LAND OF SMILES
Copyright © 1990 Duane R. Hurst
Copyright © 1990 Duane R. Hurst
A. HONG KONG:
Opening scene of 747 Jumbo jet landing at Hong Kong’s international airport.
Victoria’s party waiting near baggage carousel; Rick and Jeff stand together and take the group’s luggage as it comes.
[Party includes: Victoria Smythson, Dr. Paul Stevens, Ace Daniels, Cap Grady, Marco and Maria de Vargo, Hattie McNaughton, Jeff and Rick]
Victoria stands close to Paul. She lightly grasps his forearm.
Victoria: Paul, this is my first time to Hong Kong and Asia. I’m not sure how to talk with Li Kwang Wu, the exporter I was told to find. He may be our key to finding the disk, but I just can’t feel right in coming here. Something is wrong.
Paul: You’re asking the wrong fella, Victoria. I’ve never been in Asia either. We’ve got to see Wu, no matter what. He’s our last lead.
Ace and Cap walk up.
Ace: All our bags are here. Marco has taken care of the hotel and transportation already. Once we clear customs and immigration, we can find the exporter.
Victoria: Will that be difficult?
Ace chuckles. Cap smiles.
Ace: No sweat. Cap and I have bummed around Asia so many years it’d be hard for us to miss the guy. (looks serious) Li Kwang Wu runs one of Hong Kong’s most exclusive export firms. He’s a specialist in Oriental artifacts. He’s also very expensive but reliable.
Cap: (low voice) He’s also rumored to know plenty about the Triads, an ancient Chinese secret society. Let’s just hope the Guardians and Triads aren’t working together.
Victoria: (frowns) Thanks a lot! Now I feel worse than before.
Rick, Jeff and Maria join them with filled baggage carts; Hattie and Marco trail. Both Rick and Jeff stare at several young Chinese girls, who smile as they walk past. Jeff emits a long, low whistle.
Jeff: (looks at Rick) Rick, ol’ buddy, I believe we’re going to find the mysteries of the east very interesting. (continues to eye the girls) Very interesting, indeed.
Rick: Yeah. No sense wasting time. Let’s check those out right now. I better run interference, Jeff, since I’ve had more experience at this than you.
Jeff: (laughs) Like hell you have.
Rick starts to head towards the Chinese girls but Maria jerks him around by his belt. Her eyes flash.
Maria: Caramba! You two even try that machismo routine over here. Take care of the luggage like you are supposed to. (pokes Jeff) Move!
Jeff: OK, OK. We’re going already, Maria. We were only trying to get that hot Latin blood of yours excited.
Maria: Mentiroso—liar. Go! (prods him again)
Victoria: (looking at the two young men while speaking to Paul) Sometimes I wonder whether or not this quest has a chance of success.
Paul: It has. Remember Winston Churchill’s admonition: “Never, never, never give up.” But let’s try to get through customs first.
Scene of Hong Kong’s traffic and skyline.
B. LI KWANG WU’S EXPORT OFFICE:
Victoria and her friends enter a large reception room, which contains costly Oriental objects. A young girl escorts them toward several desks and a lounge area. Chinese men in their early 30s sit at the desks answering phones or using computer terminals.
Girl: Please wait here. Mister Wu will be with you presently. May I get you something to drink?
Marco: Yes, thank you. Perhaps a little bourbon.
One man leaves his desk and greets the group as the girl continues to take orders.
Gregory: Good afternoon. My name is Gregory Li. Mr. Wu requests to meet with Miss Smythson in his office. Doctor Stevens and Mr. de Vargo also are invited to attend. Follow me, if you will. The others will please be comfortable out here.
Hattie: Just a minute, young man. (to Victoria) Victoria, I don’t like the idea of sitting out here while something important is discussed. I won’t try to horn in because that might ruin your chances for getting information about the disk. But you better tell me the first chance you get.
Victoria: (smiling and giving Hattie a hug) Oh, Hattie, most assuredly I shall tell you all the exciting details. Please speak with Cap and Ace. They may resent being left out more than you do.
Brief shot of Cap and Ace standing close together in quiet talk.
Hattie: Don’t worry about them. They’re pros and understand as well as I do that it’s better to be patient than try to control every situation. My time will be better spent making sure that Rick and Jeff don’t flirt too much with the hired help.
Distant shot of Rick and Jeff joking with the smiling Chinese girl.
Victoria: Yes. Well, cheerio. (to Paul) I think we should follow Mr. Li now.
Marco, glass in hand, joins them. Politely gestures for Victoria to precede the men.
Marco: After you, por favor.
Gregory opens the office door for them.
C. INSIDE LI KWANG WU’S OFFICE:
Spacious, richly decorated office. Large Chinese-style desk, numerous art objects on small tables and in display cases. In one corner is a carved, circular wooden table and six chairs. Various Chinese snack foods and fruits are on the table. Wu sits at the desk but stands as the others enter his office.
Wu: Welcome to Hong Kong, Miss Smythson. Greetings, Dr. Stevens and Mr. de Vargo. (gestures to the table) Please sit down and have a bite to eat, though I must apologize for the meager offerings.
(They all move to the table. Wu speaks to Gregory.) Ensure that we are not disturbed.
Gregory: Yes, sir. (closes the door as he leaves)
Wu: Miss Smythson, do try the lichee. Mr. de Vargo, I believe you will find these mangoes somewhat more delicate than those in Panama.
Marco: (eats piece of mango) Hmm. Very good flavor.
Paul: (taking a steamed bun) This is polite of you to offer such treats, Mr. Wu. However, I believe you already know what we are here for.
Victoria: (takes Paul’s cue) Yes. Perhaps, Mr. Wu, you can save us time. What do you know concerning my purpose to meet with you?
