The Barefoot Contessa (1954) Movie Script

I suppose when you spend most
of your life in one profession
you develop what could be called
an occupational point of view
So maybe I can be forgiven
for the first thing I
thought of that morning
Because I found myself thinking that
the staging and the setting
even the lighting of Maria's funeral
were just what she would have wanted
My name is Harry Dawes
I've been a writer
and director of movies
for longer than I like to remember
I go way back: back
to when the movies
had two dimensions,
and one dimension
and sometimes no dimension at all
I wrote and directed all three
of the movies Maria D'Amata was in
Her short, full career,
from start to finish
I wrote it and directed it
On the screen, that is
What was I doing there?
The Fates or the Furies
or whoever wrote and
directed her short, full life
they took care of that
Anyway, there I stood
halfway around the world
from Hollywood and Vine
in a little graveyard
near Rapallo, Italy
watching them bury the
Contessa Torlato-Favrini
in ground she'd never
heard of six months ago
with a stone statue to mark the spot
Life, every now and then, behaves
as if it had seen
too many bad movies
When everything fits too well:
The beginning, the
middle and the end
from fade-in to fade-out
And where I faded in,
the contessa was not a contessa
She was not even a movie
star named Maria D'Amata
Where I faded in,
her name was Maria Vargas
and she danced in a
nightclub in Madrid, Spain
And so, once upon a time, three
years ago, we came to Madrid
to a not very fashionable
nightclub, to see Maria Vargas dance
Let me tell you who "we" were
The man with the sweaty
face and frightened eyes
was and is Oscar Muldoon
He's a public relations
man, which can be many things
unrelated and not public at all
The blonde was made
in Hollywood, USA
Her name was Myrna,
and she travelled
I was a writer and/or director,
who hadn't been doing too well
We were all in the
employ of Kirk Edwards
Meet Kirk Edwards
You're saying to yourself
"So, that's what he looks like"
"A Wall Street wizard who came
up from the streets of New York"
"Who came up from the bottom,
but never really left it"
Don't feel sorry for Kirk Edwards
Not unless you're a
hungry psychiatrist
Kirk was producing a
motion picture, his first
He had as much in common
with anything creative
as I have with nuclear physics
Well, we'd been scouting for
what is called,
delicately, a new face
By most standards, flying all the
way to Madrid to look for a new face
would seem like going
to a lot of trouble
But I've known producers
who'd travel further
for a good smoked whitefish
Hey, um... Hey, Mac!
"S, seor"
How come the band is takin' a break?
- Uh, please. Don't...
- Signorina
Seorita. You're
in Spain now, buster
Seorita whatsis... Maria Vargas.
She does not dance no more?
No more, seor
You mean she dance only
one time, then "finito"?
"S, no ms. " One
time, then "finito"
Well, maybe she could dance one
more time, just for tonight, eh?
She never dance more.
One time and no more.
Well, why you not make her
dance more? You the boss, eh?
Is Maria Vargas. Nobody
boss. Maria Vargas
Funny, I always thought a woman
was a two-time thing. Sing it, Oscar
Oscar, have her come to the table
I'm very sorry, seor,
but Seorita Vargas
does not sit at the
tables with the guests
Now, I'm sure you don't consider
Mr Kirk Edwards just
an ordinary guest
Well, I have said, it is not
possible with Seorita Vargas
Well, maybe just this once,
for Mr Kirk Edwards
you can make an
exception to your rule
But it's not my rule.
It's rule of Seorita Vargas
I'm sorry. Excuse me, ladies
and gentlemen. Excuse me.
Oscar, go get her
We'll be right back
You haven't had much
to say this trip, Harry
I'd counted on you for laughs
some of your well-known
bright remarks
Maybe going on the
wagon makes a man dull
Could be
Oscar hasn't touched his whisky
- No, thanks
- How long has it been?
- Five months, next Tuesday
- Let that be a lesson to you, Myrna
It's never too late
to develop character
I've got time
The fact that you
don't drink at all, Kirk
is the greatest argument
for drunkenness I know
Wanna know why I went on the
wagon when I went to work for you?
Because I didn't want you around
when my brain was befuddled
First thing I know,
you might buy my soul
You can't buy people's
souls. They belong to God.
- What's champagne in Spanish?
- Wait till Oscar gets back
Not always, Kirk. Sometimes
it's quite a tussle
- Remember Faust?
- I don't believe I do
Faust was something like you, Kirk
Except, instead of all
the money in the world
he had all the knowledge
But the one thing he never knew
like you, was a moment
of real happiness
So he made a deal with the Devil.
He'd trade his soul to the Devil
in return for that one
moment of real happiness.
How'd it turn out?
Well, God fought the
Devil for Faust's soul
It was a close fight
Most people think God won
I personally always
thought it wound up a draw
I think it's a silly story
No man with all that
money and knowledge
could never have been happy
Sure it's a silly story
Can you ever imagine Kirk
being in a spot like that?
Worst come to worst,
he'd just "buy" God
A woman who drinks is bad enough
But I will not stand for a
woman cursing and blaspheming God
Now get out of here.
Right now. Get out
This is Madrid, in Spain,
not Sunset Boulevard
We flew from Rome in your
private plane, remember?
Then let her find her own way back
There must be other planes,
trains, buses. Give her some money
Is she changing? Then why
didn't you bring her with you?
- She don't sit with the customers
- You talked to her?
Through the door.
She opened it that wide
That fella in Rome was right.
Her English ain't bad
- Did you tell her what it was about?
- She knew. And she knew who you were
She don't sit at the
tables with the customers
One of the waiters tells me she's
got a reputation for not mingling
Do you suppose that, just this
once, you might have to go yourself?
This time, I want "you" to go
Sorry, my contract and the
bylaws of my various guilds
call for me to render my services
to you as a writer and a director
I'm not required to do
your... public relations
Look who's a candidate
for the Christopher Award
An ex-drunk who's
fallen on his face
in front of half of central casting
Shut up, Oscar
Now, this is as good a time as any
to get our relationship
straight, once and for all
You work for me. I pay you.
That means only one thing to me
whether you're a director or
a janitor in one of my plants:
I'm your boss
I'm also perfectly willing and able
to cancel this entire
production right now
Pay you off and write you off
The government will be
paying for most of it anyway
With Oscar's help,
I can let it be known
your script wasn't worth shooting
and that you were in
no condition to shoot it
Maybe you went off
the wagon. Who knows?
The majors aren't wanting you anyway
And if I can't afford you
as an independent, who can?
All that, just to meet a new face
All that, because I
want you to do what I say
even if it's picking up
my hat when I tell you to
Give me some money,
Oscar, to get back to Rome
I'll ad-lib the rest of the way
Why don't you come too, Harry?
You might as well put whisky in
that. And don't worry about your soul
You must have lost it at
some preview, a long time ago
Seorita Vargas?
Seorita, your bare feet are showing
Now, I don't speak Spanish,
you don't speak english
so the only way we can
make any progress is to...
- I did not say to come in
- You did not say to stay out
- You did not actually say nothing
- Anything
Your English is very good
Where'd you learn it?
- This man, he is my cousin
- This man, he is your cousin
Did you come for the same reason
as the man with sweat on his face?
Yes. But, as you see, I
have no sweat on my face
Mr Edwards thought I
might persuade you...
I do not mingle with the customers
Only your cousin?
The man with the
sweat was more pleasant
Not really. Do you know
who Mr Kirk Edwards is?
I have heard of him.
He is the owner of Wall Street
That is correct. Recently, however,
he decided to produce motion pictures
and for that purpose he's
just bought California, too.
- And now he wants to buy me?
- Not exactly
Mr Kirk Edwards is looking
for somebody... like you
to play in his first production
and he wants to talk to you about it
- Who are you?
- Oh, I'm not important
I'm writing the film and I'll
direct it. My name is Harry Dawes
Harry Dawes
Harry Dawes
Did you not once direct Jean
Harlow and Carole Lombard?
You must have seen movies
when you were very little
How did you know my name? Only
one out of 10,000 moviegoers...
Oh, I can name to you Lubitsch and
Fleming and Van Dyke and La Cava
- You didn't think I was
dead too, did you? - Maria!
My cousin, he plays in the orchestra
- He had to go back to work
- Through the window?
That's a funny way
for a cousin to leave
In Hollywood, it is not
easy to become a star
Ah, where is it easy?
In Madrid, here at
least I'm a little star
Why should I take the
chance that I lose it?
- Do you know what a screen test is?
- Yes
We could make it in
Rome. Nobody would know
If it doesn't work out,
you'll have lost nothing
It can't hurt you
to meet Kirk Edwards
Nobody could accuse you of mingling
A business conference with one
of the richest men in the world
Could you teach me to act, Mr Dawes?
