Alfred Hitchcock meets Andy Warhol and both get out of the encounter alive – just.

* * *

Extracts from this script were read at the Alfred Hitchcock conference For the Love of Fear convened by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, held from 31 March to 2 April 2000.

* * *

Preamble:

A Photograph was the Genesis.

Two men posing close together.

On the right, a bald, stout, aged gent in a voluminous suit colonises a wide chair, a jovial grin wobbling his several chins. To his left, a be-wigged, rake-thin, old-beyond-his-years type kneels on a chintzy carpet looking across at his elder, not perhaps entirely in awe, but at least a genial grin creases his prematurely lined face.

A carefree meeting?

Yet the jovial fat man on the right is better known as The Master of Suspense, responsible for the precise choreography of chills, and the genial thin man on the left was nicknamed Drella – a portmanteau conflation of ‘Dracula’ and ‘Cinderella‘.

They are two artists, two filmmakers, two icons – but their proximity seems somehow surprising. What could Andy Warhol and Alfred Hitchcock possibly have in common – apart from their abiding, universal fame?

Warhol and Hitchcock are my two favourite filmmakers. How can this be? Their work seems so mutually antithetical. They appeal, it might almost be said, to the different halves of the brain. Though it is arguable whether it is Alfred’s obsessively rational, almost clinical focus on the production of mystery and terror or Andy’s seemingly random, unedited, bored, unjudgmental, unwavering gaze which should engage the right or the left hemisphere.

They were, of course, both sincere Catholics: the shadow of the Fall always seemed to shade their visions of our species, although the Redemption apparently remained resolutely beyond the edge of frame.

Together they somehow constitute the Scylla and Charybdis of Cinema – the twin possibilities present since its first flickering beginnings:

the Rock of the Lumières and the Whirlpool of Méliès – already singularly chaotic and together exponentially dangerous.

Encoded somewhere in that photograph is the very key, for an unapologetic, slash-making structuralist such as myself, to all the gorgeous, duplicitous, transformative pleasures of the moving picture:

Narrative/Documentary;
Real-Life/Artifice;
Performance/Story;
Existing/Tale-Telling;
Letting It Happen/Controlling;
Nothingness/Being…

Stop me, for I could very well go on!

So I thought it would be interesting to examine some of the mechanisms of Cinema through the unlikely concourse of these two giants.

In recent years Warhol has been a bit-player in several narrative films: The Doors (Oliver Stone, 1991), Basquiat (Julian Schnabel, 1996), and I Shot Andy Warhol (Mary Harron, 1996), (as indeed has Hitchcock in The Confessional [Robert LePage, 1995]), but these stories have concentrated upon their characters rather than their aesthetics – who these strange people were rather than what they were about. Surely there must be a way to mobilise the resources of Drama to approach the ideas of Andy and Alfred rather than their biographies.

And I thought that I might not be too unlikely a person to hazard this quest. Not just because I am a monumental fan of both of them but also because, before I stumbled into becoming a screenwriter of classically constructed narrative films and television serials, I had (perhaps deluded) aspirations to be an avant-garde filmmaker. More to the point, I spent some significant time in my youth living in lower Manhattan amongst the radioactive half-life of the Factory scene. But that’s another story…

I hasten to add that I conduct my existence now inventing rather than living psycho-dramas.

So why not a film about Cinema which uses Warhol and Hitchcock as metaphors for its extreme possibilities, the two edges of its envelope? Why not: ‘Drella and the MacGuffin’?

Drella and the MacGuffin:

‘Drella’ was a nickname of Warhol coined by my late friend Ondine (Pope and Superstar). It signifies a marginal person who wasn’t invited to the Ball but when he wormed his way in there sunk his fangs into the neck of the host and sucked the blood of the guests. There’s more to this than meets the eye.

The MacGuffin is a Hitchcockian term for the plot device which provokes and motivates action: it might be the missing microfilm, the stolen plans, the identity of the secret killer – but this knowledge is ultimately of less significance than the emotions it provokes in the players on their search.

It is a pre-text, a subterfuge. There’s less to this than meets the eye.

So ‘Drella and the MacGuffin’ sets out to analyse the fictional and biographical worlds of Warhol and Hitchcock quoting from and using

(if never exactly parodying) the cinematic tropes with which each of them are associated.

But there has to be a story…

The Story:

Andy’s dogged, quotidian workload is interrupted: he has been randomly shot by one of the most marginal hangers-on of his most axiomatically marginal entourage. He should have died. Maybe his apparently frail body is stronger than it looks or maybe his survival is due to his clandestine obeisance to a High Power. He regains consciousness in a hospital bed and only then does he realise that his assassination was part of a tale, an episode of the TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The eponymous presenter is doubly frantic: not only has the victim not expired but the perpetrator has turned herself into the cops.

This is the First Act Set Up.

This incident might warrant a newspaper headline but it is certainly not a story! Hitchcock, although he too is a good Catholic, has to answer to an even Higher Power: his TV programme’s Sponsor. So he must leave the television set, enter the hospital room and, between them, Hitchcock and Warhol must work out a way of closing this little drama.

This is the Second Act Complication.

And en route the contradictions in their approach to Cinema are explored. Hitchcock demonstrates the fundamental difference between Surprise and Suspense by replaying the assassination attempt on Andy. Warhol revolts against the manipulative cutting of Hitchcock’s cinema by making an unedited film, Suit, in which Hitchcock is, in real-time and to his profound embarrassment, measured for a suit. Both of them must face the fact that they are, in their own peculiar ways, cold and calculating manipulators and voyeurs. But all narratives must come to a closure. For Hitchcock’s tale to end Andy must die.

This is the Third Act Resolution.

So Warhol flees and finds himself hanging from a nostril on Mount Hitchmore, pace ‘North by Northwest’. Hitchcock is prepared to rewrite the dénouement of his tale by presenting Warhol with a Faustian pact:
Andy can live provided he gives up his aspirations to be a filmmaker, indulging his Art in society portraiture and denying his previous friendships with weird Superstars.

The story has a conclusion. Hitchcock has satisfied his advertising sponsors. Andy from now on will make Business Art – starting with a portrait of Alfred and his dachshund. But in the conflict between the pair of them, Hitchcock has become unbalanced: he can no longer trust the power of a well-constructed story.

Style and Production:

‘Drella and the MacGuffin’ aspires to illuminate the lives and films of its two prot/ant-ogonists. It must, therefore, unashamedly quote from and parody their respective cinematic techniques. It also, I hope, discovers a way of portraying an aspect of the history of Cinema which refuses both a straightforward voice-over/interview documentary style and an artificial dramatisation. It is both Documentary and Drama without ever being Drama-Documentary.

It’s a cheap two-hander which takes place in a studio and which makes use of contemporary techniques but which attempts to be both entertaining and illuminating both about the archaeological past of our medium and its dark future.

The full co-operation of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh has been promised for the realisation of ‘Drella and the MacGuffin’.

MICHAEL EATON (writer/director) is a screenwriter whose work is characteristically described as either ‘award-winning’ or ‘controversial’ (Fellow Traveller; Shoot to Kill; Why Lockerbie? Signs & Wonders; Flowers of the Forest; Angels Rave On; ). He awaits the day when it might simply be described as ‘popular’. He is currently dramatising

The Pickwick Papers – the first book of his favourite writer: Charles Dickens – for the BBC.

He has also written regularly about film in journals as diverse as The Movie, Screen, and Sight & Sound (in which he once had a regular column). His BFI Film Classic on Chinatown was published in 1997.

He is one of the founders and organisers of Britain’s only crime and mystery film festival: Shots In The Dark in Nottingham. In what now increasingly seems like a previous incarnation he once made avant-garde documentaries such as Frozen Music and Darkest England (Channel 4).

He was privileged to be invited as one of the speakers at the inaugural conference at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh (presumably because of a past he would not willingly wish to share publicly) where extracts from Drella and the MacGuffin were read. This resulted in the publication of the script in Critical Quarterly. Though this was commissioned by BBC Scotland nearly a decade ago it was be publicly performed for the first time in Nottingham in July, 1999 for the centenary of Alfred Hitchcock (and Alma Reville’s) birth.

