The Firebird (Warner Bros.) (1934)

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Sell them this way—right in their own homes. Radio station's staff players or local acting group. can do the parts. Material is smart and fast—the kind that makes an interesting 15 minute program. EIGHT CHARACTERS HERMAN BRANDT (Ricardo Cortez): Budapest matinee idol. CAROLA POINTER (Verree Teasdale): Rich and beau tiful matron. JOHN POINTER (Lionel Atwill): Her courtly husband. MARIETTE POINTER (Anita Louise): Her lovely daughter. JOLAN ex-wife. (Dorothy Tree): Brandt's alimony-seeking MLLE. MOUSQUET (Helen Trenholme): Mariette's French governess. THEATRE MANAGER (Hal K. Dawson): Discoverer of Brandt's body. PORTER: Aide to theatre manager. Regular Station announcements followed by: ANNOUNCER: By special arrangement with Manager ..... ORGUNOS OG cat es Theatre, we offer, for your entertainment, flashes of the dramatic action of “The Firebird,” the Warner Bros. production featuring Verree Teasdale, Ricardo Cortez, Lionel Atwill, Anita Louise, C. Aubrey Smith and Dorothy Tree and opening locally ........... next. Mr. (narrator) will briefly outline the story. NARRATOR: Herman Brandt, matinee idol of Budapest, has recently taken lodgings—in an apartment house in a fashionable street—causing something of a flutter in the hearts of schoolgirls and servant girls— but the frowns of other tenants who disapprove of the stories that are being told about his affairs. Brandt, smartly dressed and not looking his forty years, is seated at his baby grand playing Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” (begin lightly-played air) when he is rudely interrupted by the cool, satirical voice of a flashily dressed blonde: JOLAN: How are you, Herman? (Music stops.) BRANDT (bored to extinction): What is it now? JOLAN: Of course you would be puzzled—the alimony is only two weeks past due. BRANDT (bluffing): You mean you haven’t received it in the mail? JOLAN: I’ve never heard of the mails performing miracles. BRANDT: My mail never miscarries. JOLAN: You mean: your fan letters maybe. BRANDT (noncommittally): Well! JOLAN: You take more pains with your fan letters. ... How many are you getting now?... By the way, this apartment is pretty grand for your salary, isn’t it? What makes you so nervous? You act like a caged . what shall I call you, dearest? BRANDT: I have an appointment in a few minutes. JOLAN (Chard tone): It takes ten seconds to write a check. BRANDT: Very well, I'll write it ... and I’d much rather you wouldn’t come here again. JOLAN: As a matter of fact, alluring as your place is, Id much rather not have to... . Oh, thank you so much, darling. BRANDT: IT’ll see that they are mailed to you promptly ... and as I said ... don’t come here. Please! JOLAN: So. she’s in this house, is she? Well! Some society woman? I wondered what sort she’d be! The moment I heard you playing “The Firebird,” I knew you’d found another affinity. (Sweetly) Women do come to you so willingly, Herman. It’s a pity you could never learn the art of holding one. (Hardly) I taught you everything else you know, but I never could teach you that! BRANDT: No? Well, we'll not go into that. If the checks miscarry, don’t come here to see me. ... Come to the theatre. JOLAN (pleasantly): I was in the audience a few nights ago. BRANDT (Chis vanity touched): Like me? Page Fourteen JOLAN: It’s always interesting to see you act like a gentleman.... You might have played that scene in the boudoir differently, though.... BRANDT (showing interest): Yes? ... What was the matter with the scene? JOLAN: Well, you’re getting back into some of the old tricks again... some of those things I told you not to do. ... (Violin sounds off in “The Spring Song’) That’s nice music! ... Who’s playing ? BRANDT (as though overcome by his love): Ah! ... Wouldn’t you love to know! JOLAN (laughing harshly): I? Love to know? All I want to know about you is that you are at work—earning my alimony! If I get my checks—I catty softness) Au revoir, darling! (Door opens ... music goes on.) The music is so _ lovely! (door bangs — music continues during narrator’s speech, faintly, lightly). NARRATOR: The music comes from the vast apartment of Their Excellencies, John and Carola Pointer, who in their dimly-lighted drawingroom are hovering over a cake with candles, for they are celebrating the eighteenth birthday of their lovely daughter, Mariette—who only awaits their summons. Carola Pointer, the mother, is still strikingly beautiful and John has kept his courtly charm. They are as deeply devoted to — each other as to their only child, Mariette. (Music stops as John speaks.) POINTER: HEighteen! Think of it, Carola! Our baby is a young woman! CAROLA: Remember the day you lighted eighteen candles on my cake? POINTER (tenderly): Do I! . . And we became engaged. ... It was great for me... but I’m glad no one is going to enjoy a similar good fortune with Mariette today. CAROLA (a little sadly): I’m afraid it won’t be long, though. POINTER (alarmed): Carola! Who is it? CAROLA: Oh, no one in particular now... but POINTER: Phew, you gave ’ me a fright. CAROLA: Let’s not’ think about it! ... There... the last eandle is lighted! POINTER: The presents all here? CAROLA (looking them ever): The skates . . . the necklace ... the furs... Aunt Hannah’s book. . . POINTER: Not a bad birth ay. CAROLA (more briskly): Let’s hurry—I want her to have time to go out with her skates . . . before it grows dark... . Call her, dear. POINTER (calling): Mariette! MARIETTE (off, eagerly): Coming! (door opens). CAROLA: Happy birthday, darling! POINTER: Happy birthday! d MARIETTE (with _ little scream of delight): OH! .. . The:funst!! = -sand 0X0 Ox. ... Oh, Mother, you did remember! Oh, you darling! Look, Dad, aren’t I gorgeous?!! ... You’ve both been so sweet to me! It’s the most wonderful birthday I’ve ever had. Wait until the girls see me! ... CAROLA: Aren’t you going to look at your father’s gift? MARIETTE (surprised): More? ... I thought this was my big present. CAROLA: The little box. MARIETTE: What... what’s this? (Opens box) OH!!!!... Father!!! PEARLS!!! ...OH!! .« They're BEAUTIFUL! ... Why I never dreamed!!! ... Oh, Father ... I’m so happy!... And may I wear them .. . the first time I go anywhere? POINTER (chuckling): Of course. MARIETTE: Furs! Pearls! ... Tm grown up at last! POINTER (hiding his hurt): Yes, dear ... you’ve grown up at last. CAROLA: Before you look at your other gifts, hadn’t you better blow out the candles? MARIETTE: Of course, Mother! CAROLA: Get them all at one puff! (Sound of puff.) MARIETTE (disappointed) : Oh, I didn’t do it ... it’s bad luck. CAROLA: Not very, dear... it only means you won’t marry before your next birthday... MARIETTE: Why should I ever want to marry? You’re both so sweet to me! CAROLA: I must go out for a last fitting of that gown for the ball, John dear, positively the last. . . . I shan’t be long. ... And Mariette, if you go out skating it must only be for an hour. (Calling through door) rare her back by six, Mademoiselle. GOVERNESS (off): Oui, Madame. MARIETTE (eagerly): And the furs, Mother ... may I wear the furs? CAROLA (calling): And she may wear her new furs, Mademoiselle. GOVERNESS: Ah oui, Madame! MARIETTE (off): Aren’t they beautiful, Mademoiselle? GOVERNESS (off, voice fading): O, la la la LA! CAROLA: I'll only be a few minutes, John: . . . Sit down there by the fire and play your fiddle. ... POINTER: Till you get back ... (begins lightly to play again the “Spring Song’) ... CAROLA (at door): Anything you want, John? POINTER: Only you! CAROLA: You have me!... ’Bye, darling . .. (door closes ... the music heard more faintly . it has completely faded as the narrator’s voice stops). NARRATOR: Herman Brandt has noticed the beautiful Carola before, and has determined to try his wiles on her. He believes the fates are on his side when— as he comes out of his apartment—he encounters her at the head of the stairs. He falls in step—hat in hand—cane under arm—bowing deferentially: BRANDT: I wonder if you remember me, Your Excellency? CAROLA (coolly): I know who you are, of course... but... have we ever met? BRANDT (as if lost in a dream): Three years ago... at the opening of the new government building . .. when your husband was Minister for Home Affairs. CAROLA (apologetically): So many were there. BRANDT: My manager introduced us. CAROLA (trying to remem ber): It’s strange ... you of all people. BRANDT (smilingly): I’m afraid you gave me rather scant attention. CAROLA: One becomes so confused in crowds.... BRANDT (with flamboyant humility): It was natural... the wife of a Cabinet Minister and a cheap provincial actor. CAROLA (with an _ embarrassed laugh): Oh... well now our position is quite reversed, isn’t it? ... The famous actor and the wife of a Minister no longer in office. . . . I must congratulate you on your success, Mr. Brandt. BRANDT (as though deeply grateful): Thank you, Your Ex cellency ... thank you... do you know I’ve been waiting for three years for this chance to speak to you.... CAROLA: What! Why? BRANDT: You’re the first Excellency I’ve spoken to. CAROLA (amused): Do you consider that important? BRANDT: Terribly. . .You 2 . you don’t know what _ it means to be close to you like this.... Ah... that perfume you are using! It is exquisite— Molyneux’ “Vogue,” isn’t ay CAROLA (eyeing him coldly): You’re rather a strange person, aren’t you? BRANDT: Won’t you let someone introduce me again sometime? ... I’m quite eligible, you know. .. . I’ve been to tea with archdukes. CAROLA: I thought I was the first Excellency you'd ever spoken to. BRANDT (smilingly): I was always a bad liar ... but won't you ask me to one of your parties? : CAROLA (faintly sarcastic): Just for the introduction? BRANDT: More than that... more than that... . We’d dance together, then we’d slip out into the garden . . . you’d be very beautiful and very mysterious In the moonlight ...and ah... (owering his voice) how I should adore you.... CAROLA: What play is that speech from? BRANDT: Hasn’t anyone ever made love to you before? CAROLA: Not on a