White Hunter, Black Heart
Script - Dialogue Transcript
Voila! Finally, the White Hunter, Black Heart
script is here for all you quotes spouting fans of the Clint Eastwood movie. This script is a transcript that was painstakingly
transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of White Hunter, Black Heart. 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.
John Wilson. A violent man given to violent action.
Some ascribed his wild and troubled life...
... to his personal mania for self-destruction.
These generalizations always seemed inaccurate to me.
That's why l had to write all this about John.
A brilliant, screw-you-all type filmmaker...
... who continually violated all the unwritten laws...
...of the motion picture business...
... yet had the magic, almost divine ability to always land on his feet.
Mr. Verrill? Hello, l'm Miss Wilding.
-How are you? -Did you have a good flight?
-Wonderful. Thank you. -Mr. Wilson is expecting you.
-How was Switzerland? -Switzerland? Fine.
Eggerton Gardens, please.
-I thought he was at Claridge's. -He was.
He's got a house now.
One of his society friends loaned it to him.
You know what John is.
I mean, Mr. Wilson.
Hello, George. This is Mr. Verrill. Is Mr. Wilson up yet?
Oh, yes. He's been up hours. Been riding.
He's having his breakfast now.
Mr. Verrill is here, Mr. Wilson.
For God's sake!
-How the hell are you? -All right.
Well, you're looking good, kid.
-What have you been up to? -Skiing and sitting in the sun.
Isn't that swell?
-I missed you, kid. -I missed you too, John.
-Same old Pete. -Yeah.
-Care for some coffee? -I'm fine.
-This is some joint you got. -Isn't it?
-Did you get a load of the living room? -Did l ever!
Isn't it the most hideous thing? l'm crazy about it.
Miss Wilding, you can get the hell out of here. There's no work today.
Well, what do you think of this outfit?
Hey, that's some getup you got there, Johnny.
Of course it is.
Now, what about you? What about the book?
I didn't get very much done on the book.
Why? Or would you prefer not to talk about it?
I don't mind. I just couldn't get started.
And then when l did, l got hooked up with some dame.
-Hell, isn't it? -It sure is.
And once it's over, you can't figure out why it all seemed so damn important.
There's nothing tougher than trying to remember. . .
. . .why you chased a dame once you've had her.
Yeah, l'll say. And l didn't get much skiing done because of her.
Well, that's a shame. I think l've got the cure for that, though: Africa.
You come down there with me and you work on this script.
-You really think that's gonna help me? -Even if it doesn't, you've got to do it.
There are times when you can't wonder. . .
. . .whether it's the right or wrong thing to do.
Not for guys like you and me, kid. You just gotta pack up and go.
I gotta get started on this book.
If you didn't write it before, you weren't ready.
-You think so? -I know so.
Well, when do you plan on leaving?
In a week or days. We'll work here, then we'll get our shots and take off.
-And who's gonna be in this picture? -We have Phil Duncan and Kay Gibson.
That's good. How long are you planning on staying there?
Oh, four or five months. Long enough to make a picture.
-And have ourselves a safari. -Safari?
Yeah, haven't you ever wanted to shoot an elephant?
-No, l don't think so, John. -Well, a lion or a buffalo.
This is a safari, kid. The real thing.
-Who's gonna pay for all this? -Don't worry.
What's your financial situation?
-It remains unchanged. -So you're broke?
Depends on what you call broke. I owe a quarter million.
-Quarter of a million? -Closer to .
-$ and you're not worried? -I think about it now and then.
-Do you see a way out? -This picture.
Now do you see why l want to go to Africa?
I've got nothing else to lose. Even if a lion or a buffalo gets me. . .
. . .my last minute on earth will be a happy one.
I'll just think of my creditors when they find out l've been eaten alive. . .
. . .and it'll all seem worthwhile.
Okay, okay, John. How about a script?
There's one around here somewhere. We don't have a title yet.
It's called African Trader or African something.
Where's a copy of that goddamned script?
I haven't seen it, John.
Then find it. What kind of a secretary are you? What do you do all day?
I've been typing your letters and answering the telephone.
-Balls. -I have.
You were competent when you first got here.
Now you just hang around all day spying for Paul Landers.
It's not true. I don't spy for anybody. Especially Mr. Landers.
Find the script, then.
We have a meeting with Landers and his money men in an hour.
-Paul Landers is producing this? -That's right.
And you know why l agreed to work with him again?
Because it's the wrong thing to do.
-I'm so glad to see you, Pete. -It's good to see you, Paul.
-You can save all our lives. -How's that?
-The monster. He's losing his mind. -He's in fine shape.
You've only been with him half a day. You don't know what he's been like.
He's almost killed the deal five times.
The only reason it's still alive is because of me.
-He wants to go to Africa. -Paul, how the hell are you?
Johnny boy! Did you have a good day? Get a lot done?
Hell, no. But Pete and l did have a nice chat.
-What do you think of the script? -I haven't read it yet.
-I think it's awfully good. -You do?
Well, it's a shame you don't know a damn thing about it.
-You see? -He's always been like that.
No, he's worse. He's insane.
In a well-ordered society, he'd be in a straitjacket right now.
Where the question of color is concerned, it's an extra expense.
As far as l'm concerned, of questionable value.
-I quite agree. -Well, l don't.
Color's worth a million dollars at the box office.
Well, that's not important.
What l'm trying to find out from Basil. . .
. . .is how much color complicates our operation.
Well, l'm afraid it does, John.
The camera is much heavier. There are many more lighting problems.
I'm telling you, color is essential to the success of this venture.
I'm not concerned with the success of the venture at this moment.
I just don't want to get bogged down.
-Bogged down? -Bogged down?
Yes, l know how easy it is to get bogged down with a company on location.
-Have you ever been bogged down? -No.
-Then why bring it up? -I think it's a very valid point.
Well, l don't.
Well, of course you don't, Paul.
Because while we're in Africa, sweating and killing ourselves. . .
. . .you'll be in Paris sending out memos.