Never forget that:

ANDY WARHOL AND ALFRED HITCHCOCK IN DRELLA AND THE MacGUFFIN

is an anagram of:

HAND HELD FANCY ART CHIC – OLD DRACULA FILM – DEATH FANG WINNER OK

or perhaps:

OH HELL – CHALK FACED CAN ART – FUDDY NNW DIRECTOR HAD ANGINA.

or even:

TECHNICAL HAD FRENCH DRINK AT ILL GRAY DAWN – OH LEAD ON MACDUFF.

and especially:

ANAGRAM: CHANCE, FAITH AND LADY LUCK DIRECT WORLD.

It makes you think, though. Doesn’t it?

* * *

1. EXT/INT. NEW YORK STREET SET/FACTORY. DAY. (B&W)

A hand-held cinema verité style swoop off the sidewalk of a obviously studio version of a New York street into the dingy lobby of a commercial building. PEOPLE come and go dressed in 1968 styles and, as the POV wobbles towards a large service elevator, a glimpse is caught of a mailman with a cart filling the letter boxes against the wall. He turns momentarily as the unseen figure passes: it is, of course, ALFRED HITCHCOCK making his cameo performance.

The grilled doors of the elevator slam shut just as the music begins:

VELVET UNDERGROUND SONG

We’re gonna have a real good time together,

We’re gonna have a real good time together.

Na na na-na na na, na-na na-na naaaa….

Over this: a jumble of letters appear, spinning around, making anagramatic words and phrases. Such as:

TITLE

HAND HELD FANCY ART CHIC – OLD DRACULA FILM – DEATH FANG WINNER OK

OH HELL – CHALK FACED CAN ART – FUDDY NNW DIRECTOR HAD ANGINA.

TECHNICAL HAD FRENCH DRINK AT ILL GRAY DAWN – OH LEAD ON MACDUFF.

ANAGRAM: CHANCE, FAITH AND LADY LUCK DIRECT WORLD.

Eventually they coalesce into:

TITLE

ANDY WARHOL AND ALFRED HITCHCOCK

IN

DRELLA AND THE MacGUFFIN.

The wobbly shot and the music continue as the elevator doors are opened and the unseen figure, breathing heavily now, strides through a large studio space – The Factory – in which what can be glimpsed of the walls, the steam pipes, all the surfaces are painted silver or covered in aluminium foil. At the end of the room a slight, fey figure dressed in a black leather jacket with a platinum blonde wig sits behind a desk with a phone crooked into his neck shifting Polaroid’s around the desk top as a tape recorder rolls to immortalise the call.

It is ANDY WARHOL.

ANDY (over the phone)

Oh you didn’t…? You did..? You slut! You spend too much time on your back and not enough time on your hair.

He looks up and sees the figure before him, obviously not unused to the sight of crazies walking in and out of his space. But then the figure holds forward a brown grocery bag in her left hand and begins rifling in it with her right, searching through the candy bars and bags of potato chips to remove a giant hand gun (like the one in Spellbound) which is held upwards, pointing directly at Andy’s chest. She fires once. He hits the floor.

ANDY

No, no. Don’t do it!

She fires four more shots: two direct hits, two glancing blows.

ANDY

I can’t…I can’t breathe…

FADE TO BLACK

_________________________________________________________

2. INT. RAILWAY COMPARTMENT SET. DAY. (COLOUR)

Over Hitchcock’s theme, Gounod’s Funeral March of the Marionettes, fade up onto: an obviously constructed set of an old-fashioned railway compartment, built with scant regard for anything more than cartoon realism and which aspires to fool no-one that it is anywhere else than on the sound stage of a studio. The figure of a large balding man with a pendulous lower lip, Alfred Hitchcock, sits snoozing.

He is dressed in a safari suit, the khaki shorts cut so far below the knee that they almost meet the tops of his socks, the waist band hiked up above the impressive sag of a well-tended belly. On his head he sports a solar topée and in one dozing hand there resides a huge caricature of a butterfly net whilst the other supports a crumpled copy of the Times. On the sagging luggage rack opposite his seat in the empty carriage is a leather trunk, plastered with traveller’s labels. Once he is aware that all eyes are upon him he awakes and turns to the camera, addressing it directly in a strange, idiosyncratic voice that bears the unmistakable vowel sounds of his native East London unconquered by an attempt at the non-descript accent of the parvenu Englishman abroad.

ALFRED

Good Evening…

I was travelling on the sleeper to Inverness when a man in the compartment pointed to the luggage rack. ‘And what have you got in there?’ he inquired of me, dispensing entirely with the formality of an introduction. I answered: ‘It’s a MacGuffin,’ and turned back to 13 across: ‘Spare him not, revolved the man hater.’ I was just about to write in ‘misanthrope’, when he persisted: ‘And what’s that for?’ With that infinite forbearance drummed into me in childhood by the ferrule of the Jesuits I told him: ‘It’s for hunting lions in the Scottish Highlands…’ ‘But there are no lions in the Scottish Highlands,’ he told me. ‘Well, then,’ I said, ‘I don’t suppose I shall be needing my MacGuffin.’

I’m afraid that – in spite of my best intentions – tonight’s story does not involve a murder. But please do not change the channel, I beg you. I realise that violent death is what you’ve come to expect me to deliver into your living rooms. Believe me, I did what I could to arrange it for you. But now I find myself bereft not only of a victim, but also of an investigation, a revelation, a twist to the tale and a satisfying climax involving a chase through the galleries of the Museum of Modern Art. In fact, I’m beginning to fear that tonight’s story will not turn out to be a story at all. And that, ladies and gentlemen, will not please My Sponsor.

So while I continue to wrestle with this enigma please enjoy that portion of the show to which My Sponsor tells me you should pay the closest attention.

Cover with a caption, white letters on black:

CAPTION

PLACE COMMERCIALS HERE.

FADE TO BLACK:

_________________________________________________________

3. INT. HOSPITAL SET. NO TIME.

(B & W SLOWLY TURNING TO MUTED COLOUR)

Fade up to a hospital room, greying white walls, black draped windows, an elaborate crucifix above a single bed with a little table beside it and a large TV set in the corner, a cardiac monitor blipping away quietly. On the bed lies the comatose figure of Andy, neither dead nor alive, tubes coming out of his side. His wig has been removed revealing thin greying blonde hairs. (A static shot that provokes memories of his early films like Sleep and Couch.)

Slowly he comes into consciousness, his eyelids flicker open and he tries to look around the room in total incomprehension gradually turning to horror. When he sees the drain coming out of his side his neck lurches forward, causing sudden indescribable pain. On the bedside table he can see a bell and a television remote control. He slowly and painfully reaches out with his right hand to pick up the bell and, with all the force he can muster, shakes it violently: no sound emerges. He looks at it and tries again: still silence.

He puts down the bell and reaches out for the remote switch – he can’t quite make it. He stretches his fingers out to their fullest extent, but it still just eludes him. He picks up the bell and with its handle slowly moves the switch toward him finally managing to get a grip on it. He points it at the TV set in the corner and pushes a button: all he gets is snow. With increasing desperation he moves through the channel selection: snow everywhere.

ANDY (v/o)

Where am I? What’s happening? What is all this snow? I must be in Canada!

He holds back the remote and as its electric eye falls upon his face the snow clears and an image appears on the screen: an extreme close up detail of his own face.

CUT TO:

_________________________________________________________

4. CLOSE ON TV SCREEN.

Extreme close up details of Andy’s blotchy albino face. Over this:

ANDY (v/o)

Ugh. What station’s this?

Look at those pimples.

What is this…the Ugly, Ugly Show?

As the remote plays over his side on the TV set is shown: the crumpled white sheet, dissolving into blood-stained hospital dressings, dissolving into stitched, scarred and supurating wounds. Over this:

ANDY (v/o)

Oh gee. That’s so beautiful. It looks like zippers on a Dior dress.

Then his whole face is revealed:

ANDY (v/o)

It’s me. Oh no. Why didn’t anybody tell me I was going to be on TV? I always wanted my own show. I’d call it Nothing Special.

Then he suddenly notices something really shocking and his hand flies up to his head as he gasps audibly.

ANDY

Where is it? What have they done with my wig? It’s my worst nightmare: I get my TV show and somebody steals my wig.

CUT BACK TO:

_________________________________________________________

5. INT. HOSPITAL ROOM. AS BEFORE.

Andy rings the bell again:

ANDY

Nurse! Nurse!