If you can act, I can help you
If you can't, nobody can teach you
Why did not Mr Kirk Edwards
come to ask me himself?
I'm sure he would
have been delighted
But since I'm the director...
Do all directors come
to ask young women
to sit with their producers?
Um... Not... not all
I think a man who
can write something
and can help someone to act
is worth much more than
a man who only has money
If and when you become an actress,
don't ever say that in public
You never know who's listening. Hm?
Seorita, this is Oscar Muldoon,
whom I'm sure you recognise
Meet Kirk Edwards.
Don't get up, Mr Edwards
Sorry we got here too
late to see you dance
We certainly are, seorita, because
we understand you got a lot of talent
And that's the one
thing that could make
Mr Edwards fly all the way from Rome
All the way from California. Talent.
And where other men go for a
pretty face or a pair of legs
talent is what Mr
Kirk Edwards worships
It's his religion, you might almost say
Something to eat, seorita? Waiter!
"Mangiare? Poco di vino," seorita?
- Do you speak Spanish, seor?
- Just a couple of words
Not even that. One
of them was Italian
Speak only English, please
A whisky for me, like before
Now, did Mr Dawes have
a chance to tell you
what Mr Edwards has in mind?
Oh, you wouldn't know, of course
who Mr Harry Dawes
is, in his own name
He is only one of
the top two or three
writers and directors
in the whole world
I only want to indicate to you
by this how Mr Edwards does things
Only the top, the class,
the finest money can buy
all the way up and down the line
Mr Edwards doesn't have to
watch the pennies. You know that?
I don't want to
throw Oscar off pitch
but I told Seorita
Vargas what this was about
I said we could
shoot the test in Rome
Seorita... Miss Vargas...
We'll have to change
that name. Maria
Naturally, Mr Edwards will pay
your expenses while you're tested
and if it works out, you'll be put
under contract to him personally
And you'll be paid in dollars.
Not pesetas, but dollars
- Maybe $100 a week to start with
- How much is that in pesetas?
Maybe $200 a week. We
can work that out later.
The point is, Mr Edwards is
going to leave no stone unturned
to develop your talent
and make you happy
Afraid you'll be lonely,
far away in Hollywood?
There's no reason why, after a
time, we can't send for your mother
After all, a girl likes to
have her mother with her. Right?
I would not like to
have my mother with me
Why not?
- Because I do not like my mother
- I'm sure you don't mean that
- Every mother should be loved
- If they deserve it
We can work all that out later too
The point is, the miracle has
happened and a great career is yours
No strings attached, no jokers
All Mr Edwards wants
is for the world
to enjoy your talent
and for you to be happy
And what does he get out of it?
Just your gratitude
What does he ever get out of the
things he does? Money? Power? Fame?
Nah. He's got all those
All that he can look forward
to is the honest gratitude
of the little people that he
helps, like you and me and Mr Dawes
Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?
I... have to telephone somebody
Please excuse me, Mr Dawes
Ah, Muldoon, you're a charmer
The little birds
right out of the trees
Signor Edwards, we're checked and
are ready whenever you are, sir
Oscar, go hurry her up. She
can buy what she needs in Rome
Right now, Kirk, I wish my bankroll
was about one million dollars
- What would you do with them?
- I'd bet you the whole million that
this time, Oscar charmed the
little bird right back into the tree
He'll come up empty, Kirk
The trouble with you is you never know
where scripts leave
off and life begins
Ah, Muldoon, you're a charmer
You'd be so much more charming
if only you didn't sweat so much
She's gone. She never even went
back to the room. Nobody knows where
- I can't understand it
- We're leaving right now
Without you, Harry
We'll take off in one hour. You
find her and bring her with you
Don't show up without her
Just cable your agent collect...
if you've still got an agent
This is for the check
Kirk was wrong when
he said I didn't know
where scripts left
off and life began
A script has to make
sense, and life doesn't
Any self-respecting script would
have had me swallow Oscar's whisky
and go off on a bat
But it wasn't a script.
Right now, I wish it had been
The script would have made
so much more sense about
all of us than life did
Maria Vargas?
Seora Vargas?
I'm sorry. "No hablo espaol. "
I look for Maria Vargas
Wait a minute. This is important
Mucho importante
Why to find my sister
is so important?
Ah, Doctor Livingstone
- You got cigarettes?
- Help yourself
Keep the pack. I've got more
I'm a film director and I
talked to your sister tonight
about going to America
to play in the movies.
I want to talk to her again
It's good you no understand
my mother. Is liar
Why not fight this out
later? I haven't much time
I don't know what your troubles are
but I must find Maria.
Every minute counts
My mother forbids
Maria to go to America
- What does Maria say?
- I think we can talk better outside
- My brother took all your cigarettes?
- I have another pack
- What did you tell your mother?
- Just now?
I told her if she said one more
word, I would go to America,
even if I did not want to go
- Are you in trouble with Mr Edwards?
- In a way
- Because I ran away?
- Mm-hm
I do not like Mr Kirk Edwards
You're standing at the
end of a long, long line
Somehow, to me, he
is not a healthy man
Somehow, he's sick
And I cannot bear to
watch sick people be sick
That is why so suddenly
I had to go away
Mr Dawes, do you think
really that I could be a star?
There's one phrase I've
avoided like the plague
because it never worked out
With you, I think it would.
You couldn't miss
I think that I am pretty enough
but I would not want
to be that kind of star
Pretty enough? Any woman that can
use the moon for a key light...
Key light? What is that?
Your own special light when the stage
is all lit up. It shines only on you
- Like the moon
- Like the moon
You must learn how to find
it out of all the other lights
How never to lose it.
How to make it do things
for your eyes, lips and hair
- But this is not acting
- No, this is not acting
And it's not all you
have to learn either
But... if I could act a little
would you help me to become a really
good actress? Would you help me?
What makes a man want to write
about people, or direct people
is because usually he has a sort of
sixth sense about
them, or thinks he has
Like a witch
Now, my five ordinary senses
what with alcohol and the
rest, are nothing special
But I have a sixth sense
that any witch in the world would
give her left broomstick to have
And... with sense number six,
you feel something about me
Therefore, owing to circumstances
which believe me,
are beyond my control
I hereby advise you not to
come to Rome to make the test
Not to come to America.
At least, not for a while
- At least, not...
- At least, not to Mr Kirk Edwards
- Is that what you fear?
- Part of it
That's the only part
I can put into words
Or perhaps you want me for yourself
and you are afraid Mr Edwards' money
will make him more
attractive than you
What makes women think that money
makes a man feel more attractive?
I never met a rich
man who didn't think
he was being loved
in spite of his money
- And you? - Me? Well, I'm afraid
I've had three wives
I've been around with actresses,
female writers, singers, painters
even a female agent
But I don't think I've met
more than three women in my life
Six months or so ago,
I fell in love with one of 'em
- Is she an actress?
- No, I told you. She's a woman
- Does she have to work?
- Script girl. Her name is Jerry
- She has the name of a man
- There is no further resemblance
- What is a script girl?
- You find out
Apparently, your sense number
six has changed its mind
No,I've just come to the realisation
that it's none of my business
- You now want me to go?
- It's up to you
I have no fear of Mr Kirk Edwards
America is a rich
and powerful country
but you have no monopoly on evil men
I have known them since
I was a very little girl
- Not like Kirk - They did not have
millions of dollars
But, to a girl with
nothing, a man with hundreds
is as rich as one with millions
I do not say this
with pride, Mr Dawes
Nor do I want it to sound
like one of the foolish things
we laugh at in the movies
But no man has ever paid for me
and I do not think any man ever will
Then... why not with pride?
Because it has not
been out of goodness
Not even because
I've tried to be good
I have nothing to say about
it, Mr Dawes, about whom I love
It is a kind of sickness
And, as I have said, I cannot
bear to be with sick people
But when the sick one is
yourself, you cannot run away
When I was a little
girl, like so many others
there was no money
to buy shoes for me.
And when the bombs
came, in the civil war
I used to bury myself in the
dirt of the ruins to be safe
I would lie there, safe in the dirt
and wiggle my toes
and listen to the noise
and dream of someday being
a fine lady, in fine shoes.
I hate shoes, Mr Dawes
I wear them to dance
and to show myself
but I feel afraid in shoes
And I feel safe with
my feet in the dirt
My words in English are so simple
And yet what I want to
say is not simple at all
Even in my own language
my brain and my words
could not say it, I'm afraid
There's more to
talking than just words
And you have one more
sense than other people
For instance, you understood
about my cousin right away
And when I was older
and the bombs still came
just to bury myself in the
dirt was not enough to be safe
I needed someone to be with me
Someone to love, to
love me, to make me safe
I needed it. I still
need it when I'm afraid
Like a baby who needs
a light on in the dark
I need to be loved when I'm
hiding in the dirt, and afraid
But the bombs are gone
You surprise me, Mr Dawes
Is fear gone?
