The Postwoman

Based on book written by Michael Kenneth Smith

Book Cover

GENRE

HISTORICAL FICTION ACTION ADVENTURE BIOGRAPHICAL DRAMA ROMANCE THRILLER WAR

    Core Theme

    FEMALE EMPOWERMENT

    TIME PERIOD

    19th Century

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    SCHINDLER'S LIST; A CALL TO SPY; RED SPARROW; INGLORIOUS BASTARDS; THE IMITATION GAME

    CHARACTER LIST

    DEEDEE DE JONGH: 23. LEAD. CREATOR OF THE COMET LINE, PROUD MEMBER OF THE RESISTANCE.

    JACK NEWTON: 24. BRITISH ROYAL AIR FORCE FLIER. DEEDEE'S LOVE INTEREST.

    KURT LISCHKA: 35. GERMAN LT. COLONEL. ANTAGONIST.

    ELVIRE: 40S. PROUD MEMBER OF THE RESISTANCE.

    PAUL DE JONGH: 50S. DEEDEE'S FATHER.

    PAULINE: 20S. DEEDEE'S FRIEND. SPOILED, BUT GOOD-HEARTED.

    Logline

    Young Belgium woman, displeased by Hilter’s invasion, fights back by establishing an escape line to get downed flyers out of Europe and back to England. She succeeds, but gets caught by the Gestapo and spends nearly two years in Ravensbruck Concentration Camp while buoyed by her love for a British f

    Genre

    Historical Fiction,Action,Adventure,Biographical,Drama,Romance,Suspense/Thriller,War

    Target Audiences

    Age: 18-34,35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Female Leaning,Universal

    Setting

    Europe: Belgium, France, Germany

    Based on a True Story

    Yes

    Starting Description

    Over the English channel at night, Jack Newton is a nose gunner in a Wellington bomber. After bombing a German bearing factory, the plane is hit by German fire and forced to land. Jack survives and starts a long journey to get back to England aided by an attractive young nurse.

    Ending Description

    Having recovered from near death in German concentration camp, in 1946 Dedee appears in front of King George to receive the George Medal. After the ceremony, all of her accomplices are there plus her first successfully returned English airman, Jack Newton who has his expectant wife with him.

    Group Specific

    The author has not yet written this

    Pitch Adaptation

    This script is about a young woman who, when all hope is nearly gone, decides she can make a difference. Brave, resourceful and dedicated to a vision she created, she shines. In scene after scene, she is challenged in a man's world and has to respond in a way that allows her to not only survive, but thrive. A romantic memory of her first successfully returned down airman helps her get through the tortuous days in Ravensbruck prison and serves only to give her hope when none exists. The role of this woman requires a young, attractive, petite actress (not necessarily sexy). Rooney Mara comes to mind. Scenes of climbing over the Pyrenees, narrow escapes from Gestapo agents, crowded train cars, torture and near death, all would have viewers on the edge of their seats rooting for this woman who successfully defied the best German minds. After the final scene, viewers of the movie while being teary eyed would leave with a great memory of an unsung heroine in WW2.

    WGA Number

    The author has not yet written this

    Mature Audience Themes

    The author has not yet written this

    Plot - Other Elements

    Twist

    Plot - Premise

    Overcoming Monster/Villain

    Main Character Details

    Name: Andree de Jongh

    Age: 23

    Gender: Female

    Role: Mentor

    Key Traits: Confident,Decisive,Leader,Selfless

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Jack Newton

    Age: 24

    Gender: Male

    Role: Emotional

    Key Traits: Charming,Modest,Desperate

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Kurt Lischka

    Age: 35

    Gender: Male

    Role: antagonist

    Key Traits: Badass,Aggressive,Decisive,Leader,Patriotic,Power Hungry,Manipulative

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Genre

    WAR, DRAMA, ROMANCE, SUSPENSE

    Brief

    Displeased with Nazi Germany, young Deedee de Jongh joins the Belgian Resistance in hopes of fighting back. She creates The Comet Line escape route through the Pyrenees mountains and delivers Allied soldiers to safety. Along the way she meets Royal Air Force flier Jack Newman, but despite their attraction, the war has other plans for them. After getting captured by the Germans, Deedee is tortured in a concentration camp where she continues to deceive the Germans until she is finally liberated.

    Overall Rating

    GOOD

    Point of View

    SCRIPT

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: FAIR

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: EXCELLENT

    Structure: GOOD

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    Though the Script Profile does a great job of pitching the story and laying out the premise, the logline appears unfinished and should be completed before further consideration.

    Draw of Story

    In Deedee, we see a standout female lead from the beginning and that in itself is intriguing against a male-dominated WW2 backdrop. Though her early development isn't quite where it needs to be yet, perhaps due to some pacing issues, the hook is most certainly there. Her defiance, perseverance and refusal to accept the terrors of Nazi Germany engage us in her journey right away and her determination keeps us intrigued throughout the screenplay.