That's not true. I'll be there in Africa with you.
Like hell you will.
If it was shot in a river in England, and the second unit sent to Africa. . .
. . .then the risk of using color would be greatly minimized.
-That would be with some other director. -We have already discussed that.
Oh, we have, have we?
John, could l talk to you in the bedroom for a moment?
-What's this about another director? -You know l wouldn't do that to you.
You'd sell your mother down the river to make a deal.
What the hell is the matter with you? Do you want to kill this project?
No. No, l don't.
Why bring up the possibility of bogging down?
You scared the bejesus out of them!
Then saying you'd quit if the picture wasn't made in Africa. Good God!
If one frame of this picture is shot in England, l will quit.
But it won't be.
But you discussed it behind my back, you son of a bitch.
I didn't mention it because there isn't a chance it could be done that way.
You'll guarantee that, l suppose?
Yes, goddamn it. I guarantee it!
Well, your guarantee doesn't mean a damn thing to me.
I'm not gonna make some fake, crappy mess just to please you.
So l don't care if this picture's shot in black and white or sepia tone. . .
. . .or we have to make the whole damn thing in animation.
Pete and l are going to Africa.
-What's the effective range of this thing? -About yards, sir. Not much more.
That's plenty for your buff and your elephant.
They kill them at yards, kid.
Well, even closer than that sometimes, so they tell me.
Of course, l've never been to Africa, but this man has.
Makes for invaluable reading.
John Taylor. Big Game and Big Game Rifles.
-We'll need two of these. -We'll take two of these rifles here. . .
. . .and two of the smaller ones, the Mannlichers .
And that's to shoot for the pot, so to speak.
-And then one -gauge shotgun. -Always a useful thing to have along, sir.
And cartridges, of course.
-How many rounds, sir? -Two hundred. Two hundred per weapon.
-Planning to be away quite a while, sir. -Yes.
And Sunrise Films will send you the check.
John! Be careful!
Irene. For God's sake, what are you doing here?
You told me to meet you here.
We had an appointment. Drinks and dinner.
-I dressed. -Yes.
Well, it plain slipped my mind. Irene Saunders, this is Pete Verrill.
I admired your last book enormously.
I'm a writer too.
John's promised to listen to an idea l had for a film this evening.
I do hope you'll join us.
You can give me a few pointers. One writer to another.
It's about a dog. A puppy dog. He's the hero, the star.
Imagine, John, over the opening credits, we'll see Horace.
Wonderful, adorable dissolves of Horace. In close-up. In long shot.
Now, this is the part of the script l'm not sure about.
The censors might cut it. It turns out that Horace is in heat.
-Horace? -It's a story of mistaken identity.
You see, Horace has a twin. A bitch. She's called Geraldine.
Now, it's she that's in heat. Isn't that a wonderful switch?
We'll cut from the Hyde Park sequence to an early-morning shot of the river.
Horace is alone now. We dolly with him as he trots down a deserted street.
-He turns into Grosvenor-- -What are you doing here?
I have found a copy of the script.
-I hope you like it as much as l do. -I'm sure l will.
You must hear the ending.
Horace is all alone. We'll dolly with him as he trots down a deserted street.
Now, from another angle. . .
. . .Geraldine can be seen coming down Brook Street.
She passes Claridge's, then she enters the square.
Suddenly, they see each other.
Horace and Geraldine.
There isn't a human in sight. They race toward each other! The music swells!
Now, we hold the final picture in an extreme long shot. . .
. . .as they meet. . .
. . .turn. . .
. . .and go off together.
They've only just begun to live.
Well, that's the end.
They find each other.
Well, isn't that something? lsn't that something?
Do you really like it?
Well, darling, it's swell.
Come on, we'll talk some more.
If there's half as much love in this old gal as there is talk. . .
. . .I may be dead in the morning.
You look like you've been run through the wringer.
Just part of me.
What's happening, kid? What do you think of the script?
Well, l'll tell you the truth. I like it.
-I like it a lot. -Good.
It's original, it's exciting and it's moving. I just have one little problem with it.
-You don't like the ending? -No, l didn't say l don't like the ending.
I'm just not sure that it's the right one.
Let me put it in Hollywood terms. I think it's too downbeat.
After everything these two have gone through:
They fought the river, tropical storms, the Germans. . . .
Just when you've set the audience up for a wonderfully comic ending. . .
. . .you blow the ship up and kill everybody.
Well, Pete, there's an old saying:
"God makes a man before he kills him. "
I've heard it, John. I've heard it. But l don't think it applies in this case.
You're beating the audience over the head, John.
People don't go to see pictures to be lectured to.
Tell me, Pete. Do you own a percentage of this film?
Then why are you so concerned about the damn audience?
Because we're in show business, John.
Not me. And not you, either, when we work together.
You see, we're gods, Pete.
Lousy little gods who control the lives of the people we create.
We sit up in some heavenly place and decide whether they live or die. . .
. . .on the merits of what happens to them in reel one, two, three, et cetera.
And then we decide if they have the right to live.
And that's how we arrive at our ending.
Well, that's what you say, John. But l say l'm a swell god.
I say they should live. . .
. . .because of everything they've gone through together.
This world doesn't necessarily have to be a hopeless and rotten place, John.
We're not all destined and doomed to die of radium poisoning.
Now, l might be completely wrong. . .
. . .but that's what makes me a swell god.
-Makes you a flea on an elephant's ass. -Oh, balls to your pessimism.
You know something? You'll never be a good screenwriter, and you know why?
No, John. Why don't you tell me why?
Because you let million popcorn eaters pull you this way and that way.
To write a movie, you must forget anyone's ever going to see it.
You're gonna make damn sure nobody sees this one.
Well, maybe l am. But l figure there's two ways to live in this world.
One is you can crawl and kiss ass and write their happy endings. . .
. . .sign their long-term contracts and never take a chance on anything. . .
. . .and never fly, never leave Hollywood.
Save all your goddamn money, every cent of it.
