The Honey Pot (1967) Script

There was a Venice... and that was a century of Time, the 17th.

My century, my time.

Mosca.

Go, straight give out about the streets you two, that I am dead.

Do it with constancy.

-Sadly, do you hear? -What do you mean, sir?

Mosca, I shall have instantly my vulture, raven, crow... come flying hither on the news... to peck for carrion, and all greedy and full of expectation.

And then, to have it ravished from their mouths!

'Tis true. I will have thee... take upon thee as though thou were mine heir.

Show them a will. Open the chests... and reach forth one of those that has the blanks.

-I'll straight put in thy name. -It will be rare, sir.

And when they gape and find themselves deluded... and thou use them, scurvily.

But what sir, if they ask after the body?

Say...

-it was corrupted. -I'll say it stunk, sir.

And was fain to have it coffined up instantly and sent away.

Anything, what thou wilt. There's my will.

That will be enough, thank you.

We've barely started the last act.

I've no objection to you finishing by yourselves, if it gives you pleasure.

But you paid for the whole performance, why not see it through?

I know it well. Good night and... bravo.


Signor McFly?

S.

McFly? An unlikely name, what does he want?

You must know your butler speaks no English.

You sent for me, Mr. Fox, in answer to my letter of application.

Ah, yes, that McFly.

Your letter began by admitting you know no shorthand and type badly.

What made you think I didn't want a proper secretary?

A starting salary of $200 a week.

I'd bet you threw every legitimate application in the wastebasket.

You'd win. Sit down, won't you?

I'm not sure yet I can earn that 200.

You described yourself as an actor.

I'd bet acting wasn't your last source of income.

You'd win.

Do sit down, I don't enjoy looking up at people.

How did you happen to be in Rome?

For the actor, Rome is the elephant's graveyard... when you can't make it in New York, Hollywood or London.

You don't strike me as deeply committed to an artistic need.

If I were youngish, good-looking and broke...

Mr. Fox, everything you wanted to know is in that letter.

We've established that you're a fabulously wealthy...

Nut, possibly.

And I'm an actor who, between engagements, does odd jobs.

How odd is this job you've got? And what is it?

Fabulously wealthy, you say.

In your wildest fantasies of money, how much do you dream of?

I write my little scripts, like everybody, till life louses them up.

How much?

Enough.

There's never enough.

That's a conclusion a man likes to reach for himself.

Take my word for it.

And refrain from reminding me that money can't buy a sunrise... or a baby's smile. Come and have a drink.

Still, they do say some things are not for sale.

The souls of men and other intangibles I can't think of.

Still saying that, are they?


Three parts of whisky to one water.

"Fox's comfort", it's a new one on me. Is that a coincidence?

Hardly, that's my face on the label.

A little distillery I own in Tennessee.

Your position here, to describe it in terms of your qualifications... will be that of, roughly speaking, my stage manager.

Stage manager? Is there a script?

I have one in mind.

And a theatre?

Right here.

Every actor's dream, to play the Palazzo.

You'll have to explain that to me.

Mr. Fox, if what you had in mind was amateur theatricals...

I'm sure I never said anything about amateur theatricals.

Then what do I stage manage?

A rather intricate joke I want to play on a few old friends.

What kind of a joke?

It's more of a charade, actually, an improvisation... in which you may be called upon to face many unexpected situations.

Your letter referred to a period of employment in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"Between pictures", I dealt blackjack.

A pastime for money grubbers. You play poker, or course?

Of course.

Good.

Wouldn't you say that "making it" in both Las Vegas and Hollywood... had much in common as gambling ventures?

There's a difference in the odds. Those against hitting a jackpot... and those against a fantasy coming true in Hollywood.

Isn't it the same in the size of the jackpot?

Some of the luckier players receive several hundred thousand per film.

Some are worth it.

And a few, in time, acquire fortunes of several millions.

Fewer than you think.

Merle McGill, for example.

McGill, definitely.

She's an old friend of mine.

Merle McGill?

When we met, Myrtle McGillicuddy, not more than 15 or 16... but already acclaimed as that year's Miss Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

One night in New York, we were introduced in a pub called El Monaco.

El Morocco.

Very likely. I changed her name, straightened her teeth and hair... had her adenoids removed and arranged for her first Hollywood contract.

Just by picking up a telephone. I always wanted to meet one of you.

Somehow I acquired a sizeable amount of stock in a major film company.

Sure you wouldn't prefer a cigar?

No. No, thanks.

She owes you a tremendous debt.

True.

You referred to certain intangibles that were not for sale.

Would you consider an actor's gratitude an intangible?

An actor's gratitude is, at best, a mirage.

You think it unlikely that a fabulous and wealthy film star... could be persuaded by merely the prospect of more money... to demonstrate her gratitude to me?

I know actors, Mr. Fox. Not a chance. She's got enough.

I know money, McFly. There's never enough.


"A memory, dear Merle, that fills my mind increasingly... is that of the generous gratitude with which you rewarded the little...

I was privileged to do for you."

"Strangely enough, dear Dominique... during these last, necessarily contemplative hours...

I've conjured up very little for which I feel even regret... much less shame, except once, except for you.

My wealth, as an object of contemplation... is now no more pleasurable than my navel.

I can no longer indulge myself in spending.

I am faced with deciding to whom I must grudgingly bequeath it."

We're short of props.

We still haven't created that atmosphere of death and dying.

Doesn't this fill you with a sense of doom?

No. It might, however, have that effect on a plumber.

It's time for your daily poker lesson. Come and sit down.

By some weird coincidence all four aces have gravy spots on them.

All four aces?

Almost invisible, unless you were looking for them. Which I was.

Very sporting of you to point it out.

Let's rehearse this once more and run the story again.

Were you always this nervous before a performance?

A good actor prepares. Unbutton, please.

It's unlikely a dying man would be under the care of his secretary.

You can always say the doctors taught me what to do.

You suffered this massive heart attack, when?

Three weeks ago yesterday.

Why didn't you send for the best doctors in Venice?

Need for secrecy. News of my condition could cause economic chaos.

No way of keeping it quiet here and so forth.

So we sent for...

Two great specialists from Vienna.

Strauss.

Both. One Johan, the other, Richard. Not related. I like that.

Prognosis?

After examination, hopeless. My noble heart damaged beyond repair.

Treatment?

To wait, as comfortably as possible, for the end.

And to hope for a miracle.

Nothing. You may not have a heart.

You won't find it in my armpit.

Put that away and sit down. We're wasting time.

My deal.

My deal. You've been shuffling those cards all day.

It's your privilege to cut.

I won't touch that deck. It could cut me.

I will have no more of your guttersnipe insinuations.

It was not I who built slow-witted farmers in Las Vegas.

New deck?

New deck.

Deck.

Well. Miss Gratitude and Princess Forgiveness have accepted... and will be here on the day.

I understand Merle McGill. She must figure it's more money... than even she could get for one performance.

But not the princess. You sure reach high for your grapes.

The sweetest, they say, hang beyond ordinary reach.

Appeal number 3, to Madam Loyalty, went out this morning.

Will you have time?

She hasn't far to come. Mrs. Sheridan is in Germany, at Baden-Baden.

What's she doing at Baden-Baden?

Taking the baths, I presume.

Or giving them. I never can tell with Lone-Star.

Lone-Star? Cut.

Mrs. Sheridan's maiden name, if indeed she ever was... was Lone-Star Crockett... native daughter of your great South-West. Deal.

Not until you ante... Why were you in my great South-West?

Change a note. I had interests that kept me there some time.

Acquiring large amounts of a metal deposit which was little known...

You've given me one too few.

Glad you caught it.

Uranium? Your queen bets.

Exactly. Queen bets two.

Once. How did you find Lone-Star? A uranium by-product?

She found me, actually. Too soon, Majesty.

By stowing away on my private railroad car. Two more.

Yours.

Three queens. Legitimately.

And on my deal, too.

Tell me about Miss Crockett. What made her think she could get to you?

Her ambition, her guts... and, above all, her greed. True pioneer spirit.

Lone-Star was insatiable. A beautiful bottomless pit.

Never enough of anything, money, possessions, food, sex...

