Scripts: Psycho (revised draft, 01/Dec/1959) - part 1
"PSYCHO" By Joseph Stefano Based on the novel by Robert Bloch REVISED December 1, 1959 FADE IN: EXT. PHOENIX, ARIZONA - (DAY) - HELICOPTER SHOT Above Midtown section of the city. It is early afternoon, a hot mid-summer day. The city is sun-sunblanched white and its drifted-up noises are muted in blanched their own echoes. We fly low, heading in a downtown direction, passing over traffic-clogged streets, parking lots, white business buildings, neatly patterned residential districts. As we approach downtown section, the character of the city begins to change. It is darker and shabby with age and industry. We see railroad tracks, smokestacks, wholesale fruit-and- vegetable markets, old municipal buildings, empty lots. vegetable The very geography seems to give us a climate of nefariousness, of back-doorness, dark and shadowy. And secret. We fly lower and faster now, as if seeking out a specific location. A skinny, high old hotel comes into view. On its exposed brick side great painted letters advertise "Transients- Low Weekly Rates-Radio in Every Room." We pause long enough to establish the shoddy character of this hotel. Its open, curtainless windows, its silent resigned look so characteristic of such hole-and-corner hotels. We move forward with purposefulness and-toward a certain window. The sash is raised as high as it can go, but the shade is pulled down to three or four inches of the inside sill, as if the occupants of the room within wanted privacy but needed air. We are close now, so that only the lower half of the window frame is in shot. No sounds come from within the room. Suddenly, we tip downward, go to the narrow space between shade and sill, peep into the room. A young woman is stretched out on the mussed bed. She wears a full slip, stockings, no shoes. She lies in and attitude of physical relaxation, but her face, seen in the dimness of the room, betrays a certain inner-tension, worrisome conflicts. She is MARY CRANE, an tension, attractive girl nearing the end of her twenties and her rope. A man stands beside the bed, only the lower half of his figure visible. We hold on this tableau for a long moment, then start forward. As we pass under the window shade, CUT TO: INT. THE HOTEL ROOM - (DAY) A small room, a slow fan buzzing on a shelf above the narrow bed. A card of hotel rules is pasted on the mirror above the bureau. An unopened suitcase and a woman's large, straw open- top handbag are on the bureau. On the table beside the bed there are a container of Coco- Cola and an unwrapped, untouched egg-salad sandwich. There is no radio. The man standing by the bed, wearing only trousers, T-shirt and sox, is SAM LOOMIS, a good-looking, sensual shirt man with warm humorous eyes and a compelling smile. He is blotting his neck and face with a thin towel, and is staring down at Mary, a small sweet smile playing about his mouth. Mary keeps her face turned away from him. After a moment, Sam drops the towel, sits on the bed, leans over and takes Mary into his arms, kisses her long and warmly, holds her with a firm possessiveness. The kiss is disturbed and finally interrupted by the buzzing closeness of an inconsiderate fly. Sam smiles, pulls away enough to allow Mary to relax again against the pillow. He studies her, frowns at her unresponsiveness, then speaks in a low, intimate, playful voice. SAM Never did eat your lunch, did you. Mary looks at his smile, has to respond, pulls him to her, kisses him. Then, and without breaking the kiss, she swings her legs over the side of the bed, toe-searches around, finds her shoes, slips her feet into searches them. And finally pulls away and sits up. MARY I better get back to the office. These extended lunch hours give my boss excess acid. She rises, goes to the bureau, takes a pair of small earrings out of her bag, begins putting them on, not bothering or perhaps not wanting to look at herself in the mirror. Sam watches her, concerned but unable to inhibit his cheery, humorous good mood. Throughout remainder of this scene, they occupy themselves with dressing, hair-combing, etc. SAM Call your boss and tell him you're taking the rest of the afternoon off. It's Friday anyway... and hot. MARY (soft sarcasm) What do I do with my free afternoon, walk you to the airport? SAM (meaningfully) We could laze around here a while longer. MARY Checking out time is three