Sophie's Choice (1982) Script

Subtitles Created for Yipee!

It was 1947, two years after the war, when I began my journey to what my father called the "Sodom of the north,"

New York.

Call me Stingo, which was the nickname I was known by in those days, if I was called anything at all.

I had barely saved enough money to write my novel, for I wanted beyond hope or dreaming to be a writer.

But my spirit had remained landlocked, unacquainted with love and a stranger to death.

Even back then, cheap apartments were hard to find in Manhattan.

And so began my voyage of discovery in a place as strange as Brooklyn.

(CHILDREN PLAYING)

I know.

You're thinking about the pink. Everybody does.

See, my late husband Saul, he got his bargain.

Hundreds and hundreds of gallons of this navy surplus paint.

See, I guess they didn't have any use for pink on those boats, huh?

Okay, I'll take it.

(INDISTINCT SHOUTING IN DISTANCE)


(READING)


Huh.

NATHAN: Oh, I love you!

(CLATTERING)

(BED SQUEAKING)

(NATHAN MOANING)

(LOUD THUDDING)

(NATHAN SHOUTS)

SOPHIE: Don't go! Don't go!

I'm out of here. Don't! (SCREAMS) No!

(THUDDING CONTINUES)

(SOPHIE WEEPING)

We need each other.

I told you to leave me alone.

Stay away from me. Get out of my way.

No, no, don't!

I'm not lying, you know! You're lying.

I'm not! You're lying.

Please, don't go! Don't go away from me, please!

You know we need each other, Nathan, you know this.

We need each other.

Me need you? Yes...

Let me tell you something.

I need you like any goddamned insufferable disease I can name!

(SHOUTING) I need you like a case of anthrax, hear me?

Like trichinosis.

I need you like a biliary calculus, pellagra, encephalitis.

Bright's disease, for Christ's sake!

Carcinoma of the brain!

I need you like death.

Hear me? Like death.

No, Nathan.

Go back to Krakow, baby.

(SHOUTING) Back to Krakow!

(SOPHIE SOBBING)

(CHUCKLES) Well, good evening.

Did you have a good time?

I mean, did you enjoy our little show?

Do you get off on your little bit of eavesdropping?

You just... My door was open. I just wondered what was going on.

(MOCKING IN SOUTHERN ACCENT) Your door was open?

You wondered what was going on?

Well, shut my mouth if it isn't our new literate figure from the South.

Too bad I won't be around for a little lively conversation.

We would've had a great time, you and I, shooting the shit.

We could've talked about sports.

Southern sports like lynching niggers, or "coons," I think you all call them down there.

So long, cracker. See you in another life.

(DOOR BANGS SHUT)

STINGO: You okay?

(SNIFFLING) Yes.

Yeah.

(CLEARS THROAT)

(STUTTERING) I'm very sorry.

That's not the way he really is, you know?

No, don't apologize, all right?

I live downstairs here. If there's anything you want...

Thank you.

You're very kind.

Anyway, I'm downstairs here.

No, I'm all right.

(SIGHS)

I'm Stingo.

Please forgive us.

(MUMBLING)

Sixty cents. Anytime he raises 50 cents.

(KNOCK ON DOOR) Sixty...

Yeah?

(CLEARS THROAT) We had invited you to dinner.

That's very thoughtful of you.

Uh, listen, I very often work at night and type at night.

But if it's going to bother you, I don't want to...

Oh, no!

When I was a little girl, my father type and I go to sleep to that sound.

It'll make me feel...

God, how do you say that?

Secure. Secure.

(CHUCKLES)

Your father was a writer?

No, my father was...

My father was professor of law.

He wrote articles warning Polish people of the Nazi threat and trying to get help for those Jews that was persecuted, so.

Yeah, that sound of typing will make me think of my father and of his goodness.

You wouldn't want to come in, would you?

Maybe some other time.

So, if you'll forgive me.

Good night. Yeah.

Stinko, yeah?

Stingo.

Stingo, yes! (CHUCKLES)

I never hear that name.

There's no "K" in there, though.

I got it.

Just a "G."

Yeah, it's nice!

(BOTH CHUCKLE)

It's a friendly, you know, happy sound.

I like it.

(SOFT PIANO MUSIC PLAYING)


(DOOR OPENS)


(GASPS) Oh, Nathan!

Oh, Nathan.

(SOBBING) Oh, God!

Don't you see, Sophie? We are dying.

(MOCKING) Rise and shine, honey child. Stir them lazy bones.

The grits on the griddle, the corn's on the pone.

Old Ponkers plan to hitch up the coach and four.

You're going to have a picnic out and down by the seashore.

Good morning, Stingo.

Good morning.

We wanted to make friends and to take you out on this beautiful summer day!

We want you to come up and have breakfast with us.

And then... Yes.

Coney Island.

Coney Island! Oh, boy!

NATHAN: Sorry about last night.

Yeah.

(UPBEAT MUSIC PLAYING) (EXCLAIMING)

(SCATTING)

Ta-da!

Oh!

I know what you're thinking. "These people are strange."

On Sundays, we like to dress up a little differently and go out.

Okay. Okay?

I knew you'd understand!

You see, everybody out there dresses the same.

Look at those poor, pathetic people out there.

Look at them. Drones.

All walking down the street, all look alike, all wearing the same drab, boring uniform.

(SHOUTS) You're boring!

Morning!

(SOPHIE LAUGHS)

Now, this one. Look at this. God's gift!

Give me a kiss.

One kiss. Please.

All right, one kiss. That's all you deserve.

One more. I need one more.

No.

I have to have one more. Nathan...

Can't keep my hands off of you.

This is... No, Nathan Landau!

NATHAN: What do you think of that, Stingo, hmm?

Here I am, a nice Jewish boy, pushing 30.

I fall crazy in love with a Polish shiksa.

STINGO: What is that? What is a "shiksa"?

A shiksa is a goy girl. A lady of the Gentile persuasion.

She's a... Oh!

All right. I just assumed that she was...

She was Jewish? Yeah.

(SOPHIE LAUGHING) Jewish?

No, no, no. No, our Sophie is Catholic.

Yeah. Well, it's okay, but I'm not anymore Catholic, so.

Well, Catholic-ish.

When I first met this one here, she was a rag and a bone and a hank of hair.

And that was a whole year-and-a-half after the Russians had liberated the camp she was in.

Yeah, it looked like something that scares the birds.

What is that? Scarecrow.

(CLEARS THROAT) I had "scurbut."

No, no, no! She means scurvy.

And typhus and anemia and scarlet fever.

It was a fucking miracle that she emerged from that camp alive.

Right.

I mean, (SCOFFS) I thought that I had leukemia.

I thought I was dying.

But it was Nathan that see that it was only anemia.

Are you a doctor?

NATHAN: No, no.

That's my brother's domain.

But I'm a biologist.

Yeah!

I graduated in science from Harvard. Harvard.

And he... (STUTTERING)

MA in Developmental and Cellular Biology.

I do research now.

He works at Pfizer.

Pfizer, it's a big pharmaceutical house here in Brooklyn.

Anyway, I took her to this friend of my brother's, a doctor who teaches up at Columbia Presbyterian.

Yeah.

He confirmed my diagnosis.

And we put the little sweetie here on massive doses of ferrous sulfate and she began to bloom like a rose.

A rose.

A beautiful fucking rose.

You're something.

Thank you for making me to bloom like a rose.

Not "to bloom," just "bloom."

She's so good. It's about time she was perfect.

(SCOFFS) "To bloom." So what? I mean, this is a ridiculous language!

There's too many words!

The word for "velocity," okay, there's "fast, quick, rapid," and they all mean the same thing.

Swift, speedy.

Hasty.

NATHAN: Fleet. Brisk.

Expeditious. Accelerated.

Winged.

No, no! Stop it!

It's ridiculous!

In French, it's so easy. You say vite.