- What are you afraid of?
- The same as everybody else
The same as you
Of being exposed and unprotected
Like Mr Kirk Edwards
without his money
Like you, as you used
to be without your drink
or now without your
script girl, who loves you
Like me, in my shoes and on
display for men and women to examine
for different reasons
Many men must be in love with you
In the dirt, it's hard to tell
Haven't "you" been in love?
From the dirt, it's easy
to look into the clouds
Has Mr Kirk Edwards already
flown away in his private plane
all covered with diamonds and stars?
Or, by now, has it
changed into a "calabaza?"
Oh, that must be
Spanish for "pumpkin"
We still have time, if you're coming
- Yes
- Then you'd better get your things
I have them
Then you'll want to say goodbye
I've no desire to look
at my mother once more
and I would only confuse "pap
Pedro will take care of him
Con Dios, pap
I am ready, Mr Dawes
You forgot your shoes
No. I did not forget them.
What happened next,
if you go to movies
or if you've ever sat under
a dryer or in a waiting room
is history
Movie history. The facts and figures
and fantasy of Maria's success
There are some, though, you
wouldn't have found in the textbooks
You've seen it and
read it a thousand times
It's one of the most tiresome
clichs of storytelling
It really happens once
or twice in a generation
But that first test of Maria Vargas
lit up all the lights
in show business
I had taken it upon myself
to invite the highest movie
brass I could find in Rome
Mr Black of America, Monsieur Blue
of France, and Mr Brown of England
The difference between European
and American movie magnates
is astonishing
There is absolutely none
Kirk, my dear fellow, I know
just what you have in mind
I couldn't agree more.
A British production...
I've got the perfect story...
You're not the type
to fool around with...
Now just a minute,
gentleman. In the first place
this young lady is
under exclusive contract
to Mr Kirk Edwards, of course
He cannot discuss her future
availability at this time
Secondly, this was a private showing
of a private test which
belongs to Mr Edwards
And I consider your presence here
highly irregular and unethical
Are you out of your mind,
Muldoon? You invited me
- Who, me?
- You must remember asking me
You suggested I come
in after the lights were out
in case I disturbed Mr Edwards
- Boss, I swear to you on my life...
- What about it, Harry?
I'm afraid I'm the guilty one.
I invited you, gentlemen
I used Oscar's name
because, franquely
I was afraid you
wouldn't be into my name
- What is your name, monsieur?
- He's Harry Dawes
I imagined you'd be
a much older man, Mr Dawes
I was, up to the
minute I saw this test
I'm flying to Paris tonight, Harry.
Drop in this afternoon
- I'm at the Excelsior
- Sorry, Max
- Not business. Just old friends
- How old? Since the test?
Why'd you have us come here, Harry?
Well, I should have
checked with Oscar Muldoon
It's not really a
director's function
But in Mr Edwards' organisation,
we all do all sorts of things
I wanted to make sure
that the leaders of our industry
knew about the contribution
Mr Edwards was going to make to it
"Alors," it was a "grand plaisir"
May I offer a ride
to any one of you?
I'll take you up on
that, if I may, Ren
- See you in London
- Au revoir, messieurs
Any time this afternoon,
Harry, if you get the chance
- Sorry, Max
- I'm at the Excelsior
Well, it's a great art we're
doing business in, gentlemen
Everybody be happy
Her make-up's too dark and too much
Hair and wardrobe have
got to be much more simple
No tricks. The less between
her and the camera, the better
The voice is good. Well placed
I don't want a voice
coach within a mile of her
How much closer will "you" be?
- What's that?
- How much closer have you been?
To Maria?
Coming from anybody else
that would be a compliment
What were those men doing here?
I've not answered
your first question yet
- I know the answer
- No, you don't
You won't admit it
It'd mean something is
possible between men and women
besides the few,
simple, physiological
relationships you know about
OK, that answer will satisfy
the Screenwriters Guild
Now tell us why you
planted those men in here
Maybe your master knows the answer
to that too, or doesn't wanna know
- I wanna know
- It's pretty long
We got the room booked
for the whole morning
It won't take that long
Kirk, Maria's made a chump out
of you. She's laughed at you
And you won't do
better. You'll do worse
Now, this pleases me and
frightens me. Because I know you
You're capable of destroying
a woman who's laughed at you
You've destroyed women who
loved you, so why not Maria?
And you're capable of burning
that test, as great as it is
and making it known she
had nothing worth testing
But right now, the name
and fame of Maria Vargas
is on its way to New York,
Hollywood, London and Paris.
- Does that answer your question?
- You can't get away with this
You're being disloyal, Oscar. You're
stealing dialogue from television
And you lied to those gentlemen
You can be forgiven
beaucause It's your job to lie
But you lied when you said
Maria was under contract to Kirk
- Isn't she?
- Well, I...
Those were your exact instructions,
Kirk, so don't punish Oscar for it
No contract till after
the test, remember?
You were going to use it
for one more pitch
Well, right now, it's after the test
And Maria Vargas will not
sign a contract with you
She's under contract
to "you. " Is that it?
Kirk, if ever a characterisation
followed a straight line, yours does
No, she's not under contract to
me because I'm not in that business
But what I tell Maria
to do, she will do
With her shoes on, that is
What's her shoes
got to do with it?
Nothing. Of course, you can
call off the production right now
Write it off, write me off and Maria
The government will pay
for most of it anyway
And I'll go see Max Black at
the Excelsior this afternoon
All right, let's go back to
Hollywood and make this movie
After that, Maria's on her own
And you can keep on looking for
new faces. The world's full of 'em
But you'll never find another Maria
You will find what you're
looking for, I'm sure
- Harry...
- Hm?
If ever a funeral laid
an egg, that one did
Standing round the grave, maybe
two dozen nobodies. A great finish
You just don't bury
a famous movie star
like she was an unidentified body
Well, it figured. It was like that
from the minute I laid eyes on her
Nothing worked according
to the book. Not my book, anyway
From the minute she waved
at the Statue of Liberty
everybody wanted to know
everything about Maria
And they wound up knowing nothing,
because there was nothing to know
Believe me, what they
said in Madrid was true
This bundle of passion, this hot
flame that burned from the screen
was a real untouchable
The columns and the wolves
were after me night and day
But how could I tell them
who she was with or when
when I didn't even
know who she knew?
I can tell you this:
It is entirely possible
that Maria D'Amata went to her grave
without ever being
inside of the Stork
El Morocco, Ciro's or the Mocambo
You got to admit this is not normal
But what was normal about this
whole business from start to finish?
Here is a doll who, on the
opening night of her first picture
with no known interest
in men, much less romance
whose private life
is strictly private
but who, the people have
decided, is already a star
This is the night I
first begin to think
maybe the public
has a mind of its own
Who else but Maria D'Amata would
show up at her world premiere alone
together with a couple
that everybody knew were
in love with each other?
It was real love
with Harry and Jerry
You could tell it was
because they didn't give out
interviews about getting married
Maria D'Amata. Whatever it is
- you name it
Whether you're born with it
or catch it from a public
drinking cup, Maria had it
The people with the money in their
hot little hands put her up there
and she could do no wrong
But I can remember very well
the day it did look like
the roof fell in on all of us
It was in London.
Back in the States
the picture was a smash
from coast to coast
I and Kirk Edwards had flown
over to see S Montague Brown
who wanted it for his
theatres in England
I could tell right
away something was wrong
Kirk didn't even look at me
And S Montague Brown
was eating and drinking
as if the Labour Party had
just been elected unanimously
May I know what the
depression is about?
- Maria
- What about Maria?
Maria's mother is dead
Everybody's mother's
gotta die sometime
Don't let it get you down like this
As a matter of fact, we can milk this
for some good exploitation in Spain
Maybe even worldwide. A big church
funeral, using pesetas, remember
Oscar, shut up
Mr Muldoon, it seems that Maria's
mother was murdered by Maria's father
Murdered? Her father
murdered her mother? When?
- Last night
- How'd you hear about this?
The Madrid office just telephoned
The papers? Has it
got to the papers?
Not yet
As you know, over here crime is
not exploited to sell newspapers
Without it you could
print the three main papers
in England on postage stamps
I am not interested
in selling newspapers
or in debating good and bad taste
The newspapers have
not yet picked it up
and won't, as long as
Maria stays out of it
Boss, you're 100% right
We gotta keep her out of it.
Does she know about it yet?
I've put in a call to Harry
Dawes. He can find out
- You want Harry to tell her?
