The Rear Guard (1976) Movie Script

Much has been written about
those gallant soldiers of world war II
who met and defeated the enemy.
But there were those who stayed behind
to defend our shores.
They were the men of the civil defence,
to whom this show is dedicated.
Right. Right.
Right. Right.
Who were you talking to,
general Eisenhower?
You're close. My wife.
Raskin, sign that radio off, and go out
and call the men to attention, will you?
Why don't you call them to attention,
Rosatti, you're already buttoned up.
Because I'm the commanding officer.
So, are your lips painted on?
Raskin, you are the sergeant,
I am the captain.
To the civilian defence, you're a captain.
But to a captain, are you a captain?
Raskin, you're out of uniform.
In the garment district,
this is the uniform.
Alright men, dress
it up, dress it up.
Shoulders back, come on,
come on, look smart.
Look smart? How do you
look smart in this uniform?
Again you're starting with
the uniforms, Crawford?
Raskin, I'm a professional actor.
I'm used to being dressed
in the proper wardrobe.
These uniforms are from the wrong war.
So? You're a professional actor.
Act like it's the right war.
I ain't ashamed of these khakis.
In World War I, I marched all
across France in this uniform.
Don't you think it's time
you had it cleaned?
Alright, now look men.
The army ain't got enough uniforms
go around for the real soldiers.
So we're just going to have to make do.
I think someone already
made do on Kirby's uniform.
Now as you men know, father Fitzgerald
is doing his part for the war effort
by allowing us to use
this hall in the church.
Except on Fridays when they play bingo.
So I don't want anybody
throwing cigar butts down the john.
Even if you're catholic.
- Oh captain Rosatti?
- Marsha?
You guys are supposed to be at attention.
Snap snap. Shoulders back!
Not you, Marsha,
don't make it any worse!
- Mr Wagner, the new volunteer is here.
- Ah good, send him in.
Now you guys look sharp for the
new man, he's a war veteran.
Bert Wagner reporting for duty, sir.
That's by you a war veteran?
This uniform looks like it's from
the Spanish American war.
He's two wars behind.
I rode up San Juan Hill with
Teddy Roosevelt. Charge!
Oh Mr Rosatti, you're
wanted on the phone,
Frank Sanicola from the fishing
pier, he says it's urgent.
Oh thanks Marsha.
Raskin, take over.
Alright, Wagner, standard
formation with the other men.
Can I sit down for a minute? I walked
all the way up here from the bus stop.
- The bus stops right in front
of the church. - That's right.
- Rosatti speaking.
- Rosatti, this is Frank Sanicola,
down at the harbor.
- Yeah, Frank.
Hey look! Now we've just come
back from a fishing trip
and we've picked up a German U-boat
captain and five members of his crew.
- No!
- Yeah!
Their submarine was sunk, and they
were drifting in a rubber dinghy.
Alright Sanicola, keep them
covered, I'll be down to get them.
- Right.
- And save me two pounds of flounder.
- Hello Wood. The battle of the Marne.
- Hey, men, men.
Frank Sanicola's fishing boat
just picked up a German U-boat crew.
- What! - Yeah. And we're going
down to the harbor to get them.
- You mean really?
- Hold it! Hold it, hold it.
Why us? Why not the army?
We'll call the army later.
They're 85 miles away.
We are the only ones who
can handle those nazis.
I'm, I'm not supposed to handle nazis.
I'm, I'm a 4-F.
We are operating as a fighting unit,
we are fighting men.
One of your fighting men is taking his nap.
Alright you guys, line up outside.
Crawford, Henderson,
while we're gone,
I want you to put detonators
in all the handgrenades.
- Yes sir.
- Rosatti, you're out of your mind.
What's the problem,
there's only six of them Germans,
there's twelve of us, we got
them outnumbered two to one.
Can we get better odds?
- Charge!
- Charge!
Well, I'd better be leaving now.
Marsha, if you're going out
with another man,
I'm going to throw myself
on this hand grenade.
