The Magic Toyshop
1. Exterior. A London square. Night.
But a shabby square. Wet and misty, creating a halo
around a street lamp - an old-fashioned, gas one, the
period is circa 1954/5. The mist partially obscures
the surroundings. Out of the mist emerges a man,
gaunt, raw-boned, in a soiled trenchcoat open over a
shabby, ill-fitting suit. His five o'clock shadow is
just showing. His thoughts are worlds away from his
surroundings. His age is indeterminate, anything from
mid-twenties to mid-forties.
He is heading towards the row of shops on one side of
the square: fog hides the square itself but the
outlines of one or two trees are visible - the
diffused light from the street lamp illuminates some
The shops comprise a greengrocer's - as FRANCIE
approaches, a woman in a blue overall reaches out and
pulls down a blind, hiding the piled fruit; and a
butcher - closed, nothing in the window but
greaseproof paper hanging from meathooks and enamelled
metal trays, on which sits a black and white cat.
There is also a toyshop.
The toyshop is old-fashioned, quaint, in fact, almost
pastiche. It has a slightly bowed window and above, a
very ornate sign in gold on green: Philip Flower, Toys
and Novelties. The window itself, closed off from the
interior of the shop by shutters, is lit only by the
street lights, but we can make out inviting outlines
of the toys with which it is crammed - rocking horses,
elaborately dressed dolls, a huge Noah's ark.
As FRANCIE arrives at the door, a light goes on inside
the shop. On the door hangs a sign: Closed: stuck into
the frame - the top section of the door is panelled in
glass - a visiting card, Francie O'Connor, Jigs and
Reels, in Irish lettering.
We glimpse a red-haired woman running through the shop
just before she flings open the door. She is tall and
skinny, in shabby black dress and lisle stockings,
with, around her neck, a barbaric-looking silver
necklace as tight as a dog collar. Her very bright red
hair is untidily pinned on her head. She is carrying a
2. Interior. Toyshop. Night.
MARGARET ushers FRANCIE into the shop, registering joy
A parrot, brilliantly coloured red and yellow, flies
up from its perch squawking: No sale, no sale. Then
subsides, with a faint clank. We see the chain that
chains it to the perch.
Down one side of the shop runs a long, mahogany
counter: behind it, shelves stacked with many inviting
cardboard boxes; the lower shelves display a selection
of bright and beautiful, mostly wooden, toys. Other
toys - masks, hobby horses, jumping jacks etc. - hang
from hooks or are propped against the shelves. The shop
has a musty, old-fashioned air; lit by a single bulb
hanging from the middle of the ceiling, the upper
shelves are shadowy, dusty, cobwebby, their contents
enticing, mysterious, possibly sinister.
There is a wooden chair on the customer's side of the
counter, no chair on the service side. A huge, ornate
metal cash register, registering pounds, shillings and
pence (this is pre-decimalisation) dominates the
Behind the counter, a blackboard, '7s 6d' is written
At the end of the counter, in the side wall, is a doorway,
that opens on to the stairs down to the basement workshop.
The sound of furniture being moved issues from this
MARGARET gives FRANCIE a quick hug and kiss. She
mouths: 'quick! quick' and thrusts the fiddle case in
his hands, then dives down the stairway to the
workroom. The door to the passage is open. In comes a
white bull terrier with pink eyes, it registers
FRANCIE's presence with a wag of the tail. FRANCIE
takes off his trenchcoat and hangs it over the back of
the chair. FINN rushes through the same door. FINN is
a slight, red-haired boy, sixteen or seventeen, in
paint-stained overalls. He is pleased to see FRANCIE,
Get a move on, man!
3. Interior. Workroom. Night.
The workroom is a whitewashed cellar running the
entire length of the building. Very little is visible
of the front end of the workroom. But there are
bunches of what appear to be severed limbs hanging
from hooks in the ceiling, also figures hanging from
There is a scuff of sawdust and woodshavings on the
The main focus of the workroom, tonight, however, is a
very very large toy theatre which is situated at the
back garden end.
This is a square box, curtained all round in red plush,
with an elaborately carved and gilded proscenium arch
and red plush curtains in front. From behind the
curtains come knockings and bangings. The curtains
bulge and part, to reveal a single, glaring eye
In front of the theatre, a wooden upright chair, in
which sits MARGARET, craning round anxiously. She
looks relieved when FRANCIE comes in. FRANCIE takes
his position in front of the little theatre. Removes
fiddle from case. Tucks fiddle under chin. Tunes up.
The curtains part further to reveal PHILIP FLOWER's
face; it is still shadowed, but the eyes and teeth
Now you've deigned to arrive, Mr.
Fiddler, we can begin.
FRANCIE plays. The curtains glide open, revealing a
marionette, about three quarters life size, dressed as
Coppelia in the ballet, occupying the center of the
MARGARET applauds. FRANCIE starts to play again.
As FRANCIE plays on, the puppet gets up en pointe. The
puppet takes a moment or two to absolutely synchronise
itself with the music; then begins to dance stiffly,
but rather well, culminating in an unstoppable
pirouette - she spins like a top.
4. MELANIE's bedroom. Day.
MELANIE, fifteen, is pirouetting ferociously to music
she hears in her mind. She has tied her long, dark
hair back and is wearing a sort of improvised ballet
dress, an outgrown liberty bodice over a petticoat,
somewhat like a Degas.
It is a pretty, rather luxurious young girl's bedroom,
featuring a dressing table with silver-backed hair
brushes. On the single bed, with candlewick
counterpane, a teddy bear with a protuberant paunch
looks on. By his side, a glossy art book, open at the
reproduction of a Degas ballet dancer. The curtains
are pulled to, the sun shines through them, making a
vague, dreamy light. The dressing table mirror
reflects the room, the bed, the teddy bear.
MELANIE glances at herself in the mirror, unbalances
and topples forward. The bear watches. A draught from
the window blows the pages of the book over.
MELANIE reaches out, unfastens her hair from its
elastic band and, watching herself in the mirror, lets
it stream around her face. She pulls the bedspread off
the bed, dislodging the bear, and drapes herself. She
turns slightly from the mirror, so that she's only
three quarter reflected. There is a pre-Raphaelite
quality to this image. She watches herself perform
that Janey Morris pouting frown. A faintly anxious
expression crosses her face as her hands slide up and
cup her own breasts.
Physically, I've reached my peak.
From now on, I can only deteriorate.
Melanie! Dinner's ready!
MELANIE, looking rather vague and unpremeditated about
it, slides into a simulation of the pose of Botticelli's
Venus - she pulls forward one lock of black hair, lowers
her right hand to crotch level. She irritably shrugs off
the bedspread, to reveal the liberty bodice and petticoat
business underneath. She giggles a little and starts
unfastening the liberty bodice. Furious banging on the
Melanie! Your dinner's getting cold!
Whatever are you up to!
MELANIE, furiously embarrassed, snatches up shirt and
shorts from the floor, clutches them to her.
Sorry, I'm coming - sorry!
5. Interior. MELANIE's kitchen. Day.
The country-style kitchen/dining room of a discreetly
luxurious house. Sitting at table are MELANIE's
brother, JONATHON, nine, flannel shorts, short-sleeved
shirt, sleeveless pullover, a characteristic small boy
of the period, wearing thick glasses, and her sister,
VICTORIA, a fat, cheerful three-year-old. MELANIE,
rumpled and childish in aertex shirt and shorts, has
just slipped into her place.
JONATHON eats steadily, eyes on plate. VICTORIA makes
a mess. MELANIE looks at her food with distaste. MRS
RUNDLE, the housekeeper, stately, aproned, very
conscious of her aspirates. She takes a postcard out
of her apron pocket.
I thought your dad was supposed to
be a writer, but he hasn't written
Let me see!
MELANIE tweaks the card from MRS RUNDLE's fingers.
MELANIE reads the postcard out loud.
'Have ploughed the stormy seas - '
As MELANIE reads on, his glasses begin to reflect, not
the kitchen but a stormy sea.
Close-up JONATHON's glasses; reflected within them, a
three-masted barque riding huge waves. Sounds of
storm and seagulls etc. In the background, MELANIE
continues to read.
Very rough weather, good to be back
on terra firma.'
Storm and noises fade. JONATHON's glasses clear. He
cocks his head to get a good look at the picture on
the postcard. It shows an ocean liner of the period.
He sighs, bends his head. Begins to eat again.
'The New York lecture went quite
well, now on to Chicago. Daddy.
P.S. Be good chicks and lots of
love, Mummy.' Do you want the card,
JONATHON shakes his head.
Wrong sort of boat. Almost as bad
as an aeroplane.
MELANIE moves her cottage pie about on her plate.
They're going to fly everywhere.
Mean things. They should have taken
We're too young.
I'm not too young. Juliet was my age.
In the play. She was married, by my
age. And Mummy. Mummy wasn't much
older than me when she got married.
Well, not that much older.
6. Interior. MELANIE's house. Parents' bedroom.
Close-up a bride, in monochrome: it is a bride in a
black-and-white photograph, an extravagantly dressed
bride in a white-lace crinoline wedding dress and a
veil surmounted by an orange blossom wreath. At first,
it would seem the bride is MELANIE but the hairstyle
- early Forties and the faded condition of the
photograph tell us this is MELANIE's mother.
The camera pans back to show the rest of the
photograph - a groom, in tails and topper: and a huge,
stern, somehow incongruous man in a suit and a bowler
The photograph, in a silver frame, stands on a
dressing table that otherwise holds a silver box and
a jar or two of cosmetics, in front of a casement
winnow. The curtains are not drawn and moonlight
floods through, bleaching the colours out of the
plushly glamorous bedroom, with its fitted carpet
and period touches of Regency stripe wallpaper and
Redouté rose prints. A big, white moon hangs directly
outside the window.
The bed is stripped: the pillowcases lack pillows.
The room is not in use.
MELANIE is reflected in the photograph as she opens
the bedroom door.
Somewhere a grandfather clock finishes striking
MELANIE, looking nervous and audacious at the same
time, slips into the bedroom.
Cut to MELANIE holding the wedding photograph in her
hands, inspecting it closely.
She is wearing plain, practical striped pyjamas, a
little too tight across the chest. Her hair hangs
over her shoulders.
Looking at the photograph, she absent-mindedly scoops
up her hair and holds it on top of her head, in a
loose knot. It looks something like the bride's
She sets the photograph tenderly down on the dressing
table, briefly glancing at her reflection with its
piled-up hair in the dressing-table mirror. Then,
even move nervous and audacious, she tiptoes to the
wardrobe. Tiptoes, although there is nobody to hear
her, because she is in a place that is out-of-bounds.
She opens the wardrobe door. A huge, sheeted shape
looms within the depths of the wardrobe, among the
empty metal hangers.
Nervous, audacious, aware she is handling one of her
mother's treasures without permission, MELANIE
reaches inside the wardrobe. The metal hangers jingle.
She takes the dress off its hook.