Wu: (sighs) Miss Smythson, the Americans predictably are impatient in all they do. (nods to Paul) Your pardon, Dr. Stevens. But I rather expected a proper British girl such as yourself to enjoy the niceties of verbal sparring.
Marco: (interrupts) I see that our cultures have something in common, Mr. Wu. Permit me.
You and I have a mutual business contact in Panama City, who referred you to Victoria. I would rather not mention his name, but he “facilitates” the importation of Oriental artifacts into Central and South America. You come highly recommended.
Paul: We’re only after one thing. Can you help Victoria track down a missing artifact—a special disk—from somewhere in Southeast Asia?
Wu: Yes. Yes, Dr. Stevens, I can direct you to the right path. (looks at Victoria) My associate in Panama has informed me in detail how you discovered evidence of a most important mystery cipher—something which could alter the future of mankind. He also mentioned that a secret society, the Brotherhood of the Skull, is attempting to block your efforts to find the secret. (gives a knowing look at Marco) Do you wish to comment on this, Mr. de Vargo?
Marco: I was a member of the Brotherhood before I learned what its true motives are. They tried to kill my daughter and know that I oppose them. I make no excuses for my past.
Wu: Just so. The Brotherhood is working with the Triads, a very old and powerful Chinese secret society. They will try to stop your search. Their leader in Hong Kong is an old man named Wang Han. One moment please. (gets an atlas from a book shelf and opens it to Southeast Asia)
Just after the Japanese took French Indochina during World War II, Wang Han left Hong Kong for Saigon. He organized a ruthless band from the Triads and collaborated with Japanese colonial officials to smuggle out prized artifacts. His agents sought out many treasures from ruins of the ancient Khmer empire in Cambodia and Thailand.
On a high ridge along the modern Thai-Cambodian border is an imposing temple complex of ancient date. It is named Preah Vihear and was said to hold great wealth in a secret chamber. Wang Han’s men searched all the temples there but never found a treasure room.
Paul: All this is interesting, but what’s the connection?
Wu: Throughout their time on the ridge and in the village nearby, many strange events happened. Men died suddenly and mysteriously—as if a curse protected the temple. Rumor had it that supernatural power kept the treasure hidden. Wang Han gave up.
Then in 1975, the temple became known to another outsider. An American advisor, Bill Hyatt, working with Thai villagers learned of the treasure. I once spoke with him several years ago about it, although he was reluctant and refused to provide details.
Victoria: Do you think the treasure is part of the cipher?
Wu: Who can say? Mr. Hyatt and I remain friends. I think that he will help you. (has a strange look) He still is bothered by a secret, which only his Thai wife shares.
Marco: Why do you say that?
Wu: Because his wife is the daughter of the headman of the village near the temple. The village is sworn to protect the temple’s secret.
Victoria: I don’t understand why that is strange, since she comes from the village you claim protects the temple.
Wu: Ah, but they live on Phuket Island. That is very distant from her home and few villagers ever voluntarily stay away. It is more than strange; they are self-imposed exiles. It may be that your missing cipher is part of the temple’s treasure, Miss Smythson. Perhaps Hyatt knows the secret of Preah Vihear.
Victoria, Paul and Marco exchange somber looks.
Paul: Can you help us locate Hyatt?
Wu: (smiles) Certainly, Dr. Stevens. (moves to his desk and speaks to someone on an intercom) Send in Stephen.
Walks back to the group, holding a color photograph of a couple.
This is Bill Hyatt and his wife, Anchalee.
Victoria: She’s very lovely.
Door opens and lithe, 20-year-old Stephen enters.
Wu: May I introduce my nephew, Stephen Wu. He and Mr. Hyatt are good friends. Stephen, these are Miss Victoria Smythson, Dr. Paul Stevens and Mr. Marco de Vargo.
Stephen: Deeply honored to know you.
Wu: It will be our pleasure for Stephen to accompany you to Thailand. He can introduce you to the Hyatt’s. He is very skilled in another area as well.
Paul: What’s that?
Wu: He is quite good at Kung Fu.
Paul: Stephen, I for one am happy to have you along. (offers a hand)
Victoria: Yes, and thanks awfully much for your help, Mr. Wu.
Wu: It has been my pleasure, Miss. Unfortunately, I have less pleasant business to look after now.
(pauses and has a very serious face) A word of caution: Wang Han has a sinister agent in Bangkok. He is called Amnat. The man is notorious for his connections with Khun Sa and other Golden Triangle narcotics traffickers. Such people are just as ruthless as the Triads. Good day and best of fortune to you.
All but Wu leave with Stephen.
D. STAR FERRY:
Group boards the Star Ferry to cross back over to Kowloon side, where their hotel and the airport are located. Paul and Victoria stand together near the railing; Hattie, Cap, Ace and Marco move further inside the boat; Maria takes a picture of Rick and Jeff; only Stephen pays attention to the crowd of Chinese faces.
A group of five coarsely-dressed young men push their way toward Victoria and Paul. Stephen spots them and speaks softly to Rick.
Stephen: Triads come. (points to the approaching men with his head) Watch and be ready to fight.
Maria backs away while Rick and Jeff push through groups of people to reach Victoria. Stephen circles behind the Triads. The Triad toughs spot Rick and Jeff, but not Stephen. Two turn to meet the young friends.
Jeff: (yells) Cap! Ace! Lookout!
Triad leader leaps as Cap turns toward Jeff’s voice; Cap partially blocks a high kick with his arm, but is knocked over. The Triad spins into an attack on Ace. Ace counters the first kick, but a roundhouse follow-up rocks him and the Triad knocks his punch aside.
