Friday, October 24, 2008
It was weird - The old man outside that antique shop. I'm sure he was Harry.
The conference room hubbub becomes the sound of the OCEAN. Behind Mike, the hotel bedroom gives way to a beach.
EXT. CHEVIOT BEACH (1967) -- DAY
Mike looks out over a driftwood strewn beach. Seagulls wheel in a grey sky.
It was like an acid flashback.
As he lifts his hand to shade his eyes to the glare, Mike MORPHS into YOUNG MIKE, nineteen.
I could hear the ocean, feel the heat of that overcast December morning lost in time -
Young Mike stands on the sand beside a large rock with his companion, JET, a good looking young woman of about twenty, wearing a white bikini, her long dark hair tied up in a twist. They watch as -
HARRY, aged fifty nine, enters frame, his hair is silver but his jaw is firm, his bare chest muscular. Wearing dark blue swim shorts and old sandshoes without laces, he jogs across the beach, enters the water.
Beside them is another young man, RICHARD, also in bathers, who follows their gaze.
Standing on the rock next to them is a beautiful woman in her early forties, JACQUELINE CARLISLE, also in a bikini, a chiffon wrap blowing behind her in the breeze.
IN THE WATER
A wave catches Harry and draws him out. He swims breast-stroke through the churning water that claws at the beach. Ducking under another wave, he tries to keep his head above the maelstrom.
ON THE BEACH
Jacqueline beckons to Harry out there in the water, urging him to return.
Harry disappears under a wave, reappears further out.
Come back! Come back!
Young Mike strains to see the diminishing dot that is Harry swimming out beyond the raging surf.
The ocean churns. A huge wave boils up. Suddenly there is no sign of Harry.
Can you see him?
The ocean roars.
Young Mike looks up to Jacqueline on the rock. She's shading her eyes, straining, hoping to see...
I'm going for help.
Richard runs off, back up the beach.
After a three week investigation, the Police came to the same conclusion I had -
Richard's tiny figure scrambles up the cliff face path.
At the top, a flash of sunlight reflects off binoculars.
- that on the seventeenth of December nineteen sixty-seven -
As Jacqueline gazes out to sea, tears roll out of her eyes and down her cheek, ruining her make-up.
- Harold Holt, Prime Minister of Australia - had drowned.
The ocean is huge, the waves massive, the sound of surf overwhelming.
The sound of HELICOPTERS becomes audible over the waves. Jacqueline looks up.
Search and Rescue helicopters fly out from over the cliff.
INT. HOTEL ROOM (THE PRESENT) -- NIGHT
Middle aged Mike lies on his back in the bed, Emma nestled in the crook of his arm.
Emma looks up at him, a questioning look on her face.
I told you wouldn't believe me.
Come on - you don't believe you. It's just some old guy triggered off a memory.
I'm certain it was him.
You've just been telling me how he drowned.
But - just say he didn't.
A Chinese submarine picked him up out there in the surf? That's completely ridiculous.
You're sure he wasn't Elvis?
Mike, you're not a conspiracy theory kind of guy.
There was a war on. And not just the cold one.
You're scaring me now. What if you really are having some LSD flashback thing?
Mike peers upward into the darkness.
The fan on the ceiling is whirring overhead.
BLACK AND WHITE TELEVISION FOOTAGE (1967)
Helicopter gun-ships descend in a Vietnamese landscape.
Friday, October 17, 2008
As a young medical student, the narrator, Mike Compton, accompanied the Prime Minister of Australia, Harold Holt, to the beach and witnessed his death by drowning.
Now a middle-aged doctor on holiday in China, Mike catches a passing glimpse of a very old European man whom he is sure is Holt.
Mike's search for this man takes us through a post-modernist exploration of truth, lies, love, and infidelity set against the myths and conspiracy theories surrounding Harold Holt's disappearance - in particular the strange story that Prime Minister Holt had been a communist spy about to be unmasked, and was smuggled away by submarine to safety in China.
The truth Mike finds is as unexpected as it is moving.
Thursday, 23 October 830pm - The Prime Minister Is Missing
From Rambling Thoughts
With Australia at war in Vietnam in 1967, suddenly Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared without a trace - an event unparalleled in the history of western democracy. The nation was in shock and disbelief at the shattering news, hoping for a miracle for the man who famously declared it was “all the way with LBJ”.
Police led a ’softly softly’ investigation and concluded accidental drowning. But at the height of the Cold War paranoia, persistent doubts about his disappearance fuelled rumours and wild speculation.
Why did Holt go into such violent surf that day? Had he chosen a bizarre way out of a difficult situation? Why were police withholding crucial facts? What had they overlooked?