- Of course not
Certainly not until the trial is
over and it's too late to be news
And we're finished
playing the key cities
Boss, you think of everything
Ah, what a business, show business
For years you sweat
and dream and dig
and finally you come
up with the jackpot
You've made it. You got a right to
open your collar, take off your shoes
and relax in Las Vegas
for the rest of your life
So what happens? Her father
chokes her mother to death
It could make ya cry
Montague, if there's one thing I
know about, it's Mr John Q Public
He wants clean people on the
screen for his children to look at
Don't let the eggheads
tell you he wants
high-class acting
and fancy dialogue
Oscar, the phone
He wants to forget his troubles,
look at clean people, escape
He don't wanna see
drunks, sex maniacs
divorcees, communists, murderers
And no children of murderers. He's
got enough of that at home. Hello?
Hello? Yeah, Mr Edwards
is right here. Put him on
- It's Harry, for you
- You talk to him
Hello? Hello? I hear nothing
Hello, Harry? No, this is Oscar
Yeah, how are you, Harry?
Fine, fine. Say,
how is it out there?
You don't say? Whaddaya know?
Nice day in California
Are you paying for
this call yourself, Oscar?
Harry, the reason we called...
What's new and all that, but also...
have you happened
to see Maria lately?
Oh, you just left her? Oh,
good, good. Say, how is she?
Fine, fine. Say, Harry, something
kind of important has come up
I say, something kind of
important has come up
Yeah. That maybe
you should know about
but that maybe you should keep
Maria from knowing about right now
Yeah. Yeah, it's got to
do with Maria in a way
Her old man knocked off her old lady
Her father murdered her mother
I can't hear you, suddenly
What? What do you mean, you know?
Does Maria know?
How? The papers?
Her brother sent a cable?
Now, I hope Maria understands
that if the papers find out
it can not only ruin
the picture, but her also
She does? Harry says
Maria understands perfectly
And you too. This is no
time for you to be artistic
Remember, this is money out of
your pocket too, so take no chances
You do? Harry says
he understands also
I must say, Harry, you're being
very cooperative about this
And please extend our
heartfelt sympathy to Maria
at this time of her grief
What? We can what?!
We can extend our sympathy
to Maria in person?
Harry, what are you talking about?
Didn't you tell me you just left her?
You left her at the airport?
She's flying to Madrid
to be with her father?
Who do we know in New York for
a snatch job between planes?
Dawes, are you outta your mind?
How could you let her do this? What?
What kind of an answer is that
against a $10 million world gross?
You don't say? Well, I'm just
as normal as you are, buster
Remember that in the years ahead
when you're directing
cigarette butts on TV
She loves her father
Neither the picture nor her
career mean as much to her
as being with her father
in his time of need
Starring Francis X Bushman
and Clara Kimball Young
Friday, Saturday and
Sunday at the Bijou
There will be a cornet
solo on Saturday night
Well, you remember
what happened
The trial drew more people than
"Madame X", and played better
Maria hired the best lawyers
in Spain. She never slept
You'd think it was her own
life she was fighting for
Harry and Jerry flew over
They couldn't help
much, but they were there
Nobody asked me and I wasn't
anybody's friend especially
but I stuck around
You couldn't help feeling
sorry for the old man
You could tell just by looking at him
that half the time he
didn't know where he was
And you wouldn't give a
bent kopeck for his chances
the way he kept admitting, over and
over, that he killed the old lady
Things picked up for the
home team when Maria's brother
a ganef if ever I saw
one, took the stand
He testified that his mother had
beaten up the old man many times
and how, on the night of the murder
she not only smashed
his radio, but hit him
But if I had to write down what
no actress should ever make public
I would copy Maria's testimony
in her father's defence
She left out nothing
She told about the squalor and filth
into which she and
her brother were born
and how they grew up like animals
She told about a mother
who was full of hate
and how she got back
the hate she gave
Maria handed Mom a rough
time on that witness stand
I couldn't help wondering how
this would go in box-office heaven
where Mom is the commanding saint
But that courtroom was
with her all the way
Some of them cried, even the judges
They must be appointed in Spain,
because I don't know of anybody
ever getting elected whose
mother was not an angel
And, as it turned out
the audiences of the whole world
could have been sitting
in that courtroom
From Scarsdale to
Singapore, they loved her
Her father beat the rap,
of course. Self-defence
And Maria walked out
of that courthouse a bigger star
than when she broke all
the rules by walking into it
So how are you going to figure it?
Suppose you're me
and what the public wants
and thinks is your business
You're standing in
the middle of them
asking yourself "Where
did I lose these people?"
You realise maybe the public
knows more about public
relations than you do
Maybe the public heart is
something you can't put on a chart
or penetrate with just money
You begin to think
that maybe, after all
Kirk Edwards couldn't really
walk across the English Channel
any time he wanted to
In many ways, Maria affected
Oscar more than any of us
Her father's trial
the fact that being honest
about something unpleasant
could make her more popular
than ever, it shook Oscar
His gods began to crumble
He became aware even of some clay
around the feet of Kirk Edwards
But two years went by
before the great god
Edwards toppled over
Two good and happy years,
for me at any rate
The night he fell to earth
(I suppose it was the most
losing night of Kirk's life)
was just about a year ago,
in Beverly Hills, California
It was quite a night. Turned
out to be quite a party
Kirk Edwards was the host
and over my objections,
Maria let him use her house
He'd asked personally
and Maria said yes
Kirk didn't give many
parties, but when he did
they were always for men
like Seor Alberto Bravano
Bravano did no less for Kirk
when Kirk visited South America
Noblesse oblige, sort of
But it soon became obvious
that the seor was only mildly
interested in the available talent
He'd found what he wanted: Maria
Jerry and I were playing backgammon
That dated us, all right,
but it gave us something to do
We weren't paying much
attention to the game
We were worried about Maria
She seemed too restless,
too tense, too withdrawn
And Kirk, when he
wasn't looking at Maria
he was watching
Bravano look at Maria
He didn't like it
Alberto Bravano was, and is
one of the three richest
men in South America
which makes him one of
the richest in the world
But unlike Kirk his
only interest in money
lay in spending it for
his own gratification
To Oscar, Alberto
Bravano was heaven-sent
A man with more
money than Kirk, even
and even more in need of a
counsel for public relations
It's a form of
insurance, you might say
Only, instead of your life
it protects your good
name and your reputation
Too late. My name and reputation
already are hopelessly bad
Mr Muldoon, in my whole life
I have made one major decision
When I was 15 years
old, I had two choices
Everybody wanted me
to be a good little boy
and do good for others
I chose to be a bad little
boy and do good for myself
So far, so good, seor. But the
world is getting smaller all the time
And if somebody drops a lot of money
in a gambling casino
in Deauville, France
the noise can be heard quite a way.
Interesting. And how
far, would you say
can this falling money be heard?
With nobody around to quiet it down
the sound could travel all
the way to certain mining camps
deep in the jungles
of South America
Camps where the men
aren't paid enough
or protected against disease enough
And how would such fantastic lies
come to the ears of a man
such as you, Mr Muldoon?
Well, like I say, it's a tiny world
If, for instance, somebody rents a
whole hotel at Cap d'Antibes, France
for the entire season,
just to make sure
he can have it the
last two weeks in August
and if somebody else
doesn't keep it quiet
people might read about it in cafs
in certain South American cities
Is it not fortunate, for instance
that I own the
newspapers in my country?
Anyone with a printing
press in the cellar
and something to
say owns a newspaper
There are laws against propaganda
that certain governments
enforce very rigidly
Is any man rich enough
to own a government?
I will not answer vaguely,
Mr Muldoon. Yes
It's a funny thing about
the governments one owns
If the owner isn't around
but is cruising around the
Mediterranean on a yacht
that costs more to keep up than the
combined salaries of his government
and nobody is around to
protect his interests...
What do you think? Will Maria
d'Amata come with me to the Riviera?
She ought to jump at the chance,
but she's a strange girl
To have Maria D'Amata
as my personal guest
would be the best of possible
public relations for me, Mr Muldoon
Besides, is not Maria D'Amata
the chief asset of Kirk Edwards?
In what way do you mean?
One considers her
his prize possession
Only if one does not
know what the score is
You throw double sixes again and
I'll have you burned for a witch
Sore loser. He owes me
$187,000 and he won't pay up
- You won't take my cheque
- I'll say
- Double six
- Ouch
The last time this
witch went to a party
she made the princess prick her
finger and fall asleep for 100 years
Is that some kind
of Chinese chequers?
- Huh?
- Chinese chequers?
No, this is... pinochle
- I'm drunk
- It's just stuffy in here, that's all
Oh, no, I'm drunk
- Can I ask you something?
- Of course
- Nice house you got
- Thank you
- Nice party.
