The Saxon Charm (1948) Movie Script

I have an appointment
with a Mr Matt Saxon.
Is he well enough to be seen?
Apparently, Mr Saxon has no
idea what a hospital is for.
He's in 901.
And you'll have to join the mob that's
trying to get past his private watchdog.
Thank you.
Still asleep.
You can't go in there.
But I'm supposed to
see Mr Saxon at four.
The name is Busch.
Eric Busch?
I'll see if he'll talk to you.
Hermy has already
told us Saxon is asleep.
You'd better prepare
yourself to get nowhere.
The way the treats us, you'd swear his
last 2 shows were hits instead of flops.
If that's the way you feel
about him .. why are you here?
I loved your last book, honey.
I mean, it's got class.
And still the average intelligent
person like me can get most of it.
Thank you.
Oh .. are you making
it a play for Saxon?
No. I've never met Mr Saxon.
You've never met Mr Saxon?
He'll see you right away, Mr Busch.
The rest of you people, there
isn't a chance until tomorrow.
We're in a hospital.
Nice of you to come, Busch.
I hope you are recovering
from whatever ails you.
I always break my neck trying to find
out what other people are reading, too.
Snobbishness, I suppose.
Do you play darts?
Should you?
Why not?
I mean, your health.
Oh, I'm not sick.
They're painting my house and
I can't stand the smell of paint.
I can't stand hotels, either.
Fifty cents a game alright?
I guess so.
You married?
Been married long?
Six years.
You live in New York?
We moved here from Virginia recently.
I tried "gentleman of farming" and
found it didn't mix with writing.
Any children?
Not yet.
Why not?
Well .. the war had me away for
three and a half years and ..
Anyway, there is plenty
of time for children.
I owe you fifty cents.
Mr Saxon.
You should do something
about those noisy people outside.
That is your problem and not mine.
Is there anything else I can do for you?
Yes, my flatulent Florence Nightingale.
You can close that door from the outside.
A very efficient woman but
her stupidity appals me.
I must buy her a gift
before I leave here.
Where is that .. ?
What did you do with ..?
Oh, yeah.
Tell me, Busch. How did
you happen to write to me?
I mean, me in particular.
Did you ever see any of my productions?
Years ago. I've never forgotten them.
How does today's theater impress you?
What I have seen lately impresses
me very little .. for example.
You cannot compete with life
in these melodramatic times.
The politicians have
stolen all our tricks and ..
Blown them up into
earth-sized untidy productions.
And discarded the happy endings.
The playwrights on the other hand,
have all turned into do-gooders.
I'm surprised any sane novelist would
try to fool with the theater these days.
Especially one as successful as you.
It's natural to want to try another
medium. Yes.
Yes, this is not the first play
about Molire, you know.
I believe there are more than thirty of
them in which he appears as a character.
First one, in 1778.
In 1788.
[ French language ]
I don't speak French.
You don't speak French.
You write a play about Molire.
Well, you'll have to learn.
I like the title.
Comic Spirit.
A tragedy.
Is that you, Eric?
What's the ..?
Pardon the first one.
What's in the package?
Don't know. A man staggered in with it.
Why didn't you open it?
Because it's addressed to you.
How did you do with Matt Saxon?
He's reading the play.
He liked the title.
What kind of a man is he?
Oh, he's ..
I don't know.
A brilliant mind, of course.
But his personality isn't something
you latch on to right away.
Did you like him?
I'd say I liked him.
Look, it's one of the cultural gadgets
for learning foreign languages.
A recording machine with a
complete set of French records.
Are we planning to study French?
There's no note. Not even a card.
Matt Saxon.
He must have put in a rush order for
this the moment I left the hospital.
But why?
I just happened to mention
that I couldn't speak French.
What a man.
You two kids must have hit it off
more beautifully than you thought.
And after only one date. Hmm.
Next time you see him, don't say a thing
about not knowing how to charm snakes.
Would you like to enrol in
Professor Saxon's French class?
I'd love to. But I have a stove full of
dinner. I'll listen from the kitchen.
Why don't you hire a cook?
Because I'm not smart enough to have
a career and I hate women's clubs ..
I kind-of like myself in an apron.
[ Gramophone ]
"Useful words and phrases."
"The day: Le jour."
Le jour.
"Le jour."
Le jour.
"Good evening: Bonsoir."
Is that you, honey?
Yes, dear.
I've been waiting for you. I have to
my lawyer about publishing contracts.
Well, why didn't you go ahead?
They'd be no-one to answer the phone.
Still no call from Saxon?
No call.
Do you know what I'd do if a man
didn't call me for three days?
I'd call him.
Well, I can't.
You know it is psychologically wrong
for me to be anxious about the play.
Well then, it's psychologically right
for you to seem you don't give a darn.
Do you realize that you haven't
budged from this apartment?
It couldn't have taken him
three days to read the play.
But then of course, he is busy on
the one he's doing before mine.
We're paying good rent for
our little shack on the island.
Why don't we go there
while we have the chance?
We'd be cool, there. And I certainly
could use a swim right now.
That little hideaway is
just what we both need.
This heat is making us slap-happy.
Look .. could you pack for both of us
and meet me at the airport at 5:30?
Could I?
And this time I'll even pack
some of the things you need.
You tell that lawyer of yours, that
wives will wait, but airplanes won't.
Hello? Yes.
See? If you want action, all you
have to do is threaten to leave town.
Mr Saxon, didn't the buzzer
work? I have Mr Busch for you.
Yes, I know.
Why don't you talk?
He's not ..
Oh hello.
Hello, Eric.
Can I expect you at my
office in fifteen minutes?
Oh .. I have to meet
with my lawyer first.
Could you make it two hours from now?
This is imperative. There is a
man here I want you to meet.
Call your lawyer and tell him
you'll see him some other time.
Alright. What's his name? I'll call him.
No, no, no. I'll call him.
Alright, fifteen minutes.
He didn't say whether
he liked the play or not.
You didn't ask him. Better run along
and find out. I'll call the lawyer.
I don't know. I wish he'd
given me some kind of a hint.
Eric, I'm delighted to see you. You're
on time. We're not to be disturbed.
I warn you, I've improved
beyond all competition.
Here. And don't step beyond that
line and the carpet. Darts?
What of the man you wanted me to meet?
Send in Zack Humber. He's waiting in
another office. I forgot all about him.
May I ask who Zack Humber is? And
whether or not you liked my play-script?
Zack Humber - Eric Busch.
Eric Busch - Zack Humber.
Zack is the only man I know who
temperamentally aims to be a billionaire.
Most of us only want to be
millionaires, but not Zack.
Sorry to keep you waiting, Zack.
What detains you, Eric?
Don't worry about me. I used the time to
close a big deal on the phone out there.
And it's okay with my wife for tonight.
Fine, and how about Mrs Busch?
How about "what" about Mrs Busch?
Oh yes, I forgot to tell you. We're
all dining together to celebrate.
Has it occurred to you that I'm going
to do your play, and Zack will back us?
Well, it's a limited
partnership for tax reasons.
Then you like the play?
Like it? I was entranced by it. You made
a transition from novels to playwright.
Without losing one iota of your talent.
Well, I'm glad to hear you say that.
Well, I think the play is sensational.
When did you read it?
Matt told it to me.
It is terrific. You know, I never
knew that Molire had it so tough.
You never knew there was a Molire.
And that part where he
denounces the king. Wow!
Denounces the king?
Yes, a little idea I had Eric that
I wanted to talk you about.
You realize that no play
ever reaches the stage ..
In the form in which it
was originally written.
