Scripts: Psycho (revised draft, 01/Dec/1959) - part 6
FADE IN INT. BACK ROOM OF HARDWARE STORE - (NIGHT) Lila is sitting close by the phone, and looks as if she hasn't moved from it in the last hour. Sam is pacing, occasionally stopping at the window, glancing out, pacing again. The ash tray close to Lila is filled. There is a thick atmosphere of smoke, tension and weariness in the small, otherwise cozy room. SAM (at window, quietly) Sometimes Saturday night has a lonely sound. Ever notice, Lila? LILA (unable to keep up small talk) Sam. He said an hour. Or less. SAM It's been three. LILA Are we just going to go on sitting here? SAM (suddenly cheerful) He'll be back. Let's sit still and hang on, okay? LILA You have an awfully nice habit, Sam. SAM Hundreds! Which one is your pet? LILA Whenever I start contemplating the panic button, your back straightens up and your eyes get that God-looks- out-for-everybody look and... I feel better. SAM I feel better when you feel better. LILA (a pause - then she rises) Where's the old highway? SAM You want to run out there, bust in on Arbogast and the sick old lady, shake her up and maybe spoil everything Arbogast's been building for the last three hours. LILA Yes. SAM That wouldn't be a wise thing to do. LILA Patience doesn't run in our family. Sam, I'm going out there! SAM Arbogast said... LILA An hour! Or less! Sam stares at her, frowns in concern over her very real anxiety, goes to the phone, dials operator. SAM (into phone) Got the number of the motel out on the old highway? Bates, I think. (waits) LILA Sam! Why call when we can go? SAM And maybe pass Arbogast on the road? (into phone) Thanks. He presses down the receiver, releases it, dials Bates' Motel. The faint other-end ringing tones can be heard, repeatedly, annoyingly. He waits. SAM (to Lila) Probably on his way back right now. LILA Sam, I'm going. SAM (hangs up and picks up his jacket) You'll never find it. He starts for the door. Lila follows after him into the store. INT. STORE He pauses halfway down, turns, puts his hands on her arms. SAM Stay here. LILA Why can't I go out there with you? SAM (looks at her) I don't know... (he collects himself) One of us has to be here in case Arbogast's on the way. LILA (nervously) Just wait here? SAM (a warm smile) Contemplate your... panic button. He hurries down to the street door and out. CAMERA HOLDS on Lila as she stares after Sam. As she stands alone in the darkened store, all the hardware seems to take on sinister shapes. C.U. Among some bathroom fittings a nozzle from a shower falls onto the floor. MEDIUM SHOT Lila turns and picks if from the floor and puts it back in its place. She turns and again looks to the deserted street with a touch of anxiety. She gives a slight unconscious shiver. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. THE SWAMP - (NIGHT) Tall and lonely still against the moonlight, the figure of Norman, silhouetted. He doesn't move, merely stands there at the edge of the swamp, staring down at the now calm and quiet face of it. CUT TO: EXT. THE MOTEL AND HOUSE - (NIGHT) All light are out, except the light in Norman's mother's room. And her figure can be seen sitting in the window, relaxed in a high-back chair, her face turned into the room. After a second, we hear the SOUND OF A MOTOR, and then Sam's small pick-up truck swings into the driveway. Sam stops the motor, automatically switches off headlights, pauses as he observes the silence and darkness of the area. Then he hops out of the cab, goes quickly to the office, knocks on the door. As he waits for a response, he looks down the long porch, studies the darkened cabins, knocks again, louder, looks in the other direction and sees the house and the figure at the one lit window. He stares a moment then calls loudly: SAM Arbogast? CUT TO: EXT. THE SWAMP The silhouette of Norman. He is still. Over shot, very dimly, comes the SOUND OF SAM'S VOICE, calling again for Arbogast. Norman turns slowly until, in silhouette, we see his profile, his chin lowered furtively as he looks over his shoulder in the direction of the house. There is silence for a moment, and then again the SOUND of Sam POUNDING at the door. DISSOLVE TO: INT. HARDWARE STORE - (NIGHT) The store is in darkness, only the glow from the back room spilling in. L.S. With CAMERA placed with its back to the street door, we can see the distant tiny figure of Lila seated and waiting in the back room beyond. There is a SOUND of a car pulling up. The tiny figure jumps up and runs all the way from the back room down the aisle of hardware and comes into a BIG HEAD. We see Lila's desperate anxious look. MEDIUM SHOT From her viewpoint we see Sam alighting from his truck and coming toward the door of the store. He enters. He and Lila exchange quiet glances. SAM He didn't come back here? LILA (worriedly) Sam. SAM No Arbogast. No Bates. And only the old lady at home... (frowning) A sick old lady unable to answer the door... or unwilling. LILA Where could he have gone? SAM Maybe he got some definite lead. Maybe he went right on... LILA Without calling me? SAM In a hurry. LILA Sam, he called me when he had nothing definite, nothing but a dissatisfied feeling. Don't you think he'd have called if he had anything... SAM (interrupting) Yes. I think he would have. Lila goes quiet. Sam starts toward the back room, pauses at the doorway, turns. Lila has remained by the door, looking out at the street. She feels his pause, turns, and for a moment they share at each other across the darkened room. SAM Let's go see Al Chambers. LILA Who's he? SAM He's the Deputy Sheriff around here. As he starts forward. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. STREET THE SHERIFF LIVES ON - (NIGHT) A dark, quiet, tree-ceilinged street, the small neat houses dim in the moonlight. Sam's pick-up truck comes down the street, pulls up before the house of Sheriff Chambers. CAMERA MOVES IN on Sam and Lila as they remain for a moment in the truck's cab, staring quietly at the sleeping house. SAM Our Deputy sleeps. LILA Well? SAM Nothing. Just... all the lights out... must be asleep. LILA (a small exasperation) Does that mean we can't... SAM No. I'm just procrastinating. People hate when the doorbell rings in the middle of the night. (gives up, starts out) Come on. He gets out of cab, goes around to help Lila. She is already out. CAMERA FOLLOWS them up the small path to the front door. Sam presses the bell button. Both he and Lila are almost knocked over by the shocking, clanging, ear-splitting BLAST OF THE BELL within the house, a ring which sounds more like a fire alarm than a doorbell. He tries to smile, fails. Lila doesn't even try. The downstairs hall light goes on and a moment later the door is unhesitatingly opened by MRS. CHAMBERS, a small, lively stick of a woman wrapped in a thick flannel robe and a corona of hospitality. MRS. CHAMBERS Oh? SAM Sorry, Mrs. Chambers. I hate bothering you... MRS. CHAMBERS You didn't! (a cross look up at the bell) It's tinkerbell. (a quick smile at Lila) Al wants to be sure he'll hear it if anyone rings it in the middle of the night. (to Sam) Well come on in, at least! As she opens the door wide, CUT TO: INT. DOWNSTAIRS HALL OF SHERIFF'S HOUSE - (NIGHT) Fat roses splatter the wallpaper. The stairs are carpeted. The lighting is bright. There is a perfectly fitting wall phone by the parlor arch. Mrs. Chambers goes to the stairway, yells up. MRS. CHAMBERS Albert! (a tiny wait, a smile as Sam and Lila enter) Al Chambers! Sam is about to close the door behind him. Mrs. Chambers motions for him not to, scurries across the hall, leans outside, presses the doorbell. The RING within the house is even more shattering. She closes the door, starts to the stairway, pauses as the SOUNDS of movement above COME OVER SHOT. MRS. CHAMBERS Customers! SHERIFF CHAMBERS comes down the stairs, in a bathrobe which matches his wife's. He is a tall, narrow man with a face originally destined for Mount Rushmore. He nods at Sam, looks at him with wide-awake eyes and a no-nonsense concern. SAM We have a problem. MRS. CHAMBERS (to Lila) Let's go out back and have some coca while the men are talking. LILA No, thank you. It's my problem, too. SAM I don't know where to start... (a look at Lila) Except at the beginning. LILA Yes. SAM (to Sheriff) This is Lila Crane, from Phoenix. She's been here for a few days, looking for her sister. There's a private detective helping... and, well, we got a call tonight, from this detective, saying he'd traced Mary... MRS. CHAMBERS Mary is Lila's sister? SAM Yes. He traced her to that motel, out on the old highway... MRS. CHAMBERS (to the Sheriff) Bates' Motel. (to Lila) He has a mind like a mechanical brain and the more information you feed it... Go on, Sam. SAM He traced her there and called us to say he was going to question Mrs. Bates... MRS. CHAMBERS (a pleasant shock) Norman took a wife? SAM No. An old woman, his mother. (to Sheriff, quickly) That was early this evening. And we haven't seen or heard from him since. I went out to the motel, just got back. No one was in the office, and... LILA (interrupting, anxiously) Will you help us? I think something's wrong out there! SHERIFF (after a considerate pause) Now. Your sister is missing how long? LILA She left Phoenix a week ago yesterday. And no trace until... SHERIFF How'd you and this detective come to trace her to Fairvale? SAM They thought she'd be coming to me. SHERIFF Left Phoenix under her own steam? LILA Yes. SHERIFF (a pause) She ain't missing so much as she's run away. SAM Yes. SHERIFF From what? LILA (a look at sam, then:) She stole some money. SHERIFF A lot? LILA Forty thousand