NEW YORK CITY, 187TH STREET. A SUMMER DAY
Just east of Webster Avenue in the North Bronx, 187th Street
is a predominantly Italian community and the commercial avenue
of the neighborhood. Fruit and vegetable stands, pizzerias,
butcher shops, bakeries, cleaners and dyers and bars flourish.
It is Saturday morning around eleven o'clock -- a market
WOMEN, dark, gesticulative, with bulging cloth shopping bags,
baby carriages. MERCHANTS at their improvised street stands,
hawking their wares, disputing with their CUSTOMERS, roaring
salutations to PASSERSBY.
In the midst of all this, CAMERA HOMES IN on a typical
Delicatessens hang on the walls, wreathed with garlands of
garlic. PATSY, the boss, a swarthy man of sixty, is flopping
a chunk of beef onto the scale for the benefit of a forty-
year-old MATRON. There are three or four other WOMEN in the
shop, all talking to one another. A four-year-old BOY lazily
chases a cat.
The white refrigerator room door opens, and a second butcher,
MARTY PILLETTI, comes out carrying a large leg of lamb. Marty
is a mildmannered, short, stout, balding man of thirty-four.
His charm lies in an almost indestructible good humor. He
drops the leg of lamb onto the chopping block, reaches up
for the cleaver hanging with the other utensils over the
block and makes quick incisive cuts into the leg of lamb. He
sets the cleaver aside, picks up the saw to finish the cuts
as he chats with his customer, MRS. FUSARI.
Your kid brother got married last
Sunday, eh, Marty?
That's right, Missus Fusari. It was
a very nice affair.
That's the big tall one, the fellow
with the moustache.
No, that's my other brother, Freddie.
My other brother Freddie, he's been
married four years already. He lives
down on Webb Avenue. The one who got
married Sunday, that was my little
I thought he was a big tall fat
fellow. Didn't I meet him here one
time? Big tall, fat fellow, he tried
to sell me life insurance?
Marty sets the five chops on the scale, watches its weight
No, that's my sister Margaret's
husband, Frank. My sister Margaret,
she's married to the insurance
salesman, and my sister Rose, she
married a contractor. They moved to
Detroit last year. And my other sister
Frances, she got married about two
and a half years ago in Saint John's
Church on Kingsbridge Avenue. Oh,
that was a big affair. Well, let's
see now, that'll be about a dollar-
seventy-nine. How's that with you?
Mrs. Fusari produces an old leather change purse from her
pocketbook and painfully extracts one single dollar bill and
seventy-nine cents to the penny and lays the money piece by
piece on the counter. From the rear of the shop a woman's
VOICE rings out.
Hey, Marty, I'm inna hurry.
You're next right now, Missus Canduso.
When you gonna get married, Marty?
You should be ashamed of yourself.
All your brothers and sisters, they
all younger than you, they married
and they got children. I just saw
your mother inna fruit shop, and she
says to me, "Hey, you know a nice
girl for my boy Marty?" Watsa matter
with you? That's no way. Now you get
Missus Fusari, Missus Canduso over
there, she's inna big hurry, and...
Mrs. Fusari takes her parcel of meat, but apparently she
feels she still hasn't quite made her point.
My son Frank, he was married when he
was nineteen years old. Watsa matter
That's swell, Missus Fusari.
You should be ashamed of yourself.
She takes her package of meat. Marty gathers up the money on
the counter, turns to the cash register behind him to ring
up the sale. Mrs. Canduso sidles up to the counter.
Marty, I want a nice, big fat pullet,
about four pounds. I hear your kid
brother got married last Sunday.
Yeah, it was a very nice affair.
Marty, you oughta be ashamed. All
your kid brothers and sisters married
and have children. When you gonna
NEIGHBORHOOD BAR. LATE AFTERNOON
A TV set on the wall. Mel Allen, smoking a White Owl cigar,
is recapping the baseball game that has just finished as
Marty comes in.
(to two YOUNG MEN
The Yanks took two.
The Young Men exit without answering. Marty moves further
into the bar, which is crowded with locals, smoky, noisy.
ACROSS GROUP at bar with Marty in the background approaching,
we see a group consisting of RALPH, who wears a suit and
tie, the only man in the room who isn't in shirtsleeves or a
Basque shirt; JOE, thirty-two, hunched over a girlie magazine;
a KID, twenty-two, studying the magazine over Joe's shoulder.
(to the Kid)
Angie come in yet?
The Kid indicates a booth where a small wasp of a man, mid-
thirties, is sitting, bent over the sports pages of the Daily
So these two girls come over to the
...and they sit down right next to
You want a beer, Ang'?
I look over at this one nexta me,
not bad, about thirty-five -- Hiya,
...I been talking about two nurses
Leo and me picked up in a bar on
Hey, Lou, gimme two bottles-a beer...
So, Marty, lemme tell you about these
(to Joe studying his
Waddaya read there, Joe?
AD LIB VOICE
Hey, Lou, turn the television off!
Turns out these two girls are nurses
in some hospital on a Hundred and
They shouldn't sell magazines like
this on a public newsstand...
That's the truth.
(turning a page)
Can you imagine the effect this has
So, Marty, let me tell you about
(reaching for two
bottles of beer
proffered by the
The nurses Leo and me picked up last
night. We got a date with them
(moving off to Angie's
You still owe me ten bucks from last
week, if that's what you're working
Joe turns another page in the girlie magazine.
Now that's something, eh?
I used to go out with a girl like
You should live so long.
Marty joins his friend Angie and pushes a bottle of beer at
him, pulling one of the pages loose from the paper Angie is
reading. For a moment, the two men sit quietly, each poring
over his separate piece of newspaper.
(without looking up)
So waddaya feel like doing tonight?
I don't know, Ang'. Wadda you feel
Well, we oughta do something. It's
Saturday night. I don't wanna go
bowling like last Saturday. How about
calling up that big girl we picked
up inna movies about a month ago in
the RKO Chester?
(not very interested)
Which one was that?
That big girl that was sitting in
front of us with the skinny friend.
We took them home alla way out in
Brooklyn. Her name was Mary Feeney.
What do you say? You think I oughta
give her a ring? I'll take the skinny
She probably got a date by now, Angie.
Well, let's call her up. What can we
I didn't like her, Angie. I don't
feel like calling her up.
Well, what do you feel like doing
I don't know. What do you feel like
Well, we're back to that, huh? I say
to you, "What do you feel like doing
tonight?" And you say to me, "I don't
know, what do you feel like doing?"
And then we wind up sitting around
your house with a coupla cansa beer,
watching Sid Caesar on television.
Well, I tell you what I feel like
doing. I feel like calling up this
Mary Feeney. She likes you.
What makes you say that?
I could see she likes you.
(half-rising in his
I'll call her up.
You call her up for yourself, Angie.
I don't feel like calling her up.
Angie sits down again. They both return to their papers for
a moment. Then Angie looks up again.
How about going downa Seventy-Second
Street, see what we can find? Ralph
says you have to beat them off with
Marty makes a wry face at the suggestion.
Boy, you're getting to be a real
drag, you know that?
Angie, I'm thirty-four years old. I
been looking for a girl every Saturday
night of my life. I'm tired of
looking. Everybody's always telling
me to get married. Get married. Get
married. Don't you think I wanna get
married? I wanna get married. They
drive me crazy. Now, I don't wanna
wreck your Saturday night for you,
Angie. You wanna go somewhere, you
go ahead. I don't wanna go.
My old lady, every word outta her
mouth, when you gonna get married?
My mother, boy, she drives me crazy.
Angie leans back in his seat, scowls at the paper napkin
container on the booth table. Marty returns to the sports
page. For a moment, a silence hangs between them.
So what do you feel like doing
(without looking up)
I don't know. What do you feel like
(from phone booth in
Marty, your mother wants you onna
(rising in response;
Come on over about half past seven,
we'll think of something.
(settles into the
phone booth, picks
up the receiver)
Hello, Ma, what's the matter?
PILLETTI HOME, LIVING ROOM.
It's a typical lower-middle-class Italian home, and MRS.
PILLETTI is on the phone, a round, dark woman. Beyond her,
in the dining room, we can see a young couple -- THOMAS,
Marty's cousin, and his wife VIRGINIA, seated at the dining
Hello, Marty, when you coming home?
Where you now? Because your cousin
Thomas and his wife Virginia, they're
here. They had another fight with
your Aunt Catherine... I don't know...
(in the phone booth)
I'm coming home right now, Ma. I'll
be home in about two minutes. Tell
Thomas stick around, I wanna see him
PILLETTI HOME, LIVING ROOM.
Mrs. Pilletti is on the phone.
Okay, you come on home, okay.
She hangs up, braces herself, turns and starts back to Thomas
and Virginia in the dining room.
He coming home right now.
So what happened, Aunt Theresa, about
the milk bottle was my mother-in-
law, she comes inna kitchen, Aunt
Theresa, and she begins poking her
head over my shoulder here and poking
her head over my shoulder there, so
then she begins telling me how I
waste money and how I can't cook,
and how I'm raising my baby all wrong,
so she got me so nervous, I spilled
some milk I was making for the baby...
She was here, you know, Wednesday,
and I said, "Catherine, my sister..."
So she say, "You're spilling the
milk." So she kept talking about
these coupla drops of milk I spilled,
so she got me so mad, so I said,
"Mama, you wanna see me really spill
some milk?" So I took the bottle,
and I threw it against the door. I
didn't throw it at her. That's just
something she made up. She goes around
telling everybody I threw the bottla
milk at her. I didn't throw it
anywheres near her. Well, I was sorry
right away, you know, but she ran
outta the house.
Well, I don't know what you want me
to do, Virginia. If you want me,
I'll go talk to her tonight.
Thomas and Virginia suddenly frown and look down at their
hands as if of one mind.
Well, I'll tell you, Aunt Theresa...
Lemme tell it, Tommy.
We want you to do a very big favor
for us, Aunt Theresa.
Aunt Theresa, you got this big house
here. I mean, you got this big house
just for you and Marty. And I thought
maybe Tommy's mother could come here
and live with you and Marty.
Because I called up Tommy's brother
Joe, and I said, "Joe, she's driving
me crazy. Why don't you take her for
a couple of years?" And he said, "Oh
no!" I know I sound like a terrible
No, Virginia, I know how you feel.
(on the verge of tears)
I just can't stand it any more! Every
minute of the day! Do this! Do that!
I don't have ten minutes privacy
with my husband! We can't even have
a fight! We don't have no privacy!
Everybody's miserable in our house!
All right, Ginnie, don't get so
She's right. She's right. Young
husband and wife, they should have
their own home. And my sister
Catherine, she's my sister, but I
gotta admit, she's an old goat. And
plenty-a times in my life, I feel
like throwing the milk bottle at her
myself. And I tell you now, as far
as I'm concerned, if Catherine wantsa
come live here with me and Marty,
it's all right with me.
Virginia promptly bursts into tears.
(not far from tears
himself, lowers his
That's very nice-a you, Aunt Theresa.
We gotta ask Marty, of course.
You just sit here, I gotta turn the
fire on under the cooking.
(exits into the kitchen)
(having mastered her
That's very nice-a you, Aunt Theresa.
(calling to his aunt
in the kitchen)
How's Marty been lately, Aunt Theresa?
Oh, he's fine. You know a nice girl
he can marry?
She comes back into the dining room, wiping her hands on a
Oh, he'll get married, don't worry,
(sitting down again)
Well, I don't know. He sits arounna
house alla time. You know a place he
can go where he can find a bride?
Well, there's the Stardust Ballroom.
That's a kind of a big dance hall.
Every Saturday night, it's just loaded
with girls. It's a nice place to go.
You pay seventy-seven cents. It used
to be seventy-seven cents. It must
be about a buck and half now. And
you go in and you ask some girl to
dance. That's how I met Virginia.
Nice, respectable place to meet girls.
You tell Marty, Aunt Theresa, you
tell him, "Go to the Stardust
Ballroom. It's loaded with tomatoes."