Or in Polish, szybko, and in Russian, bystro.

It's only in the English it's so complicated!

How many languages do you know?

Well, my father was a linguist, so I mean, I...

He teach me German, French, Russian, Hungarian, the Slavic languages.

So, what language I am butchering now?

English!

I bet your father was a very interesting man.

Yeah, my father was

a civilized man.

That's the word, yeah? "Civilized"?

NATHAN: Very good word. Yeah?

My father was a civilized man living in a non-civilized time.

The civilized, they was the first to die.

STINGO: Do you play the piano?

No. I used to play, but I...

I no longer play.

(CHUCKLES)

I don't anymore.

My mother was a beautiful pianist.

Nathan surprised me with that piano on my birthday!

(PLAYING SOFT PIANO PIECE)

I love that piece.

(HUMMING ALONG)

When I was a little girl, I remember, I'd lay in bed and I'd hear my mother downstairs playing the piano,

and the sound of my father's typewriter.

I think no child has a more wonderful father and mother.

And a more beautiful life.

(TUNE CHANGING)

Swanee, you know that song, right?

SOPHIE: Stingo, hit it!

(INDISTINCT)

(EVIL LAUGHTER)


(SCREAMING)

NATHAN: Oh, God!

STINGO: Suddenly, I shivered violently.

I remembered Nathan's voice that night before.

"Don't you see, Sophie? We are dying."

I longed desperately to escape, to pack my bags and flee.

But I did not.

I stayed at Yetta Zimmerman's, and thus I helped fulfill Sophie's prophecy about the three of us.

We became the best of friends.


(INAUDIBLE)


TEACHER: Here is an example of how emotionally evocative English can be.

STINGO: Sophie loved to tell how Nathan saved her life.

Their meeting was, for her, a miracle.

TEACHER: "Because I could not stop for Death, "he kindly stopped for me.

"The carriage held but just ourselves and Immortality."

Rhymes, rhymes.

It's not hard enough to understand the language.

(SHUSHING)

Just everyday life talk. He has to read us rhymes!

...what the beauty of the language can be when written by artists.

I look forward to seeing you all next week. And now remember, you must not get discouraged.

You'll see.

One morning, you'll wake up and find you've been dreaming in English.

(STUDENTS LAUGH)

Excuse me. Who did he say wrote that poem?

Dickens.

Emily Dickens.

Thank you.

(SPEAKING POLISH)

(MAN TALKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

MAN: All I want is that we should be able to make living...

Are you all right, Miss Zawistowska?

(SIGHS)

Yes.

Thank you, I'm very fine.

I'm a little tired.

I noticed that you've been looking, well, a little delicate lately.

I hope I'm not being too personal.

No! No, I...

Could you help me with that?

Thank you.

Thank you for your concern.

Goodbye.


(CLEARS THROAT) Excuse me, sir. Could you tell me what...

(SIGHS)

Where would be that listing in catalog file for

19th century American poet,

Emily Dickens, please?

In the catalog room on the left.

But you won't find any such listing.

Oh, I won't find that listing?

Why wouldn't I find it?

Charles Dickens is an English writer.

There is no American poet by the name of Dickens.

(SIGHS DEEPLY)

I'm sorry. No, that is, I'm sure, American poet.

Emily Dickens.

Listen!

D-I... I told you!

There's no such person.

Do you want me to draw you a picture? No.

I'm telling you, you hear me? All right.

(GAGGING)

It's all right, it's all right.

Just lie still.

Let the doctor take care of everything.

You're so beautiful.

Yes! How did you get to be so beautiful?

I think I'm going to die.

No, no, no.

No, your pulse...

Your pulse is fine. It's steady.

You're going to live to be 100.


(MOANS SOFTLY)

Why I am so tired?

The doctor thinks you need to get some color into that beautiful white skin of yours.

I'm going to take you to see my brother.

He is the best doctor going.

No, but you...

Oh, you thought I was a doctor?

No. No, I'm a biologist.

Have you been eating properly lately?

Yes! Oh, yes! I am...

I am six months in here, in US and...

So I eat more good now than in my life.

You could've fallen behind with iron and never had a chance to catch up.

Look, I'm going to go now but may I come back later?

No, don't answer that. I'll be back.

Okay?

Yeah, okay.

(DOOR SHUTS)


How long you have been there?

Just long enough to get dinner started.

You look much better.

What did you do here?

It looks beautiful.

We're having calf's liver, prepared Veneziano in a special vinaigrette sauce, loaded with iron, and leeks filled with iron.

Also will improve the timbre of your voice.

(IN DEEP VOICE) You know, Nero had leek served to him every day to deepen his voice.

No, I didn't know that.

So that he could croon while he had Seneca drawn and quartered.

Let me help you there.

No, no! You're not to move.

Ah!

Will madame taste the wine?

(GASPS)

"Château Margaux Grand Cru."

(IN FRENCH)

My God!

Special day, special wine.

(MOANS SOFTLY)

You know, when you...

When you live a good life like a saint and then you die,

that must be what they make you to drink in paradise.

Yeah.

Thomas Wolfe.

(SPEAKING GIBBERISH)

(LAUGHS)

SOPHIE: Look Homeward, Angel.

Oh, God!

What does Wolfe sound like in Polish?

Mmm...

(IN POLISH)

A stone, a leaf, an unfound door.

(IN POLISH)

Of a stone.

(IN POLISH)

A leaf.

(IN POLISH)

The door. The door.

(IN POLISH)

Of all the forgotten faces.

Forgotten faces.

God! This is a first.

(CHUCKLES EXCITEDLY)

Hearing Thomas Wolfe read aloud in Polish.

Yeah, the first for me too hearing that Wolfe read in English.

God, if that poor bastard Wolfe had heard you read this aloud in Polish, he would've written in Polish.

No, I don't think so.

Oh, yeah! Oh, yes!

You were...

You were in a concentration camp?

Yeah, I can't...

Can't talk about that, though.

I'm sorry.

I have a knack for sticking my big schnoz into places where it's got no business.

I... want so much to know you, to be close to you.

Hmm.

Emily, Emily Dickinson?

That's the woman?

(LAUGHING) Oh, no! Oh, no!

"Property of Nathan Landau."

That's you? That's me.

It's your book?

No, it's yours.

Thank you!

Thank you.

"Ample make this bed.

"Make this bed with awe.

"In it, wait till judgment break, "excellent and fair.

"Be its mattress straight.

"Be its pillow round.

"Let no sunrise yellow noise

"interrupt this ground."

(EXCLAIMING EXCITEDLY)

STINGO: Nathan, my new and dear beloved friend, introduced me to what seemed the answer to my relentless all-consuming horniness.

Before I went into analysis, I was completely frigid.

Can you imagine?

Now all I can do is think about fucking.

Wilhelm Reich has turned me into a nympho.

I mean, sex on the brain!

STINGO: Her name still curls across my tongue.

Leslie Lapidus.

(DOORBELL RINGS)

LESLIE: Door is open, come in!

Hello!

Boy, you look excellent.

Thanks. Yeah.

What would you like to drink?

I'll have a...

I don't know, let's see.

I think I'll have a... Oh, my God!

Oh, fuck!

Fucking, fantastic fucking!

(MOANING)

(PHONE RINGING)

Wait! Just let it ring!

(EXHALES DEEPLY) Hello, Mother.

I'm fine, fine. Yeah, I told you I'd be just fine.

Yeah, plenty.

Yeah, I'll make sure that the plants are watered and the dog is fed. Well, Mother...

Yes, Daddy. Yes, your little princess will be good.

Okay. Bye!

(RECEIVER CLATTERS)

They go away for the weekend and then the maid's out sick.

And they carry on about how will I survive for a weekend in this apartment by myself.

And that's with this totally stocked fridge, and a lock on every door, and God only knows what else.