Don, I told you, I'm on the night
shift at the aircraft plant this week.
Gee, that's terrific. Are there a lot of
women working at your air craft plant?
I'm the only woman on the night shift.
- She keeps the morale up.
- I try to.
But last month, there was
a 50% rise in accidents,
and nobody knows the reason why.
I can give you two reasons.
Well, I'd better get going.
So long.
Keep 'em flying!
Bobby, bring that box
of detonators over here.
This box is dummy detonators,
for training purposes only.
Bobby, this outfit isn't trained
to handle live hand grenades.
But we've all seen war pictures!
Gary Cooper just pulls the pin out
with his teeth, and throws it.
Bobby, nobody in this unit
has his own teeth.
We'd be throwing grenades with dentures.
Captain Rosatti said to...
Look, kid! I don't want to the first
4-F to win the purple heart.
Left, right, left, right, left, right...
Left, right, left, right, left, right...
Platoon, halt.
At ease men.
Not you, you Nazis!
They can take their hands down, Raskin.
I knew an Italian would be
soft on the Germans.
I was born in Bayonne, New Jersey.
I ain't no Italian, I'm an American.
You can take the boy
out of olive oil,
but you can't take the
olive oil out of the boy.
Krupinski, go get the machine
gun, set it up on that stage
so you got a clear sweep
of this entire hall.
- Right, sir.
- Foster, go get a stepladder.
- Right, sir.
- Wagner.
- Charge!
- Never mind.
Raskin, I want you to
get all these prisoners
in a tight group in the
middle of the hall.
Achtung! Mach schnell! Mach schnell!
Wow, real Germans!
Just like in the movies!
That one looks like Erich von Stroheim.
Did you put detonators
in the hand grenades?
I can honestly say, sir, that all the
grenades now have detonators in them.
All right, because the army's going
to pick these guys up in a few minutes
and I want to have maximum security!
Captain... Captain...
If you want maximum security,
why don't you cut the
buttons off their pants.
What for?
They can't run very far with their
pants down around their ankles.
You wouldn't dare
do anything of the sort.
The Geneva Convention clearly states
that prisoners of war will not
be put into degrading positions.
One more word, and I'll put
this in a degrading position.
And don't threaten me,
you silly old fool, und call me 'sir'.
- Charge! Why, you...
- That's all right, Wagner.
You get back in the middle of the hall,
and you speak when you're spoken to.
I'm warning you too, Captain.
Foster, bring that ladder over here,
Henderson, get up
there with your gun
so you've got a clear
sweep of the entire hall.
- But Captain Rosatti...
- I gotta go call Colonel Walsh.
Captain Rosatti?
Mr Raskin?
You know I'm afraid of heights.
- This is war, kid.
But I brought a note from my mother.
"I brought a note from my mother..."
Get up the ladder!
Yes sir, yes sir,
we got 'em all right here.
You and your group are
holding German prisoners?
Now look, Rosatti, don't do anything
foolish. Just stay right there.
Colonel, could you speak up a little bit?
I can't hear you with all that thunder.
Listen carefully, Rosatti.
The bridge is washed out,
and I won't be able to send my
men over 'til tomorrow morning.
You mean, you want us to
keep the prisoners all night?
Yeah, give them a blanket each, bed them
down and give them something to eat.
But, but, sir we're in a church.
All we can do is scrape up a few wafers.
Send out for some sandwiches.
Oh, yes, sir. Should I put them all
on one, or is that separate cheques?
The army will reimburse you,
Rosatti. Goodbye.
The first captured Germans
on American soil,
and they wind up with those Civilian
Defence yoyos on Long Island.
I really think you ought to cut
the buttons off their pants.
That's what Teddy would do.
- Yeah, yeah, OK Wagner.
I gotta talk to these prisoners.
Prisoners, attention!
I gotta say they're
pretty well-disciplined.
That's not discipline.
They're just a country full of robots
led by a lunatic who
looks like Charlie Chaplin!
I'm making a note of
your insults, Sergeant.