I thought I had an exorbitant appetite for that pastime... but Lone-Star...

Imagine, if you can... a 17 year old combined Venus and giant squid.

I'm trying very hard.

Four fantastic years it lasted, it wore me out.

One day, I realised I had to choose.

Lone-Star and an early end, or freedom and a long life.

I ran away, leaving a short note and a fortune in securities.

That was some twenty years ago.

Why such generosity?

Lone-Star was very young. We'd crossed a few state lines together.

For a man in my position, certain legal unpleasantries.

That needn't have bothered you, once out of the U.S.

I'd become an American. Still am, but legally resident in Switzerland.

Cut.

Could you fill me in on that?

Think boy. There was a war on. What was I to do?

As an American, my uranium and I found peace in Switzerland... throughout the hostilities. And ever since.

Your ten bets.

It's going to be a pleasure working for you, Mr. Fox.

Not only the fun of trying to convince three wealthy women... that each will inherit your wealth, but because you're so attractive.

Ten bets two.

My deuce calls.

You spend more time in the john... What do you do in there?

I've been gone only a few minutes Mrs. Sheridan.

I told you always to get a room in the middle of the car.

We're right over the wheels and they're square.

We were lucky to get this one at such short notice.

Lord almighty.

When I think back to that Santa Fe road-bed...

Sarah, I don't suppose you ever rode the Santa Fe.

I've never been to America.

Your own private car. That's something you never forget.

I'm sure I wouldn't.

Where's my bottle of pills in case I wake up?

As always, right beside you. The water, the glass and the pills.

And don't forget, exactly at three.

As always, exactly at 3 a.m.

Maybe on the train, the way you sleep anyhow...

My alarm is set, it's right beside my pillow.

I must have my second pill, I can't get through the night without it.

You'll have it, you always do. That's what I'm here for.

Oh my... That old Santa Fe...

and now, he's dying...

We watched the desert that day, by night...

Something's always dying on the desert.

Now, he wants me.

Now... he's dying.

7000 lira, per favore.

Mrs. Sheridan.

7000 lira.

Eleven dollars and twenty cents.

Four dollars, amigo.

And a four bit tip, because I'm a money-mad American.

Where's our luggage? Where did that thief go with our bags?

Young man, we came through that door with seven pieces of baggage.

All of which are safely in your room. Mrs. Sheridan, I believe.

Who are you?

William McFly, Mr. Fox's administrative assistant.

Take me to him.

I'm afraid he's unavailable at the moment. He's resting.

Either you take me to Cecil Fox or I'll find him myself.

Mr. Fox is a dying man... do you want him to wake from a health-giving sleep?

You yourself are far from well.

Travelling under the care of a registered nurse.

More of a companion, really.

She has a name?

Sarah Watkins.

How do you do? At last. May I show you to your rooms?

Excuse me.

Mr. Fox will be happy you're here. As when the other two ladies arrived.

Other two? What other two ladies?

They arrived together, did they?

No, today... Excuse me.

Today, but on separate planes and at separate times.

Actually, Her Highness and Miss McGill have never met.

Now, Mrs. Sheridan, this is your room.

And the room adjoining can be for Miss Watkins.

Mine is down the corridor. If there's anything you need, let me know.

McFly, I can tell you right now, whatever I might need... you haven't got.

Mr. McFly.

Your Highness?

You gave me every assurance I would see Mr. Fox today, before dinner.

And so you shall, Your Highness.

Thank you.

Hey, Mac.

I couldn't help hearing what was going on out here.

Somebody must've left your door open.

So I heard you tell the queen that she could see Mr. Fox before dinner.

Right after his nap.

You told me I couldn't see him until after dinner.

After his after-dinner nap.

Not that I'm complaining about billing or anything... but, why does he want to see her first?

Mr. Fox has nothing to do with it. I decide who he sees and when.

Since Her Majesty arrived first, I booked you in order of appearance.

You talk like you've been in show-business.

A little, around the edges.

What I mean is I might need your help here.

Anything you could do for me I'd certainly appreciate.

I'll be sure to keep it in mind, Miss McGill.

Make it Merle.

Or even Myrtle.

And that Verna, Vana, Twirl, Shirl... They all sound like detergents.

Merle McGill?

She didn't come all this way just to give Cecil Fox her autograph.

Isn't it possible that she and the princess...?

Excuse me, but... now that he's dying, well... perhaps there were other women.

Other women?

You want me to tell you what other women were to Cecil Fox?

Women sized sleeping pills, to put him to sleep.

Take one before retiring.

It's the dampness. All that water in these damn creeks...

I won't be a minute.


Sarah!

103.6.

We'll make the props believable, even if nothing else is.

Still suffering from stage fright, McBarrymore?

Slip ups like this. You're not ready.

I might be getting the whisky intravenously...

You're a sloppy performer, Mr. Fox.

Having met your lady playmates in this charade... let me tell you one thing they have in common.

They're sharp. Especially that Mrs. Sheridan.

As a proverbial tack. Always was.

Who's that bouncy little Florence Nightingale she brought along?

I caught a glimpse in the garden as they arrived.

A registered nurse.

She must be kept out of here.

I'm sure she's set her nurse's cap at you.

And you still haven't taken a night off.

I wouldn't describe her as bouncy.

What other characteristic would you say the three ladies share?

What do you suggest I look for?

One, greed. It's never enough, remember?

Not ready, am I?, A sloppy performer?

My dear McFly, they want to believe I'm dying.

I could run a four-minute mile and they'd still believe I was dying.

Curtain going up. Shouldn't you be knocking on dressing room doors?

My first audience is to Her Highness, is it not?

In just about an hour.

Followed after dinner by the re-coronation of Miss Green Point".

And then, the show-down with the lady sheriff of Loyalty Gulch.

Lone-Star. I'd forgotten.

If there ever was a gunfighter with an itchy finger... fastest draw on the Grand Canal.

McFly.

Yeah?

You must think of some way of putting her off for tonight.

It's all I can do to get her unpacked first, but I'll try.

By the way, since it's unlikely you'll need me... may I take the night off?

Of course, dear boy.

Bouncy Miss Nightingale, I take it, is to be the lucky girl.

Could be.

In that event, Lone-Star might choose to go snooping round the palazzo... so I want you to lock me in.

The door to the landing, the lift, and take the keys.

What are you trying to prove?

Why must everything prove something?

There must be more to it than just fun and games.

You must admit it's quite a game. And the fun's only just starting.

Strange, almost displaced kind of fun... out of another time, another world.

There's been no other time, no other world.

We've simply forgotten the pleasure of living in them.

In the 17th century, let's say Elizabethan London... when torturing lunatics and animals, bear baiting, was great fun.

For the witless and the undemanding, not unlike today's television.

The Elizabethan elite, for their more exclusive entertainment... baited each other, people baiting.

Come and sit down, we'll cut for deal.

Princess baiting starts soon and we haven't set the stage.

We've got an hour. I will not have time lying about empty.

Granted three greedy women think you are dying, they swallowed your bait.

At what point do you yell April Fool?

At the moment I've no finish in mind. Have you?

It's your script, Mr. Fox.


I have brought you a gift.

An hour-glass, with the sands running out. Most appropriate.

My husband wanted you to have it.

One of his family treasures.

The sand, you see, is not sand, but the dust of pure gold.

He thought it would amuse you.

So, to ease my dying you bring me more gold.

I'm saddened by your appraisal of me... but I do appreciate your great sacrifice.

Sacrifice?

Not at all.

Just a token, really.

You see, I know. I have ways of knowing these things.

You and Karl are penniless.

And, surely, you and Karl must know that... everything I have must go to somebody.

Is that why, as you wrote, my forgiveness is so important to you?

Because, of all women, my experience with you... is the one that I regret the most.

Perhaps the only one I regret at all.

I have forgiven you.

At the time, it was impossible for me to concede, with my many millions... that there was anything or anyone I could not have.

I promise you, you are forgiven.

And because now, with even more millions...

I know damn well there isn't anything or anyone.

Isn't that so, Your Highness?

Don't let your breeding betray you this time, Dominique.

You might never forgive yourself.

Karl's fabulous hourglass.

I was so afraid he might sell it secretly in South America... as he did the rest of his treasures, one by one, every few months.