Victoria screams and smashes her purse into a second attacker’s face; Paul punches him in the ribs and kidney. However, Paul suffers several return blows and falls into a crowd of onlookers.
Stephen hurtles through the air with a power kick to a third attacker’s head. The man falls overboard. Stephen then blocks the leader’s body blows to Ace. The two martial arts experts exchange several kicks and punches.
Triad 1: Sad goh goh nuei jai! (Kill the girl!) [sha je ge nyu hai dz!]
Second Triad hits Victoria and is set to jam his fingers into her eyes. However, Cap socks him in the jaw as Paul brings him down with a tackle.
Brief scene of Rick and Jeff fighting the other two Triads.
Rick: Behind you Jeff! (sidesteps a kick)
Triad 4: Da kuei! (Hit him!)
Leader pulls out a knife. Stephen rolls under it and delivers a side kick into his knee. Follows with a kick at the wrist, forcing the man to drop his knife.
Triad 2: (fighting free of Paul and looking at his leader) Goo ji! (Watch out!)
Stephen uses a spinning kick to knock the leader up and over the railing into the sea. Second Triad attempts to ward off Paul and Cap, but is hit from behind by Maria. He jumps into the sea.
Stephen runs back to help Rick and Jeff. Jeff has fallen. Rick’s haymaker finally connects, sending a fourth Triad staggering into Stephen. He is sent over the side into the waiting sea. The last Triad pushes through the passengers and dives in to join his defeated comrades. The fight is over.
Marco: (helping Victoria; Hattie also is there) Are you hurt? We must get away as soon as the ferry lands.
Hattie: Of course she’s hurt! Look at her. The others probably are hurt, too. Why should we run now?
Victoria: Hattie, please. Marco is right. We can’t afford to be delayed by the bobbies. (looks at Marco) I’ll be fine. Call the others.
Marco goes for the others. Paul limps over to Victoria; puts his arm around her for support.
Paul: Sorry I wasn’t more help. Guess I’m still more of a professor than a world-class adventurer.
Victoria: (puts a hand to his mouth) Don’t ever say that again, Paul. I owe you more than I can hope to repay.
Others gather near. Several massage bruises; Maria uses a handkerchief to stop the blood from a small cut on Jeff’s chin.
Marco: There’s the ferry terminal. As soon as we land, go to the hotel. We can’t afford to be delayed by a police investigation.
Cap: Good idea, Marco.
Cap looks back towards the swimming Triads. Fade out.
E. WANG HAN AND DRAGON LADY:
Pan out from close-up shot of an embroidered dragon on the back of Dragon Lady’s Chinese-style dress. She turns to face a seated Wang Han. Mr. Moon sits straight-backed near him. The two Guardians, Claude and Murray, stand in the background. The room is filled with Chinese furniture; framed calligraphy-covered scrolls hang on the walls.
Dragon: (to Wang Han) So, she escaped again! I expected your Triads to be more successful.
Wang Han: Those involved have been punished. We do not reward failure.
Dragon: (smirks) Good. (sits down) We must stop them here in Hong Kong. Claude. (Claude immediately steps forward) Did you and Murray follow Smythson and her crew of fortune hunters?
Claude: Yes. We know their hotel and room numbers. It should be a simple matter to kill them tonight.
Murray: (also steps near her) Claude is right. We will need extra men if you want all of them taken care of at the same time.
Dragon: (impatient) No! The key is Smythson. Kill her and the others are left without a purpose. Too many people in the hotel will be noticed. Find a way to get her.
Mr. Moon: (cold voice) A fire bomb in her room.
Dragon: (smiles) I like that. (looks at Wang Han) Can your people do it? (points to Claude and Murray) My men will be successful but she already knows them.
Wang Han: Of course. I can have someone who is already working in their hotel plant the bomb under her bed.
Dragon: Have it timed to explode at midnight. Then we can get both her and that handsome Dr. Stevens while they’re playing together.
Fade out on her raucous laughter.
F. AT THE HOTEL:
Brief scene of hotel maid placing a bomb under a bed and leaving the room.
In hotel restaurant. All are seated together at a table—meal finished.
Victoria: I want everyone to stop in my room for a chat before any of you go out tonight. It’s very important.
Jeff: Sure, you can always count on us.
Maria: Something is bothering you, Victoria. What is it?
Victoria: Please, I’d rather tell you in the room.
Hattie: We’ll go there now. Marco, get the check.
Marco: Certainly, mi querida. (signals for waiter)
G. INSIDE HOTEL ROOM:
Everyone sits on the two beds or on several chairs. Victoria looks distraught.
Ace: What’s this about?
Rick: (mutters to Jeff) Bet your ass we won’t see any girls tonight.
Victoria: I think you should know that you’ve all been super to me. I certainly don’t want to spoil your only evening here. But I keep feeling that we should leave right now—within the hour.
Various exclamations: What? Oh! No!
Rick: Damn, I knew it!
Ace: Victoria, no one can deny there is danger for us here. However, I think we’ll be safe enough to catch our flight tomorrow morning.
Victoria: I truly wish I could believe that. Yet, I know we should leave now and do so without even letting the hotel know.
Rick: You mean just skip out?
Jeff: I love it!
Rick: Yeah, and don’t pay the bill. Whooee!
Cap: Keep it quiet guys. We’ll pay the bill—from the airport just before take off.
Paul: Victoria is right. That attack on the ferry was too coordinated; they knew exactly where we were. The Triads probably know that we’re in this hotel.
Ace: Hmm. OK. Let’s play it safe and bug out. Cap and I can arrange tickets for an early flight to Bangkok once we’re at the airport. We have a friend there who owes us a favor.
Victoria: Thank you, Ace.
Marco: I suggest we collect luggage and meet in my room. It’s close to a fire escape.