- And nice questions you ask
What is with you?
What goes with you?
I don't understand those questions
Maria D'Amata. Great big
star. Great big sex number
Who is it? If it's not
Kirk, who is it? Harry?
- Shut up
- Is it gonna be Bravano or who?
On the screen, you get 'em all.
What about off?
What about in a room?
This room. Name a man
Or maybe you're afraid of men
All right, blow. And
don't forget to call a cab
Who's she kiddin'? She hasn't
even got what "I've" got
What she's got you couldn't spell
And what you've got,
you used to have
Now beat it
I don't even believe
you're playing pinochle
Come on, Maria, let's us
go sit upstairs for a while
I'd like to talk to Harry
for a moment. Would you mind?
Of course I wouldn't
Where will you be?
Right here, practising double sixes
Remember all the money I owe you
No sweet talk with these juveniles
or you won't collect a nickel
You know just the right
thing to say to a girl
at the right time, don't you?
I keep forgetting you don't smoke
A glamour girl, who
does not even smoke
I should really be in the
circus with the strange people
- Freaks
- Freaks
Harry, I think that I should go home
This "is" your home
This is an ugly house in
bad taste, which I rent
Containing a bed to
sleep on, which I rent
Chairs to sit on and a stove
to keep me warm, which I rent
Then buy a place of
your own, or build one
I cannot buy, and working
men cannot build a home
You've worked hard. Three
pictures, one right after another
Maybe a rest and a change
of scene will do you good
Finding me, bringing me here
our three films together, has
it been good for you, Harry?
I've never had it so good
Because I think I should go
back to Madrid, and stay there
I should stay where I belong
- Where is that?
- In the dirt of the streets
- Do you think you could stay there?
- Probably not
Probably now I would not belong
there any more than where I am
Where are you, Maria?
Half in the dirt and half out
Ah. Then it hasn't been good for you
Oh, in many ways it's
been beyond my dreams
Like a fairy tale of this century
And I have been "la Cenicienta"
Spanish for Cinderella?
I have gowns and jewels
of silver and gold
I have a coach not
pulled by four horses
but with the power of 200
Thousands of men write each
month that they dream of me
Mothers give my name to their babies
And young girls rub their faces
with the soap which I am paid
to say I use, but which I do not
And I have so many other things
Everything in the world
which can be rented
As I remember the story
you've left out one
very important character
I have left out the prince
Did it ever occur to you, Harry
that the prince looked
everywhere for Cinderella
just so that he could put
the shoe back on her foot?
Now that you mention it...
I thought you'd sent him away.
You asked him to come back
Yes, I asked him back
Your life is your own. I've
never told you how to live it
But this one is no good
No worse, no better than the others.
You cannot rent a prince
I've seen him. He's
mean and he's dirty
And which of the men
inside this house is not?
Who? Name him for me, Harry
You cast your films so well
Which of them would you
have play the prince?
All the men are not in this house
and what you need
is not in that house
All your talk about
a frightened child
finding love and
security in the dirt
All children love
dirt, but they grow up
The fairy tale again
Cinderella came out of the ashes
and was spotless when
the prince came along
most women in this world
pray and cry in their sleep
for just one small
part of what you've got
so that they can find what all
women need, what "you" need, Maria
A man you can look at in the daytime
A man you can love like a woman
have children by, grow old with
share joys and sorrows,
success and failure
You've got to make up your mind
Half in the dirt and half
out... Go one way or the other
But if you go back, what
a pitiful waste it'll be
And if I go the other
way, I go to what?
To a big white yacht
with Alberto Bravano?
Just because it is big and white
and a yacht, is it not still dirt?
Do not think that I do not agree
with everything you say, Harry
But I... I cannot help myself
One thing you can't knock
about Southern California,
the air at night
I sure pity the people who
have to breathe in the daytime
You got somethin' on your mind?
Not a thing, Oscar. How about you?
I was just wonderin'
You look like you had a
sneak preview playin' inside
I've been wondering too.
You can't see Kirk
Suppose he has a cigarette
in his mouth and needs a light
Maybe he should
carry his own matches
- Oh? Am I the first to know?
- Know what?
Oh, you're going to love
international caf society
No more plain Morocco/Stork
Club caf society for you
No bums in black ties. It's
bums in white ties from now on
I thought you were on the wagon
Oscar, this is Harry
- How about Bravano? Got him hooked?
- All but the clincher
I got him sold, Harry. I know it
I got that gaucho seeing himself
up there with the Rockefellers
It's the deal of my lifetime,
if I can just find that clincher
Hurry, hurry, hurry!
See the battle of the giants
- What?
- Kirk and Bravano are having it out
- A fight?
- Goliath versus Goliath
- Throwin' punches?
- Don't be silly
Neither one of them
has had his hands closed
since the day he was born
My tongue is loosened by champagne
I speak as I do everything,
for all the world to know
Everything I do - and I admit to all
your accusations - I do in the open
But you, Mr Kirk
Edwards, do them secretly
- Do you deny that?
- You're a liar. You're a liar!
You repeat yourself
Take a drink, my friend, and
say what you have in your heart
But you never drink. You never say
Is it because you fear
what's in your heart?
- You're a liar
- Granted. But so are you, Mr Edwards
You are everything that I am, plus
one more sin: Hypocrisy, my friend
You pretend not to be what
you are, not to do what you do
This is most evil of all
You've never done an honest
day's work in your life
I have never done a
day's work in my life
honest or dishonest,
but neither have you
To make $100 into $110, this is work
To make 100 million into
110 million, this is inevitable
At least I keep my
money in my own country
and spend it here and pay my taxes
I keep my money in your country too
and for the same reason
as you. It is safest here
And as for taxes, how
many millions have you
in tax-exempt bonds and oil wells
whose power of production
your government protects
while it denies such
benefits to the brain?
What about "your" flea-bitten
country? What taxes do you pay?
It is a well-known
fact that everywhere
except for the British
Empire and the USA
the income tax can be easily avoided
by anyone with income. I pay none
Then what right do you have to
attack the American way of life?
Oh, please, Mr Kirk Edwards
I attack nothing and
nobody but you, personally
I've never met an American
to whom the American way
of life was not his own
But it is only yours I attack
My life is none of your business.
I live it my way and I like it
Then why does it not make you happy?
Do you not agree
to have an enormous amount
of money is a wonderful thing?
Why don't you shut up and
go back where you came from
Oh, this is unworthy, even from you
Next you will tell me the best
friend of a boy is his mother
- Mine was - Obviously.
And that of a man, his horse
It is not clear to me
when the transition from
mother to horse takes place
- Get out of here, Bravano
- I will go when I please
- I'll have you thrown out!
- I will offer no resistance
I am a physical coward. So
are you. But I admit it openly
I'm a selfish man, not a good
man. But I admit it openly
I enjoy to live. You do not
I waste my money with pleasure.
But yours is just a waste
I will not go back where I came
from because I do not like it there
You are incapable of liking it
anywhere, so you stay where you are
Goodbye, Mr Kirk Edwards
Are you coming with me?
- I beg your pardon?
- I leave tomorrow morning for Cannes
I invited you to join my yachting
party and you said you'd let me know
I ask you now, openly
It would delight me if
you would come with me
this minute, out of this house
You must be confused, seor.
This is my house. I live here
- Then tomorrow morning
- Maria!
Tell him you're not going,
tomorrow morning or ever
Always, Kirk, you choose
exactly the wrong moment
to play dictator with me
I forbid you to go with him!
And I want to hear you tell him so
Too bad. I had decided not to go
Now I think I must
I will come for you tomorrow morning
Clear everybody
out. The party's over
This is your clincher,
Muldoon. Don't blow it
Just this once, Kirk, why don't
you empty your own ashtrays?
- You heard what I said?
- You said the party's over
Tell everybody to go home
The party's over
and I want to thank
you for a lovely evening
How drunk are you, Muldoon?
I've warned you about
getting too drunk
For four years
- and now it's over -
for four years I've
invited the guests
and provided the entertainment
and cleaned up the dirt and paid
off the waiters and paid off the cops
and paid off the papers
and paid off the guests
And now it's good
night. The party's over
I've had a lovely evening,
but I must be going
You're fired, as of right now
Don't call me, I'll call you
Bravo, Mr Muldoon
Mr Muldoon, it would
delight me almost as much
if you were to come with me
this minute, out of this house
Seor, I think you've
got yourself a deal
- She'll never make another picture
- How are you going to stop her?
Withdraw your financing and release?
It's late, but I'm sure MGM,
Fox, Paramount and the rest
will be happy to have me
wake them up with the news
I'll fight it for years...
to the Supreme Court
I'll keep her off
the screen, I'll destroy her
Nah, she's too big now
Oscar. I'll destroy Oscar
He knows too much
and where to tell it
Why not destroy Seor Bravano?