This is the last, isn't it?

What guarantee will you give me that I will be the one?

None.


No, leave the light as it is.

Come here and sit down.

It isn't easy for a man when a woman needs him more than he needs her.


Forgive me. I listened before I knocked.

I heard nothing, I assumed you were alone, Mr. Fox.

An unwarranted assumption.

I do hope you'll forgive me.

You are forgiven, Mr. McFly.

We'll pick up tomorrow where we left off today, shall we?

I'll look forward to it.

I'm not surprised you failed as an actor.

Your timing has all the sensitivity of a stampeding buffalo.

You're the only one with a script.

If I have to improvise, occasionally I'm bound to louse up the plot.

I have two reports. First, success with Mrs. Sheridan.

She's willing to wait until tomorrow morning to see you.

But as a huckster, you are touched with genius.

I told her you had some kind of muscle spasm, nothing fatal.

You've been having them off and on.

Very plausible. And your second report?

Another wee giftie.

Meet an old friend.

Lone-Star and I bought this clock for a great deal of money in Texas.

The day Lone-Star number one blew oil half way to down town Galveston.

Bringing expensive gifts to a dying man... is that some new fashion among the elite?

Not at all new.

Only in our time are the dying expected to pass on ecstatically... after one last sniff at no more than a bunch of flowers.

1 p.m. New York, Tokyo, 3am...

London, Paris...

Bangkok...

7 p.m. in Rome. No, Venice, I guess.

Fabulous hourglass, fabulous clock.

By some strange coincidence, both ladies have time on their minds.

So have you and I. So has everyone.

It's the one obsession common to all mankind.

In the beginning, there was time... and after mankind is over, whether we blow ourselves up or just end... there will still be time. Have respect for it, McFly.

What will you drink, ladies?

Root beer.

I'm afraid we haven't...

Of course not.

Billions of dollars exporting the American way of life... and most of the world still never heard of root beer.

Whisky and water, please.

I wouldn't have thought so.

I'm sure you meant that as a compliment, thank you.

"Fox's comfort"?

That's real whisky, I'll say that... but no ice, they make it out of canal water.

It's your drink, Miss Watkins.

No ice, thank you.

Are you sure Cecil sent for these two crows?

They haven't come on their own?

Both were invited, just as you were. I posted the letters myself.

You don't really believe the ice is made out of canal water?

Thank you.

What did he say in their letters?

I'm not at liberty to tell you.

Sit down, Sarah.

Your Highness, Miss McGill, you've met, I see.

At the elevator. We ran into each other.

May I present Mrs. Sheridan, Miss Watkins.

Princess Dominique and Miss Merle McGill.

How do you do.

How do you do.

What may I offer you to drink?

Is it alright if I just do it myself?

Of course.

Carpano, please.

Just as you ladies joined us, Mrs. Sheridan was suggesting...

I disclose to her what Mr. Fox wrote in his letters to you.

Naturally, I rejected her suggestion.

However, if either, or both of you, wish to disclose the contents... of your private correspondence...

Thank you.

It can wait till tomorrow morning. I'd rather hear it from Ceece anyway.

When's supper, McFly?

The mildew through these walls, the damp through the window...

Sarah, put a match to that fire.

I am neither mildewed nor damp. I don't want a fire.

I'm real cosy.

Sorry. The democratic process, it seems.

Go get me a wrap, Sarah.

Never mind.

Forget the wrap.

I think I'll just turn on a little heat of my own.

I gave Cecil Fox his first drink of that.

When it was called "Crockett's comfort".

My daddy made it in the cellar.

Now, you two.

First thing in the morning, out.

If you're still here at ten o'clock, your bags get dropped in the canal.

When it comes to the canal, care to join me at an open window?

How about this one right now?

Please. I'm sorry, but the man you've all come to see is dying.

He is a human being, after all.

Miss Watkins has a point of course.

I have a growing concern about our safety.

This woman is obviously a lunatic. I suggest we call the police.

Let's call the newspapers.

Some of those darling Italian photographers with their cameras.

What could you tell the press, that we don't already know?

Are you ready?

Hang on to your crown, Highness. And your bottle, lowness.

I could tell them first, I'm the only one with any right to be here.

Second, I'm the only one who could possibly inherit Cecil's fortune... because third, and here it comes...

I happen to be Cecil Fox's common law wife.

Then how come your name is Sheridan?

Because his full name is Cecil Sheridan Fox.

I took the middle one for my own after he deserted me.

How long did you share a common domicile?

More than long enough.

In what state?

Colorado, where common law marriage is still recognised.

You were known to be living together as man and wife?

Charge accounts, joint bank accounts, hotel registers, official documents.

I've got a vault full, including legal opinions.

Rest your case, McFly.

If what she says is true, and it would be absurd for her to lie...

I must say she has a very strong legal claim to the estate... of Cecil Fox.

Well now, you sure you girls don't feel damp?

Maybe even a little mildewed?

Signori, il pranzo servito.

Grazie.

That clock's five minutes fast.

We're way up the creek, know what that means?

Take my word for it.

We've got to come up with a paddle real quick.

Is it personal compassion for the man at whose deathbed... this bloody battle was fought?

I've never met him, but, poor Mr. Fox...

I should've known.

One of the characters was bound to be the voice for morality.

Sarah, have you got my B complex, C and iron?

Yes, Mrs. Sheridan.

Don't just stand there. Bring it in here.

Nothing very moral about public humiliation... especially when you're being paid to take it.

If you want to know what time it is in Venice, it's the same as Rome.

They finally worked that out, did they?

That one looks like the old days, we used to wind clocks by hand.

At one time, it belonged to Lucrecia Borgia.

Did she give it to you?

I bought it from her father, the Pope. Did you know him?

Just to say hello to.

There's something on your mind, Bunny. Won't you tell me?

Well.

What's all this about Mrs. Sheridan being your common law wife?

McFly told me about her incredible behaviour before dinner.

He seemed to think she had a good legal case.

Only in the event that I die intestate.

I thought you had a heart attack.

Intestate means without a will.

But you've already made your will, right?

All filled out and legally witnessed... with only the name of my heir left blank.

You can't be comfortable, bent over like this, with all these clothes on.

Another thing. Dominique, the queen...

Royalty. Not like us, not like you and me... proud of our basic animal emotions.

Where we feel, they pretend.

God, you're basic.

You even smell basic. What's that perfume?

It comes from the jungle, the natives dip their arrows in it.

Remember the game we used to play, "Baby Fox and Mummy Bunny"?

How could I forget such a fine basic game?

Mr. Fox.

Both of those broads are basically after your dough.

And you, Bunny?

You know money never meant anything to me.

Cops!

This is not a motel in the suburbs of Los Angeles.

This is my palazzo in Venice, Italy.

There's some kind of police boat down there.

Selling tickets for their regatta, no doubt, McFly will handle it.

Mummy Bunny, come back to the nest.

I'm too scared.

After all, who am I to complain?

Others have died without knowing true gratitude.

Others like me, Gengis Khan, Attila the Hun, Hitler...

Silly boy. I wouldn't look twice at Hitler.

Handle him easy, boys.

What are you doing in his room?

Mr. Fox invited me.

A likely story.

Get out of here, but don't leave the house.

I might want to search your luggage.

You're not giving any orders yet, Mr. Fox isn't dead yet.

He looks stiff as a mackerel to me.

Sarah, go see if there are any signs of life left.

Come on boys, snap it up.

Mrs. Sheridan, this is outrageous. What are you doing here?

High time somebody did something around this place.

A man laying there about to... Or just did... die.

These two harpies running in and out like mice...

I've sent for an ambulance...

His doctors say Mr. Fox is not to be moved.

I asked about those doctors, Strauss and Strauss.

Nobody at Venice hospital ever heard of them.

Is he still with us, Sarah?

He seems to have a very good pulse, but it's terribly fast.

Running lickety-split to Judgement Day, that's why.

OK, boys, take him out.


Halt. Rimettetelo.

Are you still trying to make trouble?

Only if you force me to. I've had three years of law school.

If you move Mr. Fox against the orders of his physicians... and if, as a result of your meddling, his death is hastened by 5 minutes...

