Barton Fink Script - Dialogue Transcript

Voila! Finally, the Barton Fink script is here for all you quotes spouting fans of the Coen Brothers.  This script is a transcript that was painstakingly transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of Barton Fink. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and I'll be eternally tweaking it, so if you have any corrections, feel free to drop me a line. You won't hurt my feelings. Honest.

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Barton Fink Script





Kissing it all good-bye.

These four stinkin' walls,



six flights up,



six flights up,



the el that roars by at 3a.m.



Like a cast-iron wind.



Kiss 'em good-bye for me, Maury.



I'll miss 'em...

like hell I will.



Dreamin' again.



Not anymore, Lil.

I'm awake now,



awake for the first time in years.



Uncle Dave said it...



"Daylight is a dream



if you live with your eyes closed."



Well, my eyes are open now.

I see the choir.



I know they're dressed in rags,



but we're part of that choir.



Yeah, both of us,



and you, Maury, and Uncle Dave.



Sun's comin' up, kid.



They'll be hawkin' the fish



down on Fulton Street.



Let 'em hawk.



Let 'em sing their hearts out.



That's it, kid.



Take that ruined choir.

Make it sing.



So long, Maury.



So long.



We'll hear from that kid,



and I don't mean a postcard.






Fresh fish!



Let's spit on our hands

and get to work.



It's late, Maury.



Not anymore, Lil.



It's early.



- Bravo!

- Bravo!












- Bravo!

- Bravo!



- Author!

- Author!



- Author!

- Author!



- Author!

- Author!



- Author!

- Author!



- Bravo!

- Bravo!



Your table is ready, Monsieur Fink.



In fact, several members of your party

have already arrived.



Is Garland Stanford here?



He called to say

he'd be a few minutes late.



Ah, here we are.




Barton, so glad you could make it.



You know Richard St. Claire



and Poppy Carnahan.



Charmed, charmed, charmed.



We're drinking champagne

in honor of the occasion.



Have you seen the Herald?



Not yet.



I won't embarrass you,



but Caven could

hardly contain himself.



More important,



Richard and Poppy here loved the play.






Copious tears.



What did the Herald say?



I happen to have it.



Please, Derek...



"Bare Ruined Choirs:



Triumph of the Common Man.



The star of Bare Ruined Choirs



was nowhere seen

on the stage last night,



though the thespians

acquitted themselves admirably.



The find of the evening



was the author of this drama

about simple folk,



fishmongers, in fact,



whose brute struggle for existence



cannot quite quell their longing

for something higher.



The playwright finds nobility



in the most squalid corners



and poetry in the most callous speech.



A tough new voice

in the American theater has arrived,



and the owner of that voice is named...



Barton Fink."



They'll be wrapping fish in it

in the morning.






I can't start listening to the critics,



and I can't kid myself

about my own work.



A writer writes from his gut.



His gut tells him

what's good and what's...



merely adequate.



I don't pretend to be a critic,



but Lord knows I have a gut,



and my gut tells me it's simply...






And a charming gut it is.



Oh, you dog.






Oh, stop.



I thought you were going to join us.



Jesus, Garland,

you left me alone with those people?



Don't panic.



I'll join you in a minute.



We have to talk a little business.



I've just been on the phone

to Los Angeles.



Barton, Capitol Pictures wants to

put you under contract.



They've offered you $     a week.



I think I can get them

to go as high as  .



To do what?



What do you do for a living?



I'm not sure anymore.



I guess I try to make a difference.



There's no pressure here

because I respect you,



but a brief tenure in Hollywood



could support you through the writing



of any number of plays.



I don't know, Garland.



My place is here right now.



I feel I'm on the brink of success.



I'd say you're already enjoying some.



No. Don't you see?



Not the kind of success

where critics fawn over you



or producers like Derek

make a lot of money.



No. A real success.



The success we've been dreaming about...



the creation of a new living theater



of and about and for the common man.



If I ran off to Hollywood now,



I'd be making money,



going to parties,

meeting the big shots,



but I'd be cutting myself off



from the wellspring of that success,



from the common man.



Oh, I guess I'm spouting off again.



You see Caven's review?



No. What did it say?



Here, take my copy.



You're the toast of Broadway,



and you have an opportunity



to redeem that for a little cash...



Strike that.

A lot of cash.



The common man will still be here

when you get back.



Who knows?



They may even have one or two of them

out in Hollywood.



That's a rationalization, Garland.



Barton, it was a joke.



Welcome to Hotel Earle.

May I help you?



I'm checking in.



Barton Fink.



All righty.









"Fink, Barton."



That must be you, huh?



Must be.



Okay, then everything

seems to be in order.



Everything seems to be in order.






Are you a trans or a res?



Excuse me?



Transient or resident?






I... I... I don't know.



I mean, I'll be here indefinitely.



Res. That's   .   a week

payable in advance.



Check-out time's   :   sharp,



only forget that.

You're a res.



If you need anything,

pick up your personal in-room telephone.



If you need anything,

pick up your personal in-room telephone.



My name is Chet.



Although we provide privacy



for the residential guests,



we're a full-service hotel,



including complimentary shoe shine.



My name is Chet.






Those your only bags?



The others are being sent.



Welcome to Los Angeles, Mr. Fink.



Six, please.



Next stop... six.



This stop... six.



Is that him?



Is that Barton Fink?



Let me at him.



Let me put my arms

around this guy.



Let me hug this guy.



How the hell are ya?



Good trip?



My name's Jack Lipnick.



You know that.

You read the papers.



Lou treating you all right?



What's the matter

with your face?



What's the matter

with his face, Lou?



It's not so bad.



A mosquito in my room.



Where'd we put him?



I'm at the Earle.



Never heard of it.

Let's move him.



Stay at my place.



I wanted a place a little less...



Less Hollywood. Say it.

It's not a dirty word.



Say whatever you want.



The writer is king

at Capitol Pictures.



Look at your paycheck.



That's what

we think of writers.



So, what kind of pictures

does he like?



Mr. Fink hasn't given

a preference, Mr. Lipnick.



So, how about it, Bart?



Well, uh, to be honest,



I don't go to the pictures much.



That's okay.



