Being There (1979) Script

I dare you to stop me in my Super Cop Clobberer.

Anybody who'd try to stop him has to be totally stupid.

Stupid? Hey, Mumbly, come back.

And make it snappy.

...snow that fell over the whole weekend, and the blizzard is one of the worst... you can see, one of the worst in that city's history.

They have not been lucky in the Midwest, as soon as they dig out...

...another storm hits and there's one out west that might be in soon.

We've been very lucky, though. Every time it snows...

Your friend's out here. Friends? I have no friends.

Big Bird, we came to see you drive.

It's a little too late now, isn't it?

Good morning, Louise.

He's dead, Chance.

The old man's dead.

I see.

He wasn't breathing...

...and he's cold as a fish.

I touched him, just to see.


Then I...

...covered him up. Pulled a sheet over his head.

Oh, Lord!

What a morning.

Yes, Louise. It looks like it's going to snow.

Have you seen the garden?

It feels just like it's going to snow... Damn it, boy.

Is that all you've got to say?

That old man is lying up there dead as hell...

...and it just don't make any difference to you.

Lord, Chance...

I'm sorry for yelling like I did.

No, sir. I just don't know what I was expecting.

I suppose I better gather you up some breakfast.

Yes, please. I'm very hungry, Louise.

I'll make you some eggs.

There're lots of animals in the barnyard. Want to go with the rooster to see them?

"Sealy Posturepedic morning"

Feeling so good it shows. Because Posturepedic is designed... cooperation with leading orthopedic surgeons for no morning backache...

...from sleeping on a too-soft mattress.

"It's a Sealy Posturepedic morning"

Keep in the shade, Alvin. Yes, ma 'am.

I won't have the horses standing in the sun. You hear me?

Stay in your seat. Yes, ma 'am.

Keep your hat and gloves on. Yes, ma 'am.

And your coat buttoned. Yes, ma 'am.

Yes, ma 'am.

Yes, ma'am.

Ain't you the gentleman this morning.

I'm going to go now, Chance.


You're going to need somebody.

You ought to find yourself a lady, Chance.

Guess it ought to be an old lady.

You ain't going to do a young one any good.

Not with that little thing of yours.

You're always going to be a little boy, ain't you?

Goodbye, Chance.

Goodbye, Louise.

Will you give me a tour? Gladly.

The safe is in Mr. Jennings' bedroom. That'll be stop number one.

He and my father used to ride together, back in the '30s.

Before I was born.

You hear that?

It's a new car.

This morning, the President met in the Oval Office with...

...foreign dignitaries and cultural exchange students from the Republic of China.

He presented them with a statue of the American eagle...

...our symbol of peace and freedom throughout the world.

The President warmly encouraged future trade relations...

Why, hello.

We thought we heard something.

I'm Thomas Franklin.

Hello, Thomas. I'm Chance, the gardener.

The gardener? Yes.

Yes, of course.

Mr. Chance, this is Ms. Hayes.

Mr. Chance, I'm very pleased to meet you.



We're with Franklin, Jennings and Roberts.

The law firm handling the estate.

Yes, Thomas, I understand.

Are you waiting for someone? An appointment?

Yes. Louise will bring me my lunch.

All kidding aside, Mr. Chance, may I ask just what you're doing here?

I live here.

There is no mention of a gardener.

According to our inventories, there hasn't been a man employed here since 1933.

Except for a Mr. Joe Saracini...

...a brick mason, who did some repairs to a wall.

He was here for two and a half days in 1952.

Yes. I remember Joe.

He was very fat, had short hair...

...and showed me pictures from a funny little book.

Some pictures? Yes.

Of men and women.

Just how long have you been living here, Mr. Chance?

Ever since I can remember.

Ever since I was a child I've worked in this garden.

Then you really are a gardener?

My roses.

We will need some proof of your having resided here, Mr. Chance.

You have me, I'm here.

That's where Joe fixed the wall.

Are you related to the deceased?

I don't think so.

That's a nice car. Do you drive it, Mr. Chance?

I've never been in an automobile.

You've never been in a car?


I've never been allowed outside of the house.

You can call me Ray, or you can call me Jay...

I used to listen to the radio.

Then the old man started giving me television sets.

This one has a remote control.

Maybe there's another gum machine someplace.

You see? This is my bed.

This is my bathroom.

This is my sink.

This is my toilet.

This is my bathtub.

Here is my closet.

You have a very handsome wardrobe.


I'm allowed to go to the attic and wear any of the old man's clothes.

They fit me very well, don't they? Yes.

It's amazing how those clothes have come back into style.

Why is the bed like this?

I like to sleep with my head facing the north.

I sleep better that way.

Yes, I've heard about that. Could you show us something with your address?

But this is facing west.

What is facing west? The bed.

I see.

Mr. Chance, I'd like to know what sort of claim...'re planning to make against the deceased's estate.

The garden is a healthy one, Thomas.

I have no claim.

I see. Would you be willing to sign a paper to that effect?

I don't know how to sign, Thomas.

Very well, Mr. Chance, I have no alternative but to inform you...

...that this house is now closed.

If, indeed, you have resided here, you have no legal right to remain.

You'll have to move out by, let's say, noon tomorrow.

I don't understand "move out."

Call me, or have your attorney call me...

...if you change your mind about signing.

Come on, Sally, let's grab a bite.

What about medical records?

Could you give us the name of your doctor or your dentist?

I have no doctor or dentist.

I see.

Good day, Mr. Chance.

Good day, Sally. Good day, Thomas.

Every day you're doing new things, and you need the Washington Post to help.

Pardon me for intruding at a time like this, but were you very close to Max?