Denunciation scene?
I expect you to work closely with me on
changes we think are necessary. Agreed?
Of course. I'll appreciate
the opportunity to learn.
You know Dolly is
going to love this play.
She is nuts about anything
with a problem in it.
It's going to be a great
experience for both of us.
For you, having the theater revealed as
the bewitching task mistress she is.
And for me, the honor of presenting this
fine, fresh talent that you possess.
Say, what about casting?
You think we can get Van Johnson?
Slave of the money-temples! We cast
when the script is right and not before.
Well, I didn't know. You know, Dolly is
higher than a kite about Van Johnson.
Better go and get your Dolly and
meet us at Schindler's at 8 o'clock.
Sure, sure. We'll be on time.
Goodbye, goodbye.
You'd better telephone your Janet.
How did you know her name?
The little matter of inquiring.
Tell her that Alma will
pick her up at 7:30.
Alma. Alma Wragge. W R A G G E.
A charming girl and a singer. Don't ask
me why she never changed her name.
I'd better pick her up myself.
I think she'd prefer that.
Get Mrs Busch for Mr Busch.
Now, wait ..
We can stay here and
discuss the script .. oh.
Yes, I must remember to order
some flowers for the ladies.
What colour is Janet's hair?
Red .. brown eyes.
Zack's Dolly on the other hand
will be a platinum blond.
She will require a large orchid.
An orchid-coloured orchid.
My, if only the problems of life
were as simple as that, huh?
Suppose Dolly is a brunette?
There is nothing to be gained
in speculating about miracles.
[ Buzzer ]
That will be Janet.
I owe you fifty cents.
Oh no thank you. That's for Miss Wragge.
Thank you Mrs Humber.
And Mr Humber.
When you've known
Matt Saxon as long as I have.
You will realize a sandwich couldn't
possibly interfere with a dinner date.
Well he said eight o'clock.
It's almost half past.
I can't understand Eric's being late.
He's always on time.
But tonight, he's with Matt Saxon.
Janet, from now on life will be one long
series of "it never happened before's."
Hey, Dolly. There's our pal, the guy
that writes the column in The Mirror.
Oh yes, him .. I've been in
his column three times.
Can you imagine?
Unimportant little me.
I think we ought to go over and
say hello. Would you excuse us?
Certainly. Business before pleasure.
What is it about that female
that you and I don't like?
Dolly isn't what's bothering me.
It's just, when Eric asks me to be here.
Take a good, long look
at your husband tonight.
You've been trying to tell me something.
What is it?
We've known each other
less than two hours and ..
Yet I feel as though I've
known you for two years.
Janet, I think I can
talk to you like a sister.
Go ahead, I'd like to hear.
If I talk, I'll pin your ears back.
I'm willing to take that chance.
Matt Saxon is the most brilliant
man in the theater today.
Even his enemies admit this.
But his last plays were so intellectual,
no-one knew what they were about.
He's always had a
certain contempt for people.
But he has it now more than ever.
Especially towards the fact they
have lives of their own to live.
Even the cleverest are hooked once
the Saxon charm goes to work.
A smart wife would get her
husband away from Saxon.
While there is still a chance.
While he's still his own master.
Standing on his own hind feet.
I thought you were Saxon's friend.
You mean, his girl? I'm not.
I am his friend.
As much as anyone can be.
I wish I could understand.
How I could love him.
And still warn you about him.
I wish I didn't love him so much.
I wish I'd keep my big mouth shut.
Forget what I said, honey. I mean, don't
forget what I said, forget I said it.
Ah, this could be none but Janet Busch.
How do you do?
How do you do. You've confirmed
my faith in your husband's good taste.
And my own little Alma - Eric Busch.
How do you do.
Pardon the hand of a gentleman,
but I'm only human.
Darling, you're late. I'm sorry.
It's entirely my fault.
I forced him into a game of darts,
just so that I could get even.
Why are you sitting here?
You could be waiting at my table.
We could if you had a table.
Of course I have a table. Come along.
Just in case.
Well, Matt. About time you showed up.
Darling, here you are.
Matt Saxon and Eric Busch in person.
This is marvellous.
In the same dinner party
with two big celebrities.
You didn't tell me, Zack
that you'd married a child.
Welcome to our new
partnership, Mrs Humber.
Oh, Zack told me about the play.
It sounds dreamy, but simply dreamy.
Thank you, Mrs Humber.
Good evening.
Evening. Who are you? Where's Otto?
Otto has gone sir. We recently changed
hands. But the old chef is still here.
Ah. Well the chef is the important one.
My name is Saxon. I hope
you've saved me a good table.
I'm sorry sir, but I'll do the
best I can with no reservation.
But I made a reservation.
The message was with the flowers I sent.
Flowers? Oh, the box addressed to Otto?
What with Otto gone sir,
I just couldn't accept it.
Well, it's alright.
We can't eat flowers.
I'm sorry, sir.
You're sorry?
I'll give you the best table I can, sir.
Yes, but this is ridiculous. It's right
in the line here, from the kitchen.
If you'd rather wait a few minutes, sir?
Anyone care to join me for dinner?
If you don't mind, I'll order for all of
you. Only certain dishes here are good.
I want this wine. I won't pronounce it.
You won't know what I'm talking about.
And I want six orders
of stuffed cabbage.
And some side orders of
chopped chicken liver.
No stuffed cabbage for me, thank you.
But you must try it. It's a
specialty here. It's exquisite.
But cabbage murders me.
I'd be perfectly happy
with a boiled steak. Rare.
Five orders of stuffed cabbage.
And ask that bus-boy to
stop rattling those dishes.
Where'd you get him?
In boiler factory?
For dessert, we'll have
some Apfel Kuchen.
They have the world's
best pastry-chef here.
If I ever ate anything that sounded
like that, I'd regret it in the morning.
And I think I'd prefer sherbet.
I will have Apfel Kuchen.
Me too. I could eat anything.
Right now, I'd be more interested
in selecting an entree.
Eric, I would like to remind
you that I am ordering for you.
Ah, the lowly cabbage, lifted to
the heights of heavenly cuisine.
You lied. This stinking mess. It's
unbelievable the old chef has gone.
I told you he's still here.
That's the proof.
Take it away.
I am the owner, sir.
We'll get you something else.
You'll get me nothing.
I bring my friends here for a decent
meal, and what do you serve them? Swill!
Get his check this minute.
Charge him for what has been served.
It's a pleasure to pay for this garbage
and donate it to the rats in the kitchen.
Give me a blank check.
Sorry, we do not cash checks.
Do you know who I am?
I'll take the check.
No you won't. Do you know who I am?
This is Matt Saxon, the
famous theatrical producer.
I don't know anything about
Matt Saxon or theatrical producers.
All I know is ..
Let's get out of here!
Get out of this fascist pest-hole.
Can we leave through a side exit?
I'll get my hat.
Would you like to go someplace and eat?
No thanks, dear. I couldn't.
I wish you wouldn't be upset, darling.
A person who acts like
he did, just can't help it.
Anyone can help that.
Exposing a whole table full
of people .. strangers at that.
To such rotten behaviour.
He was terrible, wasn't he?
Eric, I've never tried to influence
your writing in any way, but ..
This once, would you mind
if I made a suggestion?
Of course not.
Why don't you tell Saxon that you
don't want to be associated with him?
That you want him to release you.
That's a very unusual thing to do.
Do you want to work with him?
I suppose not, actually.
He is a brilliant man of the theater,
and I could learn a lot from him, but ..
He's had me on edge since the day I
met him, and now he's humiliated you.