And then when you're a healthy-looking you die of a stroke. . .
. . .because whatever was wild in you has eaten away the muscles of your heart.
The other way is to let the chips fall where they may.
Refuse to sign their contracts and tell off the guy who can cut your throat. . .
. . .and flatter the little guy who's hanging by a thread that you hold.
John, maybe you shouldn't be in the picture business.
Well, maybe you're right, kid. Maybe l shouldn't.
Maybe l should've wandered the planet gambling on oil wells. . .
. . .or stolen diamonds or pimped for maharajahs.
Maybe you should've but you know why you didn't?
Because somewhere deep inside of you is a small, tiny spark of hope.
I'll die broke in a downtown Los Angeles flophouse. And l won't be bitter.
I'll have contributed maybe five, damn good pictures.
They'll name a special Academy Award for me. And you know something?
All the wrong guys will get it. And l'll be in hell, laughing my ass off.
-Your one true love. -Nothing to be ashamed of, kid.
No, no, no, l didn't say that.
But l admit, you are right about the ending, John.
I think you should kill them all and blow everything up!
I knew you'd ultimately see it my way.
If it isn't the producer, right on cue.
I have just come from a meeting. . .
. . .and l think the financial deal is finally set.
-Good. When do l get my take? -Oh, you'll get it.
-I'm glad to see you've been working. -No, we're not working.
We're just warming up, doing some mental calisthenics.
Well, if you take my advice, you'll start with the ending.
Now, look, Paul. Don't you go interfering with the script.
And don't try to influence my writer, either.
You're an obscene man.
You witnessed the cultural disintegration of central Europe. . .
. . .and you nevertheless persist on following the same cheap. . .
. . .disastrous course that led to Hitler over Europe. . .
. . .World War Il and the atomic bomb.
Meaning the ending stays as it is.
Except for one minor change. The Germans kill you too. Over the end title.
Do you have a coat or something l could borrow?
-Oh, lrene. -Excuse me.
I can't go out dressed like this.
Irene, l'd like you to meet my partner. Paul Landers, our producer.
Irene has the most wonderful idea for a film, Paul.
Why don't you tell it to Paul while Pete and l work?
Start from the beginning, darling.
It's about a dog. A puppy dog. He's the hero, the star.
The dog's name is Horace.
Pete, l should've sent you back to Switzerland!
I love Paul. He's such a desperate man.
-You coming to Africa with us, Peter? -Yes, l am, Kay.
Thank God. Did you hear that? Peter's coming with us.
At least we'll have one sane, reasonable person along.
Won't it be wonderful? l can't wait.
I've never looked forward to anything as much.
I just hope John finds us somewhere comfortable to stay.
Not too comfortable. I should like to rough it a little.
I'm sure John will make sure you get your wish.
Probably get us off in some terrible hole and watch us suffer.
How's the script? How's the script coming along?
The script? Fine, Kay. I think you'll like it.
I would like to propose a toast. . .
. . .on behalf of John and myself, to our British partners!
Hands across the sea!
And l also would like to propose a toast. . .
. . .to my partner and our producer, Paul Landers.
Paul, l hope l don't have to kill you before this picture's finished.
And to Phil and his lovely blushing bride.
And to Pete, probably the best skier in the Screenwriters Guild. . .
. . .and the only man l know who can keep up with me.
The only man l know who's capable of the dangerous life. . .
. . .because now he's making a move on the producer's girlfriend.
And that's right, honey. He's hung like a stud horse.
Now, doesn't that make you long for the Dark Continent?
-Thank you, dear. -Bye-bye.
Feel the mystery of it, kid?
-Hello, John. You have a good trip? -A little bit long, l'd say.
John, may l introduce squadron leader Alec Laing.
-And Ralph Lockhart, our unit manager. -Hello.
This is Pete Verrill. Tom Harrison, our art director.
-Squadron leader Laing. -Mr. Laing.
-And yours. . .? -Lockhart. Ralph Lockhart.
Of course you are.
Well, gentlemen, shall we get in out of the sun?
You chaps must be about ready for a bath and a drink.
I'll take care of the luggage and see you later at the hotel.
Well, the drink part certainly sounds good to me.
Get out of the way!
Get out of the way!
They knock off about of them a month along this road.
It doesn't seem to make the slightest bloody impression on them, though.
Is that so?
Will you get out of the bloody way?
Hello, l'm Harry Longthorne, general manager of the Lake Victoria Hotel.
-Harry. -I'll show you to your rooms.
-Excuse me, Mr. Verrill, you play soccer? -Yes, l do. Why?
We're having the annual staff soccer game. We're minus one white.
-Would you be interested? -Certainly.
-We'll have practice the Saturday before. -All right.
Pete, this is Mrs. Margaret MacGregor.
-Pleasure to meet you. -And Mr. Marlowe.
He's a licensed white hunter. Pete's a crack shot, Marine-trained.
Sit down, have a drink, kid.
I'll have an iced tea, please.
Oh, come on, don't embarrass me. Give him a beer.
I'll have a beer, please.
We are interested in getting a couple of elephants.
An elephant is dangerous because he's such a hearty bugger.
To kill him, you have to hit him in one of two places.
Between the eyes or in the heart.
Not right between the eyes. Down about six inches.
"There's been silence for hours now.
She's sitting on the back, reading the Bible. He's still working on the engine.
Finally he says, 'Miss, l'm sorry l got drunk. I apologize.
What more can a man do than say he's sorry?'
She says, 'lt's not only your drinking l'm upset about.
You promised to go downriver.'
He says, 'Miss, listen to me and understand.
There's death a dozen times over down that river.'
She says, 'You promised.' He says, 'l'm taking the promise back!'
She picks up the Bible, starts reading again, completely ignoring him.
He can't take the silence any longer. He says, 'All right, miss. You win. . .
. . .which l'm sure the crocodiles will be happy to hear.
Down the river we go.' "
Well, what do you think, John?
Not bad. But you're trying to complicate it, Pete.
Things are always good if they're left simple.
