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Inglourious Basterds Beat Sheet

By on January 25, 2010 in Beat Sheets

Austin Cat! and screenwriter Alvaro Rodriguez tackles Tarantino’s re-imagining of WWII: “Inglourious Basterds”

Spoiler Alert!

mv5bmjizmdi4mtuzov5bml5banbnxkftztcwndy3nja3mg_v1_sx95_sy140_Inglourious Basterds, writer/director Quentin Tarantino’s pulp fantasy, works as both entertainment and damned smart moviemaking. What might seem a sprawling epic at first blush, told in novelistic chapters that veer from extended dialogue scenes to sharp bursts of violent action and back, turns out to follow the 15 Beat template perfectly from Opening Image to Final Image — once the disparate story threads are unraveled and laid side by side.

Opening Image: A title card, “Once upon a time… in Nazi-occupied France,” announces we are stepping into a fiction as an idyllic farmhouse in the French countryside is suddenly disturbed by a carload of Nazis coming up the road, a symbol of invasion.

Theme Stated: Col. Hans Landa, an SS officer charged with routing out Jewish families in hiding, says, “Facts can be so mv5bmtc0mzk5odkwm15bml5banbnxkftztcwmdgzoty3mg_v1_cr1160467467_ss100_misleading, where rumors — true or false — are often revealing.” We don’t quite know it yet, but this is going to be a film about storytelling as subversion: cinema is war and film is a weapon.

Setup: Landa is revealed to be a cunning, logical, and even charming adversary as he interrogates M. LaPadite, a dairy farmer, about a missing Jewish family, the Dreyfuses.

Catalyst: Landa asks LaPadite if he’s harboring the Dreyfuses under his floorboards. As the camera pans down, we see the family hiding exactly where Landa believes them to be.

Debate: LaPadite hesitates, and through a long, breathtaking exchange of dialog, Landa assures him that LaPadite’s family will be spared —  if he cooperates. LaPadite points to where the Dreyfus family is hidden.

Break into Two: As Landa’s men open fire upon her family, Shoshanna Dreyfus, a teenaged girl, escapes. Landa aims to shoot her down, but she is out of range. Landa grins and cries out “Au revoir, Shoshanna!”  We know that this dance is not yet over.

mv5bmjazntqxnze1n15bml5banbnxkftztcwmta0oty3mg_v1_cr1160467467_ss100_B Story: US Army Lt. Aldo Raine assembles a crack-team of Jewish-American soldiers, known as the “Basterds,” to hunt Nazis and spread fear among the German ranks.

Fun and Games: Four years after her family’s massacre, Shoshanna lives under an alias in Paris and operates a small cinema she inherited from an aunt; she has a lover, Marcel, who works with her as her projectionist.

The Basterds kill and scalp numerous Nazi soldiers but always leave one alive — with a swastika carved on on the survivor’s forehead –  to spread the legends of the Basterds. Hitler erupts into a furious rage with each and every carving.

Shoshanna meets Friedrich Zoller, an ingratiatingly boyish Nazi soldier, who shares her love for the cinema. Zoller is obviously smitten with Shoshanna. She, however, is indifferent to his charms. She learns that Zoller is a famous war hero, and that a film, “Nation’s Pride,” about his adventures, has been made — with Zoller himself playing the lead.

Meanwhile, in London, British Army Lt. Archie Hicox is appointed to spearhead a special undercover assignment with the help of a German spy — actress Bridget von Hammersmark — and the Basterds.

Hicox, impersonating a German officer along with two of the Basterds similarly disguised, meets Bridget in a cellar bar to discuss their assignment. After being badgered by a young, drunk, Nazi soldier, the group becomes unwilling participants in a “Guess Who?” game with Gestapo officer Dieter Hellstrom.