The hooped skirts erupt from the sheet and engulf her
7. Interior. Parents' bedroom. Night.
The room is deserted, although the wardrobe door is
swinging open and the sheet in which the dress was
wrapped and a drifting spoor of tissue paper, lie on
the floor, shifting in the draught. Also MELANIE's
discarded pyjamas lie on the floor, too, where she
has dropped them.
The wedding photograph is once again propped up on
the dressing table. As we watch, a breeze shivers the
lace frills on the bride's gown. She raises a hand to
clutch her veil.
Just for a split second, this is not a photograph but
a fragment of monochrome actuality.
8. Exterior. Front of house. Night.
MELANIE lives in a stockbroker Tudor kind of house,
set in a big garden. The front door opens. MELANIE,
in the wedding dress, the veil on her head secured by
a wreath of orange blossom, stands on the doorstep,
an ecstatic smile on her face. The dress is too long;
she has difficulty manoeuvering the elaborate skirts.
We see her feet are bare as she steps on to the
gravel path, wincing slightly.
9. Exterior. Garden. Night.
Huge garden, huge moon overhead, rosebushes with huge
roses and huge thorns. And a lily pond.
She catches sight of her reflection in the moonlit
water and stops, rapt. Very lyrical and romantic shot
of MELANIE, looking bridal, reflected among the
moonlit water lilies.
As she gazes at herself, the peace is shattered by
the ripping roar of an aeroplane overhead. A wind
blows across the pool, shattering her reflection. The
same wind whips the trees this way and that and blows
the petals off the roses in drifts. It lifts up the
veil and blows it and the orange blossom wreath up
and away. MELANIE makes an ineffectual grab after
Bang! Big, reverberating bang.
10. Exterior. Front of house. Night.
A gust of wind; the front door slams shut. (This is
what has made the bang.) MELANIE swoops up and
wrestles with the shut front door, but cannot open it.
(Under her breath.)
Drat and bother and drat, drat,
drat and bother and drat...
She lifts up the knocker, she looks down at the
wedding dress ruefully and sets the doorknocker down
gently on the door. She gathers up her unwieldy
skirts and makes off.
MELANIE looks up towards the open casement of her
bedroom window through the gnarled boughs of the old
apple tree. High on an out-of-reach bough have lodged
the orange-blossom wreath and the wedding veil,
hanging drifting down.
MELANIE is tense and nervous. The garden is beginning
to frighten her. Silence, except for MELANIE's
agitated breathing. Nightingale starts to sing. She
swings herself out on to a lower bough of the tree. A
big moth briefly batters her face, disorienting her.
There is a ripping sound; the bodice tears under the
arms. MELANIE makes a face of woe, but raises herself
up on the bough, clutching at a higher one. A lace
flounce catches on a twig and tears. She looks down
again; but another flounce has caught somewhere else.
Sharp intake of breath. MELANIE swings herself
further up, in a cascade of ripping lace. Small,
unripe apples, leaves and twigs bounce off her on to
the ground. The nightingale continues its serenade.
She scrambles up the tree, apple tree debris tumbling
round her. The tree itself seems to be against her. A
branch catches at her arm.
She inspects her arm. It is badly scratched and
bleeding. A drop or two of blood plops on to the white
satin bodice of the dress.
She looks up towards the open window, then back down
the way she has come. It seems miles to the ground.
She reaches up towards the window ledge. A whole
section of the dress rips with a rending sound.
11. Interior. MELANIE's bedroom. Night.
The open casement, the flapping curtains, the branches
against a now darkening sky.
MELANIE launches herself from the tree and flings
herself forward into the room. Her hair is full of
leaves and twigs. Her face is streaked with dirt and
tears, scratched and torn; her hands and arms are
scratched and the dress is in tatters and streaked
with blood and dirt. The only sound is her laboured
12. MELANIE's front hall. Day.
MRS RUNDLE in black cloth coat, smooths black gloves
over her fingers one by one. On the hallstand, a
wicker shopping basket contains a leather purse.
VICTORIA, neatly dressed, waits. JONATHON scuttles out
of the open front door, with a model ship in his arms,
looking out into the garden. MRS RUNDLE calls after
Don't fall in the pond is all I ask,
We'll give Madam one last chance.
(A call to raise the dead.)
Melanie! Victoria and I are going to
the village! If you want breakfast,
you get it for yourself! And clear
up after you!
MELANIE, in shorts and blouse, sulks behind the
banisters, close behind MRS RUNDLE and VICTORIA. She
is carrying a basin of water with a flannel draped
over the side.
The following shots succeed one another very rapidly.
13. Exterior. Lane. Day.
MRS RUNDLE and VICTORIA walk down the lane. VICTORIA
stops to pick a flower from the hedge. Peaceful summer
countryside; sunshine. The peace is interrupted by a
motorcyclist, early Fifties vintage, with goggles, in
black on a black bike. He is visibly reminiscent of
one of Maria Cesare's motorcycle escorts from
Cocteau's Orphée. He rips down the country lane. MRS
RUNDLE and VICTORIA are forced to jump aside on to
the verge. MRS RUNDLE grumbles and mutters.
14. Interior. Parents' bedroom. Day.
MELANIE, rubbing at the bloodstains on the dress with
a moistened flannel, is startled by the sound of a
motorbike and knocks over the basin of water, which
spills over both dress and bed, making a big, wet
puddle that starts to drip on to the floor.
15. Interior. Hall Day.
A loud knocking on the door. MELANIE opens it.
Framed in the doorway is the motorcyclist, holding a
yellow telegram envelope out towards MELANIE.
16. Exterior. Drive. Day.
JONATHON launches his boat on the pond. He blows
lightly and a breeze takes hold of the boat's sails.
It skims across the pond. He sits back on his heels,
There is a swan swimming languidly on the distant
reaches of the pond.
Abruptly, for no good reason, the boat keels over.
JONATHON rises from his knees, agitated.
17. Interior. Kitchen. Day.
VICTORIA, kneeling on a chair, is unpacking the basket
of groceries on to the kitchen table. MRS RUNDLE,
still in coat, hat and gloves, casts an eye around
the kitchen, looking for evidence that MELANIE has got
up. She finds none. She is irritated, but not with
You be a good girl, Victoria, and
don't stir out of that kitchen.
18. Interior. Landing. Day.
MRS RUNDLE, panting, irritable, has arrived at the
top of the stairs. MELANIE's door is wide open; the
curtain blows in the draught from the open window but
the room is empty.
MRS RUNDLE looks around, puzzled. She sees a feather
blow out from under the door of the master bedroom.
Followed by another feather. She puts her ear to the
door. No sound inside.
Are you in there? Melanie?
She opens the door.
19. Interior. MELANIE's parents' room. Day.
A gale of white feathers whirls round and round, a
maelstrom and, sitting cross-legged on the bed, in
the middle of the trashed room, the bolster, empty
of its feathers, the wedding dress, jars from the
dressing table etc. scattered round her, sits
MELANIE, consumed with grief; clutching the yellow
telegram envelope in one hand.
As MRS RUNDLE watches, the feathers subside. MRS
RUNDLE plucks the unopened telegram from MELANIE's
fingers. MELANIE makes no attempt to stop her.
MRS RUNDLE opens the telegram. She reads it. She
shakes her head sadly. She folds the telegram, puts it
in her pocket. She awkwardly clambers on to the bed
and clumsily puts her arms round MELANIE.
You poor things. All on your own.
Close-up wedding photograph. Nobody remains, now, but
the figure of the man in his bowler hat.
20. Exterior. Garden. Day.
Two months later. Autumn. Mist in the bushes, mist in
the branches of the apple tree, from which leaves and
ripe fruit are falling. High in the branches can still
be seen the orange-blossom wreath and the wraith-like
remains of the veil.
On the lawn is a tableau; all the glamorous furniture
and pictures (Redouté rose prints, old maps, hunting
prints) sofas, beds, lamp standards, the kitchen
furniture, the parents' four poster bed, MELANIE's
dressing table, everything. All draped in dustsheets.
Pots, pans, cups, saucers, everything.
Before this, as if posed for a photograph, the orphans.
MELANIE, in school raincoat, kneesocks, sensible shoes,
with her hair in very, very tight plaits, looking much
younger than fifteen. JONATHON in school cap and
blazer. VICTORIA in what is known as a 'Princess Anne'
coat. All with black armbands stitched round their
upper arms. JONATHON carries a boat.
Beside them, a pile of strapped-up suitcases.
MRS RUNDLE stands a little to one side, in front of
her strapped trunk. She is in coat and hat too.
She coughs to hide her emotion. The tableau comes to
Families should stick together. Your
uncle and his missus are going to
look after you.
MRS RUNDLE and the children move closer to one another.
We didn't even know Uncle Philip
got married. Mummy never said. He
didn't like Daddy. He never visited.
VICTORIA runs to MRS RUNDLE and butts her head against
MRS RUNDLE's knees, weeping furiously. MRS RUNDLE picks
her up. Hugs her. Feels in her pocket for a bar of
chocolate. Gives it to VICTORIA. VICTORIA begins to
open it. MRS RUNDLE puts her in MELANIE's arms.
You look after your sister, Victoria.
If they'd stayed on the boat, none
of this would have happened.
21. Exterior. Railway station. Day.
Puffs of smoke; hissing of steam engine - we are still
in the age of steam. A train has just pulled in, a
crowd mills along the platform, disembarking and
meeting. Pigeons strut and flutter.
FRANCIE and FINN are briefly visible through the
drifting smoke, leaning against a pillar. FRANCIE
wears his trenchcoat, FINN wears a threadbare donkey
jacket over paint-stained corduroy trousers. They both
look rough, not English, not middle class, hence
possibly dangerous or criminal or Irish (which they
FINN is smoking a cigarette. He moves with great grace
JONATHON still clutching his boat, gets out of a
third-class carriage far down the train. He is followed
by MELANIE, very flustered as she helps VICTORIA down
MELANIE looks around the platform helplessly; VICTORIA
slips away from her, chasing a pigeon.
FINN spots MELANIE and puts out his cigarette. FINN and
FRANCIE start towards her just as VICTORIA, intent on
chasing her pigeon, topples over and sets up a howl.
There, now ...
He stops, kneels, takes out a packet of chewing gum,
offers a stick to the crying child. MELANIE, unsure of
what is going on, starts after VICTORIA. She comes up
short against the monolithic figure of FRANCIE and
You'll be Miss Melanie.
I thought our uncle was coming to
I'll get your bags.
(With courtly grace.)
He was called away suddenly on
business and sent us in his place,
even going so far as to give us the
necessary taxi fare, an unaccustomed
attack of generosity on his part.
He heaves cases. The party moves off down the platform.
The children are nervous and confused. FINN keeps up a
babble of chatter.
You'll need to know who we are,
we're the brothers of his wife,
which makes us in an unsanctified
kind of way, your uncles. Me name is
Finn, me brother is called Francie -
But you're Irish!