(committing the line
The Stardust Ballroom. It's loaded
This is very nice-a you, Aunt Theresa,
what you're doing for us, and don't
think we don't appreciate...
The SOUND of the DOOR BEING UNLATCHED in the kitchen can be
heard. Mrs. Pilletti promptly rises.
She hurries into...
Marty comes into the kitchen from the rear porch.
Marty, Thomas and Virginia are here.
They had another fight with your
Aunt Catherine. So they ask me, would
it be all right if Catherine come to
live with us. So I said, all right
with me, but we have to ask you.
Marty, she's a lonely old lady. Nobody
wants her. Everybody's throwing her
outta their house...
Sure, Ma, it's okay with me.
You gotta good heart.
She turns and leads the way back into the dining room. Marty
Thomas has risen. Mrs. Pilletti and Marty come in.
He says okay, it's all right Catherine
Oh, Marty, thanks a lot. That really
takes a load offa my mind.
Oh, we got plenny-a room here.
Sure! Sure! It's gonna be nice! It's
gonna be nice! I'll come over tonight
to your house, and I talk with
Catherine, and you see, everything
is gonna work out all right.
I just wanna thank you people again,
because the situation was just
Siddown, Thomas, siddown.
She exits into the kitchen. Virginia follows her to the
kitchen door, where the two women ad-lib the following lines
over the ensuing scene between Marty and Thomas.
I'm sorry we gotta rush like this...
That's all right, that's all right...
I'm gonna see you tonight...
Over this, Thomas talks to Marty.
Marty, I don't know how to tell you
how much I appreciate what you and
your mother are doing, because the
kinda thing was happening in our
house was Virginia was in the kitchen
making some milk for the baby. So my
mother comes in...
Tommy, I promised the babysitter six
Tommy, before you go, I wonder if
you gimme a little advice.
You're the accountant inna family,
and I figure you might know about
these things. My boss wantsa sell
his shop to me. His kids are all
married, you know, and he and his
wife live alone, and they wanna move
out to California where his daughter
lives, so he wantsa sell his shop.
He wants five thousand dollars down,
although I think I can knock him
deep in the kitchen)
I'll see you at mass tomorrow. We'll
sit down and we'll discuss the whole
All right, I'll see you, Thomas,
because he wants an answer by Monday.
Sure. Thanks a lot about my mother.
We'll work out some arrangement,
because naturally I want to pay...
Don't worry about it.
No, listen, that's my mother, I'm
gonna pay for her...
Goodby, Virginia! See you soon!
Thomas has moved off to join his wife in the kitchen where
we can hear them exchanging final protestations and goodbys
with Mrs. Pilletti. Marty sits at the table, hands folded in
front of him, stolid, pensive.
THE KITCHEN. DUSK.
Mrs. Pilletti bends over her steaming kettles. Through the
window we see evening is gathering.
It's a small room with bed, chest of drawers, religious
pictures, etc. Marty sits squatly on the edge of the bed,
absorbed in thought. He stands, moves out into...
THE GROUND FLOOR CORRIDOR.
...and down that into...
THE DINING ROOM.
...now lit by the overhead neo-Tiffany lampshade and the
beaded old-fashioned lamps. He crosses to the kitchen door,
looks in on his mother, cooking away, turns, crosses back
THE LIVING ROOM.
He closes the sliding doors that separate the living and
dining rooms. He extracts a small black address book from
his hip pocket, flips through it, finds the page he wants,
studies it intently.
He sits on the chair by the phone, dials.
(with a vague pretense
at good diction)
Hello, is this Mary Feeney?... Could
I speak to Miss Mary Feeney?... Just
tell her an old friend...
He waits again. With his free hand he wipes the gathering
sweat on his brow.
...Oh, hello there, is this Mary
Feeney? Hello there, this is Marty
Pilletti. I wonder if you recall
me... Well, I'm kind of a stocky
guy. The last time we met was in a
movie, the RKO Chester. You was with
another girl, and I was with a friend
of mine named Angie. This was about
a month ago...
The girl apparently doesn't remember him. A sort of panic
begins to seize Marty. His voice rises a little.
The RKO Chester in Westchester Square.
You was sitting in front of us, and
we was annoying you, and you got
mad, and... I'm the fellow who works
in a butcher shop... Come on, you
know who I am!... That's right, we
went to Howard Johnson's and we had
hamburgers. You hadda milkshake...
Yeah, that's right. I'm the stocky
one, the heavy-set feller... Well,
I'm glad you recall me, because I
hadda swell time that night, and I
was just wondering how everything
was with you. How's everything?...
That's swell... Yeah, well, I'll
tell you why I called...I was figuring
on taking in a movie tonight, and I
was wondering if you and your friend
would care to see a movie tonight
with me and my friend...
(his eyes are closed
Yeah, tonight. I know it's pretty
late to call for a date, but I didn't
know myself, till... Yeah, I know,
well how about... Yeah, I know, well
maybe next Saturday night. You free
next Saturday night?... Well, how
about the Saturday after that?...
Yeah, I know... Yeah... Yeah... Oh,
I understand, I mean...
He hangs up, sits for a moment, then rises, opens the sliding
THE DINING ROOM.
He sits at the heavy, wooden table with its white-on-white
Mrs. Pilletti ladles portions of food from the steaming
kettles onto a plate that she brings into...
THE DINING ROOM.
...and sets it down before her son. Without a word, he picks
up his fork and spoon and plunges into the mountain of
spaghetti, adds cheese, eats away. Mrs. Pilletti takes her
seat, folds her hands on the table, and sits watching Marty
So what are you gonna do tonight,
I don't know, Ma. I'm all knocked
out. I may just hang arounna house.
Mrs. Pilletti nods a couple of times. A moment of silence.
Why don't you go to the Stardust
This gives Marty pause. He looks up.
I say, why don't you go to the
Stardust Ballroom? It's loaded with
Marty regards his mother for a moment.
It's loaded with what?
Ha! Who told you about the Stardust
Thomas. He told me it was a very
Oh, Thomas. Ma, it's just a big dance
hall, and that's all it is. I been
there a hundred times. Loaded with
tomatoes. Boy, you're funny, Ma.
Marty, I don't want you hang arounna
house tonight. I want you to go take
a shave and go out and dance.
Ma, when are you gonna give up? You
gotta bachelor on your hands. I ain't
never gonna get married.
You gonna get married.
Sooner or later, there comes a point
in a man's life when he gotta face
some facts, and one fact I gotta
face is that whatever it is that
women like, I ain't got it. I chased
enough girls in my life. I went to
enough dances. I got hurt enough. I
don't wanna get hurt no more. I just
called a girl just now, and I got a
real brush-off, boy. I figured I was
past the point of being hurt, but
that hurt. Some stupid woman who I
didn't even wanna call up. She gave
me the brush. I don't wanna go to
the Stardust Ballroom because all
that ever happened to me there was
girls made me feel like I was a bug.
I got feelings, you know. I had enough
pain. No, thank you.
Ma, I'm gonna stay home and watch
You gonna die without a son.
So I'll die without a son.
Put on your blue suit...
Blue suit, gray suit, I'm still a
fat man. A fat ugly man.
You not ugly.
(his voice rising)
I'm ugly... I'm ugly! I'm UGLY!
Ma! Leave me alone!
He stands abruptly, his face pained and drawn. He makes half-
formed gestures to his mother, but he can't find words at
the moment. He turns and marches a few paces away, turns to
his mother again.
Ma, waddaya want from me?! Waddaya
want from me?! I'm miserable enough
as it is! Leave me alone! I'll go to
the Stardust Ballroom! I'll put onna
blue suit and I'll go! And you know
what I'm gonna get for my trouble?
Heartache! A big night of heartache!
Sullenly, he marches back to his seat, sits down, picks up
his fork, plunges it into the spaghetti, stuffs a mouthful
into his mouth, and chews vigorously for a moment. It is
impossible for him to remain angry long. After a while, he
is shaking his head.
Loaded with tomatoes...boy, that's
He plunges his fork in again, starts to eat. Mrs. Pilletti
watches Marty anxiously as we...
NEW YORK CITY, WEST FARMS SQUARE. NIGHT
West Farms Square is a big street in the Bronx, filled with
stores, bowling alleys and bars. Cars push along between the
pillars of the elevated subway structure. The NOISE of the
subway trains ROARS by overhead every few moments.
CAMERA FINDS and ESTABLISHES the Stardust Ballroom. It
occupies the second floor of a large, dirty gray three-story
building. It is a hot June night, and the windows are open
for ventilation purposes. MUSIC manufactured by Dave
Greenglass and His Band blends with the NOISES of the street.
STARDUST BALLROOM. ENTRANCE VESTIBULE/STAIRS.
MUSIC plays in the background. CAMERA views CLARA, a plain
girl in her late twenties; her younger sister, MILLIE,
prettier; Millie's fiance ANDY, 30; and a second young man
DR. KEEGAN, also 30, who is a resident at Fordham Hospital.
They are all huddled over a cigarette machine near the street
(in a low voice)
I told you she wasn't especially
attractive, but that she had a good
deal of charm, and she's really a
real nice girl...
from the machine)
She's all right, Andy. It's just
that I get one Saturday night off
every three weeks, and I was expecting
something better, that's all.
I told you she wasn't attractive...
You told me that she was a little
tall, but that she wasn't bad looking
Millie's been after me to fix her up
with a date, so I...
All right, I'm having a fair time.
It's just that I get one Saturday
night off in three weeks, and I wanted
to wind up with something tonight.
They join the two girls waiting for them and start up the
broad stairway to the second floor. They are halfway up,
when two GIRLS come in at the top of the stairs and start
down. Dr. Keegan, who is holding Clara's arm, looks up, nods.
STARDUST BALLROOM, ANTEROOM.
This is a small, carpeted lobby with TICKET TAKER in booth,
a cloak room and rest rooms. Painted posters on the walls
announce coming events and caution against smoking. There
are also large blow-ups of musicians who had played this
ballroom at one time and went on to bigger things. About six
or seven PEOPLE congregate in the lobby, engaged in various
CAMERA ANGLES include the swinging doors, as Clara, Andy,
Millie and Dr. Keegan come in. As they enter, the doors to
the ballroom proper are pushed out, and a GIRL in a black
dress, quite pretty, comes in. She starts across the anteroom
toward the cloak room, when Dr. Keegan calls out suddenly to
The girl turns. Recognition floods her face.
Herbie! Wadda you doing here?!
I came up to dance, wadda you think?
You here with somebody?
I'm just here with another girl.
Where you going now?
I'm just gonna get my cigarettes. I
left them in my coat.
I'll see you around.
I'll see you.
She turns and continues on to the cloak room. Dr. Keegan
turns to Clara.
That's a girl used to know.
A fairly long room, lined on one side by a bar and on the
other by cheap leatherette booths. It is brightly lit and
crowded. There is a constant movement in and out of the
lounge. At the far end of the lounge, there are two large
iron fire doors open to allow the heat to flow out. Dance
MUSIC from dance floor.
Clara, Dr. Keegan, Millie and Andy come into the lounge and
form a little group in the midst of moving PASSERSBY around
them. A kind of strange excitement has begun to enter Dr.
Keegan. He stands with the others, but his attention is
devoted to ogling the passing GIRLS, occasionally looking
back to the doors leading to the anteroom.
Boy, it's packed in here.
Some of these kids are awful young.
Aren't you afraid you'll bump into
one of your students?
(nervously looking at
I wouldn't think so. I teach out in
You been up here before, Clara?
Shall we try to get a table and get
something to drink or shall we just
go in and start dancing?
Dr. Keegan doesn't seem to hear.
You wanna have a drink before we
Listen. You people go grab a table.
I'll be back inna minute. I'll be
He turns and moves quickly through the crowded lounge, back
to the swinging doors leading into the anteroom. CAMERA STAYS
with Clara, Millie and Andy staring after him.
So what do you say, Clara? Wanna see
if we can get a table?
They turn and move toward the booths.