Cap: Let’s all make it fast and quiet.
All go to their rooms.
Scene of them going down fire escape. At foot of the stairs; Rick brings down the last suitcase.
Cap: (talks to Ace) It’s about midnight now. I think we can make that late flight before…
Explosion from Victoria’s room interrupts Cap. Glass blown out and fire shoots from the window.
Cap: Dam—nation! Victoria’s room!
Ace: She would have been killed! (looks around at a pale Victoria)
Hattie: Get out of here! Let’s get out of here before they find us!
Rick: Son of a bitch! Jeff, let’s hustle with the bags! Move it!
Marco: (taking Victoria’s arm as she stares at the fire) Victoria, are you thinking of giving up?
Victoria: (turns with eyes blazing) Never! We’re on the right path. The Brotherhood wouldn’t be so determined to stop us otherwise. Thailand has the answer. No one can stop me from going there!
A. INSIDE HOTEL:
Brief pan of canals, countryside from the air; jet landing at Don Muang International Airport.
Inside hotel lobby. Rick and Jeff stand together in front of a souvenir shop display window. Jeff notices two pretty Thai girls and nudges Rick.
Jeff: Hey, guy. Take a look at those two. Think they understand English?
Rick: Only one way to find out. (grins and tosses the girls a jaunty wave)
Both girls smile. Rick saunters over; Jeff follows.
Rick: Hi. My name’s Rick. I’d sure love to know more about Thailand.
Nim: You American?
Jeff: Yeah. We’re both American. I’m Jeff.
Nim: My name Nim. (touches her friend) She Diw.
Diw: (speaks to Nim) Chan mai chohb dua doh. Yok hai khun na kha.
[I don’t like the big one. You can have him.]
Nim: (giggles) Dee laew, chan goh chohb khaw maag gwaa.
[Good, I like him more.]
Jeff: Hey, no fair! We don’t understand Thai language.
Rick: How about getting something to drink, Nim?
Nim: OK. Nam som.
Rick: What’s that?
Nim: Orange juice.
Jeff: Great. Let’s all get some while you two girls tell us about Bangkok. (takes Diw’s arm) Do you speak English, Diw?
Diw: Yes, but not good like Nim. She more better.
Nim: (laughs) I like practice with Americans. Maybe you want tour of best temples? (impish smile) Buy something for your girl friend?
Rick: (puts arm around her) We don’t have any girl friends. I can’t think of any better tour guide than you.
Jeff: (to Rick) What a ham! Sounds like a line out of a 40’s movie.
All go into the hotel coffee shop.
Cap and Stephen enter the coffee shop and notice the four young people at a table. They walk over.
Jeff: Morning, Cap. How’s it going, Stephen? Sit down and join us. This is Nim and she’s Diw.
Both girls greet Cap and Stephen with a waay (Thai greeting made by placing palms and fingers of both hands together, tips of the fingers placed near the nose while bowing the head).
Girls: Sawatdee kha.
Cap: (to the girls) Good morning, pleased to know you. Sorry guys, but we need you upstairs right now. Maybe you’ll have time to talk with these girls later.
Rick: (mutters) Damn, another opportunity shot to hell!
Jeff: Yeah, sure, Cap. Nice meeting you, Diw. Hope you can give us the tour of Bangkok.
Diw: Mai ben rai kha. Never mind.
The four men leave. Rick and Jeff turn around; girls wave to them.
Jeff: You sure know how to ruin a beautiful morning, Cap.
Cap: (snorts) I have no doubt that you’ll find other girls wherever we go. The strategy meeting in Victoria’s room is more important.
B. INSIDE VICTORIA’S HOTEL ROOM:
All are seated.
Ace: OK. It’s all settled. Cap and I will work out details for going to Phuket Island. We won’t be able to leave until tomorrow, so the rest of you might as well sight-see or shop.
Marco: I think we all need some relaxation. Hattie, Maria and I wish to shop and perhaps take the floating market tour.
Paul: The rest of us will stay with Victoria, just in case there’s any trouble. (Rick and Jeff look at each other and nod in agreement)
Victoria: (holding a travel brochure) I believe the Grand Palace should be our first stop. It looks simply wizard.
C. GRAND PALACE; WAT PHRA KAEO (Emerald Buddha Temple):
Pan temple from various angles, including as Victoria’s group enters the principle gate near two temple “giants”. Standing in front of Wat Phra Kaeo.
Victoria: Gorgeous! Oh, I could spend days here. There’s so much to see!
Paul: It is fabulous, especially for archaeologists such as us. Did you see the mural under the piazza? (points to part of the huge mural depicting scenes from the Raamakian [Ramayana epic of India])
Victoria: Yes, it’s wizard.
Paul: I’ve got to look at it closely. I once studied about it in a graduate course. Let me know when you’re ready to leave.
Victoria: (smiles) I understand perfectly, Paul. I’ll find you later.
Victoria goes with Stephen, Rick and Jeff. Camera follows Paul along the verandah as he examines various scenes from the mural. Close-up on one which catches Paul’s keen interest—view of a group of gilded beings leaving a palace or temple near mountains. Paul raises eyebrows and opens his mouth in surprise as he steps back.
Paul: That’s it!
He hurries off to find Victoria.
Victoria and others in large courtyard admiring ornate carvings of Emerald Buddha temple. Nim and Diw walk across the courtyard toward the group. Rick spots them and waves.
Rick: Nim! Diw! (he and Jeff hurry over to meet the girls with big smiles)
Jeff: Wow, what luck! This is great! We never expected to see you girls again.
Rick: What are you doing over here?
Both girls giggle.
Nim: Think maybe you come here. This most famous temple in Thailand.