(ROMANTIC MUSIC PLAYING ON RECORD PLAYER)

STINGO: Thus, I realized that Leslie and I would be left to frolic in this place alone.

My cup ran over.

Oh, my cup turned into a spillway flooding across the spotless carpet, out the door down Pierrepont Street, across all the twilit carnal reaches of Brooklyn.

Leslie.

A weekend alone with Leslie.

Have you ever read D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover?

No. Oh!

He has the answers. He knows so much about fucking.

He says...

He says that when you fuck, you go to the Dark Gods.

Uh-huh. Stingo, I really mean it.

To fuck is to go to the Dark Gods.

Let's go to the Dark Gods!

(WHIMPERING)

(SHRIEKING)

Well, I think I have the right to ask, what is going on?

You don't understand.

I can't go all the way.

(SCOFFS)

I've reached a plateau in my analysis.

Before I reach this plateau of vocalization, I could never have said any of those words.

Those Anglo-Saxon four letter words that everybody should be able to say.

Now I'm completely able to vocalize.

STINGO: Leslie Lapidus could say "fuck", but she could not do it.

SOPHIE: Nathan!

I'm so glad you're...

Oh!

Yeah, little ol' Stingo.

Stingo? Yeah?

You want to come up and have a night hat with me?

Sure.

You know, when Nathan gets involved, he forgets all about the time and I don't know.

Stingo, you look...

You look very nice. You're wearing your "cocksucker."

It's my seersucker.

Oh, yeah. Right, seersucker.

(SOPHIE SIGHS)

I love it here.

I'm glad you couldn't sleep.

You hurt your mouth? You talk funny.

I bit my tongue.

Uh-huh.

You want me to get something for you?

No, please, no.

It just needs to be left alone.

Hey, what you...

You've changed all the furniture around?

Mmm.

Yeah, you like it? I do that when I can't sleep, you know.

It's a good thing to do because then you don't...

You don't have to think about anything.

Well, I better try that.

Oh, no.

Stingo.

You do not have to move furniture.

You will move mountains.

Right now, I can't even move my tongue.

Maybe you moved it too much.

Why aren't all the women in the world like you?

You'd better thank God they're not. Look at this.

I see many, many women in your life.

Many beautiful women who adore you and who'll make all that love with you.

Sometimes, I can see myself just being alone forever.

Oh, Stingo. (CLICKS TONGUE) I'm not fair with you.

I think, "Oh, Stingo, he's so young.

"He's a talented American." You know.

"He doesn't have any real, real problems, but..."

You don't know if I'm really talented.

You've never read anything I've written.

Well, I mean, I don't ask you about that work because, you know, what it's about because I know that a writer, he likes to be quiet about his work.

It's about a boy.

(SCOFFS)

A 12-year-old boy. Hmm.

And... Yes, so it's autobiographical?

Yeah, to a certain extent, maybe it is.

Uh... It takes place in a year, which is the year his mother dies.

I didn't know your mother died.

When I was 12.

You loved her very much?

Not enough.

What do you mean "not enough"? What do you mean?

I mean not enough.

That is what is so terrible about

outliving those people that we love. I mean, that's...

That guilt.

Your father?

My father, my mother, my husband.

You were married?

Yeah, I was married.

When I was very young, I was married to a disciple of my father.

Assistant at the university.

Your father's anti-Nazi writings, well, that probably got him in trouble.

His writings.

Well, (CLEARS THROAT) One day, I was at the Mass and I have a...

(INHALES DEEPLY)

I had a presentiment.

I had many fears and I...

I run out of the church and I go to the university, and I see that the gate is locked.

And there were many, many Germans there.

(SIGHS)

And I saw the professors. They was loading them into the truck.

And this one part of canvas has moved away.

And I see my father's face and the face of my husband behind him.

And...

I looked.

But the German, he pulled that away and I never saw those faces again.

They took them to Sachsenhausen, you know.

That's a German work camp, but they shot them the next day.

That's what we have heard.

Your mother?

My mother...

My mother got

(STUTTERING) Tuberculosis and...

Oh, she is very sick, you know.

She started to die of that, and I can't do anything.

But I think if I could get miêso...

If I could get that meat for my mother, I would make her strong.

So I go to the country, and the peasants there, they're selling ham.

And I go with that black market money, I buy that and I bring it back.

But, you know, this is forbidden because all the meat goes to the Germans, you know.

If you get caught...

So I hid the ham under my skirt on the train.

I'm pretending that I'm pregnant, you know.

Ah! I was so afraid!

I was shaking.

And then that German,

who was in the front of the train, and he saw me.

And I'm sitting there and he came up to me and he take under my skirt that ham.

(SCOFFS)

So they sent me to Auschwitz.

You were sent to Auschwitz because you stole a ham?

No. I was sent to Auschwitz because they saw that I was afraid.

Oh, yeah.

You know what that means?

Yeah.

You tried to commit suicide in Auschwitz?

No, it was after that.

After that, I was in...

After liberation.

After you were safe?

Yes, safe, yeah.

I was safe. I was in Sweden. I was in that refugee camp.

I mean, that was good. They try to help you, you know.

They try to...

They try, but...

I knew that Christ had turned his face away from me.

And that only a Jesus who no longer cared for me could kill those people that I love,

but leave me alive with my shame.

Oh, God. So I went to that church.

And I took the glass, I knelt down and I cut my wrist.

But I didn't die, of course.

Of course not.

(SIGHS)

Stingo, there's so many things you don't understand.

There's so many things that I cannot tell you.

I want you to trust me.

Just trust me.

(DOOR OPENS)

Oh, God! There is Nathan!

Nathan!

ASTRID: Sophie! SOPHIE: Astrid!

I'm working night duty at Brooklyn Hospital this week.

My patient is this old lady who's meaner than my mother, if you can believe.

Well, good night, Astrid. Have a good sleep.

That was Astrid, you know.

Maybe I'll leave the door open.

In case he comes, we could hear him.

So you want another drink?

Your bottle is empty. Well...

Hmm.

Oh, I know where Nathan keeps another bottle.

Be careful, it's dark in here.

(SIGHING) Oh, God.

STINGO: I think you'll feel better if we just call him at the lab.

I can't do that.

I mean, he doesn't like for me to call him. You know, at work.

So, anyway.

I did it an hour ago.

And there was no answer, so.

I'm sure the switchboard's just shut off.

Yes, I think that's right. I'm sure that...

You know, sometimes when he can't sleep at night, he goes and he walks all over the city.

Yeah, he goes into all these neighborhoods.

I mean, I don't know where he goes, but once he came back, he had a black eye and his jaw was all swollen there.

Yeah, I thought it was broken.

You know, he could be hurt.

I don't know where he is, but I think we should call the police right now.

No, look, I think we ought to wait two hours.

You know, just wait till somebody is on the switchboard there.

We'll just call him then.

He's working late. He probably just got tired and fell asleep there.

Yeah. He's probably asleep there.

I'm sure.

I'm sure you're right.

Look at this. The Nazi Primer.

He must have everything ever written about the Nazis in those years.

Yes, he is obsessed with the Nazis that are escaping justice. (SIGHS)

Do you suppose all this started after he met you?

Look, I know I shouldn't tell him about that place, but what could I do?

I know it's my fault that he... Look, I can understand.

After all, he is a Jew.

Yes, he is a Jew, but don't you think that I'm angry, too?

That these men, these terrible Nazis live, and my father...

Such a good man who tries to help Jews is killed.

Don't you think that I am angry?

But, you know, you don't understand Nathan.

You don't know.

Him, what he might do, you know. I think...

Sometimes I think...

NATHAN: What do you think?

What do you think, Polish baby?

SOPHIE: Oh, Nathan!

You are all right?

I'm all right. What about the two of you?

Yeah, well, I was so frightened, you know. I was stupid. (CHUCKLING)

I got so scared, you know, I thought something had happened to you.