Midpoint: Zoller has Shoshanna brought to lunch with him, and the Nazi propaganda minister/filmmaker Joseph Goebbels. Zoller pitches Goebbels on the idea of moving the premiere of “Nation’s Pride” to Shoshanna’s theater. Goebbels agrees — if Shosanna will run the reels herself instead of Marcel, who is distasteful to the Third Reich, for he is, in Goebbels’ words, “a negro.”

Bad Guys Close In: In a tension-ridden sequence, Landa, assigned to provide security for the “Nation’s Pride” premiere, grills Shoshanna on the details of her theater — and her background.

Back in the cellar bar, Hicox inadvertently blows their cover. A Mexican standoff between the Basterds and the Germans ends in a bloodbath. Bridget is wounded in the leg and rescued by Raine and his men.

Bridget tells Raine that the premiere’s venue has changed, and that Hitler himself will be attending, along with the other leaders of the Reich.  Raine and the Basterds cannot let this opportunity pass. They will attend the premiere, undercover, as Bridget’s Italian escorts.

Landa arrives in the cellar bar and discovers a memento left by Bridget.

All Is Lost: During a highly comic exchange, at the premiere, Landa questions the Basterds — in Italian. Aldo’s inability to speak without a thick Southern drawl raises Landa’s suspicions. He ushers Bridget into a room and confirms that she is a spy. Landa strangles Bridget. Afterwards, he orders his men to kidnap Aldo from the premiere and discovers a dynamite bomb attached to Aldo’s leg. The device is removed.

Two other Basterds remain in the theater. They, too, are wired with bombs.

Dark Night of the Soul: In the projection booth, Shoshanna prepares for the final act by donning her war paint. Aldo and Pvt. Utivich are mv5bmti4nda5nze3nl5bml5banbnxkftztcwodi0oty3mg_v1_cr1160467467_ss100_hooded and transported to a remote location.

Break into Three: Shoshanna and Marcel set into motion their plan to lock the Nazis in during the premiere, and burn the theater down using Shoshanna’s collection of combustible nitrate film reels. Donnie “The Bear Jew” Donowitz, the most feared Basterd of all, observes Hitler in the opera box at the theater.

Finale: Told in flashback and present time, Shoshanna and Marcel shoot a short film to be spliced into the climax of “Nation’s Pride” as part of the grand plan and blackmail a collaborator into processing the 35mm with sound.

The Nazis take their seats and Marcel barricades the doors of the theater. It’s a full house.

Zoller forces himself into the projection booth to rendezvous with Shoshanna. When he turns to lock the door, Shoshanna shoots him in the back. Shoshanna takes pity upon Zoller as he lies wounded, reaching out to him — but ever the Nazi, he shoots her, and together, they die.

Landa brokers a deal with the US Army to create a new fiction — that he was working with the Allies against the Nazis and helped to plant the bombs in the theater — in order to secure his safety and the release of Raine and Utivich.

Shoshanna’s film interrupts the premier. Her face appears on screen; she taunts the Nazis with the news that they will die. Marcel lights the nitrate film and the theater erupts in flames. The Basterds open fire on Hitler and the audience; the timers go off on the dynamite bombs and the theater explodes, leaving only flames and rubble behind.

Final Image: Having reached the American lines in an idyllic, wooded forest, Landa officially surrenders, only to have Raine carve a swastika into his forehead (a symbol of invasion turned against the invader). Landa will now carry the legend of the Basterds with him for the rest of his life. Raine declares that this particular carving is his “masterpiece.”

Post Script from Cat! Central: What makes this film — and the application of the beats — so fun, is the fact that our protagonist is not clearly introduced until the Break into Two (pg 19). Does this technique go against Cat! principles? Not one meow.

Jean-Luc Godard, a forefather of the New Wave cinema, was once asked if he believed that every story had a beginning, a middle, and an end.

“Yes,” he replied. “But not necessarily in that order.”

And so, we encourage our Cats to study and apply our principles of story structure. For once you have mastered them, you may play like a Cat and, in the words of Blake, make your stories sing!