There's no law, as I know of, to
The brothers chuckle, to MELANIE's bewilderment. The
crowd swallows them up, the three children looking
very child-like in the company of the two men,
although we register that FINN is about the same
height as MELANIE.
22. Exterior. Square. Night.
Taxi draws up outside toyshop. While FRANCIE unloads
the cases, FINN pays the taxi driver. JONATHON gets
out of the cab, followed by MELANIE, more slowly,
assisting the yawning VICTORIA. FINN, having paid,
goes to help MELANIE with the baby. She flinches
JONATHON's glasses flash with light as they reflect
the light from the toyshop, which is dazzlingly lit
up, this time. And there is a big toy boat in the
window. JONATHON's face lights up. VICTORIA springs
The taxi drives away. The doorbell jangles. The door
opens. MARGARET stands in the doorway, arms extended
in welcome, hair tumbling out of its bun, smiling -
she looks very lovely. JONATHON stares. VICTORIA
takes first few steps towards her, then stops,
puzzled. MARGARET's face falls a little. She looks
anxiously, over the children's heads at FINN and
Are you our Auntie?
What's your name?
MARGARET opens her mouth; closes it again. She looks
helpless. FRANCIE moves round and takes her by the
Didn't they tell you your Auntie
Margaret was dumb?
23. Interior. Kitchen. Night.
MARGARET is nervous and embarrassed, the children
anxious. The bleak room looks as festive as it can. A
white cloth on the table is laid with an enormous tea
- laid for only six places. There is a carving chair
at the head of the table, with no place in front of
it. MARGARET kneels in front of VICTORIA, unfastening
her coat. VICTORIA puts her hand on MARGARET's mouth.
They look at one another for a moment. VICTORIA
smiles. MARGARET goes on unfastening VICTORIA's coat.
JONATHON looks for a place to put his boat; stands on
tiptoe to prop it carefully on the mantelpiece. The
white bull terrier noses open the door. VICTORIA
extends her hand to it joyfully. FRANCIE seats himself
in one of the chairs by the fire. FINN sees the boat.
That's a stylish craft.
I made it from a kit.
Did you now?
MELANIE stares vaguely, holding her coat. She feels
lost. FINN takes her coat away. She is wearing a
plain, grey pleated skirt and a V-necked pullover -
almost school uniform.
We'll get your things upstairs,
settle you in.
MELANIE pulls herself together with an effort.
Uncle Philip isn't back yet.
One thing at a time.
24. Interior. JONATHON's room. Night.
An attic, with sloping ceilings; it looks like an
upturned boat. Plain floorboards, a plain little bed,
a table, a chair. One lamp bulb dangling from center
of room. Plain, bleak.
The dormer window, at which the curtains are not
drawn, gives a view of the lights, it would seem, of
all London. JONATHON runs to look at the view. FINN
sets his suitcase down beside the bed, gestures to
In daytime you can see St Paul's.
JONATHON's point-of-view shot, the city, all
brilliantly lit, lying in a scoop of dark.
It's like a crow's nest.
He turns round with a radiant face. From where MELANIE
and FINN are standing, the floorboards look like those
of the deck of a ship. JONATHON spreads his feet, so
that he looks as if he is standing on the deck of a
ship. The deck runs from side to side.
25. Interior. Girls' bedroom. Night.
Wallpaper with red roses and green leaves. A big brass
bed, with a chamber pot under it. A chair. FINN opens
a cupboard, revealing a few coat hangers.
You'll put your clothes here.
There's no mirror.
She heaves at her suitcase. FINN leaps forward.
I can manage.
He backs away, leans against the chest of drawers,
watching with a touch of irony as she heaves her
suitcase on to the bed, opens it, takes out Edward
Bear, puts him on her pillow. She smiles, tremulous,
defensive, at FINN.
He's a pyjama case, really.
Do you know you've lovely hair,
even if you torment it in those
I like plaits.
You're spoiling your pretty looks.
She tries to take a step backwards but can't because
of the bed. So she takes a step forward. He puts his
hands on her shoulders. He smiles reassuringly. Very
gently, he takes hold of one of her plaits and starts
to unplait it.
With an effort, MELANIE becomes admirably self-
Don't you ever wash your neck?
FINN chuckles and starts on the other plait.
Give me your comb.
26. Interior. Kitchen. Night.
View of kitchen through the open kitchen door - the
remains of that enormous tea, and JONATHON, yawning
enormously. MELANIE, her hair sprayed out around her
face, is clumsily holding a big, heavy tea cup in
both hands, in a way that suggests she isn't used to
such coarse crockery; she looks tired out.
27. Interior. Staircase. Night.
MARGARET, very tenderly, is carrying sleeping
VICTORIA upstairs to bed.
28. Interior. Girls' room. Night.
VICTORIA sleeps sweetly on the side of the bed next to
the wall, but MELANIE, on her side of the bed, sits up
in the dark, crying very, very quietly - we only know
because we see the tears on her cheeks glistening. She
is holding Edward Bear.
She sits up, reaches under the pillow for her
handkerchief. Faintly, in the distance, she hears
She blows her nose on the handkerchief. The music
starts again. Fiddle and flute.
29. Interior. Kitchen landing. Night.
The music is now very loud; it comes from the kitchen.
MELANIE stoops to peer through the keyhole.
MELANIE's point-of-view shot: FRANCIE and MARGARET
are playing, FRANCIE the fiddle, MARGARET the flute.
They are playing a jig. FINN sits in the armchair; he
gets up and starts very casually to dance.
The dog sits down on the rug. MELANIE kneels down, in
order to look more comfortably.
30. Interior. Kitchen. Night.
The fiddle and flute piece ends.
MARGARET sits in the armchair, idly holding the flute.
FINN sits at her feet. She strokes his hair, smiling
at FRANCIE. FRANCIE rosins his how and begins to play
a slow air.
31. Interior. Kitchen landing. Night.
A shadow of a large man in a bowler hat falls over
MELANIE as she lies asleep, on the floor. Music is
still being played in the kitchen. The bowler-hatted
man looks thoughtfully down at the sleeping girl; it
is her uncle, PHILIP FLOWER, recognisable at once
from the wedding photograph.
Close-up UNCLE PHILIP's impassive face.
He bends over her and opens the kitchen door. The
music dies away.
She ought to be in bed.
32. Interior. Girls' bedroom. Day.
Roses; red roses, fat and rich and blowing on the
tree and wet with dew - red roses and green leaves
and bristling thorns, rustling in the breeze,
drenched with sunshine. MELANIE is waking up in a
bower of roses.
Close-up MELANIE's face, as she wakes up, opens her
eyes. She sits up; the roses retreat, flattening out
and becoming two-dimensional. She rubs her eyes. The
roses are back on the wallpaper, again.
33. Interior. Bathroom. Day.
Close-up a pair of false teeth, in a glass of water,
on a smeared glass shelf.
MELANIE, in her pyjamas, stares fascinated at this
apparition. There is a mysterious dripping noise.
The bathroom is a masterpiece of beastliness; a deep,
old-fashioned basin, with a crack in it. A cake of
household soap, with fingerprints on it. A grubby
The lavatory chain has broken and been replaced with
string, to which the original handle - ceramic,
inscribed with the legend: Pull - has been reattached.
No toilet paper, but, hanging from a loop of string,
a number of sheets of the Daily Mail ripped into
The bath stands on four clawed feet. Above the bath,
a large geyser, the exposed metal of which has turned
green, dripping greenish water, the source of the
dripping noise. Beside the geyser, a box of matches.
MELANIE picks up the matches; puts it down.
She puts the plug in the washbasin; the basin fills;
a long red hair waves out on the water. She puts her
hand in the water. She shivers. It is cold.
34. Interior. Kitchen. Day.
The kitchen door opens: FINN comes in, carrying a
couple of bottles of milk. He wears his habitual
paint-stained trousers, plus an unbuttoned pyjama
jacket. He is accompanied by the bull terrier who,
barking furiously, leaps up at MELANIE, who has been
furtively exploring the kitchen. She jumps. The bull
terrier barks and leaps up at her and licks her. She
retreats behind the table, which is ready laid for
Her hair is in tight plaits again.
You're the early bird! After the
late night you had.
He clatters the milk bottles down on the table.
Curled up on the landing like love
I did like the music.
I carried you up to your bed.
MELANIE, embarrassed, averts her eyes from his naked
breast; her eyes meet those of the painted dog
hanging above the mantelpiece. She edges round the
table to get a better look at it. The dog winks at
her. She jumps again.
Now FINN can see she is wearing trousers - black
corduroy trousers and a brown polo neck sweater,
just what she'd wear for an autumn day at home. She
looks gently, youthfully pretty. But FINN is
horrified to see the trousers.
Oh no, no, no! You must go and
change your clothes. Now, this
MELANIE turns round, startled, inquiring, scarcely
believing her ears.
He can't abide a woman in trousers.
He says a woman in trousers is a
sin against nature.
A sin against what?
Slip up and change into a skirt,
else he'll create something
terrible. Don't you want to make a
good impression on your first day?
MELANIE pauses with her hand on the doorknob. She is
frosty and affronted, but anxious too. She does
want to make a good impression.
Is there anything else I should
know about him?
Speak when you're spoken to. He
likes his women quiet.
MELANIE glances at the blackboard.
FINN crouches, setting a bowl of chopped meat down
for the dog. MELANIE reappears in the doorway,
looking mutinous but wearing the same pleated skirt
she was wearing the previous night. She used to wear
it for school. She no longer looks like a teenager
but like a schoolgirl. FINN takes in her appearance.
I see you've plaited your hair
She ignores this.
I saw his teeth in the bathroom.
He can take out his smile and keep
it on a shelf, but, his bite is
worse than his bark, isn't that so,
The bull terrier barks briefly.
Mummy was scared of him, I think.
He went to her wedding but he was
furious, you can see it in the
She got away.
The hands of the cuckoo clock now stand at half past
six. The cuckoo clock whirs and emits a stuffed
cuckoo. A real cuckoo, stuffed. It goes 'cuckoo' once,
then it disappears behind its front door. MELANIE is
startled and entranced.
He made that. In his off hours.
It's as though he'd trapped a real
Didn't you know he made things?
Melanie shakes her head.
He's forced to sell the toys, to
feed us all. But he keeps the other
stuff to entertain himself.
He looks at her assessingly, comes to a sudden
decision, catches hold of her hand and pulls her
towards the door. She is startled.
Come and see.
MELANIE tugs her hand away but goes with him all the
35. Interior. Toyshop. Day.
The parrot sits drowsily on his perch as FINN and
MELANIE dash through the toyshop.
Gooday to you, you old bugger.
They disappear down to the workshop. A big doll on
the counter turns its head sharply, as if to look
after them, or perhaps its head has just fallen
forward by chance. A clockwork mouse, its mechanism
probably activated by a sudden change in the
atmosphere, comes to life and scoots along the
counter, squeaking; it falls off and lies on its
back, its wheels whirring.
36. Interior. Workshop. Day.
FINN throws a light switch. MELANIE blinks in the
sudden light. The basement workshop is a long, white-
washed room running the entire length of the house.