Are you kidding? We were inseparable.

Jogger's knee and swimmer's...

We have tennis elbow, jogger's knee, and simmer's...

And swimmer's what?

I'm sorry. All I can think of is trunks.

Jim 's back was broken in three places, his skull was fractured...

...and his chest crushed. He's a paraplegic.

But after a year in the hospital, he went back to school... his master's degree and now looks to the future.

I get depressed, you know, this kind of thing...

...and it's momentary, it usually hits at night.

Excuse me.

I'm very hungry. Could you give me some lunch?

It's an all-girl show, sir. It's an all-girl show.

Come right in. It's an all-girl show.

Excuse me.

Could you please tell me where I could find a garden to work in?

A garden? What are you growing, man?

There is much to be done during the winter.

I should start the seeds for the spring and work the soil.


Who sent you here, boy?

Did that chicken-shit asshole Raphael send you, boy?


Mr. Thomas Franklin told me I must leave the old man's house.

He's dead, you know. Dead, my ass.

You tell that asshole, if he got something to tell me... get his ass down here himself.

Got that, boy?

TV changer, man.

What you got?

Now move, honky, before I cut your white ass.

If I see Raphael, I will give him your message.

Do that. Good day.

Excuse me. That tree is very sick. It needs care.

Yes, sir. I'll report it right away.

Thank you.

Good day, sir. Good day.


I'm very sorry, sir, I didn't see you. Can't move. My leg.

This is terrible, sir. I hope you're not badly injured.

No. I'm not badly injured. But my leg is very sore.

It's not broken, is it? Can you walk? I hope not.

Perhaps I should call an ambulance. Let's have a look. Do you mind?

No. I'd like to look. What's happened?

My goodness, your leg!


It should be examined. We could take you to a hospital.

There's no need for the hospital. A doctor should look at that.

I insist. We'll take him to a hospital.

I'm very sorry, Mrs. Rand. I never saw the man.

It's really no one's fault, David. Thank you, ma'am.

I've never ridden in an automobile before.

I assure you, sir, David is a very careful driver.

I understand. Very good.

These situations can be so trying.

Everyone seems to make such a to-do out of a simple little accident.

Is your leg feeling any better?

No, it isn't.

I see.

This is just like television, only you can see much further.

Why don't you come to our house and we could take care of you there?

Your house?

My husband's been very ill. The doctor and the nurses are staying with us.

Hospitals can be so impersonal.

I agree. Fine.

That'll save a lot of unnecessary fuss and it'll be that much more pleasant for you.

We'll go right on home.

And, Jeffery, please call and tell them we're on our way.

Yes, ma'am.

Would you care for a drink?

Yes, please. I'm very thirsty.

Thank you. May I watch television, please?

Why, yes. Certainly.

And now, the piece of resistance...

May I ask your name?



Chance, the gardener.

Chauncey Gardiner? Mr. Chauncey Gardiner.

Are you related to Basil and Perdita Gardiner?

No, I'm not related to Basil and Perdita.

They are such a wonderful couple.

My husband and I are very good friends of theirs.

We often visit their island.

Thank you.

Did you lose something?

Yes, I lost my remote control.

I use it to change the channels.

I'm sorry.

You wouldn't think of driving without your rear-view mirror...

...and yet some people still drive without a fuzz buster.

When they unwrapped the chopsticks to be used by the Chinese guests...

...the packages were clearly stamped "Made in Taiwan."

I know it's important to stay informed of all the latest events, but...

...I find there's so much to assimilate it can become quite muddling.

Until they placed the chopsticks around the table. If the Chinese were upset...

Good evening, ma'am.

Wilson, will you take Mr. Gardiner to the third-floor guest suite?

Yes, ma'am.

I'll see you after Dr. Allenby has a look at your leg.

Thank you. Yes.

I've never been in one of these before.

It's one of Mr. Rand's. Since he's been ill.

I see.

Does it have a television?

No. But Mr. Rand does have one with an electric motor.

That way, he can get around by himself.

How long do we stay in here?

How long?

I don't know. We'll see what the doctor says.

I've seen it done before, in a film on television.

This won't hurt at all.

It did hurt.

There's no apparent damage to the bone. But to be sure, we'll do an x-ray.


By the way, Mr. Gardiner, I'd like to ask you something straight out.

Straight out? Yes, sir.

Are you planning on making any sort of claim against the Rands?


That's what Thomas asked me.

Thomas? You can pull your trousers up now.

Who's Thomas?

Thomas Franklin. He's an attorney.

An attorney? Yes.

Then you wish to handle this matter through your attorneys?

There's no need for a claim.

I don't even know what they look like.

Well, then.

You caught me off guard there, I must admit.

Thank you.

Now, the only thing we have to look out for is minor hemorrhaging...

...which isn't serious, but could cause trouble later on.

Tell me, Mr. Gardiner...

...would it be possible for you to stay here for a day or two... we could keep an eye on it?

Yes, I could stay here.

Does this house have a garden? Why, yes. Many.


Keep your weight off that leg, Mr. Gardiner.

Mr. Wilson, wheel Mr. Gardiner in for x-rays after you've finished unpacking.

Yes, Doctor. Thank you.

Ever watch a game on TV and see the players chugging down this stuff?

Ever wonder why?

I miss you so when I'm out. How're you feeling?

No headaches?

No, it's been a fairly good day.

Better than yours, so I've been told. You heard about it?

I may be a shut-in, but...

I'm sorry you had to go through all that.

It was nothing, really. It just sounded worse than it was.

And Mr. Gardiner is a very reasonable man.


I'd like to meet a reasonable man for a change.