I'd be an idiot to become
involved with a man like that.
Now you're talking.
What do you think he'll do about it?
Oh .. I'll just go to him tomorrow
and ask him for a release.
But he's such a tricky talker.
Well, he can't talk any better than
you can write. Send him a letter.
That's a better idea.
I'll write him tonight and he'll
get it tomorrow morning.
[ Buzzer ]
Is this the Eric Busch residence?
And is this Mr Eric Busch?
I'm delighted to meet you.
I've always admired writers.
I've .. tried a little writing
myself, as a matter of fact.
You been working?
Not exactly, no.
May I come in?
You are in.
There are one or two
things to discuss with you.
My name is "Saxon", "Matt Saxon".
I'm in the theatrical business.
Come into the den.
Thank you.
Ah, success.
Is it any wonder these days that first
novels are always the best ones.
Written when poor.
Put down after hours as an
escape from the ordeals of life ..
As a haberdashery clerk.
Haberdashery clerk. Haberdashery.
That's supposed to be your cue.
For what?
To offer me a brandy.
Don't make it important.
Just throw the line away.
Don't tell me you came all the
way up here just for a drink.
As a matter of fact I came up here to
discuss with you our joint venture.
"The Comic Spirit".
Where is your charming wife?
Where any wife would be after your
actions tonight. In bed with a headache.
Oh, please. No important
lines yet. It's far too early.
What do you mean by that?
Why do you think I've been
indulging in all this small talk?
I've been demonstrating something
about the theater that no ..
Novelist understands.
What don't I understand?
Haven't you noticed? I've been
demonstrating the leisurely opening.
Of the play form.
In a novel, your opening
line can have terrific impact.
Take as an example the first
line of Kafka's Metamorphosis.
Remember? Quote:
"As Gregor Samsa awoke one
morning from a troubled dream."
"He found himself changed in his bed .."
"To some monstrous kind of vermin."
I remember.
And, how would you do that in a play?
Well, let's say a novelist
had written the play.
Lights down. Curtain up.
The sudden shriek from Samsa's
mother as she looks into the bedroom.
Her daughter rushes in
asking what the matter.
"Your brother" says the old lady.
"Has turned into a cockroach".
And she faints dead away.
I don't say that's good,
but what's wrong with it?
What's wrong with it? Never throw
your opening punch so quickly.
As you did just now, about my
horrible behaviour tonight.
Let your audience become part
of the theater, part of the play.
Let them become
accustomed to the actors.
And then .. slip them
the hotfoot .. see?
I see.
That means that the opening
of my play is wrong.
That I shouldn't introduce my
principals in the middle of an argument.
You are a bright student, Eric.
Assignment for tomorrow.
One opening scene.
Rewritten and double-spaced.
I'll get at it first thing.
Yes. I ..
Janet and Alma got along
very well, didn't they.
So I heard.
What did you think of Alma?
Alma? I liked her. Very much.
"Alma Wragge".
Isn't that a terrible name?
Did you ever hear an
uglier name in your life?
I knew a man named Wragge.
In my home town. New Mexico.
New Mexico? Oh, that accounts for
your being out of the mainstream.
What do you mean? This play is the only
un-contemporary thing I've ever done.
But you write of issues only
among, and between, individuals.
You never write of group problems.
The more concerned a writer becomes
with a group, the worse he gets.
The material of fiction is the unique
character, not collective man.
Very easy to say. But some individuals
defy you to put them down on paper.
I've never met a person
I couldn't write about.
I have.
A kid from .. from 10th Avenue.
A kid by the name of Joe Sveck.
You .. couldn't write about a child?
I couldn't write about the child
when he became a man.
If you understood him as a child ..
I couldn't understand him.
You wouldn't. Nobody could.
He was a violent, rebellious kid.
He was ashamed of his parents.
Ashamed of their poverty.
He stole money from the till in his
mother's little stationary store.
And when they argued with him about it.
He wrecked the store.
A nice kid.
I told you he was
difficult to understand.
When he grew up, he borrowed every penny
his family had to go into business.
He made a fortune for
them and then lost it.
When they complained, he left home.
He's never seen his parents since.
What happened to the parents?
I wouldn't know.
As for Sveck.
He's convinced that the world
is headed for mass suicide.
And nothing is of importance
any more, except to himself.
His arrogance has become unbearable.
He cares nothing for
happiness or success.
He'd jump off a cliff if he
didn't have to climb it first.
What to do when a man deliberately works
against himself and knows he's doing it?
He knows it at the moment of the act.
It's an instant of
premeditated disaster.
He deliberately foments
ill-will amongst his fellows.
And gets kind of a
drunken elation out of it.
What do you make of that?
I understand you.
Joe Sveck .. in a way ..
He's never mastered
control over himself.
So he pretends to delight in
thwarting his fellow man.
I might have become Joe Sveck myself.
I don't believe you.
My character transformation
came about when I was just a kid.
Eleven, as a matter of fact.
Until that age I was addicted to
violent rages. Even as your Joe Sveck.
I had an older brother who always seemed
to take unfair advantage of me in games.
One time, I decided I'd had
enough of his bullying.
So I jumped him and we tussled.
Until suddenly I went berserk.
There was a boy-scout hatchet nearby
and I picked it up and threw it at him.
But he ducked and it missed
his head by less than an inch.
It was razor-sharp
and going blade first.
There was a tree 2 feet behind his head.
It hit that tree and stuck for a moment.
When it fell out .. sap started
bleeding from the bark.
I'm not responsible for the
transformation in me, but ..
I've not been capable of
deep, unreasoning anger ..
Since that day.
You .. you should have grabbed
the hatchet and tried again.
That's what I would have done.
It's pretty late.
You'd better come to bed.
Well dear, I thought you were asleep.
I'll be with you in a minute.
I eavesdropped on some
of your conversation.
I discovered something about you.
Now I know why you control
your temper so well.
Oh, that.
It slipped my mind until tonight.
Is that the letter you
were writing to Saxon?
You don't have to explain to me.
If this is what you want to do,
go ahead and do it.
After all, I'm not the one
who has to work with you.
You know, now and then I'm reminded
of why I married you in the first place.
Come on.
Good afternoon.
I have an appointment
with Mr Saxon at five-thirty.
I left Matt at rehearsal
a half hour ago.
He said to tell you to meet him
at the Fuss 'n' Feathers.
More changes he made
in The Barefoot Man.
How can you ever open a play with
half of it always in the typewriter?
I beg your pardon. Did you
say "Fuss 'n' Feathers"?
Yeah. That nightclub on 52nd Street.
He's meeting you there after rehearsal.
But we were going to discuss
changes on my play The Comic Spirit.
You can't do that in a nightclub.
Mr Busch .. if I was you
I'd settle for the nightclub.
Otherwise you might wind
up in a steam-room.
Of course you're looking for Matt,
of course he's at rehearsal.
You know, if he's working,
there's no such thing as time.
I hope he gets a hit.
I hope he gets two hits.
Oh, you're very generous
in a selfish sort of way.
Are you meeting Matt here?
Oh this is the big moment of my life.
I'm auditioning here tonight.
You didn't say anything
about it last night.
Well, I didn't know it then.
Saxon arranged it after
last night's little outburst.
The Saxon charm is always
turned on full the next day.
It's after six and Janet is
expecting me for dinner at seven.
So excuse me, I'd better call.
Well, right on time.
Nice of you to meet me here.
Where's Chris? The bartender
said he'll be along any minute.
Chris is the great God proprietor.
He's going to sit and judge Alma's act.
