Through the window of a moving vehicle, we see a series of
small, middle-class houses. This could be any suburban street
INT. CITY BUS - DAY
A boy is seated near the back of a moving bus. This is TODD
BOWDEN, 15, as All-American as they come. He stares out at the
other passengers indifferently. Then something catches his eye.
EXT. RESIDENTIAL STREET - SANTO DONATO - DAY
SANTO DONATO, CA FEBRUARY 1984
Todd pedals his bike down a quiet street and pulls up to an
unassuming bungalow set far back on its lot. This is the kind
of house one would hardly notice driving through the peaceful
suburban community of Santo Donato. Todd gets off his bike and
heads up the front steps. On the way, he bends down to pick up
the L.A. Times.
Two signs, in laminated plastic, are secured neatly above the
door bell. The first reads: "ARTHUR DENKER". The second reads:
"NO SOLICITORS, NO PEDDLERS, NO SALESMEN".
Todd RINGS the bell. Nothing. He looks at his watch. It is
twelve past ten. He RINGS again, this time longer. Still
nothing. Finally, Todd leans on the tiny button, staring at his
watch as he does so. After more than a minute of SOLID RINGING,
a voice is heard from within.
All right. All right. I'm coming. Let it
Todd lets go as a chain behind the heavy door starts to rattle.
Then it opens. An old man stands behind the screen. He is KURT
DUSSANDER, a.k.a. Arthur Denker. Mid-seventies. Standing there
in his bathrobe and slippers, a cigarette smashed in his mouth,
he looks like a cross between Boris Karloff and Albert Einstein.
Dussander stares at Todd, who tries to speak, but suddenly
A boy. I don't need anything, boy. Can't
you read? I thought all American boys could
read. Don't be a nuisance, now. Good day.
The door begins to close. Todd waits till the last moment
Don't forget your paper, Mr. Dussander.
The door stops. Dussander opens it slowly. He unlatches the
screen and slips his fingers around the paper. Todd does not
Give me my newspaper.
Sure thing, Mr. Dussander.
Dussander snatches the paper away and closes the screen door.
Quickly, almost imperceptibly, the old man's eyes survey the
across the street, up and down the sidewalk, the boy's
My name is Denker. See?
Denker. Perhaps you cannot read after all.
What a pity. Good day.
As the front door closes, Todd speaks rapidly into the narrowing gap.
Bergen-Belsen, January '43 to June '43.
Auschwitz, June '43 to June '44. Then you
went to Patin.
The door stops, still partly open.
After the war, you escaped to Buenos Aires.
From 1950 to '52 you were in Cuba, and
then... From 1952 to '58... I don't know. No
one does. But in 1965, you popped up in West
Berlin, where they almost got you.