No, not always.
Always. That's what creates truly important art, is simplicity.
John, there are no rules to art.
There are hundreds of rules. Hemingway understood that.
That's why he always reduced life to its simplest terms.
Whether it's courage, fear, impotence, death.
People's lives just unfold, and things just happen to them one thing after another.
They were never bogged down with that nonsense of subplot. . .
. . .that we sweated over in the past.
Stendhal understood that. Flaubert. Tolstoy. Melville.
Simplicity is what made them great.
No, Pete. Don't complicate it. You'll just be wasting your time.
Wasting my time?
I'm wasting my time trying to make the script better? lsn't that why l'm here?
And l think it's damn good.
Well, l just wish the damn script were finished. . .
. . .so you and l could go on safari.
Safari? l thought we were gonna finish the film first and then go on safari.
If we wait till the film is finished, we'll never get to it.
We'll finish the script, then go on safari. . .
. . .then we'll shoot the film after we've shot our elephants.
Damn lake flies.
Good job they don't bite.
Come on, whites!
There's a spare man in the middle!
-He tripped over my arm! Please. -That was a fault.
-That was a fault. Let's go! -How can that be a penalty?
-The local boys are good, aren't they? -Yes.
They went to England last year. Of course, they didn't stand a chance.
Why is that?
They're clever with their feet. . .
. . .but against a good British team, they're too small.
The old blocking and checking throws them off.
They don't go in for that sort of thing at all, you see.
Probably be lynched if they did.
We're not like you Americans.
Of course not.
-Oh, well done. -Hell of a man, that boy. Hell of a man.
Where is the defense?!
What? What? Watch it!
You all right?
We found everything you wanted, John, but it's bloody awful.
It's no place for a man to live. It's the thickest jungle you've ever seen.
Looks pretty interesting, John.
There's a black-water river and a few huts. At nighttime there are mosquitoes.
During the day it rains. There are elephants, crocodiles, Pygmies.
-Lots of big game, is there? -Antelope, buffalo.
We saw an elephant from the plane with tusks right down to the ground.
Could you lay a plane on to take us there?
No problem. When you thinking of going?
If l can manage to keep the script simple, two or three days.
Isn't this just swell. . .
. . .dining with a beautiful lady right in the middle of Africa?
-Care for some more champagne? -Yes, l would, rather.
Waiter, could you bring us another bottle of champagne when you get the chance?
-Yes. Thank you, sir. -Thank you.
You know, you spoil those boys dreadfully.
Well, as good as they play soccer, they should be spoiled.
They'll be impossible now for five or six days.
I don't think so. I think they know the difference between sport and real life.
-So, Mrs. MacGregor-- -Margaret, please.
Margaret. Margaret, do you miss London?
Yes, l do, rather.
I don't miss London as much as l miss the country.
Especially the winter, you're out with the hounds and they have the scent. . .
-. . .crossing a good bit of country. -Oh, l do agree.
I'm not keen on London.
I had to live there during the war and l got awfully fed up with it.
Well, l rather enjoyed it during the war. The people behaved so magnificently.
They didn't all behave well. You probably never left the West End.
Not true, not true. I did a film about the London Blitz.
I was all over town.
Well, you can't have spent much time in Soho, where l lived.
-Why do you say that, dear? -I thought the people there were horrid.
There are an awful lot of Jews in that neighborhood.
-Mrs. MacGregor. -Margaret.
Margaret. I must warn you, l'm a Jew.
-You're not. -I am.
-You're pulling my leg! -No, l'm not pulling your leg, Margaret.
I'm a Jew.
I don't believe you.
I know l shouldn't say this, but. . .
. . .that was the one thing about which l thought Hitler was absolutely right.
Now, Margaret, the man has just got through warning you.
Because the Jews in London were awful.
They ran the black market. And they didn't go into the army.
And when they did, they got themselves cushy jobs.
Of course, there were upper-class Jews, but l'm not talking about them.
I'm talking about the kikes in Soho.
-The foreigners. -Margaret. Margaret.
My grandparents were kikes. My father and my mother were kikes.
-And l'm a kike. -That's right, dear.
You're not going to tell me that you're Jewish too?
Absolutely not, that would be a lie, and l wouldn't want to lie to you ever.
But l would like to tell you a little story, though.
I love stories.
You mustn't interrupt now, because you're too beautiful to interrupt people.
When l was in London in the early ' s. . .
. . .I was dining one evening at the Savoy with a rather select group of people. . .
. . .and sitting next to me was a very beautiful lady, much like yourself.
-Now you're pulling my leg. -Now, just listen, dear.
We were dining and the bombs were falling, we were all talking about Hitler. . .
. . .and comparing him with Napoleon, and we were all being really brilliant.
And then, suddenly, this beautiful lady. . .
. . .she spoke up and said that was the thing she didn't mind about Hitler. . .
. . .was the way he was treating the Jews.
Well, we all started arguing with her, of course.
Though, mind you, no one at the table was Jewish. But she persisted.
Are you listening, honey?
Mustn't interrupt Daddy.
That's right. You're way too beautiful for that.
Anyway, she went on to say that that's how she felt about it. . .
. . .that if she had her way, she would kill them all, burn them in ovens, like Hitler.
Well, we all sat there in silence.
Then finally, l leaned over to her and l said, "Madam, l have dined. . .
. . .with some of the ugliest goddamn bitches in my time.
And l have dined with some of the goddamndest ugly bitches in this world.
But you, my dear, are the ugliest bitch of them all. "
Anyway, she got up to leave and she tripped over a chair and fell on the floor.
And we all just sat there. No one raised a hand to help her.
And finally when she picked herself up, l said to her one more time:
"You, my dear, are the ugliest goddamn bitch l have ever dined with. "
Well, you know what happened?
The very next day, she reported me to the American Embassy.
And they brought me in for reprimand. And then when they investigated it. . .
. . .they found out that she was a German agent. And they locked her up.
Isn't that amazing?
Why did you tell me that story?
