The latest news from the land of the stars.
Minna Davis fans everywhere are rejoicing this week as Brady-American Pictures begins production on...
Minna, Hollywood's beloved Gaelic gal, died tragically two years ago when fire swept through the mansion she shared with her husband Brady-American mogul Monroe Stahr.
Now her rags-to-riches story is coming to the screen, and guess who's penning it.
Her own brother, screenwriter Dex Davis.
Rest in peace, Minna.
We'll see you and your American Dream at the movies.
[film projector stops]
Woman: Brady-American Pictures. Good morning.
Monroe, thank you.
I feel terrible. Was it from Minna?
That's hardly the point.
I actually came here to talk to you about Spain.
Is that right? We'll need some glue.
Right away, Mr. Stahr.
There won't be any rushes from the Mountie picture.
They lost a day due to snow, and when you're done with Mr. Brady, you'll have two meetings.
Can it be fixed?
I think so.
Which meeting should I reschedule?
The one with Celia's fiancé Mr. White.
Who, Wylie? He's not my fiancé.
I heard he asked you to marry him.
Thank you, Mary.
And did you have any reaction?
Yes. I thought you'd make a lovely couple if you wait until he's been sober for two years or maybe five minutes.
Well, that's disappointing.
Everyone says I bloomed this summer.
I thought you'd noticed.
Let's get you back to Bennington.
You can bloom some more.
When are you going to take me seriously, Monroe?
I can help you.
I have ideas, great stories.
Got one about this bandleader who's going...
I'm excited to hear it... after you've graduated.
I heard you were unhappy with the rushes, Monroe.
Yes, I was.
Mind if I ask why?
Because he shot the whole thing on a 35 when it should have been a 50.
All the tension was lost.
And he cut the gag with the pith helmet.
I love that. And who dressed those natives?
They look like lollipops.
There's still a few things your family doesn't own.
Good morning, Felicity.
My suggestions for your retakes.
I'm not talented enough to be unprepared.
Uh, sorry, fellas. Kay, I have some selling to do, and Pat's expecting me.
Did you get a chance to read...
Yes. It's much better. Well done.
I only have two weeks, Monroe.
Then I fly back.
See that she does fly back, Wylie.
Or I'll break your neck.
Good morning, Birdy.
Good morning, Mr. Stahr.
Ask someone to travel this far, Pat, you ought to provide cab fare.
I thought you Israelites were used to crossing the desert.
What was my daughter doing in your office today?
A bit of redecorating.
I don't want her spending too much time in this environment.
Well, maybe she just wants to be closer to her dear old dad.
Or to see Gary Cooper.
He's coming in today.
Heck of an actor.
He's a prostitute.
Everybody who comes into this office is a prostitute.
They don't walk in here unless they want something.
Gee, Pat, I walked in here.
I like your new secretary.
Felicity, is that it?
We have a deal about that.
Anybody but my secretaries.
What if she is attracted to me?
Heh heh heh heh.
The human heart is a hard muscle to fathom.
Your heart's not the muscle I'm worried about.
Heh heh. I just hate to see a pretty secretary go to waste.
Did you see this?
I want to start doing what MGM's doing.
They're the only shop in town making any money.
My new discovery: Sally Sweet.
She can sing, dance, cries at the drop of a hat.
Knock Shirley Temple right on her ass.
Build a musical around her: farm girl with dreams of the big city, that kind of thing.
The creative side's still your domain, but...
I'm always open to a good idea.
I'm sure there's a compliment in there somewhere.
What's for sale today?
The promise of America in a single shot.
Start on the kids... Minna and Dex.
Hope in their eyes.
Awe. What are they looking at?
We pull back to reveal hundreds of immigrants behind them on that boat, becoming thousands.
That same look on every face.
If we keep pulling back, panning left now to see what they're staring at: New York Harbor.
The skyline of Manhattan.
Impossibly big and grand.
And the Statue of Liberty lifting her lamp to welcome them to their new home.
And half the country came over on a boat like that.
You're breaking me, you know.
Could be our Oscar, Pat.
We don't need an Oscar.
Yes, we do.
Just think how much it'll impress Felicity.
