Do you want to make a movie? Here’s how to do it.
From Lawrence of Arabia to Charlie Wilson’s War
At the height of World War II, two U.S. military intelligence officers meet near the Khyber Pass with a British agent. Their secret mission: to travel from Peshawar for 800 miles along the Indian-Afghan border, and thus to introduce America to the Great Game of Central Asia.
This movie script is a documentary, based on the book, Proceed to Peshawar. The Introduction tells of the evolution of this script from its beginning as a semi-fictional movie, Khyber Pass, to the true story of Three Men in a Jeep. The three men are sent with secret orders to travel from Peshawar, near the Khyber Pass, to Chitral and Quetta. Their trip takes them along the border of Afghanistan and India — now Pakistan. They are to learn how the British are keeping peace along the border. And with verbal, unwritten orders, they are to look for Soviet spies. This trip was the moment when the U.S. secretly entered the centuries-old contest known as the “Great Game” between Russia and Britain. They must learn about the ancient tribal customs, known as Pashtunwali. They must evade danger on mountain roads that are little more than donkey trails, with bandits on both sides, random crossfire by rifles and mortars, and bombs that drop "harmlessly, but with good moral effect." They pass into the distant land of the Mehtar of Chitral, and they go to villages such as Miram Shah in Waziristan that are now totally off limits to Americans. They are the first ever to cross the Lowari Pass in a motor vehicle. They visit Mingora in Swat, where the fourteen-year old Nobel Prize winner, Malala, was shot in 2012.
The Preface tells, in simple steps, how to use this book to make a movie from it. The Prologue tells of the people who have already helped to turn Proceed to Peshawar into a movie. You will read of Harvey Rochman, whose idea it was to make Khyber Pass, and of the help given by Ed Asner, Kevin Connor, and Howard Kazanjian. The story then moves to Hollywood, where advice is given by Jonathan Sanger, Galen Walker, and Jim Steele. But Khyber Pass was not made into a movie. It was a wonderful project, but it lacked funding.
The plan for a movie then changed to become a documentary film, Three Men in a Jeep. It would still be a big project, but it could have a much smaller budget. Read it, and try it.
George J. Hill, M.D., D.Litt., Captain, Medical Corps, USNR (ret).
2018, 8½x11, paper, 178 pp.