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Alvaro Rodriguez

About the Author

About the Author: Alvaro Rodriguez is a writer living and working in Texas and Los Angeles. He is currently on the staff of NBC's Chicago Fire. His credits include the film Machete, the television series From Dusk Till Dawn, and the upcoming feature, The Last Rampage. He attended the beat sheet workshop and master class with Blake Snyder and has led the beat sheet workshop in Austin and San Antonio. Additionally, he has made several appearances on the Austin Film Festival television show On Story on PBS, in conversation with award-winning writers and filmmakers, and has appeared on panels at AFF, the Great American Pitchfest and others. .

There Are 39 Comments

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  1. William says:

    And yet again no Genre is mentioned… this is frustrating 😛

  2. Anne says:

    William ~

    We have decided to leave this open for your perusal and discussion, as we did with “The Hurt Locker”. Prior to the next blog upload, we then post the STC! identified genre in the Comments section. It’s a great exercise to get those genre muscles flexed and working!

  3. William says:

    Ah ok, that’s fair enough I suppose 🙂

    What is the genre of the Hurt Locker then?

  4. Anne says:

    Hi, William! If you go to the THL blog at http://www.epopp.com/savethecat/2010/01/18/stc-beats-out-the-hurt-locker/ , all of the answers are there!

  5. jin choung says:

    hmmmmm….

    i wonder if this makes sense to break down IB as ONE set of 15 beats.

    it seems like there are several distinct stories (as there usually are in tarantino films) and each one has not only their own beats but their own genre.

    the nazi killing nazi for instance would MITH.

    the basterds story is clearly GF.

    the german speaking brit is GF too.

    the nazi movie star is perhaps BL.

    shoshanna would be GF as well.

    landa may be WD.

    and then as usual, QT just shuffles it all together.

    so not only as beginning middle and end are in godardly disorder, there are multiple beginning middles and ends per tarantino.

    jin

  6. Robbie says:

    I would advise every up and coming screenwriter not to go by
    STC fifteen beats until you have mastered the art. If you try to accomplish that off the bat, you will never finish a screenplay because it will confuse you and you will take forever trying to implement those fifteen beats into your script. I suggest you follow the more easier format from the Screenwriters Bible. It covers those fifteen beets in six turning points, without your trying to figure out all those beats by themselves. I’ve gotten scripts optioned using that format. Those six turning points are: Catalyst, (page 10) Big Event, (page 20-30) Pinch (page 55-60), Crisis (page 75-100) Showdown and Realization. The Catalyst leads to the Big Event which ends Act I and begins Act 2; In the middle of that you have the Pinch which is the point of no return for your hero, when he is fully committed. The Crisis, which is the low point in the hero’s life, ends Act 2 and begins Act 3. The Showdown is the face off between your hero and the antagonist, and the Realization is where we see how your hero’s life is transformed. There are three acts in all screenplays, and those are the six turning points in those acts. Follow those and you will be fine. Later you can master the fifteen beats. For now stick to this format.

  7. Naomi Naomi says:

    When trying to place the genre, I think it’s helpful to identify the main character and then look at what his/her particular journey is all about.

  8. Jin,My son is picking up the dvd when he gets off work, so we will commit to a genre tonight. If I were you by what they have told us so far,I’d keep my eye on Shoshanna and I’m certain she’s not in the pursuit of a GF .

  9. Odeskinator says:

    There is another way to consider this movie. The Inglorious Bastards are not the protagonist but the antagonist of the film.

  10. RedOfMe says:

    The thing that interested me the most structurally, was the similarity to Shakespeare.

    @ Robbie: After you’ve “mastered the art”? Most of us will be waiting a very long time…

    I’ve found the STC 15 beats to be very useful in drawing up my basic structures and would recommend the book to anybody with an open mind and willingness to learn.

    I hope everybody is well, R.

  11. jin choung says:

    captain, i’d be surprised if you found that shoshanna was NOT a GF. the center part of the movie struck me as slight ludicrous that you had two different GFs converging with the exact same goal but without knowing about each other.

