Before his trauma in World War 1, Larry Darrell is a carefree and mischievous character.
Early drafts of the script show a very different version of Larry . John Byrum had written a character more in tune with John Winger from Stripes. Here is a scene cut from the farewell party at Lake Forest.
John Byrum says: “When Bill first said he wanted to do the movie, I guess my first challenge presented itself. Up to that point, he’d become famous for a certain sardonic comedy – which was not, on the surface, what Maugham had written. So when we began re-writing it for him, I kept trying to make the character more in keeping with Bill’s known image. I quickly learned that wasn’t what attracted Bill to the story, he didn’t want to be the comedian from Saturday Night Live anymore”.
4 INSIDE THE AMBULANCE
(© John Byrum & Bill Murray)
In the cramped rear of the ambulance, LARRY DARRELL is drawing beers from a barrel stolen from the refreshment stand. He lies sprawled on a cot, boots off. A young RED CROSS GIRL is massaging his feet ecstatically, her uniform unbuttoned and her prim hairdo undone. She is extremely drunk. Larry hand her a fresh beer.
Happy independence day, my dear.
RED CROSS GIRL
Take your shirt off. I know Swedish Massage.
Larry struggles with his jerry-built pump – a series of medical clamps and tubes swiped from the ambulance First Aid boxes.
Not now – I have a serious tap problem here!
[Outside the ambulance Gray (Maturin) is preparing to give rides to the townsfolk and opens the rear canvas flap to allow the Red Cross leader to climb in.]
Giggling, the RED CROSS GIRL goes to work on his buttons herself. Larry, shirt open, is being groped by the girl. The make-shift beer tap is swelling dangerously. The Red Cross Lady opens her mouth in astonishment.
RED CROSS LADY
We’ve got a life or death situation here!
You’re a nurse aren’t you? Hold this!
Pulling her inside, he hands her the rapidly swelling rubber tubing attached to the beer keg.
Make your peace! We could all be blown sky high at any moment!