You probably

walked in here



thinking that was going

to be a handicap,



thinking we wanted people

who knew something about the medium,



thinking there's technical

mumbo jumbo to learn.



You were dead wrong.



There's only one thing...

Can you tell a story?



Can you make us laugh,

make us cry,



make us want

to break out in song?



That more than one thing?



I run this dump, and I don't know

technical mumbo jumbo.



Why do I run it?



'Cause I got horse sense, showmanship!



And also I'm bigger

and meaner and louder



than any other kike

in this town.



I don't mean my dick's

bigger than yours.



It's not a sexual thing.




Yes, thank you.






Used to have shares

in the company,



ownership interest,



got bought out...

muscled out.



We keep him around.

He's got a family.



Poor schmuck.

He's sensitive.



Don't mention the old days.

Hell, say whatever you want.



Look, barring a preference,



you'll be working on

a wrestling picture... Wallace Beery.



They say you know

the poetry of the street.



That rules out

westerns, pirates,



screwball, Bible, Roman...



I'm not some guy

that thinks poetic is fruity.



We're together on that.



I'm from New York myself.



Minsk... if you want

to go all the way back,



which we won't

if you don't mind.



People will say to you...



Wallace Beery, wrestling...

it's a B picture.



You tell them... bullshit!



We don't make B pictures

here at Capitol.



Let's put a stop

to that rumor right now.



Thanks, Lou.



Join us.

Join us.



We're talking about

the Wally Beery picture.



Excellent picture.



Got a treatment on it yet?



We just bought the story.



Saturday Evening Post.



The hell with the story.



Wally Beery's a wrestler.



Give me his hopes, his dreams.



Naturally he gets mixed up

with a bad element



and a romantic interest

or else an orphan.



Lou, think Wally's too old

for a romantic interest?



Look at me.



A writer in the room,



and I'm asking Lou

about the goddamn story.



Which is it, Bart?







Both maybe?



Maybe we should do a treatment.




Let Bart take a crack at it.



He'll get into the swing of things



or I don't know writers.



Let's make it a dame.

Keep it simple.



The important thing



is we all want it to have

that Barton Fink feeling.



We all have that feeling,



but since you're Barton Fink,



I'm assuming you have it in spades.



I like you.



If all my writers

were like you,



I wouldn't have

to get involved.



Have something

by the end of the week.



I heard about your show,

by the way.



My man in New York saw it.



Says it's damn moving,

a little fruity,



but I guess you know

what you're doing.



Thanks for your heart.



We need more heart

in motion pictures.



We're all expecting great things.



Front desk.



Hello? Uh, Chet?






This is Barton Fink in room    .



Yes. There's, uh, someone in the room

next door to mine...






and he's, uh...



he's, uh...



making a lot of... noise.



I'll take care of it

right away, sir.



Thank you.















Did you...



Somebody just complained.



No. I didn't.



I mean, I did call down,



not to complain exactly.



I was concerned that you might...



not that it's my business...



might be in some kind of... distress.



See, I was trying to work,

and it's...



Well, it was... difficult.






I'm damned sorry

if I bothered you.



The damn walls here...



I just apologize like hell.



My name's Charlie Meadows.



I guess we're neighbors.



Barton Fink.



Neighbor, I'd feel better



about the damned inconvenience



if you let me buy you a drink.



That's all right.




Thank you.



All right, hell.



You trying to work,



me carrying on in there.



The liquor's good.

What do you say?



You got a glass?



It's the least I can do.



Okay, a quick one.






Yeah, just a nip.



I sure do forget myself sometimes.



I feel like a heel...



All the carryings-on next door.



That's okay, I assure you.



It's just I was trying to work.



What kind of work do you do, Barton,

if you don't mind my asking?



Well, I'm a writer, actually.



You don't say?

That's a tough racket.



My hat's off to you.



Damned interesting work, I'd imagine.



It's not easy, but...



Damn difficult, I'd imagine.



And what's your line, Mr. Meadows?



Hell, no, call me Charlie.



Well, Barton...



you might say I sell peace of mind.



Insurance is my game.




Human contact's the only way

to move merchandise.



In spite of what you might think,

I'm pretty good at it.



It doesn't surprise me.



I believe in it.



Fire, theft, and casualty aren't things



that only happen to other people.



Writing doesn't work out,



you may want to look into it.



Providing basic needs...

you could do worse.



I'll keep that in mind.



What kind of scribbler are you?



Newspaperman did you say?



No. Actually, I'm writing

for the pictures now.









Aw, I'm sorry, brother.



I was just sitting here thinking



I was talking to some ambitious

youngster eager to make good.



Hell, you've got it made.



Beating out that competition?



And me being patronizing?



Is the egg showing or what?



Actually, I'm just starting out

in the movies,



though I was well established

in New York,



some renown there.



Oh, it's an exciting time, then.



I'm not the best-read mug on the planet,



so it's not surprising

I didn't recognize your name.



Jesus, I feel like a heel.



That's okay, Charlie.

I'm a playwright.



My shows have only played New York.



The last one got

a hell of a write-up.



Must be why they wanted me.



Why not?

Everyone wants quality.



What kind of venue...

that is to say,









What do I write about?



Caught me trying to be fancy.



Yeah, that's it, Bart.



Well, that's a good question.



Strange as it may seem, Charlie,



I write about people like you...



the working stiff,

the common man.



Well, ain't that

a kick in the head.



I guess it is, but in a way,



that's exactly the point.



There's a few people in New York...



hopefully our numbers are growing...



who feel we have an opportunity



to forge something real

out of everyday experience,



create a theater for the masses



based on a few simple truths,



not on some shopworn abstractions

about drama



that don't hold true today.



I don't guess this means much to you.



Hell, I could tell you stories.



And that's the point...

we all have stories.



The hopes and dreams

of the common man



are as noble as those of any king.



The stuff of life...



Why shouldn't it be

the stuff of theater?



Why should that be

such a hard pill to swallow?



Don't call it new theater, Charlie.



Call it real theater.



Call it our theater!



I can see you feel

pretty strongly about it.



I don't mean to get up

on my high horse,



but why shouldn't we

look at ourselves up there?