Well, sit down. Sit down. You're not
going to spend all evening on your feet.
I was going to call Janet.
She's expecting me for dinner.
Ask her to join us here.
She and Alma got along beautifully.
Besides, you probably owe her
an evening in a nightclub.
But if we're going to talk of the play.
Plenty of time for that, later.
Oh, please ask her. Tell her I
can use all the support I can get.
If you like, I'll phone her.
No, no. I'll call her.
Oh Matt, I'm scared stiff.
I appreciate this opportunity, but I've
never worked in a nightclub before.
Don't worry.
I'm here to see that you display your
routines to the best advantage.
Perhaps that rusty talent of
yours could stand some oil.
No dear .. he hasn't read it yet.
What I'm calling about is that
we're at the Fuss 'n' Feathers.
"Fuss 'n' Feathers". It's a nightclub.
Alma is going to have a trial here, then
we have dinner and discuss the play.
Oh, no thanks.
It's a business meeting, really.
I think I'd enjoy my dinner more, here.
Alma is very anxious to have you.
And I think Saxon wants to
make amends for last night.
Give him another chance, honey. For me.
Alright .. just this once.
As long as Alma is there.
"Fuss 'n' Feathers."
That's alright. The cab driver
will know. See you soon, dear.
Mrs Busch. I'm amazed by your ability to
do a stunning entrance at short notice.
It was nothing. I shoved the dinner to
the back of the stove and took a bath.
You're just in time.
Hi, chum. He means
just in time for nothing.
Oh yes, and this is Chris.
Last name mercifully forgotten.
He owns everything as far
as the eye can see here.
Mrs Busch.
Chris, is it okay to start?
Sure, anytime.
Remember, I'm better
in front of an audience.
Oh yeah, I understand.
Ah, a two-bar introduction.
"I'm in the mood for love."
Wait a minute, wait a minute.
Wait a minute.
What's the matter, Matt?
Do something with that, will you?
Don't just sing a number.
Make a scene of it.
Take advantage of the fact
that you're in a nightclub.
Use it as you would a set.
Critics will say you've a masterpiece of
realism here if you put it on a stage.
You've got dozens of props around you.
Bus-boys, waiters, drunks, customers.
Put them in the act. They'll love it.
Your number starts up there.
The whole place is dark.
You pick her up with an overhead spot.
But Mr Saxon, we haven't
got a spot up there. We can't.
Well rig one, so that you can.
Forget the beat and follow her.
No, no, no. Don't stand there
like a sculptor's nightmare.
Here. Your number
starts here at the bar.
Has this thing got a verse?
Oh Matt, no-one sings verses anymore.
That's old-fashioned.
Nothing that is good and has
a purpose is old-fashioned.
I'll settle for 50 percent of the verse.
First eight bars.
"Lovely interlude, most romantic mood."
Sing it to the man next to you.
"And your attitude is right, dear."
Now the other side.
"While you have me under your spell."
"I'm in the mood for love."
Now to both of them.
"Simply because you're near me."
"Funny, but when you're near me."
"I'm in the mood for .."
You. Come here.
"For Love."
"Heaven is in your eyes."
Have him here every night.
"Bright as the stars we're under."
"Or is it any wonder."
"I'm in the mood for love."
"I stop to think of whether .."
Hold, it. Hold it. Hold it.
Now, what are you thinking?
Singing to a customer.
Oh, no, no. You are too far to
down into the number to do that.
From now on, sing it to everybody.
From the bridge?
Yes, from the bridge.
Where "I stop to think of whether"?
"I stop to think of whether."
"This little dream might .."
Find the first empty chair.
"We'll put our love .."
No, no, no. Take it with
you, take it with you.
"Now we are one."
"I'm not afraid .."
Sit down. Sit down.
"If there is a cloud above."
"If it should rain, we'll let it."
"But for tonight, forget it."
"I'm in the mood .."
"For love .."
I'm not worried, Mr Saxon. She's okay.
She's better than that.
I was just wondering if you could stay
over for the first floor show tonight.
I've got an adagio team and a chorus
that can stand some improvement.
Roughly speaking, my time
is worth about $5,000 an hour.
I'll settle for this ringside
table and dinner for all of us.
It's a deal.
Can I show my rhythm routine next, Matt?
No, no. Save your feet.
You open tomorrow night.
Just like that?
Loved you act, Alma. What I saw of it.
Thank you, Janet.
Anything special in mind
for dinner, Mr Saxon?
The best steak in the
house for Mrs Busch.
I'll leave the rest of it up
to you. But remember.
The quality of my criticism is in direct
proportion to the quality of your food.
Don't worry, I know a bargain.
Excuse me, please.
Thank you, Matt.
I don't think I could
have made it alone.
Did I tell you Eric, I liked
your new opening scene?
No. No, you didn't.
Well, it gives us a good, solid premise.
Also it points up clearly the
need for another scene later on.
Not a rewrite, but a
completely new scene.
What kind of a scene?
One that gets the backstage flavour
of show-business into the script.
Have you any ideas?
You might use the Michael Barone and
spit right out of Molire's biography.
That's perfect. I wonder
why I didn't think of that.
I don't know what you're talking
about, but I'll bet you did think of it.
Be careful around her, Matt.
She's from St Louis, too.
A lovely city.
That would eliminate the need for the
little offstage scene in the third act.
Yes, I have some
suggestions about that, too.
Also, some revisions that
will be necessary later on.
Now, about the opening
scene of your second act ..
Hmm, this air is good.
I'm glad we're walking home.
I should have written down
those changes he suggested.
I'll forget half of them.
Darling, I know it's late.
But, I don't feel a bit sleepy.
Let's sit down for a little bit.
Tell me. Do you agree
with all of his ideas?
I almost have to. He knows so much
more about the theater than I do.
He did do a lot for Alma tonight.
And he seemed like a different man.
You know something?
She's up to her ears in love with him.
How did you know?
Well, she told me so in the powder room.
She also told me he's been married.
To some girl who's been eating her
heart out ever since they broke up.
He doesn't look like a man
who's ever been married.
You mean, he doesn't look like a man
who would stay married. Even for money.
Alma tells me Saxon's
ex-wife is really rich.
I was just thinking how lucky I
am to be married to Eric Busch.
Maybe it's a foolish thing
for a wife to say, but ..
I think you're perfect
just the way you are.
Just the way you are.
You sound like a bride.
Don't let anything change you, Eric.
Please don't.
You can turn the light on, dear.
I didn't want to disturb you.
Did he like what you wrote today?
But I .. I think I understand
what he wants now.
Is it what you want?
How would I know?
I'm sorry, dear.
But I am so completely confused I
can't tell good from bad anymore.
All I can do is keep
rewriting until he's satisfied.
I've never seen you this tired.
No wonder you don't
know what you're writing.
At least I'm on the third act now.
It can't last much longer.
I know something as sure
as I know my own name.
Nothing you're going to write from
now on is going to be any good.
Unless you can get away from
New York and nightclubs for a while.
He likes to discuss each
scene as I write it.
Well, let him discuss them all at once.
Just think how much clearer
your mind would be.
How much better you could write.
If we could spend the next week
at our home on the island ..
I'd love it .. I'd love it.
It just can't be done.
Who says it can't be done?
Listen. If Erich Busch wants to take
his wife for a walk in the woods ..
And fill his lungs with
fresh air for a change.
And sleep through a long night so he can
write and know what he's writing about.
Who is going to stop him?
We leave tomorrow.
I'll call Saxon's secretary
first thing in the morning.
And tell her we're going to the island
and sorry, but there's no telephone.
