Every generation has its modern carpetbaggers, its adventurers who gamble everything to stand head and shoulders above other men.
Among them could be a creative giant, a do-gooder, a tyrant or a plunderer, a man who leaves his personal brand on everything and everyone he touches.
I guess in the past generation, it could have been someone like the fictional and fabulous Jonas cord, Jr.
The best or the worst, depending on how much you imagine he might have hurt you or now much you believed he helped you.
The legend of Jonas spanned almost two decades and it began that April morning in the 1920s in the sky over the Nevada desert.
There it is, Jonas! We hit it right on the nose!
Let me take the stick for a while.
You can't fly.
I've been watching you. It's simple.
You pull it back and you go up. You push it forward and you go down.
Okay, it's yours, but be careful.
You're gonna kill us!
Get your hands the hell off that stick, kid!
That felt good. I'm going to try it again.
Not with me in it.
Well, then get out. It's my plane.
Take her, Joe. Land it.
Where's your horse?
Still running from that dive you made.
What the hell is that pilot trying to prove?
Joe? He's a first-class flyer.
He does have a tendency to get airsick.
Somebody should take the plane away from him.
It's not his. It's mine.
You can't fly. I just did.
I might have known it.
All right, what did the rig cost you?
Nothing. I picked it up in an all-night poker game from an unlucky card player named buzz Dalton.
Now, he could fly this through the hole in a donut.
You know, your father didn't like the way you handled it.
My father didn't like the way god handled the creation.
You scared the pinto beans out of every Mexican in the factory.
Nevada, who told the old man about me and the girl?
You had a pretty big spread.
It was a grandstand play. She didn't want to die.
Came close to it.
Look, the longer we keep the old man waiting the more he's like a mule with a burr under his tail.
Now come on, let's go.
Another ounce ought to make it about three o'clock.
Is that all you've got to say after ruining half a day's production with another one of your crazy stunts?
Your message said to get down here in a hurry.
Not through the roof.
Two more feet and everything within three miles of this powder keg would have vanished.
Yeah. Yeah, I gave that some thought.
Why the hell didn't you get out of that hotel room when McAllister told you?
'Cause the girl tried to kill herself. I couldn't leave her alone.
You didn't have to go to the hospital and make a small story on page ten into page-one headlines.
Well, it would've read worse if I'd tried to hide.
Well, what did you do that made the girl want to take her life?
A pretty ordinary thing.
I told her there wouldn't be any wedding.
And if you had any brains... Brains?
Right now, sitting in my conference room there's a pair of vultures waiting to pick my pockets for $30,000 or they'll sue for breach of promise and who knows what else?
Tell them to go ahead. Watch the price drop.
This is the fourth girl in a year that you've been in trouble with.
Are you angry or jealous?
A son with everything. Name, money, business, and he runs around like some homeless moron.
Now, where do you think you're going? Back to Los Angeles.
You don't need me to make up your mind.
You're either going to pay him off, or you're not.
Besides, I got a date.
What are you trying to prove?
What, that you're a man?
Well, a man is judged by what's in his head, not in his bed.
You dried-up, impotent old man.
You ought to be glad somebody in this family still has what it takes.
Otherwise, that so-called wife of yours, Rina, might think there was something wrong with all of us cords.
Age 48. Survivors: Wife Rina Marlowe cord and Jonas cord, Jr.
Cause of death, encephalic embolism.
That's medical for blood clot on the brain.
Will you accept it or do you want an autopsy?
Can you put down heart attack?
I'm afraid I cant do that.
Then keep it confidential.
I'll make the public announcement my own way.
It's your privilege.
I'll file it and have my girl send you copies.
The German contracts, they're supposed to be signed tomorrow.
Who's going to do it? I am.
Denby, I said I am.
You don't need McAllister's permission.
And don't you ever call me junior again.
Those people outside.
Give them $5,000, get a release and kick them out.
Suppose they won't take it?
Denby, their mother knows she sent that girl to trap me into marriage, and I can prove it.
Yes, junior... Jonas.
Give the news to the factory help.
Tell them they get the rest of the week off, a five percent increase in wages, and see to it they attend the funeral to a man.
Got it? Yes, Jonas.
Five percent increase? But why?
Because next week I'm going to ask them to work 20 percent harder.
I drew up your father's will.
He held 90 percent of the stock in his name and it's yours.
You'd better get it probated right away.
Looks like I'm going to need a personal consultant and lawyer.
Someone like you, Mac.
Full-time, $100,000 a year to start.
Yes or no?
How do you know you can afford to pay that kind of money?
You're too smart to say yes if I can't.
Now, the first thing we'll have to do is call a meeting of the board of directors and have you officially elected President of the company.
If I own 90 percent of the stock, I just elected myself president.
Make the happy announcement.
Who owns the other ten percent?
Well, 2.5 percent each, Rina cord and Nevada Smith.
Two percent each, judge Samuel Haskell and Peter Carmack, President of the industrial bank of Reno, and one percent to your father's secretary, Eugene Denby.
What's our cash position?
Solvent, but thin. What do we need to be solid?
About $200,000. What have you done about it?
What makes you think I've done anything?
You're here. My father wouldn't call you from Los Angeles just to settle with that girl's parents. He could have done that himself.
I arranged a loan from pioneer national trust company of Los Angeles for $300,000.
That'll give me enough money to buy out the minority stockholders, not counting Nevada and Rina, of course.
What's the minority stock worth?
I want complete control. Offer the others $25,000 for their stock.
But, Jo... They take it or leave it.
Tell them I'm so young and inexperienced and have such wild ideas that in a year, the stock might only be worth $10,000.
And after they take it, tell Denby he's through.
He's too nervous to be honest.
Suppose they turn it down.
They won't, if you're a good enough actor.
Well, is there anything else I should take care of, counselor?
Well, you might think over that German contract, the one you're going to sign tomorrow.
Contract for what?
Something to do with a new product. Plastics, I think he called it.
Have Denby give you the file on it before you talk to him about his stock.
Study it. Give me a breakdown tomorrow morning.
If you'd prefer, I'll clean out that desk, take care of the personal things.
He was an impersonal man.
The contents of this desk, you could never tell he once had a wife who had his son.
Your father was a very remarkable man, Jonas.
My father was a greedy, selfish, insensitive, unsympathetic drunk.
How he got as far as he did, I'll never know.
It was a present from my mother.
Have the plane ready, tomorrow morning, 6:00 A.M.
We're flying to Los Angeles to get the money.
What about your father's funeral?
Don't worry. I wouldn't miss that for anything.
Welcome home, Mr. Jonas. Thank you, Jedediah.
My father's dead. I know.
Mr. Denby called. I'm deeply sorry, Mr. Jonas.
Anyone else know?
I didn't think it was my position to tell them.
Mrs. cord is in her room.
Louise, bring in my robe.
Your father wouldn't like this.
He'll never know. He will if I tell him.
You seem pretty sure of yourself. I am.
Jonas, stop that...
What do you think you're... Have you gone out of your mind?
Don't you know at any minute now, he could come walking in that door?
No, he won't.
Mrs. cord, your dearly beloved husband is dead.
He had a stroke.
He died about 2:30 this afternoon.
I better get dressed.
I'm not finished.
What is there to finish? You and me.
Didn't we start out together?
Didn't I bring you home to show my father my girl?
The only girl? Oh, Jonas...
Didn't I hold your hand like a schoolboy”?
Never once touching you below the neck or above the knee.
And in five minutes, didn't a coarse, middle-aged rum pot take you away from me and straight up to bed?
Ohh, Jonas, please... Now, how did that happen?
What'd he tell you about me? Jonas, please...
What'd he say? He said you were too young.
And I don't remember.
I'm not too young now. I'm the master, the head of the house.
And I've stood in line long enough for you.
You wouldn't dare.
I'll scream. The servant...
Will think you're screaming with grief.
Jonas, Jonas, Jonas.
You want me, Rina? “Yes.
Why now? I've always wanted you.
I've always wanted you. But you chose my father?
I chose money. I didn't have any.
Jonas, what difference does it make? We can do anything we want now.
I'm yours any way you want me.
Love me, Jonas.
Love me, love me, love me. What for?
You know you want me more than anything in the world.
I just wanted to see how far you'd go before your late husband was cold.
I'd go further than you'd ever dare.
You'd grab at anything now.
Oh, Jonas, you lost me once. Don't do it again.
The day I take you is when you've got everything you want.
When you're happy.
When you have nothing to gain and everything to lose.
You re afraid, scared you can't make it.
Afraid you're not half the man that your father was.
And you're not, you never could be! You're not a man!
You're just a scared little boy, a scared little boy!
I was, four hours ago.
Mr. Moroni in?
I'm sure he is, but I'm supposed to say I'll see.
If Denby looked like that, he'd still be working for me.
I thought the loan was being made to the cord chemical company.
A good banker looks through the company, to the man behind it.
My experience is limited, but it's still backed by adequate collateral.
Here are the production estimates, Mr. Moroni.
How well do you know your business, Mr. cord?
Not as well as I will next month or next year.
But this much I do know: Nothing stays the same.
In the years to come, there'll be ways of making money that never existed in my father's time.
I presume you're referring to this new product you're acquiring by the German contracts.
That's part of it.
And just how much do you know about plastics?