I'll hold you fully accountable.

I'm doing what I think is right.

Even if it's wrong?

Being a common law wife does not entail a right to commit murder.

You complained of the cold and damp.

For your information, the jails in Venice are under water.

OK.

If ever I needed a good night's sleep, it's tonight... because, in the morning, out you go, all of you.

Come on, Sarah.


I haven't seen anything like you since the last appearance of Houdini.

For a while there you were out of a job.

I just couldn't find a cue to pick up.

Inspiration struck. There's a fat bonus awaiting you, my boy.

Get me a cigar, will you?

I find you a young man of infinite resource, McFly.

That's what you advertised for, remember?

I do hope Lone-Star sleeps well, as I intend to.

So that when we meet in the morning...

There's been nothing like it since Waterloo.

As I see it, we're in the middle of Act III.

Any particular play?

A 17th century classic by Ben Jonson, no less.

Volpone, by Act III, has promised his fortune to two greedy old friends.

Check. He looks forward to bamboozling a third. Check.

They've all bought him expensive gifts. Check.

He's wheedled additional dough out of one or more.

Check. Probably.

For an actor, you're bright.

It doesn't take a bright one to recognise "Volpone".

Even stupid actors dream of playing Mosca, his loyal servant.

Volpone is the better part.

Not in the play.

In my version, it is.

I can't wait to hear your finish.

In the play they both wound up in jail.

With one of these in your fist it's like hitting a man with a hammer.

OK. Put it back.

I hit Ceece once.

Not like that, with a four-pound T-bone steak.

He half killed me.

Then we made love.

Living with him...

Lawd-a-mighty, the way he went at life.

Like he wanted to live it, minute by minute.

There was this... secret ambition he had.

You'd never guess.

Nobody would.

Nobody ever knew except me.

What Cecil Fox really wanted... more than anything in the whole world... was to dance.

Really dance.

Poor Cecil, he wanted to so much...

What was that thing he practised to... day after day, hour after hour?


You know what would be wonderful?

If life was like a movie script.

Even they have so few happy endings these days.

You want... dissolves... you got.

You can't say the world wouldn't be better.

Without Mrs. Sheridan, it would be better.

See what I mean?

Wouldn't it be nice if dissolve... and Mrs. Sheridan was dead?

The strange things that come into your mind.

In this movie I did once, there was this old bag with all this money... and there were these two nephews. And one night... this old bag was found dead, with a broken neck.

If it wasn't accidental, one of the nephews must've done it.

Did one of them do it?

Nobody ever found out. That was the gimmick.

Because both nephews swore they were together all night playing gin rummy.

That is a strange thing to come to your mind.

These two nephews must've trusted each other completely.

It was the only way either one could win.

Otherwise, they'd both lose.

In the last seven months, with Mrs. Sheridan...

I've travelled to 31 cities, all beautiful.

31 hotel rooms, 31 hotel restaurants.

And I have this to tell them apart.

A charm for every city we've visited from Paris to Marrakech.

What does that little key open, the Bastille?

Or a miniature chastity belt?

Mrs. Sheridan's medicine case. I wear it on my bracelet for safety.

Safety?

It's the sleeping capsules I'm concerned about mostly.

Yes, I've hear tell, her anxiety about sleep.

Tonight, of course, it was particularly difficult.

I can imagine. How did you manage?

It's rather involved.

I give her a sleeping capsule and a massage until she drops off.

There's always a bottle of capsules beside her bed.

And at precisely 3 a.m. I give her another.

Why doesn't she help herself?

That's not a good idea. She's never quite awake, confused.

She wouldn't realise how many she was taking.

Actually, the capsules in that bottle...

What about them?

Nothing, I just prefer to be there.


Another brandy?

And when they died, I was ten.

My grandmother took me in.

She let the maid go. I took over her room and her job.

I became what you could call... a specialist in complaining women.

It seemed only logical I should make it my profession.

What happened along the way to your own life?

It seems to me it stayed just as it had been at age ten.

Unchanged really.

Never a man?

You'll find this hard to believe, but... truthfully, there isn't a man whose face I can remember.

It's been a long day. I've got to get up at 3.

Sarah.

Will you stay here a few minutes? I've an important call to make.

Certainly.

Thank you.

Sarah, the world is so much safer... from motel windows.

You talk too much.


You tell me your dreams and I'll tell you mine.

How stupid to go off like that. Have you been back long?

No, not long.

There was a delay before my call went through.

Isn't it rather late to be telephoning people?

There was no other time.

Thank you for sending me this.

Sitting alone at a table, it can be a handy prop.

Actors talk. What about the law? Couldn't you be a lawyer?

It's risky, practising without a licence. I quit before my last year.

Too difficult?

I was among the top 5. Number 3.

Then why did you stop?

Truthfully? The number of lawyers who make a lot of money is very small... and it's a long wait before you know if you're in the big game.

And if you're not, it's too late.

If all you want is to make a lot of money out of law.

Even the voice of morality could sound less pompous than that.

Law's a profession, not a calling.

Why are you so irritable? Did the call upset you?

On the contrary. Something that was upsetting me is no longer a problem.

Then you're being much too touchy for a man with one less problem.

It's after 12, I'd no idea.

It was barely 11 when you made your call.

I don't remember.


I wonder, will you remember my face?

I don't understand you.

Do you always turn away from what you don't understand?

Of course not.

Just what might be frightening.

Men, maybe? Maybe me?

I just don't want to be helpless.

But you do. That's exactly how you want to be.

I've never known a woman so much like an open city.

I don't trust you.

Then don't tell me.

Never say what you feel, especially to men about men.

Your grandmother should have taught you that.

Here we are.


The coroner has left with her body.

Just when everything was going so well, now all the fun's gone.

There's a cop on the premises.

The laws of Venice must've changed since the 17th century.

I doubt it.

What was jolly people baiting yesterday... might strike him as uncomical extortion today.

Nonsense.

Even if he found out, as a Venetian, he'd be enchanted with our prank.

Comisario Rizzi? I have the honour to present Signor Fox.

The honour is to me.

I have known the name of Signor Fox for many years.

Such a benefactor to our beloved Venice.

Patria ma.

What a pity that the occasion should be so unhappy.

She was a fine, noble lady.

Excuse me. The unhappiness I refer to is your condition... to find you so indisposed... so... one is told... near the end?

If you find it bearable, could you answer a few questions?

To my last breath, the least I could do.

Che coraggio.

Tell me then, Mrs. Sheridan... who you knew for so many years... could she be suddenly sad for some reason?

Suddenly depressed?

I understand your implication, Inspector Rizzi... but I must reject any suggestions... that this happy woman might take her own life.

How could she, with everything to live for?

Well, there's this large, empty bottle... which contained her sleeping pills.

It was beside her bed and full... when Nurse Watkins went out last night with Mr. McFly.

Sleeping pills still, after all these years.

Just to recall last night, very quickly.

You and Nurse Watkins returned at what time?

About a quarter to one.

D'accordo. She then discovered the body about three.

How and when were you made aware of Mrs. Sheridan's death?

Around 5. The cook called me, he'd found Miss Watkins in the kitchen.

She'd told him.

What was she doing in the kitchen?

Drinking tea.

Drinking tea in the kitchen, leaving Mrs. Sheridan dead and all alone?

At that point, what harm could happen to Mrs. Sheridan?

If only I'd seen her yesterday, as I did the others...

I must've upset her, made her feel...

Please, Mr. Fox, you must not punish yourself.

You too have much to live for, even for a little while.

You have a deep understanding for humanity, inspector.

In my work, one is thrown up against so much of it...

Did I understand you to say that this door was locked last night?

Yes, by me, from the inside. I also locked the bedroom and garden door... to be sure Mr. Fox remained undisturbed during the night.

Do you understand?

Most certainly.

In my own home, with my wife and daughters...

I do not possess a key even for the bathroom.

That oaf must imagine himself the son of Charlie Chan and Jerry Mason.

Perry Mason.

Really? Are you sure?

It's cold.

One of our characters begins to puzzle me.

We've never met, I know little about her.

Sarah?

The nurse Watkins, as Salvador Holmes calls her.