Once again the bell makes no sound but on the TV screen appears the unmistakable image of Hitchcock, now dressed as an English butler of the Edwardian era, holding a silver platter on which resides a freshly ironed tabloid newspaper.

ALFRED

You rang, sir?

CUT TO:

_________________________________________________________

6. TV/HOSPITAL.

(The next sequence is played cross-cutting between Hitchcock on TV and Andy in the bed framed so that the gory crucifix is behind him – reminiscent of the scene between Norman and Marion in Psycho)

ANDY

Who are you?

ALFRED

I might well ask the same.

ANDY

Everybody knows me, I’m A.

ALFRED

A.? I was looking for an Andrei Warhola.

ANDY

Andy Warhol – it sounds more American. I dropped the A. Well, I guess I kept it, in a way. I don’t like to throw anything out. All my friends call me A. Or Drella.

Hitchcock looks blank.

ANDY

It’s means…like…Dracula crossed with Cinderella. Because I only come out at night and I always get to go to the ball.

ALFRED

I take it this is you…?

Hitchcock holds up the newspaper. It shows a photo of Andy with the headline:

ACTRESS SHOOTS ARTIST – 50/50 Chance Doctors Say.

Andy sees the photo:

ANDY

Gee, I made the front page.

ALFRED

Then I am in the right place.

Then Andy clocks the headline:

ANDY

Oh no – Valerie Solanas – they gave that flake top billing!

ALFRED

Once again the gentlemen of the press have been displayed their usual accuracy.

ANDY

You can say that again: ‘Actress’!

ALFRED

I was thinking more of ‘Artist’.

ANDY

What are you talking about? I’m an artist. I make Art. I am Art! Even my scars are Art. Gee, my scars, what happened to me?

ALFRED

Two bullets entered your body…puncturing your liver, spleen…

ANDY

What about my leather jacket?

ALFRED

…Pancreas, oesophagus…

.pancreas, esophagus…

ANDY

Where’s that?

ALFRED

…one pulmonary artery and both your lungs.

ANDY

And I survived all that?

ALFRED

Did you hear me mention survival?

Andy suddenly begins to panic.

ANDY

What is all this? What are you doing here? Who are you anyway?

ALFRED

You mean to say you don’t know?

ANDY

Sure I know – you’re B. I’m A. and everybody else is B. I run the whole gamut: from A. to B. and back again. I know you’re one of the Bs. – I just don’t know what kind of B. you are.

ALFRED

Let me help you: who’s the most famous film director in the world?

ANDY

What is this: the 64,000 dollar question? Ordinarily I just adore game shows but right now…Anyway, I am.

ALFRED

You?

ANDY

In Manhattan my name’s always above the title.

ALFRED

You mean you’ve never heard of Alfred Hitchcock Presents?

Andy’s panic is completely allayed by the presence of celebrity. He looks hard at the face on the screen – it is him!

ANDY

Oh gee! An interviewer in Rome once asked me who was my favourite movie director. Know what I told him?

ALFRED

I should hope so.

Andy’s panic returns.

ANDY

Now will you tell me…please, for the love of God…

ALFRED

I’m afraid I serve a somewhat Higher Power. My Sponsor expects me to deliver a story every week. It’s in my contract. That’s why I’m here.

Andy is suddenly very angry in a petulant, childish sort of way.

ANDY

And you’ve come to me for a story? What do I know from stories? I hate stories! Stories are a thing of the past. It should be Alfred Hitchcock Pasts. In the future there won’t be any more stories. In the future everybody’ll have machines like tape-recorders and you can just copy movies and fast forward through all the boring scenes where people like talk and do things and then freeze them at your golden moments, like when Janet Leigh gets into the shower, or like when that dykey housemaid combs Joan Fontaine’s hair…

ANDY (cont.)

And you can hold it right there and just look at it forever. It’ll be like Do It Yourself movies – like my movies. And we won’t need your dumb stories at all. I don’t want a story, I want an Image. Stories have endings and I hate endings. My movies never have endings. My movies start when I turn on the camera and end when the film runs out. I don’t want your stories. I don’t want your endings. It’s too much work. It wears you out. I just want Empty, Empty, Empty…forever!

ALFRED

I should be careful what you say if I were you. Your wish might come true.

ANDY

What are you saying to me?

ALFRED

My story has to have an ending. Right now I’m not quite sure what it’s going to be. There are two possibilities. Either you get out of here or…

ANDY

No! I want to change this channel.

Andy picks up the remote and pushes its buttons. Hitchcock remains with a sinister smile. So he grabs the bell and begins shaking it. This time it rings as Alfred’s image fades from the screen. To his great relief the Nurse enters – an Irish nun in long white robes, telling her rosary beads.

ANDY

Nurse! Nurse! O thank God. Nurse, I want a room with a phone. I want a better view. I want to see my friends!

It is only when she bends across him to smooth his sheets and fluff up his pillow that he recognises her, beyond her stage Irish brogue. She gives a broad leering smile: it is Hitchcock.

ALFRED (as Nurse)

Now you know I can’t let that riffraff in here. Didn’t I just catch them in the pharmacy trying to steal the drugs…?

ANDY

Oh no!

The caption comes up:

CAPTION

PLACE SPONSOR’S MESSAGES HERE.

FADE TO BLACK.

_________________________________________________________

7. INT. NOWHERE. ANY TIME.

Cutting between two formally posed interviews of Andy and Alfred, separated from the story at hand, Alfred in his sober if voluminous Savile Row suit and Andy, silver wig restored with shades that reflect the image of the camera filming him. Behind Warhol is a chroma-key image of his Cow Wallpaper. Behind Hitchcock a menacing sequence from The Birds of the crows massing on the children’s climbing frame.

Softly under this:

VELVET UNDERGROUND SONG

That’s the story of my life,

That’s the difference between wrong and right.

But Billy said both these words are dead,

That’s the story of my life.

On Alfred:

ALFRED

When I was a child of no more than six years old I committed a trivial act of domestic disobedience that my father must have considered worthy of reprimand…

CUT TO:

On Andy:

ANDY

When I was a kid in Pittsburgh I used to get sick all the time. My little eyes used to swell and sometimes my hands would shake so bad my mother used to have to feed me. The doctors told her had St. Vitus Dance…

CUT TO:

ALFRED

My father sent me down to the local police station with a note…

CUT TO:

ANDY

My mother gave me a Hershey bar every time I filled a page in my colouring book. So I got to be real good at drawing…

CUT TO:

ALFRED

When the officer on duty read this note he looked extremely displeased. He took me down and shut me in one of the cells…

CUT TO:

ANDY

So when I came to New York I saw that all the really successful people were artists, while all I was drawing were shoe ads. So I figured I had to be an artist. But I never could figure what my paintings should be about…

CUT TO:

ALFRED

As the policeman turned the key in the lock he looked at me and said: ‘This is what we do to naughty little boys…’

CUT TO:

ANDY

So one of my friends said: ‘What do you love more than anything in the world?’ I said ‘That’s easy.’ So he said ‘OK, why don’t you paint that…’

CUT TO:

ALFRED

From that day forth I have gone to any lengths to avoid arrest and confinement…

CUT TO:

ANDY

So I started to paint money: five dollar bills, ten dollar bills but mostly just regular old George Washington U.S. Treasury greenbacks. And people started to buy them. I guess they must have liked them a lot, they paid more than a dollar…

CUT TO:

ALFRED

Perhaps that explains why I’ve spent the best years of my life making modest entertainments in which innocent men, usually very slender, very good-looking men, are on the run from an implacable authority which believes them guilty…

CUT TO:

ANDY

I couldn’t paint them fast enough. That’s why I started with the silkscreens. Now nobody knows if the pictures are mine or by somebody else. I think that’s so wonderful because they still pay anyway, provided it’s me who signs them…

CUT TO:

ALFRED

At least that’s what my critics say. But I’ve told that story so often that, to tell the truth, I really don’t remember now whether it happened or not. I doubt my father would have ever perpetuated such a terrible trauma – he was a greengrocer.

CUT TO:

ANDY

And that’s the story of my life. If that’s what you want to believe.

CUT TO:

_________________________________________________________

8. PUPPET MASTER/HOSPITAL BED.

Hitchcock stands over a puppet theatre set of the hospital room holding in his hand the strings which control an Andy Warhol puppet.

