Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) Script

Gentlemen, I wanna welcome you medical schoolmen... our new operating theatre.

As you can see, it isn't exactly what you'd call new.

Used to be a library when this was a school...

...and maybe before that some kind of a sugar warehouse.

Makeshift or not, the important thing is that we got it.

The first to be devoted to psychosurgery in this state.

And that is a great step forward.

Now you're going to witness an operation...

...never performed before in this state.

A lobotomy on a woman's brain...

...suffering from acute schizophrenic withdrawal.

Our new staff member, Dr. John Cukrowicz from Chicago...

...will perform this operation.


Sew up, will you?

You have just witnessed a delicate operation on the human brain...

...performed under the most primitive surgical conditions...

...that I hope any of you will ever encounter.

Excuse us, please.

Son, I know how you feel. For six months...

...I have listened to you promise me this and that.

But I am not... I know, I know, I know.

You are not the state board of health. I am not a witch doctor.

I need properly trained assistants.

I need an operating room that doesn't fall apart.

At least lights that stay lit.

I know, but this is a state hospital.

There just isn't enough money for us.

I can't promise that there ever will be enough.

I'll go back to Chicago or someplace where there is.


Before you do that, read this.

Who is Violet Venable?

You reveal your ignorance of our fair city...

...of which Mrs. Venable is the richest lady.

At one time, her husband owned most of it. Now she's a widow and she owns it.

"...and was very interested in the work of your Dr. Cukrowicz."

She must have read your write-up in the Herald.

"And I wonder if the foundation I am establishing...

...might be of some assistance."

Son, with one signature on one check...

...she can solve all the problems we got.

"Also there is a matter of some urgency...

...I should like to discuss with him.

Would 4:30 on Tuesday be convenient?"

That's today.

What is her urgency, do you know?

No, but I know what ours is. Lack of money. Her money.

She is serious?

4:30 this afternoon, you'll know.

I can tell you this much.

I've been trying for years just to see the Venable lawyers.

You've been invited by her. That's a command performance.

That's how serious I think it is.

And this is serious too.

More than 1200 mental cases Lions View can't afford to handle.

Good afternoon.

Dr. Cukrowicz. Yes, sir.

Take a seat, please. Thank you.

Mrs. Venable?

I am Miss Foxhill, Mrs. Venable's secretary.

And you are Dr. Cukrowicz?

Your appointment was for...? 4:30.

You are 23 seconds early. Sit down, please.

Thank you.

Sebastian always said, "Mother, when you descend...'s like the goddess from the machine."

Mrs. Venable's on her way down. I feel just like an angel...

...coming to earth as I float, float into view.

Sebastian... son, Sebastian, was very interested in the Byzantine.

Are you interested in the Byzantine, Dr...?


I don't know very much about the Byzantine.

The emperor of Byzantium, when he received people in audience...

...had a throne which, during the conversation...

...would rise mysteriously in the air to the consternation of the visitors.

As we are living in a democracy, I reverse the procedure.

I don't rise. I come down.

How do you do, Dr...? Oh, I'm sorry, your name?


It's a Polish word meaning "sugar."

Am I only wearing one earring? Have I forgotten my lip rouge?

Excuse me, I...

I guess I had been told you were a widow.

I am. I'm in mourning.

White was my son's favorite color.

Perhaps, Dr. Sugar... expected an old widow.

With a garnet brooch, a cane and an ear trumpet.

I have all that to look forward to.

Life is a thief. Sebastian always said, "Life steals everything."

I want to show you his garden.

Are you sure you should go out, Mrs. Venable?

Quite sure. They treat me like an invalid.

You see, last spring I had a tiny convulsion of a tiny blood vessel.

What did your doctor call it?

A malady of living.

After all, I've buried a husband and a son. I'm a widow and a...

Funny, there's no word.

Lose your parents, you're an orphan.

Lose your only son and you are...



Where are they?

I put them in the patio.

They sent them parcel post from Pensacola. That's why they were late.

Another day and we'd have starved to death. Come on, doctor.

In your letter, you said an urgent matter.

I must say, you're handsomer than your photograph in the paper...

...without that awful paraphernalia you doctors wear.

Your son's favorite color, white.

Such extraordinary eyes.

So like his. You must...

I almost said, "You must meet my son Sebastian." Force of habit.

Is he the son who died?

Yes, last July, in Europe.

He must have been young to die.

All poets...

...whatever age they may seem to others, die young.

It's unexpected. Like the dawn of creation.

It was Sebastian's idea.

Part of his lifelong war against the herbaceous border.

Not unlike a well-groomed jungle and, frankly, a little terrifying.

So was creation.

So is creation. Listen to them buzz, buzz.

What's in there?

This way, before our poor lady dies of hunger.

The Latin names to the plants are printed on tags...

...attached to them, but the print's fading.

Those ones there are the oldest plants on earth.

Survivors from the age of the giant fern forest.

And here's my poor lady.

They never get away.

The lady exudes this marvelous perfume which attracts them.

They plunge into her chalice. And they never come out.

This operation you perform is called...?


That's an unusual... I hate these flies.



She loves feeding our wicked lady. Foxhill's rather a brute.

Such an extravagance, really, from early fall to late spring...

...lady must be kept under glass...

...and we have to provide her with flies flown in at great expense.

Foxhill, you do the honors.

Lady's very hungry today. Of course, Mrs. Venable.

I've never seen an insectivorous plant before. What is it called?

The Venus flytrap.

A devouring organism...

...aptly named for the goddess of love.

What was your son's work? I mean, aside from this garden.

As many times as I've had to answer that question... still shocks me a little to realize...

...that Sebastian Venable the poet was quite unknown...

...outside of a small coterie of friends, including his mother.

Your son was a poet? His life was his occupation.

Yes. Yes, Sebastian was a poet.

That's what I meant when I said his life was his work.

Because the work of a poet is the life of a poet. And vice versa.

I mean, you can't separate them. I mean...

...a poet's life is his work.

And his work is his life, in a special sense.

Are you all right? Right as rain, however right that is.

This operation of yours, does it really work?

Yes, yes, it does.

However, it is very experimental.

I was struck by something you said in the paper.

About the sharp knife in the mind.

That kills the devil in the soul?

I'm afraid I got a bit carried away.

No, what you said was almost poetic itself.

Mrs. Venable, the work of a doctor is his life too.

But we need help, particularly in a field as experimental as mine.

Particularly at a state hospital like Lions View.

We have very little money, practically none.

Yes, I know.


...I have a niece by marriage... a place called St. Mary's.

I've heard of it.

It's a custodial home for the insane.

She suffers from something called dementia praecox.

From dementia praecox?

Which is to say, she's mad as a hatter, poor child.

Would you like to see Sebastian's studio?

It's at the end of the jungle in what used to be the garçonnière.

An old New Orleans convenience.

A place where the young men could go to be private.

You're not from New Orleans?

No, Chicago. Actually, dementia praecox is a meaningless phrase...

Chicago. I've always wanted to see two places before I die.

Hong Kong...

...and Chicago.

Now I shall never see either.

Because I must use every inch and ounce of what little strength I have... doing just what I'm doing.

The foundation you referred to?

Building a memorial to my son.

You see, Sebastian had no public name as a poet.

He didn't want one.

He refused to have one.

He abhorred the false values that come from being publicly known...

...from fame, from personal exploitation.

He'd say to me, "Violet, Mother, you're going to live longer than me.

