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Scripts: Psycho (revised draft, 01/Dec/1959) - part 1



                               Joseph Stefano

                     Based on the novel by Robert Bloch

                          REVISED December 1, 1959




 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:


 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.

         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.

         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.

         Call your boss and tell him you're 
         taking the rest of the afternoon 
         off. It's Friday anyway... and hot.

                 (soft sarcasm)
         What do I do with my free afternoon, 
         walk you to the airport?

         We could laze around here a while 

         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.

         I've heard of married couples who 
         deliberately spend occasional nights 
         in cheap hotels. They say it...

         When you're married you can do a lot 
         of things deliberately.

         You sure talk like a girl who's been 


         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.

         I've lost my girlish laughter.

         The only girlish thing you have lost.

                 (a meaningful quiet, 
                 then, with difficulty:)
         Sam. This is the last time.

         For what?

         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.

         Okay. What do we do instead, write 
         each other lurid love letters?

                 (about to argue, then 
                 turning away)
         I haven't time to argue. I'm a working 

         And I'm a working man! We're a regular 
         working-class tragedy!
                 (he laughs)

         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 

         You can't laugh at it, huh?

         Can you?

         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 

         And besides, when you say I make tax-
         deductible excuses you make me out a 

                 (having to smile)
         You couldn't be a criminal if you 
         committed a major crime.

         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 

                 (pulling away)
         I have to go, Sam.

         I can come down next week.


         Not even just to see you, to have 
         lunch... in public?

         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!

         And after the steak... do we send 
         Sister to the movies and turn Mama's 
         picture to the wall?

         Sam! No!

                 (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.

         Mary, whenever it's possible, tax-
         deductible or not, I want to see 
         deductible you. And under any 
                 (a smile)
         Even respectability.

         You make respectability sound...  

         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.

         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.

                 (a smile)
         I pay, too. They also pay who meet 
         in hotel rooms.

         A couple of years and the debts will 
         be paid off. And if she ever re-
         marries, the alimony stops... and 

         I haven't even been married once 

         Yeah, but when you do... you'll swing.

                 (smiling, then with a 
                 terrible urgency)
         Sam, let's go get married.

         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 

                 (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.

         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 

         I'm thinking of it.

                 (a cheerful shout)
         How can you even think a thing like 

                 (picking up handbag, 
                 starting for door)
         Don't miss your plane.

         Hey, we can leave together can't we?

                 (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:


 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:


 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.


 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.

         Isn't Mr. Lowery back from lunch?

                 (a high, bright, eager-
                 to-talk voice laced 
                 to-with a vague Texan 
         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?

         It'll pass. Headaches are like 
         resolutions... you forget them soon 
         as they stop hurting.

         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.
         Teddy was furious when he found out 
         I'd taken tranquilizers!

 She rises, starts for Mary's desk, pills in hand.

         Were there any calls?

         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 

 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 

         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.

         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.

         Tomorrow's the day! My sweet little 
                 (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.

         Come on, Tom, my office is air-

                 (ignoring Lowery)
         You know what I do with unhappiness? 
         I buy it off! You unhappy?

         Not inordinately.
                 (puts deed copy into 
                 Cassidy's too-close 

         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'...
         Probably a good kid... it's just 
         that I hate him.
                 (looks at deed)
         Yup! Forty thousand, says here...
                 (to Lowery)

 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.

         I never carry more than I can afford 
         to lose!
                 (closer to Mary)
         Count 'em!

                 (shocked, worried)
         Tom... cash transactions of this 
         size! Most irregular...

         So what? It's my private money!
                 (laughs, winks, elbows 
         And now it's yours.

                 (staring at the money)
         I declare!

         I don't! That's how I'm able to keep 

                 (hastily interrupting)
         Suppose we just put this in the safe 
         and then Monday morning when you're 
         feeling good...

         Speakin' of feeling good, where's 
         that bottle you said you had in your 
                 (laughs, as if having 
                 given away Lowery's 
                 (to Mary, patting her 
         Usually I can keep my mouth shut!

 He rises, reels toward Lowery's office, pauses, turns, speaks 
 to Mary, meaningfully.

         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.

         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.

         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.


 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.

         The copies. Mr. Lowery, if you don't 
         mind, I'd like to go right on home 
         after the bank. I have a slight...

         You go right home!  Me and your boss 
         are going out to get ourselves a 
         little drinkin' done!
                 (to Lowery)

                 (to Mary)
         Of course. You feeling ill?

         A headache.

         You need a week-end in Las Vegas... 
         playground of the world!

         I'm going to spend this week-end in 
                 (starts out)

                 (to Lowery)
         Only playground that beats Las Vegas!

 Mary goes back out into the outer office, closes door.


 Mary goes to her desk, takes the handbag, checks to make 
 sure the money-filled envelope is tucked well down into it. 
 During this:

         Aren't you going to take the pills?
                 (as Mary shakes her 
         They'll knock that headache out.

         I don't need pills... just sleep.

 She goes to the door.



 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:


 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