At the far end, a window, caked with grime and
cobwebs, gives on to a coal hole; a little daylight
could filter in at an angle from an iron grating in
the pavement above it.
Underfoot, on the hard concrete floor, woodshavings.
A carpenter's bench runs along one wall, covered with
a huge variety of pieces of wooden toys and also of
limbs and so on in the process of being carpentered.
A selection of wood-turning tools, planes etc. A
decapitated head, hairless, eyeless, featureless, is
immediately noticeable. Next to it, a jar of eyes.
There is a painting bench, splattered with paint,
holding tins of paint, brushes in jam jars, etc.
Above it, a shelf of freshly painted toys waiting to
dry. FINN picks up a painted bird and hands it to
I'm the sorcerer's apprentice in
MELANIE takes hold of the bird, caresses it.
I paint the feathers and the fur
and the skin but Himself breathes
the life in.
From the walls hang jumping jacks, dancing bears and
bunches of carved painted limbs - arms and legs, also
puppets, either fully completed or partially
assembled, some almost as tall as MELANIE -- they
hang from both walls and from hooks in the ceiling.
Some are armless, some legless, some headless, some
fully painted with wigs, some only partially painted
without wigs. It is a strange sight. Also from the
walls hang many brightly coloured masks of wild
animals and birds.
There are also several kinds of curious machines
with wheels and pulleys, and other, archaic-looking
machines - planes, saws, etc.
There is also a lot of wood, with a hatchet stuck in
it. The atmosphere is that of a toy-maker's shop, in
a somewhat sinister fairy story.
FINN takes her arm and draws her down the room, away
from the window, towards a flat, large, box-like
construction, hitherto concealed in the murk; it
reaches nearly to the ceiling. He flicks a switch in
the wall and the lights in the back part of the
workroom come on, revealing the theatre. FINN lets go
of MELANIE's arm and advances towards it.
Unbeknown to her, he has donned a mask - the mask of
a bird with a fierce beak, a bird of prey. She jumps
once again to see it.
The bird-man stands before the theatre and bows.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and
girls, welcome to Flower's
He pulls a cord and the curtains open. No scenery
except curtains at the back; on the floor of the stage
is collapsed, in a tangle of strings, the ballerina
doll from the pre-title scene; but the doll is naked,
all bare wood and visible joints and dishevelled
black wig. MELANIE is upset by this spectacle but
tries hard to conceal it. FINN notices, however.
The bird-man cocks its head to one side; it pulls the
cord and closes the theatre curtains again.
Don't fret. It's only his dream.
Dreams aren't catching, not like
I didn't know about the puppets.
It's a lot to take in, all at once.
He turns off the light in that part of the workroom.
They retreat back to the bunches of dismembered limbs.
Suddenly, FINN streaks off down the workshop in a
series of wonderful cartwheels. MELANIE, amazed, looks
up; he lands on the painting bench, takes off the mask
with a flourish. She tries to smile but cannot. Her
I want to go home.
Home is where the heart is.
I can't go home because there's no
A great booming overhead; the gong. MELANIE jumps.
FINN is halfway to the stair already.
Shift yourself, girlie!
37. Interior. Kitchen landing. Day.
A man blocks the head of the stairway, with the light
behind him, so only a great block of shadow is
visible. He is holding a round watch. The stair
lights come on. UNCLE PHILIP is visible, a big, big
man, impassive of face, in white shirtsleeves, a
Improperly dressed, young Finn.
He makes as if to aim a blow with the back of his hand
at FINN. FINN seizes his jacket from the coat rack,
hastily buttons it. PHILIP looks over FINN's shoulder
You're late for breakfast.
MELANIE's point-of-view shot through the door, in the
kitchen, everybody else - MARGARET, FRANCIE, even
VICTORIA -- sit stiffly around the table, waiting,
looking like waxworks, in a terrible morning silence.
38. Interior. Kitchen. Day.
Breakfast is just coming to an end; knives and forks
are being set together on plates greased and curded
with bacon and fried eggs. UNCLE PHILIP, a vast,
moustached, impressive figure at the head of the table,
has a huge white linen napkin tucked into his collar;
he seizes this napkin, tears it off, throws it in his
This morning's plan of action, is
as follows: the big girl to stay
with her auntie in the shop, to
learn the price of things and where
they're kept, the child to stay
with them and occupy herself whilst
getting into as little trouble as
possible and -
JONATHON scrapes his chair.
May I go and work on my boat,
PHILIP casts his eye upon the boat on the mantelpiece.
That's plastic. You made it from a
kit. Not your own creation. Try
JONATHON sits back, shamed.
He'll come with me. See how a real
craftsman works. Downstairs in five
PHILIP exits. The door slams. FINN lights a cigarette,
He didn't ask our names.
He knows your names.
VICTORIA dissolves in tears. MARGARET cuddles her.
She's not accustomed to being
She'll have to learn.
What about school?
The elder brother and sister exchange troubled looks.
Too late in the term to start.
39. Interior. Shop. Day.
Montage of selected toys - clockwork toys; painted
horses on wheels, elaborately dressed dolls; dolls'
MARGARET turns the key that sets in motion a cage of
clockwork singing birds.
More toys - a jumping jack, a tambourine. MARGARET
produces a wooden model of two men hammering at an
anvil. She activates it for VICTORIA. VICTORIA
activates it for herself, laughing.
MELANIE climbs on a chair, to dust the high shelves
with a feather duster. A jumping jack hanging from a
nail is activated by her activities, or activates
itself; at any rate, the grinning wooden figure
contrives to hitch her skirt up over her knees.
Although there is nobody to spy on her, MELANIE is
40. Interior. Workroom. Day.
PHILIP lifts down the jar of eyes from the shelf and
selects a brown one. Holding it in his right hand, he
inserts it in the wooden head he holds in his left
hand. FINN, at the painting bench, is painting spots
on a wooden bird.
JONATHON has been sweeping up; he props the broom
against the wall.
Come here, young feller.
JONATHON edges towards him. PHILIP puts down the head
and picks up a chisel.
Ever seen one of these?
Sir is it? Mark that, young Finn.
PHILIP gives JONATHON the chisel. He gestures to the
Here's a bit of wood. Try it!
JONATHON nervously attacks a piece of wood with a
There. See? Wood's got life in it.
Not like plastic.
JONATHON gingerly makes his first incision. FINN
watches with a touch of irony. The chisel slips and
cuts JONATHON a little. He doesn't cry out but says
'oh' soundlessly. PHILIP looks smug.
Butterfingers. Wood's got life in
He takes hold of the wood and gently touches it with
his chisel. It sprouts a twig from the incision; the
twig sprouts a leaf.
41. Interior. Toyshop. Day.
The doorbell rings as customer leaves. Next to the
blackboard lies the hammering men toy; a hammer has
been damaged. MELANIE rings up seven pounds and ten
shillings on the till. She looks down at the counter,
which is a mass of toys removed from their boxes and
She starts packing up; she begins with the gigantic
and beautiful Noah's ark, with all the animals
displayed round about it -- lions, tigers, zebras,
kangaroos, etc., two of each. The ark itself is
beautifully and brightly painted, too. She picks up
the animals, stows them away inside the ark, smiling
and laughing at their charm. Her hands look very big.
She peeks at the price tag on the mast and is startled
to see it reads: 'Seventy five guineas'.
PHILIP emerges from the doorway.
It's a fair price for the work. A
man must charge a fair price.
He walks round the front of the counter.
And you be careful with them things.
They're your bread and butter now.
He picks up the damaged toy tenderly.
Did you do this?
What? Did you let that child play
with one of my toys? I don't like
children playing with my toys.
the broken toy.)
Have to fix you up with another
hammer, won't we. Give her a
saucepan to play with, that'll do.
42. Interior. Bathroom. Night.
VICTORIA stands expectantly beside the bath as
MARGARET, equipped with a taper, carefully lights the
geyser. Bang! VICTORIA squeals, applauds. MELANIE
watches. MARGARET turns on the spigot, hot water
trickles out. She turns to MELANIE, as if to say: it's
MELANIE starts to unbutton VICTORIA's dress.
Auntie undress me!
MARGARET looks at MELANIE with inquiry in her eyes.
MELANIE laughing, gets out of the way.
43. Exterior. Front of Toyshop. Day.
Close-up a card hanging on the shop door. It reads:
'Half day closing, Wednesday'.
FRANCIE and MARGARET stand at the first-floor window
looking out, smiling down at the street below, as FINN
and MELANIE, MELANIE in her school raincoat but with
her hair flowing down her back, walk off together
along the pavement - a considerable amount of pavement
between them, but all the same, together. The bull
terrier follows them for a little way.
FRANCIE and MARGARET turn away from the window,
towards one another, still smiling.
44. Exterior. Park. Day.
As woodsy, neglected and romantic a park as may be.
Uncared-for bushes and shrubs; tall grass, bracken,
FINN takes MELANIE's hand, helps her over a fallen
tree-stump blooming with yellow fungi.
I didn't think London would be like
She jumps. A stone Pan, with pipes in hand, is leering
at her through the brambles. She drops FINN's hand as
The wood is full of statues - dryads, nymphs, Egyptian
figures, Victorian philanthropists - any and every
kind of statue, overgrown with moss, ivy and lichen,
standing among the brambles.
A hundred years ago, the Queen of
England threw a big party and
everyone who was still there at
cockcrow turned to stone.
They pass beneath the boughs of a scrubby tree
(hawthorn, covered with red berries) and find
themselves on a relatively open hillside, where the
mist is gathering. It is already growing dark. Out of
the mist and shadows emerges a rococo plinth, daubed
with vandals' initials and pierced hearts, etc. The
plinth is surrounded by stinging nettles, and bushes
and it is empty of its statue.
Now she's the Queen of the Waste
Fallen from the plinth, among the nettles, is a lavish
statue of Queen Victoria, broken in two at the waist,
overgrown with lichen, muddy. FINN kneels beside the
top half, takes out a grubby handkerchief, wipes away
some of the mud from Queen Victoria's face. A little
stream of water runs out of her eye.
She's a fallen woman, poor thing.
They look extraordinarily lyrical and romantic in the
misty park, surrounded by bare trees, the red-haired
boy and the dark-haired girl. MELANIE looks at FINN in
What are you waiting for?
FINN kisses her. FINN puts his tongue in her mouth.
MELANIE leaps backward. She slaps his face. Hard.
What was that in aid of?
Get away from me...
She thrusts her hands in her pockets, stamps off
across the park.
You don't know the way home!
MELANIE tosses her head, strides onwards without a
FINN follows the rapidly departing MELANIE across the
field, more slowly, crestfallen. He kicks a tuft of
Damn ... damn ...
45. Interior. Girls' bedroom. Night.
MELANIE flings her coat on the bed. She hasn't
bothered to turn on the light. She throws herself down
on the bed, thrusts her face into the pillow. Her
shoulders start to heave.