Your name will go on the list,
and when we win the war,
you will be brought to account.
You can put down whatever you want,
but you're not going to win this war.
- Oh, yes we are...
- Oh no, you're not...
- Oh yes we are...
- Oh no you're not...
# Adolf Hitler is a jerk,
# He's nothing but a Nazi
# He thinks that he will win the war...
# He's not so hotsy totsy...
Your name will also go on the list.
What is it?
- Don't tell him, Henderson.
- Henderson. Thank you, Captain.
You know what you
can do with your list.
Captain Rosatti, I was trying to
keep you off, but you asked for it.
Rosatti. Is that two 'T's or one 'T'?
- Two 'T's.
Mr Raskin, can I tell the German
Captain I was only joking?
- Get up there!
- Come down here!
See? You think you got trouble?
Henderson. We gotta get some
sandwiches for the prisoners.
Go over to my cousin Mario's restaurant.
Hold it. You can't feed them from
your cousin Mario's restaurant.
I ate there last week.
- So?
Under the Geneva Convention you cannot
give the prisoners cruel
and inhuman punishment.
Why don't I go to Greenblatt's
kosher delicatessen on the corner?
For the Germans?
The kosher deli will be fine.
All right, get six salami sandwiches.
I would like corned beef.
- All right. One corned beef...
- Lean.
- ...and five salami.
- Just a minute.
Make that three corned beef,
two salamis and a tongue sandwich.
Hold the mustard on the corned beef.
- Henderson!
Go back to the original order:
Six salami sandwiches.
On white bread, with mayonnaise.
The hell with the Geneva Convention.
- Captain Rosatti?
- Yes, Wagner.
May I leave the room?
You've already gone four
times in the last hour.
Not bad for a man of 70.
I want you to stick to your post.
See what I mean, father? I told you,
you can't keep prisoners in a church.
Let Father Fitzgerald decide that.
I am the custodian of this church,
and I say throw the blockheads out.
And they can take their prisoners
right along with them.
Now, Mr. Muldoon...
You shouldn't have been permitted
to use this hall in the first place.
Mr. Muldoon, we've all got to do
our part for the war effort.
What's the matter with him?
- I feel sick.
It must have been the kosher salami.
Anybody would get sick
eating kosher salami in a church.
- Stay away from that prisoner.
- You can't just leave him lying there.
I don't trust him, Father.
Henderson, you look sharp.
You, keep him covered.
Krupinski, watch him like a hawk.
Crawford, over here.
Raskin, draw your side arm.
I'm going in.
Yeah, this whole thing
looks pretty fishy to me.
Oh, what are you afraid of, he's unarmed.
Yeah well, he seems to be
breathing pretty good!
All right, nobody move!
Nehmt das Machine Gun her!
You'll never get this!
That troublemaker Muldoon.
It's all his fault.
He got us into this.
It won't be long now, they're bound to
crack. We're holding all the trump cards.
Hold your fire, men.
All right, c'mon on out.
Are they ready to surrender, Father?
Well, I've got a message from the Captain.
He wants you to take him and
his men back to the fishing boat,
so they can make a rendezvous
with another U-boat.
He's out of his mind.
If you don't agree to his terms, he's
going to blow Mr Muldoon's head off.
It's the first good news we've had all day.
We must be charitable, Mr Raskin.
But if they get back to Germany,
they'll get another U-boat,
and start sinking our ships again.
The kid's right. It's Muldoon's
life against thousands.
Boy, that's a tough decision to make.
Yeah. But I say, let bygones be bygones,
and we'll send flowers to his funeral.
Well, Mr Rosatti?
Tell him I need some
time to think about it.
I'll tell him.
- Well?
- He's thinking it over.
Thinking it over?
I give him until dawn.
Father, what do you think my chances are?
I'll light a candle for you.
Rosatti, Ro-
Rosatti, it's morning already.
If we could only get
that gun away from him.
Wait a minute.
What are we worried about?
If this group is marching through town
with a bunch of German prisoners,
it's going to attract some attention.