The dance floor is fairly dark. A romantic effect is achieved
by papier-mâché over the chandeliers. Around the walls are
the stag lines -- the MEN and waiting GIRLS. They stand singly
or in small uneasy groups. There is constant flux and
CAMERA DOLLIES slowly past the stag line, moving past faces,
short, fat, tall, thin stags. Some pretend indifference.
Some exhibit patent hunger.
CAMERA HOLDS ANGLING to include Marty, Angie near the end of
the stag line. They are freshly shaved and groomed.
MARTY AND ANGIE.
They are leaning against the wall smoking, watching their
more fortunate brethren on the floor in the background.
Not a bad crowd tonight, you know?
There was one nice-looking one there
inna black dress and beads, but she's
There's a nice-looking little short
one for you right now.
(following his gaze)
Down there. That little one there.
REVERSE ANGLE PAST Marty and Angie across the dance floor
toward the wall opposite, where three GIRLS are standing.
Two are leaning against the wall. The third is facing them
with her back to the dance floor. This last girl is the one
Angie has in mind. She is a cute little kid about twenty and
wears a bright smile.
MARTY AND ANGIE.
They stare off toward the three girls across the room.
Yeah, she looks all right from here.
Well, waddaya say, you wanna ask
them? I'll take the one inna green
I think this number is a little fast.
Wait a minute.
He tries a few tentative steps, testing for tempo.
It's all right, I think. They still
The two cavaliers turn their heads and look off-screen in
the direction of the three girls. Apparently, the girls are
still there. Marty and Angie relinquish their lounging
positions against the wall and slouch along past the line of
stags with a show of determined unconcern. They edge through
the crush of people on the non-dancing margin of the dance
floor and slowly push their way toward the...
Marty and Angie come in and start to approach the three girls.
The girls, aware of the boys' presence, stiffen and their
chatter comes to a halt. Angie advances to one of the girls.
Waddaya say, you wanna dance?
The girl looks surprised, as if this were an extraordinary
invitation to receive in a dance hall, looks confounded at
her two friends, shrugs, detaches herself from the wall,
moves to the outer fringe of the pack of dancers, raises her
hand languidly to dancing position and awaits Angie with
ineffable boredom. Marty, smiling tentatively, addresses the
Excuse me, would you care for this
The Short Girl gives Marty a quick glance of appraisal, then
looks quickly at her remaining friend.
(but not unpleasantly)
I don't feel like dancing just yet.
He turns and heads sluggishly in the direction of the stag
THE STAG LINE.
A TRAVEL SHOT follows Marty, as he moves past the line of
stags, all of whom are watching him. CAMERA HOLDS as he finds
his old niche by the wall, leans there. A moment later, he
glances guardedly down to where the short girl and her friend
MARTY'S P.O.V.: The Short Girl is approached by a dapper
young BOY who asks her to dance. She smiles, excuses herself
to her friend and follows the boy out onto the dance floor.
Marty stares at the Short Girl. He shrugs, he's used to this
kind of thing, then turns his attention bleakly back to
THE DANCE FLOOR.
The band starts up again and the MUSIC blares. It's a Lindy
Hop number. Couples swirl past; the MUSIC comes up BIG.
Marty leans against the wall, smoking and watching the dancers
swirl past. Dr. Keegan's VOICE is heard.
You here stag or with a girl?
Marty's attention is on the passing couples, so he doesn't
seem to hear. ANGLE WIDENS to include the Doctor standing on
Marty's right. Suddenly aware of the Doctor, Marty turns his
You say something?
Yeah. I was just asking you if you
was here stag or with a girl.
Well, I'll tell you. I got stuck on
a blind date with a dog, and I just
met an old girl I used to know, and
I was wondering how I'm gonna get
rid of the girl I'm with. Somebody
to take her home, you know what I
mean? I'd be glad to pay you five
bucks if you take her home for me.
I'll take you over, and I'll introduce
you as an old army buddy of mine,
and then I'll cut out. Because I got
this other girl waiting for me out
by the hatcheck, and I'll pay you
(stares at the man)
Are you kidding?
No, I'm not kidding.
You can't just walk off onna girl
Dr. Keegan shrugs, moves down the line of stag guys. Marty
turns to watch him, still a little shocked at the proposition.
The Doctor approaches THREE STAGS and obviously broaches the
subject with one of them. This STAG seems more receptive to
the idea. Dr. Keegan takes out a wallet and gives the Stag a
five dollar bill. The Stag detaches himself from the wall
and, a little ill-at-ease, follows the Doctor.
Marty stands against the wall, watching the Doctor and the
Stag, who come in and move past him. Concerned and curious,
Marty stares after them, then moves out of his leaning
position, following in their general direction.
Marty moves through the crush of young men and women in the
area around the dance floor.
ALCOVE NEAR ARCHWAY.
As Marty reaches the alcove that separates the dance floor
proper from the lounge, he pauses and looks off toward the
Clara sits about halfway down the length of the booths. Dr.
Keegan and the Stag stand over her, talking to her. She is
looking up at them, her hands nervously gripping a Coca Cola
glass. Dr. Keegan is obviously introducing the Stag to Clara
and is going through some story about being called away on
an emergency. The Stag is presented as her escort-to-be, who
will see to it that she gets home safely.
Clara is not taken in by any of this, although she is trying
hard not to seem affected. She politely rejects the Stag's
company and will go home by herself, thanks for asking anyway.
Dr. Keegan makes a few mild protestations, and then he and
the Stag leave the booth and start back toward the archway.
From where Marty stands, he can watch Clara, as well as Dr.
Keegan and the Stag. The Doctor and the Stag start past Marty,
and he catches their conversation.
...in that case, as long as she's
going home alone, give me the five
Look, Mac, you paid me the five bucks.
I was willing. It's my five bucks...
They move past and away and Marty stares after them before
he turns his attention toward Clara off-screen.
Clara is sitting as she was, gripping and ungripping the
glass of Coca Cola in front of her. Her eyes are closed.
Then, with a little nervous shake of her head she gets out
of the booth and stands momentarily at a loss for what next
to do. As she glances around, CAMERA ANGLES to include a
sign over an exit that reads "Fire Escape." Clara starts
moving toward that door.
Marty is staring off-screen toward Clara. He slowly works
his way down the length of the lounge in the general direction
of the fire escape.
Near the entrance to the fire escape, Clara comes into view.
Background sounds continue steadily.
Marty is walking the length of the lounge and suddenly stops
and stares off-screen.
Clara disappears through the exit onto the fire escape
Marty watches. Then he continues on, crossing the threshold
It is sizeable, almost a small balcony. It looks out onto
the backs of innumerable five-story apartment houses. Clara
is standing by the railing, her back toward the camera, her
head sunk down. She is crying. Marty watches her for a moment
before moving a step or two forward.
Clara doesn't turn. Marty tries to think of something to
Excuse me, Miss, would you care to
Clara slowly turns to Marty, her face streaked with tears,
her lips trembling. Then, in one of those moments of
simultaneous impulse, she lurches to Marty with a sob, and
Marty takes her to him.
They stand in an awkward embrace, Marty a little embarrassed,
looking back through the fire escape doors to the lounge,
wondering if anybody is seeing them. He reaches back with
one hand, and contrives, with some effort, to push one of
the heavy iron doors shut. He returns his hand around the
girl's shoulders. He stands stiffly, allowing her to cry on
his chest, as we...
BRONX APARTMENT HOUSE, STAIRWAY. NIGHT
Mrs. Pilletti, in her hat and coat and carrying a purse, is
making her heavy way up the last few steps toward the landing.
She pauses to catch her breath on the landing. Then she moves
down the hallway to...
ENTRANCE TO APARTMENT 4-B.
Mrs. Pilletti rings the bell. The SOUND can be heard as she
waits. The door is opened by Virginia.
Hello, Aunt Theresa. Come in.
Mrs. Pilletti enters the apartment.
Virginia closes the door after Mrs. Pilletti enters, and
they stand in a small narrow hallway, brightly lit. At the
far end to the right is the living room in the background.
(in a low voice as
she pulls off her
Is Catherine here?
Virginia helps her with her coat.
(nods, keeping her
We didn't tell her anything yet. We
thought that we'd leave it to you.
We thought you'd put it like how you
were lonely, and why don't she come
to live with you. Because that way
it looks like she's doing you a favor,
insteada we're throwing her out, and
it won't be so cruel on her. Do you
want Tommy and me to stay here with
I think it be a better idea if you
and Thomas go out, because otherwise
she's gonna start a fight with you,
and everybody's gonna be yelling.
Thomas appears at the living room end of the foyer with an
anxious smile on his face.
Hello, Aunt Theresa.
I just this minute got the baby to
He comes down to Mrs. Pilletti and Virginia, lowers his voice
to a conspiratorial whisper.
Aunt Theresa, we figure the best way
to ask her is you say that you're
very lonely, see? And wouldn't she
come and keep you company, because
that way, you see...
Don't worry. I'm gonna take care-a
the whole thing.
A shrill, imperious woman's voice breaks into the whispered
conference in the hallway.
Who's there?! Who's there?!
Mrs. Pilletti heads up the foyer to the living room, followed
by Virginia and Thomas.
It's me, Catherine! How you feel?
CATHERINE comes in at the end of the foyer. She is a gaunt
woman with a face carved out of granite. She is tough,
embittered, with a history of pain and mirthless hard work
ingrained into her features.
Hey! What are you doing here?
I came to see you. How you feel?
The two sisters quickly embrace and release each other.
I gotta pain in my left side, and my
leg throbs like a drum.
I been getting a pain in my shoulder.
I gotta pains in my shoulder too. I
have a pain in my hip, and my right
arm aches so much I can't sleep.
It's a curse to be old. How you feel?
I feel fine.
Now that the standard greetings are over, Aunt Catherine
abruptly turns and goes back into the living room. Mrs.
Pilletti follows. Virginia and Thomas remain in the doorway.
Catherine and Mrs. Pilletti enter and Catherine heads straight
to a chair -- obviously her chair. It is an old heavy oaken
chair with thick armrests. The rest of the apartment is
furnished in what is known as "modern." A piece from House
Beautiful here, a piece from American Homes and Gardens there.
Aunt Catherine sits erect and forbidding in her chair. Mrs.
Pilletti seats herself with a sigh in a neighboring chair.
Thomas and Virginia remain off-screen in the hallway for a
moment to hang up Mrs. Pilletti's coat. The two old sisters
sit for a moment.
Well, how's everything with you?
Aunt Catherine grimaces to describe how everything is with
My son Marty's fine. Everybody's
Thomas comes in from the hallway, stands in the back of the
room, somewhat apprehensively.
We gotta postcard from my son Nickie
and his bride. They're inna big hotel
in Florida on their honeymoon.
Everything is very nice.
That's nice. I gotta letter from my
husband's cousin in Abruzzi. His
Do you remember Emilio DiGiorgio,
owned the tavern in Abruzzi?
I don't think I remember him.
Well, he died. You know who else
You know the old man upstairs in
this house. Old Irishman, always
drunk. He got pleurisy. He was inna
hospital two weeks. He died yesterday.
Well, I always like to visit you,
Catherine, because you always got
such cheerful news.
Virginia comes into the living room with Thomas. They remain
in the background.
Ma, you want something to eat, some
Hey, why don't you go to the movie?
Your mother and me, we're gonna be
Thomas looks indecisively at his wife.
Listen, let's go downa Kaplans'
apartment. They told us to come down.
Thomas ponders a moment.
All right, Ma, we're going downstairs
to the Kaplans, if you want us for
They exit. The two old sisters sit rigidly until they hear
the SOUND of the door closing. Catherine cocks an eyebrow
and promptly launches into her statement.
I wake up this morning, I hear the
baby crying. So I wake up. I come in
their room. That girl is shaking her
hand atta baby. I said, "You brute!
Don't you strike that baby! That's
my son's baby!"
It's her baby too, you know.
That's my son Thomas's baby.
Well, it ain't your baby.
Did I tell you she threw the bottle-
a milk at me?
You told me.