And Saxon will have his
last act when I get back.
I won't call until the last minute.
Just before we get on the plane.
Now you're making sense.
And as for you, Mrs Busch.
It will be nice knowing you again.
The same to you, stranger.
Why aren't you working?
Finished. Curtain. The end.
I feel good for the first time since I
finished that first draft of the play.
You'll feel even better after
you've relaxed for a few days.
How much longer can
we stay on the island?
I'll mail him the third act. It could be
a week until he gets back to me.
Anyway, he's busy on the other play.
One whole week!
Our second honeymoon.
Isn't this something?
What's the matter?
That yacht. Who's is it?
I don't know.
Ahoy there, Eric Busch!
Eric Busch .. ahoy!
Matt Saxon.
Oh, no.
Eric Busch, ahoy!
Hi Matt! What a boat.
I didn't know he had one.
Let's swim over. They're stopping.
Wonderful. White fish.
The last one aboard is a rotten egg!
Welcome, welcome, welcome. You're
the first mermaid we've taken aboard.
Here you are.
Don't we look wealthy, Janet?
Yes, this is the fanciest yacht we've
ever seen around these parts.
Zack and I were saying what wonderful
swimmers you two are. But divine.
Hey, let's try it, Zack.
Yes, yeah.
Did you bring the third act?
I have it right here in my hip pocket.
Say, when did all this happen?
This is the darnedest thing I ever saw.
Matt watched the dress
rehearsal of The Barefoot Man.
And went right out and put
a down-payment on this tub.
Come on daddy, let's change.
Sax is so sure he has a hit, he isn't
even having an out-of-town try-out.
Opening cold in New York tonight.
That's wonderful.
You going to be there?
Why should I? The audience is only
finding out what I already know.
Besides, my presence would only tend
to add to the tension of the performers.
To remove any doubts from the minds of
my friends, I've chartered a sea-plane.
Hermy is flying the notices down and
will meet us at Buzzard's Bay tomorrow.
Now, isn't that simpler
than buying tickets?
And how is our next
big hit coming along?
I just finished the rewrites
a few minutes ago.
Perfect. I'll have one of the
crew take you to the island.
You can get some clothes and the script.
Well, we're a rather
conservative little group.
As long as you're joining our cruise.
But Eric and I had planned on spending
a few days on the island together.
After all, he's been working
night and day on that script.
That's right, Matt.
We appreciate the invitation,
but what I need now is a bit of rest.
I haven't asked you to sign
on as one of the crew, Eric.
You can relax to your heart's
content while I look over the script.
You are still interested
in the play, aren't you?
Of course.
We've made this special trip to your
island in the hope that you'd join us.
It .. it would be a nice change, Janet.
Yes, I guess it would.
Captain! You'll love Captain Chatham.
He's perfectly ghastly. Captain!
I asked you not to shout at me.
My crew don't like it.
Mr and Mrs Busch live on that island.
I want you to take them
ashore in the power-launch.
They will pick up some
things and re-join us.
Right there?
Right there.
I'll have them put ashore in the dinghy.
Why not the power-launch?
Too big. It don't make sense for such a
short trip. Using the dinghy is easier.
And who are you to say what
is easy? You will do as I ordered.
I reckon not.
You stupid New England blockhead!
Whose ship is this? Stop behaving
like an Admiral and do as I say.
Either you let me do thing the right way
on this ship or I won't be your captain.
You've got to make up your mind
about that right now, Mr Saxon.
Very well, Captain.
I bow to your obviously
superior intelligence.
Thank you.
Right this way folks.
The dinghy will be read in a jiffy.
A nice change for us, huh?
Don't pay any attention him, Matt.
You can be my Captain any time.
As a matter of fact,
the old mule is right.
I should compliment
myself on selecting him.
This is the first fresh air I've smelt
since I joined Chris's floor show.
It was sweet of Chris to give me
the weekend off, but you know ..
It hurt my pride to realize the
show could get along without me.
A good thing you did realize it.
A girl married to show-business
does not make a very good wife.
Do you realize what you just said?
Well the .. only reason that I
haven't mentioned it before is ..
I've had .. hard luck for
the last couple of years.
You know that.
Oh Matt, it is so wonderful to
hear you talk about marriage.
I thought that was the one
subject that had you tongue-tied.
Well, even if I haven't
spoken about it, why ..
I've always thought of
the two of us together.
Now that I'm free of financial worries.
Except for the worry
of paying for this yacht.
I see that you don't appreciate
the enormity of my success.
Perhaps the quality of my
wedding gifts will convince you.
Oh, Matt, there were so many
times when I thought I'd lost you.
All those starry-eyed, ambitious,
young beautiful women.
Willing to do anything for Matt Saxon.
I'd be living in the wrong generation
if marriage was very important to me.
Well, you can relax now.
The time to relax is when
I hear a ringing in my ears.
The ringing of wedding bells.
The plane.
I'm praying, Matt.
Something already accomplished.
If you only knew what this meant to me.
Oh, are those the notices?
I woke up just in time.
Good morning, Hermy.
These people are very anxious to
read about last night's opening.
I suggest you give The Times
to Mr and Mrs Busch.
The Herald Tribune to Miss Wragge.
And The Mirror and The News to ..
I think you'd better read
them yourself, Boss.
Very bad.
But how can that ..?
Did you check the afternoon papers?
All but the Post.
I couldn't believe my
eyes when I read them.
I was as sure as you were
that we had a smash.
Couldn't tell much from
the audience last night.
Then came these.
How do they get away
with writing this stuff?
How do they decide you're
wrong and they're right?
Post the notices.
We're closing right away.
But Matt, we still got a chance.
Okay, the critics knifed you again,
but at least let's try to break even.
You can't fix rigor mortis with smelling
salts. Who cares about breaking even?
"Who cares about breaking even" he says.
It's not my money backing it. If it was,
I'd care plenty about getting it back.
You're always talking like the fellow
who puts up the money isn't important.
Boss, we got just about all
the trouble we can handle.
You overdressed moron.
You've as much right to be linked with
theater as glue in a supernumerary's wig.
By what foul process of reasoning,
do you believe that a fat pocket-book ..
Left you by your stupid father gives you
control on the destiny of the theater?
I don't have to take that kind of talk.
And I don't listen to the opinions of a
fat pig reeking of hair-oil and cigars.
Oh, let him rave on until
he chokes to death.
But we don't have to stand
here and listen. Come on, Zack.
Anybody care for a drink? Mrs Busch?
Eric, can I speak to you for a minute?
The way that man insults money.
How do you feel, Eric?
About our project, I mean.
Have you had a change of heart?
Why should I?
I can think of any
number of valid reasons.
Why you wouldn't want
me as your producer.
My obvious run of bad luck.
Or incompetence.
I understand how any successful writer
may opt to end his association with me.
I'm giving you that opportunity, Eric.
Matt, a bunch of newspaper clippings
can't destroy my faith in your ability.
I still consider it a
privilege to work with you.
Thank you, Eric.
I should never have
doubted you for a minute.
Now, how about that third act?
You finally got around to it, huh?
We can go over it on the plane.
The plane?
On the way to New York.
But I have to go back to the island.
You haven't time.
This closing makes it imperative we put
your play into production right away.
Get the script for me, will you.
Come along, Hermy.
Excuse me.
It's a good think we
aren't still in bathing suits.
We'd be quite a sight stepping
off that plane in New York.
You'd better go back to the island. I'll
wire you when things are less hectic.
Bring the plane alongside.
Matt .. I don't care whether you
own a million or owe a million.
The most important thing is ..