Somebody is bound to call the army.
- Gee, that's brilliant, Mr Crawford.
- Of course.
Okay, that's worth taking a chance.
Okay in there, you Germans,
we're ready to listen to your terms.
Even if they get on the
boat, the coastguard
will stop them before
they clear the harbour.
I'm glad you have come
to your senses, Captain.
Nimm das Machine Gun und hau sie scharf.
Drop your rifles.
Captain Rosatti, you will put
your men into formation.
All right men, line up.
You won't get away with this.
We're bound to attract attention
marching through town
without our rifles.
No one will interfere because you will
be escorting us with empty rifles.
You've thought of everything, haven't you?
I certainly have. Take off your
jacket und unbutton your belt.
- Now wait a minute...
- Do as I say.
I have taken the liberty of borrowing
one of your hand grenades,
which you were kind enough
to already have primed.
That's right, I primed them all myself.
What are you going to do?
What are you going to do
with that hand grenade?
- I am going to put it down his pants.
- Oh no!
You will march in front of me.
One false move, und I pull the string.
What a way to go.
Captain Rosatti, you are our leader.
Put the grenade in my pants.
Thanks, Wagner. Thank you. You see
the kind of man this country produces?
Ja. Stupid ones.
You think you are so smart.
You'll be picked up by the United States
Coastguard before you clear the harbour.
He's right. You'll never get away.
I think we will, because all of your
men will be on the boat with us.
We shall leave behind the priest
and dumkopf to tell them.
Your Navy will not fire on its own people.
Put on the belt.
You, freckle face,
open the door.
Captain Rosatti, I present you back
with your own empty gun.
And when we get to Germany
you will all be my prisoners...
And then we shall examine the list.
Captain Rosatti, Captain Rosatti, what are
we going to do? Colonel Walsh is coming.
- Your game is up.
- You will bluff your way through.
- No he won't.
- Please, Raskin, he'll pull the string!
Forward, march!
And bluff, two, three, four...
I'll pray for you boys... soon as I get
my hands untied.
Hut, two, three, four, hut, two,
three, four, hut, two, three, four...
- Rosatti?
- Platoon, halt!
- Where are you taking the prisoners?
- Well, you see, Colonel...
Captain Rosatti thought it would be a
good idea to give them some exercise.
You see, they've been cooped up
in a submarine for weeks.
I just stopped by to tell you the escort
for the prisoners is on the way.
Forward... march.
- Rosatti.
- Halt!
I'm surprised at you.
You're usually spit and polish.
You've got a big piece of string
hanging down your back.
- Where?
- Here!
Rosatti's got a grenade in his pants.
- Somebody help me get it out!
- I'm going in.
Save yourself, Raskin!
- May I have your gun, Colonel?
- What is going on?
I'll explain later.
All right, you Nazi Germans.
Get up over in one group here. Raus.
Mach schnell, mach schnell!
Wait a minute! Wait a minute!
It should have gone off by now.
I thought you said you
primed those grenades.
I did sir, with dummies.
Why can't you ever obey orders?
Just lucky, I guess.
- Raskin?
- Yes?
Take your hand out of my pants.
Hey Crawford, when you
finish with your comb,
give it to Marsha, she can
grease the typewriter with it.
Captain Rosatti, here's an enveloppe
marked urgent, from colonel Walsh.
I'll bet is a commendation.
Read it, Raskin.
Yeah, I hope the colonel
didn't single me out.
The whole unit deserves a medal.
What does the colonel say?
It says: The German U-boat
captain has one request.
He wants to know the
name of the kosher deli.
# You don't have to worry at all
# If you hear a siren,
just give them a goodluck call
# So don't you have no fear
# The rear, the rear,
the rear guard's over here.
# Some of them don't even know
the right foot from the left.
# They're too young,
or just too old, or just 4-F.
# You don't have to worry at all
# If you hear a siren,
just give them a goodluck call
# So don't you have no fear
# The rear, the rear,
the rear guard's over here.