When I'm gone, it will be yours to do whatever you please with."

Meaning, of course, his future recognition.

You're very like him, doctor. In what way?

Because you, a doctor, a surgeon...

...are dedicated to your art.

Yes, to your art. It is an art, what you do.

Using people the way he did.

Grandly, creatively.

Almost like God.

I'm afraid my art is to help.

Not to use, but to be used.

Well, it comes to the same, doesn't it?

I mean, in the end.

Oh, I don't know what I mean.

There is the atelier, Sebastian's studio.

Most people's lives...

...what are they but trails of debris?

Each day more debris, more debris.

Long, long trails of debris...

...with nothing to clean it all up but, finally, death.

I guess...

...quiet desperation is the word for most lives.

But ours were different.

Sebastian's and mine.

I know it sounds hopelessly vain to say...

...but we were a famous couple.

People didn't speak of Sebastian and his mother...

...or Mrs. Venable and her son.

They said, "Sebastian and Violet.

Violet and Sebastian are at the Lido. They're at the Ritz."

And every appearance, every time we appeared...

...attention was centered on us.

Everyone else eclipsed.

My son, Sebastian...

...and I...

...constructed our days.

Each day, we would carve each day like a piece of sculpture.

We left behind us a trail of days... a gallery of sculpture...

...until suddenly, last summer...

Your son died?

You say that your niece suffers from dementia praecox.

There must have been a more exact diagnosis.

Such a pretty name for a disease.

Sounds like a rare flower, doesn't it?

Night-blooming dementia praecox.

What form does her disturbance take?


Obsession, memory.

She lacerates herself with memory.

Memory of what?

Visions, hallucinations.

It all started last summer.

The first I knew, there was a cable from this clinic in Paris...

...saying, "Your niece is out of her mind. What shall we do?"

I was almost out of my mind last summer.

Sebastian had just died, I was ill, but I did everything I could.

I said, "Send her straight home with a nurse."

So they put her on the Berengaria...

...locked in her stateroom like a wild animal.

She was taken straight to St. Mary's.

And now they can't keep her there, they can't help her...

...or cope with her fits of violence.

Her babbling. Her dreadful, obscene babbling.

What kind of babbling? Fantastic delusions and babblings...

...of an unspeakable nature.

Mostly taking the form of hideous attacks...

...on the moral character of my son, Sebastian.

And now they tell me at St. Mary's...

...the Mother Superior tells me...

...that we must find another place for her.

And then I read about you...

...about your operation, and I thought:

"This may be the answer to all our prayers."

You must realize the operation I do... only for the unapproachable, for the hopeless.

If she isn't unapproachable and hopeless, I don't know who is.

The things she says. What?

Terrible, obscene things. Such as?

Oh, anything.

Such as?

All right, you asked.

This happened recently at St. Mary's.

Catherine accused an elderly gardener of making love to her.

They questioned the gardener, an old man.

It was the other way around.

Catherine had made advances to him, spoken obscenely to him.

When confronted with her lies, she fought and screamed.

It took four nuns to control her.

Now I'm put on notice that they won't keep her there after this week.

You see why I said urgent.

Yes, I do. I certainly do.

It's important I see her as soon as possible.

And help her. If you can't, I'm at my wits' end.

I can transfer her to Lions View. She won't be as comfortable...

I understand.

But the important thing is you, doctor.

You'll be happy to know that at this very minute... lawyers are working on the Sebastian Venable Memorial Foundation... subsidize the work of young people like yourself...

...who are pushing out the frontiers of art and science...

...but have a financial problem.

Mrs. Venable, loving your niece as you do, you must know...

...there's great risk in this operation.

When you enter the brain with a foreign object, even a needle-thin knife... the hands of the most skilled surgeon...

...there still is a great deal of risk.

But it does pacify them, I've read that.

It quiets them down. It makes them peaceful.

Yes, that it does do, but... But what?

Well, it will be years before we know if the benefits...

...of the operation are lasting...

...or maybe just passing or perhaps...

There's a strong possibility that the patient will always be limited.

Relieved of acute anxiety, yes, but limited.

But what a blessing to them, doctor, to be just peaceful.

To be just suddenly peaceful.

After all that horror...

...after those nightmares...

...just to be able to lift up their eyes to a sky...

...not black with savage, devouring birds.

You said a sky filled with savage, devouring birds?

Did I?

How odd. I hadn't thought about all that in years.

Now, why should I suddenly...?

Yes, we saw those birds one summer in the Pacific.

You see, my son Sebastian was looking for...

Looking for what? Rare, hungry birds.

That's not what you started to say. You're too quick for me.

I was going to say my son Sebastian was looking for God.

I stopped myself. I thought you'd think:

"What a pretentious young crackpot." Which Sebastian was not.

This is something I've never told anyone before.

Something so terrible.

Forgive me if I sound quite mad, but it's true all the same.

Sebastian saw the face of God.

I'd like to hear about that.

Yes, yes.

One long ago summer, sitting right here in this garden...

...Sebastian said, "Mother, listen to this."

And he read me Herman Melville's description...

...of the Encantadas, the Galapagos Islands.

He read me that description and said we had to go there.

So we did go there that summer...

...on a boat, a four-masted schooner...

...the sort of boat that Melville would have sailed on.

We saw the Encantadas.

But on the Encantadas we saw something...

...that he hadn't written about.

We saw the sea turtles crawl out of the sea...

...for their annual egg-laying.

Once a year, the female of the sea turtles...

...crawls out of the sea onto the blazing sand beach...

...of a volcanic island to dig a pit in the sand...

...and deposit her eggs there.

It's a long and dreadful thing, the depositing of the eggs in the sand.

And when it's finished...

...the exhausted female turtle crawls back to the sea half-dead.

She never sees her offspring.

But we did.

Sebastian knew exactly when the sea turtle eggs would be hatched.

We returned in time for it. You went back?

In time to witness the hatching and their desperate flight to the sea.

The narrow beach, the color of caviar, was all in motion.

The sky was in motion, full of flesh-eating birds.

And the noise of the birds...

...their savage cries as they circled...

...over the beach of the Encantadas...

...while the new sea turtles scrambled out...

...and started their race to the sea.

Race to the sea? To escape the flesh-eating birds...

...that made the sky almost black.

And I said, "Sebastian, no. No, it's not like that."

But he made me look. He made me see that terrible sight.

What was not like that? Life.

I said, "No.

No! That's not true!"

But he said it is.

He said, "Look, Violet. Look, there on the shore."

And I looked and saw the sand all alive, all alive... the new-hatched sea turtles dashed to the sea...

...while the birds hovered and swooped to attack...

...and hovered and swooped to attack.

They were diving down on the sea turtles...

...turning them over to expose their soft undersides...

...tearing their undersides open...

...and rending and eating their flesh.

Sebastian guessed that possibly...

...only a hundredth of one percent of their number...

...would escape to the sea.

Nature isn't created in the image of man's compassion.

Nature is cruel!

Sebastian knew it all along, was born knowing it, but not I.

I said, "No, no, those are only birds, turtles, not us."

I didn't know then it was us.

That we are all of us trapped by this devouring creation.

I couldn't, wouldn't face the horror of the truth...

...even that last day in the Encantadas...

...when Sebastian left me...

...and spent the whole blazing, equatorial day... the crow's-nest, watching that thing on the beach...

...until it was too dark to see.

When he came down the rigging, he said, "Now I've seen him."