  12. jin choung says:

    odeskinator, that’s right. it depends on whose story you’re looking at.

    just like in pulp fiction where in one story, john travolta is the protagonist and in another, he is the antagonist.

    that’s the crux of tarantino’s movies – they are indeed MULTIPLE linear stories with a common cast of characters. and the villain in one is the protag in another.

    and this is indeed a novelistic form that i don’t think can be easily dismissed as mere dressing.

    it would be quite an exercise to take a step above the individual 15beat stories that are being intermingled and try to find a unifying META STRUCTURE or META THROUGHLINE that makes the movie so satisfying.

    in fact, my gut instinct is to say that there is NO central character in this movie. even pulp fiction seems like it could be primarily about vincent and jules… maybe… but i don’t get even that much in IB.

    jin

  13. Blueberries says:

    I think the Break Into Two is Pitt assembling the team. It’s a proactive action that naturally leads us into the Fun And Games section, whereas Shoshanna’s escape doesn’t.

    The B story is Shosanna’s relationship with the German soldier.

    Also, Shoshanna donning her war paint is not part of the Dark Night. It’s the Break Into Three.

    The movie’s genre has been identified by Tarantino himself; he calls it “bunch of guys on a mission”, which in Snyder-talk means Fleece (in this case an Epic one) just like its predecessors, The Dirty Dozen etc.

  14. William says:

    Guys, this is a multi-plot structure. Rob McKee covers them in his book. Blake also covers a multi-plot film – CRASH – in his second book.

    You can still do a 15 beat BS for a multi-plot film… but yes there will be in some cases multiple scenes for the same beats (three catalysts for a three-plot structure, etc)

    note, The theme may only be said once… and covers all three… the break into two may be one or more beats.. if the plots CROSS in a scene then a BS2 beat may be handled for more than one plot at a time.

    Tarantino is a master storyteller so he can handle these complex things.. But you CAN do a BS for a multiplot film… Blake has shown this to be do-able.

    YOu COULD as hinted even do a separate BS for each plot if you like… But Blake just put them all in one BS when he did Crash… take a look in his STCGTTM book and check it out for yourself. 🙂

  15. William says:

    I am ok figuring out the genre… and for THIS one Tarantino usually does GF’s

    Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, and Kill Bill were all (in my opinion) GF’s of one flavour or another…

    I haven’t seen IB but I expect this to be the same… a GF.

    I really would like to see an official word on these films in the BS when they come out.. I don’t mind hammering ideas back and forth in a blog, but I would like to see blakesnyder.com come out with an official word eventually…

    – william

  16. Oliver says:

    I am a big fan and user of STC!!!

    Still I have to say: “The Hurt Locker” as well as “Inglorious Bastards” are unfortunately two movies that absolutely defy not only all the STC-rules, but all the other rules of sript-writing out there. I am a bit disappointed, that people now try to “force” these movies into the BS2 – and they have to admit: it doesn´t really add up.
    That´s the key to those two movies – and that is also the reason why, at first viewing, those two movies are not really very good. They have great parts and gripping single scenes and moments, but as a whole they are flawed.
    There is no transformation in both films as a start!!!!
    Just because some critics seem to like these films (and spare me with critics!!!), they don´t have to fit into the BS2.
    I would rather read an article, showing they actually don´t fit into the rules – and what that means!!!
    I also have the feeling, the STC-people now need to press every supposedly successful film into there formula, eager to prove that it works. — The thing is: the formula works, these movies don´t — they just happen to be successful which is because of other reasons…..(Tarantino…. / War… political correctness….etc.)
    Don´t weaken the value of the BS2 by trying to force every movie into it.
    Would be better to show negative examples that don´t fit. We could also learn out of these…

    thanks for the forum anyway
    Oliver

  17. Bradford Richardson says:

    Alvaro – GREAT WORK!

  18. Anne says:

    Great thoughts, Oliver. We have already on the schedule movies that do not hit beats, so look forward to that.

