Midnight Clear, A (1992) Movie Script

It's too hot.
When I get back,
I'm gonna put it...
Mother's the oldest
in our squad.
He just had his 26th birthday, and
two days later his baby was born dead.
We call him Mother... Wilkins...
because he's always hounding us
for being sloppy, bugging us...
about leaving things around.
They're a little bent.
You want me
to turn you in, Vance?
Between the stuff you did
and the stuff I make up...
I could at least get you
to a psychiatrist in some hospital.
Couldn't fool anybody.
Wouldn't let me do
all this shit.
Only you were here.
Doesn't really count.
You sure fooled me, Mother.
I'll tell you that.
You also broke a squad rule.
What rule?
Well, you said "shit."
What would Father say?
Father Mundy invented our squad
"no obscenity"rule.
We wanna make it clear
we're not actually part of this army.
Yes, we have a squad father too.
Mother Wilkins, Father Mundy.
Father Mundy was gonna be a priest,
but never made it through the seminary.
The next guard was taken by Bud Miller,
our mad mechanical genius...
and resident wit...
and Stan Shutzer,
our avengingJewish angel.
They're supposed to be 12 in
Intelligence and Reconnaissance squads.
Ours is down to six.
Mel Avakian,
our best remaining soldier...
became corporal to our squad
at the same time I made sergeant.
It wasn't
for anything we did.
Except stay alive.
He hasn't sewn on
his stripes either.
Our regimental commander
is Major Griffin.
Griffin was a mortician
in civilian life.
His main passion now
seems to be generating business...
for his army counterparts.
It's thanks to Griffin
and his military mortuary skills...
that I've made my recent
headlong leap to three stripes.
We lost half our squad, attempting one
of his map-inspired, ill-conceived...
recon patrols.
When I say "lost,"
I mean "killed."
Nobody in the army ever admits
that someone on our side is killed.
They're either lost,
like Christopher Robin...
hit, as in a batter
hit by a pitched ball...
or they get "it"
like in hide-and-go-seek.
Or maybe they get it
as with an ambiguous joke.
Not one of the six killed
had an army intelligence score...
of less than 150.
We gained a few miles
of European real estate...
and lost the beginnings to untold
generations of very bright people.
I think the army
considered this a good deal.
So now we've been moved north
into the Ardennes Forest...
to await replacements.
It's become a kind
of frontline halfway house...
for straightening out
our nerves.
I'm not sure
I can be straightened out.
I'm scared all the time now.
It's mid-December, 1944.
My family name is Knott.
My parents named me William.
By the third grade,
I was Will Knott.
I've learned to live with it.
What I wasn't prepared for
were the guys of the I & Rplatoon...
who decided I was
to be known as "Won't."
Let's go, Knott!
Back in Camp Shelby
before we shipped out...
Lieutenant Ware was told that
Intelligence was doing a lousy job.
He figured if he filled the squad
with intelligent soldiers...
he'd get better Intelligence.
He searched the regimental records for
the soldiers with the highest scores...
on the intelligence test...
and requisitioned us
as a squad.
Of course, six of us are dead.
So what's intelligence?
Jesus Christ, Knott.
Haven't you got them fucking
sergeant stripes sewn on yet?
The supply sergeant says they're all
out. They're waiting on a new shipment.
Well, get some staff sergeant
stripes and cut 'em down.
That'd be destruction
of government property, sir.
Well, I just hope to hell that
son of a bitch Griffin doesn't see it.
It's amazing how much profanity
goes on in the army...
when you're tuned to hear it.
Yeah, at ease, gentlemen.
Well done.
And, Corporal, if we could...
I'd like the water
a little warmer tomorrow.
Give that razor a fighting chance
up there against the whiskers.
Okay. Lieutenant Ware,
Sergeant Knott.
Gentlemen, I'd like you
to disregard...
all the rumors you've been
hearing around camp lately...
because now there's talk
of a imminent all-out enemy offensive.
Of course, the natural route for
any such offensive in this sector...
would obviously be
up these two roads...
and through this path
in the forest.
With that in mind,
three days ago, I sent out a patrol.
Now, that patrol
has not returned...
and, unfortunately,
they have not reported back.
Accordingly, I've made
the following decisions.
Sergeant Knott...
at this particular clearing
in the forest...
is a house.
I'd like you to move into that house
with your reduced squad.
Take yourself two jeeps
and a week's rations.
And from that house...
you're to report on any and all
enemy activity within that sector.
Lieutenant Ware...
you're to maintain constant
radio contact with Sergeant Knott.
- Is that clear, gentlemen?
- Yes, sir.
Sir, is there any evidence
of enemy occupation at that house?
Well, now, Sergeant Knott...
that's something you're just
gonna have to find out, isn't it?
Right, sir.
We drive for hours
through the snow.
Mother and I haven't talked about our
cross-country jaunt through the woods.