And he meant God. Do you believe he saw God?

He saw the whole thing there that day on the beach.

But I was like you. I said no.

I refused to believe...

...until suddenly, last summer, I learned my son was right.

What he had shown me in the Encantadas was the horrible...

...the inescapable truth.

Violet, honey.

You gave me a turn. Hi, Aunt Vi.

Why are you two here?

We came for Sebastian's clothes, like you said.

Remember? Like you said. So we just kind of let ourselves in.

I must have got hold of this letter. Caught on your sleeve probably.

That's Mrs. Holly, mother of the St. Mary's girl, and that's her son.

Apparently, I said he could have Sebastian's clothes.

You haven't forgotten what you said at Elaine Tutweiler's?

Since I was going to college...

...I could have Cousin Sebastian's clothes.

You did say that.

You said that Son here could have...

I'm accused of generosity. Now will you please...?

Aunt Violet is generous, so generous to her family, Mr...

What's your name?

Dr. Cukrowicz. Are you a doctor?

Violet, you're not ill again? No, Grace!

I'm so relieved.

I was afraid you had another of those strokes of yours. Those seizures.

I've never had a seizure nor a stroke. We were discussing your daughter.

My poor lamb, my poor little girl.

Can you help her? I'm gonna try to, if I can.

Mama, look here! White silk.

"Made in Rome."

Oh, boy, is this one gonna pick up lipstick!

Take the clothes. Don't flaunt them in my face.

Why don't you both let yourselves out?

Get the rest another time. It won't take two seconds to finish.

It's impossible that Sebastian won't walk through that door again...

...with all those bright people he used to know.

All laughing, carrying on...

...saying those witty things that were way over my poor head.

He was such a tease too. You know...

...he told me that the piece of lace on this table...

...was made by these blind nuns in Belgium. Imagine!

I thought I'd gone through everything. Who is that?

It's the girl. Why, that's my poor angel, Catherine.

I wonder why he put it there. Maybe he liked her.

George, take your plunder and get out of here.

Okay. This must've been taken last spring.

She's wearing her Mardi Gras gown.

Remember how lovely she was? You loaned her your fur coat.

I remember everything.

I guess it was not exactly a happy evening.

What did happen? She was, she is a lovely girl.

And I must say, of all my relations... delightful relations, she was the one most like me.

That's why you've got to save her.

Because madness is the most horrible doom on this earth.

Every item here has been inventoried by the insurance people.

They'd be upset if anything were missing.

What do you think I am? On that subject, my lips are sealed.

Now, both of you, please go.

It's almost 5:00. That's right.

Violet always has, I mean, used to have...

...her 5:00 daiquiri here with Sebastian.

Now I have it here alone.

Well, we must fly now.

I do pray you can help my poor Cathy. Goodbye.

Violet, bye now. Say thank you, George.

Bye, Aunt Violet. Thanks for everything.

Aren't they awful? Sebastian and I used to speculate...

...on how those Neanderthals...

...could've produced a girl as rare as Catherine.

You would have liked Sebastian and he would have been charmed by you.

He wasn't a family or a money snob, but he was a snob.

He was a snob about loveliness in things...

...about personal charm and physical grace in people.

We always had a perfect troupe...

...of beautiful people around us always, whenever we traveled.

May I sit here? Sebastian's seat.

Oh, well... No, no, please.

It's a court jester's chair. A rare one, 500 years old.

Please, sit on it.

Say something funny. Make me stop wanting to cry.

I'm afraid I'd make a miserable jester.

I get concerned when people stop wanting to cry.

Time for your medicine and daiquiri.

In that order.

Isn't it nice of the drugstore to keep me alive?

Thank you. Foxhill...

See the Hollys off the premises. They're apt to remove the silver.

Yes, Mrs. Venable.

He would sit in his chair, I in mine, at 5:00 every day...

...and we'd have daiquiris with St. Sebastian brooding above us.

But you stayed here last summer.

I did. I wasn't well. He took Catherine with him.

And he died. Of a heart attack.

Was she with him?

She was there with him when he died, and that day she lost her mind.

When will you see her, doctor?

As soon as I can.

What can I tell Dr. Hockstader about your interest in helping us?

Can't that wait until you've met my niece...

...and decided if you think your operation could help her?

Yes, of course it can wait.

Surely there's no connection between...

Aren't we more interested in something that concerns us personally?

Aren't we, doctor?

I understand.

I can find my way out.

Millions of years ago, dinosaurs fed on leaves of those trees.

They were vegetarians. That's why they became extinct.

They were just too gentle for their size.

Then the carnivores, the ones that eat flesh...

...the killers inherited the earth.

But then they always do, don't they?


It's Sister Felicity, Catherine.

Please get up. You're to come with me.


I'm not being violent, Sister.

What are you doing, Catherine?

Just smoking a cigarette.

Now, you know we're not allowed to smoke at St. Mary's.

Please let me smoke. Please. Give it here.

Don't be such a bully! Disobedience has to be paid for.

I'll pay for it later. Now, Catherine.

I'm putting out my hand for it.

All right, take it! You burned me!

I'm sorry... You deliberately burned me.

You said to... You stuck the lit end into my hand.

I'm so sick of being bossed and bullied.

I'm sick of being...

You saw that. Saw her deliberately burn me.

You better put something on that. I can't leave.

Patients classified as violent... Sister.

Very well, doctor. I'll wait outside.

Just outside the door.

You're very brave being in the room alone with me.

Do you plan to burn me too? Oh, much worse.

I'm classified as violent.

I'm apt to attack you and then accuse you of rape.

Do you do that sort of thing? That's why I'm in isolation.

I molested an elderly gardener of great virtue.

When he refused my advances, I denounced him as a lecher.

After that, I was punished.

Was it true?

That I was punished? Yes.

That you accused him unjustly. Of course I accused him unjustly.

After all, I'm insane.

It's the sort of thing an insane woman would do.

Besides, haven't you noticed how oddly I've been looking at you?

Have you?

How I've been staring at your eyes.

Your beautiful, blue, frightened eyes.

Why are they so frightened? Do you need help?

Do you want help from me?

I'm making you nervous.

You have every reason to be.

Because now I'm going to attack you. Yes, attack.

It won't be for your beauty.

No, it's for these cigarettes. Let me have one.

Of course. Help yourself.

You are good.

Who are you? I'm a doctor.

Sent by my aunt? Yes.

As I haven't responded to treatment. So they say.

You've been invited to try your hand at what is a hopeless case.

Is it hopeless? What do you think?

Where are you from? Lions View.

The state asylum.

Where they have the Drum.

What you call the Drum is not a torture chamber.

It's really a recreation hall.

They'll keep me there forever.

Like an animal in a cage.

She is merciless, isn't she? Who?

Aunt Violet. Why else do you think I'm here?

Where no one can see me, hear me?

You sound as if you think she hates you.

Doesn't she?

Do you hate her?

What, hate?

No. I don't understand what hate is...

...or how anyone could hate and still be sane.

I really do think I am sane...

...despite considerable evidence to the contrary.

Your aunt, Mrs. Venable... Can no more help herself than I could.

Help herself? How do you mean?

You see, we all loved Sebastian.

Women, men, children, animal, mineral, vegetable...

Sebastian was a vocation, not a man.

Poor Aunt Vi was hooked from the beginning.

Loved Sebastian and nobody else.

She gave up everything for Sebastian.