ALFRED

Bang, bang, bang. I’ve got him at my mercy…

(imitating Mr. Punch)

That’s the way to do it…

He lets the figure fall onto the floor.

CUT IN:

Andy on his hospital bed:

ANDY

I can’t escape. I’ll never get out of here.

CUT BACK TO:

Alfred the Puppet Master looks at his toy now firmly placed in the bed.

ALFRED

He doesn’t know whether he’ll live or die. That’s the way to do it.

CUT IN:

Andy on the hospital bed:

ANDY

Oh God, please don’t let me die.

CUT BACK TO:

Alfred looks down upon his creation.

ALFRED

But…it has to be said…I don’t know either. And that’s definitely not the way to do it…How am I going to get out of this one?

CUT BACK TO:

Andy’s face on the pillow framed down through the crucifix. (Reminiscent of the Dali Crucifixion of St. John of the Cross.)

ANDY

Oh God, if I ever get out of here…if You let me out of here, I promise I’ll pray every day and go to Mass three times on Sundays…Oh gee, I already do. But don’t tell my friends, they all think I sleep all day after Saturday nights parties.

What can I promise?

Oh God, if You let me get out of this, then I promise I won’t curse, get high (except on diet pills and then only for work), I’ll be extra kind to my mother and all the dumb animals and…

ANDY (cont.)

I’ll never have relations with anyone: masculine or feminine, cute or ugly, above or below the age of consent, above or below the belt…Oh gee, I don’t anyway. But please don’t tell my friends, sometimes I think that spinning fantasies about my private life is the only thing they have to live for.

What can I promise?

The angle changes so that once again Andy can see his face in the TV screen, but this time it’s just a pale reflection.

ANDY

All I ever wanted to be was a mirror. When a mirror looks into a mirror what’s the reflection? Same again, right? That suits me fine. Let the Bs do all the work. I’ll make the copies. I’ll keep copyright…right? I’ll just smile my enigmatic, Old Country, silk-screened Giaconda smile it took me from 1952 to 1957 to perfect – all that work every night in the mirror until my reflection disappeared. Let them talk while I make the running, while I keep the recorder running. Let the Bs make all the meaning. All I ever wanted to be was passive. Let the Bs project their stories onto me. Let the Bs make all the honey. I’ll be your mirror. That’s why they loved me. Reflect what you are. Now all I can see are the cracks. Something’s got a hold of me and I don’t know what. No control anymore over my own story. And it’s painful. All I ever wanted to be was a machine. Now I know I’m a body. And it hurts.

What am I going to do?

Suddenly the image of Hitchcock appears on TV screen.

CUT TO:

_________________________________________________________

9. TV SCREEN – TALKING HEADS.

Hitchcock is worrying. He’s holding, crooked into his arm, a replica of his own lugubrious face. (Like the famous pose with his model at Madame Tussauds.) His head is enjoying the predicament.

ALFRED

What am I going to do?

ALFRED TWO

Don’t ask me. You got yourself in this pickle.

ALFRED

Five shots at point blank range and still the bugger won’t die.

ALFRED TWO

What about a who-dun-it?

ALFRED

I wouldn’t stoop so low. Besides, everybody knows who-dun-it: the murderer committed the cardinal sin and went and confessed to the police before we went on air.

ALFRED TWO

So you’ll have to make a virtue of necessity.

ALFRED

What do you mean?

ALFRED TWO

Have him look out of the window.

ALFRED

Not that old chestnut.

ALFRED TWO

Very well then, what have got? a hospital room, a man alone, his spirit hovers ‘twixt this world and the next. That’ll give you some suspense.

ALFRED

Suspense? That’s soap opera.

ALFRED TWO

Perhaps, in this case, soup opera. Our Sponsor, for once, should be delighted. The Great American Public on the edge of their sofas…as they shiver in wonder: will he or won’t he?

ALFRED

‘Will he or won’t he’ what?

ALFRED TWO

Get out alive.

ALFRED

When all’s said and done…

ALFRED TWO

You’re a long way from that.

ALFRED

…Who really cares?

.who really cares?

ALFRED TWO

It’s only a movie, Alfred – aren’t we supposed to care?

ALFRED

I don’t. Not any more.

ALFRED TWO

Don’t be defeatist.

ALFRED

Allright then: let’s start at the very end.

ALFRED TWO

A very good place to start…

ALFRED

Well?

ALFRED TWO

Well what?

ALFRED (after a pause)

Will he or won’t he?

ALFRED TWO

That’s what you’re paid to invent.

ALFRED

It’s a plausible enough beginning: man gets shot!

ALFRED TWO

Pull the other one.

ALFRED

I didn’t know I had another one…till now.

ALFRED TWO

This is your job – you do this every week…

ALFRED

Intro – then a word from Our Sponsor…

ALFRED TWO

Act One:

ALFRED

The Hook – get them watching.

ALFRED TWO

Then: back after these messages.

ALFRED

Act Two: Get your hero up a tree.

ALFRED TWO

Another break. Sell more pet food. Act three:

ALFRED

Get him out of the tree. Just when they think they know how it’s going to end…

ALFRED TWO

The sting in the tale.

ALFRED

Chance’d be a fine thing.

ALFRED TWO

You’ve done it before.

ALFRED

Ah…Let’s just kill him off!

CUT TO:

_________________________________________________________

10. INSERT. SHOWER ROOM.

Andy slips off a bathrobe, revealing his scars;

An eye watches him;

He steps into a white-tiled shower;

He looks upward;

Water shoots out of the shower head;

He bathes away his sins;

Suddenly the shadow of a bulky figure rushes in and raises a carving knife…

(An obvious but not slavish parallel of Psycho, culminating in the terrifying Bernard Hermann score… which drains out like the water in the shower, as:)

CUT BACK TO:

_________________________________________________________

11. TALKING HEADS. AS BEFORE.

Alfred’s head interrupts this fantasy:

ALFRED TWO

No…I don’t think so.

ALFRED

Why not?

ALFRED TWO

Look what happened with ‘Sabotage’: little Stevie gets a package to deliver by his evil guardian.

ALFRED

Film cans. How appropriate.

ALFRED TWO

We know it contains a bomb, set to go off at a quarter to two…

ALFRED

‘Don’t forget: the birds will sing at one forty five..’

ALFRED TWO

He leaves in good time, but…

ALFRED

.it’s the day of the Lord Mayor’s Show. London’s chock a block.

CUT TO:

_________________________________________________________

12. INSERT. SABOTAGE EXTRACT.

(An extract from Sabotage, with the following dialogue more precisely describing the accompanying images.)

ALFRED TWO

Will he or won’t he?

ALFRED

He gets on a bus, wedged in between two fat women…

ALFRED TWO

Cut to:

ALFRED

The clock at Charing Cross…

ALFRED TWO

Cut to:

ALFRED

Int. Bus. Day. Little Stevie pets a dog.

ALFRED TWO

Cut to:

ALFRED

The hands of the clock move irrevocably towards the three quarter.

ALFRED TWO

The traffic lights change.

ALFRED

Cut to: five different angles on the package. Cut to:

CUT BACK TO:

_________________________________________________________

13. TALKING HEADS. AS BEFORE.

ALFRED TWO

You blew up a bus full of innocent Cockneys…

ALFRED

Nobody’s innocent – especially not Cockneys.

ALFRED TWO

You’re no better than a terrorist.

ALFRED

It was beautiful montage.

ALFRED TWO

It was death by a thousand cuts. They walked out in droves.

ALFRED

He was a schoolboy, young and innocent. I’ll be the first to admit I might have slipped up in that regard. But this body’s hardly the same, now is he? This body’s a New York invert who hawks pictures of thirty two varieties of soup cans that he doesn’t even draw himself. They’ll cheer to the rafters if he comes to a nasty end. It’ll be a public service.

ALFRED TWO

No can do, old man! How’re you going to fill up the rest of the show?

ALFRED

Allright, so I redeem him, I let him live: what’s he going to do: ride off into the sunset with Grace Kelly on his arm?

CUT TO:

_________________________________________________________

14. INSERT. NORTH BY NORTHWEST.

A flash extract from the very end of ‘North by Northwest as Cary Grant pulls Eva-Marie Saint into the top bunk of the sleeping car next to him and the train enters the tunnel.

CUT BACK TO:

_________________________________________________________

15. TALKING HEADS. AS BEFORE.

ALFRED

I hardly think it likely, somehow. He’ll have to go.