    We stand by our Cat! Beat Sheet Breakdowns – as well as the Cats who applied them, all of who were hand-picked for in-person training by Blake, and the content thoroughly vetted according to STC! principles! The application to independent and challenging cinema continues the mission that we began with Book 2! Meow! Blake is roaring from above!

    In terms of “good”, art is subjective, and every person has their own definition of what they feel is “good” which neither validates nor invalidates the opinion of another!

    Keep the conversation up, all! Fascinating posts!

  19. I have first hand experience with what Oliver is talking about.I read Syd Fields before I dicovered “The Cat”so at one time I was really pumped on the form and style of Pulp Fiction.I finished my movie and sent it to some people who could have sent it further.Oh my God,they just could’nt believe that I had these kick ass sub plots and really strong characters who came out of nowhere.Oh I tied it all together at the right time and ended well,but they Slayed me about having 4 movies in one and a nonlinear plot.Being a newbee it scared me to death because I actually intend to make a sucess of this craft.
    My next movie will have 15 beats 40 scenes and all these beats will hit the marks on exactly the right page.I am a”Cat” man and noone will tell me that its OK to bend the rules unless they have purchased my script.Then I could be the biggest Whore in town.

  20. jin choung says:

    yeah… i agree that we started with two very problematic movies that more or less defy the norms.

    problem with “shoehorning” in a square peg into a round hole is that more often than not, you CAN do it.

    but you end up obfuscating rather than illuminating. a great tool applied in the wrong situation can make a mess.

    and this can also be why so many people despise structure or any kind of codified set of rules – too many cases where the shoehorning is obvious to everyone but the shoehorner and this causes people to dismiss it all.

    —————————————————————————

    again, i would argue that there is no central character in IB. and hence, without a central character to whom the SPINE of the story belongs to, we have to use different eyes to look at it.

    i might even argue that like CALL OF DUTY MODERN WARFARE 1 and 2 (yes… i know… they’re VIDEO GAMES!!! hahaha), the structure revolves not around a single character, as it usually is, where the entire story is a solipsistic manifestation of a single individual, but AN EVENT.

    THE EVENT is the “MAIN CHARACTER” so to speak….

    that there may indeed be 15 beats to the story.

    but they are NOT the beats to the tranformation machine for a standard character. rather, the beats belong to the event being chronicled and how that event changed the “world” (however truly grand or microcosmic).

    i specifically mentioned MW1,2 but i think a lot of historical movies and mini-series feature this kind of form and is probably where MW gets it from.

    jin

    p.s. even if you’re not a video game fan, i would highly recommend that you just watch someone play mw1 and 2 from beginning to end. unbelievably good and exciting story! (with odd issues – very realistic and unhollywood at times and at other times, very very hollywood citing ALIENS, THE ROCK among other pop culture references – odd and disturbing juxtaposition).

  21. Anne says:

    @ Jin!!! Yay! Yes, many game writers use STC! principles! Great call on that!

    We will have our remarks, ID’ing STC! structure, points and protag (if you have not ID’d yet) on INGLORIOUS BASTERDS up before our Thursday blog upload! Keep up the thoughts, there is still time left!

  22. Oliver says:

    Absolutely right.

    Did not want to criticize the work of Alvaro in itself. Just like to stretch the point.
    I really felt that especially those two movies were a very good example of how
    not to follow any rules whatsoever – which makes them very interesting case studies.

    Maybe they contain some of the BS2-steps – every story does so automatically.
    But e.g. according to Alvaro´s breakdown it seems that Landa is the film´s protagonist.
    Why then is Christoph Waltz always nominated as Supporting Actor??? (Is it cause he got
    paid less than Brad Pitt….?)