I heard the word for the first time yesterday.
And what makes you so sure it's worth anything?
Eastman and Dupont's interest in the American rights.
Anything they re that interested in has got to be worth something.
And before you agreed to lend us the money you must have given it some thought.
Well, buying an option and knowing what to do with it are vastly different matters.
The day after the funeral, I'll be on the first ship to Germany to learn all there is to know about plastics.
And while you're gone?
Mr. McAllister has agreed to join us. He'll run the company.
You will note that although the loan is for $300,000 we are extending your credit to the maximum of $500,000.
One of my banking principles, Mr. cord.
I don't believe in budgeting my clients too closely.
Sometimes, a few dollars more makes the difference between success and failure.
Or the difference between profit and loss on the loan to the bank.
No strings on the additional money?
Only my approval when you spend it.
Thank you, Mr. Moroni.
Now, would you gentlemen like to be my guests at dinner this evening?
Well, unfortunately we're due back in Nevada tonight.
Well, the afternoon train has already left.
I own my own plane.
We'll be home at nine o'clock.
Nine o'clock.? Mr. cord.
You better fly carefully, Mr. cord.
After all, we just gave you a lot of money.
Well, if anything happens to us on the way down, just stop payment on the check.
You must live a terribly exciting life.
What's your name? Lisa.
Hey, Jonas! What a surprise.
Mr. Dalton, Mr. McAllister, Mr. Moroni. How are you?
Mr. Dalton. Glad to meet you.
Mr. Dalton is the pilot from whom I secured the plane.
What are you doing here, buzz?
Trying to get a stake for another poker game?
In a way. I've been trying to see Mr. Moroni.
I got a mail contract.
I a to Frisco, 12 months guaranteed at $10,000 a month.
But I have to pass it up, unless I can find the dough to buy the three planes that I need.
How much does it cost?
30,000, $20,000 for the planes, and $10,000 to keep them flying until the first check comes in.
Are these the figures? Yeah, got it all worked out.
I can net $5,000 a month after expenses and amortization.
You got your money, on two conditions.
I get 50 percent of the stock in your company and a chattel mortgage on your planes amortized over a 12-month period, both payable to cord chemicals.
You how own a brand-new business.
Mr. Moroni, would you be kind enough to arrange the details for me?
Certainly, Mr. cord.
Make the loan for $50,000.
Wait a minute. I only asked for $30,000.
Yes, but I just learned something about good banking.
An honest man always needs more than he asks for.
Good luck, buzz.
Let's go, Mac.
Hey, what do we call the company? International airways.
International? We're only going from la to Frisco.
Next year, who knows?
Watching you pack gives me travel fever.
Take something for it.
I'm going to. A powder, tonight.
No need to.
It's your house now. He left it to you.
I'm selling it. You are?
To you. For $100,000.
It only cost $55,000.
Along with it goes my stock in cord chemicals.
The stock isn't worth the difference.
Under the laws of the state of Nevada, I'm entitled to one-third of your father's estate will or no will.
Facts of life, Jonas.
I could tie you up in court for five years.
I can wait. Can you?
Well, let's make it easy on you, then.
I'll take $50,000 now and your note endorsed by the company for $10,000 a year for the next five years.
How do you like my widow's weeds”?
If you'd worn those to the funeral you wouldn't be a widow.
He'd have climbed right out of the coffin.
The first installment.
You'll get my note for the balance tomorrow morning.
No, it's not that.
I'm sorry for what happened the other day.
Neither of us meant what we said.
Jonas, what can I do?
You can live well on $100,000.
Then at least do me one favor. The way you feel, it should be easy.
The way I feel doesn't include favors.
Well, then give yourself a present.
Get your revenge over with. Do it now.
Mistreat me, make love to me, anything, only get it over with.
No, thank you.
Jonas, please, it has to be done.
Anything, everything, then throw me out.
That's what you enjoy, the only thing you really want, isn't it?
You don't know any more about love than I do.
You want sensation...
The uglier, the better. The more it hurts, the nicer it is.
The more improper, the more exciting.
I just want to get this over with so that you can have your satisfaction and I can pay my debts.
You might find out you like me more than you realize.
I do like you, Rina.
I like you a lot.
And I'm going to go on liking you...
Because for someone with your hunger that's the best torture I can think of.
Now you have a nice time with your paycheck.
Well, Rina just pulled out.
Considerably richer than when she arrived.
So I heard.
Where are you going? Germany.
Hittin' the trail myself.
I figured on taking you with me. Oh, no, not me.
Stay here then. I just bought my house.
I'll be back in a couple of months. No, I'm leaving tonight.
Well, some houses just die. It's better to get out of them quick.
You're the only friend I got, Nevada.
You're my real father. Now, don't split up the family.
Nicely said, junior, but I'm a hired hand, and all jobs have to end sometime.
Just remember what I taught you.
Choose your side, draw fast, put don't hit any innocent bystanders.
If you're determined to leave, I guess you'll need some money.
No. No, I'm okay.
It's a going-away present.
Max sand. Ever hear of him?
Cowboy father, Indian mother, grew up wild.
Went after three outlaws who tortured and killed his parents.
Gunned them down, one at a time.
Bodyguard in a fancy house in New Orleans.
Killed another man there.
Went to a prison camp, escaped.
Robbed banks, hid in Mexico.
Satisfied more women than a cavalry regiment on leave.
Wanted in six states.
Then something happened.
He hung up his guns, turned soft.
Took a job as a companion to a boy with no mother, no father to speak of.
Max sand. Did you ever hear of him?
Well, I'll be.
Did you dig up all this information yourself?
And that's the only copy.
Even your father didn't know.
How much you asking for this?
Nothing. Take it with you.
But if you're ever tempted to preach me a sermon sometime just open it to any page and recall your own sins.
Who has a better right to preach than the sinner?
Junior, you're not going to make me pay for this someday, are you?
Depend on it.
By the way, I almost forgot. I have something for you.
What is it?
All my stock in cord chemical, sighed over to you, lock, stock and barrel.
Nevada, this is... Don't say anything.
It's no use to me.
Keep in touch.
Where you going? What are you going to do?
Join up with a couple of old saddle tramp buddies, take a wild west circus around the country.
Something I've always wanted to do.
I just wondered.
Jonas, where are you?
Jonas, what are you doing in this room?
I was just... I told you never to come in here again.
I was only looking! Looking? Looking for what?
There's nothing here anymore. I want to see my brother.
You can't see him. He's gone. Your brother is gone.
The past is gone.
So get out and don't let me catch you in here again.
No! No! I only want to see.
Come on out of here. Let me go! Let me go!
You little... Let me go! Let me go!
Let me go! Let me go! Let me go! Let me go!
Someday I'll kill you!
Now, now, Mr. Jonas.
Just be quiet. Take it easy.
Everything's going to be all right.
Now, just come out of there.
Now, you know you shouldn't go in there.
All it does is upset you, to no purpose.
I know, Jedediah. Come on now.
Take it easy.
I'm going to change into a flannel shirt and be natural.
Now, tell me, why did you want to come down here tonight?
Because you were going to be here.
Let me button it.
I'm not helpless. I want to do it.
My chest is already buttoned.
How old are you, Nevada?
You want the truth?
Not if a lie is more interesting.
Born 1882. That makes me 43.
You look 30.
How old are you? 20.
You look 30.
We're the same generation.
Ma'am, do you always talk with your body?
It speaks several languages, fluently.
Mine's downright illiterate.
By morning, I'll have you speaking like a native.
We're taking different trails out of here.
Let's still end up liking each other, huh?
No sense of humor.
I came here to forget all that's happened and to have a high old time, like after a roundup.
I'll sober up a little bit, get myself a good honest job.
No trouble. No trouble.
So I recommend you act your age and I'll act mine.
That's a wonderful idea.
I haven't acted my age in years.
Ought to be fun.
You know, another time, another place, you might be just the woman for me.
During the next couple of years, Jonas started writing that chapter of history for himself, burning the cord brand on every factory and rooftop he could buy or build.
Nevada's wild west show was too much fun to make money.
After the sheriff padlocked it in California, the only place his kind of cowboy was needed was in the movies.
That's all. Right here. That's all.
Rina just naturally headed for the place with the most action, Paris, and helped give the lost generation its name.
They have a great downhill slide there, greased with fancy men, fancy clothes, and absinthe.
We're way out in front, buzz.
11 hours and 29 minutes, and we're almost home.
If nothing happens, we've not only won the race, we've got us another mail contract from uncle Sam.
We've got more than that. We got a new business.
What new business? Passengers.
Six at a time? There's no money in that.
20 at a time.
With what airplane, you dreamer?
With the new cord passenger plane we're going to build.
Where are you going to build it, in your backyard?
We'll buy a factory.
Oh, sure, go buy Lockheed Martin or Curtiss-Wright.
Only you better find a gold mine first.
Of course, I hear that Winthrop aviation is having trouble.
There is no Winthrop aviation.
Take a look down there.
What's this thing you have for painting your name on rooftops?
I'd paint it higher but skywriting's too impermanent.
Congratulations. You've won yourself a race, Mr. cord.
I've won something that lasts longer than that. A new mail contract.
How do you feel? Numb.
Is it true that you now own Winthrop aviation?