ALFRED TWO

It’s your choice – you’ve made your bed. And he has to lie on it.

ALFRED

What am I going to do? I’ve got nothing left to cut to. One more shot of that damned crucifix and I’ll have the Catholic League of Decency down on me.

ALFRED TWO

You wanted to do it on the cheap. You wanted to save money on the Costumes and the Art Department.

ALFRED

Oh shut up – you’re no help.

He throws the head like a football out of the set. When it bounces off-screen he smiles as he hears a muffled: ‘Ouch’. The Caption comes up:

CAPTION

INCREASINGLY PERSUASIVE WORDS FROM OUR SPONSOR.

CUT TO:

_________________________________________________________

16. INT. SOUND STAGE. DAY.

Hitchcock stands on his sound stage, looking around for inspiration. From the theatrical trunk he removes a gun, a knife, a candlestick – Cluedo objects of homicide, all tagged with exhibit numbers. As he looks at them cut to his never changing expression. Over this the Velvet Underground song:

VELVET UNDERGROUND SONG
I’m sticking with you,

‘Cause I’m made out of glue.

Anything you want to do

I’m gonna do too…

Suddenly he is interrupted:

ANDY (off-screen)

Hey…

He looks up.

ANDY (o/s)

It’s me…Maybe I can help you…Maybe I can make your movie for you.

CUT TO:

_________________________________________________________

17. INT. HOSPITAL ROOM. AS BEFORE.

Andy lies on his bed as Hitchcock’s face looks out of the TV set at him.

ANDY

Why not? I’d be quite happy to stay this way for the whole of the rest of the show. But it hurts me to see you looking so restless…

As he pushes one of the channel buttons on the remote his SPIRIT rises from the bed leaving his immobile body there and he is sucked into the set.

CUT TO:

_________________________________________________________

18. INT. SOUND STAGE. AS BEFORE.

He emerges, wig intact, fully dressed, kneeling in profile at the side of Hitchcock. (As in the famous photograph of them together.)

ALFRED

Have you got a script?

ANDY

We don’t need one.

ALFRED

What are you going to say?

ANDY

You’re the star of this movie. The Superstar…

ALFRED

I said actors should be treated like cattle – not that they should resemble cattle. What am I going to say?

ANDY

Whatever you want.

ALFRED

There has to be a script.

ANDY

Reading other people’s words sounds so phoney. A Superstar who can’t make up his own lines can’t be trusted to be real.

ALFRED

I can’t do that. It’s not my job.

ANDY

OK – we’ll make a silent movie. No talk. No action. Pure Cinema.

ALFRED

That’s the way with us Catholics, even our cinema has to be pure. What’s the plot?

ANDY

There’s no plot. Soon as you have a plot you have to take on a moral position.

ALFRED

And that’s God’s job?

ANDY

No. It’s just too hard to think up.

ALFRED

Something’s got to happen.

ANDY

Something’ll happen – we’ll shoot a movie. That’s enough happening for one day.

They step out of frame…

CUT TO:

_________________________________________________________

19. INT. FACTORY SET. DAY.

…and walk onto the Factory set where Andy was shot, .and walk onto the Factory set where Andy was shot, finding themselves in front of a large red couch. Silver cloud pillows float in the air and silvered mannequins legs jut out of the ceiling. There is a movie camera set up facing the couch and Andy goes over to it.

ANDY

OK, now take your clothes off.

ALFRED

Oh, so it’s a dirty movie.

ANDY

That depends on the state of your B.V.D.s.

ALFRED

I’m not going to be in any Underground movies.

ANDY

I’ve never been Underground. I want everybody to notice me. Now just do what the director tells you.

Hitch begins taking off his clothes, eventually arriving at a voluminous vest, blooming bloomers and suspenders holding up his sagging socks.

ANDY

I’m going to call it Suit, or maybe Andy Warhol’s Suit, which will be kind of a joke as it’s really your suit and anyway we won’t see any suit, just you being measured for a suit. Maybe somebody’ll spot that and ask for their money back because they paid to see a suit. Maybe I should put a pack of cards on the couch, out of frame so if somebody says ‘where’s the suit?’ I can say there were four suits…on the couch. Nah – nobody’s going to care.

ALFRED

What do I have to do?

ANDY

Just stand there. Hey Paul…?

A curly headed young MAN wielding a broom in the far corners of the room comes over:

ANDY

Be a tailor, OAK?

ALFRED

He hasn’t got a tape measure.

ANDY

He’s not a method actor. Anyway, he’s out of shot. We only see from like here…

He draws an imaginary line just above his waist.

ALFRED

Then why did I have to get undressed?

ANDY

It has to be real.

ALFRED

You’re just a voyeur.

ANDY

How can you say that? As soon as I turn this on I’m going off to make a phone call. The only thing that’ll be looking at you is the camera.

Andy turns on the machine and begins to walk off the set. Hitchcock stops him as the other man begins to take imaginary measurements.

ALFRED

Wait!

ANDY

Hey, we’re rolling, don’t look at me. Look at the camera.

ALFRED

I can’t look at the camera – they’ll know it’s a movie.

ANDY

Of course they’ll know it’s a movie. It’ll be playing at a movie theatre.

Now it is Hitchcock who feels naked and trapped.

ALFRED

What am I supposed to do?

ANDY

Whatever.

ALFRED

Give me some direction.

ANDY

Be yourself. I don’t want to make you change for me. It wouldn’t be fair.

He tries to set off again.

ALFRED

Wait!

ANDY

No point shouting, no-one’s going to hear you. I told you it was a silent film.

ALFRED

Tell me what to do!

ANDY

Stop over-acting.

ALFRED

I wasn’t over-acting – I was blinking.

ANDY

Just look blank. Oh gee, the film’s run out. I never got to make my phone call.

CUT TO:

_________________________________________________________

20. INT. FACTORY. LATER.

Andy and Alfred sit on the couch in a blacked-out Factory behind them a projector beams Suit onto a white sheet tacked up on the wall before them. Cut between this and the projected movie played at silent speed in which Hitch’s face is noticeably more static and spacey than he was on the set. The movie shows him framed to the waist, occasionally a hand pops in and out, taking his measurements. (Coloured filters are played upon the image like the Eric Emerson sequence in Chelsea Girls – maybe it is also accompanied by instrumental Velvet Underground feedback music.) Sporadically over this:

ALFRED

What am I going to do with this? This isn’t a movie.

ANDY

It’s a slice of life.

ALFRED

I’d rather have a slice of cake.

ANDY

Umm…I just love cake.

ALFRED

Nobody’s going to want to watch this.

ANDY

That’s cool. Nobody’s going to force them. I make movies that you don’t have to go and see.

ALFRED

Nothing happens.

ANDY

That’s your problem. Don’t you have anything else to think about apart from what’s next? Watch what’s there now.

ALFRED

It’s boring.

ANDY

I make movies that give people a chance to think about themselves for a change. I made one movie about that lasted eight hours about the Empire State building. Two hours in a light went on. Everybody in the audience…

ALFRED

Everybody?

ANDY

…gasped. It was wonderful for people .gasped. It was wonderful for people who didn’t have any place to sleep. I called the movie ‘Empire’ so everybody knew it was going to be a big epic…like Birth of a Nation.

ALFRED

There’s no suspense.

ANDY

Sure there is – you want to know when it’s going to finish.

Suddenly the film reaches the end of the spool. The punched-out dots at the end of a roll of 16mm film puncture Hitchcock’s face then the image bleaches out altogether, the end of the roll flaps loose and the room is lit by the projector bulb.

ANDY

Oh wow. It’s over. You want to watch it again?

ALFRED

No, please!

ANDY

What more do you want? You were just going to turn there…then it ended. Who knows, something might even have happened, if there’d have been more film in the camera. But now we’ll never know. Just like life.

ALFRED

That’s why I hate life.

ANDY

Maybe I should call it ‘Andy Warhol’s Thriller’. At least you’ve got a film now.

ALFRED

This isn’t going to sell any dog food. It’s wallpaper.

ANDY

I like wallpaper – it’s democratic. Everybody has wallpaper.