I don't know.
It wasn't because l thought you were a German agent, honey.
But l was tempted tonight to say the very same thing to you.
I didn't want you to think l had never said it before.
You, madam, are the-- Well, you know the rest.
-Care for some champagne, honey? -No, thank you.
Well, it's getting late. I think l'd better go back to my room.
-Pete and l will accompany you. -There's no need!
No bother at all.
Good night, Margaret.
I know you wanted to get laid.
That's all right, kid.
You can't help it if you're a kike.
He says, "Never mind the car keys. Have you seen the car?"
-You clumsy oaf! -Dimwit!
-Now look what you've done. -I'm sorry, boss. I'm sorry.
John, where you going?
Pick up that glass, boy.
Damn it, pick it up!
John. What are you up to?
I just want to go talk to Harry for a moment.
What happened here, Harry?
Well, the little black bastard spilled a drink all over this gentleman.
-On purpose? -Who knows? Black bastards.
Harry, l think you're a yellow, rotten, sadistic son of a bitch.
Now, Mr. Wilson. . .
. . .I don't have to take that kind of talk from anyone.
That's right. You don't.
How about going outside and trying to kick me around?
You're drunk, Mr. Wilson.
I am, but that doesn't change the fact that you're yellow, Harry.
I'm not supposed to fight with the guests, Mr. Wilson.
I'm not a guest tonight, you yellow bastard. I happen to be an intruder.
What are you doing? This doesn't make any sense.
If Mrs. MacGregor had been a man. . .
. . .wouldn't you have knocked him on his ass?
Yes, l would have. But this is different.
We fought the preliminary for the kikes.
Now we're gonna fight the main event for the niggers.
-Think the other hand knows how? -Go, Harry. You got him now.
You got him on the run.
Finish him off, why don't you?
Steady on, old man. Fair's fair, eh?
Please don't get up, Mr. Wilson.
Aren't you gonna stop it?
Where is he? l'll kill the bastard.
He's called it quits, John.
-I told you he was yellow. -I think you had better get a doctor.
He's hurt that bad?
And he almost killed you.
You're full of crap. I was about ready to finish him off when you grabbed me.
All right. You're back in your room now, John.
-I am. -Yeah, it's all over.
How about that?
I feel pretty good, really.
It's like l always tell you, kid.
You gotta fight when you think it's the right thing to do.
Otherwise, you feel like your gut's full of pus.
Even if you get the hell beat out of you. If you fight, you feel okay about it.
"Dear Pete: Of all the wild animals in Africa, John Wilson is the wildest.
I beg you to do everything you can" . . . .
Everything you can to bring him to his senses.
Next time he picks a fight with an employee of the hotel or the company. . .
. . .you have my permission to hit him from behind.
Will arrive in Africa in days. Paul.
Good morning! How are we?
-Can l do something for you? -No. No, you can't, Ralph.
But you can do something for yourself.
Stick to your own job and stop spying on Wilson.
Spying? What the hell do you mean?
You told Landers Wilson provoked a fight, didn't you?
That's bullshit. Someone should have hit that bastard a long time ago, Ralph.
You do realize you're backing the wrong horse, don't you?
Wilson is the boss, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.
-Phone, Mr. Lockhart. London calling. -Yes, all right.
Just remember what l said.
Have a pleasant day.
I would have had him in no time if you hadn't stopped me.
No, l agree, John. He only knocked you down times or so.
I was just getting onto his style. Another minutes, l would've killed him.
-In any case, it was worth doing. -It certainly was.
I've arranged for you to fly to a hunting camp on Lake Albert.
You can pick up the Ruki River there and scout it by boat.
The camp's owned by a man named Zibelinsky.
-He's laid on a safari, if you have time. -We'll have time.
Mr. Wilson, Mr. Landers is on the phone from London.
Well, you tell him you just missed me.
-John, it might be important. -You tell him that l've gone on a recce.
Goodbye, you worthless son of a bitch.
Goodbye, you pearl of Central East Africa.
Goodbye, you lake flies.
Goodbye, you flat-chested, bucktoothed women.
Hello, anybody home?
Hello. You chaps looking for me?
The name's Hodkins. Your new airplane driver.
-This is Mr. Wilson, Pete Verrill. -Call me Hod.
If you don't mind, we better get going.
Don't want to start out late for the Congo.
Hod, l understand you have never flown in the Congo before.
I should be able to find the way. But if l can't, well. . .
. . .we'll just set down in one of those big trees and spend the night.
Only problem with that is, it's a little difficult getting it up the next morning.
As a famous pilot once said, "lt's all worth it. Including the final crash. "
Well, that's Pete's philosophy too, isn't it?
I'll get the luggage.
So, this is. . . .
This is really your first time over the Congo, Hod?
Yeah, quite. Yeah.
I'll be seeing you!
It's just like the airlines, eh?
-Yes. -I'll help you.
-It's the spot. -That's it.
I think l'm getting the hang of this.
You see this hill here?
The hill. Right here! The hill!
Christ! Where's the stick?
Jesus. Oh, dear. Oh, dear. Oh, dear.
Thanks awfully, old boy.
I'm gonna take myself a nap.
Please don't wake me up unless you're sure we're going to crash, because. . .
. . .I wouldn't want to miss something like that.
Hey, all that fancy flying back there didn't bother you at all, did it?
No, not at all.
It was your friend's idea. I think he thought it was a good joke.
What if the engines would've stalled out?
Well, l was a bit worried, but the old boy seemed awfully keen on his rib.
The old boy's a pain in the ass.
A bloody valet with wings. That's what a pilot is out here.
Ranks right up there with writers.
-That's what you do, is it? -Yeah, that's what l do.
I was wondering what your part was.
I've got some very bloody funny stories l should tell you.
A particularly good one was when the squadron dog bit me in Khartoum.
-Was his name Horace? -Horace? No, why?
-You must be Mr. Wilson. -That's right. Mr. Zibelinsky.
This is Pete Verrill and Hodkins, our pilot.