She is laughing. She digs Edward Bear out from the
Do you think he did it right,
Edward Bear? Do you think he knows
... how to do it?
Having cheered herself up, she now sits up.
At the heart of one of the roses on the wallpaper,
Holding the bear, MELANIE leans forward. She sees a
hole in the wall. She applies her eye to it.
MELANIE's point-of-view shot: the two, neat beds. The
square of carpet. A chair, with an open fiddle case
A painting, hanging on the wall.
She squirms, to get a better view.
Close-up the painting. It is of MELANIE, it is a
nude, done with an emblematic stiff chasteness; she
is hung about with black hair and has a black ribbon
tied round her upper arm. She holds a red apple on
the outstretched palm of her hand.
FINN comes into MELANIE's field of vision, walking on
She gets up soundlessly, pushes the chair against the
wall and hangs her cardigan over the back, thus
concealing the hole.
She is half-furious, half-amused, muttering
admonitions under her breath.
46. Interior. Kitchen. Day.
The bull terrier nudges the kitchen door ajar.
PHILIP and MARGARET are alone. MARGARET's hair is
pinned up. MARGARET wears the same drab black dress
she wore in the opening sequence. She bows her neck
submissively before PHILIP and he ceremoniously places
round her neck the silver collar she wore in the
opening sequence. Her head jerks up; the collar is so
tight and so constricting she has to hold her head
high while she is wearing it. It is a barbaric-
looking object, studded with precious stones. It looks
47. Interior. Workshop. Night.
A poster advertises 'Performance Tonight'.
MARGARET descends the ladder last. She wears her black
dress and the collar. The children stand in a subdued
group, all very neat, clean and smart. Three extra
chairs have been provided in front of the theatre,
whence emerge bangs and thumps. MARGARET shepherds
them to their places. FRANCIE stands in front of the
theatre, fiddle under chin.
FINN emerges from between the curtains tense and
preoccupied. He turns off the main lights. Now the
workshop is lit only by the footlights of the theatre.
FINN ducks back between the curtains.
FRANCIE tunes up: then waits, fiddle under chin. Bow
extended. PHILIP opens the curtains and steps out. He
wears a dinner jacket.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and
MARGARET applauds; she gestures to JONATHON and
MELANIE to applaud. They do so.
Tonight we celebrate the grand
opening of the winter season of
Flower's Marionette Microcosm. We
present an original drama entitled
'An Artist's Passion'.
He disappears backwards through the curtains. FRANCIE
begins to play something very romantic.
48. Interior. Theatre. Night. 'Living Statue.'
FRANCIE is playing beautifully.
When the curtains open, it is as though a window has
opened on to another place - an enchanted place.
On the stage, it is a night of radiant moonlight.
The backcloth is painted with the flowers of a magical
garden, the most glorious and unlikely flowers; FINN
has had a field day - blue roses the size of cabbages,
purple tiger lilies.
Centre stage is a cupola, in white, fancy, lace-like
ironwork, twined with glorious roses, on which hover
a couple of gauzy butterflies. The cupola contains a
plinth on which stands the figure of a young woman in
a romantic white dress, white stockings, white ballet
slippers - a garden nymph out of a ballet; and she is
covered in wet white, to simulate marble or plaster.
She is a puppet pretending to he a garden statue.
The only thing wrong with her is, she has no face; it
is a blank. Applause over.
Interior. Auditorium. Night
MARGARET applauds furiously. She nudges MELANIE and
JONATHON to applaud, too. MELANIE is confused and upset
by this faceless girl in the garden but, at MARGARET's
urging, she applauds, without enthusiasm.
Why hasn't the lady got any eyes?
MARGARET hurriedly pops a piece of chocolate into
Interior. Theatre. Night.
A young man enters, wearing a white smock and floppy
bow tie; he scares the butterflies, they flutter away.
He is an artist and carries a big palette in one hand,
a paint brush in the other.
(Out of vision.)
The creator adds the last vital
tints to his masterpiece.
The ARTIST is tall enough to be able to pass his hand
lightly over the nymph's empty face; when he draws his
hand away, she has eyes, nose, a rosebud mouth - all
complete. A real face - but everything is still white
and stiff; like a death mask.
The ARTIST dips his brush in the red on his palette
and applies the tip of his brush to her lips. Then he
stands back. He releases hold of the palette and
brush, which whisk off up into the pies. (FINN is
operating the artist, whose movements are somewhat
clumsier than the nymph's.)
The face of the nymph and her exposed limbs flood
with colour and her eyelashes flutter; but then are
still again. She makes no movement. Hand on heart,
the ARTIST mimes adoration.
(Out of view.)
How can the Artist transmit life to
that which is his own Creation and
expresses the very depth of his
The ARTIST takes the statue in his arms, lifts it
bodily from the plinth and kisses it on the lips.
Her eyelids flutter. Her bosom heaves. Her lips part.
She awakes. She runs her fingers through her plaster
or marble hair - it turns back into black ringlets
that she shakes out delightedly. She stretches out
her arms, flexes her fingers; she stretches her legs,
points her toes.
The ARTIST sets her down lightly on the ground, to a
renewed wave of applause from the auditorium; they
begin to dance, an ecstatic pas de deux among the
The gauzy butterflies return.
Close-up MELANIE watching, childishly sucking her
thumb; she is obscurely distressed by this girl in
white, in the moonlit garden.
The pas de deux concludes in a tremendous arabesque
for the nymph; there is a tumult of applause. As the
applause dies away, the ARTIST turns to his creation
and sinks to his knees. He raises his hands; he
beseeches her. She hovers en pointe, unsure of his
intentions; she retreats, prettily confused. He
FRANCIE strikes a moving chord. The ARTIST plucks,
out of the air, a golden ring - a big, thick, chunky
Interior. Auditorium. Night.
MARGARET coughs; she hastily covers her mouth with
her hand, revealing her wedding ring.
(Out of vision.)
The Artist offers his creation his
heart, his hand, his very being.
Interior. Theatre. Night.
The ARTIST offers the nymph the ring.
She laughs musically. She shakes her head
flirtatiously. He rises. He stamps his foot and
beseeches again. She shakes her head emphatically,
pulls a rose off the pergola and throws it at him.
It strikes him in the face. She laughs soundlessly,
then runs off and crouches behind the plinth. The
ARTIST follows; she darts off, to crouch in a corner
of the stage, still laughing.
(Out of vision.)
Each man kills the thing he loves.
The ARTIST reaches beneath his smock and draws out a
knife. The blade of the knife catches the light and
flashes. FRANCIE plays a menacing phrase.
Interior. Auditorium. Night.
The flashing blade reflects on JONATHON's glasses,
that flash with that light, too.
VICTORIA whimpers and buries her head in MARGARET's
lap. MARGARET strokes her hair.
MELANIE is sitting up very straight, her hands
clenched in her lap; her eyes glisten with tension.
Interior. Theatre. Night.
Knife raised, the ARTIST runs towards the nymph. The
nymph mimics fear almost too well: there is a sense
of real danger. FRANCIE repeats the menacing phrase.
The nymph runs around the stage; the ARTIST traps her
with his arms. She throws herself at his feet,
pleading for mercy. He raises the knife. He brings it
Interior. Auditorium. Night.
Close-up MELANIE, involuntarily closing her eyes.
Interior. Theatre. Night.
(Out of vision.)
The knife, which is perfectly real, perfectly sharp,
has, by bizarre accident and FINN's clumsiness - cut
through one of the strings that uphold the nymph.
What happens next happens in slow motion as the girl
turns back into a doll.
First, one arm drops to the floor with a dull, wooden
thud - the hand splats out and disarticulates.
She jerks about on her strings; PHILIP is trying to
get her away, but her dress is tangled up in the
The ARTIST jerks around on his strings; FINN is trying
to disentangle the artist - and, in doing so, he
slices through another string, so that the other arm
drops. Then - Bang! The torso; and, as the puppets
wrestle, her head falls, too. And shatters. It turns
out the head is made of porcelain.
There are fragments of shattered porcelain all over
the stage floor; a pair of blue marbles, the eyes -
pearly false teeth - a delicate little ear - masses
and masses of silky black hair.
The ARTIST's arms drop to his sides. He sags forward
on his strings, completely inhuman looking, a doll
From aloft, clear and irrepressible, comes the sound
of FINN's laughter. The tension eases immediately;
the audience rustles with relief.
Interior. Auditorium. Night.
MELANIE has opened her eyes, unclenched her fists,
VICTORIA removes her head from MARGARET's lap.
Then MELANIE's smile is replaced by a look of pure
FINN's laughter modulates into a scream. He falls down
from the flies, seems to fall endlessly, his long red
hair drifting after him as if he were falling through
water, somersaulting as he falls.
He lands with a crash, on top of the dismembered
puppet and lies there, looking completely dislocated.
The only sound is his terrible sobbing attempt to
FRANCIE and MARGARET both knew that something like
this was inevitable one day, but are as if transfixed.
Except that tears flood soundlessly down MELANIE's
cheeks. The children are very distressed. VICTORIA
wails. JONATHON, jerked into reality, claps his hand
to his mouth. MELANIE half-rises.
MARGARET tries and tries but cannot bend her head
down to comfort VICTORIA because of the collar. Tears
splash on to VICTORIA's face. MELANIE turns towards
them as FRANCIE puts his arm round them both. PHILIP
comes on stage, in dinner jacket and bow tie. He is
straightening the bow tie. He looks down at prone
Won't use him to work the puppets
FINN remains motionless. PHILIP looks out at the
audience; suddenly he points to MELANIE.
I'll use you instead of a puppet,
MELANIE is startled but doesn't appreciate fully the
implications of this. FRANCIE and MARGARET are
horrified and distressed. FINN is the most horrified
of all. He moans loudly. He struggles to sit half-
upright, blood trickles from the corner of his mouth.
He collapses again.
(almost to himself)
After all, why shouldn't the girl
do something for her keep. God
knows she eats enough. She's not
too big, she won't be out of scale.
(Out loud; firmly.)
49. Interior. Girls' room. Night.
VICTORIA is having a bad dream; MELANIE is cuddling
her in her arms in bed. She wears her cardigan round
her shoulders. As VICTORIA quietens down, MELANIE
sees a glimmer of candlelight through the hole in the
MELANIE settles VICTORIA down and tiptoes to the wall.
MELANIE's point-of-view shot: FINN, very pale, lies on
the bed, looking like 'The Death of Chatterton'.
FRANCIE in shirtsleeves has just lit a candle and is
cupping the flame with his hand to protect it as it
flickers into life. After a moment, FRANCIE dribbles
melted wax from the candle on to the floorboards and
fixes the candle into it next to FINN's bed.
FINN's bed is banked by many, many lighted candles.
He hasn't moved. FRANCIE, now fully, rather
elaborately dressed in his best suit, stands at the
foot of the bed, tuning his fiddle.
We see MELANIE watching through the spy-hole.
50. Interior. Brothers' bedroom. Night.
FRANCIE begins to play.