Why don't you ask this Robinson for dinner?

Gardiner. Gardiner. Chauncey. Chauncey Gardiner.


You think you're well enough for dinner, Ben?

Constance, I want fresh blood for dinner.

Yes, sir.

I'll have them set another place.

My God, Eve, you'll freeze.

No. I just...

I just wanted to get some fresh air.

How's Mr. Gardiner?

Doesn't seem to be too serious.

But it's a rather large contusion and I'd like to keep an eye on him... I suggested that he stay here for a couple of days.


Mr. Gardiner stay here? Why? Is that necessary?

Not necessary, but helpful.

Don't worry, he might be a breath of fresh air.

He is different, isn't he?

You know, he's very...



Actually, I found him to have quite a sense of humor.

That's a very small room.

Yes, sir, I guess that's true. Smallest room in the house.

Yes, I guess that's true.

Welcome to Rand Memorial Hospital.

Thank you. Can I help you to the table, Mr. Gardiner?

Thank you.

I feel very good in here.

That's the oxygen.

When I first got sick...

...I had this entire room glassed in... they could pump in some extra oxygen.

Keeps my spirits up.

You must be very ill.

Aplastic anemia.

The bone marrow doesn't supply enough red blood cells.

Not a damn thing they can do about it.

They can keep me comfortable.

Prolong my life with steroid therapy...

...and these transfusions.

But what makes my blood boil...

...that is, what there is of it... that this is usually...

...a young person's disease.

Here I am getting along in years...

...and I'm about to die of a young person's disease.

I've never seen anything like this on television.

Please, lie still, Mr. Gardiner.

You'll join us for dinner, of course.

Yes, please. Thank you.

I'm very hungry.

Yes, so am I, my boy.

So am I.

Do you know Raphael?

No, sir. I don't believe I do.

Because I have a message for him.

Yes, sir?

A small black man gave me a message for Raphael.

I still don't believe I know the man, Mr. Gardiner. Now, please...

...lie still.

Is there anyone we could notify for you?


The old man died and Louise left.

I'm very sorry.

I do hope your injury won't prevent you from attending to business.

Do you need a secretary?

No, thank you.

My house was shut down.

You mean your business was shut down?


Shut down and closed by the attorneys.

What did I tell you? That's exactly what I mean.

The businessman today is at the mercy of kid lawyers from the SEC.

It's happening to everyone, I'm afraid.

The way things are going, they'll probably legislate the medical profession...

...right out of existence.

Yes. Right out of existence.

Yeah, it's a damn shame.

What are your plans now, Mr. Gardiner?

Or may I call you Chauncey?

Chauncey's fine.

So then, what are your plans, Chauncey?

I would like to work in your garden.

I know exactly what he means. Isn't it wonderful... be with the trees and the flowers like that?

I never had much feel for it, myself.

I'm a very good gardener.

It's such a pleasant way to forget one's troubles.

Isn't that what any businessman is? A gardener.

He... on...

...flinty soil... make it productive...

...with the labor of his own hands.

He waters it...

...with the sweat of his own brow.

He makes a thing of value for his family...

...and for the community.

Yes, indeed, Chauncey, a productive businessman... a laborer in the vineyard.

I know exactly what you mean.

The garden that I left was such a place.

I don't have that anymore. All I have left... the room upstairs.

Come on, now, wait a minute, Chauncey.

You've got your health.

For God's sake, man, you can't let those bastards get you down. You've got to fight.

I don't want to hear anymore from you about that room upstairs.

That's where I'm going, too damn soon.

It's a very pleasant room, Ben.

I'm sure it is. That's what they say, anyway.

You know...

...there are thousands of businessmen, large and small... your situation.


...given the matter a good deal of consideration for some time.

They've been harassed long enough by...

...inflation, increased taxation...

...all sorts of indecencies.

After all, they're our strongest defense against the pollutants...

...of our basic freedoms... well as the well-being of our middle class.

I've been thinking about starting a financial assistance fund.

Tell me, would you have any ideas on that subject?

No, Ben.

Reluctant to speak, eh?

I can understand that.

After a man's lost everything...

...anger tends to block out rationality, for a while.

But, you work on the idea.

Water it.

Fertilize it.

I will, Ben. Yes.

I'm sure you'll sprout some thoughts in a few days.

I will, Ben. Yes.

Sorry, sir.

I thought you were going to come out with another jest about the elevator.

Excuse me.


Yes, sir.


I just wanted you to know how delighted I am...

...that you're staying with us and how dreadful I feel about your leg.

Thank you, Eve.

You lifted Ben's spirits tonight to such an extent, do you know that?

He liked you so much. He really did.

Ben is very ill, Eve. I've seen that before.

I know.

He reminds me of the old man.

Does he?

Are you going to leave and close this house when Ben dies?

Why, I don't think so.

Goodnight, Eve.

Goodnight, Chauncey.

'Morning, Mr. Perkins. 'Morning, Mr. Riff.

Nice to see you. Thanks.

We have an additional guest with us today, Mr. Chauncey Gardiner.

I see. Shall we set up the communications in the usual place?

Of course. Okay, let's go to work.

Would you like a car, sir?

Yes, I would like a car.

Yes, sir.

Thank you.

Send up number seven, please.

Chauncey, there you are. What are you doing on that leg?

It's fine today, Robert.

Shame on you. Let me be the judge of that.

Please, sit in the chair.

I swear, between you and Benjamin, I've got my hands full.

Say, that is coming along. The swelling's gone down considerably.

Your limousine, sir.

Fine. Thank you.

Are you going somewhere?


Anyway, the President's volunteered to sit in for Ben at the convention.