He just acts
as if it never happened.
That's all right. Just thinking
about something like that scares me.
What's going on, Mother?
I don't know.
There's something up the road.
- What is it?
- You can't see it from here.
All right, stay here.
What is it?
Check it out.
Why do I always have
to check it out?
Jimmy Brunowski
from Griffin's patrol.
Looks like
he finally found a date.
I don't get it.
What's going on?
Those filthy, Nazi...
motherfucking bastards!
Give me a hand.
May God have mercy
on your souls.
I don't see anything.
No smoke, no movement.
What do you think?
Head on up with the jeeps?
Actually, I thought
maybe shoot through an eye.
We head down the road a ways,
circle around the back...
then come down the front of the road
and check for mines.
Is that okay with you?
- Yeah. We'll cover you.
- Great.
If Mel hadn't gotten trench foot,
he'd sure as hell be squad leader.
And that's the way
it should be.
Or maybe he'd be dead.
I'm not exactly sure
what country we're in.
It could be Belgium,
Luxembourg, France or even Germany.
I don't know what day it is. I have no
watch, so I don't know what time it is.
I'm not even sure of my name.
The next thing you know,
they'll be making me a general.
We find four mattresses
and satin-quilted covers...
along with some wine
and cases of sardines.
The I & Rplatoon,
or what's left of it...
will be living in luxury
for a few days.
Wow. Sheets and pillows.
I haven't had that since home.
Mel, come on.
Show 'em how we did it for the old USO.
USO, huh?
They call it
theJersey Bounce
The rhythm
that really counts
The temperature
always mounts
Whenever they play that crazy rhythm
they play
It started onJournal Square
Somebody heard it there
They put it
right on the air
And now you hear it
Back at Camp Shelby,
when we finally realized...
they really were going
to ship us overseas...
we went into a mild
state of panic.
The thing that
bothered us most was that...
with the exception of Mother Wilkins,
we were all eleven virgins.
I don't know
if this was normal...
or if there's some sort of correlation
between a lack of sexual precocity...
and what is known as intelligence.
I think Shutzer came up with the idea.
Or maybe it was Eddie.
Eddie was the youngest
of all of us.
Four of us managed a weekend pass
and headed into town...
to find a nice, complacent whore
who could put us out of our misery.
We kept it to four. We figured any more
would be some kind of gang bang.
And, well, we had
more romantic aspirations.
We had fifty dollars.
We spent ten on the room...
and left the rest
for the investment.
There was much discussion
as to the kind of woman.
I think we were all scared
that we'd end up with a real woman...
and not be able to manage it.
And the "B"girls
in the bars were out.
We were well-conditioned
by the army VD films.
Avakian and Shutzer
were to handle the search.
Eddie and I waited.
What time is it?
- One.
- You're kidding.
We got company, guys.
Oh, shit.
I know right then I won't
be able to do it. I'm glad I'm third.
So we'd just about given up...
when we see this girl
down by the bus station.
Just sitting there
on one of those wooden benches.
Anyway, we got around to talking
about what we'd been doing all night.
And right then,
out of the blue...
she just volunteered
to come back here with us.
I thought she was kidding,
but she's serious.
Well, I got an extra rubber
you can use if you want, Stan.
I got my own rubbers.
You've gotten as bad
as Mother Wilkins.
Actually, I can use one.
I should have known Edward
was gonna take forever.
What the fuck
are they doing in there?
Watch your language, Stan.
What would Father Mundy think?
Fuck Father Mundy.
Hey, Eddie,
how you doing in there, huh?
Maybe she rolled him
or something.
Knockout drops
or a blackjack.
Would you at least
say something?
Her name's Janice.
She was engaged
to a boy named Matt.
She found out last week that he was
killed in the invasion of Sicily.
She came down to Shelby
to get his stuff...
and decided to kill herself.
But she couldn't
work up the nerve.
All she has now is a bus ticket
back home to Pittsburgh.
Janice has only made love
to one boy, Matt, just before he left.
Now she's volunteering herself
to all of us...
insisting it's what
she wants to do.
Of course
we're so guilty and scared...
we end up subjecting
this simple, lovely idea...
to every kind
of spurious rationale.
We wind down before dawn
and sleep.
Then just before the morning,
Janice comes quietly...
privately to each of us.
We pass through
the mythical barrier...
between boys and men...
men and death.
Janice takes us with her.
After a luxurious
mass breakfast in bed...
we walk Janice to her bus.
None of us talk
about what happened.
And I think I'll always feel strange
about my first sexual experience...
masquerading as a dead boy
named Matt.
- Knott.
- Yeah.
I'll cook lunch if you can get me
some wood for the fireplace.
No, Mother. All we need
is a bunch of smoke...
to let the Germans
know we're here.
Will, if we don't light a fire,
we're gonna freeze our butts off.