Who cares about

the fifth Earl of Bastrop



and Lady Higginbottom






and who killed Nigel Grinch-Gibbons?



My butt's getting sore already.




You understand what I'm saying



a lot more than some

of these literary types



because you're a real man.



I could tell you some stories...



Sure, you could,



yet many writers insulate themselves

from the common man,



from where they live,



from where they trade

and fight and love



and converse and...






So, naturally, their work suffers



and regresses into

empty formalism and...



Well, I'm spouting off again,



but to put it in your language...



the theater becomes

as phony as a $  bill.



That's a tragedy right there.



You're all right, Charlie.



I'm glad you stopped by.



I know sometimes I run on.



Well, Christ, if there's

any way I can contribute



or help or whatever...



You can help by just being yourself.



Well, I can tell you some stories.



Now, look...



I'm sorry about

the interruption.



Too much revelry late at night,



you forget there's other people

in the world.



I'll be eating on the lot today.



Who's this?



Barton Fink, Mr. Geezler.






I'm a writer, Mr. Geisler.



Ted Okum said to drop by.



Ever act?



Huh? No. I'm a...



We need Indians

for a Norman Steele western.



I'm a writer.



Writers come and go.

We always need Indians.



I'm a writer.



Ted Okum said you're producing

this Wallace Beery picture.



Ted Okum doesn't know shit.



They've assigned me

enough pictures for a year.



What Ted Okum doesn't know



you could almost squeeze

into the Hollywood Bowl.



Who should I talk to?



Get me Lou Breeze.



Mr. Breeze's office.



Is he in for Mr. Geezler?






Lou! How's Lipnick's ass

smell this morning?



Yeah? Yeah?



Yeah. All right.




I got a writer here...

Fink... all screwy.



Says I'm producing

that Wallace Beery wrestling picture.



What am I, the goddamn janitor?




Who'd you get that from?



Well, tell Lipnick

he can kiss my dimpled ass.



No, no. All right. Shit.



All right. No.

All right.



Okay, Fink.



Let's chow.



Don't worry about it.



It's just a B picture.



I bring it in on budget,



they book it without screening it.



Lipnick said he wanted

to look at the script



by the end of the week.



Sure, he did.



He forgot about it

before your ass left his sofa.



He forgot about it

before your ass left his sofa.






I'm just having trouble

getting started.



It's funny.

I'm blocked up.



I just feel



like I need

some kind of indication



of what's expected.



Wallace Beery.

Wrestling picture.



What do you need, a road map?






you're confused.



You need guidance?



Talk to another writer.






Oh, Jesus.



You throw a rock in here,

you'll hit one.



Do me a favor, Fink...



Throw it hard.



Bill Mayhew.

Sorry about the odor.



Barton Fink.



Jesus. W.P.?



I beg your pardon?



W.P. Mayhew?

The writer?



Just Bill, please.






You're the finest novelist

of our time.



Why, thank you, son.

How kind.



My God.



I had no idea

you were in Hollywood.



All of us undomesticated writers



eventually make our way out here



to the great salt lick.



That's probably why



I always have

such a powerful thirst.



A little social lubricant, Mr. Fink?



No. It's a little early for me.






if I'm imposing,

you should say so.



I know you're very busy.



I just wanted to ask...

you a favor.



Have you ever written

a wrestling picture?



You are drippin', sir.



They have not invented

a genre of picture



that Bill Mayhew has not

at one time or other



been invited to assay.



Yes, I've taken my stab

at the wrestling form,



as I have stabbed

at so many others.



Well, how do you...



I gather you're a freshman here,



eager for an upperclassman's counsel.



However, just at the moment



I have drinking to do.



Why don't you stop

by my bungalow, number   



later on this afternoon?



We will discuss wrestling scenarios



and other things literary.



Sons of bitches!



Sons of bitches!



Where's honey?









Where's my honey?



The water's lapping up on me, honey!



Honey, just stop it.



I can't.

I'm trying to help you.






Can I help you?



I'm sorry. I...



Where are you, damn it?



My name is Fink.



Bill asked me to drop by

this afternoon.



Is he, uh...












Mr. Mayhew is indisposed

at the moment.



Where's my honey?



Is he, uh...






Is he okay?



He'll be fine.



Mr. Fink, I'm Audrey Taylor,



Mr. Mayhew's personal secretary.



Where's my honey?



I know this all must sound horrid.



I really do apologize.



Where are you, damn it?



When he can't write, he drinks.



It's so embarrassing.



How about you?

Will you be all right?



I'll be fine.



Are you a writer, Mr. Fink?



Yes. I'm working on a wrestling...



Please call me Barton.



I'll tell Bill you dropped by.



I'm sure he'll want to reschedule

your appointment.



Perhaps you and I can get together

at some point also.



Sorry if that sounds abrupt.



I just...



I... I don't know anyone here in town.



Perhaps the three of us, Mr. Fink.



Please. Barton.






You see, Barton,



I'm not just Bill's secretary.



Bill and I are...



in love.



Where's my honey?



Look, I know this must look...






Bastard-ass sons of bitches!



I'm sorry.



Please don't judge us, Mr. Fink.



Where's that woman?



Bastard-ass sons of bitches!



The water's lapping up!



Oh, honey!






























Howdy, neighbor.



Charlie. How are you?



Oh, Jesus, I hope

I'm not interrupting you again.



Heard you walking around in here.



Figured I'd drop by.



Yeah. Come on in.

Have a seat.



I haven't really gotten started yet.



What happened to your ear?



Oh, yeah.

An ear infection.



Chronic thing.



Goes away for a while,

then it comes back.



I got cotton in it

to staunch the pus.



Don't worry.

It's not contagious.



You seen a doctor?



What's he going to tell me?



Can't trade my head

for a new one.



I guess you're stuck

with the one you got.



I'd invite you to my place,



but it's a goddamn mess.



You married, Bart?






I myself have yet

to be lassoed.



Hey, Bart.






Got a sweetheart?






I guess it's something

about my work.



I get so worked up over it.



I don't have much attention left over,



so it would be a little... unfair.



Yeah. Ladies do ask for attention.



In my experience,

they pretend to give it,



but it's generally a smoke screen



for demanding it back with interest.



How about family, Bart?



How you fixed in that department?