Quite a nice gesture. They're due here soon, I believe.

I know about the President coming.

You do, do you? Yes.

Ben would like me to meet the President.

He would, would he? Yes.

How will I know when it's 10:00?

It's 9:10, now.

And if you don't see a clock...

...I'm sure someone will have the time.

I understand.

I'm going to walk.

Walk? Well, yes, hell yes. Walk.

You're meeting the President, aren't you? Yes.

I've watched him on television.

It's very precise, sir.

It's 10:00.

Thank you, Jim.

Mrs. Aubrey, the President is arriving.

Up and around this morning, are you? I like to walk, Ben.

That's good news, my boy.

You look much better today.

It's all make-up.

I asked Nurse Teresa to fix me up a bit.

I didn't want the President to think I would die while he was talking to me.

I see.

Nobody likes a dying man.

Because nobody knows what death is.

You seem to be an exception.

That's one of the things I admire about you, your admirable balance.

You seem to be a truly peaceful man.

Thank you, Ben. Thank you.

Nurse Teresa did a very good job there.

Mr. Rand, the President is arriving.

Just show the President into the library. We'll be along in a few minutes.

An old habit that goes along with power: Keep them waiting.

Not now, Arthur.

But, sir...

I'm going to meet the President...

...on my own two feet.

Shall we go?

That's a very good idea.

When I was younger, I had thoughts of public office.

But I found that...

...I was able to contribute more as a private citizen.

Of course, my...

...wealth provided me with considerable influence.

But I've tried, believe me, I've tried...

...not to misuse that power.

It's extremely important that we don't allow ourselves... become blinded to the needs of our government... matter how strong the temptation.

I've been labeled a kingmaker...

...but I've tried... keep myself open to the voice of the people.

And I've remained honest to myself.

That's the main thing.

Good morning, Mr. Rand. Good morning, gentlemen.

Where the hell is he?

Mr. President.


It's good to see you. You look terrific.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Your visit has helped to raise my spirits.

I've missed you, my friend.

Come, sit down. Take a load off your feet.

Hello, Mr. President.


I want you to meet my very dear friend, Mr. Chauncey Gardiner.

On television, Mr. President, you look much smaller.

I must warn you, Chauncey's not a man to bandy words.

Oh? Really?

Well, Mr. Gardiner, I'm a man who appreciates a frank discussion.

Would you be seated? Yes, I will.

Ben, I was wondering if you had a chance... Yes?

Did you happen to have a chance to go... Yes?

Ben, did you read my speech?

Overall, pretty good.

But I think, Mr. President, that it is very dangerous... play around with temporary measures at a time like this.

Ben, I mean...

I sympathize with you...

...and I know how difficult it is to be straightforward.

But I'll tell you right now, Bobby...

Hi. Hi. I'm Riff. Secret Service.

Good. Of course.

What you're saying, Ben, is that... don't think I should take the chance. Absolutely not.

Do you agree with Ben, or do you think we can stimulate growth through...

...temporary incentives?

As long as the roots are not severed...

...all is well.

And all will be well... the garden.

In the garden? Yes.

In a garden, growth has its season.

First comes spring and summer...

...but then we have...

...fall and winter.

And then we get spring and summer again.

Spring and summer? Yes.

And fall and winter? Yes.

I think what our insightful young friend is saying... that we welcome the inevitable...

...seasons of nature...

...but we're upset by the seasons of our economy.


There will be growth in the spring.

I must admit, that is one of the most refreshing and optimistic statements...

...I've heard in a very long time.

I admire your good, solid sense.

That's precisely what we lack on Capitol Hill.

I must be going.

This visit has been most enlightening. Yes, it has.

And Ben, thank you for your time and thought.

Oh, nonsense.

Thank you for taking time out with a dying man.

No, I won't have any of that.

Why don't you listen to your friend Chauncey?

This is a time to think of life.

That's right, Mr. President.

Now, you take care, Ben.

And you take care, too, Bobby.



He's a decent fellow, isn't he, the President?

Yes. I'm glad he came.

Kaufman, I'll need some information on Chauncey Gardiner's background.

Gardiner, yes, sir. And I'd like it sometime today.

No problem, chief.

You know... don't play games with words... protect yourself.

No, you're direct.

Do you remember what I was talking to you about last night?

No. Sure you do.

My plan for financial assistance to businessmen.

I think you're just the man to take charge of an institution like that.

I understand.

I know you're not a man to act on the spur of the moment... don't feel that you have to rush into a decision.

Thank you.

Now, I'm afraid I must excuse myself.

I'm awfully tired.

I'm sorry you're so sick.

We have 60,000 tulip bulbs up there.

It is so glorious when they bloom.

Of course, the roses are my favorites.

We have 20,000 rose bushes.

And over here, we plant something different every year.

I haven't quite decided what we'll plant this year.

And that's the gardener's house.

And this is the greenhouse.

I like to watch the young plants grow.

It's wonderful, isn't it? Yes.

Young plants do much better if a person helps them.

You know...

...Ben told me that the President was very taken with you this morning.

Last night you mentioned an old man that died.

You must've been very close to him.

I was. Yes.

I'm sorry.

You mentioned also that Louise had gone, also.

Were you very close to Louise?

Yes, I liked Louise very much.

She was his maid.

Oh, his maid. Yes.

I see.

So stupid of me. I thought maybe she was perhaps someone... were romantically involved with or maybe a sister.


She used to bring me my meals.

She was very kind to me.

Chauncey Gardiner, Mr. Rand's friend and advisor, was at the meeting this morning.

I found Mr. Gardiner to have a feeling for this country that we need more of.