And it's very hard to kill Germans
with a frozen butt.
All right.
The smoke's bad,
but not as bad as I thought.
You're taking a little long putting
that back together, aren't you, Bud?
I'm not working
for speed right now.
This wine tastes
like sardines.
Well, here. The sardines
taste sort of like wine.
I sit here trying
to work out four bridge hands.
Miller invented the game, calling it
"compact, cardless, duplicate bridge."
When we lost half the squad,
we also lost our only deck of cards.
They were on Eddie.
He died in the field hospital.
With his left arm gone
and his face the way it was...
I don't think he tried
very hard to stay on.
Hi, Bud.
Did Mother and Avakian
set up all right down there?
They seemed fine to me.
Good. Listen. You have got to be more
careful lighting cigarettes, all right?
Some German could sneak up from
behind you, pop one in your head...
while you're pretending
to be Walt Whitman.
I think my eyeball's frozen.
- Yeah?
- Is that you, Will?
- Yeah. What's going on?
- I don't know. I think I saw something.
- What did you see, Mother?
- I'm not sure, Will.
I don't know. I think I saw something
move on the hill across from us.
Did Avakian see it?
No. Just me.
All right, Mother, hang tight.
I'll call up top.
Oh, shit.
- Father?
- Yeah?
Yeah. Mother says he saw something
on the opposite hill there.
- Did you see anything?
- No. Nothing.
Wilkins must have eyes like an owl.
I can't see my hand in front of my face.
All right.
Could be he's only jumpy.
Just keep an eye
on their backs, all right?
Okay, Will.
Hey, Bud. Relax. Relax.
Mother's pretty nervous.
It's probably nothing.
Probably nothing?
That's real reassuring, Will.
Well, what do you think?
I don't know.
Maybe I should tell them
about Mother's run through the woods.
The news of his baby being dead
did him in for sure.
- Yeah?
- We're hearing something down here.
Mother thinks it's the Germans
signaling back and forth.
All right, Mel, hold on.
We'll be right down.
- Bud. Bud, wake up.
- What?
Listen. Mel says he's
hearing some noises, all right?
I want you to call Shutzer, tell him
I'm going down to the lower post.
Then call Mother and Avakian back and
remind them not to shoot me, all right?
Come on. Get up.
Did you hear any more?
Not since the last one.
It's closer that time.
Easy, Mother. Easy.
What do you think?
Maybe they're gone?
I don't know.
Maybe they're
just being quiet.
Let's you and me go
check out the road, all right?
Hey, Will, you go if you want.
I'm fine right here.
If they're gone, they're gone.
If they're not,
I'm not walking into an ambush.
Put that pin
back in that grenade.
- No, it wasn't.
- They do shit like this all the time.
- I know, but that wasn't the case.
- How do you know?
Do you think
it was five of'em?
- Yeah, yeah.
- What the hell is going on?
Mel said they were actually talking
to you. What did they say?
I don't know. First it was,
"Hey, Americana."
Then when they left, they started
saying something like "slap guder."
It didn't make any sense.
Shit, that's Yiddish.
It's schlaf gut.
It's "sleep well."
"Sleep well"?
Yeah, Will. "Sleep well."
Get it?
Holy shit. These fucking Nazis.
They're softening us up for the kill.
Will, wake up.
Ware's on the phone.
He doesn't sound real happy.
- Is Mother out there alone?
- Yeah.
- Why?
- Why? It's the day.
You don't need to leave two guys out
there during the day. What's the point?
I don't know, Bud.
How about the Germans?
What do you want, Will?
You wanna lose one guy, two guys?
I'm just really glad we talked about
this. I'm glad we could work this out.
It's up to you, Bud.
Bid or pass?
I pass.
Able 1 to Able 4. Over.
I tell Ware about our nighttime
encounter with the Germans.
Bad idea.
Griffin's desperate
for information...
so Ware orders us out
to find their command post.
We decided to head south
down the pass.
It's as good a guess as any, and that's
where their voices seem to come from.
Of course that could be seen as a good
argument for heading the other way.
I'm having my usual trouble...
noticing how beautiful the world is
just when I might be leaving it.
Just this side of the road.
Don't worry.
I'm just enjoying having
a fucking Nazi in my sights.
I think I'm getting a hard-on.
I know we could've killed
those three guys and gotten away.
I'm also sure they could've done
the same thing to us last night.
What I don't know in both cases
is why it didn't happen.
Fuck! Here we fucking go!
You're gonna get us killed here.
You got to relax.
I said you got to relax.
You gotta shut up. You gotta shut up.
- Shut up, Stan!
- You're gonna get us all killed.
You're gonna get us all killed.
You gotta shut up!
Stan! You gotta...
Come on!
What happened?
- You find any Germans?
- Yeah, we found them all right.
And they found us.
Krauts nearly blew our heads off.
Oh, shit.