At first, FINN does not move. Then he shudders
convulsively jerking and twisting. The candle flames
shiver, creating grotesque shadows. FRANCIE goes on
playing. FINN quietens down, stops struggling, rolls
over, knuckling his eyes.
The fiddle music comes to an end.
51. Interior. Kitchen. Day.
The entire family are assembled around the table,
having tea. PHILIP, especially, is making a hearty
meal from the spread - shrimps, a bowl of mustard and
cress, bread and butter ... and drinking
enthusiastically from his tea cup.
MARGARET wears her black dress and the big, heavy,
jewelled collar and can only eat with the utmost
difficulty. She looks wonderful, beautiful and strange
as some pagan deity, but one shrimp alone lies on her
plate and she pulls off its whiskers one by one. She
tries a swallow of tea, and chokes. FINN darts up,
pats her on the back.
PHILIP watches her, relishing her discomfort.
MARGARET finishes peeling her shrimp, then slips it to
Ain't you having a bite more to eat,
She looks at him with wounded eyes. There is a terrible
silence. FINN is deathly pale.
Pour us more tea, Margaret.
MARGARET quivering with nerves, slops tea into the
saucer of the cup she passes to PHILIP.
Live with the Irish; live like pigs.
MARGARET makes a wild, conciliatory gesture that
knocks over a cup. It spills tea all over the
tablecloth. PHILIP clicks his tongue against his
He gets up, limps out, in very bad shape, still.
MELANIE watches him leave. Her face is full of
52. Interior. Toyshop. Day.
A very elegant woman, who looks like Barbara Goalen,
the great Fifties model, in a winter white-tweed suit
and hat, a startling apparition in the cobwebby shop,
is having the Noah's Ark packed in a box.
She is leaning on a furled umbrella; she looks bored.
MELANIE, packing the Noah's Ark, steals the elegant
woman a sidelong look; her mother looked like that.
The elegant lady does not like to be looked at by
MELANIE, who is lank-haired and grubby, in her worn,
grubby skirt and sweater, her knee socks, her lace-
MELANIE ties the string and strikes the cash register
with a clang. It shows seventy-five guineas.
The lady takes the huge parcel in her arms; she
balances on her high heels, opening the door while
grubby MELANIE watches ironically. So does the parrot.
JONATHON is lurking in the basement doorway, waiting
for the lady to be gone, full of suppressed excitement.
The doorbell clangs behind her; JONATHON rushes into
the shop. He hands MELANIE a beautiful toy boat, not a
three-master but a very fashionable sailing boat. He
is bursting with pride. MELANIE admires the boat.
PHILIP looms up behind them.
Put it in the window. It ought to
fetch at least ten guineas.
I'm earning my keep, sir!
Not yet, you're not.
He brushes JONATHON aside and descends into basement.
JONATHON lingers, hurt. He picks the boat up,
doubtfully. MELANIE scribbles Fifteen Guineas on a
price ticket and ties it on to the mast.
JONATHON reads the ticket, looks up, smiles at
53. Interior. Kitchen. Night.
MELANIE is unfolding lengths of white chiffon from a
paper bag on the table. Other paper bags lie on the
MARGARET dips into a paper bag, produces an armful of
flowers - real flowers, roses and carnations - and
throws them over MELANIE. MELANIE spins round and
round, unfolding the chiffon, flowers whirling, and
emerges in a chiffon tunic, crowned with flowers, her
black hair flowing everywhere, laughing. Looking
wonderful, and like a Victorian painting of a nymph.
In soft focus.
We see JONATHON standing in the doorway.
Uncle Philip wants Melanie
MELANIE comes back into hard focus. The crown of
flowers is obviously artificial. MELANIE is sulky.
Can I keep my shoes on? I'll need my
coat to go downstairs, it's freezing
away from the fire -
54. Interior. Workshop. Night.
The entire workshop is brightly lit. The curtains of
the theatre are open; FINN is onstage, in overalls,
surrounded by paints, painting a backcloth showing a
brightly coloured sunset over the sea.
On the carpenter's bench, a big, ominously sheeted
shape. PHILIP squats on the floor with a mound of
white feathers on a spread sheet before him. He is
sorting the feathers into smaller piles. There are
feathers and down caught in his moustache.
MELANIE, flowers in her hair, huddled in her school
raincoat, bare feet in sensible shoes stands sullenly
in front of him.
JONATHON goes and stands beside PHILIP. PHILIP ignores
Take off that wrap.
She does so. The only sound is the slap, slap of
FINN's paint brush as he fills in an area of the sky.
You're well built; how old are you?
Sixteen. Well, nearly sixteen.
I wanted my Leda to be a little girl.
Leda and the swan. See?
He gestures towards the sheeted shape on the
Big swan, little Leda. But you're a
big girl. Do you have periods?
MELANIE is aghast. FINN continues painting, but
What's that to do with swans?
JONATHON moves away from PHILIP, scared, anticipating
Keep your mouth shut, Finn. I'll
talk to her how I please.
FINN suspends painting.
I can say what I like.
PHILIP looks at him thoughtfully, stroking his
Oh no you can't. Get on with the
It's all right, Finn.
PHILIP looks smugly at FINN. FINN looks mutinous,
then defeated. FINN picks up his brush and carries on
I suppose you'll do. Turn round.
(MELANIE turns round.)
Not like that. Show your teeth.
(MELANIE smiles and
shows her teeth.)
You've got a bit of a look of your
mother. None of your father, thank
God. Should have seen his face when
I turned up at the wedding. Thought
I'd come to drag her away with me.
But I knew she was gone for good.
You've got a fair bit of your mother
in you, though.
Momentarily, he seems almost sentimental and MELANIE
is bewildered, a little scared, but he soon snaps out
of it and orders briskly.
Walk up and down.
MELANIE clumps up and down in her tunic and her lace-
Not very graceful, are you. Finn
(FINN looks around.)
Teach her how to shift herself.
(FINN stops painting,
staring at PHILIP.)
You used to fancy yourself at the
Get on with it.
MELANIE looks from PHILIP to FINN, puzzled: she
starts to move towards the theatre.
Not down here. You'll spoil the set.
He goes back to sorting the feathers. FINN lays his
paint brush across the tin of paint.
55. Interior. Brothers' bedroom. Night.
They are shy and nervous with one another.
FINN opens a drawer in the chest of drawers, takes out
a shell - a beautiful, rosy pink, tropical shell.
Where did you get that?
She looks in the drawer. It is crammed with precious
shells, lumps of coral, pieces of glittering minerals.
We brought them with us from over
He sets the shell down on an empty strip of linoleum.
That's your beach. This is the
story. Leda walks by the shore,
Night comes on. She hears the
beating of great wings and sees the
approach of the swan. She runs away
but it bears down and casts her to
the ground. Curtain.
Is that all?
Ah, you should see the swan! His
masterpiece. Now, walk along the
beach and stoop to pick up the
MELANIE takes her shoes off. As she does so, a wave
breaks on the linoleum, swishing around the legs of
56. Interior. Beach. Dusk.
The furniture remains, huge and outlandish, on a
desolate expanse of wet sand. MELANIE, watched by
FINN, walks along, bends down, retrieves the shell.
She is nervous and walks clumsily.
Neither she nor FINN give any indication they are
not still in the bedroom.
That won't do. Make it flow.
He walks along the imaginary beach, but he is no
longer graceful; he hobbles. He stops short.
She walks a little more gracefully.
That's a bit better. Now do it
again. I'll be the swan.
She walks gracefully along the imaginary beach. He
stands on tiptoe, raising and lowering his arms. He
is purposefully grotesque.
Swish, swish, that's the beating of
my wings. When you hear that, you
put a spurt on.
He limps along, beating his arms in the air. She
looks behind her, runs a few steps. She can't help
He'll turn you out if you don't do
what he wants, Melanie!
(Sobered, she runs.)
You run, you stumble and I bear
you to the ground with my enormous
She runs, she stumbles, she falls on the sand, she
opens her arms to receive FINN as he does a neatly
choreographed dancer's fall on top of her. She
FINN lies with his face pressed into MELANIE's
shoulder, so that we cannot see his expression. His
hand lies on the sand. She picks it up, examines it
- calloused, paint stained.
She caresses and kisses the hand, very tenderly.
57. Interior. Brothers' room. Night, as before.
FINN has vanished.
MELANIE slowly sits up, angry, hurt and puzzled. She
looks round the room. She looks under the bed. Smoke
drifts out of the keyhole of the cupboard. She opens
the cupboard door. A suit hangs on a hanger; some
white shirts on a shelf on top of the cupboard, his
head and body concealed by the clothing. His hand
comes out and taps ash on to the floor from his
cigarette. MELANIE inspects the soles of his feet.
Finn, there's a splinter in your
If you don't let me take the
splinter out, it will fester.
(Muffled by clothing.)
What did I do wrong?
FINN parts the shirts and looks out. He is angry and
I won't do it because he wants me
to do it, even if I want to do it.
Oh, I see.
You're only a young thing.
You're not so old yourself!
Living with him put years on me.
He pulls the shirts together again, hiding himself.
The agitation of the coat hangers disturbs the
paintings on the top shelf; they slither to the
A formal portrait.
It shows PHILIP, naked but for his bowler, sitting in
the same pose as the white bull terrier in the picture
in the kitchen, wearing MARGARET's silver collar round
A leash is attached to this collar. MARGARET stands,
holding the leash, looking spectacular - brilliant
green cloak around her shoulders, on her head, a
spiky crown. MELANIE directs a remark at the smoking
FINN makes no response. She stows the picture away on
top of the wardrobe. She picks up another; it is the
nude of herself that she only glimpsed through the
spy-hole. It remains unfinished.
You never finished it.
FINN parts the shirts again, not angry now, but
That was wishful thinking, too.
MELANIE touches her own painted breast.
All the same, I'd like to keep it
... in my room ... if you don't mind
... There aren't any mirrors in the
FINN looks at her directly and, after a moment, he
There is a sudden flurry of rain on the bedroom
Distracted from one another, both glance at the
window, the incipient tenderness between them
58. Exterior. Square. Day.
It is raining. Rain lashes against the shop window.
In the shop window, fireworks are piled in decorative
piles: also many more masks than usual are hanging.
In the square garden, a huge bonfire is under process
of construction; chairs, tables etc. stick out from
the pile of rubbish.
Two shouting kids trundle past the window with a limp,
floppy guy dragging behind them in an orange box
fitted up with pram wheels. They hold newspapers
over their heads to keep the rain off.
PHILIP, rain dripping off the brim of his bowler,
crosses the road to reach the shop. The kids accost
Penny for the guy, guv -
PHILIP brushes past brusquely, jangling the shop-door
59. Interior. Kitchen. Night.
The blackboard reads 'Special performance. Tonight.
Towels are warming over the fireguard. MARGARET
60. Interior. Bathroom. Night.
MELANIE sits in the bath. She scrubs her elbows
vigorously with a nail brush; then she raises her
left leg and scrubs the hard skin behind her heel.