To quote Mr. Gardiner, a most intuitive man:

"As long as the roots of industry remain firmly planted in the national soil...

"...the economic prospects are undoubtedly sunny."

What is it? Doctor.

Decoral. Five milligrams.

Now, I know that many of you...

Put your arms up.

I think you'd better leave, Eve.

Will he be okay? He'll be fine.

Yeah, we got you, Ben.

Come on, Chauncey.

But I have decided there are no temporary stopgaps.

So I'm going to rethink my position and find another solution.

You'll be very pleased to know that your...

...founder and Chairman of the Board...

...Mr. Benjamin Turnbull Rand, agrees with me on this...

...for once.

Gentlemen, let us not fear the inevitable chill and storms of autumn and winter.

Instead, let us anticipate the rapid growth of springtime.

Let us await the rewards of summer.

As in a garden of the earth, let us learn to accept...

...and appreciate the times when the trees are bare... well as the times when we pick the fruit.

I'm just so very grateful that you're here with us.

So am I, Eve.

It's been an exhausting day for Ben.

He's resting now, and there's no cause for alarm.

I have a telephone call for you.

Telephone call?

Yes. Sidney Courtney, the financial editor of the Washington Post.

Would you care to take it, sir?


In my office.

Go, I'll be just fine.

Yes, you'll be fine.

He's such a kind and sensitive man.

Don't you think?

He's not there. Not there?

Mr. Courtney, are you there?

Yes, he's there.

Where is he? There or here?

He's on both lines.

Are you there?

Yes, I'm here.

Hello, Mr. Gardiner.

I saw the President's speech at the Financial Institute today.

Would you care to comment...

...on the meeting between Mr. Rand and the President and yourself?

Yes. It was very nice meeting...

...the President.

What we'd like to know are some facts.

Such as, what is the exact relationship between yourself and the...

...First American Financial Corporation?

I think you should ask Mr. Rand that.

Well, yes, sir. But Mr. Rand is ill, so I'm taking the liberty of asking you.

What? Say that again.

I said that since Mr. Rand is ill, I'm taking the liberty of asking you.

Yes, you are.

You should ask Mr. Rand that.

Of course.

Just one quick question, Mr. Gardiner...

Will you hold a minute, please?

I have the producer of The Gary Burns Show on the line.

Yes, I have watched that show.

Of course. They would like you to appear on the show tonight.

The Vice President was scheduled, but he had to cancel.

They asked if you would be interested.

Yes. I've been on television.


Hello, Mr. Hull? Mr. Gardiner has agreed to do the show.

He's been on television.

Yes. The show will be taped, and then shown at 10:00...

...but he's to be there...

What do you mean, he's got no background? That's impossible.

I quoted the man on national television. He's a very well-known man.

We're well aware of that, sir...

He's a close friend and advisor of Benjamin Rand.

For Christ's sakes, we've got volumes of data on Rand.

I plan to contact Mr. Rand the minute...

I do not want Ben disturbed.

We have other ways of gathering information than to trouble a dying man.

Use any agencies that are necessary to get a detailed history of Chauncey Gardiner.

Have it in my office, tomorrow at 7:00.

I've got to take a leak. Right, chief.

Of course, your position in the financial community carries a lot of weight.

But what caught Gary's interest was your down-to-earth philosophy.

I see.

Do you realize more people will be watching you tonight...

...than all those that have seen theater plays in the last 40 years?

Yes? Yes.


Hell, I don't know.


This way. Thank you.

Gardiner's laconic. He plays his cards very close to the chest...

...and the scuttlebutt is he's a strong candidate for a seat...

...on the board of First American Financial.

Kinney, what have you found on his background?


Yeah, skip the levity.

I know it's ridiculous, but there is no information about Gardiner.

We have no material on him.


Here. I want your shoulders to go right on this pad.

Now, wait, you have to put your head through the hole first.

Head in the hole.

That's right. Okay. Stretch your legs out, push your body...

Thought you might need this about now. It gets pretty hot underneath these lights.

Thank you. I'm very thirsty.

If Gary wants to interrupt you, or ask you a question...

...he'll lift his left forefinger to his left eyebrow. All right?

I understand. Good.

Thank you. You're very welcome.

Nurse Teresa did Ben's make-up. Really?

Did she do a good job? Yes, it looked just like this.

Looks like you're up. I am?

Gary's ready for you now. Yes.

Good luck. Good luck.

This way.

How very nice to have you with us this evening, Mr. Gardiner.

Hello, Gary.

This is Miss Annie Lawson. Mr. Chauncey Gardiner.

Hi. How do you do? Hello.

I'd like very much to thank you for joining us on such short notice...

...and filling in for the Vice President.


It's always somewhat surprising to find men like yourself...

...working so intimately with the President, and yet...

...somehow managing to remain relatively unknown.

Yes, it is surprising.

Yes, of course.

Your anonymity is certainly likely to be a thing of the past from now on.


I assume, since the President quoted you...

...that you're inclined to agree with his view of the economy.

Which view?

The President compared the economy of this country to a garden and he stated...

...that after a period of decline, a time of growth would naturally follow.


It is possible...

...for everything... grow strong.

And there is plenty of room...

...for new trees and new flowers...

...of all kinds.

So, you're saying...

...this is just another season in the garden, so to speak.


A garden needs a lot of care and a lot of love.

And if you give your garden...

...a lot of love, things grow.

But first, some things must wither.

Some trees die...

It's that gardener. Yeah. Chauncey Gardiner.

No, he's a real gardener.

He does talk like one. But I think he's brilliant.

That is very interesting indeed, but what about the bad seasons?

Doesn't a country need to have someone in charge...

...who can see it through these periods of crisis?