Are you going to build military planes? Passenger planes.
A year from now, I'll be flying passengers coast to coast in 24 hours.
Think of all the sleep you can lose traveling that fast.
Are you trying to corner the world, Mr. cord?
There's an idea.
Mr. cord, why is it you're not married?
Why aren't you a millionaire? Just lucky, I guess.
Me, too. Let's go, Jedediah.
What's his rush?
He's not rushing. It's the world that's turning too slow.
Jonas, you need a week off. A month off.
Otto Strass in Berlin came up with a new high-speed plastics injection mold.
I cabled him an offer, he accepted.
That's how much money we need.
You better hightail it to New York and make the arrangements.
We're moving too fast. By whose clock?
I spend half my time borrowing money.
Which we pay back.
And every year a new business. It's called growth, Mac.
Maybe, but we're so cross-collateralized, so interdependent, that if one business goes, the others might go with it.
Don't let one go.
Why don't we buy a hotel with lots of beds?
That's an idea. Make a note of that, Mac.
You'd better get some rest. Sure.
You get right down to the station. Take the first train to New York.
Tonight? I haven't even packed a bag.
That's a $100 suit. It ought to keep its press.
Jedediah, let Mr. Dalton sleep, all the way back to the factory.
I thought this was a private bar.
That's what makes it so attractive.
Now, how in this world did you ever guess?
Wingspread 37, fuselage 25 and hand-rubbed, by the way.
Tail assembly 36, shockproof landing gear and never stalls in a dive.
Well, come in for a landing. Tell me what you want.
Well, to be straightforward about the whole thing, I'm a newspaperman.
You can get arrested in those clothes.
I was using the generic term. That's a relief.
It's just a little scandal sheet called the star telegram picayune times bulletin.
Show me your press pass. Oh, no.
You don't get to see that until after I get the story.
Well, what do you want to know? How much money do I have, how does it feel to run ten corporations, or what speed record am I going to break next?
I leave stuffy old things like that to the city editor.
I'm strictly feature. I go for the offbeat story.
Like, what do you sleep in at night?
Depends on how lucky I am.
Well, now, who would you most like to be stranded on a desert island with?
The world's greatest boat builder.
Let me put it this way, which do you prefer, quantity or quality?
Do I have a choice?
We're known as a liberal newspaper.
Ma'am, you have just won yourself an exclusive full-page layout.
It's probably just my city editor. I'll disguise my voice.
Mr. Cord's suite.
Who is this?
It's my father.
Who's the dame, Jonas?
It's a body I picked up at a rental agency.
They said you wanted to see me. I do.
Okay, I'll be right up.
I'll be right down.
Well, we can't very well meet here in the lobby.
Okay, I need a shave anyway.
I'll meet you in the second floor washroom.
You knew he was coming.
Yeah, but I didn't know you were.
Yes, you did.
If you'll excuse me, I have to get my razor and $25,000.
Is that all, Jonas?
Yes, that's all, Monica.
Did you come here thinking there'd be more?
Try to do it nicely.
I mean, give him something to walk away with besides money.
If he doesn't try to con me, I will. Jonas.
Do you need him, Monica?
Well, I did when I was little, but he never had any time for me.
And now I've got my own money and my own life.
What else do I need?
Well, you see the truth is, Jonas, I need another $10,000.
What happened to all the money you got when you sold the stock?
Well, it's gone.
Creditors, ex-wives, judgments. You know how much I owed.
Amos, your contract doesn't provide for advances like this.
I know, but this is important.
Won't happen again, I promise.
It's for Monica.
Monica? What about her?
Well, I want to send her to her mother in England.
She's getting too much for me to handle, Jonas.
She's seeing some playboy on the sly.
Well, he's teaching her bad habits.
Do you know who he is?
I wish I did. I'd kill him with my bare hands.
A nice, sweet, innocent kid like her.
I've got to get her away from him.
You ever talk to her?
I've tried, but you know how kids are nowadays.
Give them everything and get nothing.
You could try being a father.
What the hell makes you such an expert?
Wait till you get kids of your own.
Now, what about the money, Jonas? It's important to me and Monica.
All right, I'll give it to you, Amos.
As a matter of fact, I'll give you $25,000.
On one condition.
Why sure. Sure, anything you say, Jonas.
I want your resignation.
You mean from Winthrop aviation?
From cord aviation.
But I founded the company! I can help you make it grow.
Take the money, Amos. No!
No, that factory is me.
I laid out every machine, the production, technique...
Take the money, Amos.
Like hell I'll take it.
I won't sell my life for $25,000.
If you spend it carefully, it'll keep you in booze for 10 years.
One day you'll need help, too.
If I do, I won't bargain with anything as precious as my only daughter to get it.
Did he take it? Yes.
It won't last him long. It should if he's smart.
All he understands is machinery and production.
Not people. Not even himself.
A perfect description of the late Jonas cord, Sr.
No mothers, no home life, fathers too busy with business.
You know, when you think about it, Jonas, we're really very much alike.
But you re prettier.
But you're more exciting.
What are your plans, Monica? Plans?
I don't know. Play?
Burn the candle at both ends while I still got something to light it with.
Maybe like my father, I'll get paid off one day and disappear into the woodwork.
Unless you find somebody.
I already have.
But what can a gold miner offer the gold, except maybe a pretty pan and even that tarnishes fast.
What's the wildest thing you've ever done?
I was hoping I hadn't done it yet.
You know all the answers to interest a man, don't you?
No. Only when I'm lucky enough to get the right questions.
Go ahead. Ask me something.
Something I can't answer.
Go on. I dare you.
Good-bye. Good luck.
I can't believe it happened.
What do I tell 'em, mister? Back to the airport.
What'd you like to see on your honeymoon?
Lots of lovely ceilings.
Taxi! Taxi! Taxi.
This is probably a foolish question.
You're not by any chance a miss Marlowe, are you?
This is probably a foolish answer, but yes.
Forget-me-nots. That's for the DAR.
You're strictly long-stemmed, American beauty roses.
Well, they're lovely anyway.
Nevada said "a very old friend of his".
I was expecting to meet his first-grade school teacher.
Well, on the way into town I'll give you a lesson in geography.
I think I've already had one.
Well, this way, please, to the wheelchair.
This is the first 12-cylinder steer I've ever seen.
Fabulous, isn't it? Designed it myself.
Whenever Nevada Smith rolls through town in this, they know he's somebody important.
Just think what you could have done for Abraham Lincoln.
How about this interior? Just run your hand over that leather.
Isn't that nice?
Feel like I've been swallowed by a buffalo.
Showmanship. Public eats it up.
After all, Nevada Smith's just about the most important thing in movies.
Kids all over the country are crazy about him.
He does all his own stunts, you know?
Tell me something. Who are you?
Now, honey, come on. I'm Dan Pierce.
I'm Nevada's agent, his manager.
Yes, I get him pictures, make his deals, bank his money, and, well, handle him, personally.
I get ten percent. That is of everything he gets.
Let me ask you, mister...
Pierce. Dan Pierce.
Do you handle everybody, personally?
Only those who show possibilities.
Here, I'll trade these for a drink.
If we get arrested I hope they put us in the same cell.
Do the kids know about that?
Oh, no. No, we carry milk in here on personal appearances.
You see, Nevada never drinks at a picture and he never kisses the girl.
I guess that's the real reason I never became a cowboy star.
Here, I saved ten percent for you.
Say, do you mind if I ask you a rather personal question?
Not at all.
What is your relationship to Nevada Smith?
I'm going to marry him.
Reach! Don't shoot. I'm innocent.
I thought you were Rina Marlowe.
Welcome home, Rina.
Nobody in the world thought about me but you.
The money, tickets, love, everything.
Robin Hood of the Rio Grande. That's me.
Are those guns loaded? Let's see.
Now I'll ride off into the sunset if I can find dark glasses for my horse.
What's your hurry, partner? Isn't there some generous way a lonesome widow can show her gratitude?
As a matter of fact, there is. Got any buttermilk?
Whatever happened to bottles of red-eye, dancehall girls?
That's the villains. I'm strictly a hero.
I can believe it.
That outfit, this house that car of yours.
I just try to act out people's dreams, purity over passion, goodness over evil.
But evil can be fun.
Oh, not when Nevada rides.
Killing, yes, but kissing, no.
How did it all happen?
I joined a wild west show that folded in Los Angeles.
I became an extra, did stunts, and people started writing in about me, and here I am.
Do you like it? Yes, I do. It's fun.
Nobody gets hurt, and maybe it helps a little.
Do you ever see Jonas?
Talk about success.
There's a man who's going to end up running the world.
You can't ride, fly, shoot a gun, mail a letter, make a phone call, or drink a cup of coffee that Jonas doesn't have something to do with it.
But you never see him?
No. In the same town, but different worlds.
You know he's married?
I heard he spent his honeymoon
making new business deals with bankers.
Something borrowed, something blue.
So, let's forget him.
It's the hero's night off.
And for once, he's going to let the lonesome widow be properly grateful.
Not if I know the widow, and I do.
Can you really forget Jonas?
The only Jonas I ever heard of was swallowed by a whale.
[T's the only thing big enough to take his ego.
If my calculations are correct, we should be able to carry 20 passengers, in addition to the pilot and copilot, at a cruising speed of about 250.