All those hundreds of millions of
dollars, crashing against each other
like a couple of big elks
with your horns locked
battling till you both
starve to death in the snow
Not even me. Not any more
I'll drive you home
Don't I remember you from somewhere?
Maybe we'll fly to Las Vegas
I'll get my coat.
I'll meet you in the car
Harry, remember how you used
to say life wrote lousy scripts?
Even in one of yours I would
have thrown this glass at him
I'm going home with him instead
You want to know the (what
do you call it) motivation?
I'm a frightened tramp
- Where's your coat?
- In the car
- Where'd you park it?
- Driveway. We'll go around the back
Harry, look
They're Maria's
She was wearing them tonight
Cinderella's slippers
Who lives in the little
house? The prince?
- Cinderella's cousin
- I don't understand that
I'll tell you about it in the car
I didn't tell her, of
course. Not even Jerry
Some things you just
don't tell anybody
If it would have helped, I'd
have yelled it in the streets
But nothing could have helped
The moving finger had
already writ and moved on
And nothing I could do would
have cancelled half a line
Nor would my tears
wash out a word of it
If this paisan asks me again
am I sure the cameraman got his
picture coming to this funeral...
It's the only reason he's here
Ah, well. It's my own fault
I talked him into coming.
It's basic public relations
If people see the
biggest rat in the world
walk with his hat
off behind a casket
he becomes a lovable codger
Bravano practically
climbed into the coffin
to be sure they took his picture
At that, I assure you he got as close
to Maria dead as he did to her alive
He and Kirk, they both got nowhere
Only difference was
Kirk wouldn't quit till he
tried everything in the book
On the other hand,
Bravano quit like a dog
practically the first
time Maria said no
It seems to me he
was secretly relieved
The important thing to Bravano
was for people to
think Maria was his girl
as long as he got credit for it
If Bravano had to choose between
really having Maria, in secret
and not having her, but with
the whole world thinking he did
he'd want it just he way it was
This I cannot figure
This doesn't mean it can't be figured
You could fill a big, fat book
with what I haven't been
able to figure since I was 12
Maria, for instance, I could
never figure. But then, who could?
There she was, the world's
number one symbol of desirability
on display all over the
world's number one showroom
with the world's number
one customers wanting to buy
and nobody wrapped her
up and took her home
I'll swear that into my own grave
And while I'm on the broad
subject of what I can't figure
I give you that phenomenon
of this day and age called
"the international set"
Once a year, on the French Riviera
one of the most beautiful
seashores on God's earth
the international set gathers
the way an annual fungus
gathers on a beautiful tree
It's quite a set
It's as if ordinary human
beings, living ordinary lives
had suddenly vanished from the earth
and the world was suddenly full
of butterflies shaped like people
They are all happy, all the time
Some of them are happy
because they are beautiful
And some of them have to be happy
because they are nothing but rich
Some of the international set
are happy because they are dogs
Don't laugh. There's a
beauty parlour in Cannes...
just for dogs
But the happiest of the
international butterflies
are those who live as if
they never left the cocoon
They form in little groups
usually around some
piece of ex-royalty
Bravano, of course, had the
best cocoon that money could buy
To begin with, he had as his
guest for the entire season
the pretender to the throne
The name of the
throne doesn't matter
But, in the world of pretence
a pretender is the
best thing you can be
So, to the international
set, he was a king
His wife was English.
She was a commoner
And they don't come any commoner
But together they ruled the Riviera
by permission of the
copyright holder, Lulu McGee
Lulu McGee runs the
international set
She never asks for
money but, somehow
she always happens to
help grateful rich people
Hector Eubanks was the
fireball of our little cocoon
Oil hit Hector one fine day, and
he just never came out from under it
There was also Mrs Hector Eubanks
She was a joint income-tax return
And in the middle of all this
fantastic unreality was Maria...
more unreal, in a
way, than any of it
She moved among all
these crazy people
through the casinos and beaches
and brawls, from Marseille to Monaco
as if she were loaded with Novocaine
She showed no pain, no
pleasure, no interest, no nothing
You figure it. I can't
Any more than I could on that
night I saw Maria for the last time
It was at one of the
casinos, kind of late
We'd finished dinner hours ago
Bravano and Hector Eubanks
were inside, gambling
I assumed Maria was with Bravano
The rest of us had
run out of conversation
The rest of us had
run out of conversation
After all, we hadn't sen
each other since cocktails
and we hadn't eaten
together since lunch
Lulu was trying to work
up interest in a word game
It's not easy with people
who know just enough words
to tell room service what they want
It's really very
simple, Your Highness
You write the long
word on top of the page
and under it, you write
all of the short words
you can make out of the long one
For the long word,
let's use "vicissitudes"
Is that actually a word?
V- i-c-i-s-s-i-t-u-d-e-s
It's changes, fluctuations,
like the vicissitudes of life
How clever of you, my dear
J'ai besoin de champagne
Did you say
something, Your Majesty?
- I shall require more champagne
- "Mais certainement. " Oscar
- More of the same for the king
- Yes, sir
What news from the gaming table?
Very good. Alberto is
having a fantastic bank
It's about time
Last night that Greek took him
for a whole South American jungle
You know something? Off the screen
I don't think I've
seen you laugh before
I feel very good tonight
Every night's like every other night
- No, not tonight
- What's different?
I don't know. Something
in the way my heart beats
As if something very good were
going to come out of tonight
Something's coming tonight, all
right, but it's not good. He's mad
I've seen him like this before
He's half-crazy when
he gets like this
How do I find the words
to tell you what you are?
To begin with, a thief. You took
money from me when I was playing
When I was winning.
It changed my luck
You have cost me millions
and millions of francs
You put a curse on me,
not only for tonight
but from the unhappy moment
I knew of your existence
As you will put a curse always on
everyone and everything near to you
- Maybe you can talk this over
in private - Let him, Oscar
Next, you are not a woman
I do not know what you
are, but you are not a woman
You will not let yourself
be loved. You cannot love
Once, you had the look
for me of an exquisite lady
Now I do not see that look
I only see that you have
the body of an animal
A dead animal
I have paid for your company and
you will come and go as I tell you
Monsieur. Permit me
- Is the gigolo known to anyone?
- He is known to me
His name is Vincenzo,
Conte Torlato-Favrini
He is not a gigolo
He is less a gigolo than
anyone in our immediate company
Surely less than anyone you will
ever have the good fortune to meet
He certainly acts high
and mighty for just a count
My dear Lulu, there
are counts and counts
just as there are kings and kings
Among the counts,
Torlato-Favrini is a king
Just as among the
kings, I am a clown
I am puzzled only by his
presence in a place like this
among people like us
My champagne is not properly cooled
Alberto, do you happen to know
the Marquise de Baudenire?
A really distinguished family...
And that was the last I
ever saw of Maria Vargas
whom the world knew as Maria D'Amata
but who died as the
Contessa Torlato-Favrini
Che sar, sar.
What will be, will be
An ancient and
unimaginative Italian proverb
It has been the motto of my
house for more than 450 years
And it is only fitting perhaps
that as the House of
Torlato-Favrini comes to its end
our motto will never
be more to the point
What will be, will be
An easy generality. A universal cure
I am what I am, do what I
do, and cannot help myself
Therefore, I am free of my guilt
Nonsense, of course
Yet, I can suggest no other
answer, if there must be an answer
to how and why it began
between Maria and me
I was driving, as I had for
countless times before that time
I was driving somewhere, anywhere
just to be away from the restlessness
of nights after nights without sleep
and the empty dawns
that followed them
But why, of all the somewheres
and anywheres in the world
should I, that time, have crossed
the border from Italy to France?
Of all directions, why
should I have chosen one
leading to that parade
ground of vulgarity
which lies between Nice and Cannes?
Che sar, sar
She looked at me for no
longer than the beat of a heart
and I knew I would remember
her as long as I lived
That was my meeting with Maria
It occurs to me just now that,
oddly, we have never talked about it
But no more odd, surely,
than my driving away that day
away from her, knowing that
inevitably, we would meet again
And it was late that night in,
of all places, a gambling casino
when I saw Maria again
To begin with, a thief. You took
money from me when I was playing
When I was winning.
It changed my luck
You have cost me millions
and millions of francs
You put a curse on me,
not only for tonight
but from the unhappy moment
I knew you existed
As you will put a curse
always on everyone near to you
- Maybe you can talk this over
in private - Let him, Oscar
Next, you are not a woman
I do not know what you are,
but you are not a woman
You will not let yourself
be loved. You cannot love
Once, you had the look
for me of an exquisite lady
Now I do not see that look
I see only that you have
the body of an animal
A dead animal
I have paid for your company and
you will come and go as I tell you
Monsieur. Permit me
I cannot remember much of
that shabby little scene
except for some cheap
heroics on my part
But I do remember that Maria
seemed unsurprised at my being there
That she left with me without question
As if she had been waiting for me
Thank you. I do not smoke
What is your name?