Diw: Nim want to find her farang kon loh.
Nim: Yaa si! [Don’t!]
Diw: Nim want to find handsome farang again. She like you.
Rick: Oh, yeah? I like her, too.
Jeff: Diw, would you like to join us?
Stephen and Victoria join the others. Victoria laughs and nods her head at the young men with a knowing look; Stephen looks suspicious, thinking it too much of a coincidence.
Victoria: (give Thai greeting—the waay) Sawatdee kha. My name is Victoria and his is Stephen. We would be happy to have both of you lovely girls follow along.
Nim: Sawatdee kha. We happy to come, but can take you on tour of other famous temple. It called Wat Arun—Temple of Dawn. It across Chao Phraya River. We go now, OK?
Stephen: No. We have another friend here.
Victoria: That’s right, but we’ll be pleased to have you as our guides.
Paul rushes over.
Paul: Victoria, I found it!
Victoria: What, Paul?
Paul: A clue to the disk! Come on, follow me! (starts off; others follow him)
All stand in front of the picture Paul examined. Victoria is excited.
Victoria: I see it! I can’t wait to see Mr. Hyatt.
Diw tugs at Jeff.
Diw: We go now? See Wat Arun?
Jeff: Huh? Oh, yeah. (To others) Why don’t we go see that dawn temple?
Stephen: (to Paul) Do not trust these Thai girls, Dr. Stevens. They are too anxious for us to leave. We know nothing about them.
Paul: (too preoccupied to consider the warning) Hmm?
Pan from people to closing shots of Wat Phra Kaeo; fade out.
D. THE SHOPPERS:
Several brief scenes shown with musical accompaniment. Includes showing the three shoppers (Marco, Maria and Hattie) traveling in a Thuk-thuk (three-wheel motorized taxi), shopping in the Pratu Nam sidewalk bazaar (or the Sunday market area), and riding a boat in the floating market. Could show them inside a modern shopping center in front of Kentucky Fried Chicken or other proposed national sponsor for “The Secret”.
Hattie: I had no idea Bangkok was so modern. This looks like somewhere in the States.
Maria: (to Marco) Tengo mucho hambre, papa.
Marco: I’m hungry also, Maria. How about some local fried rice?
Maria: No. (point to Kentucky Fried Chicken) I want to eat there.
Hattie: I don’t think Victoria and the others are at the Colonel’s.
They go in to order.
E. TEMPLE OF THE DAWN:
Victoria’s group and the two Thai girls are at a rua hang yao [long-tail boat] taxi dock on the Bangkok side of the Chao Phraya River. They board one of the bobbing taxis. A handsome Thai (Prasert) also boards with them and sits in the rear. Stephen remains suspicious and notices several mean-looking Thai men getting in a long-tail, which rushes across the river ahead of them. The young men in the other boat stare at Victoria. Nim and Diw glance at the boat.
Boat taxi dock near Temple of the Dawn. Stephen eyes Prasert but decides the man is not a threat, since Prasert walks ahead of Victoria’s party without seeming to pay attention to them. All disembark.
Paul: (pointing to central spire of the temple) Look, Victoria. It’s in the Cambodian style. Magnificent structure!
Victoria: Truly. And it looks like we can climb to its higher level.
Nim and Diw, holding hands with Rick and Jeff, urge them to take a direction different from Victoria.
Nim: Come. We see small, pretty temple over there. (Points to a distant chapel which has two large, colorful “giants” guarding the entrance) Have nice garden.
Rick: It may be pretty, Nim, but we should stay with Victoria.
Nim: No. She have boy friend. Nim show you surprise. (tugs his arm and smiles)
Diw: You come. Diw need you. (Takes both of Jeff’s hands in hers)
Jeff: (looks at Victoria and Paul walking to the main temple entrance) Oh, brother, what a choice! (Diw continues pulling him and smiling sweetly) Lead on, Diw. I guess Paul can keep watch. Let’s satisfy your need.
Both young men let the girls lead them. Stephen, however, frowns and discreetly follows the four.
Stephen: More trouble!
Victoria and Paul in a courtyard near the temple’s central spire. Paul is sidetracked by a display of Buddhist ornaments; Victoria climbs the main stairway up the spire.
Atop the spire. Victoria admires the view across the river at Bangkok. As she walks along the narrow walkway and pauses to gaze at Thonburi city, a hand clutches her upper right arm from behind. She gasps and quickly turns around. Prasert is the man holding her.
Prasert: Do not be afraid, Miss Smythson! I am a friend.
Victoria: (pulls her arm free) If you’re a friend, why do you accost me so? Who are you?
Prasert: My name is Prasert and Mr. Li Kwang Wu asked me to meet with you. I am a professor of history and Sanskrit at Chulalongkorn University, here in Bangkok. I am here to help you.
Victoria: What you tell me may be true, but I don’t know you.
Prasert: Mr. Wu asked that I give you this. It was delivered by special messenger today. (hands Victoria a sealed letter and turns away while she reads it)
Victoria: (looks at Prasert) Mr. Wu suggests that you can help us. How?
Prasert: I can explain that tonight if you will join me at this restaurant. (gives her a card) It will take time. I am sorry to make you wait, but I must teach classes today. I assure you that I will do all I can to help.
Victoria: (pauses to think) You must realize that I cannot meet you alone at this restaurant. Dr. Paul Stevens will accompany me.
Prasert: I shall be honored to meet him, Miss Smythson.
F. TEMPLE FIGHT:
The four young people stroll in a garden near the temple, laughing and smiling. Stephen continues to hover in the background—eyes alert for trouble. Rick and Jeff only have eyes for the Thai girls. Wanchay and four toughs move in from three directions to surround the two young men. Wanchay signals the girls.
