The Sword of Calais
ACTION ADVENTURE DRAMA EPIC HISTORICAL FICTION ROMANCE
17th Century or Earlier
Paul M Maher
1536. Jean Rombaud is given the gruesome assignment to execute Anne Boleyn, Henry V111 wife. When his nephew duels with a nobleman's son, old wounds are opened and Jean is given a choice, execute his nephew or commit treason.
We experience the point-of-view of a criminal about to be executed in Calais, seeing what he can see, hearing what he can hear, as the crowd in the square abuse him. He arrives at the scaffold where Jean Rombaud, the State Executioner is waiting for him, Jean's assistant Raoul swings the sword.
Sailing back toward Calais, Jean gives the 100 crowns from Anne Boleyn's execution to Raoul so he and Roselyn can have a start in life, this goes toward freeing him from feelings of guilt and remorse. Jean then goes to the ship's rail, looks at the sword one last time and lets it slip.
Based on a True Story
Plot - Premise
Other,Voyage and Return
Plot - Other Elements
Mature Audience Themes
Information not completed
Main Character Details
Name: Jean Rombaud
Age: Late forties.
Key Traits: Adventurous,Badass,Aggressive,Decisive,Heroic,Honorable,Leader,Masculine,Selfless,Skillful
Additional Character Details
Key Traits: Adventurous,Charming,Confident,Faithful,Gracious,Heartthrob,Honorable,Masculine,Selfless,Skillful,Funny,Romantic
Additional Character Details
Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Charming,Empathetic,Faithful,Engaging,Gracious,Educated,Honorable,Sexy,Selfless,Skillful,Funny,Romantic,Sophisticated
Additional Character Details
Key Traits: Adventurous,Charming,Confident,Decisive,Engaging,Flexible,Honorable,Masculine,Selfless,Skillful
Henry V111 schemed to be rid of his wife so he can marry another. Anne Boleyn is found guilty of her sins and the King sends to Calais for Europe's best executioner. Jean Rombaud will be paid one hundred crown, a huge amount which will help him establish his sword school. With Raoul his nephew, they are also requested to escort Lady Roselyn to her London home from Calais. A bond develops between Raoul and Roselyn, but she is shocked on arrival to find out an marriage has been arranged with Nigel, who she hates. After Anne's execution there are celebrations for the King's betrothal. Roselyn persuades Raoul to join her in the merry-making. She gets drunk and taking her home, Nigel accuses him of kidnapping her. They duel and Nigel is badly wounded. Raoul is sentenced to death. Nigel's father is an old foe of Jean's. They fought a duel over Nigel's mother Bronwen years before, the old wounds are opened, resulting in another challenge. Jean is given an ultimatum by Thomas Cromwell, if he wins the duel, he must execute Raoul. Jean does win. Jean's magician brother Louis has a way of faking the execution, which they do and manage to fool Thomas Cromwell. They are able to escape with a promise from Bronwen to Jean that they will meet again. In mid-channel, Jean hands Raoul the money from Anne Boleyn's execution and finally deciding to do some good in his life, disposes of his sword by dropping it over the side.
The story of Anne Boleyn's executioner, Jean Rombaud. His past, beliefs, antagonists, the origin of his talent for forging swords, and the human side of a man seen as a cruel murderer.
Authors Writing Style: GOOD
Franchise Potential: FAIR
Accuracy of Book Profile
It does accurately reflect the script, however, the main character is presented under different names (Rambaud and Rombaud). It would be nice if the author could fix it.
Draw of Story
The hook is clear from the start since we have been accompanying Jean and his family from the first pages. And the script already puts the protagonist into action right away, with the execution of a civilian sworn to death.
Some scenes, like the robbers who follow Jean to steal him, sound quite artificial and superficial. So, some sequences seem to mismatch with the intriguing central story. Those moments could be cut or improved.
Use of Special Effects
THE STORY RELIES HEAVILY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS
Primary Hook of Story
Anne Boleyn's story is widely known, but this script put her executioner as the story's main character. The hook is this different point of view about a publicly famous story.
I see a fanbase formed by people who like historical facts and epic films. Jean Rombaud's story is a good complement to Anne Boleyn's one, so the script has the potential for an audience interested in the plot.
If the author intensifies Jean's internal conflicts related to his job when he discovers that the law is not righteous, and he has also been assigned to kill innocents, the story has possibilities for awards. Giving voice to someone who is seen as a cold executioner and showing that person's human side is also an exciting drama formula.
Similar Films/TV Series
THE TUDORS: SERIES ABOUT THE LIFE OF HENRY VIII, HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH ANNE BOLEYN, AND HER EXECUTION. PIERREPOINT: A BIOGRAPHY OF BRITAIN'S MOST PROLIFIC HANGMAN. THE FILM TELLS THE STORY OF THIS EXECUTIONER.
What’s New About the Story
The point of view is unique. The person who is presented as the protagonist of the story is unique: Anne Boleyn's executioner. In most films and series, Anne or Henry VIII are the protagonists of this popular story. In this case, the executioner, a character who usually has no voice and no backstory, is the center of conflicts. It is an interesting and different way of telling this epic story.
Jean surprises us as a character and subverts our expectations. The initial execution scene leads us to see Jean as a cold and cruel man (as we were used to seeing period films' executioners). However, throughout the story, we understand why he transformed into a talented executioner, and learn more about his ideas and relationships. Jean's relatives are secondary, but they also have relevance in the story, in addition to being good characters. The antagonist is presented as a Machiavellian villain, which is understandable in this case since the men who represent the State must look crueler than the man who handles the sword.
Uniqueness of Story
Not a rare gem. The sequence of conflicts and scenes is satisfying and takes us at an ever-increasing pace in tension to the climax. However, scenes like those of the thieves, and some very sugary dialogues (even for a period/poetic film), and sometimes very explanatory ones end up taking our attention away.
The characters are good, well-defined, with backstories that reveal themselves naturally throughout the plot. The protagonist is the executioner of Anne Boleyn, which already makes him, on his own, more attractive because of the story he carries. The surprise when we perceive a character that starts apparently cold, cruel but shows himself, scene after scene, as a kind human being is pleasant. The young Raoul, a supporting character to Jean, is also appealing. Despite his young age, Raoul already finds himself inserted in the executions' business, playing a very "challenging" role. He is the one who holds the heads of the decapitated people. However, in intimacy, he has a passion for music and writes romantic lyrics. They are two surprising and likable characters. The rich and beautiful Roselyn is an interesting female figure. Despite looking like a standard woman of period films, she has a vibrant desire for freedom and love, despite her young age. The script has some plots that walk in parallel. One is Jean's story, which is gradually revealed, and the other is that of Raoul and Roselyn. Two young people in love taking risks for the adventures of passion. Roselyn and Raoul's passion is also revealed little by little in a sequence of scenes and events that show the moment when they begin to fall in love. It doesn't seem forced or meaningless. It is quite believable and charming. Anne Boleyn's death takes place at the midpoint of the script, and that event changes Jean forever. From this point, he realizes that he may be serving the wrong people and wants to change. That's when his anguish increases, and we meet an important character from his past. The structure is well assembled, making an agile turn between these different subplots and opening up room to new emerging plots. It is a good script, with a promising story. However, dialogues would need to be improved. The scene in which Bronwen reveals to Jean that her husband sedated him before an important battle sounds awkward. It doesn't seem like a natural revelation for the moment, and it takes on an almost soap opera feel. If the revelation happened more naturally, it would sound more surprising. So, improvements have to be made, but the overall look of the script is positive.