You were shouting for me again,
Mr Saxon. I asked you not to.
I was completely in error, Captain.
I hope you will accept my
most humble apologies.
Now that I'm here, perhaps
you wanted me for something?
Oh yes. At your pleasure, Mrs Busch
is to be returned to the island.
Mr and Mrs Humber
transported to New York.
And Miss Wragge to be disposed of
in whatever manner that she desires.
I hope I have not overstepped my bounds
in making these few simple requests.
No, sir.
I'm in a hurry to get board the plane.
Unfortunately, I may not see you again.
Not see me? What about the ship, sir?
What shall I do with her?
I suggest you scuttle her.
I'll wire you, honey.
You and me, both.
I've finished it, Eric.
Nothing there. Nothing.
Oh, everything we discussed is in it.
It's action without emotion.
There isn't a goose-pimple
in the entire third act.
I'm sorry, Matt.
No sorrier than I am.
I'd hoped to start casting by Monday.
A great disappointment to me, Eric.
A great disappointment.
Could you give me anything specific?
I could.
Scene by scene. Almost line by line.
It's that bad.
Matt. If you still like
the first two acts ..
Maybe you can get a professional
playwright to do a satisfactory 3rd act.
That was a very difficult
thing for you to say, Eric.
I admire you for it.
Look, Eric.
I'm tearing this up. For your sake.
There won't be any
writer on that third act.
You'll rewrite yourself from scratch.
No preconceptions, no notes.
Just write it. Action supercharged
with emotion. That's your objective.
I still have faith in you, Eric.
Great faith.
Matt, listen.
Have you ever tried writing alone, Eric?
There is a distraction
in that third act, Eric.
The distraction of a man
and a woman on an island.
Have you ever tried
writing completely alone?
Why should I?
It will work wonders
with a man like you.
You've never fully employed your talent.
Because you've never known the elation
of creating in absolute solitude.
In a world of your own making.
In a world of your own play.
All irritating trivialities
banished from your mind.
It's the way to lick
that third act, Eric.
The only way.
Hello .. yes?
Mexico City?
Matt, what the devil
are you doing in Mexico?
Suppose you let me ask the questions?
How is the new third act?
Well .. I'm on the last scene now.
It should be just a matter of minutes.
Perfect timing.
Hermy is getting you plane reservations.
Pick them up at the office and I'll
meet you at Mexico City airport.
Matt, wait a minute.
I can't go to Mexico.
Of course you can. You're a grown boy.
Is Zack Humber with you?
What did you hear about Humber?
I think you may have heard gossip about
my throwing him out of the partnership.
That crook tried to claim me as
a deductible income-tax item.
But .. Matt, I really shouldn't go.
Janet's waiting for me up at the island.
Oh, you'll only be gone
two or three days.
And when we get back, we'll
be all ready to start casting.
Would Janet object to
that, even if she knew?
Good .. and incidentally, Eric.
I think it best you not
mention this trip to anyone.
I'll explain when you get here.
Nobody will know you've gone.
I can't wait to read that third act.
See you tomorrow night.
Eric, my strong, silent friend.
Welcome to Mexico City.
Matt, if you could give
me one good reason for ..
Oh yes. I want you to meet Victoria,
Grace, Vivian, Elisabeth, Riddell.
Eric Busch.
Vivian Saxon. I'm still
clinging to Matt's name.
Whether he admits it or not.
That's the privilege of an Ex.
It's a woman's intuition, I suppose.
Come on. We'll show you the sights
of Mexico City. From a ringside table.
An orchid tonight, Seor Saxon?
Yes, indeed. An orchid.
An orchid for the most
beautiful lady in the world.
Ah, but you haven't
got the proper shade.
She requires just the
faintest tint of pastel green.
Her delicate beauty
must be set off properly.
Find me the orchid that I want. Find
it if you have to comb all of Mexico.
Si, Seor.
I think I'll tidy up a bit.
Yes, of course.
What do you think of her?
Very attractive.
I'd heard you had an ex-wife.
Yes. When we were married she always
wanted to back one of my plays.
However, it seemed sort-of unethical.
Now, I feel free in permitting
her to make another fortune.
Then she's backing the play?
She is our answer to
that moron, Zack Humber.
It's all set?
Well, it's only a question of time.
You can understand however, why I asked
you not to say anything about this trip.
It's open to all kinds
of misinterpretations.
Ah, Seor Saxon from New York.
For hours, the operator has been
trying to get in touch with you.
Oh thank you, Jose. I'm using
this as my Mexico City office.
It's convenient and the wine is good.
Show him where he can
wash his hands for five pesos.
This way please.
Hello operator.
It's so wonderful to be with Matt again.
I thought he'd forgotten I was on earth.
What's come over him, Mr Busch?
How do you mean?
Oh, something's happened to mellow him.
He's as gentle as a lamb.
So considerate and attentive.
I never stopped loving him.
Even through the divorce.
And now that I have him back, it's ..
It's almost too good to be true.
Why ..
I guess it's just that Matt
needs someone like you.
Yes, yes, I'm still here.
I'm practically taking root.
Hello, Hermy .. what's
on your fat little mind?
We're in trouble, Boss.
The word got out that Humber
isn't backing us anymore.
So, already there is
$38,000 worth of lawsuits.
Haven't you got something
important to tell me?
Well, aside from your lawsuits ..
Your productions staff
quit on account of no pay.
They tell me we're going to
be evicted from these offices.
And the same goes for your house.
Well, creditors scare very easily.
And besides all that, your temperamental
Captain got drunk and sank the yacht.
I knew that Captain would
resort to something spectacular.
You haven't given me one problem Hermy,
that couldn't be solved with money.
Would it interest you that in a few days
we'll be rolling in the nauseating stuff?
Boss, you've found another angel.
I can tell by your voice.
We've got another angel.
Yes Hermy, we've got another angel.
A slightly used one.
But with wings of pure platinum.
Oh, I knew you'd come through, Boss.
Can I spread the word around?
Who is he, Boss?
It isn't a "he". It's a "she" angel.
Do you remember Vivian? My ex-wife?
Oh Boss, not her.
Not Vivian, Boss.
Why not?
That's one of the
reasons I'm calling you.
All week long we've been
getting wires from Mexico City ..
Wanting to know if you'll
stand good on her bills.
She's piled up her own national debt
down there. She hasn't got a nickel.
I got the telegrams here on your desk.
I can read them to you if you want.
This is terrible.
What a dirty little pauper.
Thank you, that was lovely.
I'm afraid my Rumba is a bit
rusty, but with your help ..
Seor Busch, you are
wanted at the telephone.
Si, Seor.
Perhaps Matt needs some
information on his call.
Run along and pry him away
from that phone if you can.
The bus-boy said something
about a phone call.
Why do you have your hat?
Bad news from Hermy.
He says that Vivian and I are about
to break into the gossip columns.
You and I are going to have to
fly back to New York tonight.
What excuse will you make to Vivian?
But you can't just leave her there.
Especially if she's backing the play.
I'm convinced that an entanglement
with Vivian would be disastrous.
Don't worry about our financial backing.
I've .. decided to get it in
a less hazardous manner.
Get your things.
Your special orchid, Seor Saxon.
With the help of
many friends, I find it.
Oh, thank you very much.
I asked you to get this orchid for
the most beautiful lady in the world.
And who do you think that lady is?
I do not know, Seor.
I give you this token of my esteem
with my fondest compliments.
Oh gracias, Seor.
I don't know what Matt's going to say
about you being here to meet him.
Why shouldn't I be, you
frightened little watchdog?
Oh, there they are.