I lost the scope and the map.
Great. Injury to insult.
- What happened, Bud?
- What happened?
Germans found us,
had a dead in their sights.
They could've killed all of us
and they just let us go.
- That's what happened.
- They had you and then they let you go?
What are you complaining about?
You should be happy.
We should be happy?
Oh, okay, Mundy, we're happy.
We're happy! Yippee!
You feel better now?
All right, Stan, come on.
- What the hell is that?
- That's just Mother.
Clumping around in the attic again.
It's fine.
- Did you find the stuff?
- They must've come back after we left.
There's all kind of tracks.
They took the scope and the map.
What did you do? Crawl around
on your hands and knees looking for it?
No. I could see right off
the stuff wasn't there.
I got wet working out a little
surprise for our Teutonic friends.
What, a trap?
I built a snowman.
Right where
we dropped our stuff.
I used pine needles
for a mustache.
And then a branch,
like an arm giving the Nazi salute.
I even put a few
pine branches over one eye.
- It's not a bad resemblance.
- Jesus, Stan.
They could've come up from behind, made
a few well placed critical comments...
and one more
ventilated whiz kid.
Even stamped out a message
in front of my snowman.
Made exclamation points
with pine branches.
- Where's Mother?
- He's upstairs in his attic.
- What's he doing there?
- I have no idea, Will.
Actually, he's been kind
of quiet lately.
Maybe he hung himself,
huh, Father?
Are you all right, Mother?
Look at the paintings, Will.
Somebody cared.
Somebody made something...
probably not even for money.
For love.
Sometimes I didn't believe
there was any love left.
Try to remember
who the real enemy is, Will.
Christ, I thought we lost
both of you up there.
What did you do,
start a family?
Father, you're on next.
Unless anyone objects, Bud...
I think we should go back to at least
two on the lower post for now.
All right?
It's too weird out there
for one guy alone.
What the hell's going on?
The explosion was me throwing a grenade.
They haven't fired back yet.
Can you hear that?
Can you hear that?
We can hear without the phone.
What are they yelling about now?
I think they're yelling "Fuck Hitler"
the way your grandmother would say it.
There's this crazy guy in the cemetery,
pretending grenades don't hurt.
Maybe you should send out
some straitjackets.
- We're having a snowball fight.
- What?
You don't think maybe the war's over
and they're not telling us, do you?
- I mean, they wouldn't do that.
- You sure you're okay down there?
Goddamn it, Shutzer! You're the one
that started this "Fuck Hitler" shit.
Schlaf gut, Kraut.
You got that map?
I'll be a son of a bitch.
I've been trying to figure out all
this crazy shit that's been going on...
for the past couple of days,
and only one answer makes sense.
Remember the frozen American
and the Kraut dancing together?
See, it's like a message.
They wanna get together.
- It's crude, but remember who they are.
- So?
So then they come around with that
schlaf gut bit the first night.
It's like they're saying
they know that we're here...
but they're not
so mad about it.
- Yeah.
- Well, listen.
Okay. Just try to think of one reason
they didn't mow us down...
or at least take us prisoner.
I think they're telling us
that they wanna talk...
maybe even surrender.
- What?
- If I'm right...
they want us to meet them
in this clearing at 1200 hours.
What if it's a trap?
If they wanted to kill us,
they could've done it a couple of times.
We could've shot them. We didn't.
That doesn't mean we wanna surrender.
They could be stalling
for reinforcements.
With a snowball fight?
A snowball fight
doesn't mean surrender.
Yeah, but look at this.
- I'll mention it to Ware.
- Come on, Won't.
We don't wanna get officers involved
in this, screwing everything up.
You know,
I think we got a chance...
to make something good
come out of this for everybody...
if we just use our heads.
What do you say we just go out there
and see what's going on?
Just the two of us.
I'll take all the risks.
- I still say I should call Ware first.
- What do you think Ware is gonna do?
- He'll tell Griffin.
- And you know damn well...
that Griffin is gonna come charging
out here and arrange everything...
so he looks like General Patton
winning the war single-handed.
That's the way it is, Stan. There's
nothing we're gonna do about that.
Suppose that one of us captures all
the Germans single-handed, all alone...
then we build this guy
into a second Sergeant York?
It's got to be worth
at least a Silver Star.
Maybe even a trip home
as a returning war hero.
- How does that sound?
- Sounds like a court-martial.
How are they ever
gonna catch on?
You know, for Mother's sake,
I think we should at least try.
For Mother?
Sure. Who else?
Oh, boy, that would be perfect.
We testify that the Germans
had us pinned down...
and Wilkins comes in the nick
of time and saves the whole show.
And we'd have a genuine mob
of enemy soldiers to back up our story.
Yeah, okay. For right now
we don't tell anybody, okay?
It's just the two of us.
Look, if it doesn't work,
at least we tried.
Sneaking out is easy.