dollars. SHERIFF And the police haven't been able to... SAM (interrupting) Everyone concerned thought... if they could get her to give back the money... they could avoid involving her with the police. SHERIFF Explains the private detective. He traced her to the Bates place. What'd he exactly say when he called you? LILA Mary had been there, one night, and had left. SHERIFF With the forty thousand dollars? LILA He didn't mention the money. (anxiously) What he said on the phone isn't important, is it? He was supposed to come back after he spoke to the mother, and he didn't! That's what I want you to do something about! SHERIFF Like what? LILA Go out there! Find somebody, ask some questions! (a pause) I'm sorry if I seem over-anxious to you. I keep thinking... something's wrong. I have to know what! SHERIFF I think something's wrong, too, Miss. But not the same thing. I think your private detective is what's wrong. (As Lila is about to object) I think he got himself a hot lead as to where your sister was going... probably from Norman Bates... and called you to keep you still while he took off after her and the money. LILA He said he was dissatisfied... and was going back. MRS. CHAMBERS (to Sheriff) Why don't you call Norman and let him say just what happened, if he give the man a hot lead and he did just scooted off... it'll make the girl feel better, Albert. SHERIFF At this hour? SAM He was out when I was there. If he's back he probably isn't even in bed yet. SHERIFF He wasn't out when you were there. He just wasn't answering the door in the dead of night... like some people do. This fellow lives like a hermit... MRS. CHAMBERS Recluse. Kinder word. SHERIFF (to Sam) You must remember that bad business out there. About ten years ago... SAM I've only been here five. Right now it feels like ten, but... LILA All right! Then call! At least, call! Mrs. Chambers goes to phone, dials operator. MRS. CHAMBERS (into phone) Florrie, the Sheriff wants you to connect him with the Bates Motel. She hands the receiver to the Sheriff. He takes it, reluctantly, listens to the dim sound of RINGING on the other end. After a moment: SHERIFF (into phone) Norman? Sheriff Chambers. (listens) Been just fine, thanks. Listen, we got some worries here. Did you have a man stop out there tonight... (listens) Well, this one wouldn't be a customer, anyway. A private detective, name of... MRS. CHAMBERS Arbogast. SHERIFF (into phone) Arbogast. (listens) And after he left? (listens) No, it's okay, Norman. How's it been going out there? (listens) Well, I think you oughta unload that place and open up closer in to the action, a smaller place, you know... but... LILA Please! SHERIFF (into phone) Sorry I got you up, boy. Go back to sleep. Yeah, be glad to. (hangs up, turns to Mrs. Chambers) Said to give you his regards. SAM (faint irony) Was that all? SHERIFF This detective was out there and Norman told him about the girl and the detective thanked him and went away. LILA And he didn't go back? Didn't see the mother? The Sheriff looks long at Lila, shakes his head sympathetically. SHERIFF You should've called in the police the second you found your sister has skipped. You go starting private investigations, using people you don't even know... LILA What difference does that... SHERIFF Your Detective told you a nakedfaced lie. MRS. CHAMBERS Barefaced. SHERIFF He told you he wasn't coming right back cause he wanted to question Norman Bates' mother, right? LILA Yes. SHERIFF (a pause, then calmly) Norman Bates' mother has been dead and buried in Greenlawn Cemetery for the last ten years! There is a long silence. Sam and Lila stare at the Sheriff. MRS. CHAMBERS I helped Norman pick out the dress she was buried in. Periwinkle blue. SHERIFF It ain't only local history, Sam, it's the only murder-and-suicide case in Fairvale ledgers! Mrs. Bates poisoned this guy she was... involved with, when she found out he was married, then took a helping of the same stuff herself. Strychnine. Ugly way to die. MRS. CHAMBERS Norman found them dead together. In bed. SAM You mean that old woman I saw sittin' in the window wasn't Norman Bates' mother? MRS. CHAMBERS (hopefully, happily) Maybe you saw Mary! SAM I'd know the difference between Mary and an old woman. SHERIFF Now wait a minute, Sam. You sure you saw an old woman? SAM Yes! In the house behind the motel. I pounded and called but she... just ignored me. SHERIFF And you want to tell me you saw Norman Bates' mother. LILA It must've been. Arbogast said so, too... and he said the young man wouldn't let him see her because she was ill! The Sheriff stares at both of them, and when he finally speaks there is an almost inaudible tone or irony in his voice. SHERIFF Well, if the woman up there is Mrs. Bates... who's that woman buried out at Greenlawn Cemetery?
...continue to part 7