Tag Archive for 'young heroine'

MOVIES YOU WILL SEE/The Journey of Natty Gann/Part 7

Jeanne Rosenberg


Natty BANGS on the door of her room from the inside and YELLS through it as Sally stands on the outside, holding it closed with her fist, pulling against it with her weight.

Sally takes a key from her pocket and jams it into the lock.

You can’t do this Sally. You
can’t. I’11 tell my Dad !

When? When you going to tell
him, huh?


Couldn’t be soon enough for me.

Me either!

Sally locks the door, puts the key back in her pocket and moves away from Natty’s room, walking down the stairs, muttering to herself.

I’m not the kid’s God damned mother.
I mean why the hell should I get stuck? Who needs
this aggravation?


Natty wiggles the locked door handle then listens through the door, the puppy watching her anxiously.


She listens again, even harder, then pulls her ear away from the door, takes a knife from her pocket and jams it into the lock, jiggling it up and down until she hears a click.

She quickly pulls the door open and sneaks into the hall, tiptoeing to the top of the stairs.


Natty crouches in the shadows, watching below as Sally, still muttering to herself, walks to the reception desk, grabs the telephone and dials a number.

Hello? Child Relations Board?
I want to report an abandoned
kid. Yeah, yeah. All alone.
You better send somebody right

Natty scurries quickly back down the hall and disappears inside her room.


A makeshift rope of tied together sheets and blankets flies down from the top window of a brick building and dangles above a narrow alley.

A small figure in a leather jacket and cap, Natty, climbs out the window and scales down the side of the building using the rope.

She leaps from end of the rope to the pavement, 6 feet below, and as soon as her feel touch ground, she takes off at dead run.


Natty hurries into the dark barn and slides through the
shadows, her eyes drinking in the hovering, forbidding shapes of this very spooky place.

She knocks into a push broom which CLATTERS to the floor.

The NOISE disturbs bats in the rafters overhead and they swoop down with FLAPPING wings. Natty GASPS and ducks, covering the top of her head with her arms as the bats swish past.

Natty takes a deep breath and pushes forward. She finally makes it to Lefty’s cart.

She pulls the puppy from her jacket and scratches his ears as she lifts him to the top of the cart. He licks her face.

You stay here.

She turns to go but the puppy leaps from the cart and starts to follow.

Natty picks him up and returns him to the cart. She takes the end of a rope tied to the wheel of the cart and loops it around the puppy’s neck.

She pets his head one last puppy BARKS and pulls on his rope. He wants to follow.

Natty turns back.

I can’t take you. Understand?
You gotta stay with Lefty.

The puppy lies on the ground and rests his head on his front paws. His big, sad, brown eyes watch her as she moves across the barn. He WHINES a soft, mournful tone as she disappears.


Natty hovers in her hiding place of discarded boxes and barrels near the railroad tracks. She feels frightened and alone and very unsure.

It’s not cold but she shivers with anxiety, her eyes darting fearfully back and forth, tracking the darkness around her.

In the distance she hears a faint RUMBLING. She peers from her hiding place. There’s a train coming down the tracks. It’s moving slowly toward her, heading West.

From all around her, H0B0S, lean, tough looking men, emerge from nooks and crannies and get ready for the train.

She studies their techniques as they sprint forward, run beside the train and throw themselves into the open boxcars.

She wants to try it but shers scared. Lefty’s stories ring in her paralyzing her.

Finally she takes a deep gulp and makes a break for it.

She streaks from her hiding place, races for a boxcar and stretches with everything she has. She manages to catch a handle with her fingertips and to pull herself part way into the car.

The train moves faster, picking up speed.

Natty’s legs dangle dangerously over the edge.

The metal wheels grind mercilessly, menacingly on the tracks below. The ground rushes by. The sound of the wheels becomes a terrible ROAR in her ears.

She slips backwards.
She Looks desperately at the hobos inside, reaching out to then.

Three TOUGH, HARD LOOKING MEN stare back at her with uncaring eyes. None of them moves forward to help her.

She slips again, her fingernails clawing frantically across the wooden floor, scraping against the wood. She inches over the edge toward certain death.


A DARK FIGURE reaches down and grabs the falling Natty. In one move, she’s pulled into the boxcar and flung to the far side.

She lands with a BANG against the wall, gasping for breath. She stares up at her savior, HARRY SLADE; a lean, square jawed young man with deep, penetrating, electric blue eyes and a harder-than-nails exterior.

His face breaks into a wry, warm smile .

You can get hurt that way.

She tries to answer, to thank him for saving her life, but she can barely speak. She can’t find her voice.

But you didn’t.

Harry winks at her before moving to the far end of the car and hunkering in the shadows.

Natty stares at him. He’s a curious combination of power and vulnerability. He’s only 16 or 17 but like a young James Dean, already carries the edge of someone who’s spent years on the outside, a loner.

Natty turns to the other hobos. They stare back at her and their looks send a shiver down her spine.

Thought you bought the farm.

Wouldn’t have been much left.

They LAUGH and Natty’s eyes grow wide as saucers. She tries to swallow the lump in her throat.

Harry’s voice calls out from the shadows.

Leave the kid alone.

Shee-it. We was just funning.

Natty turns to Harry. For a moment their eyes lock. Then the train moves away from the lights of the Chicago yard and the car grows dark.

The NOISE from the train pounds in Natty’s ears . Her teeth slam against each other with each jostle of the boxcar. She pulls her jacket tight around her.

Part 7 Monday, 12/03/12

A script analysis of her favorite childhood novel – written as a USC class assignment – led Jeanne Rosenberg to her first Hollywood writing assignment on The Black Stallion. Switching from documentary filmmaker to narrative screenwriter, Jeanne studied her craft while working as a script supervisor on numerous films before completing her first original screenplay, The Journey of Natty Gann. She has been writing as well as producing and directing ever since. In addition, Jeanne has taught graduate screenwriting at USC and National University.