ALFRED

I don’t think you’ve quite grasped it, have you? We exist to keep people entertained. To stop them walking out. To make them want to stay. To give them something they don’t have in their lives. Some suspense. Watch:

CUT TO:

_________________________________________________________

21. SCREEN. FACTORY SET.

As Hitchcock talks the events he describes can be seen on the sheet on the Factory wall. It is the same space they are sitting in complete with couch.

ALFRED (off-screen)

A man and a woman come into a room…

Alfred, wearing cricket flannels, wearing a village club cap and carrying a bat under his arm walks into the room with Andy who is dressed in high society drag with a blonde wig. It’s like a thirties drawing-room play. They sit down on the couch and the conversation cuts between them.

ANDY (on screen)

Cocktail, precious?

ALFRED (on screen)

Do you have a radio, my dove?

ANDY (on screen)

I don’t know that one, my angel. How do you mix it?

ALFRED (on screen)

The Test.

ANDY (on screen)

Well then, you’ve got me stumped.

ALFRED (on screen)

No, I was wondering whether Bradman had made his century…at Lord’s.

ANDY (on screen)

Why, has he gone to take the waters?

ALFRED (on screen)

Not Lourdes, my little Catholic.

ANDY (on screen)

My mother brought some holy water from the Grotto in a cute little see-through vial in the shape of the Virgin with a stopper in her head. It makes you wonder…

ALFRED (on screen)

Does it, my little gold-digger?

ANDY (on screen)

What the Church used to do before they invented plastic.

ALFRED (on screen)

I never realised plastic was an ecclesiastical contrivance, my swallow…

Over this, off-screen:

ALFRED (off-screen)

You see: fifteen seconds and the public are already bored…

ANDY (off-screen)

I was just getting interested in her mother’s pilgrimage…

ALFRED (off-screen)

They’re thinking: ‘what’s all this yap got to do with the story…get a move on…’ So:

Suddenly there is an almighty explosion. Off screen Andy shrieks. When it clears there is only the ruins of the couch left as the cricket cap and the blonde wig flutter to the floor.

CUT TO:

Andy and Alfred on the couch, watching.

ANDY

Gee, what a surprise.

ALFRED

Precisely. Surprise is when they don’t know what’s going to happen. Fifteen seconds of build-up and ten seconds of shock. Just think how much it cost to do that explosion and you’ve still got 89 minutes and 35 seconds left to think of. But what if:

CUT BACK TO:

Back on the screen: in very ‘cutty’ montage, accompanied by thriller music an unidentified female drops a gun into a paper sack of groceries, looks at a watch, then sets off. Over this:

ALFRED (off-screen)

Now we know that Valerie Solanas, evil founder member…

ANDY (off-screen)

…only member…

ALFRED (off-screen)

…of SCUM, the Society for Cutting-Up Men, .of SCUM, the Society for Cutting Up Men wants to take her revenge on our lovely blonde heroine for seducing her matinee idol husband…

CUT TO:

In the Factory Andy in drag is languidly pouring out two glasses of Coke for himself and the still be-flannelled Alfred. He spills some over his dress:

ALFRED (on screen)

Oh what a dizzy dame you are, my little petal.

ANDY (on screen)

That’s why you love me, my sturdy stamen.

Andy steps behind a screen that splits the screen in two and changes her dress in full view of the audience but tantalisingly hidden from Hitch on the screen.

(A common motif in Blackmail, 39 Steps etc.)

ALFRED (off-screen)

Now we’ve got the Man on the Clapham Omnibus interested – he might even stop resenting having to pay for the tickets.

Back on screen: the titillation continues.

ANDY (on-screen)

I guess plastic’s brought us closer to the Source. It’s very democratic…like Coke. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one that the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good.

ALFRED (off-screen)

She can gabble on for ever about anything and he won’t care – he’s got something to look at.

ANDY (off-screen)

So it’s a dirty movie?

ALFRED (off-screen)

Of course not – her undressing is entirely dramatically motivated.

ANDY (on screen)

The President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke and, just think, you can drink Coke, too. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, and the bum on the corner knows it too…

She emerges from behind the screen in a robe and hands Alfred a glass of Coke. He takes a drink and grimaces.

CUT TO:

Still on screen:

Valerie Solanas, largely unseen, her face hidden in shadow, closes the cage of the lift door and begins, from many angles, her protracted but inevitable journey upwards…

ALFRED (off-screen)

So I’ve hooked him

ANDY (off-screen)

You talk about people as if they were fish.

ALFRED (off-screen)

Let them fry! Now Little Miss Public’s grabbing onto her beau and thinking: ‘why all this talk of soft drinks? Don’t you realise you’re about to die! Do something – get her out of there!’…And she wants it to stop, but really she’s enjoying knowing something that the characters in the picture don’t know…and the Big Bad Wolf…

ANDY (off-screen)

The guy in the movie?

ALFRED (off-screen)

No, the guy in the picture house…

ANDY (off-screen)

Right…I think.

ALFRED (off-screen)

He’s got his arm around his little shop girl closer than he’d dared on the first date – perhaps he could even stick it under her dress and she wouldn’t notice. And he’s thinking: ‘I’ll come to one of this man’s films again. He really knows how to drag out the agony.’ So now I have a public mandate to keep this scene running for the next fifteen minutes. I’ve got them where I want them and only 75 minutes left to think up.

CUT TO:

On screen: back at cocktail hour/cut in with the mounting elevator.

ANDY (on screen)

In Europe the royalty and the aristocracy used to eat a lot better than the peasants…it was all partridge or porridge, and each class stuck to its own food. But when Queen Elizabeth came to the States and President Eisenhower bought her a hot dog I’m sure he felt confident that she couldn’t have had delivered to Buckingham Palace a better hot dog than that one he bought for her for maybe twenty cents at the ballpark.

The assailant is all the while emerging from the elevator and eventually entering the Factory space behind them so she is still unseen by the characters on the screen.

ANDY (on screen)

Not for a dollar, not for ten dollars, not for a hundred thousand dollars could she get a better hot dog. She could get one for twenty cents, same as everybody else.

ALFRED (off-screen)

‘Watch out, she’s behind you!’

Alfred on-screen clocks the approaching danger.

ANDY (on screen)

And that’s why America is so wonderful, because the more equal something is, the more American it is.

A spaced-out Valerie comes up close behind him/her, her head down covered by hair:

VALERIE (on screen)

Males are incapable of love…All the evils of the world emanate from the male incapacity for love…the only road to female liberation lies through the total elimination of the male species…Slave no more!

In an orgy of cinematic analytical editing cross-cutting of the action see: Valerie draw the gun; Andy’s reaction; the whole action dragged out until the blonde Andy meets Valerie’s gaze. As they look into each other’s eyes he/she sees that Valerie is, of course, played by Andy. (It all gets a trifle complicated to explain round here but it’s easy enough to see…isn’t it?)

ANDY (on screen)

No, Valerie, no…Not me…It’s him you want…Shoot him…

VALERIE (on screen)

Eat this, cocksucker!

She fires; he falls; she fires again; his wig falls off; on screen Alfred gasps – it’s just like a movie.

CAPTION

EAT! DRINK! SMOKE! BUY!

CUT BACK TO:

_________________________________________________________

22. INT. FACTORY COUCH. DAY.

Back on the couch. Another Velvet Underground song.

VELVET UNDERGROUND SONG

What costume shall the poor girl wear

To all tomorrow’s parties?

ALFRED

That’s why they call me the Master of Suspense.

ANDY

Why? Because you cut life around and speed life up and slow life down and drag life out like you’re some kind of drug? I thought she was cute. I wanted to hear her talk about hot dogs. Surprise she gets blown up. Suspense she gets shot. What’s the difference? It still ends in Death. Give her to me. I’ll let her talk until the film runs out. I won’t have her die.

ALFRED

That’s what they expect from me.

ANDY

Only because you made them expect that. I think you enjoy being cruel.

ALFRED

You’re the sadist – trying to make them sit through your wallpaper.

ANDY

I give them a room. If they want they can stare at the wallpaper.

ALFRED

They want to get out of their rooms. They want to stop staring at the wallpaper…

ANDY

Who knows what they might see…

ALFRED

They’d see damp and dirt and mildew and mushrooms. The poor buggers work hard – they deserve to be taken out of themselves. They deserve some excitement.

ANDY

Even if it’s not their own?

ALFRED

Oh yes. Especially.