My folks live in Brooklyn

with my uncle.



Mine have passed on.



It's just us three now.



What's that expression?



Me, myself, and I.






That's tough.



But in a sense,



we're all alone in the world,

aren't we, Charlie?



I'm often surrounded

by family and friends,






You're no stranger

to loneliness, then.



I guess I got no beef,



especially where the dames

are concerned.



In my line of work,

I got opportunities galore.



I could tell you stories

to curl your hair,



but it looks like you've

already heard them.



That's me in Kansas City

plying my trade.



That was taken by

one of my policyholders.



They're more than just customers

to me, Barton.



They appreciate

what I have to offer.



Her hubby was out of town,



and they were carrying

fire and life.



The third quarter payment

was way past due.



In a way, I envy you...



your daily routine,

you know what's expected.



You know the drill.



My job is to plumb the depths,



so to speak.



Dredge up something from inside,



something honest.



I got to tell you,



the life of the mind...



There's no road map

for that territory.



And exploring it

can be painful.



I have pain most people

don't know anything about.



This must be boring you.



Not at all.

It's damned interesting.






Probably sounds a little grand



for someone who's writing

a wrestling picture



for Wallace Beery.




You got no beef there.



He's a hell of an actor,



though you can't beatJack Oakie.



A stitch, Oakie.



Funny stuff, funny stuff.



But don't get me wrong.



Beery? Wrestling picture?

Could be a pip.



Could be a pip.



Wrestled myself some back in school.



I guess you know the basic moves.



No. I never watched any.



I'm not interested in the act.



Hell, you should know

what it's about.



I can show you

the wrestling basics in    seconds.



You're a little

out of your weight class,



but just for demonstration purposes...



That's all right.



Not a bit of it, compadre.



Easiest thing in the world.



Just get on your knees

to my left here.



Slap your right hand here,

your left hand here.



Come on, champ.

You can do it. Come on.



Come on.



Come on.



Come on.



Yeah. There you go.



Right there.



All right.



Now, when I say, "Ready, wrestle,"



we try to pin each other.



That's the whole game.

Got it?



Yeah. Okay.



Ready? Wrestle.









Damn. There I go again.



Going to wake up

the downstairs neighbors.



I didn't hurt you, did I?



It's okay.



Well, that's all wrestling is.



Usually there's

more grunting and squirming



before the pin.



Well, you're out of your weight class.



Jesus, I did hurt you.



I sure do apologize.



I'm just a big, clumsy lug.



I sure do apologize.



You sure you're okay?



I'm fine, really.



Actually, it's been helpful.



But I guess I should get to work.



It wasn't fair of me to do that.



I'm pretty well-endowed physically.



Don't feel bad, though.



I wouldn't be

much of a match for you



at mental gymnastics.



Give me a holler

you need anything.



If I close my eyes,



I can almost smell the live oak.



That's chicken fat, Bill.



Well, my olfactory's

turning womanish on me...



lying and deceitful.



Still, I must say I haven't

felt peace like this



since the grand productive days.



Don't you find it so, Barton?



Ain't writing peace?









no, Bill.



No. I've always found



that writing comes

from a great inner pain.



Maybe it's a pain

that comes from a realization



that one must do something

for one's fellow man



to help somehow ease the suffering.



Maybe it's personal pain.



At any rate, I don't believe



good work is possible without it.






Well, me, I just enjoy

making things up.



Yes, sir. Escape.



It's when I can't write

and escape myself,



that I want to rip my head off



and run screaming through the street



with my balls

in a fruit picker's pail.






This will sometimes help.



That doesn't help anything, Bill.



I've never found that

to help my writing.



Your writing?



Son, have you ever heard

the story of Solomon's mammy?



Barton, you should read this.



I think it's Bill's finest,



or among his finest, anyway.



So now I'm supposed to roll over



and get my belly scratched?






Look, uh...



maybe it's none of my business,



but don't you think

a man with your talent...



your first obligation

is to your gift?



Shouldn't you be doing

whatever you have to



to work again?



What would that be?



I don't know.



But with that drink,



you're cutting yourself

off from your gift



and your fellow man



and everything your art is about.



Oh, no, son.



I'm building a levee...



gulp by gulp,

brick by brick...



Putting up a levee



to keep that raging river of manure



from lapping at my door.



Maybe you better, too, Barton,



before you get buried

under his manure.



My honey pretends

to be impatient with me,



but she'll put up with anything.



Not anything, Bill.



Don't test me.



You're lucky she puts up with you

as much as she does.



Maybe to a schoolboy's eyes.



People who know about

the human heart, though,



maybe they'd say,

"Bill over here,



he gives his honey love,



and she pays him back with pity,



the basest coin there is."



Stop it, Bill.



Gone are the days



When my heart was young and gay



Gone are my friends



From the cotton fields away



Gone from the earth



To a better land I know



I hear their gentle voices



Callin'Old Black Joe



I'm comin'



I'm comin'



Oh, my head is bending low



I hear their gentle...



The truth, my honey, is a tart



that does not bear scrutiny.



Breach my levee at your peril!



Gone are my friends



From the cotton fields...



That son of a bitch!



Don't get me wrong.

He's a fine writer.



Gone from the earth



Are you all right?



To a better life I know



Audrey, y-you can't...



Oh, Barton.



You can't put up with that.



Old Black Joe



I feel so sorry for him.



What? He's... He's a son of a bitch.












He sometimes just...



I hear their angel voices...



Well, he thinks about Estelle.



His wife still lives

in Fayettesville.












I'll just walk on down

to the Pacific,



and from there I'll improvise.



He'll wander back

when he's sober



and apologize.



He always does.



Okay, but that doesn't excuse his...



Silence upon the hill...






In Darien!



Empathy requires understanding.



I'm comin'






What don't I understand?



I'm comin'



Oh, my head is hangin'low



I hear their gentle voices



Callin'Old Black Joe



I hope these are your shoes.






Because that would mean...



they gave you mine.






As a matter of fact, they did.



Come on in.



Jesus, what a day I had.



Ever have one of those days?



Seems like nothing but lately.



Jesus, what a day.



Felt like I couldn't have sold

ice water in the Sahara.



