WOODCOCK AND WILD DUCK

THE MARY SEACOLE STORY

By Tbc

SEACOLE PICTURES LTD - as PROD

Black comedy - Pre-Production 2012

The forgotten heroine, a Jamaican middle aged woman who took on the British establishment just to help her boys. Her adventures around the world made her the most celebrated woman in Victorian England to transcend prejudice and be saluted by Queen Victoria herself.

    • Year of production
    • 2012
    • Genres
    • Black comedy, Drama, Historical
    • Countries
    • UNITED KINGDOM
    • Languages
    • ENGLISH
    • Budget
    • 10 - 25 M$
    • Duration
    • 128 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Tbc
    • Writer(s)
    • Tessa GIBBS
    • Producer(s)
    • Huda COTRAN (Seacole Pictures), Jackie WETHERILL (Jaco Productions)
    • Synopsis
    • Seacole Pictures presents a film exploring the incredible, sometimes surreal, life of Mary Seacole – a middle aged Jamaican woman in the 1850s who through her sheer force personality, determination and humour managed to transcend race barriers to win the hearts and minds of the British people.
      Conditions in the Crimean War are atrocious and Mary, like others, just wants to help. With decades of experience treating tropical disease, she tries to join Florence Nightingale’s nursing staff, but is repeatedly turned down. Undeterred, Mary decides to travel to the warzone by her own means, and uses her entrepreneurial skills to build The British Hotel on the front line, from which she nurses the sick and wounded troops, and sells provisions. Fondly known to the soldiers as Mother Seacole, Mary works alongside the myriad of personalities trying to make a difference in the Crimean catastrophe. Her most celebrated friends have also shunned the comfort of London society – Alexis Soyer, the celebrity French chef, is there to provide the army with hot food and his ingenious cooking stove, while Irish reporter William Russell is the first ever embedded war correspondent, responsible for bringing the Crimea to the attention of the public.
      Mary is also joined by a bizarre assortment of staff and patrons: inept naval double-act Big Chips and Little Chips, ethnically ambiguous Jew Johnny, work-shy business partner Thomas Day, champagne-swilling Ottoman commander Omar Pasha, evangelical soldier Captain Hedley Vicars, flirtatious ingénue Sally, rat-magnet Francis, and military top brass Lt. General Sir John Campbell. This film blends comedy and tragedy in equal measure, finding the laughs in the darkness, and the poignancy in the triumphs. This is M*A*S*H* in the Crimea.
      Mary does not expect any reward for her work, but the end of the war utterly ruins her. Bankrupted by her generosity in the Crimea, it takes her months to get home again. But she returns to a hero’s welcome – the army, from the lowest corporals to the highest generals, rallies together to organize a fundraising event in Mary’s honour. Queen Victoria herself attends the party, and Mary is carried through the streets of London by her adoring boys.
      Mary remained in London for the rest of her life, publishing her best-selling autobiography soon after the war. History was kinder to the aristocratic Florence Nightingale, but, to those that met her, Mary was the true saint of the Crimea.
    • Partners & financing
    • Script available, finance attached and Director/Cast to be announced shortly
    • Beginning of shooting
    • May 01, 2012
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