-Quite a place you have here. -Thank you.
Well, by George, here they are. The hunters from Hollywood.
-How did you get here? -Came with a pilot who knew the way.
Right this way, Mr. Wilson.
I think l found a steamboat for you, Mr. Wilson.
You have? When can l take a look at it?
Day after tomorrow.
I'm having her put in dry dock to check her bottom.
The Belgians want a bloody great bond posted before we can use it. . .
. . .but we'll talk them out of that one.
Where's Harrison this evening?
Down on the other location, near Ponthierville.
Mr. Landers is still trying to get in touch with you.
We're going hunting in the morning. Would you like to go with us, Ralph?
Customs bloke's coming over from Tatsumu to log all my stuff in.
I say. . .
. . .is he always like this just before a production starts?
Like what, Ralph?
He acts as if he couldn't care less.
He'll be fine, Ralph. . .
. . .once he's killed an elephant.
Good evening, gentlemen.
John, this is my wife, Dorshka.
-What a pleasure indeed, dear. -Hello.
You know Ralph Lockhart?
-Yes, we met this afternoon. -And this is Peter Verrill.
-Hello. -Hello. Welcome.
-So you are a big-game enthusiast also? -Well, more or less.
Well, it's a pleasure to have you here. It's a pleasure to have you all here.
I hope you found your quarters comfortable.
This is simply paradise.
Absolute paradise here.
In fact, l'm seriously thinking of staying here forever.
Come on. Heave it!
-Well, what do you think of her? -She's beautiful. Perfect.
Well, not quite.
She's very old, you see? And according to the skipper, not all that seaworthy.
-Oh, she will be. -Well, yes.
For everything except the white-water sequence.
The skipper says it would be far too dangerous.
She'd fall apart if you attempted to run the rapids with her.
Actually, l called Mr. Landers and told him about it.
He suggested. . . . Well, l should say, he insisted. . .
. . .that you cut the sequence out of the film.
-He did? -Right.
No, she looks sound to me.
Of course, there's only one way to find out, isn't there, Ralph?
Stop, please! Stop!
Are you convinced, Ralph? Or would you like to continue on?
So am l.
Well, has anyone heard from our chief hunter yet?
He should be here soon. I sent one of the boys over to fetch him.
-Our chief hunter. -For God's sake, let's have him in.
Explain to him what we want. We want to go after some game.
Buffalo, preferably an elephant.
This man is wonderful. What's his name?
He's called Kivu because he went on a trip there once.
I must say, Kivu is amazing. He found elephant tracks that big.
A whole herd. Only darkness prevented us from going on. Tell him to sit down.
He says he prefers to stand.
Oh! Good evening, gentlemen.
So did the Hollywood hunters have any luck today?
Tell Kivu to get a good night's rest.
We'll be leaving at : in the morning. We'll get our elephant then.
I talked to Mr. Landers in London. He's quite hysterical.
He wants to talk to you tomorrow.
I told him that we could drive you down to the border and use that phone there.
-You did, did you? -You'll be on safari, l suppose.
You're welcome to come along with us if you'd like, Ralph.
No Hollywood safaris for me.
That word has crept into the conversation. . .
. . .quite a few times, hasn't it?
-Which word is that, sir? -Hollywood.
I realize it's the name of a place, but the way you say it has an added meaning.
Like an insult.
-Well, l didn't mean it like that. -Don't contradict me, Ralph.
I've heard it all before.
In the Army, in New York. . .
. . .in the theater. Hell, l've heard it everywhere.
People say Hollywood when they want to insult you.
Well, really Hollywood is just a place where they make a profit.
It's a factory town like Detroit or Birmingham or Schaffhausen.
Because the cheap element of the town has been so overly advertised. . .
. . .it becomes an insult to remind a man he's from there.
They're not talking about the people who work there. . .
. . .and that try to do something worthwhile.
They're talking about the whores when they mention Hollywood.
You know what that word means, don't you, Ralph?
Whores have to sell the one thing that shouldn't be for sale in the world.
And that's love.
Of course, there are other kinds of whores than the floozies you frequent.
There are whores who sell words and ideas and melodies.
I know what l'm talking about because l've done a little hustling in my time.
A hell of a lot more than l'd like to admit to.
And what l sold when l was whoring l'll never get back.
What l'm trying to say, it's the whores who put Hollywood up as a big target.
Hell, John, l didn't realize you were such a hometown boy.
-Well, l am, kid. I am when l'm in Africa. -Yeah.
No, l'm serious. It took Africa to bring all this out in me.
Africa and the smell of my first wild elephant.
It's a shame Kivu couldn't have heard you say that, John.
Oh, Kivu knows. Kivu knows without being told.
John, why don't you ask Kivu to go back to Hollywood with you?
Not a bad idea, kid. He could be mighty useful around there.
Where are we going this morning, John?
A place Kivu knows. And he says a lot of elephant go there this time of year.
I was wondering. How do you two communicate?
Oh, we get on. I asked him this morning about going back to the States with me.
Zib here actually acted as my interpreter.
-What did he say? -Said he didn't know.
Said he'd have to think about it. That it was a very big decision.
He says we're getting close.
He says they're in there, but he thinks it best if only two shooters go.
-Pete, are you ready? -No, you and Zib are plenty.
-You're not coming? -No, l'll wait here.
Now, look, kid. I've never given you much advice.
I've never forced you to do anything. But this time it's different.
I think you should come. I urge you as a friend.
No, you just go on in there, John. I'll wait here.
If you don't come, you'll regret this as long as you can remember.
-I don't want to shoot an elephant. -That's besides the point.
If you don't come, it's because you're scared. And you know it.
All right, well, l guess l'll just have to live with that.
John. John, hold your fire.
John, don't shoot!
It's too dangerous. Hold your fire. Come back slowly. Come on.
This is him. This is the one l'm looking for.
It's not safe. There are too many cows around. Come back slowly. Come on.
Just come. Do as l tell you. Come on.
