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A PRINCESS OF MARS STORY LINE

David Bruce Bozarth

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A member at ERBList said:

"There is a long story to tell on Mars, and only two to three hours of theater time. The story must be cut and hacked to essentials—find what the story is at the heart—then elaborated."

What long story on Mars? Carter's entry into the Thark community AND HIS ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE will take only five to seven minutes of screen time but constitutes nearly 1/3rd of the book. Pictures do speak more than a thousand words, and moving pictures, along with sound, speak a little more than a thousand words per second of screen time.

The statement suggested a look at A PRINCESS OF MARS with an eye to what would be reasonable screen time if POM is ever made into a movie. What are the plot turns in the novel? The list below shows the major events of the novel and contains estimates of screen time for each scene. In reality A PRINCESS OF MARS is people thin and world rich. The camera will show the world—as envisioned by the director of the movie—more quickly and completely than the tens of thousand words ERB used in his novel. More importantly, the flowery dialogue of ERB would be too much for the average movie-goer—expect extensive revisions to "modern speak."

A PRINCESS OF MARS STORY LINE
SCENES MINUTES
Carter in Arizona and arriving on Mars 7
Incubator and Tharks 5
Thark city, Sola, Woola 3
Carter's almost escape and rescue by Woola from White Ape 5
Return to Incubator, egg hatching, learning language 5
Battle with Helium airships, Dejah Thoris captured 4
Carter rises in ranks, Sola is friend 4
Thark interview of Dejah Thoris, Carter kills Thark 5
Carter charges Sola with care of Dejah, Dejah speaks of science 5
Carter and Lorquas Ptomel, Carter and Tars Tarkas 4
Carter learns Thark training, speaks to Dejah 5
Journey to Thark Carter has problem with Sarkoja chaining Dejah 4
Duels next day with Zad, is wounded 5
Carter recovers, journey continues, Sola's Story 7
Attempt to escape Thark with Dejah and Sola 4 scenes 10
Carter is captured after delaying pursuit, Sola and Dejah escape 4
Chained in Warhoon, interview 5
Kantos Kan and arena 2 scenes 9
Carter escapes, the Atmosphere Factory 5
Entering Zodanga, the farmers 4
Kantos Kan, Sab Than; Dejah captured 4
Carter and Kan enter the Zodanga air navy, training 5
Carter saves Than Kosis, becomes guard 4
Locates Dejah giving herself to Sab Than 4
Locates her apartment, has battle 3
Dejah denies she loves him, having promised marriage to end war 5
The Royal Psychologist 2
Carter and Kan escape in fliers, Carter's is damaged 5
Carter's damaged ship lands near Tars Tarkas battling Warhoons 3
Tars Tarkas challenges and becomes Jed, army is raised 6
Carter opens the gates of Zodanga 2
Carter stops wedding, battle 8
Return to Helium, marriage, the egg, atmosphere plant fails 5
Back on Earth 4
TOTAL TIME 165

The above is a little over 165 minutes, however, there are a number of scenes that are not necessary, or can be combined (such as the early travel between ancient cities). I have no doubt that fully 30 minutes can be cut from the above estimates without loss, which makes for a marketable movie, but also feel that an additional 10 minutes can be cut. After all, there is very little dialogue in Princess of Mars—Barsoom: VISUALLY, is the star of this particular book.

The following is a revised story line a scriptwriter or director might use. All of the necessary elements are included and the result is estimated to be 117 minutes—and might yet be cut another 10 minutes. Distributors and movies houses would be happier with this length because more under two hour movies can be shown each day than over two hour movies, which results in more ticket sales. Can A PRINCESS OF MARS be cut to 117 minutes? I cannot say, but I do know there is not "two-three" hours of screen time in the first novel of the Barsoom trilogy. GODS OF MARS and WARLORD OF MARS might go longer, but not by much.

A PRINCESS OF MARS STORY LINE REVISED
SCENES MINUTES
Carter in Arizona and arriving on Mars 6
Thark city, Sola, Woola, Language 5
Carter's rescue by Woola from White Ape 4
Battle with Helium airships, Dejah Thoris captured 4
Carter defends Dejah, Rises in ranks 4
Carter charges Sola with care of Dejah, Dejah speaks of science 4
Carter and Lorquas Ptomel, Carter and Tars Tarkas 4
Carter has problem with Sarkoja chaining Dejah 3
Duels next day with Zad, is wounded 4
Carter recovers, hears Sola's Story 5
Attempt to escape Thark with Dejah and Sola 3 scenes 6
Carter is captured after delaying pursuit, Sola and Dejah escape 4
Chained in Warhoon, interview 4
Kantos Kan and arena 2 scenes 7
Carter escapes, the Atmosphere Factory 4
Entering Zodanga, the farmers 4
Kantos Kan, Sab Than; Dejah captured 4
Carter and Kan enter the Zodanga air navy, training 4
Dejah giving herself to Sab Than 4
Carter locates her apartment, has battle 3
Dejah denies she loves him, having promised marriage to end war 4
Carter and Kan escape in fliers, Carter's is damaged 3
Carter's damaged ship lands near Tars Tarkas battling Warhoons 3
Tars Tarkas challenges and becomes Jed, army is raised 4
Carter opens the gates of Zodanga 2
Carter stops wedding, battle 5
Return to Helium, marriage, the egg, atmosphere plant fails 5
Back on Earth 4
TOTAL TIME 117

The REAL PROBLEM with a Barsoom film is getting today's audience to accept ERB's MARS in light of what is commonly known about the fourth planet. There needs to be a mechanism of some kind which suggests to the audience that the MARS in the film is NOT OUR MARS but one where wild hordes race across dead sea bottoms and luscious princesses need to be rescued.