Good morning, Mr. Stahr.
I got it! I got it!
They said they loved it.
Why is it, Calde, that whenever you're around I always feel some horrible crime's about to be committed?
I'm studying you, watching how you put up with people I know you detest, like me.
How do you do that?
Calde told me about the pith helmet gag, Monroe.
Don't worry. It's going back in.
Gable's already in makeup.
There's no profit in the anger business.
You know, I had to do a similar bit back when I was acting.
Funny as hell!
God, you're an idiot.
He does draw a crowd, that Monroe.
Something troubling you, Tommy?
Jews and money.
I saw it all the time in the old country.
They are so tired of being called stingy.
They will overpay for things just to prove it isn't true.
Now, what gets me about this Jew is the money he's doing it with is yours.
Can I tell you a secret?
He's a bargain.
Scene 7: Minna at the party.
Just out of Makeup.
So, this one?
Or this one?
A beautiful actress on a beautiful set in my favorite picture.
What a morning.
Cheer up, honey.
It isn't you. He just doesn't date.
Maybe if I'd been stark naked.
A couple girls have tried.
But you can't compete with a ghost.
Did you knock this time?
Well, I guess you don't have to.
Want to support the Spanish loyalists?
Oh, gosh, and I was hoping you'd come here to ask me to the Screen Writers Ball, but as much as I like to watch you shake your can...
Do you believe in them?
Mm-hmm. For drivers, grips, stitchers.
I talk to my father about it all the time.
So why is he about to build his Park Avenue set...
Nonunion? I don't know.
Guess I'm kind of a joke to you.
No. Jokes are funny.
Didn't hear your keys clacking, Aubrey.
Are you stuck?
I was babysitting.
I'd rather you went to church.
This draft... your minister character's starting to sound like something from The Scarlet Letter.
When was the last time you were in a church?
I do my praying at the box office.
You know that.
Hey, been on set this morning, Dex?
I haven't left here since I got your notes last night.
Don't you ever sleep?
It looks great.
Swanky as hell.
Bess is the perfect Minna.
And, Dex, Pat approved the boat.
How did you manage that?
He loves this movie, and he loves you.
Now all I need are the pages.
This is why people need unions.
To church, Aubrey.
This next to my lot.
I warned the mayor about this, didn't I?
Told them this was no place for a Hooverville.
How am I supposed to walk Garbo and Carole Lombard past this?
Now I get to be the heartless mogul who drove all these poor people away.
Well, Park Avenue's got to go somewhere.
They had to come to Hollywood.
Child: You give me that back. It's mine.
Put that down, Nathan.
I don't want to be up all night with you sick.
Tell me, Red, what do you notice about your Sheba head?
That it's sitting on someone else's set.
No. It's sitting on someone else's finished set, whereas your Sheba head isn't really a head at all, which is why I'm sending it back to the mill.
Well, it just seemed like a foolish place to spend your money, Monroe.
I mean, we're not shooting behind it.
You let me worry about that.
But why? I mean, no one will ever see it.
The actors will see it.
Oh, well, they're pros, Monroe.
I'm sure they're...
My father was a carpenter.
One night, I found him at his work bench sanding the back of a drawer.
He was painting it.
I said, "Dad, why are you painting the back of a drawer?
No one will ever see it."
He said, "I'll see it."
We'll take care of it.
I thought your father sold shirt trims.
You writing a biography now?
Meet the new German consulate here in L.A.
Dr. Georg Gyssling.
Oh, yeah? Doctor of what?
Doctor's going to be consulting on our production slate.
There's a new law in Germany.
Article 15, did you say, Doctor?
First let me say there is no bigger film fan than the Führer.
He watches a picture every night before retiring.
Big fan of Shirley Temple, I'm told.
Just so. Wonderful child.
Dr. Gyssling just wants to make sure that we're not producing anything that might be offensive to the German people.
The German people have produced a few things that are offensive to me.
Do I get to consult on that?
The Article is clear.
Any company distributing a picture containing anti-German content will no longer be granted a permit to export films to Germany.
That is now Reich law.
When it's U.S. law or Hollywood law, let me know.