I would've called, but I didn't want to take the chance of waking you up.

We're on to something in our work. Something big.

Yeah? Something very big.

That's wonderful, Nathan.

(WHISPERING) Yeah, wonderful.

But you were here

with Sophie.

(STUTTERING) Yes, Stingo, you know, he...

Stingo came home from his date. (CHUCKLES)

So I heard the door, I thought it was you. So I run out, but...

Anyway, I called him, I said, "Why don't you come up for a drink?"

Because I was worried and he was a very good friend to me.

He was keeping me company.

(SCOFFS)

(SIGHS)

So now you've seen my sanctum sanctorum.

Now you know all of Nathan's dark and dour secrets.

Hardly.

NATHAN: They wipe out six million Jews and the world lets them escape.

Wanna join me in a little lynching party, Southern boy?

I expect you might have a lot to teach me there.

I'm going to call it a night here.

Stingo, wait.

Stingo is our best friend. Why do you do that?

He is our best friend. He deserves only our thanks.

Nathan, listen to me.

I was frightened, I didn't know what I would do if he had not been here.

(SHUSHING)

It's true.

Forgive me, old buddy. I'm sorry.

Of course my beloved Sophie is right.

Yeah.

I must've got crazy with the work, you know.

I know you do.

We're on to something big.

I know, darling.

I'm just another mad scientist, we're all a bunch of nuts.

Come on...

I'm leaving.

Thank you. Yeah.

Thank you for taking care of Sophie.

Yeah, all right.

(DOOR SHUTS)

(GIRLS RECITING)

GIRLS: Oh, Nathan!

I'm sorry.

(MUMBLING)

(DOOR OPENS)

Darling, I'm home.

Right! Are you all right?

Yeah. Yeah.

Are you sure?

Yeah.

Don't you catch things in the South?

How's it going?

Fine. It's going well.

Think fast!

(EXCLAIMS)

Jesus!

You came in and you wreck everything.

Yetta, you know, always provides the best.

The best you can find in Brooklyn!

(FOOTSTEPS PATTERING)

Oh, shit!

(SIGHS)

Sophie should be taking a nap after work.

She just doesn't sleep anymore. Not since the war.

How's it going?

Yeah, fine. Thank you.

Well, let me take a look at those.

No. No, no, no! Come on!

I won't interfere, I won't make any comments. I won't even...

Look, I've shown this to no one. No one's seen this.

Yeah, but I'm not no one. I'm a friend.

Don't you have those down South?

"Friend," a person attached to another by a feeling of personal regard or affection.

Look. One who offers assistance.

A patron, a supporter.

Look, I vowed to myself when I started this, I was not going to show it to anyone until I finish the very last sentence.

Then only after that, can I offer it to any person.

Well... Hmm.

Okay. You mean, you're just terrified that somebody won't like it.

Terrified as in filled with terror.

Terror, a sharp, overmastering, intense fear.

All right, all right! That which renders the victim chicken shit.

Yeah, all right, all right.

That will give you some idea.

Oh, my God!

What about the page in the typewriter?

No, this is a...

(SHOUTING) Nathan! Stop!

All right.

(LATCHING DOOR)

Stingo! What is the worst that can happen?

I may discover you can't write! Bye!

Shit! Fuck!

Nathan, get back here!

It's beyond your reach now, old buddy!

Fine, right!

SOPHIE: Stingo, wait a minute!

Wait! Nathan have ordered me to take you to the movies.

He made me your guardian while he read that.

Yes, so you don't do no violence to yourself now.

(ORCHESTRAL MUSIC PLAYING OVER RECORD PLAYER)

Nathan must have finished reading that.

Yeah.

Come on, let's go see.

I think I'll wait in my room.

SOPHIE: (LAUGHS) No, come on!

If he's got something to say to me, let him come down and tell me.

Yes, don't be silly.

(MUSIC BLARING)

(MOUTHING)


STINGO: Bravo.

(PANTS)


(POPS)


On this bridge, on which so many great American writers have stood and reached out for words to give America its voice,

looking toward the land that gave us Whitman, from its Eastern edge dreamt his country's future and gave it words,

on this span of which Thomas Wolfe and Hart Crane wrote,

we welcome Stingo into that pantheon of the gods, whose words are all we know of immortality.

To Stingo!

STINGO: How could I have failed to have the most helpless crush on such a generous mind and life-enlarging mentor?

Nathan was utterly, fatally glamorous.

NATHAN: (SHOUTING) Sophie!

We did it!

Stingo! STINGO: Nathan!

(LAUGHING EXCITEDLY)

We did it!

What? What did you do?

(NATHAN GRUNTING)

(SOPHIE YELPING)

Nathan!

NATHAN: Remember I told you the day when I came home and I said we were on to something big?

SOPHIE: Yeah. Today, we cracked it.

What? What? What?

(LAUGHING EXCITEDLY)

I can't tell you. I'll tell you about it all tonight.

No, what's a few hours make?

No, I can't tell you!

Come on!

Pretty soon, the whole world will know.

Oh, God.

One of the greatest medical advances of all time.

(GASPS)

I can't tell you. (ALL EXCLAIMING EXCITEDLY)

STINGO: Come on.

I'm talking about Stockholm. Next year, the three of us together.

I'm talking Nobel-fucking-Prize!

Oh, my God.

Sorry, kid, I'm going to get there first!

Wait! I got something for you to celebrate!

Oh, no! What is that?

One for you.

Oh, my God.

These go with that one. Oh, God, Nathan.

Oh, Nathan! What a beautiful dress!

Do you like it?

Try it on.

Put it on. Come on, let's get dressed. Try it on!

Oh, Nathan!

Come on! Come on, come on, come on.

Could I go... Into the bushes! Into the bushes!

Come on. Try it on. Please, I want to see it.

Nathan, I'm not going to do that. I wanna see it.

I just want to see it on you!

All right, hold it up.

SOPHIE: It doesn't have a top.

NATHAN: You're the top.

Nathan, it's beautiful!

I have to get back to the laboratory.

Why don't you stay and have some lunch with us?

Tonight we'll celebrate.

Look at all this that I have here.

(PANTING) I know. I can't, I can't. I got to get back to work.

Tonight we'll celebrate.

Make sure Sophie gets home safe, okay?

(GASPS) I want to see you in those clothes tonight.

Look at these shoes!

Tonight. Tonight I'll look at it.

Oh, my darling, I'm so proud of you.

Tonight.

SOPHIE: You were the one who gave me the idea to get it.

STINGO: (CHUCKLES) It's like mine.

It's a beautiful watch, yes?

Dr. Kats, my boss, you know, his wife.

Her family is in the jewelry business, so he took me over there in the car to get it engraved.

It probably opens at the top, like mine.

What? Don't get your fingers...

You got your fingerprints all over it.

I got nothing on that.

Anyway, you think he will like that?

Sure, he will.

Yeah, I think he will be very pleased.

It cost a great deal of money, more than I could afford.

Anyway, who cares? (DOOR OPENS)

Today, money doesn't seem very important.

(DOOR SHUTS) Uh-oh!

Get the champagne! Quick.

This light... Get them!

I got it! Champagne is in the back!

I couldn't remember Nathan's brand when I went to the store.

Yeah? What kind?

The guy at the shop said something Rosé.

The guy at the shop said it's very good.

(CORK POPS)

(YELPS)

Surprise! Surprise!

Is this the brand you said you liked? I couldn't remember.

(PANTING)

Stingo got you that champagne.

Yeah.

That's sweet.

It's beautiful. Look at you.

Yeah, do you like?

Very becoming.

Fidelity would become you more.

What?

Haven't I told you that the only thing I absolutely demand of you, the only single thing is fidelity?

And didn't I tell you that if you ever were with this guy Kats ever again outside of work, that if you ever so much as walked 10 feet with this cheap schmuck, this fraud, that I would break your ass? Yeah, but...