    Possible Drawbacks

    The pacing is rather quick, especially in the first act. Deedee joins the Resistance without sufficient time for the audience to gauge her ordinary world and assess all that she's given up, which affects some of the earlier tension. Additionally, her chemistry with Jack is a bit under explored which makes their relationship feel somewhat forced. Allowing additional time for that attraction to build, only to be thwarted by circumstance, will further engage an audience and drive home their relationship arc later on. Some of the supporting cast is underdeveloped, which affects the world building a bit. For instance, it's hard to distinguish between some of Jack's crew members and other ancillary characters, like Nennette, get somewhat lost. Making sure that each character has the appropriate levels of development will make the story feel much more well-rounded and complete. The tone of the world outside of Deedee's escape route also feels underdone. It'd be interesting to get a better sense of the community outside of the major plot locations, like Elvire's farmhouse and the safe houses. It would add to the overall feel of a wartime script and also establish further stakes. If Deedee fails, the world she knows (and the world that we know through her) will cease to exist.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY RELIES A LITTLE BIT ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    In Deedee, we see a standout female lead from the beginning and that in itself is intriguing against a male-dominated WW2 backdrop. Though her early development isn't quite where it needs to be yet, perhaps due to some pacing issues, the hook is most certainly there. Her defiance, perseverance and refusal to accept the terrors of Nazi Germany engage us in her journey right away and her determination keeps us intrigued throughout the screenplay.

    Fanbase Potential

    This story has the potential to attract history lovers, those who enjoy female-driven storylines and those who prefer films with high-stakes and high-tension. While it does take place during WW2, there's enough meat here for a wide target market and the screenplay doesn't seem to alienate any large groups.

    Awards Potential

    Deedee's character has Awards potential, based solely on the range of emotions the character goes through throughout the script. Similarly, Elvire could potentially be considered for a supporting cast award because of her contribution to the plotline, though she under delivers a bit in overall development. Though the screenplay itself still needs a bit of work, the potential is there and with the correct revisions, could make an imprint on the awards circuit.

    Envisioned Budget

    LARGE BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    SCHINDLER'S LIST, RED SPARROW, CALL TO SPY, INGLORIOUS BASTARDS, THE IMITATION GAME

    What’s New About the Story

    THE POSTWOMAN, based on a true story, offers a female-driven narrative in a male-dominated war zone. Deedee's story is often neglected in WW2 accounts, but provides a fresh take on often overdone, familiar events. It's a high-stakes, high-tension suspense drama with potential, though the screenplay itself might benefit from further development. Further elevating some of the characters, better establishing the 'before' and slowing down some of the pacing could all help take this script to the next level.

    Lead Characters

    Deedee is fierce by nature, both in her selfless journey to help others and her defiance of her current status quo. She is easy to root for from the start, and her sacrifice is apparent in almost every stage of her journey. She in awing, inspiring and a real-life heroine with an untold, but vital story.

    Uniqueness of Story

    At least in source material, THE POSTWOMAN is a rare gem. It is the story of an under celebrated WW2 heroine who alone helped over 800 Allied troops make it safely out of enemy territory. That said, the screenplay itself may require further work. Some of the characters are slightly underdeveloped and the pacing is sometimes rushed, leading to several underdeveloped subplots, scenes and world-building. Striking the right balance between the primary storyline, character arcs and resolution is likely the key to making this feel well-rounded and polished.

    Possible Formats

    Film

    Analyst Recommendation

    CONSIDER

    Justification

    At its core, the screenplay is a high-stakes, high tension, female-driven war story that provides a fresh take on WW2 in Europe. In terms of concept, it delivers. However, the development still leaves something to be desired. Character development could be enhanced a bit, especially within the supporting cast. Subplots, like the attraction between Deedee and Jack, could be furthered. And the world before Deedee's journey could be better established overall. Still, there's potential here. With some tinkering and smart revisions, THE POSTWOMAN could attract attention and provide an outlet for a deserving stor

    Brief

    Based on a true story, a young Belgian woman fights back against Nazi Germany by establishing a secret escape route through the Pyrenees mountains. After helping nearly 800 Allied troops cross safely into British territory, she is discovered and taken to a concentration camp. When the Germans discover her identity, they track her down but she remains able to escape detection, even in the most dire of circumstances. With the help of the rest of the Resistance and some encouragement from an attractive British flier, the woman sacrifices everything in the name of service, dedication and eventual victory.

    What We Liked

    The script does a great job of highlighting sacrifice, female empowerment and perseverance in a male-dominated war. The story of Deedee de Jongh is one that is largely lost to time, and this account provides a fresh take on some of the contributions of a historical period that is often over-explored and familiar. Her true story is chock full of suspense, is high-stakes and high-tension throughout and provides a satisfying, though not entirely happy ending. A story like this would appeal to history buffs, lovers of female-driven plot lines and those who enjoy WW2 subject matter.

    Key points: Based on an untold, true story.
    Female-driven.
    Historical, but fresh.
    Plot-forward but with ample room for character development.
    Satisfying, but true to life conclusion.

