over an ocean liner anchored in a harbor.
of the cast with their names and roles SUPERIMPOSED, over which we hear the
film's love theme.
EXT. HONG KONG - DAY
A couple of shots from stock footage of the city.
SUPERIMPOSED text reads: HONGKONG
INT. SALOON - DAY
Swinging doors open as the CAMERA TRACKS THROUGH them and into the crowded
barroom. It's lunchtime on November, 21, 1932, and the place is full of
Westerners, mostly civilians but also some scattered sailors. We hear a trio
singing "If I Had My Way," a pop ballad from 1913. We have missed the first
line of the chorus ("If I had my way, dear, forever there'd be") but it hardly
A garden of roses for you and for me ...
We PAN OVER to a piano keyboard where a burning cigarette is balanced upright
on the next-to-last key. The pianist, accompanying the singers, snatches the
butt and takes a drag.
A thousand and one things, dear, I would do ...
We PAN OVER to the trio standing in a corner by the swinging doors -- three
ugly, heavyset Westerners, two men and a woman. Someone tosses them a coin
from off screen and the guy in the center fails to catch it. He has to bend
over to pick it up off the floor.
Just for you, just for you, just for you.
Another coin is thrown. This time, the guy on the left fails to catch it. The
coin falls toward the floor with a loud metallic clank. The singers look down
at the floor. We PAN DOWN just long enough to reveal a spittoon near the
singers' feet, then PAN BACK UP to the singers who reluctantly decide not to
retrieve that particular coin. Never once during all this do they miss a note.
If I had my way, you would never grow old,
And sunshine I'd bring every day ...
On the word "day," a female patron approaches the heavy woman and whispers a
question in her ear. Conveniently, there is a pause in the song, just long
enough for the singer to reply:
First door to your left, dearie.
The female patron departs. We TRACK DOWN the crowded bar and see: two sailors
and a bartender toasting one another with huge glasses of beer; a bartender
pouring drinks for other sailors and their "dates"; various civilian men and
women wearing the latest styles; uniformed chauffeurs; ship's officers and
crew of various nationalities; etc. At one point, we briefly glimpse someone
carrying away the spittoon to retrieve the coin.
You would reign all alone
Like a queen on a throne,
If I had my way.
The song ends. Patrons applaud. We PAUSE at a middle-aged American bartender
mixing a complicated drink. He grins and speaks to an unseen patron who sits
at the bar, just off screen.
I haven't made one of these since
the Fourth of July.
In the background, we hear the trio begin a new song, another standard, this
one from 1918:
"Till We Meet Again." The bartender takes a long whiff of the
drink's aroma and adds some more ingredients.
I was makin' one when the quake hit
The bartender stirs the drink expertly and glances around.
Believe me, friend, I wouldn't go to
all this trouble for any of these
With great pride, he adds a few finishing touches, pours the contents into a
glass and tops it off with an olive. The unseen patron's hand reaches in to
pick up the glass but the bartender raises a finger at him.
Uh uh. Gotta wait a minute to let
the oil sink in.