Hello, Matt.
Oh Matt, you old fly-by-night.
It was just luck that I found out from
Hermy that you were coming home.
Well, I can only be here a few minutes.
I'm on my way to Hollywood.
Hollywood? What for, Boss?
My friends, Eric has written the most
amazing play in the history of theater.
Only one person in the world can play it
and I'm going to Hollywood to get him.
If he can act, why's he out there?
Collecting a tidy fortune, you idiot.
I'm referring to Peter Stanhope.
Think you can get him? Every producer
on Broadway has tried to lure him back.
I haven't. Hermy, get me a reservation
on the first west-bound plane.
Yeah. What do we use for money?
Oh, uh ..
Eric, you can write a check can't you?
I need a little travel money.
Sure .. how much?
Oh fifteen hundred. Two thousand
to be on the safe side.
Matt, I hope you'll be in
Hollywood for at least a week.
So that's why you met
me at the airport, eh?
Hiding someone in your apartment.
I'm going to Hollywood myself next week.
For a picture?
I'm playing the lead.
Naturally. For whom?
Dave Ebbs.
The contract been signed yet?
It's being drawn up now.
I'll sign it before I leave.
Matt, I waited so long for a break and
to think I got this without your help.
Bound to happen sooner or later.
That's the end of the future Mrs Saxon.
Are you kidding?
You know I'm ready at the drop of a hat.
Matt, I made one for 500
and one for 1,500.
I didn't think you'd
get the full amount.
Oh, thank you. Thank you very much.
We'll have coffee while I'm waiting.
Run along, Hermy.
I guess you'll clam up if I ask what you
black sheep are doing in Mexico City.
But Janet will find out tonight.
Is she back from the island?
Since yesterday. She called me.
Does she know where I've been?
Of course .. didn't you tell her?
I didn't have a chance.
Janet's a very broadminded young lady.
As a matter of fact, we've
both been working very hard.
You'll stay for coffee?
I'd better go to the apartment. I'll see
you when you get back from Hollywood.
Good luck.
Oh well, say hello to Janet for me.
Tell her I'll be over later.
When will that young man
stop behaving like a husband?
Never .. I hope.
Ah, the genius is back.
Hiya, genius.
Hello, dear.
It's past midnight, Janet.
We'd better be going.
Oh no. You can't go yet.
The class prophesy said I was
going to marry a famous man.
And here he is. And you
haven't even met him.
These are my friends from St Louis.
Visiting New York for the first time.
And we went to five nightclubs.
Revolting, isn't it?
Janet, your friends are
trying to say goodnight.
Listen, famous author.
I have guests.
Why don't you get off your high
horse and act like a gentleman?
You'd better excuse
yourself to your friends.
They may not understand
that you're drunk.
Well .. tell her goodbye
for us, Mr Busch and ..
We'll phone before we leave town.
I'm sure she'll be
okay in the morning.
Nice knowing you, Busch.
Where are you going?
I don't know.
It doesn't matter to you,
and it doesn't matter to me.
What's bothering you?
Is it the fact that I went to
Mexico without telling you?
That's your business.
You closed me out of your life long ago.
That's unfair, Janet.
You know how busy I've been on the play.
All I know is that ..
You've become so tangled with Mr Saxon,
I can't tell one of you from the other.
You've turned into an intellectual snob
who has nothing in common with his wife.
You sent me away, so I wouldn't
interfere with your writing.
And then you went to Mexico.
I don't understand you anymore.
And I'm fed up with the
way you're treating me.
Look, Janet. We've both been
under a strain, but it's over now.
I've finished the play.
Give me a chance to snap out
of this nightmare, will you.
I've given up hope that
you'll ever be yourself again.
I've lost faith in you.
Why can't you be honest and state the
truth? That you don't love me anymore.
Don't blame everything on the change
in me. I'm the same man I always was.
Oh, I wish you were.
I wish you were.
You poor, long-suffering wife.
What are you after? A divorce?
Answer me .. do you want
a divorce? Yes or no?
You wouldn't have thought of such a
thing unless you wanted one yourself.
I'm not going to answer you.
That's a fine way to leave things.
If you should just happen to change
your mind about leaving, I'd ..
I won't.
You've been wonderful to me Alma, but ..
I just don't belong in New York anymore.
You are going to have company tonight
on that plane as far as St Louis.
At least you'll be here, not go to the
apartment to bury your head in a pillow.
Please don't worry about me.
I'll finish packing and be back to
pick you up after your last show.
You know, if I were the sensitive type,
I'd say I should mind my own business.
Hey, am I seeing things?
It is! It's Peter Stanhope. He's the
one Matt went out to Hollywood to see.
Peter, you've come East to
do the play? Where's Matt?
He's back in New York as far as I know.
And if you're talking about that
stinker called "The Comic Spirit".
I wouldn't open dead in it.
Even with Matt directing.
May we join you?
Yes, of course. Certainly.
I would like to present Abel Richman.
Alma Wragge.
How do you do?
Janet Busch.
How do you do?
How do you do?
Mrs Eric Busch.
I'm sorry, Mrs Busch.
I agree with you.
The Comic Spirit is a stinker.
I will say one thing for Saxon.
He got me so interested in theater again,
I've come to New York to look for a play.
But under the unspectacular
direction of Abel Richman.
Telephone, Miss Wragge.
It's Miss Bernard in Chris's office.
Thank you very much. My agent.
When an agent calls at this hour,
he doesn't want to know how you feel.
Excuse me.
Your husband has
great talent, Mrs Busch.
I admire is novels tremendously, and I
still think he can write a good play.
He did write a good play.
When I read the first version of The
Comic Spirit, I thought it wonderful.
Hello, Jack. What's up?
Don't tell me my plane reservations
have been cancelled.
Plane reservation?
Your contract has been cancelled.
Dave Ebbs won't sign.
Well, that's impossible.
It wasn't my idea to work in pictures.
He offered the contract.
Look, Alma.
I spent five hours getting hold of Ebbs
in Hollywood and I just hung up.
The deal is positively cold.
And he won't listen to arguments.
But why?
I want to know why.
You're asking for it, so listen good.
Because if I have to say
this twice, I'll throw up.
Dave Ebbs cancelled your deal,
because you're an unreliable drunk.
Who can't be depended on to show up
for work more than three days in a row.
Are you talking about me?
That's what I asked Ebbs.
He says he knows
what he's talking about.
Because he got it straight from the one
guy in the world who should know best.
No ..
Yes, Alma.
Matt Saxon.
Thanks, Jack.
[ Buzzer ]
I hope you'll pardon the intrusion.
My name is Peter Stanhope.
Yes. Yes, I know.
And this is Abel Richman, the producer.
How are you?
I've heard of you, Mr Richman.
Won't you step inside?
Thank you.
Can I offer you a drink or something?
No thank you.
Well then at least sit down, won't you.
Saxon telephoned me
from Hollywood and ..
Told me that you'd read the play.
Yes. Matt was quite upset
when I turned it down.
Turned it down?
Didn't he tell you?
It was more than a week ago.
Maybe we'd better
explain why we're here.
Peter is in New York looking for a play.
Perhaps Mrs Busch told you?
We saw her tonight and ..
Mrs Busch and I are separated.
I haven't seen her for several days.
You have a very loyal separated wife.
She's the reason we're here.
She defended your play so well,
that we'd like to read it.
The original version, I mean.
I don't see what that would accomplish.
Saxon has an option on the play.
You are mistaken. He no longer
has any legal hold on your script.
I've admired your novels so much, Busch.
