The Thin Red Line
200 Pages
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The Thin Red Line


Downloading requires you to have access to the YouScribe library
Learn all about the services we offer
200 Pages


by Terrence Malick (based on the novel by James Jones)



Published by
Reads 89
Language English


THE THIN RED LINE by Terrence Malick Based on the Novel by James Jones
To the Memory of James Jones
And Those Who Served With Him
 They Live With Us
It was an act of love. Those men on the line were my family, my home. They were closer to me than I can say, closer than my friends had been or ever would be. They had never let me down, and I could never do it to them. I had to be with them, rather than let them down and me live with the knowledge that I might have saved them. Men, I now know, do not fight for flag or country, for the Marine Corps or glory or any other abstraction. They fight for one another. Any man in combat who lacks comrades who will die for him, or for whom he is willing to die, is not a man at all. He is truly damned.
 William Manchester, the journalist,  writing in Goodbye Darkness about  his experience on Guadalcanal.  (Like Fife, he walked away from the  safety of a hospital in a secure  area to return to his company in  combat.)
 Stein, James I, Capt, "C" Co Cmdg  Band, George R, 1st Lt, Exec  Whyte, William L, 2nd Lt, 1st P1 Cmdg  Blane, Thomas C, 2nd Lt, 2ns P1 Cmdg  Gore, Alberto O, 2nd Lt, 3rd P1 Cmdg  Culp, Robert (NMI), 2nd Lt, 4th (Weapons) P1 Cmdg
EM 1st/Sgt  Welsh, Edward (NMI)
S/Sgts  Grove, Ldr 1st P1  Keck, Ldr 2nd P1  MacTae, Supply  Stack, Ldr 3rd P1  Storm, Mess
Sgts  Becker, Sqd Ldr Rfl  Dranno, Co Clk  McCron, Sqd Ldr Rfl
 Fife, Fwd Clk
 Jenks, Asst Sqd Ldr Rfl
 Queen, “ “ “ “
 Thorne, “ “ “ “
Pvts 1cl
 Bead, Asst Fwd Clk
 Dale, 2nd Cook
 Doll, Rflmn
 Earl, “
 Marl, “
 Ash, “
 Bell, “
 Carni, “  Catch, “  Catt, “  Coombs, “  Crown, “  Drake, “  Gluk, “  Jacques,”  Kline, “  Kral, “  Mazzi, Mtrmn  Peale, Rflmn  Sico, “
 Stearns,”
 Suss, “
 Tassi, “
 Tella, “
 Tills, Mtrmn
 Train, Rflmn
 Weld, “
 Wynn, “
Bosche, Charles S, Capt, "C" Co Cmdg
Tall, Gordon M L, Lt Col, 1st Bn Cmdg  Haines, Ira P, Maj, Rgtl Srgn
 Gaff, John B, Capt, 1st Bn Exec
 Carr, Frederick C, Capt, Rgtl S1
 Hoke, Pvt, of Cannon Co
 Witt, Pvt, of Cannon Co
A young Admiral receives an encoded message from a radiotelegraph and interprets it for a group of Army commanders aboard a warship. An Army division must be diverted to support the Marines on Guadalcanal, an island which none of them is familiar with but which it appears is of critical importance in maintaining the supply route between the United States and Australia now in the first year of the war. The Army commanders tell him that two divisions are available; each is already at sea. The choice of which to deploy is his and, after a few seconds of hesitation, he makes it. He asks them to return to him some day in the future and to tell him, since he must remain far from the fighting, about their experience in the ordeal to come. Soldiers in the Civil War,.he says, spoke of “seeing the Elephant”: it was as though in combat a strange, awesome creature would appear, whose features one could not quite describe to anyone who had not seen it for himself. He would like to hear from them what this Elephant is.
FIRST SGT. WELSH sits in the brig of a warship, talking with PFC WITT, a young man from Breathitt County, Kentucky, a regular and formerly a regimental boxer.
WELSH I can put you up for a court martial, or I can give you non judicial punishment. Your choice, up or down. It's a felony offense to strike an officer  that includes an NCO.
WITT It ain't right.
WELSH We're going to send you to a place where you learn or you don't. They're going to shape you up.
WITT What did the Captain say?
WELSH Captain don't want you. Company don't want you.
WITT You fixed it that way.