Mother's back upstairs
by himself...
and Father and Miller
are asleep.
We decide we'll have to tell Avakian,
who's on guard at the lower post.
You're gonna tromp out there,
set up an armistice conference...
and turn Wilkins
into a war hero.
What, are you
out of your tiny minds?
- I don't think so.
- It all makes sense.
It's a theory. You're gonna get
your butt shot off for a theory.
Well, I'm going.
Will, listen to me.
I'm the one guy here who knows...
Mel, I said I'm going.
Okay, fine.
But even if you do
pull this off...
how are you going to get
Mother to go along with it?
- We tell him?
- No. No, he's right.
We'll have to draw straws
or something and rig it.
Wilkins will never accept it
if he thinks it's charity.
Plus, you tell him,
he's gonna want to tag along.
I don't think you want Mother
facing any Germans.
So what do you think, Sarge?
It's then I tell them about Mother's run
through the forest back at headquarters.
I don't think
we should tell him.
Okay, look, when we go
to get the Krauts...
we'll leave Wilkins here to guard
the chateau and mind the radio.
- It's all gonna seem perfectly natural.
- What makes you so sure this will work?
What makes you
so sure it's not?
Okay, fine.
Give two quick shots and one more
if you need any help.
Then what?
Then I'll miss you.
Hey, have fun, boys.
Don't get killed.
Hey, just calm down!
They want to talk
to our officer in charge.
- I don't speak German or Yiddish.
- It's okay. I'll translate.
I don't have stripes on my arm.
They won't believe I'm an officer.
I just don't think they're very happy
about surrendering to a Jew, okay?
Did they say
they want to surrender?
Just stuff about wanting
to talk to our officer in charge.
- What was all the yelling about?
- I'm not sure.
- You're not sure?
- Look!
I'm doing the best I can, okay?
Look, just...
Just come over with me.
I'll tell them our officer's
back at the chateau.
You look goy enough. Maybe they'll
come out more with you around.
Okay? Come on.
This is, uh, meine friend.
He's in the "schtieb,"
you know?
Okay, I think I got it.
There's seven of them.
They just got sent back
from the Russian front...
where it sounds like they got
the shit knocked out of'em.
He keeps talking about that
big offensive south of here...
and he doesn't want
any part of it.
They think the war's almost over
and they don't want to get killed...
in the last few days.
I told him we'd bring our leader here
tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.
We're going
to bring Ware here?
Look, just get Mother
out on guard duty...
and get the squad together,
all right?
What are we gonna do
about an officer?
I don't know about this.
Why can't Will just do it?
I don't know about this.
Why can't Will just do it?
- He's the leader, for Christ's sake.
- They've already seen him.
Besides, no Kraut's ever gonna believe
that a guy like Will is an officer.
- Take a look at him.
- Thank you, thank you.
Then let's let Mel just do it.
He's a natural leader type.
Hey, wait a second. I'm not even sure
I want to be part of this plan.
Besides, I don't look
like an Aryan god.
What is this?
Father, it's all stripes and no rocker.
- What's that mean?
- It's something new, Miller.
You're our bastard sergeant minor.
Besides, we don't have any rockers.
What if it's like some kind of...
"capture the commander" scheme
the Krauts have worked out?
You know, put a bullet in my head
or something.
Hey, look, Bud, why don't you
just try walking now?
- The man walks like a soldier.
- Put more pigheaded asshole into it.
- That I can do.
- Chest out, chest out.
Yeah, that's it!
That'll do just fine.
Just stand there like an SOB
and nod occasionally.
You know, you actually do
look like an officer.
- I actually feel like an asshole.
- That's about the same thing.
Mother gets off post in five minutes.
- Let's not blow his Christmas present.
- Sure this is a good idea?
I can't stop worrying.
God, I hope we're doing
the right thing.
- Yeah.
- Will, listen.
There are five or six of them
down here working like crazy.
They got something big with them.
Could be a mortar.
I think maybe you better have somebody
man that upper post to cover us.
Shit. Mel, you and Mother
go up to the upper post.
Stan says they're
setting up a mortar.
All right. Listen. Mother and Avakian
are going to the upper post.
You want me down there?
- Father?
- Yeah, Will.
Get your butt down here.
You of all people shouldn't miss this.
Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas.
For you. Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas
Happy New Year.
Thank you.
Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas.
Holy night
All is calm
All is bright
Round yon virgin
Mother and child
Holy infant
- So tender and mild
- Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas.
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace
O come ye
O come ye
To Bethlehem
Hey, Father, they teach you
German in the seminary?
What the hell were you two
talking about?
I just kept saying "Merry Christmas"
and "Happy New Year."
I said it maybe 50 times.
- What did he say to you?
- Well...
he said something
that sounded like...
"Throw me a why not."
And then, when he tried
to hand me his gun, he said...
"Why not go shrink."