Tell me, faithful McMosca, do we underestimate bouncy little Sarah?

I wouldn't worry about her.

She was never really part of the plot.

At most, someone for Lone-Star to talk to.

Now, for a few jousts at poker, my boy... get our blood abubble... make ready to face the day.

Hasn't there been a change of mood? A while ago, all the fun had gone.

It's all going too well to stop.

I may sound heartless, but damn it, Lone-Star would've approved.

She'd want me to carry on till the finish.

My finish.

Shall we run it once more as I wrote it?

What?

Oh, yes, master, the finish.

You will have pretended to die.

You'll be lying on your bed and I will have summoned the three... now two, grieving ladies to hear me read your last will and testament.

I'll read it slowly and loudly to be heard above the sobbing...

Iooking at each significantly... hinting that she is the lucky one.

At the suspenseful moment, I'll wait, holding it as long as possible... torturing them with it, before I read the name... of your sole heir.

William McFly. Great shock. Commotion.

You suddenly come back to life! Screams, thrills, laughter...

End of play. End of part. End of job.

Let me see that will.

Just the way you gave it to me, blank.

I won't fill in my name until the very last minute.

Sit down and cut.

Just a few hands.

I don't like Rizzi running around loose.

You can lock yourself in, I'll use the garden stairs.

Your bet, or did your lavish wooing of Nurse Watkins... leave you penniless, silly romantic boy?

Always got enough.

The passport and money I'm required to take with me.

Mrs. Sheridan's family, her next of...

How do you say it? Kind?

Kin.

I don't believe she had any.

And, among her papers, do you know if there's a will?

I've no idea.

In any case, this is a matter for the American Consul and for lawyers.

Come in.

Miss McGill, I understand, of course... the necessity for you to arrive in Venice incognito.

I wouldn't go anywhere uninvited.

I must've used the wrong word, my English is...

I guess is must be hard for you to imagine... a man like Cecil Fox and I...

Not hard at all.

But how can I say it?

He was my first... man.

Somehow, you just never forget your first man.

I remember mine, vividly.

He also got away.

OK, Seamus, so what's on your mind?

Or to be exact, on both your minds.

Seamus. You use too many American idioms I do not know.

If you swallow the bushwah given off by that royal deep freeze... you could wind up the biggest jerk cop that ever swam a beat in Venice.

Hopeless.

Maybe you agree with Her Highness... that it's a good idea if I knocked off Mrs. Sheridan.

Maybe you got a piece of her action!

"Knocked off', this I recognise.

I didn't, and she did.

Miss McGill, I have accused nobody of anything.

As for "la principessa", Her Highness...

I have not yet seen her... much less, spoken with her.

Well, I am sorry, Inspector.

I don't know why I blew my stack like that.

I guess it's this whole situation.

After all, honesty is the best policy, right?

Debatable, but at the moment I'd appreciate it.

When you talk to Princess Dominique, you know what she'll tell you?

If I had such a capability, I'd never get out of bed.

She'll say she and I were here, in my room... all night, playing gin rummy together.

That'll be a lie.

For one thing, she can't even play gin rummy.

Fascinating.

Why would she choose a game she could not play?

It was stupid of her, but the game isn't important.

The point is, it's lucky for me it turned out the way it did.

You too, huh, Inspector?

For me?

I know you'd have solved the murder anyway, but maybe not so soon.

If indeed there was a murder.

What else? Talk about motive!

Did you know that Mrs. Sheridan was Cecil Fox's common law wife?

With her alive, Princess Dominique wouldn't stand a chance.

Then neither would you.

However, with Mrs. Sheridan dead... and the Princess arrested for murder... that would leave only you, Miss Merle McGill.

Non vero?

Avanti.

An unfortunate accident, let us say.

How long have you worked in your profession, Inspector?

How long?

Sometimes, I think, before there were canals in Venice.

Surely even an amateur, investigating a death so sudden and mysterious... would examine the activities of everyone in this house last night.

Even I have.

I've learned that you played gin rummy all night... with Miss McGill, in her room.

For your further information, I've never been in her room.

I cannot play gin rummy. I know nothing about it.

It seems you were fooled, Rizzi.

Altezza.

You must understand I cannot accept either your testimony... or that of Miss McGill as trustworthy.

Because, quite simply, you each have too much to gain by it.

I have no need for Mr. Fox's money.

That is what truly baffles me.

This incredible wealth that nobody needs and everybody wants.


Have you changed your room, Nurse Watkins?

Very understandable. Unpleasant associations.

No, I haven't.

Then, whose room have you just come out of?

It would be senseless not to tell me. Any servant...

Mr. McFly's room.

Was Mr. McFly in it?

Were you looking for someone? Some thing?

Is it idiotic of me to go on asking questions... since you obviously do not intend to answer.

I'm afraid so, Inspector.

Legally, I can insist that you tell me this much.

Do you wish to change your opinion that Mrs. Sheridan's death... was accidental?

No, I do not wish to change it.

So.

Nurse Watkins, if at any time, for whatever reason... you should feel otherwise, it is most important that you call me at once.

Will you?

Yes.


Mr. Fox?

Whom did you expect, the fairy queen?

You probably think that's a vulgar remark.

Edmund Spencer, I believe.

Quite the egghead.

What are you gaping at? Have you never seen a man in a garden?

Not a dying one, dancing.

That's your loss.

Actually, I do have these short periods of well-being.

Tell me, how does my garden strike you?

It's almost overwhelming.

I think I like best this simple spot right here.

The potting shed, nothing to do with the garden at all.

You feel more at home here? Your profession suits you well.

You have a bedpan's eye view of life and nature.

Now, that was a vulgar remark.

Spare me the modesty of your desires. Piffle. "I like simple things"... means "I can't afford what I want".

You couldn't give me your precious garden. It's not really alive.

It's as if it were embalmed hundreds of years ago.

Now who's being vulgar? Speaking to a dying man about embalming...

You goaded me into it.

Of course I did. And you bounced right back.

You are a bouncy thing, I sensed it the moment I spotted you.

How would you like to be my nurse?

Not very much, thank you.

Snap judgement, but I won't hold you to it.

There'll be plenty of time to talk it over after the others have gone.

Gone?

They can't hang about indefinitely if I'm improving like this.

Or did you think I meant "gone" in the sense that Lone-Star went?

I wasn't sure.

No, one like that is quite enough.

Come, walk with me in my Elizabethan garden.

Take off your low heel prejudices. Let it grow around you.

I can't get over how well you seem.

Mr. McFly's reports have been so gloomy.

He seems to feel you're sinking fast.

Does he? I imagine he thinks it's best not to raise false hopes.

Rather thoughtful, don't you agree?

Sarah, you don't agree at all.

You think it very strange that McFly should want everyone to think...

Mr. Fox is worse, when he's really better.

McFly kept our little game a secret from you, did he?

Game?

More of a joke really, a pleasantry.

I still don't understand.

I haven't had a heart, or any other kind of attack.

I've never been healthier in my life.

But your letter to Mrs. Sheridan and the other two...?

All part of it.

I've been important to each at some time in their lives... and one humdrum day I found myself wondering how important I'd remained.

It seemed an amusing experiment.

And was Mr. McFly part of this game?

Part of it? McFly was not only my stage manager... but one of the chief players.

But then, Mrs. Sheridan was...?

She died during what was really just a practical joke?

That was hardly foreseeable, after all.

But then, with Mr. Fox perfectly healthy and McFly knowing it... murdering Mrs. Sheridan made no sense at all.

Do you know what marked the hours on this sundial originally?

17 forty carat sapphires... each set in a circle of pear-shaped diamonds to catch the light.

Tell me... what if there was one remaining sapphire surrounded by diamonds... and I wanted you to have it, would you accept it?

Certainly not.

Do you know how much of what you call living it would pay for?

That bed-sitting room would be yours in perpetuity.

Hundreds of burglar-proof girdles, thousands of watercress sandwiches.

I loathe watercress, I don't wear a girdle, and that isn't the point.

What is?

What you'd expect in return.

You'd want the diamond studded sapphire for nothing?

What makes you so sure I would want it at all?

Have you your notebook ready? Our topic is larceny.

I seem to have accidentally blundered into the wrong classroom.