That I'm anxious to see what sort of a
play you wrote without Saxon's help.
No harm can come
by letting us look at it.
If Saxon let his option lapse
because of financial reasons.
I'll string along with him.
I'll get you a carbon of the script.
Such loyalty ought to be deserved.
Pardon me.
Snivelling menial.
Darling. It's wonderful to see you. I ..
I only came to say a few things to you.
Not in anger.
I am just going to deliver them
in a plain unaccented style.
And that's all, brother.
Alma, not you.
The whole world of the theater
has turned against me.
The theater to which I gave so much.
And from which I asked so little.
I'm bankrupt.
Spiritually and physically.
You are the only living person who
can help me through this crisis.
I want you tell me why you
killed my job in Hollywood.
Why you told Dave Ebbs I'd never
be able to finish the picture.
Why you lied about my
being an incurable alcoholic.
Alma, what are you saying?
How could Dave have
misunderstood me so completely?
I told him you'd be
wonderful in the part.
I told him you'd be even better with two
week's rest and postponed the picture.
I told him that you were tired.
I believe you've so poisoned your mind
you don't know why you lied about me.
Well, I'll tell you why.
You were jealous.
You were jealous because I was
able to get a part without your help.
You were afraid I might
become independent.
Because when you get your hands
on a property like me or Eric Busch.
Or any of the others.
You're not willing to let go until you
personally can say: "get out".
Well, this time you've missed.
Because I'm saying to
you get out of my life.
You were in my hair but good.
Well now I've combed you out.
And out you stay!
Give me thirty seconds. You admit
you love me. Give me thirty seconds.
Alright .. you can have thirty seconds.
Let's hear your routine.
This is no act.
It may look like it.
But this is the real thing.
An actress once threatened to
drink this if I didn't give her a job.
Fifteen seconds.
I swear to you that if you walk out on
me now, I'll drink it to the last drop.
Ten seconds.
Alma, my death will be on your hands.
Five seconds.
That's it.
Hello .. hello!
Matt, where are you?
You don't sound so good. Are you ill?
Well, that Hollywood
session was no picnic, Eric.
Can you come over to my office
and we'll talk things out.
Yes, right away.
Well I .. I said I'm rather tired.
I'm expecting a call, Matt. If you want
to see me tonight, come to my apartment.
Alright .. if you insist.
I'll be there in about fifteen minutes.
Greetings from an unworthy
ambassador on your behalf.
Did I hear you ask me if I could have
some brandy? I could do with a spot.
What happened in Hollywood? How
did you make out with Peter Stanhope?
That ham? Wouldn't hire him as a walk-on.
I asked you what happened.
Hollywood has ruined him.
He's forgotten how to act.
I listened to him read for 5 minutes and
then snatched the script from his hand.
He's got timings like a toy watch.
But you said he was practically signed.
So he was. So he was!
Before I had my inspiration.
The one man in the world today, Eric.
Who can play Molire. The one!
And he had completely slipped my mind.
Think of Molire.
Think of the character.
As you have written him.
Think hard.
And now I'll say his name.
David Lee.
Who's he?
What provincial rock have you been living
under that you've not heard of David Lee?
David Lee. The English actor.
Tragedian, comedian, everything.
I'm flying to London
tomorrow to start negotiations.
Incidentally, you'd better write
me out a check for $3,500.
My account has been tied up
by some silly kind of a lawsuit.
Are you talking about the David Lee
who was in Hamlet here last season?
I knew you'd remember him.
Perfect casting, Eric. Believe me.
But he's at least fifty years old.
Let's face it, Eric. You haven't written
a play. You've written a vehicle.
A vehicle to be moulded
like gelatine to fit its star.
With David Lee in the part, we can
start the play in the second act.
In the scene where Molire realises
he's getting to be an old man.
I see.
We throw out the first act,
and half the second act.
No, no. We don't throw out anything.
He simply plays those
early scenes in retrospect.
I admit it means a bit of rewriting.
But there will be plenty of time
for that while I'm in London.
You'd better write out that
check before we both forget it.
What's the matter, Eric? You in trouble?
Where's Janet?
She's living with Alma.
You separated?
I'd rather not talk about it.
Well of course we'll talk about it.
Get it out of your system.
Best thing in the world that
could have happened to you.
[ Telephone ]
Mr Busch? Abel Richman.
I understand, Saxon is back in town.
Can you speak freely?
I thought not.
Well, listen carefully.
Stanhope and I have read
your original version.
We think it's terrific.
He wants to do it.
I want to direct it.
We don't want to change a line.
And we guarantee to go into
rehearsal within ten days.
What's your answer?
Just simply say yes or no.
Ah .. so at last you've
freed yourself, huh?
Though I know you're upset now, Eric.
But you are better off a bachelor.
You'll have more time
for your writing, and ..
A wider variety of women
for your literary palette.
You are an artist, Eric.
Not a country schoolteacher.
You have no idea how much your
work suffered because of Janet.
Oh, there's nothing wrong with her.
She's just a typical woman, that's all.
And no artist can function when
he's chained to the commonplace.
Good riddance, my boy. Janet wasn't for
you. She was for a floor-walker or a ..
A small-town grocer, or an insurance ..
[ Banging noise ]
I was trying to get you at home.
What happened to your eye, Boss?
Never mind my eye.
Why are you calling me?
The boys are calling from the papers.
Abel Richman is
producing The Comic Spirit.
With Peter Stanhope.
What happened with you and Busch?
That cheap pulp writer?
Where were you a while
ago when I needed you?
Looking for a job, Boss.
You ungrateful rat.
Okay, I'm anything you say. But I got
a wife and kids and they've got to eat.
Maybe you don't know it yet,
but you're finished on Broadway.
From top to bottom,
they're closing you out.
I'm sorry.
I don't know how to tell you, Boss.
It's as if you've
forgotten that people ..
Are people.
You don't even think of yourself
as a human being anymore.
When that happens ..
A person is bound
to hurt a lot of people.
I guess .. most of all, himself.
Do you understand what I'm ..
Trying to say, Boss?
But if you ask me to stick with you ..
I will.
You know that.
But .. please don't ask me to.
Please don't.
Goodbye, Hermy.
So long, Boss.
Mr Cyril Leatham, please.
Hello Cyril.
Did I wake you up?
This is Matt Saxon.
I'm sorry I ..
Well, I just got back from Hollywood.
And I was met with
some very tragic news.
I said I was met with
some very tragic news.
The news of my .. ex-wife's death.
Suicide, I'm afraid.
Yes. It's horrible.
I can't sleep.
And I feel so terribly alone.
I know it's asking a great deal and
I have no right to ask it, but I ..
I thought maybe if you
could meet me someplace.
It might help me to talk
with you about your play.
No. I haven't read it, yet.
But if you could me somewhere,
anywhere I can ..
I see.
Did you agree to let him produce it?
Did you sign anything?
Suppose you let me take
care of that little detail.
Unless, of course ..
You would prefer an idiot like
that to .. mutilate your material.
Well there is a ..
There is a little place called
the Fuss 'n' Feathers.
[ Singing ]
"I'm in the mood for love."
"Simply because you're near me."
"But if, but when, you're near me."
"I'm in the mood for love."
"Heaven is in your eyes."
"As bright as the stars we're under."
"Nor is it any wonder."
Alma said you'd be back.
Janet .. look ..
[ Singing ]
"This little dream I face."
"We'll put our hearts together."
This is terrible, darlig.
I rehearsed over and over
what I'd like to say to you.
But now my mind is a blank.
Maybe we'd better hurry to
the islnd while it's still blank.
Save it.