    Yet in a way: The exceptions prove to me the value of principles like the BS2.
    Because: in my opinion there are large parts in both films (Inglorious and Hurt Locker) that lack dramatic propulsion – hence (at least) I felt partly bored – or: lost in my effort to make some deeper sense of the events shown on screen.

    e.g. Inglorious Basterds: talk talk talk — cool talk, inspired talk, Tarantino talk – but still: 90%talk – 10%story….
    The Landa-scenes are great because there is “suspense talk”: Intelligent dialogue with subtext cause Landa is always playing games and we know he is a ticking bomb – hence suspense. The Brad-Pitt-scenes e.g. are stale, to say the least, cause he just delivers information with a stupid accent that is supposed to be funny.
    Yet in both cases flaw and brilliance lie in the script, which is not perfect.

    “Inglorious Basterds” to me feels like a string of smaller episodes that losely cling together a) by the objective “to be at the premiere” and b) some reappearing characters – yet: every little episode is a “short film” in itself that could be “BS2ed”. As a whole you lose grip. Too many characters are granted the same amount of screen-time to elaborate their various objectives which involve “being at the premiere”.

    I submit, the Catalyst (if there is any one catalyst) seems to be, when the basterds are sent on their mission “to blow up the basket”. Pretty late in the film. Up until then, there is no clear unifying goal in sight…
    Debate is a short scene before the spies enter the tavern. “Why is it in a cellar…. blabla”. Rather meaningless debate, don´t you think….
    All the scenes before are simply Set-up: we see most of the main cast except Bridget. Quite a long set-up.
    Theme? —I´d say: “Better learn some languages!!” It´s the running gag of the film….
    Break-into-2 happens, when the tavern-meeting ends in disaster, which takes quite some time —then: half the people are eliminated — it´s all against common sense BS2 – yet it is surprisingly funny.
    Then it gets completely fuzzy – the mission is put aside, some more cool Landa-moments, thank god no Brad Pitt – and then: Finale — Landa steals the show, cause nobody gives a damn about the mission anymore….
    Finale Image: Brad Pitt has the upper hand. – ok: he must be the protagonist…???

    So I feel the basic rules of storytelling (as shown in STC) were not applied. At least not in the strictest sense.
    In case of Tarantino I presume: deliberately, cause he is a genius in himself. Speaking of genre: it´s T(arantino).

    On the other hand: if you see Shoshanna as the protagonist and breakdown the script from her BS2, it´s like:
    Yes – the BS2 fits absolutely. BUT: you don´t see it on the screen, cause the movie shows you moments out of the lifes of other people, losely connected to the transformation of Shoshanna, which in the end might be: for a little
    moment the revengeful jewish girl could feel pity for the nazi boy….in vain —

    Looking forward to the following breakdowns.
    Oliver

  23. Bobbye says:

    So how about we try playing the Logline game with these movies as well? Might help us to see who the actual protagonist is in this movie, although I lean towards Oliver’s assesment; we are watching 3 stories with 3 protagonists. Anyone want to take on the challenge of writing a logline for I.G. using Landa, Shoshanna and then Aldo as the protags? Also, how about creating the logline for each of our Oscar nominees? I’ve learned alot about writing the beats from the Logline “formula”. But that’s another thread entirely…
    Bobbye

  24. I have uncovered some things about IB that shed some pretty cool light .I can’t tell you all now because company just walked in for supper but I promise to get back.genre-Institionalized,Protagonist-Landa.clue 1- Landa told the French dairy farmer that he is Jewish thats why he is so good at hunting them.Landa would not shoot Shoshana in the back and he recognized her when he saw her again.Uh-huh he bought her a glass of milk to let her know that he knew her.Landa was a double agent from the start it all adds up.Landa arrived in the first scene on the Institutional bus and departed with the company logo on his head in the final scene.He saved many lives he was the hero.We just did’nt like him and let our predijudices cloud our judgements.

