MURDER IN A SMALL TOWN
Can't wait to see the show? Here's a sample of Gene Wilder's
screenplay, but we've removed the ending.
If you'd like to download the script, click here (for PC, use
your right mouse button; Macintosh users should click and hold)
- select "save this link as.
OVER BLACK WE HEAR
A jazzy combo from the late 1930's, playing something full
of bounce and pep.
JIMMY CAGNEY'S SMILING FACE (from a black & white 1930's
CREDIT SEQUENCE BEGINS
As the song continues, we see"
CLARK GABLE, all smiles and charm.
Then a 30's film clip of HITLER. Not a ranting and raving
lunatic, but a charming Hitler (maybe something from the '36
And now, black and white clips of our favorite movie stars
of the late thirties: MYRNA LOY, looking seductively at
WILLIAM POWELL, or BOGART (as a villain). JEAN HARLOW
trying to seduce someone - maybe PAT O'BRIEN or SPENCER
TRACY. MARGARET SULLIVAN crying over JIMMY STEWART; CAGNEY
SHOOTING BOGART. And, not to be left out ... GEORGE RAFT.
We see VIOLENT SHOOT-OUTS, ROMANTIC CLOSE-UPS, PRISON CELLS
and brutal MURDERS.
As the song nears it's end:
William Powell, with tears in his eyes, puts out his hand to
say farewell to Clark Gable, before Gable walks the 'last
mile' to the electric chair. ("Manhattan Melodrama")
Pat O'Brien walks alongside Jimmy Cagney, as Cagney walks
the 'last mile' to the electric chair. ("Angels With Dirty
During this last film clip, the song ends and we hear the
SOUND of a movie projector.
INT. DARKENED THEATRE - 1938
A SHAFT OF LIGHT coming from the projector.
C.U. - LARRY 'CASH' CARTER
A man in his mid-fifties. His eyes are intense as he
Cagney leaving Pat O'Brien and walking with the guards
towards the 'chair'
As he HEARS Cagney pretending to be a coward and screaming
for his life:
CAGNEY (O.S.) No, please! Oh please, I don't wanna die.
Please, Oh God, PLEASE! Don't let me die.(etc.)
The LIGHTS ON CASH DIM and FLICKER as Cagney is being
electrocuted. (We can't ever see the electric chair because
the Hayes Office wouldn't allow it in those days.)
SLOW DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. MOVIE THEATRE - STAMFORD, CONNECTICUT - 1938 - NIGHT
A storm is brewing. STRONG WINDS and the beginning of
RAINDROPS as people exit the theatre.
CASH comes out of the theatre, passing a LARGE POSTER of
Cagney on his way to his car. He buttons up his overcoat
and tugs his hat down.
The WIND seems to blow him down the dark street as he passes
in and out of SHADOWS from the street lamps.
END OF CREDIT SEQUENCE
EXT. THE EDGE OF A WOODS - EARLY MORNING
MUSIC suggesting VIOLENT EMOTIONS
The WIND from last night has become more violent as it blows
late September leaves into fierce swirls. The camera
follows the LEAVES as they fly and twist ... bringing us
EXT. SIDNEY LASSITER'S STUDY - DARIEN, CONNECTICUT - 1938
The leaves slap against a large ground floor window of the
study - cling there for a moment - and then move on. We
stay to watch - through the window - as a tall, powerful man
in his early sixties, SIDNEY LASSITER, waves a letter in his
hand and screams at his very handsome and very frightened 23
year old son, ALBERT.
Albert is near tears as his father whiplashes him with
words, (which we can barely hear against the sound of the
wind and the continuing music.)
SMASH CUT TO:
INSIDE STUDY - LASSITER'S FACE
YOU'RE WHAT? YOU'RE JUST WHAT?
I'm just -- trying to be honest with you, for maybe
the first time in my life.
HONEST? I READ THIS FILTH IN A LETTER --
(trying to interject) That was my letter --
-- AND YOU'RE TRYING TO BE HONEST? YOU WANT TO
THROW YOUR LIFE AWAY ON THIS PIECE OF SCUM AND YOU THINK IF
YOU TELL ME ABOUT IT - THAT MAKES IT HONEST?
That was my letter, dad.
You're my legacy -- do you understand that?
Yes, I do.
You say you're in love? -- I SAY YOU'RE SICK! --
And I'm not leaving my fortune and my business for the
benefit of some gold digging scum who's no better than a
Dad, please --
Now listen to me: You give up this person or you'll
get nothing from me. Not a penny! I swear to God.
Oh Dad ...
I'll give you 'til tomorrow to decide. Now get out
of here -- I've got to go to work.
May I have my letter? ...
I said get out of here.
Albert, trying not to cry, rushes out of the room, almost
bumping into the Butler - CHARLES, a good looking, cocky,
olive complexioned man in his thirties.
Charles watches from outside the study door as Lassiter rips
the letter in half, and then in half again and tries to rip
it even more. He throws all the small pieces into his
INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT
A cheaply attractive woman sets a bag of groceries down in a
large, obviously lower class 1930's kitchen.
She takes off her autumn raincoat, opens a closet door and
reaches for a hanger. As she is hanging up her coat we see
a pair of man's shoes, off to one side. As the woman walks
away - leaving the closet door open - THE SHOES MOVE
The woman closes her refrigerator door - having put away
some groceries - and takes off her blouse. She has a
IN THE CLOSET we travel up from the man's shoes, past some
clothes, to the MAN'S EYES - staring out at her.
The woman turns on the faucet over her kitchen sink, takes
the cap off of a large bottle of shampoo, fills it and pours
it over her head. She begins to lather her hair.
The man comes out of the closet. He has a thin body and a
hard, bony face. His hair is close cropped. He very
quietly locks the door leading to the outside.
The woman's hair is full of lather.
The man lifts a rosary off of a small statue that sits on a
The woman sticks her head under the water and begins rinsing
as the man approaches behind her. He takes the towel near
the sink and throws it to the floor. He opens a drawer and
pulls out a LARGE BUTCHER'S KNIFE.
The woman reaches for the towel, can't find it, and begins
blindly reaching all around her. The man dangles the rosary
in the path of her hands. When she feels the beads she lets
out a startled cry, clutches the beads nervously and looks
up - trying to wipe her eyes with her arm.
Johnny ...? Is that you, Johnny?
What're you doing Johnny?
Got a heavy date tonight?