staircase. ... Let me pass, please. BRANDT: No. Wait... . It wasn’t true about our having met. CAROLA: I thought not. BRANDT: I had to have some excuse to speak to you.... I only took a flat here to be near you. CAROLA (a gasp): What!!?? BRANDT (rapidly): That day ... three years ago... I only saw you at a distance but it changed my whole life for me. Yes... . It brought about my success. ... I thought you were the most beautiful woman in the world—I made up my mind, then and there, to live only to climb up to you. CAROLA (coldly): Thank you, Mr. Brandt, for confessing we haven’t been introduced .. . it will save having to acknowledge each other in the future. BRANDT (as if heartbroken) : You won’t believe me? CAROLA: This is ridiculous. Will you let me pass? BRANDT (in an apparent frenzy — half-whispering): But you’ve got to believe me. I know it sounds childish but it was your beauty that gave me ambition. . . . Today I’m famous. ... All these years the memory of you has been inspiring me... tormenting me.... CAROLA: Mr. Brandt!!. . oI have a daughter quite grown up ... so it’s foolish to go on being tormented for my sake. BRANDT: Shall I tell you what I’ve hoped for? GOVERNESS (off, Mariette! MARIETTE (above): Yes, Mademoiselle. GOVERNESS: Wait for me. ... Tm going back to fetch your heavier coat. ... CAROLA (to Brandt, through governess’ speech): Quick, get out of my way!!!! BRANDT: One moment... There’s something I must say to you. CAROLA (really outraged): How dare you?!!! BRANDT: One word... CAROLA: Let me go! BRANDT: Don’t be afraid. ... 1 only want to tell you... T’ll be waiting for you tonight above): and every night . . . until you come to me... . Come down to my apartment... late... when the whole place is asleep... .« l’ll leave the door unlocked! CAROLA (calling loudly): Porter! Porter! PORTER (below, calling up): Did Your Excellency call me? CAROLA: Oh, yes... yes... Where’s the manager? (sound of heels clicking down). NARRATOR: Herman Brandt strides nonchalantly through the wide hall and out into the snowy street. (Sounds of wind blowing) He has not gone far when he hears a young voice calling after him, eagerly: MARIETTE (off): Mr. Brandt One Mr Brandtercv.4: BRANDT (turning, back): Yes? MARIETTE: I’m _ Mariette Pointer. . . . I wonder if you’d mind autographing my album for me? BRANDT: Why, any time... I should be delighted. ... MARIETTE: Oh, thank you. ...1 have it here with me.... (wind) BRANDT: There. . VOUr ALC. 6. MARIETTE: Thank you, so much ...I1... I think you’re wonderful, Mr. Brandt... . BRANDT: Do you really... my dear? ... MARIETTE: I love the song you play so much.... BRANDT: “The Firebird” .. . sometime I’ll play it... just for calling . there VOU sis GOVERNESS (calling, off): Mariette! MARIETTE: My governess... good bye... and thanks.... BRANDT: Good bye, my dear ... (blast of winds fading into narrator’s voice). NARRATOR: Carola Pointer informs the apartment house manager that unless he evicts Herman Brandt they will themselves go. This the manager cannot do. Mariette tells excitedly of getting his autograph. Jolan Brandt’s ex-wife fails to keep her promise. Other enemies rise up — while the theatre-going throngs of Budapest hail him as a great actor. But one evening there is wild excitement backstage. It is within half an hour of showtime and Brandt has not shown up. There is no answer to phone calls. Finally the frantic stage manager orders his assistant to take a taxi to his apartment house. The man arrives at breakneck speed (sound of taxi swerving to curb . . . stopping, click of door). MANAGER: Wait for me, will you (sound of his hurrying feet . . . door opens) Porter! PORTER: Who do you wish to see, sir? MANAGER (in great excitement): Brandt! Know if he’s up there? PORTER: I don’t remember his going out. MANAGER; Quick then, let me up to his flat ... the curtain goes up in a few minutes. PORTER: Right this way, sir . . . (sound of elevator door) Is he holding up the show, sir? Ji.) PCROuWetarean ri. iL rine RR (sound of keen doorbell, off) There’s no answer, sir... . Funny, I know he didn’t go out. MANAGER: Well, come on, let me in, hurry, hurry! (sound of key in lock). PORTER (off): No lights. ... I told you he wasn’t here, sir. MANAGER (calling): Hey, Brandt! (pause) Where’s_ the switch? Celick of light) Brandt! (pause) Let’s look around! (Eerily, in the apartment above someone plays victrola record of Stravinsky’s “Firebird.” . . . The music continues through the rest of the sketch and to end of narrator’s words.) PORTER: Yes sir. ... MANAGER (off, in horror): Here hes) e's PORTER (weakly): Dead? MANAGER: Don’t touch him ... don’t touch anything... . We’ve got to call the police... PORTER (quaveringly): eoks as if there was a fight, sir! MANAGER (in phone): Call the police! Brandt’s apartment? What? Yes! Brandt has been murdered! NARRATOR: This, ladies and gentlemen, introduces the mystery in one of the most amazing melodramas ever brought to the screen. “The Firebird” comes to 1a ERE: oot olLet. next. Till then good bye and good luck. THE END