To Rome & Florida with Love
Fade In: Exterior. Rome Italy. It is raining. We see the words bolded Rome, Italy. We slowly dissolve into the interior of the Frangelico villa. Richard is in the entrance hallway. He is wearing a raincoat and holding an umbrella with a hat on his head. A small woman dressed in black beckons him.
Richard: Are you taking me to my daughter Alyson?
(The woman says nothing and starts up the stairs as Richard follows.)
Dissolve slowly into a darkened room. The door is opened by the maid but she does not enter and steps aside for Richard to do so. He enters. The door closes and the only light on in the room is that a small light attached to a portrait of a younger and beautiful Countess Althea Frangelico. Having difficulty seeing Richard goes to turn on a lamp.
Countess: (Heavy accent): Do not turn on the light, Mister Wembly. You will not like what you see. I know I don’t so why should others?
Richard: You know who I am?
Countess: Si, you are a very well-known man, Mister Wembly. How would I not know about you?
Richard: I’m sorry I–
Countess: I am the Countess Althea Frangelico.
Richard: But I thought–
Countess: That I had died. Once I went into seclusion following my unfortunate incident people assumed I had died but I assure you, Mister Wembly, sadly I still very much alive. I live alone here in my villa. I read the papers, my books, my magazines and I wait.
Richard: Wait for what?
Countess: (She laughs): Death. What else is there when youth and beauty have gone?
Richard: Countess, I came to get my–
Countess: Si, I know why you are here. My loyal and devoted servant Sophia has told me you are here for your daughter Alyson.
Richard: Yes. Is she here?
Countess: Si, she is here.
Richard: Where is she?
Countess: In the quarters below. You will find her in a very bad state. She has been crying. She and Giovanni came here the other night. They made passionate love but he has run off and left her.
Richard: How do you know all that if you are up here and they are down there?
Countess: It is my home. Some would say my prison self-inflicted of course but I know everything that goes on in my own home.
Richard: Well tell me where she is and we’ll leave you.
Countess: In un momento. I wanted to see you before so you understood completely that Giovanni is not to be trusted but that your daughter is in no way wedded to him.
Richard: They eloped!
Countess: It is not legal.
Richard: How can you say that? It’s been on the tv, the newspapers,
Countess: It does not matter.
Richard: What happens to my angel matters to me.
Countess: It may well matter to you, Mister Wembly and it may matter to your daughter but it does not matter to anyone else especially Giovanni.
Richard: How can it not matter to him?
Countess: Because he is already married.
Countess: Please, sit. (Richard does) I was a poor girl who grew up in a large, Italian family. We lived in the slums. There was never enough food or clothes or love. I was determined to get out and to use what God had given to make sure that I never went back. I learned about how to make myself desirable that men would want me and finally the great and rich and powerful Count Antonio Frangelico wanted me. He was seventy years old and I was twenty when we married. People were disgusted by the idea that a man as old as he was could marry someone so young. But people are stupid. Antonio taught me how to make myself beautiful. The clothes, the hair, the makeup and, most especially, my face. Even though people gossiped and said our marriage would never last they could not deny how beautiful we looked together. Soon everyone wanted to be us. They said we had great passion, great love. (Laughs bitterly) They were so horribly wrong. Though I said Antonio taught me he was a sadistic teacher. No matter how I looked it was never good enough, beautiful enough. That portrait you see in front of you was commissioned after my first face lift. I was twenty-two at the time.
Richard: You look beautiful there.
Countess: Si, I did. I was once one of the world’s most beautiful women. People adored me for my great beauty, my hair, my clothes, and most especially, my face. I became even more adored after Antonio’s untimely death falling down that flight of marble stairs. Those very stairs you came up to see me. I was the tragic widow. I had to wear black for an entire year so to make myself feel better I got another face lift and another and another. Then suddenly Giovanni.
Richard: Look I don’t know what this is all about. I know people say he’s your grandson but I know for a fact he’s really Tony Vento from the Bronx.
Countess: You think I don’t know you know that? You had Giovanni investigated when he eloped with your daughter. Giovanni is a playboy, a ne’er-do-well, a Giglio. He always has been. I met him ten years ago at a party in New York. I brought him back here with me to Italy and I heard people say he was Antonio’s grandson. I let them think it. It made Giovanni happy. He was young, so beautiful he didn’t want people to believe that he was married an old woman like me.
Richard: Are you telling me?
Countess: Yes Giovanni is my husband.