I've never seen one before, outside the circus or the zoo.
They're so majestic. So indestructible. They're part of the earth.
They make us feel like perverse little creatures from another planet.
Without any dignity.
Makes one believe in God.
In the miracle of creation.
They're part of a world that no longer exists, Hod.
Feeling of unconquerable time.
You certainly have a way with words, Pete. No wonder you're a writer.
So, what happened, John? Weren't you able to get close enough?
We got close enough, but l wouldn't let him shoot.
Too many cows around the big fellow. They'd have charged.
That was the biggest tusker in all of Africa.
It would have been a risk well worth taking.
-You all right? -I'm all right.
Come on, let's face it. This country's too tough for us.
We're just characters from Vine Street, not two heroes out of one of your films.
You know, kid, we're gonna end up together. When we're old, that is.
Probably live in a cabin up in the Sierras and pan for gold. Have a couple mules.
Sit around the campfire at night. Tell lies to each other.
-Yeah. -About all the things we've done.
The wars we fought. Books you've written, movies l've made.
You know, l don't doubt that, John.
You'll need two, possibly three cameras on the fire sequence, John.
If you could just initial these plans, l can go ahead and start construction.
It was a risk to all of us.
A herd of cows can go rogue quickly if they have their young with them.
There have been rogue herds created in Kenya and Tanganyika in such a way.
And then they have to go out and shoot every bloody one of them.
All right. All right. Forget it. We'll try again tomorrow.
Tomorrow morning. Tomorrow afternoon, we leave. I have another safari.
You have to get started on the film, John.
You can leave if you want. I'm staying.
The company arrives in Entebbe the day after tomorrow.
-Jesus Christ! Will you be reasonable? -I am being reasonable.
I don't give a goddamn if the company gets here tomorrow. . .
. . .or got here three days ago.
I'm staying till l get my elephant.
You need someone with you. You can't hunt alone.
-Kivu will go with me. -What about that fellow at the fishery?
The one who used to be game warden down on the Zambezi. Ogilvy?
Yes. Yes, that's the man. Yes, they say he killed over elephants in his day.
-Well, let's get him up here. -John, how long do you plan on staying?
Well, that depends upon the elephants. And on the guides.
If Ogilvy turns out to be another old lady like the rest of you, it may take months.
But if he's half the man Kivu is, it may take no time at all.
What's the matter, kid? Go ahead and spit it out.
You're sitting around stewing like a dame who's just been kicked out of bed.
You're either crazy. . .
. . .or the most egocentric, irresponsible son of a bitch that l've ever met.
You're about to blow this whole picture out of your nose, John.
And for what?
To commit a crime.
To kill one of the rarest, most noble creatures. . .
. . .that roams the face of this crummy earth.
In order for you to commit this crime, you're willing to forget about all of us. . .
. . .and let this whole goddamn thing go down the drain.
You're wrong, kid.
It's not a crime to kill an elephant. It's bigger than all that.
It's a sin to kill an elephant.
Do you understand? lt's a sin.
It's the only sin that you can buy a license and go out and commit.
That's why l want to do it before l do anything else in this world.
Do you understand me? Of course you don't.
How could you? l don't understand myself.
Well, if you don't need me, then l'll take the plane to London tomorrow.
You do that.
I've never been one to interfere with anything a friend of mine wants to do.
-How do you do? lt's nice to meet you. -Welcome. My wife.
-Hello. How do you do? -Good morning, welcome.
-Nice to meet you. Nice to meet you. -How do you do?
-Well, hello. -Welcome. Welcome.
Miss Gibson. Right here.
Pete! Where's John? Why isn't he here?
I'm going back to London on the next flight, Paul.
What happened? Where's John? Where's the script?
-I sent you the script. Didn't you get it? -I got half of it.
-There's only one copy? -No. John has the original.
If he hasn't lost it, which he probably has.
-How are you, Pete? -Hi.
-Where's the ogre? -He's out scouting locations.
I hope you boys have improved the script.
What Kay means is, is her part gonna get bigger?
Not at all. I don't mind if you do the talking and l don't say a word.
As long as l get to play a real human being.
Beautiful, Kay. Come with me. Come this way. To the side.
Mr. Duncan! Can we have one of you with your new bride?
How do you want it, boys? Passionate or domestic?
Can we have a kiss?
Thank you very much.
Think. Think what will happen to the morale of the company if you go back.
They'll think something terrible is wrong. I can't start a picture that way.
Paul, don't you understand? Something terrible is wrong! The man has the fever.
It's just like any passion. It's irresponsible and it's destructive!
I understand how you feel, but we've a picture to make. You've got to stay.
Help me get him back. If he's not back in three days, we'll all be ruined.
Apologize to him.
Go on, apologize to him.
No. I won't apologize to him, Paul, but l'll tell you what l will do.
I'll get that script from him. Because you hired me to write a script.
And it's the best writing l've ever done.
And l'll be goddamned if l'll let that bastard destroy it!
-Hello, chaps. -Where's John?
-Well, believe it or not, he's gone. -Gone where?
He's visiting Kivu's village up in Semuliki. It's the truth.
Ogilvy and Kivu convinced him that's the best place to find a big tusker.
-So off they went. -Shit.
-And how far is that from here? -About six miles.
Most of it through swamp.
-There's been a change in plans. -What's that?
The boss has decided to start shooting the film there.
Made up his mind yesterday when we cleared the trucks through customs.
He seems to think Kivu's village is much more authentic.
The company can stay at the hunting camp.
Have a pleasant day.
There it is, there. That must be the village there.
I don't believe it.
I just don't believe it.
What about the village we built at Masindi? lt cost a fortune.
Lockhart says John plans to use that for the big fire.
He'll move back there once he's finished in the Congo.
I'm not going to let him do it! l'm not going to send people to a place like that.
I'll call off the picture first!
You've already invested over pounds, Paul.
I'll pay it back if it takes the rest of my life.
Why don't you just tell everybody that it'll be rough.
-But it'll make for a distinguished film. -No, we can't do that.