Accidentally?

Just wandered through a wall panel up a private staircase... into my garden, by sheer coincidence?

As a matter of fact, I was looking for...

A new route to India?

Larceny, in one meaning, is theft of course... but it has another more attractive one. Larceny is also a talent.

Therefore, an instinct, like an instinct for sound, colour, design.

One either has it, or one hasn't.

Wherever individuals of great talent... or those who have otherwise deviated from the normal meet... there's an instant, instinctive recognition.

So it is with us, the larcenous at heart. Do you follow me?

That's utter nonsense.

You're being very persuasive, but I know damn well what you're after.

You have the advantage on me, I don't know just what you're after... but I'm quite sure you are, or will be, after something.

To begin with, assuming it's true that you're playing this game... what if I were to expose you?

In the first place, the game's as good as over.

And secondly, you won't.

One doesn't, if one is you.

Later than I thought. I must go and unlock some doors.

My mourners may think me already dead and break them down.

McFly must also know the game is over, or as good as.

Any questions?

Any answers?

You can find your way out?

But it isn't over at all.

Mr. Fox thinks it is, but the joke isn't his anymore.

It's on him. And the game will go on.

It's perfectly clear that Mr. Fox will simply be the next one to die.


Ben Jonson's "Volpone".

Mr. Fox's harmless, tasteless charade...

plus one murder.

And soon, another, unless you stop McFly.

Stop him then, Sarah.

Simply pick up the telephone, and call... as Inspector Rizzi hoped you would.

We missed you at dinner.

You manage to come and go so quietly?

Both ladies laughed at all my jokes, thought I was most attractive.

I can imagine.

At college I skipped meals too to read.

He has a first rate library.

I wouldn't know.

Seems to favour Elizabethans.

Shakespeare, of course, Marlowe, Bacon...

You needn't strain your memory. I know all about the little joke.

I hope you're not becoming involved... it is no longer little, amusing or safe.

You know I am involved.

For 24 hours, forget everything you've seen, heard and know.

As a favour.

Surely I've done enough already.

Already?

You murdered Mrs. Sheridan. I haven't told Rizzi, or anybody else yet.

Isn't that quite enough?

It would seem so.

You knew, because I told you, about her sleeping habits.

And about the bottle beside her bed... that was emptied to make her death seem accidental or suicide.

What I didn't tell you... was that the pills were completely harmless.

You must've killed her with sleeping pills you brought along.

You could've bought them, no prescription is required in Italy.

That may be proof that Mrs. Sheridan was murdered... but not that I murdered her.

Isn't the phrase, more legalistically, "proof positive"?

That's what I had to find and I have found.

Will you tell me?

First, I want a favour from you.

No, let's call it an ultimatum.

From this minute it is you who are to become uninvolved... it is you who are to stop playing this... game, or joke, or script.

And if I don't or can't?

If you insist on finishing the play in your version...

I'll call Inspector Rizzi.

And tell him what?

That there was one full and one almost full of American quarters... in Mrs. Sheridan's handbag when we went out.

And that they were missing when I found her dead.

Was it coincidence that you paid the bill in the cafe with coins... and that you paid the gondolier with coins?

They could've been Italian, French, German...

I thought they might.

I hoped they might, that's why this morning I went into your room.

On your dresser I found a whole pile of...

these.

Is that the only one you took?

It's all that will be needed.

You've got yourself really involved.

I've no longer time to plead with you. You're to do as I say.

I told Merle and Dominique you had a severe headache.

They both had every reason for wanting Mrs. Sheridan dead.

You seem to have thought of everything.

It's my job, my part.

Stay in this room and keep your mouth tight shut.

Do as I say and you'll be safe.

Will you give me that enormous amount of money... you're so sure everybody craves?

I can't promise.

You can promise me... that Mr. Fox, who isn't dying, is going to die.

Did you intend to kill him soon?

Under no circumstances are you to say that.

I promise you somehow I will warn Cecil Fox.

One thing you must not even attempt.

For your own good. Believe me, Sarah.

Am I too being threatened?

In a way it's quite a relief, I assure you.

That was a silly thing to try.

Not the silliest I've tried.

Can I help?

I'm rather good at packing.

Heavy luggage. It's a long swim to the station.

One simply calls for a water taxi.

Does one, simply?

If you'll excuse the expression, dead.

All gone, up to and including the cook.

How do I know? No room service, so I went looking.

Surely I can get out to the street?

Doors to the street are all locked.

Fox is locked in with what sounds like Leonard Bernstein gone ape.

Across the hall, Tarzan is locked in with Jane.

No phones, no servants, in this whole palace.

Just you and me, we're loose.


How the hell did you get there?

I pulled myself up.

What?

I pulled myself up.

Well pull yourself down again.

I'm afraid to let go, please, help me out.

Shinning up waiter shafts to get at me. You can let go.

Bonny bit of leg, what's the rest like?

You're perspiring, aren't you afraid of catching cold?

This is not perspiration, this is the healthy sweat of a male body.

I exercise strenuously.

Mrs. Sheridan told me. It's touching you want to be a dancer.

A small boy's dream of glory.

I'll admit to you, a couple of things money can't buy.

Talent, for one.

The other, the body a ballet dancer must have.

Mr. Fox, the reason...

Yours, on the other hand, is equal to any demand.

Mark you, I'm only guessing, Shall we...

It is a very serious reason.

Sensitive spirit, kind and thoughtful.

Let me tell you.

You're a speedy thing. Wouldn't you like to lie down?

If I hadn't come to warn you, you'd have been murdered.

An attempt will be made to kill you, probably tonight.

Anyone I know?

I'd like to sit down. Will you promise not to molest me?

Molest? You make it sound like something in a public park.

Chocolate covered marzipan with gold centres.

Instant relief for the oversexed, such as you.

Now, about my imminent assassination.

To begin with, I found the copy of "Volpone" in your library...

I thought you would. You're bright. And bouncy.

McFly doesn't like me calling you bouncy.

McFly? His name is quite a clue, isn't it?

The Italian word for fly being "mosca".

That's quite a coincidence, Mr. Volpone, Italian for fox.

His name got him his job. Two others came close.

Herr Fledermaus, a German, and an Algerian called Tsetse.

Mr. Fox...

McFly is much closer to being Mosca than just his name.

An interesting discovery. The gold centres lift right out.

In the play, you remember...

Mosca writes his own name in Volpone's will... and almost winds up with everything.

Both Mosca and Volpone are sent to jail, but the point is...

McFly should be tossed in the clink, for cheating at cards.

Cards? No, he wouldn't do that.

Wouldn't he? Do you know how often he's lost at poker? Not once.

No matter how carefully I mark the cards, he wins.

Don't tell me he doesn't cheat.

Not at cards.

But if the game were worth the risk I'm sure he'd commit murder.

Look. Suppose that man A... has in his possession the will of dying man B... by which A could inherit all of B's fortune.

Suddenly, a woman appears who could claim the estate as B's wife.

A knows that B is not dying.

So your conclusion, a motive for killing the woman, makes no sense.

You forget A, McFly... is the only person who knows that B, you, are not dying.

You have written in letters that you are.

Your servants will swear to it.

Two famous women would corroborate it in court, if necessary.

But it will never come even be investigated.

The death of so distinguished a patron of Venice as Cecil Fox.

After a fine funeral and a proper show of grief...

McFly will have it all.

Actually, the way you tell it...

I can prove McFly murdered Mrs. Sheridan.

If you can, I think you should.

Well... when he took me out last evening... to get me away from the house...

Do you drink whisky?

With water, please.

He left me alone at the cafe... to make a call, he said.

Instead, he came back here.

It's only a few minutes, by motorboat.

He woke Mrs. Sheridan with some excuse... gave her enough pills to make her groggy...

That would've been easy, she would've insisted.

And then, enough to kill her. Thank you.

As it turned out, he could use me as an alibi.

I fell asleep while he was gone.

I really couldn't say how long he was away.

You described a possibility, you haven't proved it.

Why must it have been McFly? Merle could've done it, or Dominique.

Anyone here. Even I could've done it.

I've known Lone-Star's sleeping habits far longer than even you.

Then here's the proof positive, as the lawyers say.

