP

Moving back up with the suction pipe to the boat above, we rise out of the water alongside a modern ship, fitted for deep sea dredging operations.

Breaking the water's surface reveals a helicopter landing on the ship's landing pad.

Onboard, from a huge tube, the debris from the ocean bottom scatters across the collecting tables and more diamonds are found. 

0nshore the ravaged beach is soon returned to its pristine state by the wind and tide. 

121.  DAY EXT.  NEW YORK STREETS

Title. NEW YORK. 1830 A.D. 

Superimposed over photographs of 19th century New York, a montage of newsreels of the events of the year.

NARRATOR vo

New York rivalled any city in the world for

its conspicuous wealth and collections of

  diamonds.                                                   

122.   DAY EXT.  TIFFANYS

Tiffany's Jewel Emporium.  An artistes sketch of the building as it was in 1837 with a superimposed image of Charles Louis Tiffany framed by the window area.  Dissolve through to black and white photograph's of the rich and famous who purchased diamonds at the store.  

As we progress through to the present time both the storefront and the peoples clothing reflect the era.  The final images are in colour and we move in on the Tiffany Diamond, the only article in the window.

123.   DAY INT.

Museum setting.  As each of the following diamonds are presented, we would see where it was found, hear a little of its history, colour, cut and appeal, and its whereabouts today.

The Winston Diamond.  Harry Winston, the most famous diamond dealer.

The De Beers Diamond under a high intensity x-ray light.

The Oppenheimer Diamond, and influences by Picasso and Dali.

124.  DAY INT.   AUCTION ROOM

Title. SWITZERLAND 1995 A.D. 

Auction Room at Sotheby's in Geneva. Security monitors and cameras litter the room. The Star of the Season is on a plinth in foreground.    Two armed guards are close by.  The room is filled with flamboyant characters of all nationalities.

     AUCTIONEER (to camera)

Welcome to Switzerland ladies and gentlemen.

He then turns to the crowed auction room.

AUCTIONEER vo

Here at the famed auction house of Sotheby's

in Geneva we have The Star of the Season, a

pear shape diamond of over 100 carats. 

    May I hear your bids now?                            

The auctioneer begins the bidding. The camera scans the room and picks out all the eccentric characters of the diamond world, mostly gorgeous women and rich older gentlemen, many in national costumes. 

AUCTIONEER vo

The bidding soon passed the reserve price

           and the tension in the air was extreme…              

The auctioneer continues to encourage the bidding. Hands signal across the room. 

AUCTIONEER vo

The bidding stopped at $16.5 million dollars.

Once sold, the Sheikh Ahmed Hassan Fitaihi

received an instant offer to sell at a sizeable

premium. The offer was turned down. As an

international collector this was a brilliant prize.  

The auctioneer  turns to camera.

 AUCTIONEER

The Niarchos Diamond is now owned by Sheik

Ahmed Hassan Fitaihi. 

 Dissolve from polished diamond to how it was found in its rough form. 

125. COMPUTER GRAPHICS 

The rough diamond is subjected to computer enhancement and an exploration of the interior. 

NARRATOR vo

Structure is the key in the taking of a

rough diamond to a final polished gem.    

126.  DAY EXT.  DESERT

The African San family led by the sangoma is travelling across a huge desert landscape.  Rising over a red sand dune they look down on the Atlantic Ocean and its roaring surf.  

Two huge earth-moving machines are piling high great barriers of sand to push back the ocean.

The San family with their meagre possessions yet with an air of superiority, sit down to watch.   Slowly they fade away to leave just the burning sands and the giant machines tearing at the coastline.131

1273-D ANIMATION 

Dissolve to wire frame computer images of the huge machines...as the gears grind the vehicle spins and dances...demonstrating its power and movement.

The performance of the two machines is almost a dance and the ballet music reflects this orchestrated effect.  Dissolve.

128.  DAY EXT.  NAMIBIAN COAST

Coastal sand dunes.  The African drum music heralds the image of the actual machine at work.  It tips its 124-ton load into an equally large truck. Other trucks move into frame and the drivers leap down out of the cabs. 

The wheels of the trucks are twice their height.

 NARRATOR vo

The technicians directing this operation to

push back the ocean are minuscule in

comparison to this 30-foot high monster.  

Its capability is 100 tons per hour.  The ratio

is one ton mined to find one precious carat.    

129.    DAY EXT.

Global assessment of modern day exploration over the slow motion flags of countries producing diamonds.  Australia. South Africa. Botswana.  Namibia. Zambia.  Egypt. India.  Brazil. America.

130.  DAY INT & EXT.   LOCATION & STUDIO CLOSE-UPS

This sequence to be developed in accord with the research for the educational programs.

Industrial use of diamonds, gold and silver settings, and man made stones.  

The potential of changing colours in natural and manufactured diamonds.

Uses, from a heavy-duty oil well drilling bit to an eye surgeon's scalpel.

Synthetic diamonds and their emerging place in the market.

Intergrating with secondary metals such as gold, silver and platinum.

                                        NARRATOR vo

Diamonds are composed of pure carbon.

Scientists now know how to make them from

more ordinary forms of carbon, such as

the soot of your fireplace or the graphite

                           in your common lead pencil.                                  

 But they must reproduce the conditions,

a million pounds of pressure per square

inch and temperatures above 2,500° F,

conditions that only exists naturally in the

earth at depths of at least 150 miles.        

131.   DAY EXT.  MINING AREA NOW RECLAIMED 

From the images of access roads and mining buildings being razed by bulldozers, dissolve to the same environment but now completely reclaimed.

NARRATOR

Once a mining area is depleted of diamonds

the land is reclaimed and developed as game

parks, housing or other uses for the general

population. 

132.   DAY EXT.  GAME PARK GATES AND LODGE

Title. SOUTH AFRICA. 21st CENTURY.

Montage of the mining companies reclamation of land.

Animals are released into the game parks and we see the social programs that accompany such projects.

An understanding of black empowerment and the sense of Africa in the process of being given back and yet shared by all. 

133.  DAY EXT.  GAME PARK

The San family mysteriously appear. Turn from the camera and walk into the landscape.

134.  NIGHT INT.  BALLROOM

The Diamond & Gold Fantasy Dress Ball with extravagantly costumed revellers celebrating the creations of the International Jewellers designs at the party of the decade. 

Models flit across the runway with gold and diamond jewellery from Tiffany, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels.   Unique masks and ball gowns for the ladies. 

Many of the guests resplendent in costumes from the characters of the film.   

Champagne will flow and the entertainment will be the exotic performers seen in the motion picture. 

A grand prize will be presented for the most unique costumes and a selection of charities will benefit from both the sponsorship of the evening and from the revenue of the film.

The final climax of the evening will be a balloon departure at dawn with the guest of honour and their partner.

135.  DAY EXT.  GAME PARK 

African vistas.   Balloon aerials over great herds of grazing animals with the guest of honour and their partner.

The San family below looks up and waves.

                                             Peter Shillingford

                                    ufindshill@btinternet.com