  25. In this movie the Nazi Institutional bus started at the beginning and drove all the way across this movie picking up the representitives of the oppositional institutions along the way with Landa at the wheel.Then the bus drove back across the movie to where it started for the ending.People got on the bus and got off the bus to suit their purpose.The only people to show decent character were Germans.The others could not be trusted had no honor and no remorse.Zoller is an Example of remorse but he got over that before he died.You have to look at this movie several times if you can stand it to really see what smart asses the authors are.Their spoofs include the film industry and us in their sick humor but thats OK and Shoshana was ever so beautiful in her red dress before she burned on the screen.I hated the violence in this movie am sad to have watched it,and a little pissed at myself for enjoying it.

  26. jin says:

    very detailed. i don’t think i agree with a stitch of it. but very detailed. : ) glad you enjoyed the movie though.

  27. Jin, We have to consider the world of this movie.It’s not my world or your world and we have to learn it’s rules if we are to be sucessful in taking it apart and putting it back together again for our own purposes.Oh thanks so much for disagreeing with me,as I’m not so sure I agree with myself,but please tell me why?
    In later life after the war,I say that Landa and Aldo live in the same neighborhood, watch football games together ,and drink German beer as a continuation of the “B” story.

  28. Anne says:

    And now …. here’s Cat! Central’s reveal on “Inglorious Basterds”:

    It is classic “Dude(tte) With a Problem”!

    We have the central character of Shoshanna, an innocent young girl,
    dragged unwillingly into the horrors of World War II and the
    extermination of the Jews.

    The sudden event of the massacre of Shoshanna’s family propels her
    into the world of subterfuge – and revenge.

    The battle at stake is clearly life and death, as Shoshanna is
    determined to rid Paris – and the world – of Nazis. Shoshanna is the central character, the tie that binds all the threads and B and C stories of this intricate film together.

    Oliver mentioned that he felt there was a lack of transformation, and
    yet, Shoshanna clearly transforms from a terrified, sobbing girl,
    running for her life through the french countryside, into a mature,
    self-assured young woman. She is intelligent, capable, and, as the
    latter scene with Landa reveals, one cool Cat.

    Captain had suggested that Landa is a protagonist; he is the
    antagonist of the story. He’s a really well-written – and performed
    flawlessly by a most masterful actor. It’s hard to take your eyes off of him, is it not? However, he is most definitely the atagonist of this particular film.

    There are Fleece elements in the B Story of the Basterds; there’s even a shade of Superhero there (one can say the same in regard to “Silence of the Lambs”) but the STC! Genre which fully and wholly applies is “Dude With A Problem”!

    Later this morning, Master Cat Jose Silerio will treat you to the breakdown of “Avatar”!

  29. Al Rodriguez Al Rodriguez says:

    One quick add to show the transformation of Shoshanna:

    Consider the framing device of the first and last times we see Shoshanna. In the opening, she is dressed in peasant clothes and hiding under the floorboards of a rustic house in the countryside. In the finale, she dons a stylish red dress and is in the “crow’s nest” of the theater projection booth. A complete flip from base to height, powerless to powerful.

    Thanks to everyone for the lively and interesting discussion on INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS!

  30. Thanks “Herr Katze”,I put a lot of effort into this,but I would never have figured it out on my own.Now I’m not so sure that my movie is’t DWAP.

  31. Blueberries says:

    DWAP?! Guys, in DWAPs the protag is in a do or die situation. In this movie, if Soshanna sits tight and does nothing, no harm will come to her. Neither she, nor any loved ones are in any danger. She hasn’t got a “Problem”, she’s got a “Mission”, and the genre is in my opinion an Epic Fleece.

    Anne, I appreciate Alvaro’s beatsheet and I respect your opinion, but everyone’s opinion counts. The fact that “you stand by the Cat! beatsheet breakdowns” doesn’t make them right. And the fact that the person who applied the beatsheet “was hand-picked in person by Blake” doesn’t make him the Pope. I still think the beatsheet is at fault with regards to the B Story, the Break Into Two, and the Break Into Three.

  32. Anne says:

    Thanks for all of the comments guys! As always, you are fantastic Cats! Moving on, Avatar coming shortly!