She's a witch, that one. I tell you
what happen yesterday?
She gave me the evil eye.
She demonstrates this by pulling the lower lid of one eye
down and staring grotesquely at the ceiling.
I keep one eye open when I sleep,
because she's gonna come in, stab me
in my bed.
Catherine, I want you come live in
my house with Marty and me.
Her sister turns, genuinely surprised at this request.
You son Thomas and Virginia, they
come to my house this afternoon...
Your son Thomas and his wife
When was this?
This afternoon, about four, five
What they say?
You know what they say. They say
things are no good in this house.
Catherine, your son is married. Leave
him in peace. He wantsa be alone
with his wife. They don't want no
old lady sitting inna balcony. Now I
tell you what I think. I want you
come live with me in my house with
Marty and me. In my house, you have
your own room. You don't have to
sleep onna couch inna living room
like here. We will cook inna kitchen
and talk like when we were girls.
You are dear to me, and you are dear
to Marty. We are pleased for you to
Catherine surveys her sister coldly.
My son Thomas came to see you this
afternoon, and he said to you he
wants to cast his mother from his
Catherine, don't make an opera outta
this. The three-a you anna baby live
in three skinny rooms. You are an
old goat, and she has an Italian
temper. She is a good girl, but you
drive her crazy. Catherine, you are
no fool. You know this is no good,
an old woman living with a husband
and wife. Two women inna same kitchen,
anna house burns down.
Catherine stands abruptly. She is deeply hurt.
So I am an old garbage bag, put inna
Oh, Catherine, please! Don't make a
tragedy. You come to my house where
you know you be happier yourself.
It pains that they should do this.
I know it pains.
Catherine turns and meanders a few steps. The stiff edge of
mordant humor that has been her one defense against life has
deserted her, and she is just a hurt old lady now.
These are the worst years, I tell
She seats herself on an Eames chair. On her right, a Modern-
Age lamp towers slimly. On her left is a Modern-Age endtable
with a Modern-Age ashtray on it. The hardened muscles in her
face suddenly slacken.
(with deep compassion)
Catherine, you are very dear to me.
We have cried many times together.
When my husband died, I would have
gone insane if it were not for you.
I ask you to come to my house, because
I can make you happy. Please come to
These are the worst years. I tell
you. It's gonna happen to you. I'm
afraida look inna mirror. I'm afraid
I'm gonna see an old lady with white
hair, like the old ladies inna park,
little bundles inna black shawl,
waiting for the coffin. I'm fifty-
six years old. What am I to do with
myself? I have strength in my hands.
I wanna cook. I wanna clean. I wanna
make dinner for my children. Am I an
old dog to lie in fronta the fire
til my eyes close? These are the
terrible years, Theresa! Terrible
Catherine, my sister...
Catherine stares distraught at Mrs. Pilletti.
It's gonna happen to you! It's gonna
happen to you! What will you do if
Marty gets married?! What will you
cook? What happen to alla children
playing in alla rooms? Where is the
noise?! It is a curse to be a widow!
A curse. What will you do if Marty
gets married?! What will you do?
She stares at Mrs. Pilletti, her deep eyes haggard and pained.
Mrs. Pilletti stares back for a moment, then her own eyes
close. Catherine has hit home. Catherine sinks back onto her
chair, sitting stiffly, her arms on the thick armrests. Mrs.
Pilletti sits hunched a little forward, her hands folded
nervously in her lap.
I will put my clothes inna bag, and
I will come to you tomorrow.
The two sisters, somber and silent, continue to just stare
at one another.
THE STARDUST BALLROOM. NIGHT
CAMERA PANS the crowd, picking up Marty and Clara dancing
cheek-to-cheek on the crowded, darkened dance floor. The
MUSIC rides over the top of the scene.
You come up here often?
I was up here twice before. Once
with a friend of mine and once I
came up alone. The last time... do
you see that girl in the gray dress
sitting over there?
Well, the last time I was up here,
that's where I sat. I sat there for
an hour and a half, without moving a
muscle. Now and then, some fellow
would sort of walk up to me and then
change his mind. I'll never forget
just sitting there for an hour and a
half with my hands in my lap. Then I
began to cry, and I had to get up
and go home.
I cry a lot too. I'm a big cryer.
This is something recent with me,
this bursting into tears at the least
Oh, I cry all the time, any little
thing. My brothers, my brother-in-
laws, they're always telling me what
a goodhearted guy I am. Well, you
don't get goodhearted by accident.
You get kicked around long enough,
you get to be a real professor of
pain. I know exactly how you feel.
And I also want you to know I'm having
a very good time with you now and
really enjoying myself. So you see,
you're not such a dog as you think
I'm having a very good time, too.
So there you are. So I guess I'm not
such a dog as I think I am.
You're a very nice guy, and I don't
know why some girl hasn't grabbed
you off long ago.
I don't know either. I think I'm a
very nice guy. I also think I'm a
pretty smart guy in my own way.
Clara smiles briefly at this.
Now I figure, two people get married,
and they gonna live together forty,
fifty years. So it's just gotta be
more than whether they're good looking
or not. You tell me you think you're
not very good-looking. My father was
a really ugly man, but my mother
adored him. She told me that she
used to get so miserable sometimes,
like everybody, you know? And she
says my father always tried to
understand. I used to see them
sometimes when I was a kid, sitting
in the living room, talking and
talking, and I used to adore my old
man, because he was so kind. That's
one of the most beautiful things I
have in my life, the way my father
and mother were. And my father was a
real ugly man. So it doesn't matter
if you look like a gorilla. So you
see, dogs like us, we ain't such
dogs as we think we are.
They dance silently for a moment, cheeks pressed against
I'm twenty-nine years old. How old
Marty and Clara are about halfway down the steps leading to
the street entrance to the ballroom. Clara has on a light
summer coat. Marty is about two steps ahead of her and has
to keep turning his head to talk to her. He is in an elevated
mood, intoxicated -- on a talking jag.
...you teach chemistry? That's funny.
Where? What school?
Benjamin Franklin High School.
Benjamin Franklin, where's that?
Brooklyn? I went to Theodore Roosevelt
right up here on Fordham Road. It's
right arounna corner from my house.
I have a cousin who's a teacher. He
teaches Latin. He lives in Chicago.
He was studying to be a Jesuit, but
he gave it up after his first vows.
He has reached the street landing and waits for Clara to
catch up with him. They stand in front of the glass doors
leading to the street.
BALLROOM VESTIBULE. GLASS DOORS.
I was pretty good in high school. I
sound like a jerk now, but I was
pretty good. I graduated with an
eighty-two average. That ain't bad.
I was accepted at City College. I
filled out the application and
everything, but my old man died, so
I hadda go to work. My best class
was German. That was my first
language. Der, die, das -- des, der,
des. There you are, I still
He pushes the glass door open to...
THE STREET OUTSIDE THE STARDUST BALLROOM.
As Marty and Clara emerge onto the sidewalk of West Farms
Square, they pause again.
It is about nine o'clock, and the busy street is brightly
lit from the stores.
PASSERSBY hurry on their way. The elevated subway RUMBLES
You know what I was good at in high
school? I was good in Math. You know
how long ago I graduated high school?
June, nineteen-thirty-seven. Holy
cow! June, nineteen-thirty-seven!
What is that? Fifteen, seventeen
years ago! Holy cow! Seventeen years
ago! Is that right? Seventeen, that's
right. Where did it all go? I'm
getting old. I'm gonna be thirty-
five November eighth. Thirty-five.
Wow. Time goes on, boy.
He takes her arm, and they start walking.
Nineteen-thirty-seven... that's right.
My old man died December, nineteen-
MOVING SHOT as they stroll toward the corner of Jerome and
Two o'clock in the morning he died.
The doorbell rings, and I knew
something was wrong right away.
Because my room is onna ground floor
inna front, you see, and I got outta
bed, and I answered the door...
CAMERA HOLDS as Marty, caught in his story, stops and
There was Mr. Stern. He had a house
down about a block from us. He moved
out though. My old man, he used to
play cards with him and some other
old guys. He's a Jewish feller. So
he said, "Is your mother home?" So I
knew right away there was something
wrong. I was only eighteen, exactly
eighteen years old, just the month
before. So I said, "Is something
wrong, Mr. Stern?" I was in my
pajamas, you know? So he said, "Marty,
your father died." My father died
right inna middle of playing cards,
right at the table. He had a heart
attack. He had low blood pressure,
my old man. He used to faint a lot.
Suddenly he looks at Clara, rather startled.
Boy, am I talking, I never talked so
much in my life. Usually, everybody
comes to me and tells me all their
troubles. Well, I'm gonna shut up
now, and I'm gonna let you get a
He takes her arm again, and they continue strolling toward
the corner intersection in silence.
Seventeen years ago. What I been
doing with myself all that time?...
Well, I'm talking again. I must be
driving you crazy. Mosta the time
I'm with a girl, I can't find a word
to say. Well, I'm gonna shut up now.
Because I'm not like this usually.
Usually, I... well, here I go again.
They reach the corner intersection. CAMERA HOLDS on Marty as
he pauses again. He stares at Clara, confused at his strange
I can't shut my mouth... I'm on a
jag, for Pete's sake. You'd think I
Marty stares at Clara, absolutely aghast at his inability to
I can't stop talking! Isn't this
He stands there in the middle of the sidewalk with PEOPLE
moving past, back and forth. Marty continues to stare at
Clara, his broad face widened by a foolish, confused smile.
Clara regards him affectionately.
(with sudden sincerity)
You gotta real nice face, you know?
It's really a nice face.
They stroll along farther up the noisy, jangled, trafficked
Saturday night avenue.
GRAND CONCOURSE LUNCHEONETTE. NIGHT.
Once a candy store, now a soda fountain where booths have
been installed in the rear. One wall of the luncheonette in
front is covered with magazines from floor to ceiling. It is
a nice clean joint, brightly lit. Several CUSTOMERS are
occupying three of the four booths.
They sit opposite each other in the booth. Each has a cup of
coffee. Marty is still talking, but now he is apparently
telling a story so funny that he can hardly get the words
out. The hilarity has communicated itself to Clara. Her eyes
are burning with suppressed laughter. Every now and then she
has to gasp to control the bubbly giggling inside of her.
...so I'm inna kneeling position,
and if you ever try shooting a BAR
inna kneeling position, you know
what I mean. I can't holda steady
position. I'm wavering back and
He has to interrupt the narrative to control a seizure of
giggles. Clara wipes her eyes and catches her breath.
...so the guy next to me, he's
shooting from the prone position,
and he's cross-eyed like I told you...
He can't go on. He has to stop and cover his face with one
So just then...
(stops to control
...so just then I hear five shots go
off from the guy next to me...
It's too much for him. He lets out a sudden guffaw and
instantly smothers it under shaking shoulders. Clara hides
her face in her hands and giggles desperately. Some of the
other people turn to look at them.
So my target goes down, and a minute
later, the flag comes up. I got five
bulls-eyes. This cross-eyed guy next
to me, he shot five bulls-eyes into
He stares at the girl, spent from laughter.
...so I said to the sergeant who was
checking my score, "Pretty good, eh,
Sarge? Five bulls-eyes? So this
sergeant, he don't know what happened,
he says, "Say, that's all right,
He closes his eyes, shakes his head.
Oh, man. So that's what happened.
That's how I got the reputation-a
being the best shot inna whole
battalion... oh, man...
For a moment they seem to have controlled their laughter.
They sit, shaking their heads, studying their fingers on the
table in front of them. Then slowly, Marty begins to giggle
again. It communicates itself to Clara. In a moment they are
hiding their faces in their hands, their shoulders shivering
CLOSE ON Angie. His eyes look slowly in every direction.
CAMERA PULLS BACK disclosing Angie standing on the fringe of
the dance floor, head arched high, looking at the crowded
dance floor. He starts back to the archway toward the lounge,
looking over his shoulder.
Angie comes into the archway, throws one more glance over
his shoulder at the dance floor, then turns and enters the...