And this afternoon, he brings you home again in his car. Yeah, but...

You spent the whole fucking afternoon with him, didn't you? Didn't you?

Or should I say, you spent the whole afternoon with him fucking?

Nathan...

Did you try on your new dress for him? Hmm?

So he could strip it off you in a cheap hotel room?

Did he line up your vertebrae in a nice neat line while he was humping you?

I bet he does quite a number with that fast chiropractor's dick of his, huh?

No. Wait! Nathan! Come on, you can tell me.

How do you know he took her home? What have you been doing?

You were following her all afternoon?

Stingo...

What if you find out why Kats took her home?

I think you're going to feel like a fool.

Just find out why he took her home.

Please, don't!

(LAUGHING) Our baby Southern artiste defending a little Polack whore.

Too bad our celebration will be of more mundane stripe than I had intended.

Stingo, I think that you should go...

I'm not going to leave you alone with him.

You don't understand, you're making it worse by being here.

No! He's not going to get away with this shit!

You don't understand him.

Let's just cut out all the ugly shit!

Yeah, pour this. Let's celebrate. You know what?

We're here to toast you.

But what are we doing here? What are we here to toast?

You're right. You're right. I'm terribly sorry.

That's all right.

I don't know what's come over me.

Here is to my best friend and my best girl. There we go.

Here, yeah. Look what I got you, anyway.

I had the wrapping, but...

It's beautiful. That's really beautiful.

Do you like it?

I like it? Like it? I love it.

Yes. It's just like Stingo's.

It is?

Oh, yeah.

It has an engraving.

It's beautiful. Beautiful.

This toast is in honor of my complete disassociation from you two creeps.

Disassociation from you, the coony chiropractic cunt of Kings County, and you, the dreary dregs of Dixie.

You've not fooled me, young Stingo.

Since you so graciously allowed me to read your magnum Southern opus, your puling, adolescent self-pity for your poor dead mother.

Knock it off, Nathan.

However, look on it optimistically.

You might be on the verge of a whole new form, the Southern comic book.

And now, my sweet, my sweet.

Stingo...

I want to ask you one question that's been burning in my mind for so long.

Yeah, well, maybe you can explain something to me.

(MOCKING IN ACCENT) The reason maybe of why you are here.

Wait...

Walking these streets drenched in enticing perfumery...

Mmm.

...engaged in surreptitious venery with not one, but two.

Count them, ladies and gentlemen.

Two chiropractors.

In short, making hay while the sun shines, to employ an old bromide, while at Auschwitz, the ghosts of the millions of the dead still seek an answer.

No.

Tell me.

Tell me, Sophie.

The same anti-Semitism (GASPING)

For which Poland has gained such worldwide renown, did a similar anti-Semitism guide your own destiny, help you along, protect you in a manner of speaking, so that you became one of the minuscule handful of people who lived while the millions died?

Tell me. Tell me why.

Hmm?

Explanation, please!

Tell me why, old lucky number 11379.

Tell me why you inhabit the land of the living.

What splendid little tricks and stratagem sprang from that lovely head of yours to allow you to breath the clear Polish air, while the multitudes at Auschwitz choked slowly on the gas?

No!

Explain!

Stop it! Explain!

Lay off of her!

Get out of my way!

Get out of my...

Stay away! Stay out!

Stay out! Get out of here!

Go away!

(DOOR SLAMS SHUT)

YETTA: I'm leaving the house, they're here.

I come back, two empty rooms. No Nathan, no Sophie.

And the last anybody knows, he puts her in a cab and he runs off the other way.

I can't tell you how hurt I was.

Is this Dr. Blackstock? (OVER PHONE) Yes.

Listen, I'm a friend of Sophie Zawistowska's, and you may have heard, I'm Stingo.

Oh, the writer! Sophie's very proud of you.

Yeah. Listen, I'm trying to track her down.

But don't you live in the same house?

Mmm-hmm. She moved out last night.

Moved out?

When she called in this morning, she wasn't well.

I was worried about her. She's such a darling girl.

Listen, do you have any idea how I can find her?

What about the boyfriend?

Um, I think that's over.

Maybe she went to stay with a friend.

I don't know any friends of hers.

There was this Polish girl who worked for a professor at Brooklyn College.

I remember her name. It was Sonja Wajinska.

Does a woman named Sonja Wajinska work here?

No, I am sorry. She went back to Poland six months ago.

But if you like, I can give you her address.

Thank you.

You don't happen to know a friend of hers, Sophie Zawistowska, do you?

Yes.

She came here once to visit Sonja, but she did not come back again.

I recognized her from my days at the University of Krakow.

She is the daughter of Professor Bieganski.

Were you a student of his?

I heard him lecture once. That was enough.

I know that he was very outspoken about the Nazis.

He was crazy about the Nazis.

I think because they hated Jews as much as he did.

The Nazis killed him.

They came one day and made a clean sweep of all academics.

And they didn't stop to check their political convictions.

I think you have the wrong man.

Look, I shall show you.

(SIGHS)

Bieganski.

Look, Bieganski, professor of law at the University of Krakow from 1919 to 1939, known for his anti-Semitic tracts.

A major promulgator of the ghetto bench rule, which made it illegal for Jewish students to sit on the same bench as Poles.

So.

YETTA: Astrid, your mother's on the phone.

STINGO: I told Yetta I was leaving.

A few weeks before, I had received a letter from my father.

He had inherited a small farm, and knowing I was running out of money, proposed that I come back South and live on it.

I could not bear to stay in Brooklyn.

YETTA: Come down, your mother's waiting.

ASTRID: All right, already. I'm coming.

(DOOR OPENS)

SOPHIE: Hello!

(DOOR SHUTS) (FOOTSTEPS PATTERING)

Hello!

YETTA: Sophie, you're back.

Oh, yes, hello, Yetta.

I came to get the rest of my things.

Have you heard from Nathan?

YETTA: No. Not a word.

Just sent some mover this morning to get the rest of his things.

SOPHIE: Okay.

Okay.

(KNOCK ON DOOR)

Stingo?

(DOOR OPENS)

(SIGHS)

Yeah.

I'm sorry about what happened last night, you know that.

I want you to know that Nathan didn't mean what he said about your book.

Well, you know that. Right?

I know he really loves your writing.

Look, that doesn't matter anymore.

But, I mean, we will still be friends.

You know, I'm leaving. I'm going home.

It should be a better place for me to write.

We have driven you away.

It has nothing to do with you.

I spoke with Dr. Blackstock today.

Oh!

Oh, Stingo, did you go looking for me there?

I would've left you a note where I went, but I just didn't think of it. I'm sorry.

I'm sorry you worried about me.

He seemed to think that your friend Sonja might know where you were.

Sonja? Sonja Wajinska? But she went back to Poland.

Yeah, I know that.

I went over to the Brooklyn College.

Hmm.

She used to work for a language professor there.

Yes.

I think you met him once.

He knew your father.

Yeah, my father.

He heard him lecture once at the University of Krakow which, I believe, is where your father taught.

Yeah, if he told you, then he told you about my father.

Sophie, why did you lie to me?

Yeah, I lied because, you know why? I was so afraid.

I was afraid I would be left alone!

So...

Goodbye, my friend.

(DOOR OPENS)

(DOOR CLOSES)

(INDISTINCT CHATTERING IN DISTANCE)


Sophie, I want to understand.

I'd like to know the truth.

The truth

does not make it easier to understand, you know.

I mean, you think that you find out the truth about me, and then you'll understand me and then you'd forgive me for all those...

For all my lies.

I promise I'll never leave you.

You must never promise that.

No one, no one should ever promise that.

(BELL DINGING)

Oh, the truth.

The truth. I don't even know what is the truth.

(KIDS SHOUTING EXCITEDLY)

After all these lies I have told.

(SIGHS DEEPLY) My father.

