INT. STAIRCASE OUTSIDE OLD SALIERI'S SALON - NIGHT - 1823
Total darkness. We hear an old man's voice, distinct and in
distress. It is OLD SALIERI. He uses a mixture of English
and occasionally Italian.
Mozart! Mozart! Mozart. Forgive me!
Forgive your assassin! Mozart!
A faint light illuminates the screen. Flickeringly, we see
an eighteenth century balustrade and a flight of stone stairs.
We are looking down into the wall of the staircase from the
point of view of the landing. Up the stair is coming a
branched candlestick held by Salieri's VALET. By his side is
Salieri's COOK, bearing a large dish of sugared cakes and
biscuits. Both men are desperately worried: the Valet is
thin and middle-aged; the Cook, plump and Italian. It is
very cold. They wear shawls over their night-dresses and
clogs on their feet. They wheeze as they climb. The candles
throw their shadows up onto the peeling walls of the house,
which is evidently an old one and in bad decay. A cat scuttles
swiftly between their bare legs, as they reach the salon
The Valet tries the handle. It is locked. Behind it the voice
goes on, rising in volume.
Show some mercy! I beg you. I beg
you! Show mercy to a guilty man!
The Valet knocks gently on the door. The voice stops.
Open the door, Signore! Please! Be
good now! We've brought you something
special. Something you're going to
Signore Salieri! Open the door. Come
now. Be good!
The voice of Old Salieri continues again, further off now,
and louder. We hear a noise as if a window is being opened.
Mozart! Mozart! I confess it! Listen!
The two servants look at each other in alarm. Then the Valet
hands the candlestick to the Cook and takes a sugared cake
from the dish, scrambling as quickly as he can back down the
EXT. THE STREET OUTSIDE SALIERI'S HOUSE - VIENNA - NIGHT
The street is filled with people: ten cabs with drivers,
five children, fifteen adults, two doormen, fifteen dancing
couples and a sled and three dogs. It is a windy night. Snow
is falling and whirling about. People are passing on foot,
holding their cloaks tightly around them. Some of them are
revelers in fancy dress: they wear masks on their faces or
hanging around their necks, as if returning from parties.
Now they are glancing up at the facade of the old house.
The window above the street is open and Old Salieri stands
there calling to the sky: a sharp-featured, white-haired
Italian over seventy years old, wearing a stained dressing