Angie walks down the length of the lounge, looking into the
booths and simultaneously at the PEOPLE moving back and forth
in the lounge. At the far end of the lounge, he turns and
comes back along the bar side, checking each face at the
There are three young BUCKOES laying out their money for
admission. One of them calls to Angie.
Anything good in there, Mac?
A buncha dogs.
He crosses to the Men's Room.
Angie comes into a momentarily empty room. Angie goes the
full length of the white tiled room, past the wash bowls,
the long mirror, bending to look under the doors of the
stalls. Suddenly he calls out.
Hey, Marty! Hey, Marty, you in here?!
He waits for an answer...
GRAND CONCOURSE LUNCHEONETTE.
CLOSE ON Marty and Clara still in the booth, but two more
cups of coffee have been set down in front of each of them.
There are also two pie-plates. Clara has left half of her
pie. Also an empty pack of cigarettes, and another pack half-
gone. They are both smoking. Marty is still talking, but the
mood is no longer laughter. A pensive, speculative hush has
fallen over them. They have been talking for hours, and they
have reached the stage where you start tearing designs in
the paper napkins.
...When I got outta the army, Clara,
I was lost. I didn't know what I
wanted to do. I was twenny-five years
old, what was I gonna do, go back to
my old job, forty cents an hour. I
thought maybe I go to college under
the G.I. Biller Rights, you know?
But I wouldn't graduate till I was
twenny-eight, twenny-nine years old,
even if I made it in three years.
And my brother Freddie wanted to get
married, and I had three unmarried
sisters -- in an Italian home, that's
a terrible thing. And my kid brother
Nickie, he's a one got married last
week. So I just went to pieces. I
used to walk inna streets till three,
four o'clock inna mornings. My mother
used to be so worried about me. My
uncle Mario come over one time. He
offered me a job driving his hack
onna night shift. He got his own
cab, you know. And God forgive me
for what I'm gonna say now, but I
used to thinka doing away with myself.
I used to stand sometimes in the
subway, and God forgive me what I'm
going to say, I used to feel the
tracks sucking me down under the
Yes, I know.
I'm a Catholic, you know, and even
to think about suicide is a terrible
Yes, I know.
So then Mr. Gazzara -- he was a
frienda my father -- he offered me
this job in his butcher shop, and
everybody pleaded with me to take
it. So that's what happened. I didn't
wanna be a butcher.
There's nothing wrong with being a
Well, I wouldn't call it an elegant
profession. It's in a lower social
scale. People look down on butchers.
Marty looks quickly up at her, then back down.
Well, the point is Mr. Gazzara wantsa
sell his shop now, because he and
his wife are lonely, and they wanna
move out to California in Los Angeles
and live near their married daughter.
Because she's always writing them to
come out there. So it's a nice little
shop. I handle his books for him, so
I know he has a thirty-five percent
markup which is not unreasonable,
and he takes home net maybe a hundred,
hundred and fifty bucks a week. The
point is, of course, you gotta worry
about the supermarkets. There's two
inna neighborhood now, and there's
an A&P coming in, at least that's
the rumor. Of course, mosta his trade
is strictly Italian, but the younger
Italian girls, they get married, and
they don't stick to the old Italian
dishes so much. I mean, you gotta
take that into account too.
It's my feeling that you really want
to buy this shop, Marty.
That's true. I do. But I'm gonna
have to take outta loan inna bank
eight thousand dollars. That's a big
note to carry, because I have to
give Mr. Gazzara a mortgage, and
what I have to weigh is: will it pay
off in the end more than I can make
Clara looks down at her fingers, her face alive and sensitive.
She carefully assembles her words in her mind. Then she looks
at the squat butcher across the table from her.
Marty, I know you for three hours,
but I know you're a good butcher.
You're an intelligent, sensitive,
decent man. I have a feeling about
you like sometimes a kid comes in to
see me for one reason or another.
And some of these kids, Marty, in my
classes, they have so much warmth in
them, so much capacity. And that's
the feeling I get about you.
Marty shuts his eyes, then opens them quickly, bows his head.
If you were one of my students, I
would say, "Go ahead and buy the
butcher shop. You're a good butcher."
(not quite trusting
the timbre of his
Well, there's a lotta things I could
do with this shop. I could organize
my own supermarket. Get a buncha
neighborhood merchants together.
That's what a lotta them are doing.
He looks up at her now.
Wadda you think?
I think anything you want to do,
you'll do well.
Tears begin to flood his eyes again. He quickly looks away.
He licks his lips.
(still looking down)
I'm Catholic. Are you Catholic?
Clara looks down at her hands.
(also in a low voice)
Yes, I am.
Marty looks up at her.
I only got about three bucks on me
now, but I just live about eight
blocks from here on the other side
of Webster Avenue. Why don't we walk
back to my house? I'll run in, pick
up some dough, and let's step out
I really should get home...
She twists in her seat and looks toward the back of the
It's only a quarter of twelve. The
clock's right over there.
I really should get home, I told my
father... Well, I suppose a little
while longer. I wonder if there's
any place around here I could put
some makeup on...
Marty considers this problem for a second, then leans out of
the booth and calls out.
CAMERA ANGLES to include the PROPRIETOR of the luncheonette.
He is sitting in one of the booths ahead reading the Sunday
Mirror. He looks up toward Marty.
You gotta Ladies' Room around here?
Clara smiles at this innocent gaucherie, then edges out of
the booth, taking her purse with her.
187TH STREET. NIGHT.
HIGH ANGLE SHOT of Angie meandering down the street on which
the neighborhood bar is located. It is near midnight, and
the street is empty except for Angie and the CLACKING of his
leather heels on the pavement. He comes to the bar, opens
the door, enters...
THE BAR. NIGHT.
The SOUNDS of Saturday night revelry are loud, coming mostly
from the Irish contingent of the neighborhood. They are
grouped along practically the whole bar. Three or four WOMEN
and a number of shirtsleeved MEN, mostly in their late
forties, early fifties. We know they're Irish, because one
of the younger men is chanting an auld country ballad.
CAMERA ANGLES disclose the entrance to the bar in the
background, showing Angie coming in, looking here and there.
He starts toward the bar.
TWO IRISH WOMEN, middle-aged, squat heavily on bar stools
over their schooners of beer, gassing away at each other.
FIRST IRISH WOMAN
...so she told me that the doctor
told her that if she had any more
babies, she would do so at the risk
of her life...
Angie shuffles in, pausing near the bar and standing behind
the two Irish women.
SECOND IRISH WOMAN
She was always a bit thin in the
FIRST IRISH WOMAN
Well, at the time she told me this,
she already had six. Every time I
saw the woman, she was either...
FIRST IRISH WOMAN
...going to the hospital or coming
from it. She was hatching them out
SECOND IRISH WOMAN
And that husband of hers is a skinny
bit of a fellow, isn't he?
FIRST IRISH WOMAN
Well, I bumped into her on the street,
and she was as big as a barrel.
CAMERA ANGLES to include Lou, the Bartender.
(looking up from
opening a batch of
FIRST IRISH WOMAN
...so I said to her, "Mary...
(calling to the
Marty been in here the last coupla
hours or so?
FIRST IRISH WOMAN
"...Mary, for heaven's sakes, didn't
you tell me that another one'll kill
I ain't seen Marty all night...
SECOND IRISH WOMAN
And her husband is a little bit of a
man, isn't he?
(calling to the
Bartender, but even
more to himself)
Where is everybody? I been walking
around, I can't find anybody...
FIRST IRISH WOMAN
Well, last week Tuesday, she gave
birth to the baby in Saint Elizabeth's
hospital... a big healthy boy of
SECOND IRISH WOMAN
Oh, that's nice. So the doctor was
wrong, wasn't he?
FIRST IRISH WOMAN
Oh, no! She died right in the
SECOND IRISH WOMAN
Oh, that's a sad story. And her
husband is that little fellow, works
in Peter Reeves.
FIRST IRISH WOMAN
That's the one.
SECOND IRISH WOMAN
Oh, that's a sad story.
Angie has nothing better to do than give his attention to
the last lines of the story. Perturbed, he turns and leaves.
NEAR ELEVATED SUBWAY. NIGHT.
With street NOISES over the scene, Marty and Clara walk along
through the intricate understructure of the elevated subway
toward Webster Avenue.
Marty and Clara walk slowly along a side street in Marty's
neighborhood. The streets are almost empty; perhaps an
occasional PEDESTRIAN on the other side of the street. The
cars are parked bumper-to-bumper in lines along the curb.
The five-story apartment buildings are mostly dark, an
occasional window lit.
Marty suddenly stops and bends down; his shoe lace has become
untied. Clara sits back against the fender of the nearest
car and continues talking.
...It's really a fine opportunity
for me. But I'm not sure I want to
be a department head. It's mostly
executive and administrative work.
Well, anyway, I told you about my
father, and he depends on me a great
on his shoelace)
Why don't you just move out to
Well, that's what I was saying. My
father is getting old. And we're
very close. He's a wonderful man,
She pauses as he straightens. He looks at her a moment.
I think you're kidding yourself,
Clara. I used to think about moving
out, you know? And that's what I
used to say. "My mother needs me."
But when you really get down to it,
that ain't it at all. Actually, you
need your father. You know what I
mean? You're living at home, and you
got your father and mother there,
and you can go on like that -- being
a little girl all your life.
I'm afraid of being lonely.
Oh, you won't be so lonely. You'll
make friends right away.
Actually, I don't make friends easily.
What're you talking about? You're a
real likeable person. You'll make
friends out there in Portchester
one, two, three. You'll have people
visiting you alla time. I'll come
visit you. I'll borrow my brother
Freddie's car, or you can call me up
when you feel blue, or I'll call you
up. And it's gonna be nice. Don't be
They have only gone a few paces farther when Marty's shoelace
comes loose again. He fidgets self-consciously, bends down
and begins to retie it. The VOICE of Ralph, the well-dressed
man, established previously, is heard.
Marty and Clara both look off...
STREET. CAR WINDOW.
Ralph is leaning out the car window twisting to look back up
Marty and Clara look around to find the source of the voice.
Marty! Over here!
Marty and Clara again look around trying to find Ralph. Marty
spots him leaning out of the window of a '47 Chevy parked in
Hey, Marty, come over here a minute.
Marty and Clara start walking toward the Chevy.
INSIDE THE CHEVY.
Ralph and MABEL, a young woman in her early thirties, are
seated in front. In the rear seat of the car, LEO is
sandwiched in between a MISS LOUISE KELLY and a MISS ELAINE
(explaining to girls)
You'll like this guy. This guy's a
Who's this? Marty?
Oh, this guy's a nice guy.
Marty stops and excuses himself from Clara to walk slowly
toward the Chevy. It's about five cars down from him. The
camera pans with him.
OUTSIDE THE CHEVY.
Ralph is leaning out of the window again, watching Marty
(approaching the car)
Hello, Ralph, what's new?
(looks through the
(indicates with his
head that he wishes
to hold a whispered
conference with Marty)
Hey, Marty, come here a minute.
Marty leans with his elbow on the open front window of the
car, his head bowed, waiting for Ralph to speak his piece.
He studiously avoids looking at the girls in the car.
(lowering his voice)
Hey, Marty, we got an odd squirrel
here, you interested?
Marty allows his eyes to flicker quickly over the girl in
the seat next to Ralph.
Waddaya mean, Ralph?
(turning his head
toward the rear of
the car and raising
Hey, Louise, I want you to meet Marty
Pilletti. Marty, that's Louise Kelly,
inna back seat there.
Louise, not an unattractive girl by any means, is a little
surly at the moment. She merely nods at the introduction.
What are we going to do, just sit
around here all night?
bowed head in a quick
Listen, Marty, these three squirrels
are nurses. We're all going over
Leo's house later because there's
nobody there. These are the squirrels
I told you about. Money inna bank,
man. Wanna get inna car? She's a
pretty nice-looking doll.
I'm with a girl, Ralph.
Get ridda her. This is money inna
I can't do that, Ralph, because
somebody already brushed her off
This is a good deal here, Marty.