"Frohlich Weihnachten"
is "Merry Christmas..."
and "Weihnachtsgeschenk"
is "Christmas present."
I wonder what the Germans
thought Father was saying.
What's going on?
Couldn't get anybody
to answer the phone.
Oh, my God.
Mother, I'm sorry.
I forgot all about you
up there.
I heard singing.
- Everything okay?
- Yeah.
The Germans just wanted
to spread a little holiday cheer.
Father even did some
present exchanging.
They gave us sausages,
- Is that what happened, Will?
- Yeah, that's it.
This particular branch
of the German army...
seems to believe in turning off
the war every once in a while.
I don't know if I can take
this kind of war.
I'd rather we kept out of each other's
way, except when we have to fight.
Oh, shit.
This is meine kommandier.
Hey, Will, come over here.
Okay. Okay,
they do want to surrender.
As soon as possible.
Today. They...
He's convinced that this German push
is coming through here any time now.
There's a kicker.
It's a big kicker.
The young ones are scared shitless
that if the Germans come through here...
and it looks like they
surrendered without a struggle...
it's gonna be taken out
on their families.
Everything is nuts back home and they
don't want their parents to get shot...
or put in camps because
their sons were cowards.
Well, do they have a suggestion?
They want us to take 'em
in a fake skirmish.
Just make some noise, leave some
spent cartridges, grenade fragments.
No. No, absolutely not.
- Will...
- No! It doesn't make any sense.
Just calm down. Now you're gonna
blow the whole operation here.
- It's crazy!
- Be quiet! Quiet!
- Shut up!
- You wanna get us killed?
We're not gonna do it!
And don't tell me to shut up!
Will, I know it sounds nuts,
I know, but...
I think it's the only way
they're gonna go for it.
They're just kids.
They're just scared.
They're just scared kids.
Look at 'em.
I don't know.
You trust these
fuckin' Nazis, Stan?
- What does that mean?
- He said they're not Nazis.
They're just regular German army.
They're regular army like we are.
I say we do it.
What if it's a trap?
It's not much of a trap, having us
both come fully armed to a skirmish.
I mean, at best, it's just
mutual suicide, right?
What if they're using the noise
to bring in reinforcements?
No. If they wanted to do that,
they could've done that the first night.
He's right, Will, he's right.
And take a look at 'em.
Things must be bad in the vaterland
to have an army of old men and boys.
- Okay, what do we do?
- Just give a little nod.
We agree to come
this afternoon...
make a lot of noise with rifles
and grenades and take them in.
Able 1 to Able 4, over.
Able 1 to Able 4, over.
Yeah, you got anything yet, over?
Yes, sir, I think we're gonna
be able to take a prisoner, sir.
We found some tracks.
Our plan is to hit their outpost...
around 3:00 this afternoon.
- Over.
- Good. Do it.
I'll come out. Maybe Griffin too.
We'll bring the prisoner back. Over.
No, sir, I don't think
that's necessary, sir.
Tell Major Griffin that...
No sense in him taking the risk
coming all the way out here.
We'll have the jeeps ready
with the chains...
and we'll get that prisoner
to you, sir, over.
- I'll tell him.
- Over and out.
Over and out.
I tell Mother we're going out
to try for a prisoner.
I tell him if we're not back in
two hours to call Ware at the base.
He's obviously glad
not to be on the patrol.
We hide Miller's officer outfit
under his snow poncho.
Now what? Walk down there
and knock on the door?
here I go.
I'm not sure what to do
so they don't shoot me.
- Try yelling "comrade."
- Is that it?
Well, Stan, you could
wave a white flag.
Then it would look like
the wrong group was surrendering.
We're right here covering you.
Good luck.
Oh, boy.
We wait.
There's nothing else to do.
- What's going on? Everything all right?
- Yeah.
He wanted to talk to our officer
"Herr Muller" here.
You know, I'm sure
it's because I'm a Jew.
All right, you nick-prickJew-type,
take me to my Aryan friends.
All right,
if they're really giving up...
why are they
putting a guy on post?
Who are they
guarding themselves from?
Maybe other Germans.
They probably have
a Major Griffin of their own.
Ubergruppenfuhrer Griftoch
or something.
Don't worry.
Come on.
- That's nice.
- Okay, here's how it's gonna work.
They'll wind up in front of the cabin.
Miller and I will stay as protection.
All right, now, you go on out
with the rest of the squad.
When old Shickelgruber here and I
signal, we all start firing.
When we signal again,
we all stop.
Then you guys come down the hill,
we disarm them and take them in.
All we need is a nod from Miller
and they'll get their stuff together.
Dismiss me.
I'll go inform Father and Mel.
- What?
- Dismiss me.
Will, why don't you get up on that hill
and go inform Father and Will... Mel.
Hold your fire!
Go check on
Shutzer and Miller.
Hang in there, Father.
