SUPER: The Untold Tale of Morgan Berkeley.
SUPER: BASED ON TRUE EVENTS
The dull sound of a shovel STABBING into dirt. Followed by a slow extraction of soil.
Another STAB. Then lift.
And one more time before we finally see a grubby and sweaty FACE. Surrounded by dark sky, but illuminated by dim light.
More lifting of soil shows a SECOND FACE. Then the hooded lantern he's holding over us.
Satisfied, they drop their tools, reach in and pick us up to reveal that we're in:
EXT. GRAVEYARD NIGHT
CONTINUOUS POV: We rise and see the FULL MOON casting a
gloomy dye over rows of gravestones.
SUPER: London, 1829
We're put down on a sheet of tarpaulin, next to the dirt pile that once covered our face.
From distance, we hear quiet GRUNTS. Then the sound of boot on soil, as feet come back into view. We're lifted up and rushed through the yard.
Then dropped facing another grave being dug by TWO MEN obscured in darkness. Our liberators provide them extra light the two much larger men dig much faster.
They throw their shovels aside, then disappear in the hole.
The two rise up and throw a large chunk of wood in front of us. Then disappear again until:
One of the two diggers stands up, holding his shoulder. They shine the lantern on him he's
bleeding from a gun shot. Our two friends come back and lift a sack over our eyes.
BEGIN MAIN TITLES WITH MUSIC
INT. SACK NIGHT
We're bouncing up and down as we're moved. The bouncing gets so rough that the sack opens up to show:
EXT. LONDON STREET DAWN
The cobbled street behind. The feet of our two liberator below, jogging away from the rising sun.
They stop and lift us onto the back of a wagon. We can now see the road and the street behind, in full. PEOPLE getting ready for a hard day's graft.
The injured man arrives, looking breathless, holding his arm his sleeve now ripped off and wrapped around the wound. They help him up covering our view of the road.
When our view returns, in the distance, THREE BUTCHERS are walking towards us. One holding a mean looking cleaver.
As they get closer they point and shout getting the attention of the Gravediggers their
voices are muted, but it's clear they're angry.
One Gravedigger walks behind us as the other walks to them, holding his hands up. Pleading his case. He stops them before they can get close, but one pushes him out the way and stomps towards us.
He grabs our sack. The injured Gravedigger leans down to stop him, but is pushed away. He lifts the sack and sees us. His fears realised, he shouts back to the other two.
They look at each other. The Gravedigger pleads. They don't care one draws a pistol and shoots him in the head. He falls to the ground in a lump.
The noise sets the wagon speeding away. The Butcher who found us chases after the wagon, but soon gives up.
Our sack is CLOSED again. But immediately OPENED to reveal:
EXT. ALLEYWAY DAY
Three baby faced TEENS (16) in waist coats and white shirts, close up, staring at us. A blonde and two brunettes.
They back away. The two uninjured Gravediggers are standing in shadows, waiting. The blonde says something and puts up two fingers.
The Gravediggers look at each other, then walk towards him. The blonde gets scared and holds out a handful of coins.
We're CLOSED AGAIN. Again we immediately open, into:
INT. ANATOMY SCHOOL DAY
One of the brunettes opening the sack, then steps back. Looking at us from a dark, candle lit room is a man in his mid 40's. Anatomist and surgeon MORGAN BERKELEY.
He examines us, whilst running a comb through his hair, again and again, until:
END MAIN TITLES
He turns away and signals towards a large table.
The three teens lift the stolen CORPSE onto it. We can now see the windowless room. The candle light reflects on the moist walls.
RANDALL (teacher's pet), TIMOTHY (overfed brat), and SIMON (overanxious), all 18, are sat on small tables with anatomic tools pushed aside.
Timothy wipes his sweaty brow as he watches the younger students unwrap the corpse from its packaging.
Berkeley inspects our former body further a MAN (40s),pale skinned, but with a dark colouration around his neck.
Randall slides off his seat and limps over. He has a defect of the spine that gives him a curved posture.
When will we return the glory of our
What's that, sir?
It is becoming harder and harder to find a subject worth our time. I wish they found someone like you Randall my boy. Then we could make history.
He slaps Randall on his curved back. Randall weirdly takes this as a compliment and smiles.
The blonde teen, WILLIAM walks to the body. Casually kicking a decaying severed hand as he goes.
Berkeley watches him with a frown.
Sir, they told us, to tell you, that they say, that they want more money next time, sir.
They said that one of their men got shot. I thought it wasn't illegal?
The ignorant don't understand what we are doing. Which makes our work that much more difficult. Speaking of, you've all paid?
He points at them all, one by one, and they nod.
(back to the corpse)
See, each anatomisation is a step towards discovery. A step towards saving lives. Making history. For us, it's worth every coin. And our life's commitment. But unfortunately, most care only about
themselves. Okay. Strap the subject in, I'll be back later.