Marty straightens, looks surreptitiously back to the corner
where Clara is standing.
Clara stands alone on the corner. She is an angular, awkward,
plain girl. Marty brings his attention back around to Ralph
who is leaning out of the car window.
(bending down to Ralph)
I can't do it, Ralph. Thanks anyway.
(looks toward back
Very nice to have met you all.
Come on, let's get outta here.
Hey, Ralph, we might as well get
Ralph bends forward and starts the car.
I'll see you, Leo.
I'll see you, Marty.
Marty takes a step or two back from the car, and Ralph begins
the business of wheeling the car from out of its parking
place. The car backs and fills once or twice and eventually
clears and whisks into the street.
Marty stands looking after the departing car, then slowly
turns and goes back up the sidewalk. He joins Clara and we...
PILLETTI HOME, KITCHEN. NIGHT
Marty and Clara come into the dark house. Nobody is home.
Marty and Clara's silhouettes block the doorway momentarily.
Wait a minute. Lemme find the light.
He finds the lights. The kitchen is suddenly brightly lit.
The two of them stand squinting to adjust to the sudden glare.
I guess my mother ain't home yet. I
figure my cousin Thomas and Virginia
musta gone to the movies, so they
won't get back till one o'clock at
Clara advances into the kitchen, a little ill at ease, and
looks around. Marty closes the porch door.
This is the kitchen.
Yes, I know.
Come on inna dining room.
He turns the light on as he enters. Clara follows him into
Siddown, take off your coat. You
want something to eat? We gotta whole
half-chicken in the icebox.
on the edge of a
No, thank you. I don't think I should
stay very long.
Sure. Just take off your coat a
He helps her off with her coat. He remains behind her, looking
down at her. Conscious of his scrutiny, she sits
uncomfortably, breathing unevenly. Marty takes her coat into
the dark living room. Clara is patient but nervous. Marty
comes back, sits on another chair, and there is an awkward
So I was telling you, my kid brother
Nickie got married last Sunday. That
was a very nice affair. And they had
this statue of some woman, and they
had whiskey spouting outta her mouth.
I never saw anything so grand in my
(the silence again
falls between them.)
And watta meal. I'm a butcher, so I
know a good hunka steak when I see
one. That was choice filet, right
off the toppa the chuck. A buck eighty
a pound. Of course, if you wanna
cheaper cut, get rib steak. That
gotta lotta waste on it, but it comes
to about a buck and a quarter a pound,
if it's trimmed. Listen, Clara, make
yourself comfortable. You're all
Oh, I'm fine.
You want me to take you home, I'll
take you home.
Maybe that would be a good idea.
She stands. He stands. He's a little angry. He turns and
sullenly goes back to the living room for her coat.
Wordlessly, he begins to help her into the coat.
Standing behind her, he puts his hands on her shoulders,
then suddenly seizes her, and begins kissing her on the neck.
As Marty holds Clara, kissing the back of her neck, the
dialogue drops to quick, hushed whispers.
No, Marty, please...
I like you. I like you. I been telling
you all night, I like you...
I just wanna kiss, that's all.
He attempts to turn her face toward him. She resists.
He releases her and turns away violently.
All right! I'll take you home! All
He marches a few paces away, deeply disturbed. He turns back
All I wanted was a lousy kiss! What
do you think, I was gonna try
something serious with my mother
coming home any minute!? What am I,
a leper or something?!
He turns and goes into the living room to hide the flush of
hot tears threatening to fill his eyes. Clara is also on the
verge of tears.
(more to herself than
I just didn't feel like it, that's
Slowly, she moves to the archway leading to the living room.
CAMERA ANGLES to include the living room where Marty sits on
the couch with his hands in his lap, staring straight ahead.
The room is dark except for the slanted light coming from
the dining room.
Clara goes to the couch and sits on the edge beside him. He
doesn't look at her.
I'm old enough to know better. Comes
New Year's Eve, everybody starts
arranging parties, I'm the guy they
gotta dig up a date for. Let me getta
packa cigarettes, and I'll take you
He starts to rise but instead sinks back onto the couch,
looking straight ahead. Clara looks at him, her face
peculiarly soft and compassionate.
I'd like to see you again. Very much.
The reason I didn't let you kiss me
was because I just didn't know how
to handle the situation. You're the
kindest man I ever met. The reason I
tell you this is because I want to
see you again very much. I know that
when you take me home, I'm going to
just lie on my bed and think about
you. I want very much to see you
Marty stares down at his hands.
(without looking over
Waddaya doing tomorrow night?
I'll call you up tomorrow morning.
Maybe, we'll go see a movie.
I'd like that very much.
The reason I can't be definite about
it now is my Aunt Catherine is
probably coming over tomorrow, and I
may have to help out.
I'll wait for your call.
We better get started to your house,
because the buses only run about one
an hour now.
I'll just get a packa cigarettes.
He rises and goes into his bedroom. CAMERA ANGLES to include
door to bedroom. Marty opens his bureau drawer and extracts
a pack of cigarettes. He comes back out and looks at Clara
for the first time. They start to walk to the dining room.
In the archway, Marty pauses and turns to her.
Waddaya doing New Year's Eve?
They quietly slip into each other's arms and kiss. Slowly
their faces part, and Marty's head sinks down upon her
shoulder. He is crying, detectable from the slight shake of
his shoulders. The girl presses her cheek against the back
of his head. They stand. The SOUND of the kitchen door opening
splits them out of their embrace. A moment later Mrs.
Pilletti's voice is heard.
MRS. PILLETTI'S VOICE
Hallo! Hallo! Marty?!
She comes into the dining room, stops at the sight of Marty
Hello, Marty, when you come home?
We just got here about fifteen minutes
ago. Ma, I want you to meet Miss
Clara Snyder. She's graduate of New
York University. She teaches chemistry
in Benjamin Franklin High School.
This seems to impress Mrs. Pilletti.
Siddown, siddown. You want some
chicken? We got some chicken in the
No, Mrs. Pilletti. We were just going
home. Thank you very much anyway.
Well, siddown a minute. I just come
inna house. I'll take off my coat.
Siddown a minute.
Mrs. Pilletti pulls her coat off.
How'd you come home, Ma? Thomas give
you a ride?
Oh, it's a sad business.
(turning to Clara)
My sister, Catherine, she don't get
along with her daughter-in-law, so
she's gonna come live with us.
Oh, she's coming, eh, Ma?
Siddown, siddown. Marty, tell her
Might as well siddown a minute, Clara.
Clara smiles and sits. Mrs. Pilletti likewise seats herself,
holding her coat in her lap.
Did you offer the young lady some
I offered her, Ma, she don't want
No, thank you, really, Mrs. Pilletti.
(to Clara with a sigh)
It's a very sad business, I tell
you. A woman, fifty-six years old,
all her life, she had her own home.
Now she's just an old lady, sleeping
on her daughter-in-law's couch. It's
a curse to be a mother, I tell you.
Your children grow up and then what
is left for you to do? What is a
mother's life but her children? It
is a very cruel thing when your son
has no place for you in his home.
Couldn't she find some sort of hobby
to fill out her time?
Hobby! What can she do? She cooks
and she cleans. You gotta have a
house to clean. You gotta have
children to cook for. These are the
terrible years for a woman, the
You mustn't feel too harshly against
her daughter-in-law. She also wants
to have a house to clean and a family
to cook for.
Mrs. Pilletti darts a quick, sharp look at Clara. Then she
looks back to her own hands, which are beginning to twist
You don't think my sister Catherine
should live in her daughter-in-law's
Well, I don't know the people, of
course, but as a rule, I don't think
a mother-in-law should live with a
Where do you think a mother-in-law
I don't think a mother should depend
so much upon her children for her
rewards in life.
Well, maybe that's what they teach
you in New York University. In real
life, it don't work out that way.
You wait till you are a mother.
It's silly of me to argue about it.
I don't know the people involved.
Ma, I'm gonna take her home now.
It's getting late, and the buses
only run about one an hour.
It was very nice meeting you, Mrs.
Pilletti. I hope I'll see you again.
Marty and Clara move toward the kitchen.
All right, Ma. I'll be back in about
an hour, an hour anna half.
Goodnight, Mrs. Pilletti.
Marty and Clara go out through the kitchen. CAMERA STAYS on
Mrs. Pilletti, who stands expressionlessly by her chair,
staring after them. She remains there rigid even after the
kitchen door has OPENED and SHUT.
FORDHAM ROAD. NIGHT
The biggest intersection in the Bronx is near the Grand
Concourse at Fordham Road, which is the biggest boulevard.
Despite the hour, the sidewalks are crowded with PEOPLE. The
TRAFFIC is heavy with buses.
We PICK UP Angie walking up Fordham Road just about to the
Grand Concourse. As he reaches the northeast corner of the
intersection and stands, waiting for the light to change, he
looks off-screen. Something captures his attention, and he
STREET OUTSIDE A DEPARTMENT STORE.
In front of Alexander's Department Store, the street is
crowded, and a bus queue waits for the downtown Concourse
bus. Marty and Clara are part of the queue.
(starting toward Marty
and Clara, shouting)
Angie starts into the street without waiting for the lights
to change. Impatiently, he has to wait until traffic stops
for the light.
(shouting as he goes)
Hey, Marty! Hey!
Marty and Clara still stand, seeming not to hear Angie.
Hey, Marty! Marty!
Marty and Clara turn and stare off-screen.
Angie pushes his way through the CROWD on the sidewalk and
manages to join Marty and Clara.
Where you been, for Pete sakes?! I
been looking all over for you.
I looked for you, Angie, before I
cut out, but I couldn't find you.
I been looking all over for you!
Angie is absolutely unaware of, or simply refuses to
acknowledge the presence of the girl. He has pushed himself
in between Marty and Clara, and addresses himself entirely
What happened, Angie, was that we
thought we were just gonna go for a
short walk, and then we thought we
were gonna come right back, but we
got to talking. Listen, Angie, I
want you to meet Clara...
(he tries to turn the
sullen Angie toward
Clara, this is my best friend, Angie.
I told you about him.
How do you do?
Angie acknowledges the introduction with a surly nod.
Waddaya gonna do now?
I'm gonna take Clara home. It's close
You want me to ride down with you?
It must be one o'clock.
It's Saturday night! There's still
plenty-a action around!
Angie, by the time I get Clara home,
it's gonna be one, one-thirty. By
the time I get home, it's gonna be
two o'clock. I gotta get up for ten
o'clock mass tomorrow.
Angie stares with thick, sullen jealousy at his best friend.
He turns sharply and starts away from Marty and Clara.
(as he goes)
All right, I'll see you!
(calling after him)
Where you going?
Angie, feeling rejected and jealous, moves swiftly out into
the other PEDESTRIANS on Fordham Road.
(calling more loudly
I'll see you tomorrow after mass!
He stares for a moment at the departing form of his friend,
then turns to Clara with a shrug and a smile, as if to say,
"I don't know what's the matter with him." The long-awaited
downtown bus ROARS up to the corner, blocking our view of
Marty and Clara.
LOWER-MIDDLE-CLASS BRONX STREET. NIGHT.
Marty and Clara stroll along the walk toward the front doors
of an apartment house.
APARTMENT HOUSE LOBBY. NIGHT.
Marty and Clara enter and cross the lobby toward the stairway.
They move slowly.
You got an elevator in this house?
We just live one flight up.
So I'll call you tomorrow.
Clara leans against the iron banister of the stairway.
Call me about two-thirty, because I
won't be home from my aunt's till
The doors of the ELEVATOR slide open, and a middle-aged COUPLE
comes out. They have obviously been having a heated exchange;
but at the sight of Marty and the girl at the stairway, they
become silent. They march across the lobby and out to the
street in repressed silence. The door CLANGS behind them.
Marty and Clara have waited stiffly through this interruption,
and now they look at each other and smile.
Okay, so I'll see you tomorrow night
Marty turns and moves across the lobby toward the street
OUTSIDE THE APARTMENT HOUSE.