-Why not? -Because we can't!
Either we call it off or we play along with Wilson.
We can be honorable or crooked. There's no middle road.
Well, l don't agree with you.
I've always found that it's better just to tell the truth.
If l had always told the truth, Pete, l would now be a cake of soap.
-Does this look familiar to you, Pete? -Yes, Paul, we're getting close.
It's awfully primitive. Where's the hotel?
-Well, here it is. Home away from home. -Well, l think this is quite lovely.
Oh, do come in, chaps. Do come in.
I've been looking forward to seeing you again.
May l present Madam Dorshka and Mr. Zibelinsky, our hosts.
Well, this is glorious.
This is marvelous.
And this is Count Ogilvy, my new white hunter.
-So wonderful to be here. -Excuse my friend.
-How do you do? Very glad to see you. -Hello, John.
-Hello, John. -Pleasure to see you all.
-How you doing? -Cheers.
Well, have some champagne, everyone, and let's get with it.
-Cheers, John. -With the evening.
I trust you all enjoyed our borscht à la Russe?
-Excellent. Absolutely first class. -Spiffing.
And now we have the pièce de résistance.
It's a freshly killed reedbuck from Semuliki plain.
The female of the species, just to prove that God does not let man off the hook.
So l told Anatole that he should not let Paulette ever do that again.
John, can we stop playing games?
Playing games, dear fellow? l don't quite understand.
Well, we have to get started tomorrow.
Red has to go out to the location. You have to check the costumes.
I'm willing to do anything you suggest, dear boy.
That is, within reason, of course.
Well, first of all can you drop that phony English accent? And for God's sakes. . .
. . .abandon your role of the great white hunter. . .
. . .and become a movie director again.
Listen, you Balkan rug peddler. . .
. . .my role of the great hunter, as you put it, is my own business.
It has nothing to do with you. It's a sacred subject.
Much like the sex life of my mother.
It's something you'll refrain from talking about or even thinking about.
It's way too difficult a subject for your small little brain to grasp.
It's a passion that's beyond you.
I'd have to explain to you the sound of the wind and the smell of the woods.
I'd have to create you all over again. . .
. . .and stamp out those years you spent on the dirty pavement in cramped shoes.
I'm not interested in your hunting.
It doesn't mean a thing to me except when it interferes with the picture.
How is it interfering with the picture? When?
I haven't even gotten the last section of the script yet!
Oh, dear. Well, l'll correct that immediately.
You've finished your rewrites, have you?
He polished it, Pete, and gave it a little balls.
It has to be typed. Copies have to be made.
Somebody get hold of the goddamned ape!
Frontal brain shot! And for God's sake, don't miss!
Oh, God. This makes it all so worthwhile.
-Oh, isn't this wonderful? -My God, what a performance.
-They really love him, don't they? -They sure do.
Or, if you've got time this afternoon, we could--
John, scene .
Pete, l'm surprised to see you here, last night. I thought you'd be in Paris. . .
. . .devoting yourself to literature and all those things you know nothing about.
Yeah? Well, l thought you'd have your big tusker by now.
Stick around, kid. Stick around.
When do we start?
No shooting today, folks.
Where you going, John? John!
I'm going hunting. We can't shoot the sequence in the rain.
-Well, how long will the rain last? -Oh, it could last for days.
It's the beginning of the rainy season.
Why didn't somebody tell us about a rainy season?
I did! l told Mr. Wilson.
He just said, well, the days he couldn't shoot the film, he could shoot elephant.
At this rate, l'll be in debt the rest of my life.
-Come here, you little devil! -Now, l feel this. . .
. . .this change is appropriate, but John seems to think it's a bit complicated.
That's a good question, Kay. And if l could sit John down someday, l'd ask.
No luck? No elephants?
We saw plenty of them. We just didn't see the big tusker. The one l want.
We'll get one. These rains won't stop for another week yet.
You think so?
It's going to be a clear day. We can finally start the picture.
I'm sending the company to Kivu's village.
John, we've been sitting here for five days.
We're already a week behind. We haven't even got one shot.
-All right! Let's make a movie! -I'll believe that when l see it.
Boss! Boss! Boss!
He never looks at the script, does he?
Nope. He's afraid he'll lose his artistic spontaneity.
What are you two grousing about? What's wrong, Paul?
I'm on the spot. I'm ready to make magic. Make you rich.
-What the hell's the matter with you? -Nothing.
Wait. John. Kivu sent him. He's onto a big herd.
-Is that right? -About three miles from here.
What are we waiting on?
John, the sky is clear.
You've got plenty of unloading to do. Plenty of work. I'll be right back.
How do l know you'll come back?
Send your boy Pete if you don't trust me.
Go with him. Make sure he doesn't forget we're starting a picture.
-He doesn't need me. -That's right. And it may be risky.
You're onto a big one?
What's he saying?
We'll leave the boy here.
Please, let's go back. They're waiting for us.
Well, let them wait.
Bad country, this. Walk right up to a big tusker before you'd ever see him.
-What's he saying? -He says they're just beyond these trees.
It's a big one, all right. But there are cows and young ones with him.
-What do we do? -It's no good. I don't like it.
-What does Kivu say? -I don't care what he says.
I've killed more than of them. And l'll tell you, this is not the day.
How many chances does a man get?
That's never a reason to do something wrong.
Would you ask Kivu what he thinks?
-He says he's willing to try. -Of course he's willing. He's got guts.
Jesus Christ, John! Give it up.
-It's his word against mine, Mr. Wilson. -I'm asking, will you come along?
Come on, Kivu.
What are they saying, Ogilvy? What are the drums saying?
They're telling everybody what happened, that's all. The bad news.
-It always starts with the same words. -What are they?
White hunter. Black heart.
White hunter. Black heart.
You were right, Pete. The ending is all wrong.
John, we're ready.
All right, quiet please, everyone. Ready, Miss Gibson?
Ready, Mr. Wilson?
-Mark it. -Scene one, take one.