The Guide
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Rating: 3.5/5 (3 votes cast)

The Guide

A Jewish boy and his father escape the Holocaust in 1938 German by being guided by a dog over the Swiss Alps.

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  1. September 27, 2016, 7:01 am
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    I am from Slovakia and I visited the Oswiencin Holocaust Place and I really shake by reading this strong piece of what I saw and watched in Poland. Thank you.

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  2. Akiva says
    October 31, 2013, 8:47 pm
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    stefanojay, how wrong you are. This little script has a lot of heart in what is essentially a chase film. The opening sequence begins from the POV of Prinz, our guide dog, as he roams throughout a town that is about to be torn apart by the Nazis. The concept of the dog as a deliverer of the people is quite beautiful and I was interested before I read page one. When marketing this, sell it strongly as a story about a dog. Your logline places emphasis on Aaron and Julius. Maybe it should read “A brave dog leads Jews, being chased by Nazis, across the Swiss Alps to freedom.” You can expound on that, but I like the idea of the dog being the lead here. Having said that, the script reads quickly — it’s a smooth ride on the page for such a difficult topic.

    VISUALLY GRAB US
    In your rewrite, you should add some more visuals esp. re: the alps and the village. I can see the “orange glow of fire” from the bullets and the burning village, but I’m suggesting you beef up the visual prose in a very balanced way. People think Switzerland, they think “Sound of Music” and then they think of Julie Andrews with her arms open wide singing on those marvelous green grassy hills with the blue alps in the background. That’s the kind of visuals we should be seeing about the village. As a character, the village needs more make-up. The scenes where you describe the dog running through town could be more visual. I’m not saying they are not, but with a script like this you want to let us see and feel as much as we can. This part of Europe is beautiful. Now when you juxtapose visually the quaint village and the beauty of the landscape before the progrom with the village after and the blackness of the forest, you have authentic change that creates fear in the viewer. A lot is at stake for these characters. Put us there even more.

    Structure is sound and the twist in the climax is great when Kron shows up one last time. I was so caught up in it, that I wasn’t prepared for the moment Prinz died. In my writer’s mind, I knew damn well that Prinz would sacrifice himself for the cause. I just didn’t expect it at that moment so the surprise really hit me and I cried. I also love animals. On a funding note: perhaps some animal organizations will get involved if you promise an animal tie-in related to adoption, animal cruelty, etc. All the marks were hit with each scene moving us along in conflict.

    As for conflict, you’ve especially made sure to have the terrain, the Nazis, the snow, traitors, etc. all work to create an amazing world of conflict. Mae transforms the most and by the way, I really like her dialogue. I can feel who she is so when she “tells” Gerard her son will be Jewish, it’s a stunning turnabout.

    Characters are each unique to themselves through actions and dialogue. I had no problem identifying who was who when iwas reading dialogue. I tend to read dialogue fast so that means I skip through character names hoping I remember who said what. I had no problem at all. If you covered up the char. name I would still be able to know who said what. Nice job.

    Dialogue note: A lot of people think that capturing the Jewish dialect/accent,etc. is some type of stereotype. It’s not. That is exactly how we speak. I wrote a short that was criticized for the same thing and yet won a ton of awards and was made into a film.

    I don’t know what Stefanojay is talking about when he wrote that it’s “heavy because too many words are used.” Huh? The script comes in at 101 pages and reads fast because of the economy of words. What are you smoking Stefanojay? Did we read the same script?

    I like the magical parts — esp. when Prinz’s spirit shows up at the end. I had a bit harder of a time believing Strupp would come back and place a rope for Aaron to use. That’s because I felt him to be a ghost, not a ghost/person who could alter the material world. that stretched it a bit for me. I liked how Aaron and Prinz looked one last moment into each others’ eye. That will be a powerful screen moment.

    Overall, this is a compelling story. It is something new, I think, combining a dog story set in the holocaust. I haven’t seen that angle. However, you may struggle to find financing unless you really harp on the dog story. I see the movie poster with the dog, big and clearly in front while behind him stand the characters and the haunting Alps. I see this film being marketed to kids and tweens, but having a side appeal to adults. This is a beautiful story to explain the hatred of the holocaust to kids and tweens. Everyone loves a dog story. I wish you the best and if I had the money, I would produce and direct this. Mazel tov!

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  3. stefanojay says
    October 8, 2013, 1:58 am
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    The concept is interesting, but isn’t developed at a professional level. The characters are clich√®, the dialogue preposterous and the events are often forced and not very believable. The script starts well structured and then gets loose. The reading is heavy because too many words are used. Scripts need to be sparse.

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