A leader, capable of guiding us through the bad seasons, as well as the good?

Yes. That bastard means it.

Oh, yes.

We need a very good gardener.

And I do agree with the President...

...that the garden needs a lot of care.

It is a good garden.

Its trees are healthy...

I realize this might be a difficult question for you to answer, but... you feel that we have... your words, a very good gardener in office... this time?


Yes, some plants... well in the sun...

...and others grow better in the shade.

Sounds as if we need a lot of gardening here.

We certainly do.

It's for sure a white man's world in America.

I raised that boy since he was the size of a piss ant...

...and I'll say right now he never learned to read and write.

No, sir.

He had no brains at all.

Stuffed with rice pudding between the ears.

Short-changed by the Lord and dumb as a jackass.

Look at him now.

Yes, sir, all you got to be is white in America... get whatever you want.


What sort of gardener would you be, Mr. Gardiner?

I am a very serious gardener. I'm sure you are, Mr. Gardiner.


You're fond of him, too, aren't you?

That's good.

That's good.

May I take your coat, Mr. Gardiner?

Bravo, sir. Outstanding!

Okay, Sally, I'll see you in 20 minutes.


I won't be long. I've just got to talk to her about this gardener.


Look, Johanna... I said, goodnight.

Tomorrow night...

...Senator Rowley's widow... holding a reception for the Soviet ambassador.

It's pretty obvious that Robert here is not going to allow me to attend.

So, you'd be doing me a great favor...

...if you would attend in my place, and escort Eve.

Yes, Ben.

I would love to escort Eve.

You and Eve should create quite a stir.

I can already hear the gossip.

You have the gift of being natural.

That's a great talent, my boy.

I hope the entire country was listening.

The entire country.

Darling, what's wrong?

I can't.

I just can't, right now.

I'm sorry, dearest. I just...

I just can't.

We'll fix up one of Ben's for you. Sophie insists on black tie.

I see.

Chauncey? Yes?

I don't have very many friends.

And Ben's friends are...

...quite a bit older than I am.

Quite a bit.



He was very clever, keeping it at a third grade level, that's what they understand.

Yeah? I don't understand why he was in Jennings' house.

What was up his sleeve when he pulled that stunt with us?

What was he doing? And why?

Who knows? Maybe the government had something to do with it.

You know...

...he made a fool out of me.

And you know what that means? No.

Any political future I had is right down the toilet.

Jesus, the thought of spending the rest of my life as an attorney...


...that is really a downer. And, Christ...

...I almost forgot. Johanna is starting to think something's going on.

Sid, be reasonable. I have been everywhere.

There is no place left to look. Try again.

Sure, try again. Where? There's nothing.

It's like Gardiner never existed.

Try again.

Sid, it's useless.

I said, try again.

Up yours. You try again. I quit.

'Morning, gentlemen. Good morning, Mr. President.

We found no information... It's not what I requested.

...before Mr. Gardiner appeared at the Rands'.

This information goes back a day and a half.

I want the standard file, you know that. Right, chief.

Well, where is it?

Right, chief.

Kaufman, what the hell are you talking about?

The Bureau has some data, sir, but it's not pertinent.

I'd like to hear that data. Yes, sir.

His suits...

...were made by a New York tailor, handmade... 1928.

The tailor went out of business in 1933 and later...

...took his own life.

His underwear, all of the finest cloth.

The factory was destroyed by fire in 1948.

This man carries no identification.

No driver's license, no wallet, no credit cards.

Computers have analyzed his...

Miss Davies. ...vocal characteristics.

I'd like my eggs poached this morning, please.

But they cannot determine his ethnic background.

Come in.

Have you read the newspapers?

I don't read papers.

You're described as one of the architects of the President's speech last night.

And your comments on the television show are quoted alongside the President's.

I like the President very much. He's a nice man.

You're very nice, too.

Hi, neighbor. There's somebody at the door.

Let's see who that special person is. It's Mr. McFeeland.

You don't mind my being here like...



I like you to be here.

You do?

I'd like to sing about something even more special.

And that something is you.

Thank you.

I'm so grateful.

I would've just...

...opened up at the slightest touch.

I would've just opened up. You know? You know that.

But you're so strong...

...that I can trust myself with you.

I'm glad you didn't open.

A long time ago, people didn't have television...

...but they still liked to look at interesting pictures.

And they would put pictures like these...

Thank you. a special viewer.

They would look at them very carefully. I'll show you another one.

They looked like cards.

Flash cards for schools or something.

But they're really photographs. Take a careful look at them.

The interesting thing about them, is that they're two.

One. Two.

And they look very much alike.

Here, I'll show you another one.

Mr. Thomas Franklin, please.

Is Mr. Franklin in?

Certainly. This is Dr. Robert Allenby.

Would you tell Mr. Franklin that I'd like to speak to him?

It concerns Chauncey Gardiner.

What was your reaction to the Post's editorial on the President's speech?

I did not read that.

But, sir, you must've at least glanced at it. I did not glance at it.

The New York Times spoke of your "peculiar brand of optimism."

What was your reaction to that? I do not know what it means.

Sorry to persist, sir, but it would be of great interest to me... know just what newspapers you do read.

I do not read papers. I watch TV.

Do you mean that you find television's coverage of the news...

...better than that of the newspapers?

I like to watch TV.

Thank you.

You're welcome.

Few men in public life have the courage not to read the newspapers.

None, that this reporter has met, had the guts to admit it.

I've never seen anyone handle the press the way you do.

You're so cool and detached.

Thank you.

How are you? I'm fine. How are you?

I'm very well. I'd like you to meet Chauncey Gardiner.