Then the right leg. Then she plunges right under the
water and comes up streaming and gasping. She has
brought her portrait with her and propped it against
the geyser. She scrutinizes the nude image earnestly
- there isn't a hint of her earlier, dreamy self-
obsession; now she really wants to know what she
looks like. The geyser has done its work well. The
window has misted up with condensation.
MARGARET brings in the towels. She holds a towel open
for MELANIE to step into, as if she were a little
girl. MELANIE raises herself in the bath; the portrait
tips up and tumbles into the water. MELANIE snatches
it up; the colours are running, her features are
already blurring. She looks up at MARGARET with a
frightened face. MARGARET quickly scrawls with her
finger in the condensation on the window: '- Silly -'
She envelops MELANIE in a towel and rubs her briskly,
drying her at the same time, tickling her to make her
61. Interior. Theatre. Night.
We are inside the curtains, onstage.
The stage is heaped with real sand, shells, starfish
etc. The backcloth is painted with a lugubrious
PHILIP and MELANIE are onstage. She is dressed and
ready, with flowers in her long, loose hair. PHILIP
nods. He climbs the ladder to the catwalk.
MELANIE kicks at the sand with a bare foot. She looks
upwards; she sees FINN, foreshortened, squatting on
the catwalk above the stage. He does not smile at her.
Next to him, resting on the catwalk, is a huge bundle,
wrapped in a sheet.
Outside the curtains, FRANCIE begins to play
selections from Swan Lake.
The stage lights go off leaving a brownish gloom.
Then MELANIE is transfixed by a brilliant spotlight;
she blinks and jumps.
The curtains open but MELANIE can see nothing beyond
the stage because of the lights. PHILIP, overhead and
unseen coughs. MELANIE spreads out her skirt, bends,
picks up a shell, puts it in her skirts.
'Leda gathers shells by the shore
in approaching dusk. Little does
she know that Almighty Jove has
picked her out to be his mate.'
Aloft, PHILIP beats on the metal gong which has been
transferred above. Startled, MELANIE drops her shell.
'The sound of thunder announces the
presence of the majestic visitant.'
Enter the swan, lowered down from above. MELANIE
giggles in spite of herself then clamps her hand over
MARGARET smiles, to encourage MELANIE. MARGARET's
point-of-view shot: from the audience, it looks as
though a beautiful, very stylized swan is descending
in a piece of clever stage magic. But, from MELANIE's
point-of-view shot, there is no illusion.
The swan is an egg-shaped sphere, painted white,
coated with glued-on feathers. The neck lolls
comically. The wings are like those of model
aeroplanes, again coated with glued-on feathers. Its
black, rubber legs are tucked up underneath it.
MELANIE remembers to mime astonishment.
The swan's feet come down and it lands on them with a
thud. Its head points towards MELANIE. MELANIE is
frozen in her mime of horror; she is fascinated by
the ingenuity and vaguely suggestive ugliness of the
swan. The swan's wings heat steadily up and down,
disturbing MELANIE's hair. A rose blows away.
'Leda attempts to flee her heavenly
suitor but his beauty and majesty
bear her to the ground.'
The swan's beating wings blow the sand around.
MELANIE remembers to run a few steps; she looks back
- splat, splat! on its rubber feet; the swan is
Up above, PHILIP, smiling narrowly, is directing the
'The innocent girl's thighs tremble.
Her loins melt. She falls.'
MELANIE's point-of-view shot: a white, monstrous
shape is advancing upon her in the floury glare of
the spotlight. The light is in her eyes and she
cannot see it properly. The swan's head rears up and
MELANIE tries to run and falls. The screen is filled
with the image of the great, beating wings.
'Almighty Jove in the form of a swan
wreaks his will.'
MELANIE screams. Roaring of the beating wings. No
other sound - the music has stopped, no sound from
62. Interior. Theatre. Night.
From aloft, PHILIP is looking down with satisfaction
at the girl lying on her back, dress dishevelled, eyes
closed. The swan dangles beside her harmlessly, on its
strings. The stage curtains are closed, again.
FINN has covered his eyes.
The applause from the outside begins. MELANIE slowly
sits up and looks around.
FINN looks down from the catwalk as PHILIP, the swan
and a shaken MELANIE take a bow. PHILIP puts his arm
proudly round the swan. The little audience applauds
JONATHON whispers to MARGARET:
I didn't like that play.
MARGARET passes him a toffee. Her eyes do not leave
MELANIE, who still looks stunned.
Close-up MELANIE, looking stunned.
63. Interior. Girls' bedroom. Night.
A nightlight is burning. VICTORIA is asleep; MELANIE
lies still but wakeful, open-eyed unable to sleep. A
withered geranium falls off the plant in the window.
There is a scratching at the door. Renewed scratching.
MELANIE sits up.
(Voice over. Whisper.)
Let me in.
MELANIE is visibly relieved.
The door's not locked.
FINN, haggard, sidles in.
Can I come into bed with you for a
little while, I feel terrible.
Well ... yes. All right. But -
Ah, come on now!
He kicks off his shoes. MELANIE moves VICTORIA over
to the wall, to make room for FINN.
Would you mind holding me in your
arms for a little while?
She puts her arms round him, clumsily. His teeth are
You are cold. Where have you been?
I finished it off.
You did what?
64. Interior. Theatre. Night.
I chopped it into little pieces.
The swan hangs by its strings in the middle of the
stage. The scene is lit by a huge, ominous-looking
yellow moon; night has arrived on the beach, with
moon and stars on the backcloth. The swan looks huge,
ugly, ridiculous and malign, with its neck rolling a
little from side to side.
FINN, with one blow from a hatchet, strikes off the
head at the base of the neck. It falls to the
floorboards which are still covered with sand, where
it writhes like a snake.
FINN stamps on the swan's neck and head, trampling it
until it stops writhing.
Now the wings open and beat frenziedly, the swan's
body agitates itself dreadfully on its strings.
FINN lops off a wing. It drift to the ground. The
other wing beats and beats on the air; he grabs hold
of it, lops that one off too.
The little rubber feet are still going up and down.
More and more slowly.
FINN raises the hatchet, splits the swan open down
the back with a rending sound of chopped wood. The
little feet stop moving.
With one blow of the hatchet, he slices the mutilated
swan away from its strings. It falls to the ground
with a thud.
FINN, surveying the wreckage, begins to laugh.
65. Interior. Girls' bedroom. Night, as before.
He'll murder you when he finds out.
He'll be looking for another
I hope he doesn't pick on Jonathon.
Can you move over a wee bit?
MELANIE gently nudges VICTORIA towards the side of
The swan was so ridiculous. All the
same, it did scare me.
Almighty Jove in the shape of a
The bed begins to shake. MELANIE rears up.
I've got a present for you...
In my pocket.
He hands her a painted egg, with a pair of naked
lovers painted on it in the naive style. MELANIE cups
it in her hands, wondering.
It's a swan's egg.
He yawns, his eyes close, open again. He smiles at
MELANIE. Hesitant at first, she smiles back. They hug.
FINN'S eyes close again, he sleeps. MELANIE stows away
the egg safe under the bed.
Close-up MELANIE's face, on the verge of sleep.
66. Interior. JONATHON's bedroom. Night.
Close-up JONATHON's glasses, lying on his chair beside
the bed. These reflect MELANIE's face.
MELANIE in her pyjamas, is standing by JONATHON's bed,
looking down at him.
JONATHON stirs and murmurs. JONATHON opens his eyes.
JONATHON's point-of-view shot: the room is blurred and
myopic. He reaches out for his glasses, puts them on;
the image clears.
I think you should go, now,
Jonathon sits up in bed.
What do you mean? Run away to sea?
A seagull flies in through the bedroom door. JONATHON
67. Interior. Workshop. Night.
The workshop is full of the crash of breakers. The
theatre is a square box glowing with light. MELANIE
and JONATHON run towards the theatre. JONATHON is
fully dressed, MELANIE in pyjamas. The curtains fly
open; the light of brilliant day floods into the room
from FINN's painted seashore, which transforms itself
into a real beach under JONATHON and MELANIE's eyes.
LEDA's shell, and a pile of splintered wood and
feathers lie on the stage, but they look like silly
stage props, now.
It is brilliant early morning on the beach, now.
68. Exterior. Beach. Day.
JONATHON and MELANIE run along the beach until they
come to a small rowing boat with a pair of oars ready
in the rowlocks beached on the sand.
Exterior. Sea. Day.
JONATHON in the rowing boat, sculls out to sea; his
blazer bothers him; he slips it off.
JONATHON's glasses mist over with spray. T'sking with
irritation, he snatches them off and throws them into
JONATHON's point-of-view shot: MELANIE, clear and
distinct, stands waving on the beach.
69. Interior. Staircase. Morning.
MELANIE, very anxious, races upstairs to JONATHON's
70. Interior. JONATHON's bedroom. Morning.
Window open, curtain flapping; the wind blows through
the room. The bed is rumpled and empty. A pair of
cracked spectacles trailing a little seaweed lies on
MELANIE rushes in and looks round. She sees the
spectacles and picks them up. She looks first puzzled,
then oddly reassured.
71. Interior. Bathroom. Morning.
MELANIE enters, turns on the tap, splashes her face
with cold water. As she looks up, she sees PHILIP's
tooth glass empty, except for cloudy water.
72. Interior. Girls' bedroom. Day.
FINN is sitting up in bed, smoking meditatively,
while VICTORIA attempts not without difficulty, to put
on her own sweater. MELANIE comes in, bearing aloft
PHILIP's tooth glass. She offers it to him with a
Philip's gone and taken his teeth
She empties the contents of the tooth glass into the
I know for a fact he didn't take
Jonathon. Jonathon went off by
FINN looks sharply at MELANIE, as if she's stumbled on
something important she doesn't understand; MELANIE
doesn't notice. VICTORIA has begun to exhibit distress
in her struggle with the sweater and MELANIE turns to
73. Interior. Kitchen. Day.
Sizzle! MARGARET breaks an egg into a frying pan full
of bacon, sausages, black pudding, mushrooms,
tomatoes, fried bread.
FINN, dazzling clean, MELANIE in trousers, her hair
loose, and VICTORIA, are taking their places round the
table where FRANCIE already sits.
Dammit, I'm going to sit in his
Concern, even fear.)
Don't fret, it can't swallow me up.
All the same, he sits down with extreme caution.
Then, with more confidence, he sets his hands on the
arms of the chair, looking patriarchal. MARGARET
passes plates heaped with breakfast. All eat hungrily.
I am seized with a great and
(Pause. Inquiring looks.)
Let's make today a holiday.
Himself being absent. And the
All stop eating, knives and forks in mid-air in some
cases. All but MELANIE, who remains composed.
He chopped it up.
She goes on with her breakfast.
I shifted it out there. On the
bonfire. Tonight it will burn.
He puts unusual emphasis on the word 'burn'.
You mad bugger.
FRANCIE, slow reaction, now throws down his knife and
fork and claps FINN on the back.