Richard: If he’s your husband then how can you let him run around and elope with innocent girls?
Countess: (Laughs): Your daughter is not innocent. She is as selfish, spiteful and beautiful as I was. Was Mister Wembly. I was desperate to keep Giovanni and even though friends told me not I had another facelift. I had to keep myself young and beautiful. I had too but the knife the turned the wrong way and when I awoke and the bandages were removed this is what Giovanni saw. (Close up of Richard as we see a light turn on and Richard gasp. The light goes out.) So that is why Giovanni does what he does. He means no harm, Mister Wembly. Your daughter is downstairs. Sophia will show you the way. (Richard starts to exit) I say that I wait for death but when you have something in your grasp and you lose it and you will never grasp it again then death has already come.
(Richard pauses, opens the door, and exits. We hear a soft crying as we do a close up of the portrait.)
CUT-TO: Interior. A beautiful bedroom where Alyson sits crying in her nightgown. The door opens.
Alyson: Gio? Daddy?
Richard: (Enters): Alyson. (They embrace) Get your things. We’re going home.
Alyson: Going home? No. I’m waiting for Giovanni. We are married.
Richard: (Closing the door): You are not married.
Alyson: How can you say that? We eloped. He’s my husband.
Richard: Listen to me, Angel, Giovanni is already married.
Alyson: No! His wife is dead.
Richard: She is not dead, Alyson. I just spoke with her upstairs. She’s very much alive and she wants me to take you out of her house and home with me.
Alyson: I’m not going. I’m waiting for Gio.
Richard: All right, Angel, I’ll tell you about your Gio. He doesn’t exist. He’s a Giglio from the Bronx named Tony Vento. He’s married to the Countess who owns this villa and probably half of Rome. Now get your things together because we are getting out of here.
Alyson: I can’t go!
Richard: And why not?
Alyson: It’s not like last time this time it’s real–
Richard: What’s not like? Oh my God.
Alyson: I’m pregnant with Giovanni’s baby.
Close up of Alyson, then Richard
CUT-TO: Exterior. Overview of Florida. Dissolve slowly to the set of ‘Blood Mountain’. Sheri is half asleep in her chair as Celeste is entering from the bathroom sniffing and touching her nose.
Celeste: Any sign yet they need us?
Sheri: No and I’ve been sitting her all day.
Celeste: Well that’s the movie business for ya. Get us up at the crack of dawn and make us wait until the light is right.
Sheri: I wouldn’t mind but we were up last night til three am and my hair is getting frizzy from this heat.
Celeste: If we’re shooting the scene I think we are today when people see this movie they aren’t going to be looking at your hair.
Julian: All right, my darlings. Let’s go. We want to get this shot while the sun and Celeste are still high.
(Celeste laughs at she exits)
Sheri: (Looking at her script): Which scene is this?
Julian: It’s the one where you go over to the pool and take off your clothes.
Sheri: Take off my what? I didn’t see that in the script.
Julian: We changed it. It works best for the scene. Come on.
Sheri: Mr. Daniels–
Sheri: Julian, I don’t think I can do that.
Julian: You’ve got too. When we pour the pig’s blood on you it will look better if your completely naked.
Sheri: But I don’t–
Julian: Listen, Sheri, enough. Now you’re an actress and you are doing this for your art. Come on.
Julian: What did you say?
Sheri: I said no. You can’t make me. I have my rights. I won’t do it.
Julian: You won’t huh? Don’t give me all that crap about your rights and that Me Too shit. I got a movie that I am losing money on every fucking second we stand here wasting time talking about your so-called rights. Remember, kid, you came to me so excited and saying thank you, Mr. Daniels, for this wonderful opportunity. You said you wanted to be a movie star so get your ass out there on the set and start starring.
Sheri: I quit.
Julian: Go ahead. Try to quit and I’ll sue and your Mother until you haven’t got a dime left over for your great-grandchildren. Do you understand now who you are dealing with?
Sheri: You wouldn’t–
Julian: Just try me you little bitch. (Grabs her arm and pushes her) Now get out there and strip! And if you bitch about one more fucking thing I’m gonna slice your tits off. You got it?
Sheri: Yes. I got it.
Julian: Good. Now let’s go. (He exits)
We move over to the pool and Celeste is standing there in her bathing suit. Sheri moves beside the pool.
Julian: (Off): That’s right, Sheri. Ok. Action! Okay, Sheri, strip.
(We see her clothes fall to the floor)
(Close up of Sheri)
Fade to Black