How can I explain how much I loved my father?

My father believed that human perfection was a possibility.

Every night I pray to God to forgive me for always making a disappointment to my father.

And I pray to him to make me worthy of such a great, good man.

(MAN SPEAKING IN POLISH OVER SPEAKER)

I was a grown woman.

(TYPEWRITER CLACKING)

I was fully come of age.

I was a married woman when I realized that I hate my father beyond all words to tell it.

It was winter of 1938.

And my father was working for weeks on the speech he calls

"Poland Jewish Problem."

Ordinarily I typed those speeches and I don't hear to the words, to their meaning.

But this time I came upon a word, repeats several times, that I have never heard before.

(SPEECH CONTINUES IN POLISH)

The solution for Poland Jewish Problem, he concludes, is die Vernichtung.

(SWITCHES OFF RECORDER)

Extermination.

I had not meant to go to the ghetto that afternoon, but something made me go there.

I stood there, I don't know how long, watching these people that my father has condemned to die.

For all these men, these women, these children, die Vernichtung.

Extermination.

I suddenly remembered that my father is waiting for that speech, and I hurry home to finish the typing, but in my rushing and my haste to finish that, I make so many mistakes in the sentences.

(SIGHS) And I run with it to the university, and my father has no time to check that before speaking.

And he get up in front of all those people, and he reads the speech and make those mistakes and I see him getting so angry.

And when it was over, he came up to me.

I was with my husband, of course.

And in front of him and all his colleagues he said, "Zosia, your intelligence is pulp."

Pulp.

I did not have any courage to say, "Yes, but what about the Jews?"

The Jewish people, but...

After that, he didn't trust me anyway. And neither did my husband.

(EXCLAIMING PLAYFULLY)

After that in Warsaw, I had a lover who was very, very good to me.

(WOMAN SPEAKING IN POLISH)

You must help us, Sophie.

(IN POLISH)

Stop torturing her.

SOPHIE: Jozef lived with his half-sister Wanda.

She was a leader in the Resistance.

(IN POLISH)

Sophie!

(IN POLISH)

What is that?

It's a photo of children rejected from the Germanization program.

The "Lebensborn" program.

These are children taken from Polish parents who, at first, were believed to have Aryan racial features.

They were to be taken to Germany and raised as Germans.

But, at some point, it was decided that they were racially unsuitable.

Unsuitable!

That's why they were consigned for disposal.

All we ask of you is to translate some stolen Gestapo documents.

I can't.

I cannot endanger my children.

Your children could be next.

No. No. I do not want to get involved.

SOPHIE: Two weeks later, the Gestapo killed Jozef.

They cut his throat.

They had courage.

Oh, God, they had courage.

Not long after they killed Jozef, I was arrested.

My children were sent with me to Auschwitz.

When the train arrived at Auschwitz, the Germans made the selection, who would live and who would die.

Jan, my little boy...

(FLUTE PLAYING)

(SNIFFLES)

(SIGHS)

Jan, my little boy, was sent to the Kinderlager, which was the children's camp.

And my little girl, Eva, was sent to crematorium two.

She was exterminated.

Thanks to my perfect German and my secretarial skills, the things my father had taught me so well, (PEOPLE CLAMORING)

I came to work for Reichsführer, Rudolf Hoess, Commandant of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The day they took me to work for Hoess, I was forced to walk past Block 25.

That is where they took the prisoners that were selected for extermination.

The people there were made to stand for, sometimes, days.

They were naked and they had no water.

And their hands reached out from the bars, and they cried and pled.

(KIDS SHOUTING PLAYFULLY)

(IN GERMAN)

This woman will be Commandant Hoess' secretary.

(IN GERMAN)

Take her downstairs. See that she showers thoroughly.

(IN GERMAN)

Give me your clothes.

Here is the shower.

You must use this disinfectant soap.

It burns and it stinks.

But you must use it, because she has a good nose.

Shoes!

Put your shoes here.

(IN GERMAN)

Please don't take them. They were a gift from my father.

My God, how'd you keep them in the camp?

I hid them. Please...

If she sees them, she'll take them away.

I'll clean them. Please, they are all I have.

Well, all right.

Thank you.

(WATER RUNNING)

(WATER STOPS) Shh! (WHISPERING IN POLISH)

Don't be afraid.

I was told you could help us.

Will you help the resistance?

(IN POLISH)

But what can I do?

Emmi Hoess has a radio. Her room is under her father's office where you will work. If you could get the radio, bring it down here. I could smuggle it out.

Sure, sure, I give you the radio, you smuggle it out, and I get shot for stealing it.

That's why you must make Hoess trust you.

But how?

He is a man and you are a woman...

Of course!

Bald, starving, stinking of germicides.

Very impressive!

You're wrong. You look German.

You speak cultured German. You'll be working with him alone and he's an unhappy man.

Then do something for me. What?

You must find my son.

His name is Jan. He's in the Children's Camp.

What do you want to know?

If... If he is...

If he's alive, right? Yes.

I understand.

Maybe Hoess could arrange to get him out.

(MAN LAUGHING)

(RUDOLF SPEAKING IN GERMAN)

(IN GERMAN)

(KIDS TALKING IN GERMAN)


I baked Himmler's favorite cake.

This is the new secretary from the Camp.

Take her to the office.

Himmler can't stay for dinner.

(FRAU SPEAKING IN GERMAN)

Do you think it's deliberate?

(RUDOLF SPEAKING IN GERMAN)

Why deliberate?

(FRAU SPEAKING)

You said the escapes, the delays with the building upset him.

(RUDOLF SPEAKING)

Enough!

(FRAU SPEAKING)

Imagine, that idiot guard took the new girl right into the kitchen without disinfecting her. In the kitchen!

I mean, the children... They are perfectly healthy.

(FRAU SPEAKING)

That's because they're well fed here.

What happens if we leave?

(RUDOLF SPEAKING)

They will have to sacrifice like other German children.

(GERMAN MUSIC PLAYING OVER RADIO)

(BOTH SPEAKING IN GERMAN)

You are looking well.

I hardly drank after I left here.

Can you imagine?

My father asked me what kind of medicine I practice here.

What can I tell him?

I perform God's work.

I select who shall live and who shall die.

Is that not God's work?

(RUDOLF SPEAKING)

You're too young to recall what was done to Germany in defeat.

We cannot afford to be kind if we are to survive.

There is an epidemic in the Children's Camp.

No matter what we do, they die like flies.

You cannot afford to be so sensitive.

(IN GERMAN)

...and lastly a trait of character common to all people of southern climes,

a certain dullness of mind...

Do I speak too fast?

(IN GERMAN)

No, Commandant.

(KNOCK ON DOOR)

(IN GERMAN)

Excuse me.

I'm sorry to disturb you, but I thought maybe if you could go to Berlin and explain to Himmler how unfair his order is, maybe he'd change his mind.

(RUDOLF SPEAKING)

There's no appeal. We're being transferred and that's that.

(SIGHS)

(MOANING)

My pills, quick!


Shall I call the doctor? Be quiet.

It's unbearable.

(BREATHING HEAVILY)

It's better now.

That ergotamine is a miracle.

I'm glad, Commandant.

Sit down.

How did you come here?

Not many prisoners are lucky enough to find such work.

I think it must have been fate.

Fate brought me to you because I knew only you would understand.

Understand what?

That a mistake has been made.

(SIGHS DEEPLY)

May I show you something?

This is one of the earliest Polish documents suggesting a "final solution" to the Jewish problem.

I helped my father to write it.

Perhaps you will realize the injustice of my imprisonment.

So, you claim you are innocent.

Sir, I freely admit my guilt of the minor charge which caused me to be sent here.

I only ask that this misdemeanor be compared to my record, not only as a Polish sympathizer with National Socialism, but as an active campaigner in the sacred war against the Jews.