P.M. Hotels of this sort aren't interested in you when you come in, but when your time's up... (a small anguish) Sam, I hate having to be with you in a place like this. SAM I've heard of married couples who deliberately spend occasional nights in cheap hotels. They say it... MARY (interrupting) When you're married you can do a lot of things deliberately. SAM You sure talk like a girl who's been married. MARY Sam! SAM I'm sorry, Mary. (after a moment) My old Dad used to say 'when you can't change a situation, laugh at it.' Nothing ridicules a thing like laughing at it. MARY I've lost my girlish laughter. SAM (observing) The only girlish thing you have lost. MARY (a meaningful quiet, then, with difficulty:) Sam. This is the last time. SAM For what? MARY This! Meeting you in secret so we can be... secretive! You come down here on business trips and we steal lunch hours and... I wish you wouldn't even come. SAM Okay. What do we do instead, write each other lurid love letters? MARY (about to argue, then turning away) I haven't time to argue. I'm a working girl. SAM And I'm a working man! We're a regular working-class tragedy! (he laughs) MARY It is tragic! Or it will be... if we go on meeting in shabby hotels whenever you can find a tax-deductible excuse for flying down deductible here... SAM (interrupting, seriously) You can't laugh at it, huh? MARY Can you? SAM Sure. It's like laughing through a broken jaw, but... He breaks off, his cheeriness dissolved, goes to the window, tries to raise the shade. It sticks. He pulls at it. It comes down entirely, and the hot sun glares into the room, revealing it in all its shabbiness and sordidness as if corroborating Mary's words and attitude. Sam kicks at the fallen shade, laughs in frustration, grabs on to his humor again. SAM And besides, when you say I make tax- deductible excuses you make me out a criminal. MARY (having to smile) You couldn't be a criminal if you committed a major crime. SAM I wish I were. Not an active criminal but... a nice guy with the conscience of a criminal. (goes close to mary, touches her) Next best thing to no conscience at all. MARY (pulling away) I have to go, Sam. SAM I can come down next week. MARY No. SAM Not even just to see you, to have lunch... in public? MARY We can see each other, we can even have dinner... but respectably, in my house with my mother's picture on the mantel and my sister helping me broil a big steak for three! SAM And after the steak... do we send Sister to the movies and turn Mama's picture to the wall? MARY Sam! No! SAM (after a pause, simply) All right. She stares at him, surprised at his willingness to continue the affair on her terms, as girls are so often surprised when they discover men will continue to want them even after the sexual bait has been pulled in. Sam smiles reassuringly, places his hands gently on her arms, speaks with gentle and simple sincerity. SAM Mary, whenever it's possible, tax- deductible or not, I want to see deductible you. And under any conditions. (a smile) Even respectability. MARY You make respectability sound... disrespectful. SAM (brightly) I'm all for it! It requires patience and temperance and a lot of sweating- out... otherwise, though, it's only hard work. (a pause) But if I can see you, touch you even as simply as this... I won't mind. He moves away and again the weight of his pain and problems crushes away his good humor. There is a quiet moment. SAM I'm fed up with sweating for people who aren't there. I sweat to pay off my father's debts... and he's in his grave... I sweat to pay my ex-wife alimony, and she's living on the other side of the world somewhere. MARY (a smile) I pay, too. They also pay who meet in hotel rooms. SAM A couple of years and the debts will be paid off. And if she ever re- marries, the alimony stops... and then... MARY I haven't even been married once yet! SAM Yeah, but when you do... you'll swing. MARY (smiling, then with a terrible urgency) Sam, let's go get married. SAM And live with me in a storeroom behind a hardware store in Fairvale. We'll have a lot of laughs. When I send my ex-wife her money, you can lick the stamps. MARY (a deep desperation) I'll lick the stamps. He looks at her, long, pulls her close, kisses her lightly, looks out the window and stares at the wide sky. SAM You know what I'd like? A clear, empty sky... and a plane, and us in it... and somewhere a private island for sale, where