ANDY

At least in my work I never kill anybody. My friends just kill themselves – when I’m not looking, when the camera’s turned off. I beg them to call me when they’re about to o.d. or jump out of some window. So I can come visit and record. But they never do. I guess I don’t want them to…not really. I’m happy with the bits in between. The bits where they just be.

ALFRED

The public don’t want your friends dumped on them.

ANDY

You talk about the public like they’re a toilet.

ALFRED

A convenience perhaps.

ANDY

Something you piss on.

ALFRED

They don’t have to open their mouths. They can lie in the gutter and look at the stars.

ANDY

Maybe if they learned to love the gutter they’d be like my Superstars.

ALFRED

They’re a bunch of drop-outs.

ANDY

Oh no. Don’t you say that. Shame on you. Don’t you ever say that. The people in my movies are drop-ins. They don’t drop in, they don’t get to be in the film.

ALFRED

You don’t even pay them.

ANDY

I pick up their tabs at Max’s. At least they make up their own lines and stitch up their own gowns. That’s more than you can say about Tippi Hedren. They’re beautiful and I’m their Pope. My flock are homosexuals, perverts of any kind, queers, thieves, criminals of any sort, the rejected of society. Don’t they need to confess? Don’t they need a Church?

CUT TO:

_________________________________________________________

23. EXTRACT: I CONFESS.

An edited extract from the beginning of Hitchcock’s film, I Confess. A city, (Hitchcock’s cameo as he walks down a street,) direction arrows pointing to A Dead Body! a figure in a soutane leaves the murdered man’s house, the guilty man takes off the priest’s garb as he walks down the street and runs into a church. The priest approaches the murderer kneeling in the church: ‘I must confess to you, I must tell someone, I want to make a confession.’ The priest goes into the confessional:

CUT BACK TO:

Naturally, in the sanctum sanctorum the guilty party is Alfred. Through the grille the Confessor is now revealed as Andy. The scene has the tacky feel of one of Andy’s movies, like the Pope Ondine sequence from Chelsea Girls.

ALFRED

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.

ANDY

When was your last confession, my son?

ALFRED

Fifty years ago – when movies were still silent.

ANDY

I hope it’s more than thoughts and words. You got any deeds?

ALFRED

Plenty.

ANDY

Hm…what you got?

ALFRED

Make yourself comfortable. It’s going to be a long night. Shall we start with murder?

ANDY

How many?

ALFRED

I’ve lost count: I’ve killed them with guns, with knives, with nail scissors, with neckties; in black and white, in Technicolor, in 3-d. I’ve shoved them off the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore and the roof of the British Museum. I’ve done away with them in foggy streets, in spotless motel bathrooms, in the Royal Albert Hall and on the stage of the London Palladium.

ANDY

Hm…What about sins of the flesh?

ALFRED

Oh yes! I undressed women – in public. I made them stand in their scanties and subjected them to the gaze of men with tape measures.

ANDY

These are terrible sins, my son.

ALFRED

It’s not my fault. They made me do it!

ANDY

This is not a courtroom. I don’t accept mitigation.

Close on Alfred:

ALFRED

It’s true. For fifty years they put me on their domestic payroll and my job was to take them out of their mundane lives once a week. I was the ferryman…they never told me not to carry them across the Styx. They wanted me to keep them occupied and I always did my best to oblige. My father taught me: ‘The customer is always right.’

ALFRED (cont.)

I considered the stifling mundanity of their lives and decided I would chauffeur them to another world. Anything to be of service.

For I had discovered the chart to this other world, running beneath the humdrum world they all lived in. The surface of the road is thin as a shell, it’s waiting to crack. But they egged me on, you see.

For I had discovered that beneath the button-down shirt of the Madison Avenue executive beats the heart of a fugitive from justice. Behind the spectacles and the twin set of the demure secretary runs the hot blood of a rampaging minx. Under the shiny white tiles of the motel bathroom lies a fetid swamp. ‘Please, walk this way.’ And they did.

This world of chaos and disorder is not of my making. Don’t blame the messenger for bringing the bad news. I took them through the mirror and into that world, but I never forced them to accompany me. And when they had seen what it was like, I never forced them to make a return visit. How was I to know that they were going to like it out there? Don’t blame the chauffeur if you didn’t like the view.

They wanted to look: through the curtains of the opposite apartment; through the peep-hole in the wall of my lady’s chamber.

ANDY

If thine eye offend thee pluck it out.

ALFRED

Then who would look through the view-finder? They wanted to play I-spy with my little eye. They kept on blinking through their fingers when it got too close to home, asking their partners to describe what was happening as they hid under the cinema seat or behind the settee in the parlour. They’re all dirty little keyhole peepers.

ALFRED (cont.)

I told them not to look, really I did, but they wouldn’t listen to me: as they hung from the ledge by their fingertips they couldn’t resist that fatal dizzying glance down onto the world they once knew – fifty six stories below them.

They kept queuing up for more, honestly. I didn’t make them. In spite of my feeble protests they begged me to lead them by the nose into my world. And do you know why? Because it’s the world where stories come from. They might have been frightened, but wasn’t that anxiety alluring? Wasn’t that vertigo vertiginous?

Is it the pimp who creates the punter’s need, even if he is the one who walks away with the profit? They came to me for a quick knee-trembler and now you condemn me for taking a little pride in my work.

Guilt is the coin of the realm of our species, Father. Guilt passes on like loose change – it slides from the hand of the giver and drops into the purse of the receiver. It belongs to whomsoever may hold it. I’m just the honest broker. Don’t blame me for taking interest.

I think that’s why they liked my stories: they always felt quite at home with guilt.

They saw themselves in my heroes: good-looking folk who weren’t really guilty, but they might as well have been. Just like it says in the Good Book. Though they never did the deed they were capable of the crime. What have I done that was so terrible? I played a hunch that they all felt they deserved to be punished.

I was never a tell-tale tit. Their guilty secrets are safe with me. I showed you mine, but you never showed me yours.

My only sin was to throw an arc light into the attic of my soul, and what a lot of cobwebs that exposed. My only crime was to project my nightmares on a big white wall for everyone to be privy to.

Back on Father Andy:

ANDY

This is what happens to naughty little boys…

But before he can deliver his penance:

ALFRED

Forgive me, Father, but there’s one more sin I have to commit…one more tale for the telling…one more story that’s not over yet…

Andy suddenly senses jeopardy – he turns and flees:

CUT TO:

_________________________________________________________

24. PROCESS.

Andy finds himself in a series of classic Hitchcockian jeopardies: superimposed onto:

(selected from, depending on technical difficulties)

the confessional has become a telephone booth, bombarded by birds;

he runs through the Dali drawings in Spellbound;

he runs through a gallery whose walls are covered with Warhol-esque silk-screen portraits in elephantine scale of none other than Hitchcock – just like Andy’s Mao series;

he falls spinning into the Vertigo maelstrom;

he lands in the mid-western field where there’s a crop-sprayer spraying where there ain’t no crops and runs away from its fire;

Finally he sees before him a gigantic rock sticking out of the prairie into which is carved the colossal rock face of Alfred Hitchcock.

CUT TO:

_________________________________________________________

25. EXT. MOUNT HITCHMORE. DAY.

Andy climbs slowly, breathlessly, up the granite nostril of Alfred Hitchcock, carefully seeking out hand and toe-holds. Just as he is about to reach the cavity of the eye he slips and slides down at accelerating speed a vertiginous vortex spinning below him. But as he is about to be sucked into it he reaches out and grabs hold of a single tuft of thick foliage which forms a grotesque nasal hair.

He swings upon it to a safe landing on the pendulous lip. But as he looks around he sees that waiting for him there is Hitchcock. He knows that it is time to give in.

ALFRED

Good evening…

ANDY

OK, I guess you win.

ALFRED

Not at all, I’m here to make you a little proposition. How much do you want to go back?

ANDY

To my little house on Lexington, with my mother and the cats? Oh gee, Toto, there’s no place like home. Can I? Can I?

ALFRED

On one condition: if I let you out of here things are going to be a little different…

ANDY

How so, different? I don’t want it different. I want the same for ever.

ALFRED

Then I’m afraid I’ll have to let you go. Goodbye.

ANDY

Wait. Why does it have to be different?