WELSH You were gambling. You got mad because you lost. I've read your record. You been a loser all your life. You don't fool me. You'll never amount to nothing. (after a pause) You hit an NCO from another unit, in a war zone. Normally you'd go to Leavenworth.
WITT Baloney!
WELSH This isn't a normal situation. I worked a deal. Consider yourself lucky. If this got to Battalion, you'd be courtmartialed. Maybe hanged.
WELSH A felony offense, in a war zone. I've had trouble with you since Hawaii. You're a bad soldier. You'd let us down.
Welsh leaves. The steel door crashes shut behind him. Witt turns to the prisoner in the next cell, a man named HOKE.
HOKE (after a silence) What a jerk!
WITT Yeah. Partly he's right, though... I screwed up my life. I thowed away my pearl.
A LEGEND appears over a DISTANT VIEW of a lovely South Pacific island: “Guadalcanal, 9 November 1942.” Two transport ships of the U.S. Navy have sneaked up from the south in the first graying flush of dawn to deliver fresh reinforcement troops.
7. For their crews, this is a routine mission and one they know well; but to the men in the hold, the trip is neither routine nor known.
CORPORAL FIFE, the orderly room clerk, sits against a bulkhead, sick with fear. Beads of moisture cover the steel walls. The fighting men of CforCharlie Company pick their wet shirts loose from their armpits, look at their watches and wait impatiently. The bunks are covered with their gear; there is nowhere to sit except in the companionways. On Fife's right, PVTS MAZZI and TILLS clutch their knees.
MAZZI You think we'll catch a fucking air raid?
TILLS How the hell do I know? All I know, them crew guys said they din’t catch no air raid last time they made this run. On the other hand, time before last they almost got blew up. What do you want me to tell you?
MAZZI You're a big help, Tills: nothin’. Tell me nothin’. I'll tell you somethin’. We're sittin’ out here on this ocean like a couple fucking ducks in these here boats, that’s what.
TILLS I already know that.
MAZZI Yeah? Well, brood on it, Tills. Brood on it.
In one place a blackjack game has been started. Elsewhere little knots of men have formed and stand or sit talking earnestly to each other with widened eyes while hardly hearing what is said. Every so often an LCI, caught wrong on a wave, BANGS against the hull and REVERBERATES through the closed space of the dim hold, an anguished STEEL CRY. On Fife's left, PRIVATE FIRST CLASS DOLL is standing with CORPORAL QUEEN, a huge, amiable Texan.
QUEEN Well, we'll soon know what it feels like.
GORDON What what feels like?
QUEEN To be shot at.
DOLL Hell, I've been shot at. Hell, ain't you, Queen?
GORDON I only just hope there aren't any planes today. That's all. DOLL Well, I reckon if I'm goin’a get me that pistol, I better get with it. Those fucks in the next compartment ought be about nervous enough by now. Anybody want to come along?
QUEEN You'll do better on your own.
Doll stops in front of Mazzi and Tills. He nods at the crowded portholes.
DOLL Ain't you watchin’ the fun?
MAZZI Ain't interested.
DOLL I guess it is pretty crowded.
MAZZI Wouldn't be interested if it wadn't.
DOLL I'm on my way to get me that pistol.
MAZZI Yeah? Well, have fun.
TILLS Yeah; have fun.
DOLL You guys'll wish you had one, once we get ashore, and run into some of them Samurai sabers.
MAZZI All I want is to get ashore. And off of this fat sitting fucking duck we all sittin' on out here on this flat water.
TILLS Hey, Doll, you get around. You think we're liable to catch an air raid?
DOLL How the fucking hell would I know? We might, we might not.
TILLS Prob'ly they'll wait to hit us at the beach.
DOLL (ignoring Tills) If we do, we do. What's the matter? You scared, Mazzi?
MAZZI Scared? ‘Course I ain't scared! Are you?
MAZZI Okay then. Shut up.
Doll throws back his head and laughs and steps out through the bulkhead.
MAZZI That guy just ain't hep. He’s as unhep as a box.
TILLS You think he'll get a pistol?