The Spanish Prisoner

Synopsis: Joe Ross is a rising star. He's designed a process that will make his company millions. He wants a bonus for this work, but fears his boss will stiff him. He meets a wealthy stranger, Jimmy Dell, and they strike up an off-kilter friendship. When the boss seems to set Ross up to get nothing, he seeks Dell's help. Then he learns Dell is not what he seems, so he contacts an FBI agent through his tightly-wound assistant, Susan Ricci. The FBI asks him to help entrap Dell. He accepts, a sting is arranged, but suddenly it's he who's been conned out of the process and framed for murder. Bewildered and desperate, he enlists Susan's aid to prove his innocence.
Director(s): David Mamet
Production: Sony Pictures Classics
  3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
110 min

What is the purpose

of your trip, please?


Thank you and welcome

to St. Estphe.

What is the purpose

of your trip, please?

May I see these Havanas, please?


-I'll relax after the dog and pony show.

- Will you put that thing away, Joe?

- Just a minute,

Mr. Ross?

- Susan,

- Susan. you on the plane?

In the cheap seats. I'm just thrilled

the company sent me here at all.

Let me help you with that.

On, no, Mr. Ross, I promised

Mr. Klein nobody touches this but me,

- Let me just get this,

- you are a real boy scout,

- That's a compliment indeed.

- They told me we started here,

- It's true.

- Nothing sensitive in that,

Absolutely not.

Come on,

The process...

and by means of the process

to control the global market.

- And this process is complete?

- It's near completion,

- Near completion?

- Very near. This team, which Mr. Ross--

- Team?

- The team,

And I think if I may,

Mr. Klein.,,

I would like to state that the work and

the inspiration for the process was--

Thank you, George.

I know youll understand when I

say that's neither here nor there.

These gentlemen have come

down to hear the good news,

The good news

is control of the market.

- How are we gonna do that, Mr. Ross?

- Some information is in front of you,

We don't want to get too specific

for security reasons,

My task is to tell you what those

things I can in Layman's language,

I think I can break it down sufficiently

to give you a pretty firm idea.

- This process--

- yes.

How long could we hold on to it

before the competition steals it?

We defend it, of course, tooth and nail.

This is a proprietary process,

Of course, after the fact,

But the competition--

The question is, if we get

into it, what do we own?

you're asking us to consider

making a vast investment.

Before we take this before

the stockholders' meeting...

I want to know,

what do we own?

- Speak to the point.

- Thank you, I will.

Without our actual data,

without the formula...

the Japanese, or anyone else for

that matter, would have nothing.

Should you give us the go-ahead,

their actual--

The legal issues are these:

We have both the de facto and the

de jure copyright of that process,

Even if they should engage in piracy,

their research and development time...

- Their catch-up time,

- would put them back-- George?

- Three?

- Three to five years.

What I want to know is,

who much money will we make?

In that

three-to-five-year period...

a conservative projection is we're

gonna generate for the company...

a windfall somewhere

on the order of--

- Id like to take this opportunity--

- What is it, Joe?

If I might-- They were kind enough

to mention the stockholders' meeting,

But if we could discuss

the exact terms of--

- Of your--

- Of my bonus.

That is, my participation in it,

This thing goes, there's gonna be

more than enough to go around.

Are you kidding? you did good

in there, Im not gonna forget it.

- Thank you.

- Neither are they.

- But my exact question is--

- How much?

Im in the same position as you,

They keep me in the dark too,

yes, they do.

Do you need a couple of bucks

for your rent?

For my rent?

I can't say that I do, sir,

Ill tell you what.

Frankly, Im here to enjoy myself,

That's why we brought you fellows down.

Give you a little perk,

Now you wanna talk business?

New York, my office,

Any time,

And Joe, why don't you buy

yourself some new clothes?

Give yourself a holiday.

As you see, Joe,

Lots to do down here.

See you in New York.

Both the room charges

and the incidentals--

- The fax said the incidental expenses--

- 'm just the new girl,

- Ill just be a moment.

- Thanks,

your traveler's checks

are in U,S, dollars?

- That's right,

- Some clambake, huh?

-Ill need you to sign these.

-Gabrielle, you have to change the tape,

Change it?

Don't you just rerecorded them?

- No, we save all the tapes.

- What do you keep them for?

Insurance company demands it,

People waterskiing and so on.

In case of a suit.

Lot of money, sir,

They give you a better exchange

at the bank.

Oh, well, I suppose I should

have done it that way, but...

that's all right.

Hello, Been shopping, Mr. Ross?

lf you want, as long as we're here--

thank you-- you could call me Joe,

yeah, as long as I didn't

take that as inducement...

to further intimacy.

- Well--

- I'll call you Joe down here then,


How'd the meeting go?

Something big, huh? That's what

they all think back at home.

- Could be something big.

- What is it?

- Sworn to secrecy,

- Something big. Sworn to secrecy,

- Everybody's smokin' a cigar.

- Things seem to be going our way,

Did you know the Caribbean is the

number one honeymoon destination...

for young Japanese?

- I didn't know that,

- Well, it is.

- Long way to come,

- Must be because it's so romantic.


Take a picture, sir?


The security of the process.

There's only one copy of the process,

Its in New York,

- I see,

- The answer you're after--

Beats workin', doesn't it?

One last shot, Show 'em back at

the office, Our day in paradise,

- Sure,

- Let's see those ivories!

A friendly smile,

a tropical isle.

- Ill take you too,

- Thanks,

Chris, I left the log

on the pilot seat,

you're a real gent,

See ya,

Ill give you $1,000

for that camera,

beg your pardon?

I said, I will give you

$1,000 if give me that camera.

Are you asking a favor of me?

Is that the idea?

Because if it's important to you, why

don't you take the camera as a gift?

Why don't you take it?

There you go,

My gift to you.

Excuse me,

What is this thing that

brought you down here?

A very hush-hush,

secret development,

But I'm so low down on the food chain.

Ive only been there a month,

- Hello, Joe, I was just--

- yeah, we're secret agents down here,

- Hello, Joe, I was just--

- yeah, we're secret agents down here,

Super-rich and powerful,

Reforming the world.

- Full of priceless information,

- Everybody on vacation's got a story,

- Isn't it?

- That's right,

Everybody needs to feel important.

What do you do?

Me? Im with the FBI.

I know,

I shouldn't have said anything.

Not that I know anything,

you're right, you know what I have?

A secretary mentality.

- That's right. Might be a good idea--

- Not that anyone tells me anything,

Im just here to fetch and carry,

''Send the new girl,''

No. It's not a big thing.

Just don't have to mention it,


- Somebody's got a crush on you,

- I ain't lookin' for an office romance,

All I want is an umbrella

in my drink.

Your ship comes in, you're gonna be

whisking them away like flies, lad,

- Just like flies,

- Ship comes in!

Nice shirt.

They can twist and squirm,

but they owe ya.

- And if they don't wanna pay?

- Well, nobody wants to pay,

Here's what I think:

Worry is interest paid in advance

on a debt that never comes due.

- Is it indeed?

- I warned ya,

Leave the job till tomorrow,

This evening, let's enjoy ourselves.

Rate this script:5.0 / 1 vote

David Mamet

David Alan Mamet is an American playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and film director. As a playwright, Mamet has won a Pulitzer Prize and received Tony nominations for Glengarry Glen Ross and Speed-the-Plow. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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