Marty stands a moment in the clear black night air,
expressionless, but within him, a strange exhilaration is
beginning to stir. He mosies away from the building along
the sidewalk, CAMERA panning with him.
He strikes out suddenly with a spirited stride, as if he
knew where he was going.
CLOSER SHOT of Marty marching along 176th Street. He quickly
reaches the Grand Concourse. Here he pauses a moment, a little
at a loss for what direction to take -- then remembers he
needs the uptown bus.
He moves across the wide street to get to the other side of
the boulevard. Again, he seems to lose track of which
direction is homeward.
He walks uptown a ways with a strange jerky stride, pausing
every once in a while to see whether there's a bus coming.
Suddenly Marty breaks into a dog-trot, then drops back into
the stiff stride as he approaches...
THE INTERSECTION OF THE GRAND CONCOURSE.
The corner near the bus stop is deserted. Marty stops, leans
against the pole of the bus stop sign.
Abruptly, he turns and walks uptown a little further.
SERIES OF INTERCUTS: Marty strides, walks, stops short, goes
to the curb desultorily, a few paces into the street, moves
back. The traffic moves by him. He stands in the wide street,
then with a gesture of magnificent expansiveness, he raises
his arm and calls out.
Taxi! Taxi! Hey, taxi! Taxi! Taxi!
CLOSE-UP of Marty standing in the street, crying...
PILLETTI HOME, MARTY'S BEDROOM. DAY
Marty is in his trousers and T-shirt. He whistles as he
assembles his toilet articles for a shave. He starts out
toward the living room, still whistling. Bright sunlight
pours through the curtains on his window.
Marty's whistling accompanies him to the second floor where
he turns into the bathroom. CAMERA ANGLES to include Mrs.
Pilletti's bedroom, disclosing her wearing an old faded
batiste kimona, puttering around her room and cleaning. As
Marty's toneless tune reaches her, Mrs. Pilletti turns her
head and stares off, listening.
THOMAS AND VIRGINIA'S APARTMENT. DAY.
Catherine, in the living room, is packing her meager but
neatly folded belongings into an old European carpet bag.
She has regained her stiff, mordant crustiness. The mild
WAIL of a baby can be heard.
The crowded bedroom is furnished in white modern. It is
cluttered by a baby's bassinet and other baby items. Virginia
sits on the edge of the bed, holding the baby, quieting it.
She is half-dressed, wearing her pajama top, a half-slip, no
stockings; her hair is still uncombed. Thomas slouches against
a chest of drawers, in morning semi-deshabille. He is
obviously sick with guilt. Virginia looks anxiously at her
husband then to the baby in her arms.
Don't you think I feel lousy about
All right, Ginnie. I don't wanna
talk anymore about it.
(sits on a wooden
chair, unrolls a
fresh pair of socks
he's been holding)
I don't think I got one hour's sleep
the whole night.
(raises one leg to
put a sock on, pauses
with his heel on the
edge of his chair)
Last night was the first time in my
life I ever heard my mother cry, you
I don't wanna talk about it!
He pulls his sock on angrily, then lets his leg fall back to
the floor and just sits, one sock on, one sock in his hand.
He looks sullenly in the direction of his wife.
I know what you're gonna say. A man's
gotta stop being his mother's baby
sooner or later. How many times you
gonna say it? She's my mother, you
know. I oughta have some feelings
about her, don't you think?
Why do you always put me inna position
of being the louse?
(in a furious whisper)
Virginia, I don't wanna hear no more
He stands, then becomes aware he has to put on his other
sock. He sits down again and pulls the second sock on.
Virginia has had a hot reply in her mouth, but she forces it
back. She rocks the baby a little.
Tommy, I love you, and I know you
feel lousy right now, but we're never
gonna be happy unless we have a chance
to work out our own lives. We can't
keep talking in whispers like this
the resta our lives. We gotta have
some privacy. We...
Thomas has risen, a slim, dark, unsettled young man in
undershirt and trousers, holding his shoes in one hand. He
starts toward the...
Thomas strides down the little foyer. He turns and looks
into the living room. He watches his mother packing strange
brown parcels into her bag.
Can't you wait five minutes? I'll
drive you over inna car. I just gotta
put my shirt on, that's all.
The old lady nods brusquely.
Thomas stands with his head bowed to hide the tears he feels
sweeping into his hot eyes. Then he returns to his bedroom
in his stocking-feet, carrying his shoes.
Thomas comes in just as Virginia bends over the bassinet,
having gotten the baby back to sleep. Thomas cries to her in
a furious whisper.
All right, get dressed, because we're
gonna drive my mother over. Why
couldn't you get along with her?!
Why couldn't you make just a little
effort?! She's a little hard to get
along with! All right! All I asked
you was try a little.
He turns from her, sits down on the bed miserably angry with
the world, his wife, his mother, himself. The baby begins to
whimper again. Virginia turns wearily to her husband.
I don't wanna hear anymore about it,
you hear me?
MARTY'S HOME, FRONT PORCH. DAY.
A small procession consisting of Thomas carrying his mother's
carpet bag, his mother carrying small paper-wrapped bundles,
and Virginia holding the baby comes across the front hedge.
Thomas leads the parade with a muffled sorrow. They turn up
the porch to the front door. Virginia remains in the small
front yard. She is miserable.
PILLETTI HOME, DINING ROOM. DAY.
Mrs. Pilletti is dressed in hat and coat and all set to go
to mass. She is bent over the dining room table piling the
breakfast dishes and crumbing the table. She looks up as
Thomas comes in carrying his mother's bag. Aunt Catherine is
right behind him. Beyond the porch, we can see Virginia
walking the baby around outside.
Hello, Aunt Theresa.
Hello, Thomas, how do you feel?
(setting the bag down)
Ah, my mother, she drives me crazy.
I hadda beg her to let me drive her
over here. The martyr. She always
gotta be the big martyr.
Hey, will you go to mass, please.
This one, he woke up this morning
with salt in his nose. Do this! Do
that! Will you leave me in peace,
A burst of spirited song soars from upstairs. Mrs. Pilletti,
Aunt Catherine and even Thomas pause to look up in the
direction of the voice.
Marty descends the stairs whistling. He carries his jacket
over his arm. He makes some final adjustments to his tie.
Alert to Marty's mood, Mrs. Pilletti, Aunt Catherine and
Thomas stand, waiting for him to join them downstairs.
Hello, Aunt Catherine! How are you?
Hello, Thomas. You going to mass
I was at mass two hours ago.
Well, make yourself at home. The
refrigerator is loaded with food. Go
upstairs, take any room you want.
Thomas, you going to mass with us?
Yeah, yeah, sure.
He abruptly goes out into the living room and onto the front
You wanna cuppa coffee?
Marty has followed Thomas out into the living room.
Boy, beautiful day, hey, Thomas?
Sure, great if you ain't married.
Thomas goes out the door onto the porch. Marty stands in the
open doorway. He looks out into the warm sunshine in the
He goes out into the yard to Virginia. He is as gay as a
bird. He takes the baby from Virginia's arms, holds it high
up above him.
Hey, little boy, you sure getting
fat. You weigh more than a side-a
(beams at the baby)
Hey, Thomas, so I was telling you
yesterday you was over my house --
Mr. Gazzara, my boss, so he wantsa
sell his shop, go out to California
because his kids are all married,
Thomas hasn't been listening to Marty and crosses quickly to
Wadda you so sore about?
Oh shaddup, will you do me a favor?
Marty comes up to them, holding the baby.
So Thomas, he does about twelve,
thirteen hundred gross. Rent's a
hundred and two. The problem, of
course, is the supermarkets. That's
what I wanna ask you. If I get
together with a coupla other
merchants, make our own supermarket...
Thomas has been trying to listen to Marty, but his thoughts
are all with his own problem. He whirls on Virginia.
What about the time she wanted to
make an old-fashioned Italian dinner
for my brother, but you wouldn't let
(with her own temper)
Waddaya talking about?!!
Once a month you couldn't let her
use the kitchen!
I told her she could use the kitchen
any time she wanted...
...You hadda be the boss inna kitchen
She don't wanna use my pots and pans!
Waddaya want me to do, go out and
buy a whole new setta pots and pans?!
The baby in Marty's arms has started to cry a little.
Tommy, gimme a coupla minutes, because
I promised Mr. Gazzara I'd let him
know tomorrow. See, what I wanna
know, Tom, if a buncha individual
retail merchants get together, how
does it operate? On individual mark-
ups? You know what I mean? Say I'm
the butcher and Aldo Capelli, he's
the dairyman and grocer, so suppose
I mark up thirty-five percent, but
he works on forty, so...
Waddaya talking about, do you know
what you're talking about?
No, I don't know. That's why I'm
The baby starts to cry again. Thomas turns to his wife.
Take the baby, will you?!
Virginia hurries over and takes the crying baby from Marty's
arms, walks around comforting the child. Thomas turns back
Wadda you wanna buy a shop for, will
you tell me? You gotta good job, you
got no wife, you got no
responsibilities. Boy, I wish I was
you, boy. Waddaya wanna tie yourself
down with a shop? What's he want?
Five thousand down? You're gonna
have to carry a mortgage sixty,
seventy bucks a month. A mortgage
anna note from the bank. For Pete's
sake, you're a single man with no
responsibilities. Stay that way,
boy. Take my advice.
Well, you see, Thomas I figure the
big problem is the supermarkets. But
Patsy's shop, that's a specialized
trade. The supermarkets don't carry
Who buys Italian meat anymore? You
think my wife buys Italian meat?
(throws a baleful
glance at his wife)
She goes to the A&P, picks up some
lamb chops wrapped in cellophane,
opens up a canna peas, and that's
Sure, all you wanna eat is that greasy
stuff your mother makes.
Marty is a little taken aback by Thomas's frontal assault.
Well, I understand the problem about
the supermarkets, but I was talking
to this girl last night, and she
made the point that a likeable
personality is a valuable business
Marty, see that my mother is nice
and comfortable, eh?
Sure. This girl said...
What girl, what does she know?
(he whirls on his
Why don't you let her hold the baby
once in a while?! Your mother, boy,
she wantsa take the kid for a day,
(her temper flaring
Your mother handles the kid like he
was a yoyo!
Marty stands, watching the young couple yakking at each other.
The little baby starts to cry again.
The two old sisters sit at the kitchen table, two untouched
cups of coffee in front of them.
Hey, I come home from your house
last night, Marty was here with a
Your son Marty?
Well, what Marty you think is gonna
be here in this house with a girl?
Were the lights on?
(frowns at her sister)
This girl is a college graduate.
They're the worst. College girls are
one step from the streets. They smoke
like men inna saloon. My son Joseph,
his wife, you know, she types onna
typewriter. One step from the streets,
I tell you. Mrs. Pilletti ponders
this philosophy for a moment.
That's the first time Marty ever
brought a girl to this house. She
seems like a nice girl. I think he
has a feeling for this girl. You
heard him sing. He been singing like
that all morning.
Catherine nods bleakly.
Well, that's all. You will see. Today,
tomorrow, inna week, he's gonna say
to you, "Hey, Ma, it's no good being
a single man. I'm tired-a running
around." Then he's gonna say, "Hey,
Ma, wadda we need this old house?
Why don't we sell this old house,
move into a nicer parta town? A nice
I don't sell this house, I tell you
that. This is my husband's house. I
had six children in this house.
You will see. A coupla months, you
gonna be an old lady, sleeping onna
couch in her daughter-in-law's house.
Catherine, you are a blanket of gloom.
Wherever you are, the rain follows.
Someday, you gonna smile, and we
gonna declare a holiday.
Marty comes in from the living room, a little down after his
session with Thomas and Virginia.
Hello, Ma, waddaya say, it's getting
a little late.
Marty goes to the sink to get himself a glass of water. He
examines a piece of plaster that has fallen from the ceiling.
Boy, this place is really coming to
(turning to his mother)
You know, Ma, I think we oughta sell
this place. The whole joint's going
to pieces. The plumbing is rusty.
