Nothing But a Man script
Synopsis: Nothing But a Man is a 1964 American independent drama film starring Ivan Dixon and Abbey Lincoln, and directed by Michael Roemer, who also co-wrote the film with Robert M. Young. The film tells the story of Duff Anderson, an African-American railroad worker in the early 1960s who tries to maintain his respect in a racist small town near Birmingham, Alabama, after he marries the local preacher's daughter. In addition to dealing with oppression and discrimination, Anderson must also come to terms with his troubled relationship with his own father, a drunk who abandoned and rejected him.

A crew of African-Americans are laying tracks in rural Alabama. The crane

operator is the only white man on the section gang.

INT. BUNK CAR

The dormitory of the section gang. The men are through for the day and

lounging on their bunkbeds. DUFF ANDERSON plays checkers with FRANKIE, using

bottle tops as pieces. Duff makes the winning move and Frankie, disgusted,

turns over the board. He saunters over to JOCKO, who is shaving in a broken

mirror. Frankie watches him with a grin.

JOCKO:

Go to hell, Frankie.

FRANKIE:

Man, you sure one ugly cat!

He takes the cigarettes Jocko has rolled, sailor-style, into the sleeve of

his T-shirt.

JOCKO:

Why don't you guys buy your own?

FRANKIE:

'Oughta give up smoking, Jocko.

He stops in front of an older man, who is writing a letter.

FRANKIE:

How much longer we got on this stretch, Riddick?

RIDDICK:

Five weeks, maybe six.

FRANKIE:

Man, what a dump.

He circles restlessly past two cardplayers back to Duff, who is clipping his

fingernails.

FRANKIE:

What you gettin' all pretty for?

DUFF:

(with a grin)

Why don't you relax, Frankie?

RAILROAD TRACK:

Duff, Frankie, and Jocko are riding a track-car, powered by a small engine,

into the nearest town. The sun is setting. A church bell rings.

POOL HALL:

Jocko, a cigar in his mouth, is playing a pinball machine. Duff and Frankie

stand at the bar. They are joined by DORIS , a sad-looking woman with bad

skin.

DORIS:

Who's going to buy me a beer?

FRANKIE:

(scornfully)

What's the matter, Doris? Business bad?

DORIS:

It sure is.

FRANKIE:

Everybody givin' it away free, huh?

DORIS:

You gonna buy me a beer, Frankie?

FRANKIE:

See Duff. He's the money man.

DORIS:

What d'you say, Duff?

DUFF:

(to the bartender)

Give her a beer.

DORIS:

Thanks, Duff. You' a nice guy. Not like Frankie.

FRANKIE:

You know, Doris - you'd make some guy a swell

wife.

DORIS:

You think so, Frankie?

FRANKIE:

Hell, you got steady work.

DUFF:

Quit ridin' her, Frankie.

The bartender serves her a bottle of beer

FRANKIE:

I ain't ridin' her. Wouldn't ride her on a bet.

Duff pays for the beer and turns to leave.

DORIS:

Where' you goin'?

DUFF:

Out.

DORIS:

Want me to come?

DUFF:

No thanks.

DORIS:

Come on, honey.

FRANKIE:

Where' you goin'?

DUFF:

'Round town.

FRANKIE:

What's so hot 'round town?

DUFF:

(with a grin)

Take it easy, Frankie.

He leaves.

FRANKIE:

Don't wanna fish you outa no jailhouse.

STREET (Night)

Duff is walking along the deserted street in the black part of town.

Music from the pool hall fades and we pick up the strains of gospel singing

from a nearby church.

INT. CHURCH

The choir is singing "Precious Lord." The women are spirited and the

congregation in the small wooden building is alive to the music.

Duff appears in the open doorway and stops to listen.

When the song ends, REVEREND DAWSON rises from his chair.

REVEREND:

I'm glad to see this meeting off to a good

start. Now we'll take a break and then come back

to hear from our distinguished guest - Reverend

Butler of the Morgan Street Baptist Church in

Birmingham. See you all in a little while.

Reverend Butler compliments him on the choir.

CHURCH YARD:

Long tables laden with food are lit by strings of lightbulbs. The sound of a

gospel piano from inside the church.

A smiling middle-aged woman has taken Duff in tow and leads him over to a

young woman (JOSIE), who is serving food.

WOMAN:

Josie - this is Brother Anderson. Now you give

him some of that good food. He's a fine young

man.

(on her way)

Ain't it a wonderful meetin'?!

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Michael Roemer

Michael Roemer (born January 1, 1928) is a film director, producer and writer. He has won several awards for his films. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. A professor at Yale University, he is the author of Telling Stories. more…

All Michael Roemer scripts | Michael Roemer Books

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"Nothing But a Man" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 13 Dec. 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/nothing_but_a_man_935>.

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