Should be able to fly for seven hours before refueling, depending on the wind.
Fly from here to New York with only two stopovers?
I don't believe it.
What would it cost to build the first one?
A half a million bucks for one airplane?
Who do you think we are, the government?
You guys are nuts. We'll never make our money out of this.
First-class passage, coast to coast by train with compartment, meals, and tips comes to over $250 and takes four full days.
This plane can carry passengers the same distance at the same cost in one day and save three working days.
As stockholder who owns half the stock, that's me, just cancel that order.
Cord chemicals owns the other half and also holds over half a million dollars in mortgages on international planes, most of which are past due right now.
You want to foreclose now, make it official.
You're a great pilot, buzz.
You'd risk your life with a quart of gas over the Rockies.
Now don't freeze up when I throw a few figures at you.
I should have known better, Jonas.
I should have learned my lesson when I lost that Waco to you in a poker game.
They re faded. Shake 'em and roll.
They told me this was where the action was.
Why, Mrs. cord, good evening.
Mr. Morrissey, buzz. Hi, Monica.
What brings you down here?
I don't know.
The dishes were all done and Amos 'n Andy was over.
I'll have these duplicated in the morning.
Don't let me break up the conference. No, we were through.
I'll think I'll go home and wash my one shirt in case we lose it.
Go home and order a silk one.
As soon as we finish this plane, we're going to start designing another one.
40 passengers, meals served on board.
That's what I was really afraid of, Jonas. Good night, all.
Good night, Mrs. cord, Mr. cord. Good night.
The car's outside, darling. Want a ride home?
I'd like to. Good.
But I have to go to the laboratory. Get them started building a wind tunnel.
Then I have to fly to Washington.
I'm building a plane to carry passengers coast to coast, and I haven't even got a franchise yet.
Ready to go?
Not this time, Jonas.
Only bride I know who spent her entire honeymoon at 5,000 feet, who's always airsick instead of morning sick.
I am an earthling.
Haven't you noticed?
Lovely valleys, beautiful mountains.
Then cut your motor.
Come in. Have fun.
I thought we had fun.
In between oxygen masks, chemical samples and bankers.
You really must learn to take one thing at a time.
For example, take me.
Any time, any place.
Home, now. I can't.
Put her on.
It's my father's widow.
Hello, Rina. I thought you were in Europe.
Yes, I did.
We all were.
What kind of trouble?
Hold it, hold it. Look, where can I meet you tonight?
I'll see you there in half an hour.
Come on, I'll drop you off at the hotel.
A minute ago, nothing in the world could have kept you from flying off on business.
The money vultures are after Nevada Smith.
My name's cord. Where's the commissary?
Straight ahead, Mr. cord.
This is Mr. Ellis, the director.
How do you do? Mr. cord.
If you'll excuse us for a minute. Sure.
Congratulations. Your bride's a very pretty girl.
You said Nevada was in trouble. How much trouble?
Two million dollars' worth.
I heard he was doing great, making half a million a year.
He was, but...
Well, Nevada wanted to make a picture his own way.
Put up everything he owned for the chance.
Then something went wrong and they don't want to release it.
Is it a stinker?
I don't really know.
They told him that the theaters would only play talking pictures.
Now the bank's calling his loan and that big operator Bernard P. Norman won't advance any more money.
Jonas, you've got to help him.
I haven't got to do anything.
One time you wanted something and he gave it to you.
His cord chemical stock? It didn't cost him two million dollars.
What's it worth now?
Rina and Mr. Ellis showed me the picture.
The going away present you gave to me.
I put it in a script.
Wait a minute. Something here I don't understand?
It's a private joke.
Why did you withdraw your guarantee, Mr. Norman?
Because he's a thieving, unprincipled, son of a...
Please, please, now let's deal in business and not personalities. Anger is for fools.
You call ruining a man's life business? I'm not ruining anybody's life.
This is gambling. Some days we win, some days we lose.
You're the richest loser I know, I know that.
Look at him, the biggest star you have on the lot.
Biggest cowboy star... Your bread and butter.
I make other pictures, you know? Art pictures that don't make a dime.
They Ada dignity and culture to the business.
They add three starlets a week to your bed.
I don't have to listen to this flesh-peddler.
Listen, let's sit down. Let's sit down. Mr. Pierce.
Now, why did you withdraw your guarantee, Mr. Norman?
Talking pictures, that's why.
I can't sell the renegade's coat for peanuts.
Why didn't you make a talking picture?
I didn't think sound was here to stay. Who did?
What happens to the picture now? You just throw it in the ash can?
Maybe we can salvage a few pennies out of it.
South America, Australia. Who knows?
It still leaves Nevada out in the cold.
My heart bleeds for him. Truly.
I think I'm going to be sick.
Take it easy, Dan, I asked for it.
Well, you didn't ask to get your pockets picked.
Mr. Cora, if you'll back Nevada with your cash, this pirate here won't be able to touch the picture.
Now we can't let him get away with everything for nothing.
Go easy making up your mind, junior. You could blow the whole bundle.
Nevada, don't start talking him out of it.
Mr. cord, I agree with Nevada.
What do you know about making talking pictures?
Nothing, but right now, who does?
How many talking pictures have you made?
I'll take the shot, Nevada, on one condition, it'll be strictly my picture.
I give the orders and everyone does as he's told, including you.
If I'm going to lose a hand, the least I want to do is deal the cards.
Your father's favorite saying.
Sorry I used it.
Well? It's a deal.
Don't think you've caught yourself a sucker, Pierce.
By the time we finish this picture, you're going to earn your ten percent three times over.
First, line up all the good talkies there are. I want to see them.
And second, get the writers in. We're going to start redoing the script.
What's the matter with it? No women.
In the real west, I heard there were a number of them. Real women.
The kind men killed each other for.
Robbed banks to buy.
The kind the real Max sand built a reputation satisfying.
It's time somebody gave the west back to the grownups.
Anything else, Mr. cord?
Mr. Norman, you'll have to make room for us.
Get the best sound man in the business.
And find a cameraman who'd rather photograph women than horses and a dress designer who doesn't use much cloth.
And, Nevada, start looking like Max sand.
Go out and get that suit dirty.
Hello? Yes, Mr. cord is here.
Just a moment.
Excuse me, gentlemen.
Now, don't tell me that was your stepmother who answered.
As a matter of fact, it was.
A voice like that, I suppose you've been spending the night reminiscing about dad and the good ol' days.
Monica, what do you want?
You, of course.
Darling, when are you coming home?
You know we have some interrupted business.
I'm on my way to the factory. I'll get in touch with you later.
Trouble in paradise?
Places, please! Quiet! Come on, quiet down!
Sound ready! Get ready to roll.
All right, roller!
I run a pretty big place here.
Downstairs there's several gaming rooms and three bars.
Upstairs we provide other... Natural pleasures.
With so much money, drinking and passion under one roof, there's some kind of explosion every night.
I need a bodyguard.
To replace the one who got killed?
But if you still want the job...
My hours will be your hours, and you'll live upstairs.
You'll collect $100 a month, but no drinking.
And the first time I catch you sleeping in any other room than your own...
All right. Cut. Cut. Cut it!
Mr. cord, what's wrong?
Her. Get her off the set. She's fired.
Just a minute, Mr. cord. Just a minute here!
What the hell is going on? She can't be fired.
Miss Randall is the most important star we have.
That's what you told me and I believed you.
I just had my first lesson in this business, don't listen to you.
Now, look here, miss Randall has a contract for this picture. You know that.
She must have signed it in your bedroom.
Listen, Sonny. Me, you can forget, but you owe miss Randall a public apology for that insult.
If that woman ran an immoral house she'd have to pay me.
Bernie, baby. Get away. Get away!
I'll give you five minutes to get her off the set, or I'll close down this picture and hit you with the biggest lawsuit you ever saw.
Mr. cord. Mr. coral
I'll fix you for this. I'm not fooling.
One of these days, I'll fix you.
You'll see. Someday. Someday I'll fix you. Get of my way!
I'll fix you!
Sorry, no dice. Marion Davies is working.
Look, I've called everybody. Garbo's agent won't even talk to us.
Sally Eilers, Renee Adoree, Clara Bow. All of them, tied up.
Everybody seems to be conveniently occupied at the moment.
Thought you might be hungry, so I sent out for these.
Would you like something to eat? What do you got?
Tuna, ham and cheese, chicken. Thanks.
Say, I've got an idea.
Maybe I should get to New York and start looking for an actress there.
We've got to have somebody great.
Every day we don't shoot, it costs us a fortune.
What do you think?
Rina, come here. Look, I know a little...
You re going to test for the role.
Mr. cord, do you realize...
Don't be ridiculous. I'm no actress.
Come to think of it, you're the best actress I know.
You never said an honest line in your life.
Don't talk that way to her.
You call it, Nevada.
She tests, or we all go home broke.
Well, I know it's been a long time since you've seen me, but you haven't forgotten what your wife looks like, have you?
How are you, Monica?
Why don't you get in, and I'll tell you all about it on the way home.
Where are we? I thought we were going to the hotel.
No questions, please. Out.
Welcome home, Mr. Jonas.
Did he say "home"? Come on.
It can't be Christmas yet. It is here.
Monica, did you buy this place?