Even her husband.

What was Mr. Venable like?

Mr. Venable was a good man...

...but dull to the point of genius.

That was Sebastian talking.

From him, it wouldn't have sounded cruel.

When I talk like him or when Aunt Vi talks like him, we sound heartless.

And we're not really. Though we do terrible things.

What do you consider terrible?

Aunt Vi let her husband die because of Sebastian.

Killed him, some people thought.

How, killed him?

Once, Sebastian decided to give up the torments of this world...

...and become a Buddhist monk. That was in Tibet.

He shaved his head, was given a wooden bowl and was happy.

Till Aunt Vi came.

Why? What did she do?

Lived in a hut, even took vows, or whatever women do.

Anything to be near him, to get to him, to make him come home.

While there, word came.

Mr. Venable was dying. He had to see her.

And she chose to stay?

She chose to let her husband die alone.

If you'd known Sebastian, you'd understand she had no choice... none of us ever had a choice, once Sebastian had decided we were... be used.


You mean he used people?


Isn't that what love is? Using people?

And maybe that's what hate is. Not being able to use people.

Go on. Go on where?


To the first memory you come to.

My first memory?

It was once at a Mardi Gras ball.

The Mardi Gras ball? Yes?

My very first memory.

It was last spring.

Before last spring, I remember nothing. Nothing at all.

It's as if my life began and ended that night.

Tell me about it.

At the ball...

I was taken there by some boy who got too drunk to stand.

I wanted to leave. My coat was in the cloakroom.

They couldn't find the check for it, so I said, "Let it go"...

...and started out for a taxi.

Then somebody took my arm and said:

"I'll drive you home."

As we left, he took off his coat and put it around my shoulders...

...and then I looked at him.

I don't think I've ever seen him before then, really.

He took me home. But he took me another place first.

Near the Dueling Oaks at the end of Esplanade Street.

We stopped. I asked what for.

He didn't answer.

Just struck a match to light a cigarette...

...and I looked at him, and I knew what for.

I think I got out of the car before he got out of the car, and we...

...walked through the wet grass toward the great misty oaks as if... if somebody were...

...calling for help there.

And after that?

I lost him.

He took me home.

Then he said an awful thing to me. He said:

"We'd better forget it.

My wife's expecting a child, and..."

I just entered the house and sat there thinking a while.

I called a taxi and rushed to the Roosevelt Hotel ballroom.

The ball was still going on.

I thought I'd gone back to pick up my coat. But I hadn't.

I hadn't gone back for that at all. I'd gone back to make a scene.

I didn't pick up Aunt Violet's silver fox in the coatroom.

I rushed right into the ballroom, spotted him on the floor...

...ran up to him and started... beat him in the face and the chest with my fists till...

...Cousin Sebastian took me away.

Miss Catherine?

Miss Catherine?

She's here. Miss Catherine's here.

In spirit as well as flesh.

And now you want to play a game. Look at pictures?

Tell you the first thing that comes into my mind, my poor deranged mind.

All right.

That shadow on the wall. What does it look like to you?

Like a shadow on a wall.

I thought we were gonna play a game.

All right.

I see forests.

Trees, a girl.

And those trees are the Dueling Oaks...

...and that tormented figure is the girl, Catherine, losing her...


I'm trying to make you feel sorry for her.

I hope I am. I am sorry.

I believe you really are.

Tell me about your cousin, Sebastian.

He liked me, so I loved him.

How? I mean, in what way did you love him?

The only way he'd accept.

I tried to save him, doctor. Save him from what?

Completing a sort of image he had of himself... a sort of a sacrifice to a terrible sort of a...

God? Yes.

Sebastian, who was gentle, kind...

...saw something not gentle, not kind, in the universe.


Something terrible in himself. What was it? Can you tell me?

One day at Cabeza de Lobo... Where?

That's where we were last summer. That's where...

That's where Sebastian died?


How did he die?

They say a heart attack, but I don't remember. I really don't.

You see, afterwards, I was hysterical, taut.

Said things I don't remember.

That's why I'm here.

Because I say things people don't...

...and then I don't even remember.

Try to remember.

You and Sebastian, last summer...

Try to remember.

The beach was very white.

Oh, how the sun burned.

It was like the eye of God watching us.

Burning, burning.

There was no air that day.

The sun had burned up all the air.

Outside it was like inside a furnace.

Then they came. Who came?

From all parts of the beach.

And that awful noise they made.

The noise of musical instruments all made of tin.

Who is "they"?

And that, that music.

That awful music.

I hear that music!

I still hear it!

It's getting closer and closer!

Sebastian! Help!

What happened? What happened then? I don't remember after that!

Stop that this minute. Stop that noise.

Doctor, I must see you at once. Get out of here.

Sister, get out and don't come back until I call you.

I can't remember.

I can't remember! It's all right.

Don't worry, it's all right. But I have to, I want to!

Then you will.

Will you help me?

If you let me. Yes.

I shouldn't have done that.

Why not? It was a friendly kiss, wasn't it?

Maybe it wasn't.

Maybe now you'll think that all those...

...stories about the gardener are true.

Whatever's true, we'll find.

I want you to know that I can look attractive...

...if I had my hair done and if...

When I'm at Lions View, may I wear a pretty dress?

If you like.

Just imagine, once again to be able to do... thing I'd like.

Come out here, son. I want you to see something.

Take a good long look. Tell me, what do you see?

Old tires, tin cans, and a "Drink Nehi" sign.

That's the past you're looking at.

Thanks to a certain young man from Chicago...

...there'll be a new building on that lot...

...devoted to psychosurgery, dedicated to the memory of Sebastian Venable.

I wish I were that optimistic.

I've been working with the lawyers and accountants.

And we're getting, listen to this... big, round, beautiful figures, $1 million.

Just like that, no strings attached? No strings attached.

She wants you, and nobody else, to do the operation on her niece.

You can't blame her for that. There isn't anybody better.

Something horrible happened to that girl last summer.

Some dreadful, traumatic experience of some kind.


I don't know. I haven't found out yet.

And she refuses to allow herself to remember.

She's gonna have to be made to remember.

Come in.

Excuse me, Dr. Hockstader.

Mrs. Holly and her son are here to see the new patient.

Have them wait in my office, will you?

How's Miss Catherine? She looks lovely.

She had her hair done this morning. She's wearing her own clothes.

I've never seen clothes like that girl's got. From Paris! And...

Thank you, Miss Benson. I'll be along.

But she's a patient. You can't let her wear her own clothes.

I put her in the nurses' wing. I don't want her in the ward.

The nurses' wing?

I know I'm taking a risk...

...but for a while I don't want her to feel she's a patient.

I want her to feel she's free of restrictions, free of being watched.

This is very unorthodox.

So is insanity. That's why we're here.

Seems your whole approach has little to do with neurosurgery.

For the time being. That's what this new building is for.

Dedicated to neurosurgery. Yes, I know.

Mrs. Venable thinks you're prepared to go ahead with the operation.

Yes, I know.

Cathy's in there? George, hold me now.

I'm so nervous, I could jump clear out of my skin.

Well, don't, Mama.

Kitten! Miss Benson, you can go to lunch now.

Thank you, doctor. My poor baby. My angel.

In this place. It's all right, Mama. I'm just fine.

You look pretty good, Cathy, considering.

So do you, George, considering. We wanted to see you.

But Violet said no, not while you were at St. Mary's.