Nim: We go now.
Diw: Sawatdee kha.
Both girls quickly walk away; they turn and wave to the Americans. They giggle and hold hands as they leave the impending fight. Rick and Jeff are dumbfounded.
Rick: What the hell! What’s this?
Jeff: We’ve been set up!
Wanchay: (points to Rick and Jeff) Suu gan wa! [Fight!]
Jeff: Back to back, Rick. Watch out for their kick boxing!
Thais attack with punches and high kicks. Wanchay sees Stephen running up to join the fight. Stephen hits one Thai in the right kidney and smashes a fist to his temple; the Thai crumples. Three other Thai men attack Rick and Jeff, while Wanchay goes after Stephen.
Wanchay: Rawang puan man! [Watch out for their friend!]
Wanchay and Stephen spar. Jeff is kicked and falls. Rick grabs a Thai’s leg after blocking his kick; slugs him in the stomach. He picks up the defeated man and throws him into another attacker. Jeff gets up swinging.
Wanchay attempts a popular knockout blow (instep kicked against opponent’s temple) but Stephen ducks under the kick and sweeps Wanchay’s other leg, knocking him down. Stephen delivers several punches and kicks, although Wanchay is skillful enough to block most of them. However, it is evident that Stephen is the better fighter.
A small crowd of tourists and Thais gather to watch the fight.
G. ATOP TEMPLE:
Victoria and Prasert hear noise of the fight and look down. Distant shot of the combatants through tree tops.
Victoria: Oh no, not again! (turns to leave)
Prasert: Wait! Will you see me tonight?
Victoria: Yes! Now, let me go! I must help them. (rushes down the steps)
Victoria runs over as the defeated Thais escape. Rick and Jeff look battered but pleased over their victory. Stephen is exasperated.
Stephen: (to Rick and Jeff) Next time listen to me! Those girls were no good. They followed us just for this reason. Start thinking with your brains instead of your balls!
Victoria: What?! Those two girls? Bloody hell! Just like a man to let a pretty smile cloud his judgment.
Jeff: (sheepish look) We’re sorry, Victoria. How were we to know it was a trap? We thought you were safe with Paul.
Victoria: (suddenly worried and looks around for Paul) Where is Paul?
Rick: Wasn’t he with you?
Stephen: He is coming. (Points)
Paul wanders over to the group with a puzzled expression.
Paul: What’s up? Have I missed anything? I just saw a fine collection of Buddhist amulets, Victoria.
Victoria: (sighs and smiles) Paul, sometimes you’re a lovable lout.
Paul looks even more puzzled as others laugh at his expense.
Victoria: I’ve had enough temples for today. (Looks at the darkening sky) Besides, it’s time we got back.
Closing scene of the group crossing the Chao Phraya River in a long-tail boat. The setting sun splashes colors on the river and receding temple.
H. IN A THAI RESTAURANT:
Camera pans a romantic Thai restaurant—its large pond; girls dressed in traditional style sell various snack foods from boats; several graceful girls perform a candle dance; serving girls in Thai style dresses show Victoria and Paul to a table adjacent to the pond in a secluded corner. Music accompanying this scene can be a popular love song by Pannida Sevatasai, one of the better Thai singers.
Paul and Victoria stand close beside each other looking out over the moon-reflecting water. He slips an arm around her waist and she draws closer to him with a smile.
Paul: This was an excellent idea, Victoria. Very romantic setting. How can I resist both it and you?
Victoria: (sly smile) Don’t resist. Enjoy the moment. (she kisses him)
Paul: We ought to have more of these moments, Victoria. (caresses her hair)
Victoria: Yes. (longer kiss as camera pans out across water and dancers)
Thai girl escorts Prasert to Victoria’s table.
Girl: Kaw yuu tee nee kha. [Here they are.]
Prasert: Good evening, Miss Smythson. Hello, Dr. Stevens. I am honored to meet you. Please call me Prasert.
Paul: Pleased to know you, Prasert. Victoria tells me that you are a professor of language.
Victoria: Sanskrit. Mr. Wu claims you can help us. How?
Prasert: I know Bill and Anchalee Hyatt. Also, I have studied much about the Khmer—much more than Mr. Wu. There are many mysteries in my country. We are an ancient people with a long history, but much of our early years are shrouded in legend. We came south into Thailand from the old kingdom of Nanchao in southern China. The Mon were here before us and the Khmer controlled eastern Thailand in ancient times.
Victoria: Are you going to tell us a legend is behind the disk?
Prasert: Yes. I must take you to an ancient Buddhist chedi in Thailand. A chedi is a special Buddhist shrine, which has a tall spire. The shrine is near Bangkok—in Nakhon Pathom. It is the starting point for you to follow the trail of your missing disk. Bill Hyatt does not know of this; he only knows of later events.
Paul: We have plans to see Hyatt tomorrow afternoon. Is there time for a visit to the chedi?
Prasert: If we leave for Nakhon Pathom early in the morning, you still can fly down to Phuket in time. As archaeologists, you can understand the importance of seeing the chedi firsthand. I can take you there before dawn.
Victoria: Paul, let’s go. I feel that it’s important for us to see the chedi. (To Prasert) Our friends will go with us.
Prasert: As you wish. However, we must leave early.
Paul: We’ll be ready.
Prasert: I will meet you at your hotel tomorrow. Perhaps we can order something to eat and enjoy the dancing. You will find Thai food quite spicy hot.
Paul: (laughing) I learned that the hard way, when I bit into a hot pepper.
Final shot of boats plying the pond as the Thai singer begins another song.