I only leased it for six months so you could have the pleasure of buying it yourself.
Come on, I'll give you a tour.
The living room.
Painting from a French palace, fireplace of Italian marble and hand-woven Persian rugs.
Out there are four acres of land with oranges, lemons, avocados, assorted flowers, swimming pool, bathhouse, barbecue and tennis court.
To improve your mind, ruin your stomach and work if you must.
Or if anyone unexpected turns up we can always just paint it pink or blue overnight.
Monica, you're not pregnant, are you?
Well, not that I know of, but these things happen.
I mean, look at all the Chinese.
Besides, most accidents take place in the home.
I've seen enough plays to know what it means when a man has to pour himself a stiff drink before he answers.
The heroine is about to be told the ugly truth.
Monica, why this?
For all the normal reasons. Home is where people live.
You and I were hotel babies.
The stuffy elevators, coffee shops, convention drunks and cigarette burns on the rugs.
I thought we both missed this. Needed it.
What I need is the most freedom and the fewest responsibilities.
Why did you get married?
Because I thought you were the same kind.
Hotels are my way of life.
Room service like that. Day and night. No trees to prune, no grass to cut.
Girls sent up by the bell captain.
Well, don't forget, I met you in a hotel.
Jonas, we can do everything right here we do in your hotel suite.
Only with more privacy.
Give it a try. Please.
More than a playgirl, I can be wife. And mother?
If you want.
I don't want.
Excuse me, I have to get down to the factory.
Can't that airplane wait?
I don't like to be second in anything.
But I planned dinner here.
Tomorrow morning I'll be down at the studio working on the picture.
The studio days and the factory nights.
You might not see me for quite a while.
What do you want me to do while I'm waiting?
Get a divorce.
Jonas, you can't mean that.
Afraid I do.
Just like that? Just like that.
Mrs. cord, when would you like dinner served?
Jedediah, you've known Mr. cord a long time, haven't you?
Since he was born.
Tell me about him.
Mr. Jonas is not easy to tell about.
Mr. Jonas is not an easy man to love, put I'm trying.
And I'll try.
Please sit down. Thank you.
To be honest, I wasn't sure what kind of feeling you had for Mr. Jonas.
But now, I have some idea, so I'd like to tell you what nobody else knows about him but me.
I've got to eat my words, Mr. cord. Rina's great. A natural.
In fact, she's fabulous. Greatest screen test I ever saw, ed.
She makes the old west look like a new girl in town.
Well, she's a long way from being an actress yet, Mr. cord. Thank you.
But she does have the most important thing.
That rare quality of screen magnetism.
Commonly called s-e-x.
We can teach her the rest.
Thank you, Mr. Ellis. See you on the set tomorrow.
Good night. Good night. Good night.
Walk me to the car, will you, Dan? Sure thing.
I can't do everything.
Building a plane. Trying to run eight other businesses.
I want you to come to work for me.
You really know the business.
You know when to fight and when to take orders.
Well, my agency keeps me pretty busy.
If this picture goes, I'm in the movies to stay.
I'll give you ten percent of the profits and stock options later.
Well, I don't know.
What about an expense account? As big as you need.
Money's the one thing nobody talks back to in this town.
You can live on the expenses and bank your salary.
By noon tomorrow I'll be out of the agency business and hip deep in cord productions.
Now that you're working for me, I'd like you to do a couple of things.
Anything you say, boss.
We'll get the writers to go over the script again.
Build up Rina's part.
Well, where does that leave Nevada?
What do you care? You're not working for him anymore.
There's a certain logic in that, I guess.
By the way, have you got a little black book?
One of the best.
Good. Line me up some girls.
But I thought you were just married.
I want girls to take out, to be seen with. Get my name in the columns.
Pictures whenever you can.
Girls, names, pictures. You're the boss.
Close the door, will you, Dan? Certainly.
Let's go, Jedediah. One more thing.
Well, who's going to direct the picture?
I just discovered I know as much about directing as he does.
Hold it, Mr. Cora, please, for a picture. Thank you.
The work looks all right.
What there is of it.
We're more than a week behind the schedule we set up.
Well, I don't know, Jonas. Maybe I was wrong about the schedule.
Maybe I should have allowed more time...
Cut it out, will you, Morrissey?
The only thing wrong with our schedule is you.
Every bolt, every screw, every nut has to have your personal thumbprint on it.
You act as if we've never seen an airplane before.
Only the great Jonas cord knows everything.
You expect us to work all day for the company and all night for you?
Well, Jonas cord might be a genius, but Morrissey and me are human beings who get annoyed, frustrated and damn tired.
You just wasted another minute.
Now, if you can't do it, I will.
You'll never do it playing amateur movie producer and a cavalry officer on your casting couch.
Let's get back to what we started.
Do you have time for your wife? No.
I'm going to talk to you, Jonas, and I'll do it in front of buzz and Phil if that's what you want.
I think I'll get a drink.
We live in the same town, but you never come home.
I don't have a home.
They won't even let me in your hotel room.
I'm rarely there anyway.
The only time I see you is in the newspapers with some other girl.
They aren't very good pictures.
Jonas, how much can I take?
There aren't any stress tables for brunettes.
Would you stop talking like a damn footnote?
Why don't you just say something that makes sense?
This makes sense. I'm busy, I don't want to be disturbed.
Jonas... Get out of here!
All right, Jonas.
Go talk to your lawyer.
I don't have a lawyer and I don't want one.
It's the battle of bull run, armistice day and the stock market crash all rolled into one.
The picture killed them, or should I say Rina did?
Thank you, thank you. Listen to this. Listen, Jonas.
“Excellent”. “Excellent”. "Excellent". "Superior". "Superior". "Excellent".
All the cards are coming through that way.
Yeah, the crowd doesn't want to leave.
They're trying to tear her clothes off, get her autograph or just to touch her.
Jonas, she's the biggest thing to hit this town since the Spanish landed.
Yeah, all you can smell in the air is gold. You ought to be here.
I don't have to be there, Dan. I knew it would happen.
Give her 15 more minutes with the crowd, then hustle her out of there.
I want her here in my hotel suite at 11:15 promptly.
I don't think I can tear her...
Dan, I don't care. Just tell her.
How are you?
Your hotel, 11:30?
I'll be there on the minute.
Signed, sealed and delivered.
Rina Marlowe, the cowboy's home companion, reporting for duty as ordered.
And overdressed. The bedroom's that way.
The Jonas cord collection agency.
We never sleep.
You re too cheerful about it.
By the way, I told Nevada I was coming up here.
Why the hell did you do a stupid thing like that?
Because Nevada and I are going to be married.
I told him I wanted to be the first to give our closest friend the word.
You can't marry him, he's on his way out.
After this picture's released, you'll be the biggest star in the business.
So they tell me.
You've got nothing to gain by marrying him.
I gain a man who helped me once and who needs me now.
Making you a star was my idea.
I didn't ask you for it! I never wanted it!
You even built up my part as a monument to your own ego while you cut his to the bone.
I didn't see you trying to stop me.
He's on the booze. We both know his days are numbered.
That's why he needs me more than ever.
Why do you think I did all this?
As always, just to give and take on your own terms.
Besides, what do you care about Nevada and me?
You're already married.
Miss Marlowe, I'd like you to meet my wife, Monica.
Monica, this is my stepmother.
Would you like a drink or what?
I've seen what you brought me here to see.
I'll file for divorce in the morning.
You dirty, filthy, perverted monster.
You can do better than that.
You are the meanest, cruelest most loathsome thing I've ever met.
Except for yourself.
We belong together. We're a set.
I promised to marry Nevada.
Who said anything about marrying?
You really are completely no good.
But that's what's always excited you, isn't it?
You're just like me. You can't make love to anyone you like.
We've known that, both of us. Haven't we?
On, yes, yes.
Oh, damn it, yes!
By the authority vested in me by the state of California, I now pronounce you man and wife.
You may kiss the bride.
All right, now. Break it up, break it up. I'll take my ten percent now.
Calling Dr. Kelly. Calling Dr. Kelly.
Report to superintendent on floor five.
Jonas. Hello, Monica.
You know, I heard about the passenger flight.
I think that's so marvelous. I don't know how you do it so quickly.
Monica, about the baby...
Did you see her?
Isn't she absolutely beautiful?
I'm no expert on babies.
You can see that she is.
I'm calling her Joanne.
Just a name I liked.
I hope you don't mind.
Whose baby is it?
It's mine, of course.
That's not what I mean.
Who's the father?
You are, Jonas. I'm not.
But you are.
When I filed for divorce I didn't know I was pregnant, but I was.
Are you sure?
I don't have to prove anything.
I'm the mother, and you're the father, and that's the way it is, Jonas.
Don't worry about the great cord name.
I'm calling her Joanne Winthrop, so you have no worries, no responsibilities, no fears.
Now, get out of here.
Am I listed on the birth certificate as father?
Of course you are.
You expect me to put down "father unknown"?
I just wanted to know.
I'm on my way to Europe.
Well, stay there and don't ever come back.
If you need anything for the child, money for clothes, nurses, special teachers...
That baby only needs what you can't give it, 'cause you don't have it. Faith!
Faith in yourself, faith in your child and faith in the future!
What do you mean?