William continues kicking the hand around the room.
I have church later, sir.
Lock up and be back here at six.
What if we've got things to do?
William trips on the severed hand. Berkeley reacts quick, grabs his wrist, stopping him from falling.
If you have something better to do than make history, I'd love to hear it.
William just stares at him, still a little startled. Berkeley stands him up.
And be more careful! Even a tiny cut could be a death sentence in an anatomy theatre.
Be back here for six.
EXT. SUFFOLK LANE - DAY
Berkeley exits onto a narrow cobbled street. He shields his eyes as he adjusts to the sunlight. Around his anatomy school are vacant buildings a quiet place for dirty work.
He notices a red blotch on his shoe. He kneels down, pulls out a white handkerchief, and wipes it furiously.
EXT. - ST. BARTHOLOMEW HOSPITAL - DAY
The large courtyard outside Berkeley's hospital sits between buildings and busy streets. TOP HATS and BONNETS walk back and forth.
Berkeley enters, walking towards a large statue of Henry VIII in the centre.
He stops to let a horse and carriage cross his path.
When clear he notices a VAGRANT (17) staring at him behind the statue, wearing grubby clothes two sizes too small.
Berkeley tries ignoring the stare but the boy follows him.
Good morning to you sir.
Berkeley notices a DOG following them.
Sir, if you wouldn't mind, could I have a moment of time between yourself and...err, me?
I'm excruciatingly busy.
It won't take long at all sir. I am quite very well sure that you would be interested in what I have to sell.
Please hear me out sir. I have been studying the uncharacteristic prices
at Fortune War and want to recitify the issue.
Berkeley stops, the boy stops, the dog stops. Berkeley's intense look makes him instinctively remove his hat.
What do you...?
Berkeley notices beside the statue is a wheelbarrow. Whatever's inside is covered by a blanket, but a pair of dirty feet are hanging out the end...
Berkeley immediately speedwalks away.
Sir? I thought--
(trying to stay quiet)
This is not how this works.
Please, sir, we need the money to eat! It's a good deal, sir! Sir?!
Berkeley leaves him, perplexed. He looks at his dog, who lays down, looking sad.
INT. - ST. BARTHOLOMEW HOSPITAL ENTRANCE - DAY
The front of the hospital is a sitting area, half full of injured and ill PATIENTS, waiting to be seen to.
FIVE NURSES are patrolling the room, writing down ailments.
By the main door is a wiry man in glasses, GIBBS (37) the porter to the surgeons, reading notes on a clipboard. Berkeley enters and Gibbs, without looking up from his notes, walks along side him.
Morning Gibbs. So sweet of you to wait for me.
Well all the other surgeons have had their briefing.
Is that a hint that I'm late, Gibbs?
No sir, just the facts.
Ah. So what do I have?
37 minutes until Mr. Cooper's lecture.
What's it on?
A new treatise regarding disease of the bones and joints.
From anatomy or...
I think surgical inspection.
It will help get him on your side for the promotion.
Fine. Any news from Ilford?
Berkeley shakes his head in annoyance.
You do have newly assigned patients though.
Catching tuna when I need a whale.
Let's go have a look then.
INT. SURGICAL WARDS DAY
Four rows of beds filled with PATIENTS. Some are lucky enough to have FAMILY with them. Some lie alone.
NURSES and DOCTORS are inspecting patients. Though in this period you weren't here to be cared for, just assessed and eventually discarded.
By the door are Berkeley's FOUR SURGICAL ASSISTANTS, chatting and waiting.
Berkeley and Gibbs enter, the Assistants follow them towards the beds ready to take notes.
They approach a grimacing, BEARDED SEXTON (50s) who has his foot bandaged and elevated.
Mr. Hatton. A sexton. Stepped on a knife, impaling his foot.
One that was embedded in a coffin.
Inside the coffin itself?
And a body was in the coffin?
Why did you leave a blade in a coffin?
Weren't me sir, were the family.
Okay. We'll need to amputate.
No! Please sir, I need it for walkin'!
When did it happen?
After dusk last night, sir.
We'll need to get you into surgery today or tomorrow morning or you'll die.
Find a time for me.
They leave him.
Next we have...
Next patient, a MAN covered in soot.
Oh never mind, he hasn't paid his bill.
Next patient, an unconscious WOMAN.
Mrs. Howison. She's been passed onto you. No one wants to touch her
An Assistant moves the covers, revealing a lump in her side.
...they're worried about complications.
Berkeley caresses her lump with his fingertips. Then prods the abscess. She SCREAMS herself awake.
I'll do it, after the amputation.
Final patient. An OLD MAN (70s), pale and still. His DAUGHTER, NEPHEW and NIECE (all 40's) around him, mourning.
Oh, he must have passed this morning.
He died of hospitalism! He was worse off coming here than letting me care for him. I told him...I told him...