Maria Vargas
Are you Spanish?
But I live in America. I work there
What is your work? Are you
a professional entertainer?
In a way. Perhaps not in
the way that you think
You have no way of knowing
the way that I think
Where are we going?
First, to your hotel,
so that you can pack
- And then? - To Rapallo.
Do you know where it is?
In Italy
- Why to Rapallo?
- I live there
And did you drive here
today from Rapallo?
- Mm-hm
- Why?
To bring you back with me
Oh, I think not
My name is Vincenzo Torlato-Favrini
And what are you doing here...
besides having come for me?
There is no other reason
Tell me, do you see many movies?
Oh, very few. A good foreign film
now and then... American or English
Then perhaps you read
many cheap novels?
I understand
You would be justified
in asking also
whether I am addicted to narcotics
I have told you the complete truth
- You have never seen me
before today? - Never
- But you have known about me?
- No
Then you left Rapallo to find
and to bring back someone you
had never seen or heard about?
No. I left my home simply
because I had to leave
It has happened many times before
There is, perhaps,
an explanation for it
But I will not attempt
one here and now
When did you know that
you had come for me?
When you knew, too
For the first time, when we looked
at each other in the Gypsy camp
and again at the window of the casino
and again, just now, when
I held out my hand to you
You knew, as well as I.
It won't take me long to pack
Torlatos, Favrinis, and Torlato-Favrinis
When my sister and I are extinct
perhaps they will name
automobiles after us
The Torlatos and the Favrinis
will be speedy little cars
and the Torlato-Favrini
a limousine, of course
This was Beatrice Favrini
How strange, to be painted
with a little boy and a sword
The little boy was her son.
The sword was her husband's
It was brought to
her when he was killed
in a stupid war
between Italian cities
My own husband was
killed in this last war
I have neither his
child nor his sword
He was blown up at sea. I
do not have even his cadaver
But perhaps you should
tell the story, Vincenzo
of a "happy" ancestor
- Francesco the Fat, for instance
- Francesco can wait
I have the honour to
present Benvenuto Torlato
You have a resemblance to him
Thank you. I'm proud
of the coincidence
I admire this gentleman
He was one of Cesare Borgia's
most trusted assassins
He was stabbed to death
and thrown into the Arno
- Then what do you admire about him?
- His foresight
He adopted the motto of
our house. "Che sar, sar"
He knew what it
would be like with us
It has occurred to you, of course,
that I intend to marry Maria?
- It has occurred to me
- Do you approve?
- Have you told her?
- Not yet
She has been waiting to be told
I believe the proper word in
connection with marriage is "ask"
You keep saying "told"
I know Maria very little
but I've known for weeks
that she is in love with you
Do you approve?
It is almost frightening, how
much in love with you she is
- Then you don't approve
- Why do you ask me at all?
Because you want me to tell
you what you already know?
That to marry Maria
would be the most...
cruel and destructive
thing you'll ever have done?
As for destruction, we have
already been destroyed, you and I
We have come to the end of our line
Literally, to the end of the line
It is time for the Torlato-Favrinis
to get off the world
The fact remains that we are neither
unique nor important to the world
and it will go on without us
How will we be remembered, I wonder?
Why should we be remembered at all?
Nobility - the kind that continues
just because it continues to exist -
is becoming extinct
But why?
Because the world has
become a changed place
And, like the dinosaurs, we
can no longer function in it
Perhaps that's why I'm
incapable of having a child
Perhaps that's why you...
We cannot have come this
far to leave nothing behind
but some undistinguished,
unidentifiable portraits
to be hung on the back
walls of curiosity shops
to gather the dust of the future
Come here, Eleonora
The last contessa
The world will some day see
paintings of her, and of her and me
and then it will think:
"What a pity they have gone
and left nothing behind"
We will be remembered
Because the last
contessa was a movie star?
Vincenzo, you cannot marry a woman
as if you were putting on a play
because she's the type you've in
mind, because she's perfectly cast
as a portrait of the last
Contessa Torlato-Favrini
Maria is a living woman,
too much in love with you
Have you thought for
a moment about her?
Have you thought about
anybody else but yourself
and your obsession with
14 letters of the alphabet
arranged in a hyphenated name?
Thought about anybody else?
Yes. Yes, Eleonora, I have
About everybody else, it seems to me
I have thought about
every individual living man
woman and child in the
world, it seems to me
I've had the time for it, you know?
Since the 25th October
1942, to be exact
It's a lot of time
Especially when it stands
still with loneliness
Especially when it
has no days and nights
but just days that turn
black when the sun goes down
It's a lot of time
Especially when there
is nothing to think of
but all the living men, women
and children in the world
And nothing to do but
to think about them
And no way to forget
that I am none of them
Perhaps I have
become, as you put it
obsessed by our name and our past
and the absence of our
future, and by our paintings
As if, in some magical way
our long line of paintings
will accomplish what we cannot
I hadn't wanted this
It has happened to
me without my wanting
almost without my knowing
You are quite right, and
I do not have the right
But I do love Maria
The bride on whom
the rain doth fall
I read the official announcement in
the ship's newspaper I'm a way over
about six months ago
That Maria D'Amata was going
to marry Count Torlato-Favrini
The gossip columns had
been full of rumours
Mostly the kind of angry
insinuations they write
when nobody's really got the story
They even got on me, figuring
I knew more than I was telling
They were right. I'd had
many letters from Maria
What I knew was that the prince
had finally caught
up with Cinderella
and that nothing remained
but the slipper business
and a happy life ever after
Maria was trousseau-shopping
in Rome when I got here
So I went to work
- Eddie?
- Yeah, boss?
You and Jack keep lookin' for that
alley. I'll see you back at the hotel
- Well
- Well
- How's Jerry?
- Jerry's fine. Sends her love
- You look fine
- I feel fine
I'm behaving like...
like 13 years old
Don't kid yourself. You
look 14 if you look a day
Where do you want to begin?
There was no beginning
As if all my life I had
lived in a dark place...
and all at once the lights went on
That's the way it
happens in fairy tales
Are you still bewitched?
And bewildered?
No. Never in my life have
I been more sure of myself
and of everything else
- Tell me about him
- How can I? What would I tell you?
That he is handsome and tall, and
good and kind, and proud and so on?
This is how the hero is described
in the chip magazines one
reads at the hairdresser
Then what is "he"
that the hero is not?
This is what I do not
know how to tell you
For instance?
I say I cannot tell you
and you say "Tell it"
Harry the director: I say I cannot
play a scene and you say "Play it"
And you do. So, for instance?
It would sound silly even to try
but perhaps not to you
Harry, you won't laugh
but it is really like in the story
of "la Cenicienta" and the prince
- What is?
- Everything
Even when we're alone together
- How do you mean that?
- And now you will laugh
- He kisses my hand
- That figures. Standard opening
- And now you are being
deliberately stupid - No, I'm...
Oh! So he kisses
your hand, and period
- Is that all right with you?
- No, of course... Yes
- As it should be with a contessa
- In a fairy tale
How long's it been
since you've known him?
Almost six weeks
Six weeks of being
near you day and night
Sometimes he holds me with
his two hands, like this
and just looks at me
Are you sure he can see you?
He sees more than any man I have
ever known. Except perhaps you
I'm not seeing much of
anything at the moment
I told you. He is
what other men are not
That seems obvious. It also
seems obvious that maybe
we're carrying this
fairy-tale nonsense
a little too far...
right smack into reality
I don't want this
to be a shock to you
but a count is a man
and a contessa is a woman
- You had better see for yourself
- No, I want to hear more about this
No. I have a sitting and I'm late
Looking back, I probably wasn't as
worried then as I now think I was
But I do know that I was
filled with a sudden uneasiness
Good afternoon
Well, Harry? Say something
Wait till they hear about
this in Southern California
In six months
Beverly Hills will have more
statues than orange trees
- Where does it go?
- Right where it is
Although, due to a whim of Maria
it will be more at
home in our garden
As you can see, she has insisted
upon posing with bare feet
Have I failed to understand
something amusing?
It's a private joke. A stupid one
that can't be explained and make sense
Signor Trilli would appreciate
having Maria to himself
without distractions, I think
I know exactly how he feels
The hardest thing in the world
is getting an actor to stand still
Won't you change your mind
and stay for dinner, Mr Dawes?