You know exactly what I mean, Jonas Cora, Jr.
Seven or eight years went by.
The world was crippled by the crash and the depression.
Everyone suffered from it, except Jonas.
He was above it.
We can carry eight more passengers in this and one more crew member and cruise 60 miles an hour faster.
That's with an increased gas load. How much of an increase?
A thousand miles. New York's fogged in, we can still make Washington, Philadelphia, Boston with fuel to spare.
Point that out in the advertising.
You could fire a Cannon off that nose without it deviating a degree.
Good prototype for a bomber? Yeah.
Waist guns, tail guns, bomb bay.
Better than any plane I can think of.
Knock off a two-engine bomber and get a four-engine job on the drawing boards.
Now, look, Jonas. We're just beginning to show a profit again...
There's a war coming. Which has nothing to do with us.
Every war's got something to do with us.
One day, three-star generals will be scrambling around like scared ants, looking for military planes.
What about our overseas passenger franchise?
That'll have to wait.
Tell McAllister to come in.
Just keep it steady. Keep the nose above the horizon.
Don't push on anything.
Morrissey, when we get back, I've got some sketches of a pursuit plane I want to show you, courtesy of the enemy.
What enemy? Time.
Great plane, Jonas. Years ahead of anything in the air.
How much stock do we have in Norman pictures?
Four or five thousand shares.
I want control.
Start buying. Use intermediaries.
That's only a hobby for you, Jonas. There's...
Now, don't argue with me, Mac. Just buy the stock.
You know, you've always given me orders, and I've carried them out.
But you've never treated me like the village idiot before, and I don't like the feeling.
I'm turning in my badge.
You want more money?
No, I want a rest. A vacation from you and your wild schemes and midnight phone calls, and from living up in the air like a rich seagull.
Stick with me a while longer, Mac. I need you.
What you need is the same thing. A vacation from yourself.
More than the rest of us, even.
You're about to come apart at the seams.
Will you buy the stock?
Yes, yes, like always.
Only instead, why don't we buy stock in a mental institution, a whole string of madhouses?
That's where we're all going to end up.
I need some coffee. You take it, Mac.
Good morning, David. Good morning.
Stock's gone up another point and a half this morning, uncle Bernie.
How about that, huh?
Well, it excites you?
Well, eight points in two weeks? Look what you picked up!
I'm a fat old elk who's picked up a hungry wolf on his trail.
I don't get it.
Stock goes up because someone is buying.
Why do people buy things?
So they can own them.
And who wants to own the studio?
Jonas cord, that's right.
But he can't own the studio. You have 51 percent of the stock.
51 percent! I'd sell it tomorrow for the right price.
David, we're a one-star studio. We always have been.
Now, who's our star for this week? Rina Marlowe.
Rina Marlowe. That's right.
A lush, a bottle baby.
Arrested five times already for drunken driving.
And what it costs to get her out of trouble and to keep it quiet...
Don't ask what it costs.
So, I made the mistake of calling her on the carpet for last month and now she won't even talk to me.
How do you like that?
Here's a script. Blue goddess.
It's about Africa, written especially for her.
She won't even read it.
Now, without her, or someone like her, what do you think my 51 percent is going to be worth next year?
Well, if it's that bad, then, well, then sell.
David, buying and selling is an art.
It's an art in which I have few equals including Jonas cord.
When I sell, I'll pick the time.
You know, you're a good-looking boy.
Well, what has that got to do with buying and selling?
Here. Take this script to miss Marlowe.
Maybe she'll read it for you.
I don't know.
Do you think she would?
David, by the thousands they write in for a photograph, autograph, a lock of hair.
If they only knew it all they have to do is push a doorbell, they get everything.
Go ahead. Go, go, go.
So, uncle Bernie's worried, is he?
Jonas made a mistake putting me under contract at the studio instead of cord chemicals.
What did you say your name was? David.
"Little David was small, "but, oh, my."
Are you small, but, oh, my?
I don't exactly... Jonas hates me.
Oh, well, nobody could hate you, miss Marlowe.
That's sweet. Most foolish statements are.
But he also loves me.
Oh, well, of course.
I mean, we all contain the seeds of our opposites.
I like intelligent men.
I like men.
Or maybe I hate them.
I'm not always sure.
Are you strong?
Jonas likes to think he's strong and tough and bad.
When he wants to be tough he goes out and buys another company.
So, he wants Norman pictures.
When he wants to be bad he needs me.
So, he wants to buy me.
You know something? No.
I think he's going to do both.
If you'll excuse me, miss Marlowe.
I have to be getting back to the studio. I'm trying to learn the business.
Well, you've come to the right place.
I'm something of a schoolmarm myself.
Until you learn about people and their emotions you don't know anything.
But I just want to be a producer, not an actor.
Well, how do you think producers cast pictures, from books?
Well, all right then.
Then you read the script and then I can...
I'd like to, if you'll stay and read it with me.
You know, Jennie, baby, you've got the world by the tail.
So I've heard. Want a drink?
For 200 bucks, I should get a champagne bath, shouldn't I?
Honey, you can leave any time you like.
Oh, no, sweetie, don't get sore.
No, seriously, Jennie, you're...
You're nothing short of terrific. I just know my job.
You like it?
For god's sakes. Do I like it?
How did I get started?
You going to ask those same ol' John questions?
I thought you were a sharp operator.
If I really were, I wouldn't have to be here, would I?
You know, that's the first intelligent thing I ever heard you say.
Every now and then I get weak and turn honest.
It won't happen again. I'm sure.
Well, here's to Adam and Eve.
They hold the original patents but you've certainly improved on them.
Honey, come around here, sit down.
Honey, I got an idea.
That wasn't hard to guess.
How would you like to be in the pictures? I was once.
No, I mean the kind that you can...
Show at the corner bijou.
Now, come on, Mr. Pierce.
I've heard that one before.
I run a strictly cash-and-carry business.
No checks, no promissory notes, no pie in the sky.
Did you ever hear of Jonas cord?
You ever hear of anybody who didn't?
He's everywhere, like the flu.
Twice as irritating, they say. I'm his right-hand man.
The price is still the same.
You're the kind of girl he'd like, you know?
Monday's open. Send him up.
You know, he made a star out of Rina Marlowe.
Of course, she's on the bottle now, earmarked for oblivion.
But somebody's got to take her place.
Look, a joke's a joke.
I'll give you $300 for the test and $750 a week if we sign you.
You know what I am. Jonas cord doesn't.
I've got a feeling that you've got what he likes in a woman.
That's what Eve probably said to Adam. Look what that lead to.
This is a strange world.
Anything is possible.
Is she dead? Not quite. She's unconscious.
The doctor didn't give anything for her chances of coming out of it.
Have you told Jonas about this?
No, I'm afraid to. That's why I came here first.
I'm trying to work my way up to him.
How could she do this to me?
How could she do it?
Cord wants my studio more than anything else in the world.
When he finds out about Rina I won't have a chance of selling it.
You know, I never realized what a cold-blooded...
Character you are. Now, listen, this is a one-star studio. When she goes, we go.
Now, I can't keep her alive, can I? No.
No, I got to think about the living and that's me.
Go ahead, laugh. It's you, too. Your job dies with Rina.
I never thought of that.
You get to be pretty cold-blooded fast yourself, don't you?
You just shot me with an icicle.
All right, now listen.
Maybe you can fix it so that you never...
You never have to work for anybody again, ever.
I don't follow.
Are you sure Jonas doesn't know anything about this?
Yeah, I'm pretty sure.
Do you think you can keep Jonas from learning about the accident for a couple of hours?
Oh, now, wait a minute, Bernie. Just what kind of a louse do you think... Just a minute yourself.
How much was he willing to pay to buy me out?
I don't know, three or four million.
All right, I'll start with five.
If the deal works, you get 15 percent.
I get... You heard me, 15 percent.
Now, it's worth it. I waited a long time for a chance like this.
Suppose he finds out?
I mean, about my setting him up for the...
I'd be taking a terrible chance. I...
Listen, it's worth every penny of it. This way, you come out with something!
Without Rina, or the studio, how long do you think it's going to take before he fires you?
Come on, get smart.
Suppose he won't meet this morning? Well, see that he does.
15 percent of five million.
$750,000. Yeah. Nice little nest egg, isn't it?
Come on, get busy. I'll pull my lawyers out of bed and draw up two papers of agreement.
We'll sign yours first. Bernie...
Good. This is the day we pluck Jonas cord's feathers.
Now, listen you.
You be at his hotel at eight o'clock sharp. Not a minute late.
Sure. Not a minute late. All right.
Why this morning, like that? Well, he's scared.
You know, he's had a couple of heart attacks and last night his doctor told him ne was on the edge of a third and possible final attack and he called me.
He wants to retire.
Jonas, you got him on the hook. Don't let him get away.
I'll get it.
Hello. No, he's not at the moment.
I really don't know.
That's funny. Norman's lawyer.
Probably wants to talk him out of it.
How much does he want?
What'll he take? Well, he wouldn't say.
Four and a half.
Could you hold it just a moment, please?
Mr. Woolf, Mr. Norman. Come in, won't you, please?
No, no. No, you can't. Morning, Mr. cord.
Hold all calls for the next half hour.
Hold them anyway.
My nephew, David. Mr. cord.