we can run around without our... shoes on. And the wherewithal to buy what I'd like. (he moves away, suddenly serious) Mary, you want to cut this off, go out and find yourself someone available. MARY I'm thinking of it. SAM (a cheerful shout) How can you even think a thing like that! MARY (picking up handbag, starting for door) Don't miss your plane. SAM Hey, we can leave together can't we? MARY (at door) I'm late... and you have to put your shoes on. Mary goes out quickly, closing door behind her. As Sam stares down at his shoeless feet, CUT TO: EXT. DOWNTOWN STREET - (DAY) - HIGH ANGLE Shooting down at hotel entrance. Mary comes out, walks quickly to a parked cab, gets in. The cab zooms up the awful street. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. LOWERY REAL ESTATE OFFICE - (DAY) A small, moderately successful office off the main street. A cab pulls up at the curb. We see Mary get out of cab, pay driver, cross pavement to the office door. INT. OUTER OFFICE - (DAY) Mary enters office, crosses to her desk, sits down, rubs her temples, finally looks over at Caroline, a girl in the last of her teens. MARY Isn't Mr. Lowery back from lunch? CAROLINE (a high, bright, eager- to-talk voice laced to-with a vague Texan accent) He's lunching with the man who's buying the Harris Street property, you know, that oil lease man... so that's why he's late. (a pause, then, as Mary does not respond to the pointed thrust) You getting a headache? MARY It'll pass. Headaches are like resolutions... you forget them soon as they stop hurting. CAROLINE You got aspirins? I have something... not aspirins, but (cheerfully takes bottle of pills out of desk drawer) my mother's doctor gave these to me the day of my wedding. (laughs) Teddy was furious when he found out I'd taken tranquilizers! She rises, starts for Mary's desk, pills in hand. MARY Were there any calls? CAROLINE Teddy called. Me... And my mother called to see if Teddy called. Oh, and your sister called to say she's going to Tucson to do some buying and she'll be gone the whole weekend and... She breaks off, distracted by the SOUND of the door opening. MR. LOWERY and his oil-lease client, TOM CASSIDY enter the office. Lowery is a pleasant, worried-faced man, big and a trifle pompous. Cassidy is very faced loud and has a lunch- hour load on. He is a gross man, exuding a kind of pitiful vulgarity. CASSIDY Wow! Hot as fresh milk! You girls should get your boss to air-condition you up. He can afford it today. Lowery flashes an embarrassed smile at Mary, tries to lead Cassidy toward the private office. LOWERY Mary, will you get those copies of the deed ready for Mr. Cassidy. Cassidy pauses beside Mary's desk, hooks a haunch onto the desktop, smiles a wet smile at Mary. CASSIDY Tomorrow's the day! My sweet little girl... (laughs as Mary looks up at him) Not you, my daughter! A baby, and tomorrow she stands up there and gets her sweet self married away from me! (pulling out wallet) I want you to look at my baby. Eighteen years old... and she's never had an unhappy day in any one of those years! (flashes photo) Mary glances, cannot bring herself to smile or make some remark, continues sorting out the deed copies, tries to ignore the man's hot-breath closeness. LOWERY Come on, Tom, my office is air- conditioned. CASSIDY (ignoring Lowery) You know what I do with unhappiness? I buy it off! You unhappy? MARY Not inordinately. (puts deed copy into Cassidy's too-close hand) CASSIDY I'm buying this house for my baby's wedding present. Forty thousand dollars, cash! Now that ain't buying happiness, that's buying off unhappiness! That penniless punk she's marryin'... (laughs) Probably a good kid... it's just that I hate him. (looks at deed) Yup! Forty thousand, says here... (to Lowery) Casharoonie! He takes out of his inside pocket, two separate bundles of new $100 bills and throws them onto the desk, under Mary's nose. Caroline's eyes go wide at the sight of the glorious green bundles of bills, and she comes close to the desk. Cassidy leans terribly close to Mary, flicks through the bills, laughs wickedly. CASSIDY I never carry more than I can afford to lose! (closer to Mary) Count 'em! LOWERY (shocked, worried) Tom... cash transactions of this size! Most irregular... CASSIDY So what? It's my private money! (laughs, winks, elbows Lowery) And now it's yours. CAROLINE (staring at the money) I declare! CASSIDY (whispering) I