The doctors there didn't want anybody to see you, so we didn't.

My, that's a pretty dress.

When did you get that? In Paris. Sebastian bought it.

Yeah? I'm wearing one of his suits.

Yes, I recognize it.

Wasn't it sweet of Vi to give George his wardrobe?

Not that she could've done anything with it.

It's the thought behind the deed that matters.

Have you seen Aunt Vi recently?

Yes, we saw her last night. At her house.

She invited us to a private supper.

She's had this elevator installed. Cutest thing you ever saw...

We've got business to talk about.

I know, son. You know how children are. They're critical.

What did Aunt Vi say last night?

That you were in extremely capable hands.

And I can tell they are capable too.

Mr. Brossard, the new lawyer we got...

Such a nice man too, a tower of strength... all these months since Sebastian's been gone.

It nearly killed Violet. I know, I was there.

You didn't see her the way I did, grieving like a madwoman.

I mean, like her heart would break.

He was her whole life. She worshipped the ground beneath his feet.

When she got this letter from that place with the funny name...

What letter?

From the authorities, telling about what happened to him at...

What was the name of that place, honey, where he passed on?

Cabeza de Lobo. That's it!

Did you see the letter? No.

But I guess it told about how he had this heart attack...

...and how Catherine was not quite herself, poor baby.

I'm myself now, Mama. Aren't I, doctor?

Of course you are.

Don't worry a thing about what people say.

Nobody in the city knows about what you've been through.

Do they, George? Not a thing.

Nobody even knows you've come back from Europe.

When they question us or inquire...

...we just say that you stayed abroad to study something or other.

Can we talk to Catherine alone? Yes, on a private family matter.

Just some papers gotta be signed. Some business.

Is that all right?

Don't worry. Since I've been allowed to smoke, I've become a perfect lamb.

My little girl was always a perfect lamb.

Thank you.

Cathy, Sebastian left a will. A generous, thoughtful will.

He bequeathed to us, to you and to me, $50,000 each...

...after taxes are paid.

Sebastian always was very kind. Isn't that the truth?

But there is a problem.

It's very complicated, but Mr. Brossard, this new lawyer, is...

...trying to get it through probate. Only it won't go through probate.

Why not? Aunt Vi won't let it.

Well, you see, it has to do with you. With your being ill.

She doesn't trust me with the money? 50 grand is chickenfeed to Aunt Vi.

Then what is it? When you went off your rocker...

Shut up, Mama. Cathy's not that far gone. Are you, Cathy?

When I went off my rocker...? Yeah. You said something.

You made up some crazy story about Sebastian.

When she heard whatever it was... Last night...

...not a word would she say, except that you babbled.

That's her word for it. You babbled some story about Sebastian...

...and how he lived and... Died... a place called Cabeza de Lobo.

What you said gave her a real turn.

When doctors decided you were crazy, she wanted you to stay at St. Mary's.

Or even right here. This seems such a nice place too.

With that nice, capable doctor. Go on.

Written permission was needed to keep you here.

So that was the point of the private supper.

You've gotta understand...

This 100 grand is important to us.

It means George will have all sorts of advantages now.

Things we couldn't give him, since 1929 killed your father and our nest egg.

Mother, you didn't sign those papers?

You didn't commit me to Lions View? Not yet.

But, Cathy, the way Aunt Vi put it, there was no choice at all.

Mama's gotta sign.

Besides, honey, it's not like it was for always.

In no time, after the little operation...'ll be able to...

What little operation?

Oh, Cathy!

There's only one little operation they perform here.

It's on the brain. It's called a lobotomy.

You may have heard of it or read about it. I have.

It's that nice young doctor's specialty.

In cases of hopeless lunacy...

...he bores holes into the skull and operates on the brain!

Oh, honey, please don't talk about it. Please!

You can't let them! Stop. It's not the end of the world!

Don't sign that paper! They say it don't hurt.

Don't let them! No worse than tonsils.

And then, afterwards, you're all right again.

Miss Catherine.

Those faces! Look, for the love of...

You get her back to her room. What are you doing here?

We've just come from your office.

What is all that noise? Is it fire? What happened?

I don't know. We were having this chat about your treatment.

All of a sudden my poor baby flew out of the room and down the hall.

I'm sure it's the right thing, what you and Violet are doing.

It is the right thing. Come on, Mama.

We're so grateful to you. Come on.

Having you look after her and...

Will you get me Dr. Van Vitch?

Yes. Thank you.

I'm sorry they upset you.

Miss Catherine, don't ever run away.

Where will you cut, doctor?

I'm not at all sure that I will. Where will you cut my brain, doctor?

In front?

Or further back? I suppose I'm to have my head shaved.

It seems such a waste, seeing as how I had my hair fixed this morning...

...then to have it all cut off right after it.

I tell you, it's funny.

And you were the one who was going to help me. Help me.

Help me!

Don't talk like that.

Why not? Now I sound insane, don't I?

Are you trying to? No, and I'm not.

You've got to believe me, doctor. I am not.

Insane is such a meaningless word.

But lobotomy has a precise meaning, hasn't it?

Are you going to operate? Tell me, doctor, please, are you going to?

I don't know yet.

Poor doctor.

I bother you, don't I?

Yes, you do.

Well, I'll try not to anymore.

Three cc, please. Yes, doctor.

Must I take off my pretty dress?

Of course not.

I want to help you.

Trust me.

I want to trust you.

It seems to me that I need help very much.

His eyes are so blue. Who?

The doctor.

Wonder why he isn't blond.

They usually are blond, with eyes that blue.

I'm blond. Are you?

Funny. We were going to blonds next.

Blonds were next on the menu.

You just relax now. Let yourself go.

All last summer, Sebastian was famished for blonds.

Fed up with the dark ones.

Famished for blonds. The travel brochures he picked up...

...were advertisements of blond northern countries.

Think he'd already booked us to Stockholm and Copenhagen.

Fed up with the dark ones, famished for the light ones.

That's the way he talked about people, as if they were...

...items on a menu.

That one's delicious-looking.

That one's appetizing.

Or that one is not appetizing.

I think really he was half-starved...

...from living on pills and salads.

You just relax, now.

We'll fly north, little bird.

It's what he called me sometimes.

Little bird.

We'll walk under those radiant, cold northern lights.

I've never seen the aurora borealis.


He never saw those northern lights.

Who said, "We're all of us children... a vast kindergarten...

...trying to spell God's name with the wrong alphabet blocks"?

Thank you.

Mrs. Venable, I do want to speak with you...

Oh, this forgetfulness, my greatest failing, doctor.

I have a little gift for you, this book.

Thank you.

- Poem of Summer. By my son, Sebastian Venable.

That volume contains only one poem, as do the others I have.

Each with the title Poem of Summer and the date of the summer.

If you like that one, I'll bring the others.

He wrote one poem a year?

One for each summer that we traveled together.

The other nine months of the year were really only a preparation.

Nine months?

The length of a pregnancy, yes.

I gather the poem was hard to deliver.

Even with me. Without me, impossible.

Doctor, he wrote no poem last summer. But he died last summer.

Without me, he died.

That was his last summer's poem.

Mrs. Venable, how exactly did your son die?

I told you, a heart attack.

Is that what the letter said?

How did Catherine know I received a letter?

Catherine? She knows very little.

She can't remember.

That's her illness. She was there, but she can't remember.

Mrs. Holly told me about it. So you've seen her too, have you?