He's already been to Paramount, Twentieth, Universal, Warners, and Metro.
They've all gone along.
Have to make sure the Führer has something to watch every night, don't we?
It's still our studio, Monroe. He...
Pat, I have pictures to see to.
Stay close, Nathan.
Turn around, turn around.
Hey, get out of here.
You, too. Out.
You tell me where.
We don't have a roof.
Okay, One night right there.
But you're gone in the morning, all right?
My congratulations on The Bells of Boston.
Should make a fine picture.
Triumph of the common man.
The others are more worrisome.
The Kindly Doctor. In that comedy, you have named him Goldberg.
We would like that changed.
In Borough Park, Brooklyn?
Do you want your picture released in Germany or don't you?
And the villain in that thriller you have described here as Nordic.
I will want to see pictures before that role is cast.
And one thing more.
The Führer has decreed that all foreign companies doing business in Germany must now rid their German branches of any Jewish personnel.
Your cooperation is requested.
That's half our Berlin office.
Ja. Sadly, they'll have to go.
Perhaps we could just change all their names to Smith.
A snail might take off its shell, but it's still a snail.
Are we through here?
This one won't do at all.
Beg your pardon?
Your heroine is a Gentile woman who goes on to marry a Jew: you.
The picture's over long before then. Pat, are you...
The world knows what she did, and it offends the racial sensibilities of the German people.
You'll have to kill it or change her name.
Sorry, pal. That one's already shooting.
So you'll just have to move along.
You could just change the name, Monroe.
You mean Minna?
The one who helped us build this place?
Most of what we shot could still work.
Loop a few lines.
Or we tell him to go jump in a lake.
It's not his decision.
I will leave you to discuss this.
It's our second biggest foreign market, and we need the money.
So some Kraut says jump, and you just do it?
In a Depression, yes.
We make a product, Monroe.
There has to be someone to buy it.
That someone is every kid in the streets, Pat.
Pictures like this matter when you have nothing else.
It's a war we don't want.
A war is where both sides put up a fight.
But it's your lot.
My name on the gates.
I'd like to keep them open.
I'm leaving, Pat.
Meeting go all right, Monroe?
Only if you like book burnings.
Well, I wouldn't know about all that.
I'm just the banker.
Also an adult.
Also a venal prick. Now what?
Dinner at the California Club tomorrow, Pat?
I look forward to the privacy.
Everyone has to answer to someone.
We fought the board before, you and I, plenty of times. He's just...
I don't want to end up like RKO.
RKO made lousy movies.
And you owe that kid in the street, Pat.
He made you rich.
You know how grateful I am to you.
Then kill anything else.
Just not this.
You can't have art without commerce, Monroe.
If you want to tell your story so bad, you go buy your own studio.
You're not going to sink mine.
How's the vase coming?
There's hope, I think.
Minna: You're thinking of something.
I can always tell.
It's not fully formed yet.
Tell me anyway.
I want to make a picture about you.
No. Your story.
A young girl starving in Ireland.
Father dead, mother overwhelmed.
She's got one thing that gives her hope: the promise of America.
You're awfully sweet, but I don't think anybody's going to care about...
She and her kid brother make the crossing in steerage.
And the relatives awaiting them in Hell's Kitchen put them to work in a sweatshop.
But one break.
One talent scout who spots her behind the notions counter, and she winds up being you.
The American dream.
The story of Minna Davis.
Your brother can write it.
He's really gotten quite good.
Would you like that?
I think marrying you did that.
I want to tell your story, Minna.
Woman: Camera cranes like the one you're about to see can weigh up to 5,000 pounds, requiring a crew of six.
And this is the set of American Dream, the Minna Davis story, where shooting began this week.
You all knew Minna as filmdom's biggest star, but did you know that, before being discovered at a drugstore notions counter, she and her brother Declan had been penniless waifs living on the streets of New York?
Of course, Minna died tragically in a fire two years ago.
All Hollywood wept.
But, thanks to the magic of film, her American dream will be with us forever.
Now let's go see a real Sahara desert.
Did you ever have to live in the streets, Tommy?
All the time as a kid.