I. AMNAT’S HOME:
Inside a spacious garden at Amnat’s secluded and well-guarded retreat outside Bangkok on the same evening. The Dragon Lady, Mr. Moon and Amnat walk in the garden. Amnat smokes a cigarette. Several guards can be seen in the background. Murray and Claude follow behind Mr. Moon.
Dragon: Once again I am disappointed. First by the Triads and now by your men. I want that British bitch stopped!
Amnat: We get her in Bangkok. My best fighter and his men catch her soon. I call him here tonight already. Please sit here.
They reach a patio and the three sit at a small table. Murray and Claude remain standing. Two Thai serving girls bring drinks and food.
Amnat: (to girls) Pah laew bai gan te. [That’s all. Go.]
Moon: Time to plan.
Dragon: Yes, Moon. Amnat, my men will assist your chief henchman.
Amnat: Certainly. (sees Wanchay walking toward the group) Wanchay come. He make plan.
Wanchay: Sawatdee khrap, naay. Pom reeb maa daam tee tan sang. [Good evening, sir. I came quickly, as you ordered.]
Amnat: Speak English. Tell them how you will catch English girl.
Wanchay: Yes, sir.
Dragon: (stand and interrupts Wanchay) Not here. It’s too hot. We’ll go inside.
Wanchay openly stares at her legs and figure as she stands. Moon is angry with Wanchay’s lewd leering and jumps up. He cuffs Wanchay. Wanchay recovers quickly and attempts to kick box Moon. However, after two or three rapid passes it is clear that Moon is a far better fighter even than Wanchay. Guards rush up when they see the fight. Murray and Claude stand ready to combat the guards.
Amnat: Yud! Pah gan tee! [Stop! Enough!]
(to guards) Glap bai tee derm. [Go back to your positions.]
Wanchay stops and the guards immediately return to their posts. Moon steps back but remains between Dragon Lady and Wanchay.
Dragon: (smiling) Why the fighting, Moon?
Moon: He has a dirty mind. I kill those who insult you.
Dragon: (laughs) Never mind, Moon. It’s actually a compliment. (To Wanchay as she slowly turns) Look all you want. (voice cold as ice) But don’t ever think of touching!
Amnat: (furious with losing face because of his man) Please, let us forget this. I speak with Wanchay later. We talk of plan first.
Dragon: (cryptic smile) Yes. Come, Moon. (beckons Claude and Murray)
Wanchay walks behind Amnat, although he does not appear chastened. Fade out as all begin to leave the garden.
A. OUTSIDE THE CHEDI:
A brilliant red sun rises out of shrouded palm trees; its rays glint off the huge golden chedi of Nakhon Pathom. A dusty Datsun pickup rolls to a stop in the chedi’s nearly empty parking area. Cap steps out of the cab; Rick, Jeff, Maria and Stephen jump from the bed. The three young men move off to survey the surroundings for any sign of Brotherhood of the Skull or Triad goons. Prasert, Victoria and others get out of a large Mercedes sedan.
Prasert buys muu satek (thin slices of roasted pork on skewers) from a vendor. He then leads the group toward the main entrance.
Prasert: Please remember to remove your shoes before you enter the sacred area near Buddha. This is the largest chedi in Thailand. In olden times the Mon kingdom made a chedi on this spot. Thai people later covered the Mon structure, making this chedi. However, they did not want to offend the ancient people, so a replica of the original chedi also was built nearby. I will show it to you.
Paul: This is very impressive. What is the circular colonnaded structure surrounding the chedi used for?
Prasert: Classrooms for the monks.
All climb the steps and pause in front of the massive standing Buddha. Prasert waays (sign of worship and respect) before leading Victoria and others to an entrance through the colonnade and into a large court, which circles the chedi. Prasert has them halt as he continues to explain its history.
Prasert: Now I will tell you a secret, which even Thai people do not know. Under this chedi and inside the inner Mon chedi, the first Mon king hid a scared disk. No one knows where the disk came from—only that it was brought from India hundreds of years ago. When Nakhon Pathom came under the influence of the Khmer Empire, a Khmer god-king removed the disk and took it to the temple complex of Preah Vihear on the modern Thai-Cambodian border.
Victoria: Can you show us what the original chedi looked like?
Prasert: Yes, it is on the other side of the outer court. Come.
All follow Prasert beyond the classroom area to a shady court. A smaller, gray chedi rises amidst several trees.
Rick: Doesn’t look like much to me, just a big gray blob with a spear on top.
Maria: Rick, it’s elegant. You’re too much of a slob to notice beauty.
Jeff: Wrong, Maria. He just pays attention to the two-legged variety, especially when they come equipped with long hair and a come-on smile.
Rick: Right on. They beat hell out of run-down statues.
Paul and Victoria stand near the chedi while Prasert continues to talk.
Paul: How do you know so much about the disk and its history?
Prasert: You must remember that I am a professor of Sanskrit, Dr. Stevens. Also, I did much research on this after speaking with Bill Hyatt.
Victoria: What happened to the disk in Preah Vihear?
Prasert: To understand that you must know how it first got there.
B. KHMER GOD-KING:
While Prasert narrates events of the disk’s history, we see a scene from the past as the Khmer god-king meets with his chief priest in ancient Cambodia. The priest places the disk inside a large golden egg and seals it. The egg is then placed within a larger silver egg and sealed. Finally, the silver egg is put inside a square stone box, which is covered with a stone slab.
Prasert: Hindu tradition claims that Brahma created the universe from a gold egg. The egg split and from its golden half he made the heavens; he made the earth from the silver half. You can see the significance of the eggs.
After the Khmer god-king learned of the sacred disk at Nakhon Pathom, he had it moved to Angkor Thom, his capital. But his chief priest read in the stars that the disk must be located on a mountain to ensure its safety. According to the ancient legend I found in an old Sanskrit record, the god-king had two eggs made, one of gold and the other of silver. The priest first sealed the disk inside the gold egg and then sealed the gold in the silver egg. He placed the silver egg in a plain stone box.