    Synopsis

    Above the English Channel, a British crew fire blasts. A shell bursts in front of JACK NEWTON and the plane catches fire. Jack spots a German airfield and they abandon the plane and run from the Germans. Meanwhile, ANDREE DE JONGH (AKA DEEDEE, 23), tends to Allied troops at a Red Cross hospital. She protects a British soldier from the Germans by convincing them that his wound is infected. Deedee tells her father, PAUL (50s), that she wants to help the Allied troops escape and begs her father to help. Paul calls his friend, ARNOLD, and together they begin setting up safe houses.

    Deedee helps develop The Comet Line, an escape route across the Pyrenees that Deedee insists on crossing with the men. NEMO (40s) begins to set up forged documents for the charges, but they aren’t convincing enough. MADAM MORELLE (40s) begins work on transferring charges to various safe houses. Deedee sits in a train compartment with five charges, PAULINE (30) and her overstuffed suitcase. She urges Pauline to ditch the suitcase, but Pauline refuses.

    After spotting German patrol, Arnold and Deedee lead their charges across a river. When Pauline opens her luggage, Deedee realizes that she’s been holding onto couture dresses. Arnold refuses to escort her any further with the suitcase, and Pauline refuses to continue the journey.

    The charges arrive at ELVIRE’S (40s) and Elvire’s husband, FERNAND (40s), informs the group that Arnold and his charges have been arrested. Deedee urges them to deliver any future charges directly to the British. FLORENTINO (30s), the mountain guide, arrives. The group makes it across the Pyrenees and Deedee meets with the British consul. She asks for money to cover the costs of each escapee, is given the code name THE POSTWOMAN, and her charges become known as packages. Meanwhile, Paul nearly perfects the forgery papers.

    Deedee continues escorting packages and is eventually meets Jack and his crew. At a café, two German soldiers scrutinize Jack and Deedee places an Alka seltzer tablet in her mouth to fake a seizure. They board the train the following day and are questioned by German soldiers. With her charges unable to speak German, Deedee lies and tells them that Jack is excited beyond words for their engagement. She kisses him passionately, and the German soldiers believe her.

    The group arrives at Elvire’s farmhouse to await further instruction. Strong winds prevent Florentino from taking the group into the Pyrenees, and they’re forced to wait it out. Elvire notices an attraction between Jack and Deedee, despite Jack’s engagement.

    The group learns that Elvrie’s old neighbors were recently arrested for being Jewish and Jack ponders the idea of never seeing Deedee again. She slides towards him in their shared bed, and they fall asleep together. Florentino arrives to escort the group through the Pyrenees, and Jack is injured when a fellow charge falls on him. When the river is too engorged to cross, Deedee tends to Jack back at Elvire’s.

    Jack recalls his time in the safe house, when he emerged outside without permission. There, he encountered a German guard and tackled him before running back inside. Deedee scolds him for being so selfish, and they kiss, knowing that their love doesn’t stand a chance.

    Four days later, the group is back in the mountains. They approach a footbridge and sneak over while the guards sleep. Deedee delivers the men to the British but before she leaves, Jack and Deedee exchange ‘I love you's.’ Meanwhile, LT. COLONEL KURT LISCHKA charges his staff with unveiling the Resistance. Two agents torture Paul and his wife for information on Deedee.

    Deedee and Florentino are leading packages through the mountains when they are discovered. Deedee is interrogated and lies about her identity. They bring her to a waiting room, where she meets Nemo. She learns that Madame Morelle is on trial and they are to testify against her. Even worse, she learns that her father has been captured. Deedee tells the courtroom her true identity, but nobody believes her. She is put on a train to a concentration camp and on board, she meets Pauline again.

    They arrive at Ravensbruck, where they are tortured and abused. Deedee’s Blockova (prisoners in charge of their blocks) leads them to their bunks. During a head count Deedee notices that one of guards is close to bleeding out. She springs into action and is sent to the clinic. There, she meets DR. TREITE (30s).

    Deedee notices that her Blockova has an injured back. She provides her with pills and the Blockova softens towards her. Kurt Lischka learns that Deedee was in fact The Comet Line’s leader and sends his officers to retrieve her and to kill Paul. Dr. Treite discreetly tells Deedee that officials are coming for her. That evening, Deedee discovers that Pauline has strangled herself. Her body is accompanied by a note with her prisoner number and an instruction for Deedee to take on her identity. When the officials arrive, Deedee is frail enough to be unrecognizable. The Blockova informs them that Deedee is deceased, and the guards retreat.

    Eventually, a red cross van appears, and the women are liberated. She is taken to a camp in Denmark, where she reveals her true identity. Deedee is presented with the George Medal for her service to the British. Jack finds Deedee after the ceremony and introduces her to his pregnant wife, MARY. A post-script tells us that Deedee was honored by the US and French governments and that she was bestowed an honorary rank of Lt. Colonel in the Belgian Army. We learn that she and Jack stayed in touch for the rest of their lives, and that The Comet Line she created helped almost 800 Allied soldiers reach safety.

    About The Author

    Michael Kenneth Smith has written six historical (and historically accurate) novels. Though most focus on the American Civil War, the Postwoman marks his foray into WW2.