That pamphlet in your hand, Commandant, will prove my point.

I implore you. You have the power to give clemency and freedom.

Please...

You forget you are a Pole and, therefore, an enemy of the Reich, and that you always will be even if you are not guilty of a crime.

You've been flirting shamelessly with me.

It's hard to believe you're Polish with your perfect German and the way you look, your fair skin, the structure of your face.

So typically Aryan.

You are an unusually attractive woman.

There is something about certain Aryan women, (SNIFFLES)

A pure and radiant beauty, fair of skin and fair of hair,

that inspires me to idolize that beauty.


(KNOCKING ON DOOR)

Wait.

(IN GERMAN)

Your pardon, sir. A question from Frau Hoess, sir.

As the child just recovered from the flu, madam wishes to know if, in your view, Iphigenie is well enough to go to a matinee or should she consult Dr. Schmidt?

If Frau Hoess thinks she's well enough to go to a matinee, then I expect she's well enough to go to a matinee!


I would risk a great deal to have relations with you.

If I were not leaving, I'd take that risk.

But I must go. And so must you.

I'm sending you back to Block 3. You will go tomorrow.

Commandant, I know I can't ask much for myself and that you must follow the rules.

But I beg you to do one thing for me before you send me back.

I have a young son in the Camp. His name is Jan.

Jan Zawistowski. He is 10 years old.

I am afraid for his health.

I beg you to consider some way to release him.

He is frail, and so very young.

Please.

If I have impressed you, even slightly, with my presence, I beg you to do this for me, not to release me, just free my little boy. Please.

You think you could get me to contravene regulations because I showed some little affection? It's disgusting.

There is a legal way! There is the "Lebensborn" program.

He is a perfect candidate for it.

You could move my child from the Camp into the "Lebensborn" program.

Send him to the Reich to be raised as a good German.

He is blond and looks German and speaks perfect German as I do.

Don't you see how my little boy, Jan, would be so right for "Lebensborn"?

I will have your son brought here tomorrow.

You will see him and then I will arrange

(GASPS)

For him to be removed from the Camp.

(PEOPLE LAUGHING IN DISTANCE)

(WOMAN SPEAKING IN GERMAN)


(GASPS) (IN GERMAN)

You have no business in this room.

I'm sorry, miss, I was only...

You came to steal that radio. You were about to pick it up.

I'll tell my father.

He will have you punished.

I was only going to look at it. I swear.

I've passed by here so often. I've never seen a radio, so small, so cunning.

I couldn't believe it really worked. I just...

Liar! You wanted to steal it.

I knew by the look on your face.

You must believe me. I wouldn't take your radio.

Yes, you would. It cost 70 marks.

You'd listen to music in the cellar. You're a dirty Polack!

Mother says Polacks are worse thieves than Gypsies and dirtier, too.

You stink!

Wake up.

You fainted.

Breathe deeply, the cold air will revive you.

Keep your head flat to get the flow of blood back.

The first-aid manual says a smack will help.

Sit erect and lean against the bed.

(SIGHS)

I'll say one thing, you're very pretty.

My mother said you must be Swedish.

Tell me, what's that design on your dress?

My swimming championship badge.

I was class champion. I was only 8.

Where was that, Emmi?

In Dachau. Dachau was so much nicer than Auschwitz.

We had a wonderful heated pool only for officers' children.

I'll show you my album.

This is me as a baby.

This is me receiving the medal.

This is the pool in Dachau.

This is me with my mommy.

This is also me with my daddy.

(KNOCK ON DOOR)

RUDOLF: Emmi?

I'm getting undressed.

Perhaps we'll go swimming together tomorrow.

Great, Daddy.

Good night, Emmi. Good night, Daddy.

(FOOTSTEPS FADING AWAY)

SOPHIE: I had failed with the radio, just as I had failed so many times in my life.

But that night, I kept repeating to myself,

"I have saved my son. I have saved my son.

"Tomorrow I can see him!

"And I can tell him goodbye.

"And he will have been saved."

Oh, my God, I had such happiness that night!

Such hope.

But Hoess did not keep his word.

I never did know what happened to my little boy.

So, you know, that's why I didn't want to live no more.

Till Nathan came and he made me live for him.

Live for me, Sophie.

Live for me.

Oh, my God! What have we done to you?


YETTA: Morris, come here!

Stingo!

Nathan, put down the chair! This is no time...

Put down the chair!

Put down the chair.

(INDISTINCT)

YETTA: Stingo!

Oh, a phone call.

It's Dr. Landau, Nathan's brother.

All right. Thank you.

Yeah, hello.

Hello, this is Larry, Nathan's brother.

Yes, Larry!

Nathan's talked about you a good deal. I know you're good friends.

He's talked about you a great deal.

And I wonder if it would be possible for us to arrange a meeting.

Sure, yeah. Just tell me when and where.

My brother thinks the world of you.

I've never met anybody more brilliant than Nathan.

Such a breadth of knowledge.

You're right.

He is convinced you're going to be a major writer, something he once dreamed of being.

Now, please, sit down.

Seems to me, he's got the talent of anything he chooses.

He's told you and Sophie that he's a research biologist.

At Pfizer.

(CLEARS THROAT)

This biologist business is my brother's masquerade.

He has no degree of any kind. All that is a simple fabrication.

The truth is he's quite mad.

Christ.

One of those conditions where weeks, months, even years go by without manifestations and then pow.

Oh! He has a job at Pfizer in the company library.

An undemanding sinecure I got for him where he can do a lot of reading without bothering anyone, and occasionally he does a little research for one of the legitimate biologists on the staff.

I'm not sure Nathan would forgive me if he knew that I told you.

He made me swear never to tell Sophie. She knows nothing.

The cruelest joke is that he was born the perfect child.

He excelled in everything.

Even Nathan's teachers would speculate on what Nathan would achieve.

See, he was the kind of child everyone prepares to take the credit for.

When he was 10, we were told that the child genius was a paranoid schizophrenic.

From then on, the only schools he attended were expensive funny farms.

What can I do?

If he could stay off the drugs, he might have a chance.

(STUTTERING) Drugs? What is he on?

Benzedrine, cocaine.

You didn't know?

No, I did not.

I don't want it to sound like I'm asking you to spy, but if you could simply keep tabs on him and report back to me by phone from time to time, letting me know how he's getting on.

I'm sorry to have to involve you in this way.

I don't think you understand.

I love them both.

They're friends of mine.

(INDISTINCT TALKING)

(PEOPLE CACKLING)

NATHAN: (MIMICKING) Good morning, Mr. Stingo.

We were afraid something terrible might have befallen you on your way back to the pink plantation.

Miss Sophie was all for having me institute a search.

Ah! Miss Sophie, you indeed look ravishing.

Thank you very much.

So, how are you all, you are doing this evening?

Come, darling.

This was Nathan's idea to surprise you with a Southern evening.

Your book has really whet my appetite to know about the South.

Tell him about the trip, too.

Yes, Miss Sophie and I have been discussing the possibility of taking a tour of your beloved Dixie in October.

And I've been thinking... Yeah.

If it's all right with Miss Sophie...

Sure.

I was thinking maybe we could make it a wedding trip and have you join us not just as our best friend, but as my best man.


I have the honor

to request your hand in marriage.

To have and to hold,

from this day forth,

till death us do part.

With this ring, I betroth myself to you.


I believe it's traditional for the groom to give a gift to the best man.

I told Nathan that you would have to put that book away for a while to make money, and that made him very sad.

Mmm-mmm.

Nathan, I can't possibly accept this.

NATHAN: Stingo, don't reject it.

Don't waste your talent.

(CLASSICAL MUSIC PLAYING IN DISTANCE)

I don't know how to thank you.

Would the future Mrs. Landau care to give me the honor of this dance?


(SOPHIE LAUGHING EXCITEDLY)

Isn't it thrilling about Nathan?