No, unhappily I can't
We're off location-hunting in
the morning and have work tonight
I'm overdue right
now, as matter of fact
Maria seems so
happy to have you here
I do hope you won't
return to America too soon
It'll be quite a while
We will see you
before then, I am sure
But I know that Maria will
want you to be at our wedding
Oh, haven't you heard?
I'm giving the bride away
And I did give her away
In an ancient chapel
witnessed by a handful of strangers
I gave the hand of Maria Vargas
into that of Vincenzo,
Count Torlato-Favrini
The servants had their own
party, after the wedding
Nobody can tell me it was like
that when the Borgias got married...
more going on outside
the palazzo than inside
Anyway, there were two receptions
And, knowing the bride as I did
I could tell she felt she'd
come to the wrong reception
The accordion player
is the gardener's son
The guitar is the gardener
- I do not know who plays the violin
- Paganini. He's the pastry cook
They must have more
guests than we have
That's as it should be.
Aristocracy only started to collapse
when there were more
aristocrats than servants
- And they're having more fun
- That they are
On my wedding night, Harry
I thought you would be happier
for me than you seem to be
Are you happy? Well, then I'm happy
It's just different from
what I'd pictured. I...
I had something corny in mind
Like dancing at your wedding.
Real bashful-boy stuff
Then come dance with me, out there.
We belong out there anyway
Maybe I do. But not you.
Not any more, contessa
Vincenzo, would you object
to dancing with me out there?
I would not object to
anything you wanted to do
but I don't think you'd
want to spoil their fun
But they are celebrating our
wedding. Don't they expect us?
I imagine they are
afraid we might turn up
It's hard to believe,
in this day and age
What makes you think we
live in this day and age?
Well, the time has come
Bedtime for children under
12 and movie directors
I'll see you out
In case I wasn't
heard above the hubbub
- once more, I congratulate you
- Thank you
- And me
- And you
Oh, uh... I've got to say something.
I hope you won't mind
I won't know until
after you've said it
My relationship with Maria...
It's been a strange one. I've
never known what it was, really
Friend, director, confessor,
part-time amateur psychiatrist...
And, as of now, father of the bride?
As of now, more like a godfather
A fairy godfather,
with a sense of reality
No one could wish for anything more
She's lived her whole life
as a fairy tale, you know?
No, I did not know
She's never been in love before.
Take my word for it.
She's vulnerable. Wide
open to be hurt badly
Emotionally, she's a child
And she's wrapped all her dreams up
in one dream prince, and you're it
That's quite a responsibility
I don't want her hurt badly.
I don't want her hurt at all
Do you think I do? I don't mind
what you have said, Mr Dawes
But I wonder why did you
find it necessary to say
Oh, I don't know. My sense
number six again, maybe
- Number six?
- Another private joke. Good night
Good night
I have seen you like
this once or twice before
When your characters do not
work out as you have planned
or have taken a step themselves
and you're not sure
what the next will be
Let's not talk
about my script now
I'm not. You know
I'm talking about me
- It's not going to be easy
- Has it been, up till now?
- Good luck, contessa
- Don't you call me that
- I forget the Spanish for Cinderella
- Nor that
Some relationship we have!
Three pictures together
and not even a nickname
What is not going to be easy?
I wish I knew. I wish I knew
I saw her just once more
after that wedding night
Twice, really
But the second time, she was dead
The first time was
exactly a week ago
It rained all that
day and all that night
It hasn't stopped since,
come to think of it
I was holed up at my hotel
doing some last-minute rewriting
- Just because you're a contessa...
- Are you happy to see me?
doesn't give you the right
to walk out of my life
and then walk right back in
any rainy night you feel like it
- I was just looking
- There isn't much to see
I'd like to decide for myself
For a contessa who doesn't
drink... That's Cognac
I know
- How was your trip?
- You mean my... honeymoon?
Whatever you were going on
the morning after your wedding
I don't want my honeymoon to
be called a trip. It was fine
You've been away all this time?
How much time has it been?
I've never known a bride
who couldn't tell you almost to the
minute, for the first year or so
Thirteen weeks, three days...
seven hours and twelve minutes
No, I've not been away all that time
We've been home for ten weeks
Nice of you to drop in.
Just passing by, I imagine
You don't have to hide. It's just me
I have to. I can't look at you
Now, you didn't drive here in
a rainstorm "not" to look at me
I'm on your side, remember?
At any rate, this
is what I have known
I have known what it
is like to be in love
To be married in a church
to a man that I love
And on my wedding night to wait
for him, with my heart full of love
I have loved you all of my life
This is why I have never been
able to love anyone else before you
You have been unreal
to me for so long
it is hard to believe
that all of this
is not something I
dreamed a long time ago
- Is it true that you love me?
- I do love you
there are things that
must be said sometimes...
for which there are no words
Or at least no way to say them
so that they are not
ugly and full of pain
You find it hard to believe
that this is not just a dream
you dreamed long time ago
It might very well be just that
Almost everything
that has to do with us
has been dreamlike up to now
How we met and why we met
Our understanding, without
question and without surprise
that we were never to be apart again
How much more like a
dream can a dream be?
But inevitably there
comes a time for waking up
even for us
A time for facing
the pain and ugliness
that can be kept out of
dreams but not out of reality
It is important that you believe
everything I say to you now
I love you with all of my heart
Do you believe me?
You are everything I
would want as my wife
I would want no one else.
I am proud of you
I want to make you as happy
as I can, as long as I live
As for the rest of
what I have to say
you will find it neatly typed, at
some length, on this piece of paper
Would it not be
better if you told me?
It looks like an army
document of some kind
It is in Italian, and
I do not understand
Che sar, sar
That is also Italian
Apparently, I am not
to be let off anything
Yes, it is an army document
A medical report,
dated October 25th 1942
from a base hospital in Benghazi
It describes in detail
the degree to which my body
was blown apart by an explosion
And, with understandable pride
the skill with which they
put some of it together again
Do you understand now why
it is so important to me
for you to believe that I
love you with all of my heart?
The report will tell you that almost
the only undestroyed part of me...
is my heart
I love you with all of it
So that was it
Tell me, how long
could you stand it?
What do you mean?
How long could you stand it?!
- As long as I could
- And who's the lucky peasant?
The gardener, the
chauffeur, the stable boy?
Who's the contessa's
cousin this week?
- Harry, I couldn't help myself
- Neither could he!
That's the unholy pity of it
The one man in all of your fantasy
and the one woman in all of his
who could have made each other happy
And, once more, life
louses up the script
But I will make him happy
Look, will he let
you go back to work?
I can wind this one up in six weeks.
You can take him to California
You weren't listening to me.
I'm going to make him happy
How? How are you going
to make him happy?
By more of the same,
until you get caught?
- I don't want to get angry with you
- Then why tell me about it?
Because I needed to tell you
Harry, what do you think
would make Vincenzo happy?
You, as the perfect, beyond
reproach, last contessa
That would only
make him less unhappy
What he would wish for more
than anything else in the world
is that neither he, nor his
sister, nor I be the last
- As a wish
- It will come true
What are you talking about?
- I have made it come true
- You what?
What has happened to your
sense number six, Harry?
- Who knows?
- Only you and I
- What about the father?
- It is not his concern
The baby will be
mine and my husband's
- Do you really believe that?
- It will make Vincenzo happy
Maria, don't you know the
man you are married to?
You're talking mawkish nonsense
you remember from cheap films
Your husband is not out of James
M Barrie or Hans Christian Andersen
He's a tortured, neurotic man,
who's finishing life on his own terms
No, Harry. This time it is
you who does not understand
I know Vincenzo better than you do
Amen to that
How much simpler it would be,
for so many of us
if Kirk Edwards had not found it
necessary to look for a new face
May I help you in any way?
- Who's going to tell him about it?
- I am, of course
- When?
- Tomorrow
- It will be difficult for me
- Suppose he doesn't see it your way
- What will you do?
- What every other woman would do
- I will have my baby
- What about... whoever he is?
That is all over. I'm going
to tell him now. Tonight
That will not be difficult at all
She's dead, Mr Dawes... and so is he
I have known for some
time that there was someone
It may be a questionable compliment
but I did not suspect you, even
though Maria visited you tonight
What did she tell you?
What did she say to you?
She just wanted to talk...
about old times
For a skilful writer, Mr Dawes,
you are an incredibly clumsy liar
Did Maria have a chance
to say anything before...
No. What could she
have had to say to me?
Not a thing
There is no need for you to stay,
Mr Dawes. I've sent for the police
It may be embarrassing for you
I'll hang around
- Do you know any Spanish?
- Very little
The Spanish word for... Cinderella?
I've been told a dozen times
Just a word I keep forgetting
Blue skies, boss.
We'll have some sun tomorrow
Yeah, we'll get a good
day's work done tomorrow