Okay. So you don't want insurance.



Okay. So that's your loss.



But, God, people can be rude.



I feel like I have to talk



to a normal person like you



just to restore a little of my...



It's my pleasure.



I could use a little lift myself.



A little lift? Yeah.



Good thing they bottle it, huh, pal?



Did I say rude?



People can be goddamn cruel,



especially some of these housewives.






So I have a weight problem.



That's my cross to bear.



I don't know.



It's a defense mechanism.



Defense against what, insurance?



Something they need?



Something they should be

grateful to me for offering?



A little peace of mind.



Finally decided

to knock off early.



Went to see a doctor about this.



He told me I had an ear infection.



$   please.



I says, "Hell, I told you

my ear was infected.



Why don't you give me $  ?"



Well, that led to an argument.



Listen to me bellyaching,



as if my problems amounted

to a hill of beans.



How goes the life of the mind?



Well, it's been better.



I can't seem to get going

on this thing.



That one idea,



the one that lets you get started,



I still haven't gotten it.



Maybe I only had one idea in me...



my play.



Maybe once that was done,



I was done being a writer.



Christ, I feel like a fraud,



sitting here staring at this paper.



Those two lovebirds next door

driving you nuts?



How do you know about that?



Know about it?



I can practically see

how they're doing it.



Brother, I wish I had

a piece of that.



Seems like I hear everything



that goes on in this dump...



the pipes or something.



Yeah, but...



You'll lick this picture business.



You got a head on your shoulders.



What do they say?



Where there's a head, there's hope.



Where there's life, there's hope.



See, that proves

you really are a writer.



There's hope for you, too, Charlie.



Tomorrow I bet you sell

a half-dozen policies.



Thanks, brother, but the fact is



I got to pull up stakes for a while.



You're leaving?



In a few days.



Out to your stomping grounds...

New York City.



Things got all balled up

at the head office.



I'm truly sorry to hear that.

I'll miss you.



Well, hell, buddy.

Don't pull a long face.



I keep a room here,



and I'll be back sooner or later.



And mark my words,



by the time I get back,



your picture will be finished.



New York can be

pretty cruel to strangers.



If you need a home-cooked meal,



you just look up

Sam and Lillian Fink.



They live on Fulton Street...



with my uncle Maury.






Your room does that, too.



I guess the heat's

sweating off the wallpaper.



What a dump.



I guess this must seem pretty pathetic



to a guy like you.






But it's pathetic, isn't it?



I mean, to a guy from New York?



What do you mean?



This kind of heat.



It's pathetic.



Well, I guess

you pick your poison.



So they say.



Don't pick up and leave

without saying good-bye.



'Course not, compadre.



You'll see me again.



Zing! Bango!



You're dead.

You're a corpse.



You got me.



Okay, go, go, you son of a gun.



Yeah, Fink.



Come on, come on.



What do you got for me?



What the hell happened to your face?




It's just a mosquito bite.



There are no mosquitoes

in Los Angeles.



Mosquitoes breed in swamps.

This is a desert.



What do you got for me?



Well, I...



On the Beery picture, where are we?



Well, I'm having a little trouble

getting started.



Getting start...

ChristJesus, started?



You don't have anything yet?



Well, not much.



What the hell do you

think this is, Hamlet,



Gone With the Wind,

Ruggles of Red Gap?



It's a goddamn B picture...



big men in tights...

you know the drill.



I don't really understand that genre.



Maybe that's the problem.



Understand? Shit!



You were going to consult

another writer on this.



Well, I've talked to Bill Mayhew.



Mayhew? Some help.

The guy's a souse.



He's a great writer.



A great souse!



He's in pain

because he can't write.



Souse! Souse!



He manages to write his name



on the back

of his paycheck every week.



I thought no one cared

about this picture.



You thought?



I don't know

what the hell you said to Lipnick,



but the son of a bitch likes you.



He's taken a interest.



Never make Lipnick like you.






I... I don't understand.



Are you deaf?

He likes you.



What the hell did you say to him?






Well, he's taken a interest.



He'll make your life hell.



Since I drew the short straw



to supervise this turkey,



he'll be all over me, too.



Fat-ass son of a bitch called yesterday



to ask how it's going.



I said you were making progress.



We were all very excited.



I told him it was great.



Understand that?



Now my ass is on the line.



He wants you to tell him

all about it tomorrow.



I can't write anything by tomorrow.



Who said write?

Jesus, Jack can't read.



You got to tell it to him.



Tell him something,

for Christ's sake.



Well, what do I t-tell him?



Yes, Mr. Geezler.









Jerry, Ben Geisler here.



Any screening rooms free?



Good! Book it for me.



I got a writer here.

He's coming in.



You're going to show him

wrestling pictures.



I don't give a shit which ones!



Isn't Victor Sjoderberg

shooting one now?



Show him some dailies on that.



Okay, Ben.



All right.



This will give you some ideas.



 :   tomorrow morning

at Lipnick's house.






Broad strokes.



Don't cross me, Fink.



Devil on the Can...



Devil on the Canvas,

   Apple, take  .






I will destroy him!



Cut! Cut! Cut! Cut!



Devil on the Canvas,

   Apple, take  .






I will destroy him!



Cut! Cut!






Devil on the Canvas,

   Apple, take  .






I will destroy him!



Cut! Cut! Cut!



Devil on the Canvas,

   Apple, take  .



I will destroy him!



   Apple, take  .



I will destroy him!



   Apple, take  .



I will destroy him!



   Baker, take  .



I will destroy him!















   Charlie, take  .



- Aah!

- Aah!



- Aah!

- Aah!



Take  .



- Aah!

- Aah!






Take  .



- Aah!

- Aah!






- Aah!

- Aah!



- Aah!

- Aah!



- Aah!

- Aah!



- Aah!

- Aah!












Front desk.



Hello, Chet?



This is Barton Fink in room    .



Could you try a number for me

in Hollywood?



Slauson  -    .



Right away, sir.



Pick it up.

Pick it up.






Audrey, I need help.



I know I shouldn't be

calling you like this.



I wouldn't have

if I could see any alternative.



I'm sorry.

Listen, how are you?



You doing okay?



Who is this?



Barton! I'm sorry.