Hello, Vladimir.

And this is Mrs. Skrapinov.

Natasha. Hello, Natasha.

Very nice meeting you. And you.

You must sit with us, my friends. We have much to discuss.

I agree.

Let's let the men talk. Would you two excuse us for a moment?

Regretfully, we shall yield the pleasure of your company to others.

I shall yield, too.

Yes. Well, you have a nice chat.

Shouldn't we get together more often to exchange our thoughts?

It's strictly at the rumor stage now, Lyman.

But there's something in the wind. Something rather big in the wind, I'd say.

So whose files were destroyed? The CIA's or the FBI's?

I don't know.

You may find, my friend, that we are not so far from each other.

Not so far.

We are not so far from each other.

Our chairs are almost touching.


Our chairs are indeed almost touching.

And we want to remain seated on them, correct?

We don't want them snatched out from under us, am I right?

Because, if one goes, the other goes.

And then boom-boom and boom-boom.

What is it about his background that they're trying to cover up?

A criminal record? A membership in a subversive organization?

Homosexual, perhaps.

He told me that he had been living there since he was a child...

...working as a gardener.

He showed us a room in the garage where he said he stayed, and...

...I didn't really believe him, of course, but why the act?

Tell me... you, by any chance, enjoy Krylov's fables?

Now, I ask you that because there is something...

...Krylovian about you.

Do you think so?

I believe that you know Krylov.

So, you know your Krylov in Russian, do you?

I must confess, I had suspected as much all along.

Excuse me, but would you tell me your name again?

A dash of American humor.

Vladimir Skrapinov.

That's a very nice name.

And yours, Chauncey Gardiner.

He must have been involved on some major financial level...

...with the deceased.

With who? Mr. Jennings.

But our firm has no record of any such transactions.

You had the Russian ambassador eating right out of your hand. You know that?

I didn't know you spoke Russian. It's incredible.

It is extremely useful to speak Russian today.

Are you proficient in other languages? He's so modest, Ambassador Gaufridi.

He just never advertises his accomplishments.

Maybe you should talk to somebody, darling.


No, that wouldn't do any good.

Hello, Ronald. How are you?

Just fine. Good. I am fine, too.

Good. Yes. We're fine.

Yeah, fine.

My editors and I have been wondering if you'd consider writing a book for us.

Something about your political philosophy. What do you say?

I can't write. Of course not. Who can, nowadays?

I have trouble writing a postcard to my children.

Look, we can give you a six-figure advance.

I'll provide you with the very best ghost writer, proofreaders...

I can't read. Of course, you can't.

No one has the time.

We glance at things, we watch television.

I like to watch TV.

I'm sure you do. No one reads.

He's very, very sexy.

Don't leave me alone with him for too long.

You say he showed you his garden.

He said it was his. He walked us through it.

I see.

Mr. Franklin, I must ask you and Ms. Hayes... keep this incident with Mr. Gardiner strictly to yourselves.

There's no telling what he could have been involved in.

It could be an extremely confidential matter.

Please, not a word. Of course, Doctor. I understand.


Thank you very much. Certainly. Glad to be of help.

I heard he speaks eight languages.

And on top of everything else, holds a degree in medicine as well as law.

Isn't that true, Eve?

I don't know, Senator, but it wouldn't surprise me.

He's very attractive.

Isn't he?

You know, I've never met anyone like you in Washington before.

Yes, I've been here all my life.


And where have you been all my life?

Tell me, Mr. Gardiner...

...have you ever had sex with a man?

No. I don't think so.

We could go upstairs right now.

Is there a TV upstairs?

I like to watch.

You like to watch?


You wait right here. I'll go get Warren.

Is it me?

Is it something I've done? No, sweetheart, it's not...

No, it's...

It's not you.

This never happened when you were a senator.

It's not that, it's just that I...

Yeah, Kaufman, what is it? The CIA or the FBI...

...destroyed Gardiner's files. What? Why?

Neither agency will admit to a thing. All right.

Get Baldwin and Honeycutt over here. I'll be right down.

I feel so close to you.

I feel safe.

Ben understands my feelings for you, by the way, and he accepts them.

Ben is very wise.

Or thirdly, the man's files have been destroyed.

Now, I'd like some answers. Gardiner's not a foreign agent.

There are now 16 countries investigating the man.

I see.

What about the third question?

Is it possible to erase all traces of a man?

Highly unlikely, sir.

In fact, the boys around the Bureau feel...

...that the only one capable of pulling this off...

...would be an ex-FBI man.

I don't think that's entirely true, Grover.

What do the boys around Intelligence feel?

Well, Mr. President, they don't quite know...

It's very difficult...

...for me to say goodnight to you.

It's very hard...

...for me to leave you.

It's very hard for me, too.


Sell all 750,000 shares...

...of CCT.

Let's see.

Sell a million shares of Inland Oil.

Mrs. Aubrey...

...have 30,000 shares of Standard...

...transferred into your account.

That's for you.

I was just cleaning up some loose ends.

Getting rid of the dead wood... Eve wouldn't have to cope with it.

I'd like to talk to you about Chauncey.

You know...

...there's something about him...

...that I trust.

He makes me feel good.

Since he's been around...

...the thought of dying...

...has been much easier for me.

I couldn't stand it.

What is it?

What's wrong?

What's the matter?

I don't know what you like. I'm sorry.

I like to watch.

What do you mean, you like to watch?

I like to watch.

You mean..., you like to watch me... it.

It's very good.

No, thanks. I never touch the stuff,, never.

A cigar, then?

I'll have one of those. Thanks.

Thanks very much.

Sit down, Rico. Yeah, thanks.

