A-1 LOS ANGELES - A DOWNTOWN INTERSECTION
It is night, about two o'clock, very light traffic.
At the left and in the immediate foreground a semaphore
traffic signal stands at GO. Approaching it at about thirty
miles per hour is a Dodge 1938 coupe. It is driven erratically
and weaving a little, but not out of control.
When the car is about forty feet away, the signal changes to
STOP. Car makes no attempt to stop but comes on through.
A-2 A LIGHT NEWSPAPER TRUCK
is crossing the intersection at right angles. It swerves and
skids to avoid the Dodge, which goes on as though nothing
had happened. The truck stops with a panicky screech of tires.
There is a large sign on the truck: "READ THE LOS ANGELES
TIMES". The truck driver's infuriated face stares after the
A-3 THE COUPE
continues along the street, still weaving, then slows down
and pulls over towards the curb in front of a tall office
A-4 THE COUPE
stops. The headlights are turned off. For a second nothing
happens, then the car door opens slowly. A man eases himself
out onto the sidewalk and stands a moment leaning on the
open door to support himself. He's a tall man, about thirty-
five years old. From the way he moves there seems to be
something wrong with his left shoulder.
He straightens up and painfully lowers his left hand into
his jacket pocket. He leans into the car. He brings out a
light-weight overcoat and drapes it across his shoulders. He
shuts the car door and walks toward the building.
A-5 ENTRANCE OF THE BUILDING
Above the closed, double-plate glass doors is lettered:
"PACIFIC BUILDING". To the left of entrance there is a
drugstore, closed, dark except for a faint light in the back.
The man comes stiffly up to the doors. (CAMERA HAS MOVED UP
WITH HIM). He tries the doors. They are locked. He knocks on
the glass. Inside, over his shoulder, the lobby of the
building is visible: a side entrance to the drugstore on the
left, in the rear a barber shop and cigar and magazine stand
closed up for the night, and to the right two elevators. One
elevator is open and its dome light falls across the dark
The man knocks again. The night watchman sticks his head out
of the elevator and looks toward entrance. He comes out with
a newspaper in one hand and a half-eaten sandwich in the
other. He finishes the sandwich on the way to the doors,
looks out and recognizes the man outside, unlocks the door
and pulls it open.
Hello there, Mr. Neff.
Neff walks in past him without answering.
A-6 INT. LOBBY
Neff is walking towards elevator. Night watchman looks after
him, relocks door, follows to elevator. Neff enters elevator.
Neff stands leaning against wall. He is pale and haggard
with pain, but deadpans as night watchman joins him.
Working pretty late aren't you, Mr.
You look kind of all in at that.
I'm fine. Let's ride.
Night watchman pulls lever, doors close and elevator rises.
How's the insurance business, Mr.
They wouldn't ever sell me any. They
say I've got something loose in my
heart. I say it's rheumatism.
Night watchman looks around at him, turns away again and the