It's Barton Fink.



Barton, I'm afraid

it's not a good time.



I'm sorry.

I just feel like I need...



I know I shouldn't ask.



I just need some kind of help.



I have a deadline tomorrow.



All right, Barton.



I'll see if I can slip away.



Oh, if you could...



If I can.



He... He gets jealous.



I need help, Audrey.



I'll try to slip out



if he quiets down, passes out.



I'm afraid he thinks...



Well, he said you were

a buffoon, Barton.






He becomes irrational.



Uh-huh, uh-huh.



I'll try and slip away.



Who is that?



Audrey, thank you for coming.



Thank you.



Hello, Barton.



I'm sorry to be...



such a... such a...



Thank you.



That's all right, Barton.



Everything's going to be all right.



Yes. Thank you.



Thank you.



Yes. Thank you.



How's Bill?



Oh, he's, uh...



He drifted off.



He'll sleep for a while now.



What is it you have to do exactly?



Well, I have to come up

with an outline,



I guess you call it,



the whole goddamn story,

soup to nuts, three acts,



the whole goddamn...



That's all right, Barton.



You don't have to write

actual scenes.



No, but the whole goddamn...






have you ever read

any of Bill's wrestling scenarios?



Yes, I'm afraid I have.



What are they like?

What are they about?






usually they're simple morality tales.



There's a good wrestler

and a bad wrestler,



whom he confronts at the end.



In between, the good wrestler

has a love interest



or a small child he has to protect.



Bill would usually make

the good wrestler



a backwards type or a convict,



and sometimes, instead of a waif,



he'd have the wrestler

protecting an idiot man-child.



The studio always hated that.



Some of the scripts were so...






Barton, look,

it's really just a formula.



You don't have to type

your soul into it.



We'll invent some names

and a new setting.



I'll help you.

It won't take any time at all.



I did it for Bill so many times.



You did what for Bill?



Well... this.



You wrote his scripts for him?



Well, the basic ideas

were frequently his.



You wrote Bill's scripts?



Jesus, you wrote his...



Well, what about before that?



Before what?



Before Bill came to Hollywood.



Bill was always the author,

so to speak.



What do you mean, "so to speak"?



Audrey, how long have you been his...






Let's concentrate

on our little project.



I want to know how many

of Bill's books you wrote!



I want to know!



Barton, honestly...



Only the last couple.






And my input was

mostly editorial, really,



after he had been drinking.



I'll bet.



Jesus, "the grand productive days"!



What a goddamn phony.



W.P. Mayhew...



William goddamn Phony Mayhew!



All his guff about escape!



I'll say he escaped!



We don't have much time.



It'll be fine.



Don't judge him, Barton.



Don't condescend to him.



I help Bill most

by understanding him,



by appreciating him.



We all need understanding, Barton...



even you tonight.



It's all you really need.















Barton, are you all right?



I'm fine, thanks.



You sure?



No! No.



Barton. Are you all right?



No. Can I come in?



Let's go to your room.



Charlie, I'm in trouble.

You got to help me.



Get a grip on yourself, brother.



Whatever the problem is,

we can sort it out.



Charlie, I'm in trouble.

Something horrible's happened.



I got to call the police.



Will you stay with me

till they get here?



Don't worry about it.

We can work it out.



Before you go in...

I didn't do this.



I don't know how it happened, but...



I didn't.



I want you to know that.















Jesus, Barton,

what the hell is this?



What are we going to do?



Call the police.



Hold on.



I didn't do this.



I did not do this!



Hold on!






Take a deep breath.

Tell me what happened.



I passed out! I don't know!

Won't the police...



Stop with the police!

Wake up!



This looks bad!

They hang people for this!



But I didn't do it.

Don't you believe me?



I believe you! I know you!

Why should the police?



Did you...



Barton, between you and me,



did you have sexual intercourse?



Jesus, they can tell that.



Got to believe me!



They got to have mercy!



You're in pictures, Barton.



Even if they cleared you eventually,



this would ruin you.



Come on.



Wait in the bathroom.



Oh, Lord.

Oh, Lordy. Oh, my Lord.



Oh, my Lord.






You passed out.



Where's Audrey?



She's dead, Barton!



She's dead, if that was her name!



You got to act

as if nothing has happened.



Put this totally out of your head.



Your play is to go about

your business as usual.



Give us some time

to sort this out.




So happy to see ya!



Sit. Talk.

Relax for a minute.



Then talk.












Rye whiskey?



Boy, you writers.

Work hard, play hard.



That's what I hear, anyway.




Anyway, Ben Geisler tells me things

are going along great.



Says we got a real winner

in this one.



I'll tell you something.

I'm counting on it.



I've taken an interest.

Nothing to fear, mind you.



Hardly seems necessary in your case...



a writer,

a storyteller of your stature.



Give it to me

in bold strokes, Bart.



Give me the broad outlines.



I'm in the audience,

the lights go down,



Capitol logo comes up.



You're on, huh?






Uh... okay.






Well, uh...



we... we fade in...






It's... It's a tenement building

on the Lower East Side.




He's poor, this wrestler.



He's had to struggle, huh?



And then...






Well, uh...



Can I be honest, Mr. Lipnick?



Can you?

Jesus, you damn well better be!



If I wasn't honest

in my business dealings...



Well, you can't always be honest,



not with the sharks

swimming around this town.



If I'd been totally honest,



I wouldn't be near this pool



unless I was cleaning it.



But that's no reason

for you not to be.



Honest, I mean.

Not cleaning the pool.









To be honest, uh...



I'm never really comfortable



discussing work in progress.



I got it all worked out in my head,



but sometimes,

if you force it into words...






uh, the wrong words...



Well, your meaning changes,



and it changes in your own mind,

and you never get it back,



so I'd... I'd just as soon

not talk about it.



Mr. Fink... never mind me.



Never mind how long

I've been in pictures.



Mr. Lipnick's been in pictures



about since they was invented.



He practically invented them.



I think if he's interested



in what one of

his contract employees is doing,



that employee

should be able to tell him



if he wants to stay an employee.



Right now,

the contents of your head



are the property

of Capitol Pictures.



If I was you...



I would speak up.



And pretty goddamn fast.