Everything. I'm gonna have to
replaster the whole ceiling now. You
know what we oughta do? We oughta
get one of those new apartments
they're building down on Southern
Boulevard. A nicer parta town, you
know?...You all set, Ma?
Mrs. Pilletti exchanges a brief frightened glance with her
I'm all set.
She sends another frightened look at her sister and follows
Marty out into the living room.
Marty, his mother, Thomas and Virginia with the baby file
down the porch to the street on their way to church. Marty
and his mother are both troubled. The anger has left both
Thomas and Virginia, but they are both silent. At the far
end of the alleyway, as they reach the street, Virginia puts
her free arm through her husband's elbow. Thomas looks briefly
at her and they exchange a look of commiseration. Everyone
turns and disappears off into the street.
A HIGH, WIDE ANGLE SHOT of the church establishes that stage
of Sunday morning between the nine and ten o'clock masses.
People flock around the doors of the church.
INSIDE THE CHURCH.
The parishioners are making their ways to the door. A few
silent penitents still kneel here and there in the long empty
rows of pews. The large, almost empty church is filled now
with organ MUSIC.
Both Marty and his mother seem a little depressed as they
stand at the doorway just inside the church, as the nine
o'clock mass people flow out, and the first of the ten o'clock
mass people file in.
That was a nice girl last night,
She wasn't a very good-looking girl,
but she looks like a nice girl.
(she pauses, Marty
makes no reply)
I said, she wasn't a very good-looking
girl... not very pretty...
I heard you, Ma.
She looks a little old for you. About
thirty-five, forty years old?
She's twenty-nine, Ma.
A nearby kneeling penitent looks disapprovingly at Mrs.
Pilletti and shushes her. The mother nods briefly.
She's more than twenty-nine years
old, Marty. That's what she tells
She looks thirty-five, forty. She
didn't look Italian to me.
Marty frowns but remains silent.
I said, is she Italian girl?
I don't know. I don't think so.
It's Mrs. Pilletti's turn to frown. A silence. She turns
back to Marty.
She don't look Italian to me. What
kinda family she come from? There
was something about her I didn't
like. It seems funny, the first time
you meet her, she comes to your empty
house alone. These college girls,
they all one step fromma streets.
Marty turns, on the verge of anger with his mother.
What are you talking about? She's a
She didn't look Italian to me.
A silence hangs between them.
I don't like her.
You don't like her. You only met her
for two minutes.
Don't bring her to the house no more.
What didn't you like about her?
I don't know! She don't look like
Italian to me. Plenny a nice Italian
Well, let's not get inna fight about
The kneeling woman shushes them again. By now the nine o'clock
worshipers have filed out, and Marty joins the flow of ten
o'clock people moving in. His mother turns back to him again.
(stopping her before
she gets started)
What are you getting so worked up
about? I just met the girl last night.
I'm probably not gonna see her again.
They continue down the aisle of the church.
An hour later, the after-mass CROWD is there. It's a little
more crowded than weekdays. A WOMAN with a glass of beer in
one hand, rocks a baby carriage with the other.
Marty enters the bar, moves along, ad-libbing "Hello" to
someone at the bar, gets the attention of Lou, the bartender.
Hello, Lou, Angie come in yet?
He was here last night till about
two o'clock. I hear you really got
stuck with a dog last night.
(glancing quickly at
Who told you that?
Angie. He says she was a real scrawny-
She wasn't so bad.
He turns away from the bar annoyed, notes Ralph, sitting
alone in one of the booths, reading the Sunday comics. Marty
ambles over to him.
Hello, Ralph. How'd you make out
with those nurses last night, Ralph?
Oh man, you shoulda come with us
last night, Marty. That one for you
was a real lunatic. How'd you make
The abruptness of the question rather startles Marty. It is
not an expression he would normally associate with an evening
Oh, I hadda nice time...I didn't try
nothing. She's a nice girl. I just
met her last night, you know. I just
talked with her. I didn't even try
He feels very ill at ease and a little guilty for defending
Listen, you see Angie, tell him I
went home, I'll meet him after lunch.
He moves back down the bar and goes out into the street.
MARTY'S HOUSE, DINING ROOM. AFTERNOON
Marty is seated at the dining room table. He has removed his
jacket, tie and shirt, even his shoes, and is making himself
comfortable over a late Sunday lunch. With him are Angie and
Joe, the Critic. Lounging in a chair but not at the table is
...so the whole book winds up, Mike
Hammer, he's inna room there with
this doll. So he says, "You rat, you
are the murderer." So she begins to
con him, you know? She tells him how
she loves him. And then Bam! He shoots
her in the stomach. So she's laying
there, gasping for breath, and she
says, "How could you do that?" And
he says, "It was easy."
(without looking up
from his magazine)
Boy, that Mickey Spillane, boy he
Angie reaches over to Marty's plate and filches a piece of
rissole, evidently annoying Marty.
We gotta whole pot inna kitchen. We
give you a plate-a your own.
Oh, I couldn't eat nothing. My mother
just stuffed me right up to the jaws.
This doesn't prevent him from filching a second piece of
What I like about Mickey Spillane is
he knows how to handle women. In one
book, he picks up a tomato who gets
hit with a car, and she throws a
pass at him. And then he meets two
beautiful twins, and they throw passes
at him. And then he meets some
beautiful society leader, and she
throws a pass at him, and...
Boy, that Mickey Spillane, he sure
Listen, somebody turn onna ballgame.
It must be after one o'clock by now.
Marty looks down at his watch, then stands and starts for
the phone, sitting on a chest of drawers at the other end of
Who you gonna call?
I was gonna call that girl from last
night. Take her to a movie tonight.
Are you kidding?
Listen, Angie, I wanna tell you, you
were very impolite last night. I
introduced you to the girl, you just
turned and walked off. Now, why did
you do that?
You got me mad, that's why. Hey,
Joe, show Marty that picture.
Joe, having finished his dissertation on Mickey Spillane, is
now studying another girlie magazine. He proffers an opened
page to Marty, who stands over by the phone.
Put that away, for Pete's sake. My
mother's right out onna porch.
I wonder where they find those girls
that pose for them pictures.
Those are Hollywood starlets.
Put it away, Joe. My mother'll come
Joe closes the magazine.
Marty, let's go downna Seventy-Second
Street area tonight.
I don't feel like going, Angie. I
thought I'd take this girl to a movie.
Boy, you really musta made out good
We just talked.
Boy, she musta been some talker. She
musta been about fifty years old.
I always figure a guy oughta marry a
girl who's twenny years younger than
he is so that when he's forty, his
wife is a real nice-looking doll.
That means he'd have to marry the
girl when she was one year old.
I never thoughta that.
I didn't think she was so bad-looking.
She musta kept you inna shadows all
Marty, you don't wanna hang around
with dogs. It gives you a bad
Let's go downa Seventy-Second Street.
I told this dog I was gonna call her
today about two-thirty.
Brush her. Listen, you wanna come
with me tonight, or you wanna go
with this dog?
Waddaya getting so sore about?
I looked all over for you last night,
you know that?
He turns away sulking. Marty doesn't pick up the phone but
returns to his seat, upset.
Another book that I read by Mickey
Spillane, I can't remember the name
of it, but it was about this red-
headed tramp he finds inna street,
and he gives her some dough, because
he's sorry for her... Wait a minute,
I think that's the same book I was
telling you about before...
You didn't like her at all?
A nothing. A real nothing.
Marty lowers his head. Over this, Joe's VOICE DRONES on.
You know something...?
CAMERA ANGLE HOLDS on Marty looking down, as Joe's VOICE
...I can't tell one-a those Mickey
Spillane books from the other, but
he's a real good writer, though...
SLOW DISSOLVE TO:
SNYDER APARTMENT. NIGHT
CLOSE ON television screen. Ed Sullivan is on, indicating
the time is a little after half past seven. CAMERA PULLS
BACK, disclosing Clara, Mr. and Mrs. Snyder in their living
room. Apparently the Sullivan show is very funny at the
moment, for the television audience roars with laughter.
CAMERA MOVES IN CLOSE ON Clara. Another ROAR of LAUGHTER
from the television that Clara watches, although her eyes
are flooded with tears, several of which have already traced
wet paths down her cheeks. Another ROAR of laughter.
PILLETTI HOME, DINING ROOM. NIGHT.
Marty, Mrs. Pilletti and Catherine are eating silently at
the table. Catherine reads an Italian newspaper as she eats.
So what are you gonna do tonight,
I don't know, Ma. I'm all knocked
out. I think I'll just hang arounna
house and watch...
Suddenly he pauses, sharply aware of the repetition in his
life. Mrs. Pilletti is also aware of it.
Maybe, I'll go out and see what Angie
and the boys are doing...
They eat silently a moment.
187TH STREET. BAR. NIGHT.
CLOSE-UP of Marty leaning against the wall in front of the
bar. A group of young men lounge about, killing time.
Angie, Leo and Joe are among them. There are perhaps four or
five other young MEN, loosely divided into two groups. The
group that concerns us has Marty and the others mentioned
and GEORGE, a young man in a sport jacket.
What time is it?
About eight o'clock.
You don't feel like going downna
It'll take an hour anna hour back,
and the whole evening's gone.
What's playing on Fordham Road? I
think there's a good picture in the
You guys feel like working up a game-
Come on, let's go down Seventy-Second
Street, walk around. We're sure to
wind up with something.
CLOSE-UP of Marty, his head down, his eyes closed. The group
continues their dialogue back and forth. Their VOICES can be
heard as Marty's head slowly comes up.
I'll never forgive LaGuardia for
cutting out burlesque outta New York
There's a burlesque in Union City.
Let's go over to Union City...
Yeah, you're the one who don't even
wanna take a ride onna subway for
half an hour. Now, you wanna go alla
way over to Union City...
I feel like playing cards. I saw
Richie Rizzo, that's what he said he
felt like doing...
I don't feel like playing cards.
Waddaya feel like doing tonight,
I don't know. Wadda you feel like
I don't know, Angie. Wadda you feel
A fury rises in Marty's face. He cries out at them.
"What are you doing tonight?"... "I
don't know, what are you doing?!"...
CAMERA ANGLES over to the others who, at this outburst, stare
at Marty astounded.
The burlesque! Loew's Paradise!
Miserable and lonely! Miserable and
lonely and stupid! What am I, crazy
or something?! I got something good
here! What am I hanging around with
you guys for?!
He has said this in tones so loud that it attracts the
attention of the few PEOPLE on the street. A little
embarrassed by the attention he's getting, he turns, opens
the door to the bar, and goes into it.
After a stunned moment, Angie hurries after him.
INSIDE THE BAR.
Marty marches the length of the room toward the phone booths
in the rear. CAMERA ANGLES to disclose Angie right behind
Marty is about to enter one of the phone booths, but he stops
as Angie hurries up to him.
Watsa matter with you?
Marty pauses, one foot in the booth.
You don't like her. My mother don't
like her. She's a dog, and I'm a
fat, ugly little man. All I know is
I hadda good time last night. I'm
gonna have a good time tonight. If
we have enough good times together,
I'm gonna go down on my knees and
beg that girl to marry me. If we
make a party again this New Year's,
I gotta date for the party. You don't
like her, that's too bad.
Marty has been fishing in his pocket for his address book.
He opens it to its proper page and steps decisively into the
Nearby, Angie prowls around outside the booth. The booth
door is open. Marty starts to dial. A hush fills the room
except for the CLICKING of the telephone dial.
INSIDE THE PHONE BOOTH.
The look of fury has drained from Marty's face. He holds the
receiver to his ear, glances out toward Angie. CAMERA ANGLES
to include Angie.
(his old amiable self)
When you gonna get married, Angie?
Aren't you ashamed of yourself? You're
thirty-three years old. All your kid
brothers are married. You oughta be
ashamed of yourself.
Still smiling at his very private joke, Marty returns to the
phone, and after a fraction of a second...
As Angie looks miserable, and Marty slowly reaches out and
pushes the phone booth door shut, and continues to talk into
the phone, we very slowly...
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