I must say, you have been observing.

There was no letter, only a death certificate.

I'd like to see that if... Why?

I think it's important. I want to know what happened the day your son died.

You shall have it tomorrow.

And tomorrow you shall also have the permission to operate.

And now I'd better go.

I've got lawyers waiting for me.

You'd think giving you a building was simple. Apparently, I must sign papers.

But I'm used to it. Sebastian never signed anything.

He must have suspected... Mrs. Venable.

Your son...

What about my son?

What sort of personal life did he have?

He was chaste.

You mean he was celibate? Yes.

You don't believe me, do you?

Do you believe that he never...? Yes, never.

As strictly as if he'd taken a vow. This sounds like vanity, doctor...

...but I was actually the only one in his life...

...that satisfied the demands he made of people.

Time after time, he'd let people go, dismiss them...

...because their attitude toward him was not as...

As pure? As pure as my son demanded.

Would you want to see Catherine?

Is that wise?

It might help me.

But the lawyer.

Surely you've kept the lawyer waiting before.

Yes, I have.

Such a strong...

...such a persuasive doctor.

She's been under sedation. She's just coming out of it.

She looks lovely, doesn't she?

Doesn't she?

Miss Catherine? Where are we going?

His eyes...

This one's eyes are so blue...

...such strange, frightened...

I'm sorry. I must have been dreaming.

Hello, Catherine.

I thought... we would have seen each other before this.

At St. Mary's, they wouldn't let any of us see you.

Mama was here today.

That was today, wasn't it? I lose track of time with all these shots.

You look very well, Catherine.

Mama told me how you got her to agree to commit me here...

...and then let them... She seems disturbed, doctor.

Aunt Violet! I am disturbed.

Don't you think I have every reason to be?

Forcing my mother into signing a paper...

I've never forced anybody to do anything.

Oh, yes, you have.


And now you're holding $100,000...

...under Mother and George's poor greedy noses... force her to sign a paper authorizing this doctor to...

Doctor. I see no purpose in my remaining here listening to this.

I'll wait for you in that sun room.

Doctor, I wanted to speak to you alone.

Miss Catherine wanted to see you again before you left.

I didn't want to take your place last summer.

Please believe that, Aunt Vi.

But Sebastian insisted. He said... weren't well enough to travel with him, and he couldn't travel alone.

So he insisted that I go along with him in your place last summer.

And he died last summer.

Aunt Violet, would you like me to tell you...?

You fell in love with Sebastian, didn't you?

I tried to give him what you had always given him:

The tender understanding and the love you gave...

My son and I had a rare and wonderful love and trust between us.

A covenant between us...

I know about the covenant. He broke that covenant...

...when he took her, not me, to travel while he created his poem.

Even when I was with him, he'd sometimes be frightened.

But I'd know what of.

I'd reach across a table and touch his hands.

Say not a word, just look, and touch his hands with mine.

Then, in the morning, the summer poem would be continued...

...until it was finished.

I couldn't help him. Naturally not, he was mine.

I knew how to help him. You couldn't.

I tried. I'd force him.

All right, I failed him.

I knew that the day we flew down to Cabeza de Lobo from...

...where he'd given off writing his poem.

Because he had broken... Yes, something had broken.

That string of pearls old mothers... Old?

Hold their sons by! Yes, from death.

No! Hold them from life!

You were the stranger, the destroyer.

We were life. You fed on life.

Both of you. Taking!

People were objects for your pleasure. That's what you taught each other.

You were superior to mere mortals. We needed no one but one another.

Sebastian only needed you while you were still useful.

Useful? I mean young, able to attract.

She's babbling and lying.

He left her home because she... You stole him!

Lost her attraction!

What would attraction have to do with a son and mother?

Is there no way to stop these lies? Yes! Have my brain cut.

This was a mistake.

The mistake was my going with Sebastian.

When he left her, she had a stroke. Not a stroke!

A hysterical stroke.

Sebastian left her home like a toy he tired of.

And he took me with him like a new toy. On his last voyage.

Lies. All lies. You see, doctor, we both...

We were decoys. Decoys?

For Sebastian. He used us as bait!

When she was no longer able to lure the better fish in, he let her go.

Bait? For what? What were the better fish?

We procured for him.

She'd do it in the smart, fashionable places they went before last summer.

Sebastian was shy with people. She wasn't. Neither was I.

But we both did the same thing for him.

We both made contacts for him.

I can't listen to this obscenity. Stop her, doctor.

Cut the truth out of my brain, is that what you want?

You can't. Not even God can change the truth.

That we were nothing but a... Doctor!

It's the truth! See how she destroys us?

Cut this hideous story out of her brain!

How much are you willing to pay for that, Aunt Vi?

Get me away from her. Out of here.

Out of this...

Nurse, some spirits of ammonia. Yes, doctor.

What happened? She fainted.

No. No, she didn't.

Just a little...

...dizziness, that's all.

Dr. Hockstader, will you help me to my car?

I don't think that's a good idea. Whether it is or not, I'm going home.

Tomorrow, I want that girl operated on.

That decision belongs to the doctor in charge, who is also the surgeon.

I don't want to hear from you again until the operation has been performed.

No! No!

Please, no!

You trying to ruin this hospital? You know better than that.

Can you imagine what would happen to us if she'd jumped?

She was frightened. She...

Patients are here because they can't think.

After 24 hours observation...

During which she tried to kill herself, incited the men's day room to a riot...

She opened that door by mistake. Trying to get away.

There was a riot, and she caused it. Don't invent excuses for her.

And from that Paris clinic:

Delusions the world was devouring her...

...that she was being raped by a man with dueling pistols.

The Dueling Oaks. Here's more of her erotomania.

At St. Mary's, they couldn't keep her. Why?

Because of her obscenity and violence.

She sexually attacked a 60-year-old gardener.

It was the other way around.

She tried to burn one of the Sisters with a cigarette.

She was provoked. I was there, I saw it.

Provoked? Who would provoke a disturbed patient?

You'd be surprised.

And to top it, she attempts suicide.

Cogent proof of sanity, wouldn't you say?

I need time.

When will you want the operating room tomorrow?

I said I need more time.

I heard you.

Get me Dr. Glen Kilmer at the Seattle Clinic.

You know I want that building as much as you do.

I'll hold on.

Give me one more day to see if I can break through that block to the truth.

This is a medical emergency.

I want to try something.

I want to try something tomorrow, at Mrs. Venable's.

Why Mrs. Venable's? I don't know.

I feel somehow that in that garden...

...maybe in that jungle, we might find...

Look, you don't want Mrs. Venable giving her money... the Seattle Clinic, do you?

And you don't want anybody to be able to say that we acted hastily...

...or unethically, do you?

Cancel the call.

But be sure you know where I can find Dr. Kilmer.

Mrs. Venable will be right down.

The others are here, as you asked. Show them into the sun room, please.

Of course, doctor.

Cathy, honey...

Later, Mrs. Holly.

Doctor, I have the things you wanted.

In the dining room. Oh, thank you.

What's going on here?

Sorry to keep you waiting, Dr. Cukrowicz.

I had to get those papers you wanted. I mislay everything.

My son always said, "Mother, if you..."

What are you two doing here? And where is Dr. Cukrowicz?

Why, I thought you invited us.

Dr. Cukrowicz asked me to ask them to come.

Of course.

Dr. Hockstader...

...I want you to meet my sister-in-law, Mrs. Ho...