What do you mean?

You don't know?

It's supposed to be a secret.

He confided in me that he and his team discovered a cure for polio in my house.

If only my Saul could have lived to see the day.

The car is ready, Mrs. Zimmerman.

Yeah. I'll be down.

What did Nathan say when he saw you?

I haven't seen him.

Huh! Well, he and Sophie left here a couple hours ago.

He said something about looking for you and straightening out things with you once and for all.

Wait, what?

I guess you just missed them.

Sophie kept telling him he was imagining things, trying to soothe him the way she does when he gets like that.

God knows what mashugana idea was going through his mind this time.

I told you to watch out.

Next time you'll listen to Morris Fink? (INDISTINCT)

My God, it's like I'm the dog catcher for the whole thing.

Morris, do you know where he is now?

No, I don't know.

(PHONE RINGING)

Hello.

NATHAN ON PHONE: God damn you to hell forever.

Nathan? (LINE CLICKS)

Are you all right?

Oh, yes. I'm all right.

What's wrong with your arm?

He was breaking my arm.

I got frightened and I ran away.

He has a gun, Stingo. I think he's going to use it.

(PHONE RINGING)

I shouldn't have left him there.

We should go find...

Nathan? NATHAN: Stingo.

Now, you listen. Listen to me.

Is it Nathan? Nathan!

Oh, God!

Nathan! My darling, you forgive me?

(SHOUTING) Get off the phone, you whore!

You know that I love you.

I don't want to speak to you again!

Nathan, we love you very much, all right?

We would do nothing to hurt you.

Now, you tell us where you are.

God damn you to hell forever for betraying me behind my back.

You, whom I trust like the best friend I ever had and that shit-eating grin of yours day after day.

Butter wouldn't melt in your mouth, would it, when you gave me a piece of your manuscript to read?

"Gee, Nathan. Thank you so much."

When not 15 minutes earlier, you'd been humping away in bed with the woman I was going to marry.

Marry! (SHOUTING) Marry!

I say "was going to," past tense, because I'd burn in hell before I'd marry a two-timing Polack who'd spread her legs for a sneaky Southern shithead, betraying me like that.

Nathan, we're gonna come get you. Where are you? All right?

Come and get me? No. You stay right where you are.

I'm going to come and get you.

Both of you.

Jesus, Nathan!

Don't go away.

You know what I'm going to do to you two deceitful, unspeakable pigs?

Listen! (GUNSHOT)

Now I'm coming to get you.

Oh, God!

I called his brother's office.

Larry is in Toronto, but they're going to try and reach him.

I should've stayed there.

Maybe I could've helped him.

He's never been this bad before.

I think he could've killed us.

I think he could've killed us both.

I don't care that I would die.

I am afraid that he will die without me.

Oh!

Thank you.

(WATER RUNNING)

SOPHIE: Stingo?

Mmm-hmm?

Where are we going?

Well, I want to take you to see the Washington sights.

Mmm-hmm? In the White House.

Maybe get a peek at Harry Truman.

Yeah.

I mean, where are we going?

Where are we really going?

Well, I'm going to take you down to that farm that I told you about, in southern Virginia.

Hmm.

(SIGHS)

I think once we get settled in there, we can drive over to Richmond, get a good phonograph, maybe buy some records.

What do you mean, "Get settled in there"?

Well, I love you very much, Sophie.

And I want to marry you.

I want you to live down there on that farm with me.

When I write my books there, I want you to help me and I want you to help me raise a family because I love you very, very much.

Is it too much to hope

that you might love me, too?

Listen, Stingo, I'm beyond 30 years now, you know.

What are you going to do with an old Polish lady like me?

Manage. (CHUCKLES) I'll manage.

"Old woman."

Don't talk that way.

You're always going to be

my number one.

Well, then, yes, okay. We could go down there. Sure.

We could live there for a while and then...

We're not getting married because we could decide that later, you know.

Sophie, the kind of little country place I'm talking about that we'd be living in, we'd have to be married.

Jesus, Sophie, these are Christians down there, you know.

Well, I don't know, I mean,

getting married soon, I've loved you a very long time.

I know you're fond of me.

Give us time. Just give us time.

We'll be fine.

(SIGHS DEEPLY)

It is not just the age difference, you know, between you and me, Stingo.

You should have another mother for your children.

Only you.

It would not be fair to your children to have me as their mother.

Sophie, they would be the luckiest children in the world.

I'm going to tell you something.

I'm going to tell you something now I have never told anybody.

Never, but I need a drink, so would you get me that first?


On the day that we went

to Auschwitz, it was spring, you know, (SIGHS) and we arrived there at night.

It was a warm night, it was a beautiful night.

(IN POLISH)

Mommy, you're hurting me!

(SHUSHING)

(TRAIN BRAKES SCREECHING)

(MAN 1 SHOUTING IN GERMAN)

(MAN 2 TALKING OVER MEGAPHONE IN GERMAN)


(IN GERMAN)


You're so beautiful.

I'd like to get you in bed.

Are you a Polack?

You!

Are you also one of those filthy communists?

(IN GERMAN)

I am a Pole!

I was born in Krakow! I am not a Jew! Neither are my children!

They're not Jews. They are racially pure.

I'm a Christian.

I'm a devout Catholic.


You're not a communist?

You're a believer.

Yes, sir. I believe in Christ.

So you believe in Christ, the Redeemer?

Yes!

Did he not say, "Suffer the little children

"to come unto me?"

You may keep one of your children.

I beg your pardon?

You may keep one of your children.

The other one must go.

You mean, I have to choose?

You're a Polack not a Yid.

That gives you a privilege, a choice.

I can't choose! I can't choose!

Be quiet. I can't choose!

Choose! Or I'll send them both over there!

Make a choice!

Don't make me choose! I can't!

I'll send them both over there.

Shut up! Enough!

I told you to shut up! Make a choice!

Don't make me choose! I can't!

I'll send them both over there! I can't choose!

Take both children away!

Move!

(GIRL WAILING)

Take my little girl!

Take my baby!

Take my little girl!


So.

We will go to that farm tomorrow, yeah.

But please, Stingo,

don't talk about marriage

(SIGHS)

And children.

It's enough that

we go down there

and live

for a while.


STINGO: I was 22 and a virgin and was clasping in my arms at last the goddess of my unending fantasies.

My lust was inexhaustible.

Sophie's lust was both a plunge into carnal oblivion and a flight from memory and grief.

More than that, I now see, it was a frantic attempt to beat back death.

SOPHIE: "My dearest Stingo.

"You are such a beautiful lover. I had to leave, "and forgive me for not saying goodbye, but I must go back to Nathan.

"Believe me, you will find some wonderful woman

"to make you happy on that farm.

"But when I woke, I was feeling so terrible

"and in despair about Nathan.

"By that, I mean so filled with guilt, thoughts of death.

"It was like ice flowing in my blood.

"So I must be with Nathan again, for whatever that means.

"I may not see you again,

"but do believe me how much knowing you has meant to me.

"You are a great lover, Stingo.

"Sophie."

MORRIS: Landau. L-A-N-D-A-U.

He worked in a pharmaceutical lab.

I think that's how he got ahold of the cyanide, you see.

They found it next to the bed, you know.

DETECTIVE: What lab, do you know?

I'm not sure where it was.

(INDISTINCT)


"Ample make this bed.

"Make this bed with awe.

"In it,

"wait till judgment break, "excellent and fair.

"Be its mattress straight.

"Be its pillow round.

"Let no sunrise yellow noise

"interrupt this ground."

STINGO: And so ended my voyage of discovery in a place as strange as Brooklyn.

I let go of the rage and sorrow for Sophie and Nathan and for the many others who were but a few of the butchered and betrayed and martyred children of the Earth.

When I could finally see again, I saw the first rays of daylight reflected in the murky river.

This was not judgment day.

Only morning.

Morning...