Well, well, well.
We all finally get together in one room.
Here, Bernie, you better sit down.
So you want to sell at eight o'clock in the morning?
That's a trick I learned from you.
You see, you're at your best late at night.
Me, I'm an early riser.
I figure it gives me some advantage.
Besides, I could be dead in 24 hours.
So, not another minute do I want to work in this business.
Well, it's a sacrifice.
I have to think of others. My family...
Take it off my hands. Five million.
It pains me to see you make such a sacrifice. I'll give you three.
That's a million below the market. Which I helped to make.
And if you say four again, I'll go back to three.
Mr. cord, you're cheating a sick man.
All right. All right.
Here's two letters of agreement.
Just fill in the amount and sign it.
I've already signed it.
I told you to hold the calls. Sorry, wrong number.
Thank you. Thanks.
That's it, Mr. cord.
You now own Bernard P. Norman pictures.
You remember once I told you "one day"?
Do you remember?
Well, this is the day, Mr. smart one.
When you bought Norman studios, you bought a corpse.
What's that supposed to mean?
At this moment, your great drunken star, Rina Marlowe, is in the hospital dying of an automobile accident.
Here, you'll need it.
I didn't know. Not until this very second, I swear it.
Jonas, I work for you. How could you even...
Hey, there he is now. Here he is, ladies and gentlemen.
Here he is, Jonas cord. I'm Virginia Graham.
My radio audience wants to know, did you love her?
Was she really your mother, Mr. cord? Was she really your mother?
Did you say "was? She's dead.
She died 20 minutes ago.
Good morning, and welcome back to the world.
How long have I been here? Little over a week.
You know, I've seen some big drinkers on third Avenue in my day.
My own father, god have mercy on his soul...
But in my sight, you take the record.
New York, huh?
I hope I didn't mistreat you.
Never laid a glove on me. Wasn't a woman you were looking for.
It was the sorrow you were trying to boil out of you.
It's all there except what I took out for the whiskey.
Hey, take it easy.
When you feel up to it, there's a razor in the bathroom.
And while you're shaving, I can take your clothes down to the cleaners and have them pressed up a bit.
Get you some food, if you think you can keep it down.
You're in the wrong business. You ought to be an angel of mercy.
The Irish make lousy hookers.
We always get sentimental over drunks.
Do you mind if I give you a sermon?
She's dead, you know.
And all the whiskey in the world won't be bringing her back to life.
Now, if you'll try and stand up and take your clothes off, you and I will get on to the business of living the best way we can.
If you plan on working for me stop looking like small-town librarians.
Fix your hair, put on higher heels, shorter skirts and half your looks.
Bring your books.
Get the head of the art department. I want this place redecorated.
Send somebody to my hotel to pick up my clothes.
Call my tailor. Order four more suits, same color.
Get rid of this stuff.
Have the barber in here every morning, 7:00 A.M. sharp.
Tell maintenance to open the best cottage on the lot.
I'm going to live here.
And have the commissary keep a cook on day and night.
Take the name Norman off everything in this studio.
From the main gate to the back lot and put my name up, even on the roof.
Order the studio police to keep Dan Pierce off this lot till one of us dies.
Set up appointments.
David Woolf, McAllister, my business associate, and buzz Dalton, international airways.
When you get that done, come back. There's more.
Don't you read the papers?
The German army is overrunning Europe.
The world is at war.
You've got a dozen businesses standing by for orders, and you sit here in this Alice in wonderland world, cutting out paper dolls or trying to find some big-busted blonde to splash on a billboard.
Specifically, buzz, what do you want?
Your attention, for one thing.
In case you haven't heard, the government just gave us a big contract for a two-engine bomber. I heard.
Our Burbank plant is straining at the seams with passenger planes and a new interceptor.
We can't even start to build a bomber.
Get me the head of the story department.
Of course I know it doesn't compare to a good sexy boy-meets-girl situation, but it's the biggest first-act curtain I've seen this year.
Question is, where's our second act?
This morning, I bought an airplane factory in buffalo.
I hired a private detective agency to find Amos Winthrop.
I want him to run it. Is there anything else you'd like to know?
Yeah, just for the record, what the hell makes you tick?
I want you to make a series of low-budget westerns based on the Max sand character.
You've got a long and steady future in this business, if we bring your pictures in at a price.
Did Rina say anything to you before she died?
Not to me. Not a word.
Why didn't you try to help her?
You were the only one who could.
She was doomed from the start, Nevada.
There are people on this earth like that, beyond human help.
Maybe you're right.
When do I start? Monday.
Make sure the new contract for the talent school includes the right for the studio to change the actors' names if we want to.
Anything else, Mac?
Well, there's one thing more.
Jonas, I'm tired. I want out.
Take a month off, two, if you need it. We'll manage.
You'll manage, all right, but I can't.
No, for years, I've been hoping to get things organized so that...
I'm a neat man, Jonas.
And you don't like my corporate mess?
Too exciting for me. It's eating me up.
I'm supposed to be second-in-command yet I'm not really sure what it's all about because I...
Well, because it's not in here.
It's all in your head. Only you know how all the pieces fit.
You like it that way, keep it that way. You're the boss, the total boss.
The rest of us are messenger boys, yes men.
What you're trying to say is you don't like my being involved in all this?
No, what I'm trying to say is that from a business standpoint, you re crazy.
You re fired.
Here's where you get off.
That's a good line, Jonas.
And now it all makes sense.
You're not Jonas cord, Jr. at all. You're somebody else.
You're acting out a part, trying to be somebody else.
No wonder all this make-believe. It was inevitable.
You've been acting all your life, and you've finally found a big enough stage.
Well, I must say, it was a bang-up, first-class, fascinating performance.
Even I couldn't tell the real from the unreal.
What do you know!
Anyway, goodbye, Jonas. It was one hell of a play.
There's only one more thing I could ask for.
I'd like to be around when you finally take off the makeup.
I'd give a year's pay to know who you really are underneath.
Who knows? You might even be the devil.
Miss Denton is here, Mr. cord.
Who? Miss Jennie Denton.
She's here for a screen test. Never heard of her.
Well, apparently, Mr. Pierce had set it up.
Pierce? Cancel it.
Miss Denton, you...
I just wanted to see what you look like.
The great, towering, remote Jonas cord, who makes and breaks, who stamps his foot and everything trembles for miles around.
Snaps a switch and the world goes off.
I never really thought there would be a screen test, but just for laughs, I thought I'd go all the way.
The Lincoln memorial, the Washington monument, the Grand Canyon, Jonas cord.
You re my first disappointment.
I will say this for you.
At least there's no Latin inscription on your forehead.
I'm lousy at Latin.
What did he promise you?
Pierce? Probably what he promises everybody.
Three bills for the test seven and a half a week "if" and "and", and so on.
Come back here.
I like you.
Oh, now, Mr. cord, you're embarrassing me.
I'm sending a girl named Jennie Denton for a screen test.
Give her all the time and training she needs.
I want her to have the best this studio can offer.
I'll direct it myself.
Very well, Mr. cord.
Monica, it's for you. Long distance.
Jonas, what a surprise. It's nearly eight years.
My father? Why do you want to know?
Yes, I do, but I gave him my word I wouldn't tell anybody.
Yes, he's off it, he's all right.
You really want him for that, Jonas? Really?
May I have a cigarette, please?
Well, I don't know.
The last time I mentioned your name, he...
Yes, I know it's important, but he hates you thoroughly.
No, I don't.
All right, if it's that vital he's in Chicago, working in a factory.
He's running a lathe under an assumed name.
Because that's the way he wanted it.
Well, certainly not before Friday night. I have a magazine to get out.
Now, which Jonas is that?
Is there more than one?
Good morning, boss!
What are you so happy about today?
I feel like somebody important. Like a queen, maybe.
Everywhere I go on the lot, people smile at me, and wave, or say, hi, Jennie.”
"Hello, Jennie.” "good morning, miss Denton."
Hey, was the test that good?
You're just the kind of girl people like to smile at, wave at, look at.
Six copies of a seven-year contract with cord studios.
Check them over with your lawyer.
If you like it, sign 'em.
Jonas, I'm going to ask you something that might make you mad.
Ask it now, instead of later.
Will I be under contract as an actress... Or as some executive's girlfriend?
That contract's strictly for the screen.
I like you.
Well enough to fly to Chicago with me in a couple of hours?
I don't know about that.
It gets pretty cold in Chicago.
I'll find some way to keep you warm.
In there. Yes, sir, Mr. cord.
"You agree to render such services
"as the undersigned corporation may request of you
'under and pursuant to the provision that employment..."
They re beautiful!
"Shall request during said period of your incapacity.'
thank you, Mr. cord!
"Unless, on such day or days
"you shall be actually be unable to render such..."
You look wonderful, Monica.
Jonas, I want you to meet Joanne.
Joanne, this is Mr. cord. How do you do, Mr. cord?
You're a big girl. Just as pretty as your mama.
Nobody's that pretty.
Mommy, you said we were going to have lunch.
Joanne... I think it's a great idea.
I never ate in a hotel dining room before.
Okay, Joanne, it's the pump room for us. I'll get my coat.
Jonas, it's beautiful...
I beg your pardon, Jonas.
I seemed to have played this scene before.