ALFRED

Because it’s the only way I can salvage the semblance of a tale out of this mess. Don’t you see: you’ve been through Storyland, things have happened to you: you looked Death in the eye, you’ve had an adventure, you’ve been through a rite of passage – you can’t go into the refiner’s fire and expect to come out the same way you went in.

ANDY

Why not?

ALFRED

Because it’s unsatisfying.

ANDY

Not to me, it isn’t.

ALFRED

To the public.

ANDY

Not them again.

ALFRED

They expect their pound of flesh.

ANDY

They run you, don’t they? You think it’s you runs them, but really they pull the strings.

ALFRED

What you’ve been through has made you realise that you were never happy with what you were before.

ANDY

But I was.

ALFRED

This is not negotiable: the world you return to is not the world you left.

ANDY

Dorothy’s was.

ALFRED

Nonsense – she left Kansas a girl and came back from Oz a woman. What did you think was the significance of the ruby slippers?

ANDY

A cute pair of shoes?

ALFRED

It was a symbol of her first menstruation.

ANDY

Ugh.

ALFRED

That’s what French critics say.

ANDY

French critics say my work is a tongue in cheek put-down of consumerism. I say: where else do they expect me to put my tongue?

ALFRED

Believe me, I didn’t want The Wizard of Oz either. It’s the best I can come up with… They’ll feel cheated if you learn nothing from all this hoo-hah.

ANDY

The only thing I’ve learned is not to trust you and your stories. So what do I have to do? And before you start I am not buying any Kotex.

ALFRED

You have to turn your back on your old ways.

ANDY

What?

ALFRED

No more Superstars.

ANDY

No more Ondine? No more Rotten Rita? Ciao Sugar Plum Fairy? Arriverdachi Viva?

ALFRED

That’s right.

ANDY

Then who am I going to play with? I have to have Bs buzzing around.

ALFRED

You might try normal people.

ANDY

No more speed freaks?

ALFRED

Only drunks.

ANDY

I can’t watch them shoot up and play on my couch?

ALFRED

I’m afraid not.

ANDY

Oh, it was such a lovely big couch. No more fags?

ALFRED

We might tolerate the odd homosexual – provided he’s well-heeled.

ANDY

You mean I have to hang out with Ivy Leaguers, Wall Street types in Brooks Brothers button down shirts? Heteros whose wives don’t understand them with big booming laughs and last night’s brandy on their breath who’ll crush my hands when we’re introduced and tell me that they like my work?

ALFRED

And preferably Nixon voters.

ANDY

No more drag queens?

ALFRED

Only heiresses.

ANDY

Then you have to introduce me to Princess Grace.

ALFRED

I might let you frug with Caroline. Everybody else has.

Andy’s starting to like this.

ANDY

Gee, Royalty! Queen Elizabeth?

ALFRED

Definitely no English Royals. Only those from unpopular and repressive regimes. Maybe I could arrange the Sharina of Iran.

ANDY

And maybe Imelda Marcos – I could paint her ruby slippers…All three thousand pairs.

ALFRED

Very well.

Andy starts to have second thoughts.

ANDY

What am I going to do with myself all day?

ALFRED

You’re the first one who’s ever asked me that. Most of them are content to get out alive…

ANDY

Maybe I could go shopping.

ALFRED

Allright then.

ANDY

I always liked to shop. My philosophy is that buying’s more American than thinking. But I still have to do my work…

ALFRED

Just confine yourself to society portraits.

ANDY

Business Art? OK, I could take Polaroid’s in their apartments so I can check out their furniture, then silk-screen them and use one of the boys to give them a coat of paint and sell them for twenty five thousand dollars. I could do three a day.

ALFRED

Capital. And no more films.

ANDY

No more movies?

ALFRED

Definitely not.

ANDY

Oh gee, I don’t know about that.

ALFRED

Very well, it’s your choice. Look!

He points off into the distance:

CUT TO:

_________________________________________________________

26. INT. HOSPITAL SET. DAY.

Andy lies on his hospital bed seen as if through a distorted fish-eye from the other side of the TV screen. Suddenly the blip on the cardiac monitor stops pulsing and emits a high-pitched whine.

Close onto the bed. Gloved medical hands appear to take the pulse, to pump the chest.

MEDICAL VOICES (off-screen)

His heart’s stopped beating.

It’s too late.

We’ve lost him.

Get him down to the morgue…

Andy and Alfred can be heard off-screen.

ALFRED (off-screen)

Go back…

ANDY (off-screen)

Uh-uh, I don’t care anymore. I could get used to it out here…

ALFRED (off-screen)

Please…they have to have an ‘up-beat’ ending…

ANDY (off-screen)

I am not a record. I am the hole in the middle of the record. I am nothing. But without me nothing can happen. I make nothing happen.

ALFRED (off-screen)

Go back!

CUT TO:

_________________________________________________________

27. INSERT. POP ART.

Andy falls off Mount Hitchmore – a tiny speck finally falling into a giant can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup. (As on the Esquire cover.)Then his soul is sucked back into the prone body on the hospital bed.

CUT BACK TO:

_________________________________________________________

28. INT. HOSPITAL SET. AS BEFORE.

Back in the hospital room one of the nurses takes a sharp intake of breath. She notices that trickling down his cheek is a single tear drop.

MEDICAL VOICES

Wait. He’s crying! He didn’t die! We saved him! He’s still alive!

CUT TO:

_________________________________________________________

29. ABOVE AND BEYOND IT ALL.

Alfred and Andy are watching, looking down upon this satisfyingly crass dénouement.

ALFRED

Allright, so it’s corny. I’m far from proud.

ANDY

No, that’s so cute – can’t we just run out of film on the teardrop?

ALFRED

Goodbye, little Andy.

ANDY

Yeah. As soon as you stop wanting something – that’s when you’re going to get it. I’ve always found that absolutely axiomatic.

Before Hitchcock can leave Andy takes a Polaroid of him. A spectral ghost of a wraith-like smile plays across both of their faces. As the image of the photograph coagulates the image of the sitter disappears.

CUT BACK TO:

_________________________________________________________

30. INT. HOSPITAL SET. AS BEFORE.

Back in the hospital bed Andy’s eyelids movingly flutter, then open:

ANDY

We’re am I? What happened to me?

The Caption comes up:

CAPTION

BUY SPONSOR’S LIFE-GIVING PRODUCTS NOW!

CUT TO:

_________________________________________________________

31. POLICE STATION.

Outside a monochromatic police station a blue lamp is burning.

Alfred comes on in the comforting garb of a 1950’s avuncular Dock Green policeman. His knees buckle as he automatically checks his flies are fastened, coughs and addresses us, increasingly demented:

ALFRED

Good Evening all.

Well the lad went straight, got in with a decent crowd and the last I heard his mother’s very proud of him. Ah well, it’s nice to know us coppers can sometimes do our bit, just so long as I don’t have to have one of his pictures on my wall. Eight million stories in the Naked City and I had to pick his. My name’s Friday. Today’s Monday. Here comes Muffin, Muffin the Mule…

CUT TO:

_________________________________________________________

32. FACTORY SET.

Over this Andy Warhol is making a Society Portrait from a Polaroid of a Famous Fat Film Director. The silk-screen is transferred to a canvas and Andy sloshes on acrylic paint.

ALFRED (v/o over this)

And they do say, on a moonlight night you can still hear the echo of Spring-Heeled Jack the Terror of London on the fog-drenched cobbles as the ‘Eadless ‘Orseman ‘aunts these ‘ills with ‘is ‘ead tucked hunderneath ‘is harm. Andy is saying Goodbye, Goodbye. Quick, Watson, into a hansom. The name, ma’am, is Simpson not Samson. Only the names have been changed to protect the ones with no names.

ALFRED (v/o cont.)

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Only the Shadow knows. And, friends, this story is true. I know – I was that soldier!

CUT TO:

_________________________________________________________

33. HITCHCOCK ALONE. WHEREVER.

Alfred Hitchcock looks into the camera, in terror:

ALFRED

Enough, please! Believe us, we can do it! How many times do you need us to tell it? It’s easy when you know how. Why do you keep demanding it of me? Do It Yourself. Please! Please! End of Story!

His composure is regained. He turns to walk away, making the distinctive caricature profile.

The Warhol portrait takes shape.

ALFRED

Good Evening.

The music comes up: his theme tune – Gounod’s Funeral March of a Marionette, phasing into the chaos of Sister Ray by the Velvet Underground.

THE END.