Now listen, Rico...

...I'm going to talk to you, but you're not going to hear a word I say, see?

This is inside dope and if it gets out, it'll be just too bad for somebody.

You know me.

All right. Get this. Pete Montana 's through.

And I thought he was such a big guy. He's through.

Suppose I were to tell you that, from now on, you were Pete Montana.

That you were to take over his territory in addition to your own.

Will you shake on it?

One of the first things you should know about me, my darling... that I'm a little shy.

All right, it's set.

I'm doing a lot for you, Rico. When I get you planted...

...I'll expect plenty of service. You'll sure get it.

Permit me, then, to drink to the new boss of the North Side.

Thank you.

You look great, boss.

Feels terrible.

There ain't none of us ever been invited up to eat at the Big Boy's dump.

And nobody ever crashed the gate except Pete Montana.

If you think I'm going out in this harness, you're crazy.

You look fine, boss.

Hello, Big Boy. Hello, Rico.

Wow, you're rather lit up tonight, aren't you?

This next exercise is trying to...

...sort of explore and with any explorer, go slowly.

Knee to the chest and experimenting with the weight...

...and going at this slowly. Please, nobody leaping up.

Where did you go?

Don't be frightened of it. It's important to know that, yes, you could roll over.

Tell her to come down. I'm gonna put in a CVP line.


No more shots.

No more.

It's not good.

I know.

You uncoil my wants...

...desire flows within me.

And when you watch me, my passion... dissolves the desire.

You set me free.

And I reveal myself to myself and I am drenched...

...and purged.

Mr. Rand would like to see you.

I would like to see Ben.

Yes, Ben?

Are you going to die now?

I think I'm...

...going to surrender the...

...horn of plenty...

...for the horn of Gabriel.

Give me your hand.

Let me feel your strength.

I hope that you'll stay here...

...with Eve.

Take care of her.

She cares for you.


...over her.

She's a delicate flower.

A flower.


There's... much left to do.

I've spoken to them, my associates.

They're eager...

...very eager, to meet you.

Tell Eve...

He's gone.

Yes, I know.

I've seen this before.

It happens to old people.

Will you be leaving now?

Yes, in a day or two.


Eve is staying.

She said she will not close up the house.

You've become quite a close friend of Eve's, haven't you...



I love Eve very much.

And you really are a gardener, aren't you?

I am...

...a gardener.

I'll go and tell Eve about Ben.

I understand.

I understand.

I know that Ben said, "Keep it small and quiet."

And I don't want to go against his wishes...

...but I thought it would be good, while our friends are carrying Ben to his...

...last resting place... read from his quotes.

"I have no use for those on welfare...

" patience whatsoever.

"But if I am to be honest with myself...

"...I must admit that they have no use for me, either.

"I do not regret having political differences with men that I respect.

"I do regret, however...

"...that our philosophies...

"...kept us apart."

Yes, I agree. Except he's so boring. What about Max?

He could never take an election. Correct.

The people of this country need to be awakened.

What about Lawson? He's charismatic, exciting.

He's too exciting, I'm afraid. If they start bringing up...

Gentlemen, time is running out. We must come to a decision.

"I have heard the word 'sir'...

"...more often...

"...than I have heard the word 'friend'.

"But I suppose...

"...there are other rewards for wealth.

"I have met with kings.

"During these conferences...

"...I have suppressed bizarre thoughts: Could I beat him in a foot race?

"Could I throw a ball further than he?

"No matter what our fašade, we are all children."

What about Chauncey Gardiner?

What do we know of the man? Absolutely nothing.

We don't have an inkling of his past.

Correct. That could be an asset. A man's past cripples him.

His background turns into a swamp and invites scrutiny.

Until this time, he hasn't said anything that could be held against him.

And the mail and telephone response from his appearance on that Burns Show...

...was the highest they've ever had.


And it was 95 percent pro.

I'm certainly open to the idea.

It would be absolute lunacy to support the President for another term.

That is exactly why I agree with Ben's final wishes.

"I was born into a position of extreme wealth.

"I have spent many sleepless nights...

"...thinking about extreme poverty.

"I've lived a lot...

"...trembled a lot...

"...was surrounded by little men who forgot that we enter naked...

"...and exit naked...

"...and that no accountant can audit life in our favor."

I do believe, gentlemen, if we want to hold on to the Presidency...

...our one and only chance is Chauncey Gardiner.

"When I was a boy, I was told...

"...that the Lord fashioned us from his own image.

"That's when I decided to manufacture mirrors.



"A well-deserved rest.

"All the aims I have pursued...

"...will soon be realized.


" a state of mind."

I understand.

Is it all clear there, boys? Can you read that?

What was the message, Mr. Gardiner?

"Now, get this, honky..."

Sorry, carry on.


All set.

What was the message, Mr. Gardiner?

"Now, get this, honky.

"You go tell Raphael...

"...that I ain't taking no jive..."


"That I ain't taking no jive...

"...from no Western Union messenger.

"You tell that asshole if he..."

Did you see me going...

"Yes. You tell that asshole..."


"Ain't taking no jive from no...

"...Western Union manager."

Messenger. Manager. What did I say?


"...from no Western Union messenger.

"You tell that asshole...

"...if he got something to tell me...

" get his ass down here."


What was the message, Mr. Gardiner?

It's slightly long...

...but I will try to remember it.

"Now, get this, honky.

"You go tell Raphael...

"...that I ain't taking no jive...

"...from no Western Union messenger.

"You tell that asshole...

"...if he got something to tell me...

" get his ass down here himself."

Then he said...

...that I was to get my white ass out of there quick or he'd cut it.