You lousy kike...

son of a bitch.



You're telling this man...

this artist...



what to do?



Mr. Lipnick, I...



He creates for a living!



Thank him, you son of a bitch,

or you're fired!



Mr. Lipnick,

that's really not necessary.



Get down on your knees,

you son of a bitch!



Kiss this man's feet!



Mr. Lipnick, please.



Kiss this man's feet!





Get out of here!

You understand me?



You're out of here. You're fired.

Get out of my sight.






I apologize, Barton.



No. Mr. Breeze actually

has been a great help.



You don't have to cover for him.

That's very noble.



I'd feel much better

if you'd just reconsider.



If that son of a bitch

won't apologize to you,



then goddamn it, I will.



I respect your artistry

and your methods.



If you can't fill us in yet,



hell, we should be kissing your feet

for your fine efforts.



You know...



in the old country,

we were taught as young children



that there's no shame

in supplicating yourself



when you respect someone.



On behalf of Capitol Pictures,



the administration,

and all of the stockholders,



please accept this



as a symbol of

our apology and respect.



Barton, can I come in?



Jesus... you're leaving?



Have to, old-timer,

just for a little while.






Charlie, I...



Everything's okay, believe me.



I know it's rough mentally,



but everything's been taken care of.



Charlie, I got no one else here.



You're the only person

I know in Los Angeles



that I...

that I can talk to.



I feel like I'm...



like I'm losing my mind,

like I'm going crazy.



I don't know what to do.



I didn't do it, believe me.



I... I'm sure of that, Charlie.



You got to get a grip on, brother.



You got to carry on till I get back.



Try and stay here.

Don't talk to anyone.



We got to keep our heads,



and we'll figure it out.



Okay, but...



Don't argue.



You asked me to believe you and I do.



Now, don't argue with me.



Look, pal,

can you do something for me?



Keep that for me

till I get back.



It's just a lot of personal stuff,



but I don't want

to drag it with me.



Funny, huh?



When everything

that's important to a guy,



everything he wants to keep

from a lifetime,



and he can fit it all

into a little box like that.



I guess...



I guess it's pretty pathetic.



It's more than I've got.



Well, keep it for me.



Maybe it'll bring you good luck.



It'll help you finish your script.



You'll think about me.

Make me your wrestler.



Then you'll lick that story.



Thanks, Charlie.



Yeah, yeah, sure.



I'll see you soon, friend.

You'll be fine.



And you'll be back?



Don't worry about that, compadre.



I'll be back.



You read the Bible, Pete?



Holy Bible?






Yeah, I think so.



Anyway, I've heard about it.









Detective Mastrionotti.



Detective Deutsch.









Got some questions

we want to ask you.



Just routine.

Sit down.



What do you do, Fink?



I... I write.



Oh, yeah?

What kind of writing?



As a matter of fact,

I write for the pictures.



Big fucking deal.



Should my partner

kiss your ass?



I didn't mean to sound...



What did you mean?



I got respect

for working guys like you.



Jesus, ain't that a load off.



You live in    ?






How long?



A week. Eight, nine days.



This multiple choice?



You know this slob?



Yeah, he lives next door to me.



That's right, Fink.



He lives next door to you.



You ever talk to him?



Once or twice.



His name is Charlie Meadows.



Yeah, and I'm Buck Rogers.



His name's Mundt.

Karl Mundt.



Also known as Madman Mundt.



A little funny in the head.



What did he...



He likes to ventilate people

with a shotgun



and cut their heads off.



Yeah, he's funny that way.



Started in Kansas City.

Couple of housewives.



We got the same M.O. in Los Feliz.




Ear, nose, and throat man.



All of which is missing.



Well, some throat was there.



Physician, heal thyself.



Good luck with

no fucking head.



Hollywood precinct finds

another stiff yesterday



not too far from here.



This one's better-looking

than the doc.



Female Caucasian,

about    years old,



nice tits, no head.



Ever see Mundt with anyone

fits that description?



But, you know,

with the head still on.



No, I never saw him

with anyone else.



So you did talk to Mundt.

What about?



Nothing, really.



He said he was

in the insurance business.



Yeah, and he's Buck Rogers.



No reputable company

would hire a guy like that.



That's what he said.



What else?



I'm trying to think.



Nothing, really. He...



He said he liked

Jack Oakie pictures.



You know, ordinarily we say

anything you might remember



could be helpful,



but I'll be frank with you, Fink.



That is not helpful.



Notice how he's not writing it down?






That's a...



a Jewish name, isn't it?









I didn't think

this dump was restricted.



Mundt has disappeared.



I don't think he'll be back,



but give me a call

if you see him...



or if you remember something

that isn't totally idiotic.



"Fade in.



Ayoung hussy opens the door...



to the burlyman's...






If you were a man,



a real man,



you'd slap me."



"I put my mark on you first...



in... delibly."






painted women,



and the burlyman..."



"Why'd you arrest him?"



"With one lightning move

with his mighty arms,



the burlyman..."



"She's a good woman..."



"I don't care what people say..."



"So, Burlyman,

we have to deduct those expenses



from your personal..."



"Don't you care for me

after all these years?"



Hold the line, sir.

I have your call.



Hello, operator!

I can't...



Oh, God.



Ahem. Hello?



Garland, it's me.






Wh-What time is it?



Are you all right?



Yeah, I'm... I'm fine.



I have to talk to you, Garland.



I'm calling long-distance.



What is it, Barton?

Are you okay?



Yeah, I'm fine, Garland,



but we have to talk.



It's about what I'm writing.



I think...



it's really...



I think it's really big.



What do you mean, Barton?



Not big in the sense of large,



although it's that, too.



I... I mean important.



This may be

the most important work



I've ever done.



Barton, is everything okay?



You sound a little, um...



Sound a little what?



You sound a little, um...



Thanks, Garland.



Thanks for all the encouragement.









You're cute.



Excuse me, buddy.

Mind if I cut in?



This is my dance, sailor.



Hey, come on, buddy.

I'm shipping out tomorrow.



I'm a writer



celebrating the completion

of something good.



Do you understand that, sailor?



Beat it, creep.



Come on, buddy,

give the navy a dance.