  33. Jose Jose says:

    Blueberries – of course everyone’s opinion counts – nonetheless, I don’t think Shoshanna has a “mission” right away when we see her again years later. She’s minding her own business in her theater (an innocent) without any plans to fight Nazis but to just simply lay low – as you said, if she sits tight, no harm will come to her. But when Friedrich comes courting her (a sudden event), it becomes a problem for her, because her secret might be revealed (a life or death situation). And to make things worse, Friedrich has the premiere moved to her theater. And it is only then that she comes up with the plan to burn them all. And that’s why I think it’s a DWAP.

    I definitely see it as a GF if we just consider the Basterds’ story. Road, team, prize as clearly as it can be. But, as in any Tarantino multi-storied movie, it’s a matter of picking which one holds the story thread most. And, it seems that Shoshanna’s does this because (1) the Basterds’ story doesn’t raise the overall emotional stakes as much as Shoshanna’s and (2) Landa is Shoshanna’s antagonist throughout the movie. Landa and the Basterds only cross paths as we get to the end of the 2nd act and are brought together because of Shoshanna’s story.

    Well, that’s my thought on it and just wanted to share…

  34. jin choung says:

    btw,

    great feature for the website! very fun to just shoot the crap about current movies.

    and while it’s unlikely that there will be a consensus for more atypical movies, i think just the discussion is enlightening and entertaining and i also think that whether i agree with it or not, having an “official stc” answer is fine.

    great work site masters and rock on.

    jin

  35. Blueberries says:

    Hi Jose. Tarantino’s work always reminds me of the Cat axiom “Give me the same thing… only different.” I think QT excels at that. And because he’s such a genius, he’s able to take it a step further, and give us the same thing… only VERY different! He does deliver on the genre and the promise of the premise (he doesn’t go artsy on us), but at the same time he innovates and takes us to places we’ve never been before.

    Similarly, I think Basterds draws on all those WW2 ensemble-capers like The Dirty Dozen, The Great Escape etc, the whole “bunch of guys on a mission” thing. The movie delivers on the genre’s dramatic requirements , but one of the twists that make it different is the fact that the most crucial element is war victim Shoshanna.

    And it’s surprising and wonderfully ironic that among this assembly of macho war veterans and psychos, a cool-as-ice Englishman, and a movie star femme fatale who has everyone wrapped around her finger, the most interesting character and the one who finally accomplishes the mission, is a victimized, seemingly innocuous, orphan jewish girl who runs a French cinema. She turns out to be the most inglorious basterd of them all.

    In short, I think it’s an Epic Fleece… only different!

  36. James says:

    I gotta say I’m agreeing with people who think it’s a little disingenuous to jam Inglorious into the STC template.

    To say it fits the mold perfectly and then to stick the catalyst, debate and brake into 2 within 3 pages of each other doesn’t even remotely show that IG fits STC.

    So is it just me or is STC becoming a little didactic? Starts to turn me off of the whole system, this semi-religious fury and lack of objectivity.

  37. SM says:

    After reading this, I would say STC only fits the bill for popcorn flicks. They’re just trying to impose STC! on every single film ever made.

    If screenwriting were this simple, then whoever follows STC! should win an Oscar..!! 🙂 Heck, there shouldn’t even be an Oscar for this category, for you’re just following 15 easy steps. 🙂 🙂

  38. Really? says:

    Wow. Why are you guys so into this save the cat stuff? I mean, some of you are saying things like, “my next script is gonna have 40 this and 15 that, bla bla bla.” I’m sure it helps center you on some structure issues, but, Tarantino writes a few hundred pages, then finds his story. Maybe in the end it does (or does not) hit those beats, but why ruin the writing process.

    Does anybody know where I can find a list of screenplays sold and made using the save the cat formula?

    thanks

  39. Byromania says:

    One might say that Shoshanna is there from the very beginning, hiding under the floor. She is present, and we are totally aware of her – like Hitchcock’s bomb under the table.

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