We're gonna get you wrapped up
and get you outta here.
You warm enough?
Anybody else hit?
Everybody's fine, Father.
- Are the Germans dead?
- Don't worry about that.
You all right?
God have mercy
on those poor Germans.
God have mercy on us.
- Don't... Don't tell Mother.
- I won't.
- Don't tell Mother.
- I won't.
Don't tell...
Don't tell Mother.
Promise me.
I won't.
Is he dead?
I think so, Vance.
He ran out to warn me.
I don't understand.
I had a perfect position.
I don't get it.
He's stupid, Vance.
He does stupid things.
What a mess.
Shit! It looked so easy.
Looks like our friend here
got a million-dollar wound.
The one guy who wants
to fight these bastards...
and I get
the million-dollar wound?
Isn't it the way?
How's Mundy?
He's dead. He died fast.
There was nothing I could do.
What a fuckup.
Father said don't tell Mother.
That's what we'll do.
We were pinned down,
and he saved us.
That's the plan.
Mother tells us
why he came out after us.
Ware and Griffin are at the chateau,
looking for their prisoner.
Well, we've got one,
if he stays alive.
It's hard to look at Father.
I keep waiting
for his eyes to open...
waiting for him to tell me
it'll be all right if I just have faith.
Sergeant Knott.
- Yes, sir.
- Get some men out on post.
The enemy camp may have heard
that skirmish and sent out a patrol.
Well, sir, before the prisoner
went into shock...
he told Shutzer that an enemy attack
was expected at any time.
Well, now, holy shit, soldier!
Just when the fuck
were you gonna tell us that?
I thought this was an I & R platoon,
for Christ's sake!
Lieutenant, get me Regiment
on the horn immediately.
Whiz kids, my ass!
Able 1 to Able 4, over.
- Able 1 to Able 4, over.
- Corporal Leary here, over.
Son, this is Major Griffin.
You take down this message...
and get it to Regimental Command
on the double-quick, over.
Wilco, sir. Over.
"Have contacted enemy
and taken prisoner.
Have suffered casualties.
One dead, one wounded.
Have destroyed enemy outpost.
Prisoner claims impending enemy attack
through this sector at any moment.
Repeating. Prisoner claims impending
enemy attack at any moment.
Am leaving immediately with prisoner and
wounded for base. Signed, Major Griffin."
- Get that to the regimental commander.
- He ain't gonna make it.
Over and out. Let's go.
Sergeant Knott...
have your men transfer the chains
from your jeep to my vehicle.
We have a long way to go,
and the road's gonna be very rough.
- Yes, sir.
- Son...
I am shocked by
the conditions of these quarters.
This is private property.
The United States government
is responsible for it.
It was in bad shape
when they moved in, Major.
Are you finished, Lieutenant?
Because there is ample evidence
to indicate a dereliction of duty...
and conduct not becoming
an American combat troop.
I'll be dead honest
with you here, son.
I wonder if your fucking men even know
there's a war going on outside.
Were it not for extreme
extenuating circumstances...
I would see that this soldier,
as noncom in charge...
were brought before a military
review board and severely disciplined.
And where the fuck
are your stripes?
I'll be goddamned if you haven't
had enough time to sew them on.
Yes, sir.
- I'll get on it.
- No! You know what you'll do?
You will march your ass outside...
and transfer those chains from your jeep
to my vehicle on the double-time.
do not ever contradict me
in front of the men again.
All right, buddy,
you're almost home.
What do you think, Mel?
Is he gonna be all right?
Yeah, Shutzer's strong.
He'll be okay.
They won't fall out
if you're careful, sir.
It's a rough trip, but it'd help
if you'd loosen the tourniquets...
every once in a while.
- We'll do the best we can, Knott.
- Thank you, sir.
Don't worry, Knott.
You done a good job.
I don't think so, sir.
Knott, Major Griffin wants you
to keep the squad here...
until the Krauts attack.
Stay here, sir?
What do we do
when the attack comes?
You contact us by radio.
We'll give you our position...
then you get the hell out,
- Understood, Knott?
- Yes, sir.
Lieutenant Ware, goddamn it!
Are you going to baby-sit
or drive this fucking jeep?
- Be right there, sir, on the double.
- Get your ass in here!
Good luck, Knott.
Did you ever think about
how many dead people there must be?
Looks like Father just joined
the great majority.
Father told me he still wanted
to be a priest.
He just didn't think
he was pure enough.
You know, I've been thinking
maybe Father's the lucky one.
I mean, is this whole world
run by shits like Griffin?
If we get through this,
is that the way it's gonna be?
What's the tree for?
You gonna burn it?
Vance thought
a little Christmas cheer...
would pick things up
around here a little bit.
Thought we could roast some chestnuts
and stuff ourselves with turkey.
You first, Will.
You aren't the rankest, but...
you do have rank on us.