Come on, Joanne. Mommy...
I said, come on.
Monica, wait a minute.
There's the name and address that you wanted.
Do both of us a favor. Don't ever come near me again.
I didn't mean to louse things up for you.
You didn't do anything.
Things were loused up a long time ago.
You like the coat?
So much, I don't know what to say.
Then don't say anything. Just show me.
You don't have to say much. Yes or no will do.
But you've done so much for me already.
You don't have to...
I never do what I have to. Only what I want to.
There's no one like you in the whole world.
My, my. You really hit the jackpot this time, didn't you, honey?
Old star-maker marriage broker, Dan Pierce.
Takes a handful of... shall we say dirt?
And makes it into a diamond ring.
A rag, a bone, and a Hank of hair and presto.
The bride of Frankenstein.
Extremely. Then show it.
Well, not with this script, Dan. It's not for me.
It is if you say it is.
What Jennie wants, Jennie gets these days.
While you're lying on the pillow, whisper in his ear, and he'll buy it, and for $300,000.
You used to get 200 bucks.
Wouldn't it give you a kick to hear somebody tell you it was worth $300,000?
I couldn't do that to him.
Too much for an old pal who showed you the way to millions?
It's too much.
Well, I always say, there's nothing more righteous than a reformed hooker.
Well, Jenny girl, you leave me no choice.
A little present. For you.
Go ahead, open it up. Here, let me help you.
Jennie Denton's first starring role.
Recognize yourself in the group?
You're the one that's wearing the goose pimple.
Jennie, I'll leave this for you.
Of course, being a far-sighted fellow, I have a couple dozen more copies, just in case you wanted to give some to your friends. Or I do.
By the way, it might make a nice wedding gift for Jonas.
He could run it on your honeymoon for inspiration.
And information, too.
Jennie, dear, read the script again.
I think you'll love it this time.
You know, Jennie baby, Jonas doesn't know about you.
He's a great man with a corporation, but when it comes to people, he's a real jerk.
When the check arrives, you can have the other copies.
Well, toodle-loo, Jennie.
Onward and upward.
Jonas? In here.
Hi, Jennie. Hello, Jennie!
Hello, honey. I've been trying all day to reach you.
Well, I had to fly to Vegas. I just got in.
I've got to talk to you, Jonas.
Sure, but take off your coat and have a drink first.
Now. It's important.
Drink up, we'll be right back.
Jonas, I can't go through with it.
All right, you can't go through with it.
Let's eat dinner.
Does it mean that little to you?
No, but I'll pay you the compliment of taking your word the whole thing's wrong and let it go at that.
I don't want to take the easy way out because I love you.
Of course you do.
And we've got hungry friends waiting out there.
No, Jonas, you don't know anything about me.
Who I am, where I come from, what I've done.
I know all I need to. No, you don't. You couldn't.
The betting window is now open.
I'll give you cupid and ten points and back the devil.
Put me down for $100 and pay me off at the wedding, huh?
Son, you're on.
But there ain't gonna be no wedding.
Little Ella is on her way back to the cinders.
What made you say that?
Experience. Percentage. Track record.
Plus the fact that she's obviously in there making some last minute confession.
To Jonas, the word confession reads the same as "excuse", and you know what he thinks of that word.
Jennie Denton. Lovely young screen star.
Desired, envied, sought after.
Well, there she is in her greatest starring role.
Let's all have one for the road, which if we're smart, we'll hit.
I'm more than sorry. I'm ashamed.
You were so good to me, you deserve better.
All I can give you in return is the truth, as dirty as it is.
We'll pay Pierce's blackmail, then I'll take care of him my own way.
And what good will that do?
Another Pierce will show up, and then another.
Even you haven't got enough money to buy off all the Dan Pierces who wed your lovely fiancée before you did.
Let me worry about that.
Oh, Jonas, I'm only good for one thing! I can't even have children!
Don't you think I know that?
How could you?
I know everything about everybody who works for me.
You were born at 7:02 A.M., delivered by Dr. corn.
You were attacked, successfully, by three boys in a public park at the age of 15.
You worked as a student nurse, liked better things, turned pro at 20.
New Orleans, San Francisco, Las Vegas, your house in Coldwater canyon.
I can name you dollars, dates, and anything else you want.
As for this film, I've seen it twice.
You had good lighting and a bad director.
You knew. Of course I did.
You were no good, that's why I wanted you.
You were beautiful and no good, that made it better.
And when I found out you couldn't have children, you were perfect. Jonas, don't!
Don't say anymore!
One of us is crazy, but I'm not sure which one it is.
Don't you ever say that to me!
Why do you think I put you in a movie, spent two million dollars on publicity, crammed your face and figure down everyone's minds till they could never forget it? Why?
Because I wanted to make you important enough to marry Jonas cord, and when you do...
And you will, no one will dare raise his voice against you, or I'll step on him like an ant.
This is the best sale you ever made.
And all I ask for is your beauty and your sex.
I don't want love, or children, or home-baked cookies.
I just want a woman who's there when I need her.
In return, you'll live like a queen. Now pick up the ring.
Now, let's go to dinner, make the happy announcement.
We all heard what happened in there.
Buzz and Morrissey couldn't listen anymore.
You think the two of us can eat a dinner for five?
I've watched over you, rode with you, taught you, believed in you since you were a boy.
I know. But...
You've done some strange things. Foolish things.
And brilliant things.
I've tried to understand them.
I've watched your meanness and your cruelty.
I stood by while you grew big in power and small in humanness.
I've seen you make men throw up with fear and woman cry with misery and shame.
Dialogue from one of your old movies, Nevada.
But never until this moment, have I judged the full measure of your cruelty and madness.
To put it bluntly, Jonas, I think you're crazy.
I'm glad you did that, kid. Now I don't need an excuse.
Come on, get up, you jailbird, you killer.
Get up and show me how to be normal. Get up.
I advise you to sell everything you own, vanish into the hills.
Your luck just ran out in this town.
By the order of Jonas cord, Jr.
From the law of supply and demand.
Nothings like you are no longer needed.
Well, go on, cowboy star, get out.
Just don't try to act your way out the door, you'll never make it.
If it hadn't been for me, you'd be back where you belong.
Shoveling steer manure.
You don't know when to quit, do you?
If you don't mind, I don't usually drink with hired hands or ignorant half-breeds.
You don't drink with anybody because nobody can stand you.
Just the sound of your name makes people sick.
Only the weak and the jealous.
I took a one-horse factory, run by an alcoholic misfit and built into something that nobody'll ever forget.
Only because he gave you the means.
He gave me nothing.
If he could, he'd have locked me in a room, like he...
Like he did your brother?
I haven't got a brother.
Your twin brother.
Never had one.
Get out, Nevada.
"Joseph cord died before he really lived."
Recognize that? It's off his tombstone.
I said get out.
Born with you, died without you at the age of nine.
He died before I could ever speak to him.
And the day he died, my father took to this.
And against me.
He looked at me as if I were a leper.
Watching, waiting for the other apple in the same barrel to turn rotten on him.
So your brother died raving mad and your father turned against you, and you decided to take it out on everyone else around you.
That's your excuse?
That is my explanation. It's not good enough.
Why did you take it out on Rina?
I gave her as good as I got. And Jennie?
I made her a star.
She wanted to be a mother.
Was that wrong?
Me as father, it was.
I haven't got the right to be anybody's father.
Because you might have some of your brother in you.
I don't know, put I've lived with the fear of it all my life.
Racing against time, thinking any minute of any day it could happen.
You rest easy, junior.
You're not mad at all, you never will be.
You see, you re not like your brother. You're just like your father.
I never was, I never could be like him.
You even sound like him. Shut up!
Hollering to make yourself important. Don't say that.
Wobbling around red-faced with a drink in your hand.
I said shut up! All right, look at him!
Need any more proof?
What can I do?
Junior, I haven't the faintest idea.
Let's change this color and make it more compatible.
Switching the color, that's fine, but the colors have to go in this space...
Jonas, I'm busy. I have to talk to you. Now.
There's nothing to talk about.
Just go away.
Well, I don't want to make a scene but if I have to, I will.
Jonas, I told you I wanted you out of my life.
I never wanted to see you again. Monica, I only want two minutes of your time.
Would you please keep your voice down?
Do you want me to lose my job?
If I have to, I'll buy this place.
Now that's typical cord procedure. Something gets in your way, just buy it.
I'm not buying anymore, Monica, I'm selling.
I've sold the movie studio, 40 million dollars' worth of assorted industries, and tomorrow morning I'm meeting with...
What's that supposed to mean?
First I've got to tell you something.
I've been living with a secret.
There are no secrets about you, Jonas.
This is something that nobody knows.
A long time ago, Jedediah told me all about your father and your brother and what it did to you.
Why do you think I let you do the things you did to me?
Why I didn't remarry and I waited, hoping you'd find out there was nothing wrong with you and nothing wrong with your daughter?
You know, someday, you ought to take a look at her report card.
I'm not promising anything, Monica.
I am asking for a chance, for you, for my daughter, but mostly for me.
And spend the rest of my life walking into hotel suites, finding naked girls all wrapped up in fur coats?
Well, no thank you, Jonas. I've canceled all my hotel suites.
I bought a house.
I love you and I need you.
You do need me.
You need me.