They've sworn to keep the language of law unintelligible.

If only it weren't so positive. That's what upsets me.

It's hard for me to believe he'd be so stupid.

How stupid?

Childishly.

Mrs. Sheridan always had rolls of American quarters in her handbag.

They were the only thing missing when I came home to find her dead.

This morning, I sneaked into McFly's room and found a whole pile of them.

Yes, that was stupid. Incredibly stupid.

I wish...

I don't know what I wish. If only he were more, or less stupid...

If he could understand everybody can't want and have everything... because then everything would be worthless.

I don't want to sound like a voice for morality.

It makes him angry and you angry, but...

There are some things...

What things?

Not gold, perhaps, but still precious... not negotiable, not even legal tender, just... tender.

Love, for example.

You can't even say it, you poor man. You make it sound like hate.

You believe in love like an act of faith? I'm sorry for you.

And you don't.

Neither does he.

I wish that weren't so.

Tell me, Sarah... why haven't you told all this to Inspector Rizzi?

Or have you?

No, I wanted to protect McFly, at least till I was sure.

Satisfied that it was morally proper to lie to the law... you did meet your moral responsibility to confront McFly... with all your suspicions?

I certainly did.

And all of your evidence?

Of course.

Of course.

You haven't the brains of a moth.

Like all your sex, incapable of minding your own business.

Unfit even to save your own neck.

My neck is safe, for now.

McFly doesn't know I'm here.

He said, when he locked me in my room I'd be safe... as long as I stayed there and kept my mouth shut.

I felt I owed you...

Owed me? Why?

Why? You were in danger of being killed.

No human can sit by while another human...

It's the history of humanity.

Humans sitting by while others are killed.

Who are you to rewrite it?

You'd no reason to help me, I deny that.

Didn't it ever occur to that idiotic goodness of heart... you think all mankind has in common with you, like spit... that you might be forcing the murderer into another?

That's the chance one has to take.

No, one hasn't!

Those are my chocolates, if you want one, ask.

Damn clocks.

The sun's coming up in Bangkok.

It's getting late in Venice.

Bangkok too.

What makes you think sunrise is only early, mothbrain?

It's damn late everywhere.

Nothing like gold to pass the time, there never was.

Watch. See the colour of time.

Golden.

How little most people value time. Little people.

Like everything, they choose what's more, not what's better.

Even time.

They'll pray to live 100 long, miserable years.

Feel cheated, if they only had 50 of the best.

Quantity, yes. Quality, no.

Venice is tiny and precious. Los Angeles, gigantic and terrifying.

Who wants it? Most people, that's who.

There's good time and bad time.

Do clocks give a damn what they measure?

No, but we do. We special ones.

We slow down for the good, sip it second by second, like good wine.

We speed up the bad.

Little people, chumps, swallow time like hamburger.

100 years of well done hamburger, they'll all settle for that.

If I were to tell you, that for me... the next 10 minutes of my life will be fuller and richer... than the next 10 years for any chump in London, Paris...

Rome, New York, Bangkok... Would you know what I meant?

Honestly, no.

Bouncy little mothbrain. I appreciate what you tried to do for me.

Now, you must do what McFly says, go to your room and stay there.

Will you be alright? Sure?

Quite sure. Nothing to worry about.

A chocolate for your voyage?

Thank you.

A farewell kiss?

Haven't been kissed like that since I was seven.

In you get.

Legs like those on a voice for morality... as unrewarding as the lower half of a mermaid.

Good night, Mr. Fox.

Good night, nurse.


Rome, London, New York, Paris, Tokyo.

Bangkok.


I have gin, I think.

Are you sure you never played this before?

Quite sure, why?

Just like this when Heifetz first picked up the fiddle.


Gin, I think.

Porca miseria!

Come with me, please.

"And since my beloved Venice... will undoubtedly bestow upon her devoted son, Cecil Fox... the tribute of a state funeral... it is my wish that this be conducted as far as possible..."

McFly, can't we skip all this jazz?

No. "According to the spirit and custom of my own 17th century."

Surely you can read this part later?

No, I can't.

A man's will is the last script he writes.

You might have the decency to hear it the way he wrote it.

Somebody's in that lift.

What's going on? Who's in the elevator?

There's very little time left.

May I finish this last scene? The last clause in his will?

"In the event my dying precedes my naming an heir... to all of my estates and effects, both known to and unknown... and the insertion of that name in the presently blank space... designating said heir... the heir, designated and written in by William McFly... shall be my heir in fact and deed as if designated by me... and his or her name written in by me in my hand."

Nurse Watkins. I guess she discovered I unlocked her door.

Be a good fellow, we will not question the legality.

Jump right to the name of Fox's heir.

If you like...

"The name of the heir is..."

William McFly.

What do you expect? Reactions?

No more reactions.

Ladies and gentlemen, that concludes the performance.

The play is over.

Play? What play? Where?

Here, Altezza.

An English classic. "Volpone".

An interrupted version, however.

We found him where you said we might. He has been removed.

Then Mr. Fox is dead?

Completely.

Now that the play is over, we must face some realities.

Mr. McFly, please.

Well, reality number one.

Cecil Sheridan Fox died broke. Busted.

Not a cent.

He had at least four mortgages on this palazzo.

Two legitimate, in New York and London... two under the table in Rome and Beirut.

One more, in Hong Kong.

I checked the locked rooms yesterday, one by one.

Cobwebs and mice.

Every bit of furniture is rented from movie studios in Munich... and Rome.

Rental unpaid, so far. Oddly enough, the books are his.

He must've really loved them.

My salary kept slipping his mind.

He used his fake illness to keep the unpaid servants away.

Told them all they'd inherit fortunes.

But when they heard the phone and electricity were to be cut off...

Cecil Fox attempted to use the plot of "Volpone"... to extract money from three women.

So far, so clear.

But he was not dying, and he's now dead.

Why? How?

Exactly.

The fact that Mr. Fox turned out to be poor is unimportant.

What is important is you have his murderer. True?

True.

Murdered?

Excuse me, Inspector, I've got to make a call...

Later, Miss McGill.

First, we shall all go to see Fox's chamber.

Altezza.


Same damn record, day and night.

One thing I could never understand.

It's not all you couldn't.

Can you explain it, Nurse Watkins?

Yes, Mrs. Sheridan told me.

It was Mr. Fox's lifelong ambition to become a ballet dancer.

I don't know why he chose "The dance of the hours".

Maybe the title appealed to him.

A ballet dancer? And him, built like a pogo stick.

One could surmise that Fox performed quite a dance last night.

Or put up a struggle.

The clock from Miss McGill smashed to bits.

And there, that of Mrs. Sheridan, also pulverised.

Can we check the inventory later? I'm starved. Who's for breakfast?

You'll have to make it yourself, remember?

There is a box of wonderful chocolate...

Chocolates? What do you know about the chocolates, Nurse Watkins?

I must've heard.

He opened a brand new box yesterday afternoon.

I don't know, I must've been mistaken.

It was found in the garden, at the sun dial... with Mr. Fox, empty.

Empty? A two pound box?

Nurse Watkins, tell us when you last saw Fox, and why.

Last night. I'm not ashamed. I knew he'd be killed, I had to warn him.

You had to do nothing. You were told...

All sit down and be quiet.

Now. Regarding the murder of Mrs. Sheridan...

Both of them?

I chose to ignore your mutual accusations, of course.

But I was forced to respect the suspicions of Mr. McFly.

Very clever, I must say.

Zitto!

We all know now about the "Volpone" bit.

While we're listening, couldn't we send for pizza?

No.

I was hired to play a part, and I played it.

But I couldn't think it through.

What was Fox going to use for a finish? That's what bugged me.

Like Volpone, he intended to be alive, but he isn't, he's dead.

Don't be obvious. Don't interrupt. Sit down.

Then, when Mrs. Sheridan dropped the bombshell... about being Fox's common law wife, it hit me.

It was hard to believe but I had to check it. I was on the spot.

Accessory after the fact, accomplice to whatever Fox was up to.

There were too many ways that Mosca could take the rap.

Taking you out that night was his idea, not mine.

Thanks awfully.

While you were asleep, I did make a phone call, to a friend in Rome.