He chopped it up!
He chuckles. Then he begins to laugh. VICTORIA, seeing
him, is quickly overcome with laughter. FINN laughs.
MELANIE, it takes her a little longer time to see the
funny side but soon she too laughs.
MARGARET slowly smiles. Then chuckles. Then we hear a
musical sound, cymbalon or celesta. It is her laughter.
At the sound of her laughter, the men's voices die
away. VICTORIA stops laughing too; she looks solemn
Go and fetch my silver necklace,
VICTORIA, laughing, runs in with the necklace on her
head at a rakish angle. MARGARET lifts the necklace
from the little girl's head and drops a kiss there.
The kitchen window is wide open. With some ceremony,
MARGARET goes towards it and throws out the silver
necklace. It turns over and over, catching the light
and shining. It whirls off, into infinity.
74. Interior. Kitchen. Day.
Some time later. The bull terrier is lapping Guinness
from a saucer. FRANCIE is playing a slow air, MARGARET
sits in PHILIP's chair, wearing Cleopatra's gorgeous
The room is a mess, breakfast still uncleared and so
is lunch - the remains of fish and chips in newspaper.
There are several empty bottles of Guinness.
VICTORIA, surrounded by the choicest toys from the
shop, is asleep on the rag rug, with her head on the
sleepy bull terrier. FINN sits in the armchair by the
fire. MELANIE sits on the floor at his feet. He is
playing with her hair.
A rocket goes by outside. Whoosh!
Somebody couldn't wait until dark.
Nothing ... You shouldn't have given
Victoria that Guinness.
It was only a mouthful!
Do you think we should take her up
FINN is galvanised into life.
Oh yes, I think we should.
MELANIE dissolves in giggles. The slow air ends. FINN
leans forward, puts his finger on MELANIE's lips to
quiet her giggling.
FRANCIE and MARGARET are locked in an embrace.
MELANIE's eyes grow huge. FINN draws her to her feet.
75. Interior. Girls' bedroom. Day.
It is growing dark. FINN tucks VICTORIA into bed.
When she stirs, he gives her Edward Bear. She snuggles
down again, content.
MELANIE sits down on the edge of the bed, brooding.
76. Exterior. Square. Dusk.
PHILIP crosses the square; he looks disapprovingly at
the bonfire. The swan's head and beak are visible
among the sticks and broken chairs but PHILIP does
not see them.
77. Interior. Girls' bedroom. Dusk.
FINN and MELANIE sit on the edge of the bed, not
I thought she was fondest of you,
because you were the youngest.
Did you now.
Surely she is older?
What difference does that make?
MELANIE is hugging her arms round herself, as if
she's cold. Whoosh! Another rocket flies past the
78. Exterior. Front of shop. Dusk.
PHILIP stares in blank disbelief at the 'closed' sign
on the door. He fishes in his pocket, produces an
enormous key, starts to unlock the door.
79. Interior. Girls' bedroom. Dusk, as before.
How long has -
All the time.
Whoosh - bang!
80. Interior. Kitchen. Dusk.
There is no light in the kitchen, except for the
glowing embers of the fire. PHILIP flicks the switch.
He registers shock and horror at the mess.
81. Interior. Girls' room. Dusk.
MELANIE cranes forward to look out of the window.
All that rain is making it hard for
the fire to catch. And I don't see
the guy. They haven't put the guy
on the bonfire yet.
FINN approaches her from behind.
(Sly, yet tender,
Shall you take all your clothes off
now, and I'll finish off your
She dissolves in giggles again, seizes him firmly by
the shoulders, thrusts him back on to the bed.
Careful! Mind the little girl!
They lie without touching, gazing at one another.
They suddenly become serious, even grave, as if
deliberating the effects of what they may be about to
82. Interior. Landing, Dusk.
PHILIP's hand lies on the doorknob of the room
opposite the kitchen - the master bedroom. It lies
for a moment, as if PHILIP is unwilling to open the
door and see what it might contain: then he turns the
doorknob. The door opens.
A beam of unearthly light falls on PHILIP's face,
which is a mask of shock and horror. The mask
shatters, like glass, as his mouth opens.
83. Interior. Girls' bedroom. Dusk.
At the sound of a shriek from below, FINN and MELANIE
start up from the bed. Crash from below. Such a crash
the dangling light bulb dances, flowers fall from the
plant. VICTORIA awakes.
Then bang, crash. Shriek again. FINN hugs the sisters.
All cower together on the bed. Crash.
84. Interior. The master bedroom. Night.
The wedding photograph showing the children's parents
and PHILIP falls to the ground from the top of a chest
of drawers. Its glass shatters as PHILIP lunges across
the room at MARGARET, who darts away from him out on
to the landing.
MARGARET is screaming. PHILIP tries to follow but
FRANCIE makes a flying tackle and brings him to the
ground. PHILIP bellows. His bowler hat falls off and
rolls across the floor. He reaches inside his coat and
produces a chisel. He twists round and threatens
FRANCIE with the chisel.
85. Interior. Girls' bedroom. Night.
The door flies open; MARGARET stands there. Bodice
ripped, hair streaming. She brings with her a huge
wind that makes the curtains flap, the bedcovers flap,
the windows rattle - the room seems about to take
VICTORIA scrambles forward, clutches MARGARET.
Auntie Margrit, Auntie Margrit...
Would I part with you, my treasure?
She scoops up the little girl. She looks with
infinite sorrow at FINN and MELANIE.
Kiss me before you go.
MARGARET kisses him on the mouth; for the first time,
we register she is much taller than he. She kisses him
in a very formal and stately way. Her hair billows out
round them, concealing him for a moment. Then MARGARET
kisses MELANIE. We are swept up into the red storm of
her hair and let down again. The wind increases in
strength. The red storm of hair fills the room.
MARGARET and VICTORIA vanish. Literally. When the wind
dies down, they are no longer there.
The noise from downstairs continues unabated.
86. Interior. Master bedroom. Night.
FRANCIE, menaced by the chisel, backs away against the
bed with its disordered sheets. PHILIP is winded and
breathing heavily; FRANCIE, quicker on his feet,
manages to rush past him. PHILIP lunges at him and
sprawls across the bed.
87. Interior. Kitchen. Night.
There is now a terrible silence. Devastation, smashed
crockery. The cuckoo hangs out of the cuckoo clock,
mutilated by a knife; they are bleeding. The table is
smashed. The chairs are smashed.
The bull terrier has leapt up on to the mantelpiece
and, as FINN and MELANIE enter, jumps into the
portrait of itself and disappears.
FINN and MELANIE look round the room and see nobody.
88. Interior. Workroom. Night.
Brandishing the chisel, PHILIP descends into the
workroom, in pursuit of FRANCIE.
The curtains twitch; FRANCIE disappears inside the
theatre. The puppets, hanging from their hooks stir
PHILIP, on his way to the theatre, overturns FINN's
workbench. Toys, paint tins and brushes fall to the
floor. The puppets rattle even more.
He strides to the theatre, ignoring the sand
crackling under his feet. From inside the theatre
comes a mocking phrase of fiddle music. PHILIP roars.
He tears open the curtains. The painted beach is there.
The sand and shell are there. But the swan's strings
dangle, empty, and below them, is a pile of splinters
89. Interior. Shop. Night.
The parrot is free of its chain and is flying round
the shop squawking: No sale!
The shop is in the throes of change; as FINN and
MELANIE slip through, a jack-in-the-box pops up and
roars with laughter. Dolls stir and titter. The toys
are coming to life. FINN and MELANIE go out through
the door. The bell jangles for the last time. The
parrot flies out above their heads. FINN calls after
I served my time, and so did you.
90. Interior. Workroom. Night.
FRANCIE sits on the catwalk in the flies, fiddle under
his chin, looking down at PHILIP, who is stirring the
refuse of the swan with his foot. The hatchet lies
among a pile of splinters and feathers.
FRANCIE plays a mocking, ironic phrase on the fiddle.
PHILIP looks up at him, and hisses.
Who touched my swan?
FRANCIE plays another mocking ironic phrase. PHILIP
lunges for the ladder to the catwalk, trips over the
hatchet and thumps on to the stage.
There is a rustling and a clicking in the workroom.
Slowly, out of the shadows, come the puppets: they
descend from their hooks, 'The Artist', the Coppelia
doll, some with faces and clothes, many uncompleted,
featureless ones. They move towards the theatre, with
a clattering, wooden sound. They start to climb up on
to the stage.
PHILIP looks up at a circle of wooden faces, all of
which he has created himself.
FRANCIE strikes up a lively air. The puppets begin to
clap in time. The ballerina doll hauls PHILIP to his
feet and pushes and prods him into dancing with her.
The puppets continue to clap.
The ballerina whirls PHILIP round in a succession of
pirouettes. The music goes faster and faster. The
surrounding, clapping puppets whirl into a blur.
91. Exterior. Square. Night.
The bonfire in the square garden is now so big it
threatens to topple over. Dozens of children mill
round it excitedly, engaged in forming a rough circle
round the fire. Amongst the old sofas and floorboards
we catch a brief glimpse of a white neck and a yellow
FINN is kneeling by the fire with a box of matches in
his hand. To the unspoken question of a curious child,
Me brother's fetching the guy.
He lights a match, touches a twist of paper. At
another part of the bonfire, MELANIE kneels, too. She
strikes her match and touches the bonfire with it; a
little flame ripples up.
The children continue to assemble in a circle round
the fire, watching it catch with solemn eyes. FINN
and MELANIE retreat until they are together again.
Absent-mindedly they hold hands. They are on
tenterhooks with anxiety. The circle of children eye
them with faint suspicion; the children could easily
turn against the two adolescents if they do not keep
their promise. FINN and MELANIE peer anxiously at the
Behind them, the shop suddenly lights up with
brilliant light and all the fireworks in the window go
off, bursting through the glass. FRANCIE emerges from
the door, carrying a limp puppet, trailing strings. A
full size puppet.
The puppet is the image of UNCLE PHILIP.
The children see FRANCIE and start to laugh and cheer.
Some break away from the bonfire to take a closer look
at FRANCIE's armful, forming a rough and ready
procession behind him as he walks towards the fire.
FRANCIE's fiddle case is lodged precariously under his
arm; a child takes it and carries it safely for him.
92. Exterior. Square. Night.
The children have liberated the toyshop and, as the
bonfire dies down, enthusiastically play with hobby
horses, masks and dolls from PHILIP's store. There is
much noise and laughter.
FRANCIE stands before the embers, playing the fiddle.
His outlines waver; it could he the effect of the
heat of the fire. He goes on playing.
His outlines waver. He goes on playing. He dissolves.
The fiddle remains, suspended in the air, playing
FINN and MELANIE silhouetted against the blazing
I already lost everything once.
So did I.
But then I had a brother and a
So had I.
Everything is gone, now.
Nothing is left but us.
As if both gripped in the same instant by the same
revelation, they turn urgently to one another. But
freeze before they touch, at the moment at which the
Screenplay by Angela Carter