don't! That's how I'm able to keep it! (laughs) LOWERY (hastily interrupting) Suppose we just put this in the safe and then Monday morning when you're feeling good... CASSIDY Speakin' of feeling good, where's that bottle you said you had in your desk... (laughs, as if having given away Lowery's secret) Oops! (to Mary, patting her arm) Usually I can keep my mouth shut! He rises, reels toward Lowery's office, pauses, turns, speaks to Mary, meaningfully. CASSIDY Honest. I can keep any private transaction a secret... any pri.... (stopped by Mary's cold gaze) Lowery! I'm dyin' of thirstaroonie! Lowery starts after him, pauses, turns to Mary. Cassidy has gone into Lower's office. LOWERY (quietly) I don't even want it in the office over the weekend. Put it in the safe deposit box, at the bank, Mary. And we'll get him to give us a check on Monday - instead. He starts quickly away when it looks like Cassidy is going to come and pull him bodily into the office. When the men are gone and the door is closed, Caroline picks up a bundle, smiles at it. CAROLINE He was flirting with you. I guess he noticed my wedding ring. Mary has put one bundle into a large envelope and takes the other from Caroline. When the bills are away, she puts the filled envelope in her handbag, notices the remaining deed copies on her desk, picks them up, goes to the private office door, knocks, starts to open door as: LOWERY (O.S.) Come in. INT. LOWERY'S PRIVATE OFFICE - (DAY) Mary opens door, looks in. Cassidy is drinking from a large tumbler, winks at her without pausing in his drinking. Mary remains on threshold a moment, then crosses to the desk, talking as she goes. MARY The copies. Mr. Lowery, if you don't mind, I'd like to go right on home after the bank. I have a slight... CASSIDY You go right home! Me and your boss are going out to get ourselves a little drinkin' done! (to Lowery) Right? LOWERY (to Mary) Of course. You feeling ill? MARY A headache. CASSIDY You need a week-end in Las Vegas... playground of the world! MARY I'm going to spend this week-end in bed. (starts out) CASSIDY (to Lowery) Only playground that beats Las Vegas! Mary goes back out into the outer office, closes door. INT. OUTER OFFICE - (DAY) Mary goes to her desk, takes the handbag, checks to make sure the money-filled envelope is tucked well down into it. During this: CAROLINE Aren't you going to take the pills? (as Mary shakes her head) They'll knock that headache out. MARY I don't need pills... just sleep. She goes to the door. DISSOLVE: INT. MARY'S BEDROOM - (DAY) A double bed in the foreground. We just see the far side as the CAMERA SHOOTS across. Mary enters the scene, clad only in her slip. Perhaps she is about to get into bed. Behind her is an open closet, but too dark inside for us to see any contents. As Mary turns to the closet the CAMERA LOWERS to show a close view of the $40,000 in the envelope on our side of the bed. Mary takes a dress from the closet and starts to put it on as the CAMERA RETREATS to reveal a packed but not yet closed suitcase also on the bed. Mary zips up her dress and then brings some final garments from the closet. She comes around to the suitcase and puts them on the top. Mary works with haste and in tension, as if acting on an impulse which might vanish as quickly as it came. The suitcase filled now, she checks around the room, then takes her handbag to the bed, puts in the money-filled envelope, and then slams the suitcase shut. Then filled she looks at her small bedroom desk, goes to it, removes a small file-envelope from one of the drawers. It is one of those brown envelopes in which one keeps important papers and policies and certificates. She checks its contents briefly, puts it on the bed, opens another desk drawer, takes out her bank book, tosses it on the bed. Then she packs both the file-envelope and the bank book, into her handbag, takes one quick last look around the room, picks up the handbag and the suitcase and goes out of the room. CUT TO: EXT. MARY'S GARAGE - (DAY) A two-car garage. One car is gone. Mary's car is parked in the driveway. The CAMERA is low enough so that we can easily read the Arizona number plate in the foreground. Mary comes out of house, starts for the trunk, intending to put the suitcase in, changes her mind, places the suitcase and her handbag on the front seat, gets in, starts the car, begins to back out of driveway.
...continue to part 2