Where is Catherine? In the sun room.

Could Mrs. Holly and her son wait for us in the garden?

Of course. Foxhill?

I don't know why everybody is being so mysterious.

I brought you some of Sebastian's papers. Odds and ends.

And this, the thing you wanted. Your son's death certificate?

This must be painful for you. If you don't read Spanish, I have...

I read Spanish.

Well, I have a translation.

As you see, there was no mystery... matter what the girl said at the time or any other time.

It says the body was somewhat...

...damaged in falling. Where did he fall?

On the ground. Where else do you fall when you die in the hot sun... the street of a godforsaken village?

Did you see his body...?

It was a primitive country. The coffin came sealed.


Were there any rumors?

There were no rumors. His heart stopped and he fell.

I'll wait in the garden now. That is where you want me?

Yes, if you will.

Dr. Hockstader...

...let me show you my son's garden.

It's very unusual. Like the dawn of creation.

Sebastian's garden.

I can still cry.

Am I dreaming this?

It doesn't seem real.

Would you take off your jacket? It's time for another injection.

What is it this time?

Something different. The truth serum?

Yes, except there is no such thing.

As truth?

Or the truth serum?

There is truth, all right. Somewhere.

Sit down.

Now you want me to start counting backwards from 100?

Do you enjoy counting backwards? Oh, I love it. Just love it.


...99, 98, 97...

...96, 95...

I feel it already.

How funny. Close your eyes for a minute.

I want you to give me something.

Name it, it's yours.

I want you to give me all your resistance.

Resistance? To what?

To the truth.

Truth is the one thing I have never resisted.

People think they don't resist it, but they still do.

Sebastian said:

"Truth is at the bottom of a bottomless well."

Why did...?

Open your eyes.

Why did you try to kill yourself?

Isn't that what everybody wants?

Me out of the way?

Mother and George would get their money.

You'd get your building.

Aunt Vi...

Go on.

You know what I think you're trying to do?

I think you're trying to hypnotize me.

You're looking at me so...


You're doing something strange to me with your eyes. Your eyes...

Is that what you're doing? Is that what you feel I'm doing?

I feel... peculiar.

It doesn't just have to do with what you gave me.

I'm putting out my hands.

I want you to put your hands into mine and give me all your resistance.

Pass all the resistance from your hands into mine.

Here are my hands...

...but there's no resistance in them.

You'll tell the true story?

Yes, I'll try.

Nothing not spoken. Everything told exactly?

Everything exactly.

Because I have to.

Can I...?

Can I get up?

Yes, of course, but be careful. You'll feel a little dizzy.

I can't.

Tell me to.

Then I think I could.

Stand up.

Now I can.

Oh, I'm dizzy. Help me. It's all right. You're all right.

Hold me.

I've been so lonely.

Let me.

Let me.

I suggest you bring her outside, if you don't mind, doctor.

We'll be right out.

Are you ready?

Hello, Catherine.

Now, Catherine...'re going to tell the true story.

Where do I start? Wherever you think it started.

I think it started...

...the day Sebastian was born in this house.

Cathy. I don't mind.

Let's start later than that. Why don't we begin with last summer?

Last summer?

Last summer. How did it begin?

It began...

...after the Dueling Oaks.

Don't tell about that, Cathy... Mrs. Holly, don't interrupt.

After that happened...

...the next morning, I started writing my diary... the third person singular, such as:

"She is still living this morning."

Meaning that I was.

"What's next for her? God knows."

I couldn't go out anywhere.

That's true. She wouldn't leave her room.

Shut up, Mama.

I would write, "She woke up early this morning.

She had her coffee, dressed...

...went for a brief walk."

Who did? She did.

I did.

From Esplanade to Canal Street... though being pursued by a pack of Siberian wolves.

Went through all the stop signs. Couldn't wait for the green signals.

"Where did she think she was going, back to the Dueling Oaks?"


...chilly and dim.

But that hot...

...ravenous mouth.

He was a very ordinary married man.

And then?

One morning, Cousin Sebastian came in and said, "Get up."

Well, if you're still alive after dying, then you're obedient. I got up.

He took me down to a place where they take passport photos.

He said, "Mother can't go with me this summer.

You're going with me this summer, instead of Mother."

Except that it was her idea, not his. Mrs. Venable.

And your cousin?

He helped bring me back to life... Paris, Barcelona, Rome.

All those lovely foreign cities I'd never seen, we saw together.

And those... What did he call them?

Those sunshine days...

...where it's always noon, and we cast no shadows.

But then... But then what?

At Amalfi...

...high above the Mediterranean, in a garden, I took his arm.

You took his arm. Yes...?

It seemed like such a natural thing to do, but he pulled away.

How he must have loathed being touched by her.

I only did it to try and show my appreciation for his kindness.

I didn't want to...

There was nothing else.

Anyway... was there in Amalfi...

...suddenly, last summer, that he began to be restless and...

Go on.

He couldn't go on.

He couldn't write his summer poem.

I have his notebook here. See?

Title, Poem of Summer. And the date of the summer: 1937.

And after that, blank pages, blank pages. Nothing but nothing.

A poet's vocation rests on something... fine and thin as a spider's web.

It's all that holds him out of destruction.

Very few are able to do it alone.

Great help is needed. I did give it. She didn't.

She's right about that. I failed him.

I wasn't able to keep the web from breaking.

I saw it breaking, I couldn't save it.

Now the truth's coming out. Maybe she'll admit what really happened.

What did happen? How she killed him.

How she murdered him at Cabeza de Lobo. Ask her.

What did really happen?

Suddenly, last summer...

...he wasn't young anymore.

We went to Cabeza de Lobo...

...suddenly, he switched from the evenings to the beach.

Evenings to the beach?

I mean, from the evenings to the afternoons.

Suddenly, Cousin Sebastian changed to the afternoons in the beach.

What kind of a beach was it? Was it a public beach?

Yes, public.

Little statements like that give her away.

After all I've told you about his fastidiousness, can you accept...

...that Sebastian would go to some dirty public beach near a harbor?

Whatever she wants to say, I want her to say it.

Go on.

I don't want to go on.

Every afternoon, you and your cousin would go to this free public beach?

It wasn't the free one. The free one was right next to it.

There was a fence between the free beach...

...and the beach that we went to that charged admission.

Did anything happen there that disturbed you?

Yes. What?

He bought me a bathing suit I didn't want to wear.

I laughed. I said, "I can't wear that.

Why, it's a scandal to the jaybirds."

What do you mean? Was this suit immodest?

It was a one-piece bathing suit. Made of white something.

But the water made it transparent.

I told him I didn't want to swim in it...

...but he just grabbed my hand and dragged me into the water...

...all the way in...

...and I came out looking naked.

Why did he do that? Do you know why he did that?


To attract attention. Because he thought you were lonely?

Did he think he could shock you out of your depression?

You know why I was doing it. I told you.

I was procuring for him.

Sebastian was lonely, doctor.

That empty blue jay notebook got bigger and bigger.

So big, it was big and empty... that big, empty, blue sea and sky.

And before long, when the weather was warmer and the beach so crowded...

...he didn't need me anymore for that purpose.

The ones from the free beach climbed over the fence or swam around it.

So now he let me wear a decent dark suit.

I'd go to a faraway end of the beach and write post cards...

...and letters and keep up my third person journal...

...until it was time to meet him outside the bathhouses on the street.