(view of temple and its mountain) According to legend, the stone box and its eggs were hidden inside a secret chamber within the mountain. The only way to find the room is down a stairway carved out of a natural shaft, a shaft that descends from the most sacred temple atop Preah Vihear to the valley floor.
C. OUTSIDE OLD CHEDI:
Hattie: So the eggs are still in that temple in Cambodia?
Paul: The temple’s on the Thai-Cambodian border, Hattie.
Prasert: Technically it’s in Cambodia because in 1962 the World Court declared the temple belonged to the Cambodians. Today it is a dangerous area. Communist and Cambodian resistance forces still fight there.
Victoria: But is the golden egg and the disk still in the secret chamber?
Prasert: Bill Hyatt thinks so.
Victoria and friends do not pay attention to a dirty, crippled beggar who has shuffled near them. The beggar is a disguised Wanchay. He sits down and turns on a concealed miniature tape recorder, pretending to rest.
Marco: Did Mr. Hyatt tell you that?
Prasert: Not specifically. However, you should remember that Bill’s wife is daughter of the village headman and that all in the village are sworn to protect the temple’s secret. He and Anchalee know about the ancient treasure room. I am convinced that he found the room by accident in 1975. His wife made Bill move to Phuket rather than remain near the temple. She was afraid for him, though she never has explained why to me.
Hattie: Well, didn’t he already find the egg? Surely he found the stone box when he entered the room.
Jeff: Sounds like a wild goose chase to me. Why waste time and money on it?
Cap: How did he get to the stairway if it’s inside a temple the village is supposed to protect with their lives?
Prasert: Bill Hyatt never went inside the treasure room. I am positive of this! He found the valley entrance to the stairway by accident. The villagers do not know of this or he would be dead now.
Ace: Then why would he help us after knowing about the treasure room all these years?
Prasert: You must ask him that. I believe Stephen can answer that question.
Stephen: No. We are friends, but the only thing I can think of is that Bill often seems restless when he speaks about Anchalee’s village. You can ask him in Phuket.
Victoria: We shall.
Cap: It’s time we headed back to Bangkok.
All follow Prasert in a direction away from the seated Wanchay. Final shot of the chedi.
D. PHUKET ISLAND:
Victoria’s party travels in a large fishing boat in the brilliant water off Phuket. They are in sight of the island but still far from the side where Bill Hyatt’s plantation is located. It is late afternoon. Cap and Ace use binoculars to watch another fishing boat.
Brief scene of two black-clad frogmen placing an explosive device on the hull of Victoria’s boat. Jeff and Maria peer over the side to admire the clear water. Both they and Rick wear swim suits. Jeff leans over with mouth agape as he notices the frogmen.
Jeff: Maria, look! Look down there! Rick, get over here! Frogmen!
Maria: Caramba! Son enemigos! [They’re enemies!]
Rick, Cap and Hattie rush to the gunwale.
Rick: Where?! (follows Jeff’s pointing finger) Damn! Let’s get the bastards!
Rick and Jeff dive in after the retreating frogmen. Cap yells to Ace.
Cap: Ace, stop the boat! We’re under attack!
Cap jumps in the water while Ace orders the Thai captain to stop. Scene of Cap finding the explosive. He realizes that it is a type he cannot disarm and clambers back aboard with Stephen’s help.
Cap: It’s a bomb! Launch the lifeboat! (to Ace) I can’t disarm it and we don’t have much time before it explodes.
Ace: Move it, everyone! Come on, haul ass!
Cap, Ace and Stephen help the others board the lowered lifeboat. The Thai captain brings a rifle with him.
Scene of Rick and Jeff fighting the two frogmen. Frogmen are less mobile but have the advantage of air tanks. However, they are more intent on getting away quickly than on staying to fight. The young men cannot follow as the frogmen speed toward the other fishing boat.
Rick and Jeff surface for air. Their fishing boat explodes.
Rick: Sons of bitches! Damn them to a maggot-rotting, scum-sucking hell!
Jeff: Rick, look! Over there. A lifeboat—they’re in the lifeboat!
Rick: What? Oh—thank God!
Jeff: Come on, let’s get back.
Both swim to the lifeboat.
E. IN THE LIFEBOAT:
Several armed men in the other fishing boat fire at Victoria’s group. The Thai captain lifts his rifle to shoot.
Ace: Give me that! (Ace grabs the rifle, aims and shoots a few rounds, hitting two men on the other boat.)
Frogmen retrieved, the other boat swings away from the lifeboat. Rick and Jeff swim over to the crowded boat.
Jeff: Maria, are you all right?
Maria: Yes, Jeff. We’re all safe.
Jeff: I thought you were dead when I saw the boat explode!
He reaches up to touch her face. She leans over and they kiss. Maria’s eyes glisten and a tear rolls onto Jeff’s fingers.
Maria: I worried for you, also. (speaks softly) Mi querido.
Marco touches Victoria. He and Hattie are determined to encourage Victoria so that she won’t abandon the quest.
Marco: It must have been the Brotherhood. Victoria, this can’t be for nothing. We’ve got to continue! I can pay the captain for his lost boat.
Hattie: Listen to Marco. All of us are behind you.
Victoria: (stares at Hattie and Marco with a grim smile) How long will it take for you to know me? I have no intention of ever giving up my search for the cipher. Neither the Brotherhood nor their henchmen can dissuade me. My resolve is the same as always.
(Looks at Stephen) Get me to Bill Hyatt as soon as we reach shore. I’m going to Preah Vihear with or without him!
End of Land of Smiles