Let somebody else spin the dame.



Step aside, four eyes!



 -F, take a hike!



Go sit on a tomato.



I'm a writer, you monsters!



I create!



I create for a living!



I'm a creator!



I am a creator!






This is my uniform.



This is how I serve the common man!



This is where I...



Get 'em, boys!



"He left this morning.



Said he had a job to do.



There was something in his eyes,



something new.




What's to become of him?"






We'll be hearing

from that crazy wrestler,



and I don't mean a postcard.



Fade out.



The end."



I thought you said

you were a writer.



I don't know, Duke.

I kind of liked it.



Keep your filthy eyes

off of that.



You made the morning papers, Fink.



Second one of

your friends to die.



You do get around, don't you?



You didn't tell us

you knew the dame.



Sixth floor too high for you, Fink?



Give you nosebleeds?



Just tell me one thing.



Where'd you put the heads?






Charlie's back.



No kidding, bright boy.



We smelled Mundt all over this.



Was he the idea man?



Tell us where the heads are.



Maybe they'll go easy on you.



Only fry you once.



Come back later.

It's too hot.



My head's killing me.



All right, forget the heads.



Where's Mundt, Fink?



He teach you how to do it?



You two have some sick sex thing?






He's a man.



We wrestled.



You're a sick fuck, Fink.



Charlie's back.



It's hot.



He's back.






Sit tight, Fink.



Why's it so goddamn hot out here?












Show yourself.



There's a boy, Mundt.



Put the policy case down



and your mitts in the air.



He's complying.



Look upon me!



I'll show you the life of the mind!









Aah! Look upon me!



Aah! I'll show you

the life of the mind!



I'll show you the life of the mind!



I'll show you the life of the mind!



I will show you the life

of the mind!






Heil, Hitler.









Brother, is it hot.



How you been, buddy?



Well, don't look at me like that.



It's just me... Charlie.



I hear it's Mundt.



Madman Mundt?



Jesus, people can be cruel.



If it's not my build,

it's my personality.



They say I'm a madman, Bart,



but I'm not mad at anyone.



Honest, I'm not.



Most guys I just feel sorry for.



It tears me up inside



to think about what

they're going through,



how trapped they are.



I understand it.



I feel for them.



So I try and help them out.












I know what it feels like



when things get all balled up



at the head office.



They put you through hell, Barton.



So I help people out.



I just wish someone

would do as much for me.



Jesus, it's hot.



Sometimes it gets so hot



I want to crawl

right out of my skin.



But, Charlie, why me?






Because you don't listen!






I'm dripping again.



Come on, Barton,



you think you know pain?



You think I made your life hell?



Look around this dump.



You're just a tourist

with a typewriter.



I live here.

Don't you understand that?



And you come into my home...



and you complain



that I'm making too much noise.



I'm sorry.



Don't be.



I'll be next door

if you need me.






I dropped in on

your folks in New York.



And Uncle Maury.



Good people.



By the way,

that package I gave you...



I lied.



It isn't mine.






Samuel or Lillian Fink.



   Fulton Street.



Or Uncle Maury.



I understand that,

but there's still no answer.



Mr. Fink?



Shall I check for trouble

on the line?






Mr. Lipnick.



Colonel Lipnick...

if you don't mind.



Sit down.



I was commissioned yesterday

in the army reserve.



Henry Morgenthau arranged it.

Dear friend.






It hasn't officially

gone through yet.



Had wardrobe whip this up.



Got to pull teeth

to get anything done.



Can understand

red tape in peacetime,



but now it's all-out warfare

against theJaps.



They'd love to see me

sit this one out.



Yes, sir.

They, uh...



Anyway, I had Lou

read your script for me.



I got to tell you, Fink...



it won't wash.



With all due respect,



I think it's

the best work I've done.



Don't gas me, Fink.



If your opinion mattered,

I'd let you run the studio.



The lunatics aren't going to run

this particular asylum.



Let's put a stop

to that rumor right now.



Yes, sir.



Had to call Beery this morning,



tell him we were pushing

the picture back.



After all I told him about quality,



about that Barton Fink feeling,



how disappointed we were.



Wally was heartbroken.

The man was devastated.



I didn't actually call him.

Lou did.



That's a fair description,

isn't it, Lou?



Yes, Colonel.



I could take you

through it step-by-step,



explaining why

your story stinks,



but I won't insult

your intelligence.



Well, all right.



First of all,

this is a wrestling picture.



The audience wants to see action,

adventure, wrestling.



They don't want to see a guy

wrestling with his soul.



All right, some for the critics.



You make it the carrot

that wags the dog.



Too much,

they head for the exits.



There's plenty of poetry

inside that ring, Fink.



Look at Hell    Feet Square.



Blood, Sweat, and Canvas.



Blood, Sweat, and Canvas.



These are big movies,

Fink, about big men.



In tights!



Both physically

and mentally...



especially physically.



We don't put Wally Beery

in a fruity movie about suffering.



I thought we were

together on that.



I'm sorry if I let you down.



You didn't let me down

or even Lou.



We don't live or die

by what you scribble.



You let Ben Geisler down.



He liked you,

trusted you.



That's why he's gone.

He's fired.



That man had a big heart.



You fucked him.



He tried to convince me

to fire you, too,



but that'd be too easy.



You're under contract.

You'll stay that way.



Anything you write is

property of Capitol Pictures.



Capitol Pictures won't produce

anything you write...



not until you

grow up a little.



You ain't no writer, Fink.



You're a goddamn write-off.



I... I tried to show you...



something beautiful.



Something about all of us.






You arrogant

son of a bitch.



You think

you're the only writer



that can give me

that Barton Fink feeling?



I got    writers

under contract



I can ask for

a Fink-type thing from!



You swell-headed hypocrite.



You don't get it.



You think the whole world



revolves around

whatever rattles



inside that little

kike head of yours.



Get him out of my sight, Lou!



I want him in town, though.



He's still under contract.



I want you in town

and out of my sight.



Now, get lost.



There's a war on.



It's a beautiful day.






I said it's a beautiful day.






It is.



What's in the box?



I don't know.



Isn't it yours?



I don't know.



You're very beautiful.



Are you in pictures?



Don't be silly.



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