He would come out... followed.

Who'd follow him?

The hungry young people that climbed over the fence from the free beach.

He'd pass out tips among them, as if they'd all...

...shined his shoes or called taxis for him.

Each day the crowd got bigger...

...noisier, greedier.

At last, we stopped going out there.

And after that? After you stopped going to the public beach?

Then one day...

...a few days after we'd stopped going out to the beach... was a blazing white day.

Not a blazing hot blue day, but a blazing hot white one.

We had a late lunch at a shabby, lonely restaurant by the sea there.

Sebastian was white as the weather.

He had on a white silk suit, a white tie, a white Panama.

And he kept touching his face and his throat here and there...

...with a white silk handkerchief...

...popping little white pills into his mouth all the time.

I knew he was having a bad time with his heart and that it frightened him.

"Let's go north," he kept saying.

"I think we've done Cabeza de Lobo. I think we've done it, don't you?"

I thought we'd done it.

Then there were those children along the beach...

...which was fenced off with wire from the restaurant.

Our table was less than a yard away from the wire fence.

And those children...

There was a band of them.

They looked like a flock of plucked birds...

...and they came darting up to the wire fence... if they'd been blown there by the wind... the hot, white wind from the sea.

They were all calling out, "Pan! Pan! Pan!"

They were calling for bread?

They made gobbling noises with their mouths...

...stuffing their fists into their mouths and making...

...gobbling noises with frightful grins.

We were sorry we'd come to the place, but it was too late to go.

Why was it too late to go?

I told you. Cousin Sebastian wasn't well. His eyes looked dazed.

But he said, "Don't look at those little monsters.

Beggars are a social disease in this country.

If you look at them, you get sick of the country.

It spoils the whole country for you."

Go on.

Go on.

Go on.

I am going on.

The band of children began to serenade us.

Began to what? Play for us on instruments...

...make music, if you could call it music.

Their instruments were the instruments of percussion, know what I mean?

Yes, instruments of percussion, like drums.

As far as I could make out in the white blaze of the sand beach...

...the instruments were tin cans strung together...

...and bits of metal, other bits of metal...

...that had been flattened out and made into...

Into what? Cymbals, you know?

Brass plates hit together. That's right.

Tin cans flattened out and clashed together. Cymbals.

The others had other things. All sorts of things.

Things that they'd made or picked up on the beach to make a sort of noise.

A music made out of noise.

Go on.

I am going on. Nothing could stop me now.

Your Cousin Sebastian, was he entertained by this concert?

Terrified of it. Terrified, why?

I think he recognized some of the musicians.

Some of the boys.

Between childhood and older.

Did he complain to the manager about it?

What manager? God? You don't understand my cousin.

How do you mean?

He accepted all as how things are...

...and thought nobody had any right to complain or interfere whatsoever.

Even though he knew what was awful was awful...

...that what was wrong was wrong.

He thought it unfitting to ever take any action about anything whatsoever...

...except to go on doing as something in him directed.

What did this something in him direct him to do?

He suddenly pushed himself away from the table and said:

"They've got to stop. Make them stop. I'm not a well man.

I have a heart condition. It's making me sick."

That was the first time that Cousin Sebastian ever attempted... correct a human situation.

I think that that was his fatal error.

He stalked out of the restaurant after throwing paper money on the table.

He fled from the place.

I followed.

It was all white outside.

White hot. A blazing white hot, it...

You followed Sebastian out of the restaurant onto that hot, white street?

Running along the beach...

You ran along the beach? No, no. We didn't.

We didn't move either way.

I rarely made any suggestion, but this time I did.

What did you suggest?

Sebastian seemed to be paralyzed near the entrance at the café.

So I said, "Let's go." I remember I said:

"Down that way is the harbor, we're likely to find a taxi there.

Or why don't we go back in and have them call us a taxi?

Oh, let's do! Let's do that. That's better."

And he said, "Are you mad? Go back in that filthy place? Never!

That gang of kids shouted vile things about me to the waiters."

I said, "Well, let's go down towards the harbor.

Let's not try to climb that hill in this dreadful heat."

And Cousin Sebastian shouted, "Please shut up!

Let me handle this situation, will you? I want to handle this thing."

And he started up the steep street with a hand stuck in his jacket...

...where I knew he was having a pain from his palpitations.

But he walked faster and faster in panic.

The faster he walked...

...the louder and the closer it got.

Closer what got? The music!

The music again? The music!

The noise of the following band.

They were following. They were following...

...up the blazing white street.

Up. Straight up. That was the only way open, so he went that way.

He tried to escape from those streets?

He tried to escape from those streets...

He couldn't find a way out? He couldn't find a way out.

Did the band of children...?

When he tried to escape...

...from those streets...

...down those little side streets, between the buildings...

...they came from everywhere.

So the only way was up.

The only way was straight up...

...up those steep, white streets... the sun, that was like a great white bone of a giant beast...

...that had caught on fire in the sky.

And Sebastian kept running straight up.

I don't know how he still ran. He never ran...

...but he ran and he ran and he ran...

...where it was whiter and emptier.

What was emptier?

The light. The sky and the light.

Those steep, white streets and the sun, and everything blazed white and empty.

Where did those streets lead to?


He never reached...?

He never reached the end. They stopped nowhere! Never!

Except, except...

Except? At the...

At the very top of the hill.

Something. A place, a ruin.

Broken stones. Like...

Like what?

Like the entrance... a ruined temple...

...some ancient ruined temple...

...which he entered.

And they...

...overtook him.

There, in that...

And you, Catherine, what did you do then?

I heard Sebastian scream.

He screamed just once.

Then I...

Then I...




And then? Then?

I ran. They let me run.

They didn't even see me. Run where?


The waiters, police, people...

...ran out of buildings, back up to where... where Cousin Sebastian...

He was lying naked...

...on the broken stones.

And this you won't believe.

Nobody, nobody could believe it.

It looked as if... if they had devoured him!

As if they had torn or cut... of him away with their hands...

...or with knives or those jagged tin cans they made music with.

As if they'd torn bits of him away...

...and stuffed them in their own gobbling mouths!

There wasn't a sound anymore.

There was nothing...

...but Sebastian...

...lying on those stones...

...torn and crushed.

Oh, Cathy.

Mrs. Venable.

There you are.

I thought you were still on deck.

And where's your hat? Oh, dear, you'll get fever.

A whole day up there in the rigging in the hot sun.

Watching those awful, hungry birds.

I don't know what you see in such terrible sights.

It's too much for both of us, my darling.

That horrible sun.

Of course God is cruel.

We didn't need to come to the Encantadas to find that out, did we?

We've always known about him.

The savage face he shows to people, and the fierce things he shouts.

It's all we ever see or hear of him now. Nobody seems to know why.

The difference is...

...we know about him, the others don't. That's where we're lucky.

Go rest, my darling.

Look out for that fever.

I'm going to see the captain and tell him to change our course for home.

Oh, Sebastian.

What a lovely summer it's been. Just the two of us.

Sebastian and Violet.

Violet and Sebastian.

Just the way it's always going to be.

Oh, we are lucky, my darling... have one another and need no one else, ever.

There's every possibility that the girl's story is true.

George, tell her she's got to come home with us.

Doctor? Catherine will be all right.

Can she come home? Don't worry, she will.

Why don't you take your mother? Sure. Come on, Ma.

Miss Catherine?

She's here, doctor.

Miss Catherine's here.