It's a...
It's a Christmas present.
We try to turn off the war.
We don't even keep a guard on.
We figure when the attack starts,
we'll hear it.
I asked Ware to put you in
for a citation.
I hope that's okay.
I think Father or Stan
should get it.
No. You should.
The Germans had us pinned down,
and you saved our asses.
I only shot twice.
After Father went down,
l... I didn't shoot anymore.
My glasses were all fogged up.
- I don't even know if I hit anybody.
- It doesn't matter.
Just stick with the story.
You shot them all.
That's what I told Ware.
Maybe if you get decorated,
we can get you pulled out of here.
Two-thirds of the squad is gone now.
I don't see how we're gonna make it.
I'll make you a bet, Vance.
I'll bet you that
in six months...
you're back with Linda,
and she's pregnant...
and this will all be something
you hardly remember.
I doubt that.
I'll bet you $100.
Who has $100?
You can pay me off
a bit at a time.
We'll start
New Year's Day, 1946.
- It's a bet.
- Yeah.
Able 1 to Able 4, over.
Able 1 to Able 4, over.
Able 1 to Able 4, over.
- Able 1 to anybody, over.
- Will, we got to go.
Pull up the phones and the wires.
Miller, if anybody can get
through on this thing you can.
Just keep trying, all right?
Let's get Father out to the jeep.
- Come on.
- Able 1 in.
Able 4, come on.
Able 1 to Able 4.
- Come on!
- Come on, Will! Let's go!
Come on, Will, move it!
Move it!
Fuckin' Griffin
took the chains off the jeep!
Christ! There they are!
- Oh, fuck!
- You all right?
- I think so.
- Father got some.
Another 100 yards
and we'll be out of range!
- Straighten out.
- I can't! It's not doing anything!
Straighten out!
Jesus Christ!
- You guys all right?
- Hold it! We're about to slide over.
Put some weight on the back,
Mother, on the back!
Let's go. Let's go.
- All right?
- Let's get Father and get out of here!
Well, Sergeant Knott,
what the fuck do we do now?
I can't believe
they'd just leave.
Mel, what do you think?
I don't know,
but we'd better keep moving.
- I have no idea where we are.
- Just go.
- We could be heading for Berlin.
- Just go!
We're out of gas.
We'll probably have
to surrender any time now.
Miller insisted on
rigging up the.30 caliber.
But without a real mount...
it probably wouldn't sit still
long enough to hit anything.
We can't stay here long,
and the jeep is dead.
I wish Shutzer were here.
He might know what to do.
I'm through playing soldier.
Did you see those markings?
That was honest-to-shit SS.
What do we do now, Will?
We stay away from them.
What, you think they were
advancing or retreating?
I wonder what they'll think?
Maybe this will convince them
I am over the edge.
We'll have a mutiny.
I'll join it.
- Thirty caliber?
- We'll bury it.
- Radio?
- Bury it.
- Rifles too?
- There's no other way.
Even if we pull this off and get back,
what are we going to say?
We'll say we were captured and they
took our weapons and then we escaped.
But I'm thinking with
all this confusion going on...
there's not gonna be
too many questions.
We do it together or nothing.
If anybody has any objections,
any at all, speak up now.
Well, for what it's worth,
I say we do it.
Yeah, me too.
I mean, the idea's so wild, I'd be sorry
for the rest of my life if I didn't try.
Of course, the rest of my life
could be today.
Mother, don't let us pressure you.
You make up your own mind.
I already have. I was only
waiting on the other guys...
so I wouldn't
put pressure on them.
This could be the deepest finesse
in squad history.
I've never seen a better smile.
It's the smile I need to make myself
do what we're gonna do.
All right.
Bleacher, goddamn it!
We don't know the counter.
We're from another sector.
Stay where you are.
We're Americans.
Is that blood?
We give him our escape story.
They tell us to take Father
to the grave registrar.
They drive us back
to our own regiment.
I'm sent straight to Ware,
and I tell him our story.
I wander into
the kitchen tent...
and curl up to sleep behind
the warm pots of hot water.
Just wanted to let you know
it's all settled.
Since you weren't in a POW compound,
you won't have to go through clearance.
You can go right back
out in the field.
I'm gonna fill out your platoon
with an antitank group they broke up.
I put in for a Bronze Star
for Wilkins.
Had him reassigned to the motor pool.
He's gonna be okay.
Thank you, sir.
Just wanted you to know I did my best
to radio you before we pulled out...
but Griffin said
there wasn't any time.
How's Shutzer doing?
Real tough shit. He was dead
before we even got back.
Kraut was dead too. Didn't even
have time to interrogate him.
Before I go, you're gonna have to
fill out a statement of charges...
for the jeep, radio and phones.
We'll be moving out soon.
Gonna push those fucking Kraut
bastards all the way back to Berlin.
Merry Christmas, Knott.