The Screenplay

Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts (Bob Dylan)
Copyright Ram's Horn Music 1974, 1975.
Released on "Blood On The Tracks", 17 January 1975.
An earlier version was released on promotional copies of the album.
Live debut 25 May 1976.

Dylan approached scriptwriter (when?) John Kaye (who later wrote the 1980 film of Hunter S. Thompson's chaotic "Where The Buffalo Roam") to turn the nine minute song into a feature film. Kaye duly delivered a script but nothing more came of the project.

 The song influenced "The Jack Of Hearts" screenplay, 1981 July 16 (3rd draft) by James Byron. A manuscript of this draft is kept at the Theater Research Institute, Ohio State University

 (Research classification code: L.P.A.4.12.12; "For research use in the library only") (LC CARD #: NONE TITLE #: 5011848 OCLC #: 25273639 &jc920131; 1 v. (28 leaves); 28 cm; Filmscript; Forms part of: Eileen Heckart Collection).

 The cover illustration is of a playing card, the Jack of Hearts, with the words "Jack of Hearts" written across it. The script is "Based on a ballad by Bob Dylan". It is also based on "Hamlet" by William Shakespeare.

 The screenplay has been summarized by Jim Brown (

 "The story opens with a large white stallion being stolen from a corral. Then we see Rosemary, Big Jim's wife, working as a teller in the bank he owns. It turns out Big Jim stole Rosemary, the bank, and most of the rest of the Colorado town from Rosemary's first husband, who, along with their five-year-old son, disappeared maybe twenty years ago. Remember that kid, he'll surface again, as -- you guessed it -- the Jack of Hearts.

 "Into the bank comes the mysterious stranger (outside stands the stolen horse which, it turns out, belonged to Jim). He talks to Rosemary cryptically and then leaves his calling card, a Jack of Hearts. Jim knows that the guy who stole his horse is in town.

 "That night at the cabaret, a mysterious woman does a weird card trick on Jim that basically lays out the whole story of usurpation and subsequent revenge metaphorically. All the cards get ripped up except for the Jack of Hearts. So Jack flirts with Lily, while Jim looks on jealously. Rosemary is ambivalent; she hates her husband and hates losing him to the younger woman.

 "Finally, there's a card game, and in the ensuing fracas, the false father is eliminated (though the agent is not Jack, of course, but Rosemary).

 "The story closes with the safecrackers (whom I guess I forgot to mention ... well, there were these safecrackers, see ...) hiding out in a cave when they are met by the Jack of Hearts. He reads in the paper that Rosemary is about to be hanged for her crime, and I think something bad happens to Lily as well. So the only one to come out ahead in the deal is the Jack Of Hearts"."

 Ben Taylor
Leeds, England

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