It was a long call. I had to wait and call back... but it was worth it, because here's what I came up with.

You ran out of money some time ago...

Fox couldn't count on you for much.

Although you threw in everything you had.

That fabulous hourglass. He shouldn't have destroyed it, I'm sorry.

And there's a hot rumour you've got money problems.

There's a hot rumour Sofia Loren's a boy.

Oscar Ludwig is lining up all the commitments he can... waving percentages, demanding big cash advances.

Oscar, on his toes every minute.

You and I both know what that means.

Ludwig and his big mouth.

Which leaves Mrs. Sheridan.

According to my informant, a woman of truly fabulous wealth.

The kind you can't lie about.

In banks, stocks and bonds, real properties...

We only have your word about that phone call.

You were gone long enough to come here and murder everybody.

Nurse Watkins, what kind of an Anglo-Saxon woman are you?

Still insisting that your handsome lover has committed a crime.

My lover?

Mr. McFly, avanti.

It seems we all forgot one simple legal corollary.

To wit... if Mrs. Sheridan was Fox's wife, he was her common-law husband.

Maybe because it happens so seldom... it rarely occurs to women that men can also inherit money.

Darling baby Fox...

are you sure he's dead? Sure I didn't kill him?

I'll catch the last reel next time around.

For me, right now, it's coffee time. Dominique?

I don't want to miss a word.

I'll make a pot anyhow.

In case I don't see any of you before I leave, good.

Allora, the killing was easy.

Signor Fox could have wakened Mrs. Sheridan... convinced her he was looking after her... words she was hungry to hear for so many years... then stuffed her with his sleeping pills.

A unique murder, designed for one particular victim.

But, how to prove that Fox indeed committed it?

That's where the missing coins come in.

Forgive me, but which coins?

Sarah?

Why don't you tell them who stole the coins from her handbag?

Then I will. It was Fox who took them.

Not me, Sarah, Fox. The stupid Fox.

You're not even in his class.

I'm happy to know that, but how can you prove that he did?

He lost a fistful of them to me the morning after the murder.

The same ones you found in my room... while you were spying on me.

Talk about money grubbers. Aiming at millions, Cecil Fox... couldn't pass up a couple of crummy rolls of new quarters.

The perfect murder, the perfect crime...

Ioused up by a two bit poker game.

So, they have discovered, inside of Signor Fox... great quantities of the barbiturate that killed Mrs. Sheridan.

Cecil Fox, a suicide?

Let us now go to the spot where he chose to die.

While he obviously danced out... it is perhaps more respectful if we walk.

I, for one, would be happy to dance.

Coming?

I'm going to pack and get out.

And go where?

Where there's the least chance I'll see any of you again.

Mine in particular?

Any particular reason?

Thousands. You've made me out to be stupid, childish, naive, stupid...

You're repeating yourself. What of it?

Why didn't you tell me it was Mr. Fox?

I wasn't sure, until you told me about the coins.

It was late, I kept missing Rizzi at his house, at his office.

I only thought of the danger you were in.

I locked you in.

I outwitted you there.

That dumb waiter works both ways, it's how Fox murdered Mrs. Sheridan.

I locked him in too, at his own request.

Why didn't he kill me when I told him about the coins?

You probably told him you'd told me, right?

Killing you wouldn't have done any good. He assumed I'd call Rizzi.

He knew he had little precious time left.

You're very good at working these things out.

Seriously, you are.

Criminal aspects of the law always fascinated me.

It was torts and contracts that did me in.

Pity you gave it up.

Who knows?

Well? Coming or going?

Obviously, this is not the finish I had in mind... but I would suggest not reaching for your hats.

It's still my script they're playing.

Revised, of course.

But the manner of my death alone, for example...

I must say, most mysterious and without purpose... is the disappearance of the gold dust that was in this hourglass.

What baffles me is what Fox did with the two pounds of chocolates.

Well, for one thing, he seems to have been playing... a childish game of some kind.

See here.

Apparently, he carefully removed... the golden centres of the candies and piled them up.

May I, Inspector? Thank you.


Couldn't be anything else.

It's been tried in vain since the beginning of time and money.

Only Cecil Fox has, at long last, succeeded.

That greedy bastard actually took it with him.

True, true.

Each little sleeping pill, packed in 100 proof gold dust... chocolate covered marzipan, washed down with a swig of Fox's comfort.

My friends, I went, as nobody ever went..

There's a finish for you.

Before I say goodbye, may I clarify one point?

We would be most grateful.

Pretending is more common than you might think.

We live in a time of simulated flowers, diamonds... legs, hearts... all undetectable from the original.

This original was to be used only if the imitation was discovered.

What Mr. Fox took with him was sand. Golden dirt.

Goodbye, McFly.

Adieu, commissaire.

Au revoir.

There was no reason for Dominique to reveal the gold dust was fake.

It attributes nothing to the plot, merely cheapens my finish.

Cheat.

Unless I'm mistaken, larceny now rears her lovely head.

I've been walking around with Fox's will. Won't you need it?

As far as I'm concerned, it's just another dead prop.

I'll just leave it, then.

This would be quite a souvenir of quite a time.

Keep it as a memento, if you like. Alright with you, Rizzi?

It is you, after all, who has been legally designated... the guardian of Signor Fox's testament.

I'd almost forgotten. I'll even write in your name. How's that?

Would you?

Sure, if you really want it.

That way, it would really be mine.

Nobody could say I just found it.

According to Italian law, could she be held responsible... for debts the estate couldn't pay?

I don't see how. What is owed by the estate... the creditors must recover from the estate.

If they cannot, they do not. Basta.

Seems safe enough.

May I borrow your pen, Inspector?

Beautiful, bouncy, beautiful.

Thank you.

Here?

There.

Initial it too, please, just beside my name.

This is probably the most binding document since the Magna Carta.

Thank you.

And your signature, Inspector, as witness.

A great honour.

Genius, genius.

Thank you, Inspector.

And thank you, William.

Not at all. My pleasure.

I must say you're a most generous man, Mr. McFly.

I always have been, generous to a fault.

Since, as you know, the estate of Signor Fox... will inherit the estate of Mrs. Sheridan.

And if the size of her fortune... is anything like the fantastic amount we have been told...

Even after paying all of Mr. Fox's tremendous debts, there'd still be...

An enormous amount of money left over.

After all, isn't that exactly what Fox had in mind... when he murdered her?

I'm forced to admit this is almost as good a finish as my own.

There have been mothers who kill their young... there was Judas who betrayed with a kiss... traitors have posed as patriots... whores, as virgins, rat-finks as loyal friends...

Listen to me now... but never, in the written and unwritten annals of immorality... heartless, hypocritical, ruthless immorality...

You'll run out of adjectives. You might as well listen.

There's nothing you can say to me, ever.

Will you stop acting just for a minute?

Now.

To begin with, as we're probably going to be married...

Come now!

Married? I wouldn't so much as touch you... or breathe the air you breathe.

Well said, McFly.

There's your way out, bouncy. Off you go, hippety-hop..

First of all, you'll have to finish law school.

No, mothbrain, you're blowing your entire finish.

I have no intention of keeping this money.

What?

It's yours, and you will have it after we're married.

And after you are a lawyer.

And if I say no?

Say it, McFly, please.

If I were you, I'd think it over carefully before I said anything.

Arrivederci, Inspector. And thank you.

I salute you, Nurse Watkins.

I salute the Anglo-Saxon woman.

What kind of a man would I be?

What kind of a marriage would it be?

You couldn't respect me.

And I sure as hell couldn't respect you.

Sarah, come back here!

That's better. At least we're spared that closing panorama of beauty... where they walk together hand in hand across St Mark's square... into the dawn over Venice.

Perhaps too heavily symbolic, but my basic concept is there... of time being all there is, therefore, life.

Actually...

What's happened? I won't have it.

I will not have it!

Stop yelling so loud.

It's my story and I want it to finish my way.

But it didn't.

Neither did mine, you know.

It's kind of nice for young people to get together at the end.

Nice...

Ceece, let the folks go home now.

Folks...

Do you know what would be nice, Lone-Star? lf, just once... the bloody script turned out the way we wrote it.