Wayne C. Robinson

WGA #1209113

U.S. COPYRIGHT TXu001600864 / 2007-11-13

LUSITANIA, a Ron Howard Film

Synopsis of The LUSITANIA Story

During the height of World War I, Great Britain, and her ally, France, were fighting fiercely against the German military. Thousands on all sides were being killed and it seemed that the war had no end.

America was neutral and wanted nothing to do with the war. Although they were well aware of the horrific wartime activities, they were more focused on enjoying the benefits of the emerging industrial revolution – peace, jobs and security.

The Germans had learned that ammunition was being stored aboard passenger ships out of New York to be transported to the war effort for the British and the French.  One of those ships was the RMS LUSITANIA. The German consulate sent several warnings to the American government that those traveling aboard the LUSITANIA were in grave danger should the vessel travel through the “war zone,” the entrance to the Irish Sea.

NOTICE: Travelers intending to embark on the Atlantic voyage are reminded that a state of war exists between Germany and her allies; and Great Britain and her allies; that the zone of war includes the waters adjacent to the British Isles; that in accordance with formal notice given  by the Imperial German Government, vessels flying the flag of Great Britain , or any of her allies, are liable to destruction in those waters and that travelers sailing in the war zone on ships of Great Britain and her allies do so at their own risk. - Imperial Germany Embassy. Washington, D.C. April 22, 1915

The American government did not respond to the warnings, and the Germans turned to the American newspaper publishers to warn passengers not to board the ship.  However, the U.S. Government informed publishers them not to publish the warnings. Therefore, not alerting the passengers of the impending danger.

The British Admiralty, who financed the LUSITANIA for military purposes, was responsible for guarding her as she entered the war zone. However, Winston Churchill had ordered the Admiralty not to send out the scheduled escort to accompany the LUSITANIA. There are conversations recorded within the Admiralty war room that Churchill stated that it would benefit the war effort should the Germans destroy the LUSITANIA and its American passengers. This would most certainly bring America into the war.

LUSITANIA: INSPIRED BY A TRUE STORY is an epic action-packed romance set against the ill-fated maiden voyage of the RMS LUSITANIA. The film captures the story of a rebellious and brave American news reporter who is sent to the war to learn more about Britain’s newest weapon on the war front – the tank.

Once aboard, the reporter hears rumors of the German threat to destroy the ship during its voyage. The reporter organizes a group of passengers, some of the ship’s crew and his love interest to locate the alleged ammunition and contact the authorities of their discovery.  Simultaneously, they are being chased throughout the ship by the staff captain and his goons who do not want to alert the passengers of the impending dangers.

Unfortunately, it turns out that his love interest was working with the ship's staff captain all along.

However, it is too late. On May 7, 1915, as the RMS LUSITANIA entered the war zone, a Germany submarine sent a lone torpedo into the ship, killing most of its passengers and crew. Within 18 minutes, the RMS LUSITANIA sank into the Irish Sea to her final resting place.


May 7, 1915 - Day of The LUSITANIA Disaster  

As passengers were enjoying their afternoon lunch, a lone torpedo soared through the Irish Sea and into the side of the British ocean liner, RMS LUSITANIA. The ship's crew and passengers frantically attempted to escape the sinking ship. The scene was disastrous as lifeboats came crashing in on those attempting to escape, some of the ships life boats would not launch and it was chaos everywhere as the ship quickly began to sink.  

In 18 minutes, the RMS LUSITANIA was completely underwater.  More than 1,200 men, women, children and crew died including 124 Americans. Those who were able to escape into the sea clung to floating luggage, furniture and anything to stay alive.  Dead bodies floated throughout the sea.

Local fishermen raced to the sinking ship to save as many passengers as they could and rushed them to nearby towns. Local residents gathered at the docks to attend to the survivors.

Days later, a mass funeral procession is held in the town of Queenstown, Ireland. Thousands of onlookers, news media, family, friends, officials and survivors line the streets as the coffins were carried to a mass grave.

A memorial is held at the Westminster Abbey in London as thousands gather inside and outside the church to pay their respects to the victims and their families.


The Days Leading Up To The LUSITANIA Disaster

May 1, 1915. Henry Duncan, a freelance news reporter from the Midwest, is invited by the New York Times to cover the war between Great Britain and Germany. He meets with the Times editors to learn more about the assignment.

His instructions are to investigate rumors of a "war machine" allegedly developed by the British. He is to reach Great Britain, investigate, and return to the New York Times for a full report.

May 2, 1915. Henry boards the RMS LUSITANIA, a British liner used to transport passengers between England and America.

That morning, several incidents occur which causes concern for RMS LUSITANIA Captain William Thomas: He has not received the necessary documents to depart from New York to Liverpool, and  there are news reporters questioning passengers and crew regarding a warning printed in a local newspaper that the Germans will sink any British ship that enters the British Isles.

The Captain is relieved when he learns that the British Admiralty will be sending an escort to meet the LUSITANIA when she enters the British Isles.

That evening, Henry befriends three flirtatious nurses who are traveling from Canada in support of the war. They discuss politics and the rumors regarding war ammunition being transported aboard passenger ships, and possibly the LUSITANIA.

May 3, 1915. Henry is surprisingly invited on a navigational tour of the ship's bridge where he meets Captain William Thomas and Staff Captain Anderson. The staff captain has learned the Henry is a reporter and might be aboard to investigate the alleged shipment of ammunition. He instructs his security guards to keep an eye on him during the cruise.

Henry enjoys shipboard activities in Second Class and socializes with the other passengers. He also befriends crew members because of his sincere and honest personality.

That day, he meets Eleanor, a beautiful female crew member, and ignites a romantic relationship with her. 

May 4, 1915. As Henry hears more rumors of the alleged ammunition, his curiosity as a reporter motivates him to investigate whether they are true or not.  If they are true, then he concludes that passengers and crew aboard the LUSITANIA may be in danger of German submarines. That evening, he devises an ingenious plan that involves Eleanor, his befriended passengers, and crew in order to gain access to the 'secure areas" which are under a 24 hour watch. 

May 5, 1915. The plan is implemented and Henry is in the secure area. He discovers that there are weapons onboard, and he needs to inform the proper authorities before the ship enters into the so-called "war zone."

The LUSITANIA telegraph officer is received warnings from the British Admiralty that there are German submarines destroying British ships, one in particular, the U-20, is headed towards the British Isles, the same time the LUSITANIA should arrive.

The captain is concerned as he has not received any replies from his messages to the British Admiralty.

Sir Winston Churchill has decided not to send the escort to meet the LUSITANIA as she expects, and will not inform the LUSITANIA captain of this decision.

May 6, 1915. The staff captain suspects that Henry is aware of the contraband, and now he is on frantic hunt to capture him.  Henry lures crewmembers into his frantic activities by explaining to them the consequences should the LUSITANIA were under attack by German submarines. He scurries throughout the ship to find the means to warn the proper authorities of his discovery as he is chased throughout the ship by the staff captains and his goons.  He is lost, alone, and concerned. Time is running out as the ship sails closer to the war zone.

On the bridge, Captain Thomas and officers are concerned that the British Admiralty has not responded to any of their communications.  Still no word regarding the escort that is supposed to meet the LUSITANIA when she enters the British Isles - tomorrow.

The story ends when the screen describes the events following the trials of who was responsible for destroying the RMS LUSITANIA and killing more than 1,000 people.

Two years later, the United States decided that they were going to side with Great Britain with the war against Germany. More than one hundred thousand American soldiers lost their lives.


LUSITANIA (Possibly a Ron Howard Film)