And I am sick of this place being half the size of MGM.
So is everyone kicking in, or do we open up Celia's coin cans and let the Spanish loyalists buy us lunch?
You shouldn't joke, Wylie.
It's terrible what Franco's doing.
Didn't you read about Badajoz?
When someone opens up a movie house in Badajoz, then I'll worry about Badajoz.
He really is a fiend.
No. I'm just not 19 and adorable.
She is appealing, Wylie.
No, I know.
Nearly as appealing as her father's money, and that's a lot.
And you wonder why she won't marry you.
Fascism's going to destroy Europe.
I don't know why.
It's working pretty well in Hollywood.
You got a minute, Dex?
We'll find something else for you.
I can't fail anymore, Monroe.
It hurts too much.
You didn't fail, Dex. I did.
But people keep score.
A writer's either getting his pictures made, or he's not.
You got your picture made.
Three days' worth anyway.
The movie is the baby.
Isn't that what you're always saying?
We must protect the baby.
So why can't we just... change her name like the Kraut said?
Then she wouldn't be Minna.
And you wouldn't be you.
I wouldn't mind not being me.
Your lunch was getting cold.
I'm not hungry, Colleen, thanks.
Still, you need to eat.
Monroe, this is Colleen Moore.
Are you from Dublin, Miss Moore?
Rathgar. Do you know Ireland?
I used to.
Do you need anything else, Dex?
Listen, Dex, take a couple of days off.
I have a Western you can look at.
I could do with a fiver.
You sure there's nothing I can get for you, Mrs. Brady?
Oh, no. Thank you. Birdy.
You think he'll be much longer?
I wish I could say.
He doesn't check in with me often enough when he's off the lot, and you know how these finance meetings can go.
How much does he pay you, Birdy?
$40 a week.
You should ask for more.
Would you get me some candy?
I love you.
I love you.
Woman: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the Blue Bonnets.
♪♪ [jazz drum beat]
Monroe, I just heard the funniest gag.
Three guys walk into a... No, wait.
You know, the thing about Monroe is he's broken in a way.
He believes in things that don't even exist anymore.
And I want you to forget about him.
You don't really know him, Daddy.
Know him? Who do you think named him?
He was running a circus when I found him.
Milton Sternberg, 19, from the Bronx.
I invented him.
I think he's heroic.
That's why I'm paying for Bennington: so you can fall for a guy whose parents came over in steerage.
Find a lawyer. Find a doctor...
I don't want a country club life.
I want this.
And I want...
Anything but this.
That would kill me.
And I want him.
I know he's not perfect.
I know he's broken inside, but I can fix all that.
He's not just broken, Celia. He's dying.
He's got a congenital defect in his aorta.
One of these days, his heart's just going to explode.
I know about that.
Why do you think he's always in such a rush to make that one perfect picture?
I think it just makes him more heroic.
Make this much fuss over a picture.
It ought to be Grand Hotel.
This was better than Grand Hotel!
Fine. Now zip up your fly and clean this mess.
This is Mr. Brady's set.
It's my set!
I wrote it!
Get down here, you boozy mick.
f*cking disgrace you are.
We will notify his wife.
I suppose she will be by later to collect his things.
You must be Sally.
He doesn't want to be disturbed.
They don't knock in the Bronx?
Let me guess.
Sally Sweet's mom.
I don't f*ck people's mothers.
Something I can do for you?
Dex Davis is dead.
Threw himself off a catwalk last night.
What are you looking at me for? I didn't push him.
I gave him a job when no one else would touch him, which is more than anybody's brother-in-law had the right to expect.
The hand-holding I leave to you.
You're all heart.
Yeah, well, I'm not trying to become a legend, Monroe.
I'm just trying to survive.
So the world can get its first taste of Sally Sweet?
That's right. For two hours, we can make people laugh, sing, and forget.
That's our job.
This picture mattered to him, Pat.
It mattered to me.
A little compromise on your part, and we'd still be shooting.
Carol de Paris, Monroe Stahr.
It's very nice to meet you. Please forgive the...
Make sure you give her a dog.
America's sweetheart out there.
People love a kid who loves her dog.
I remember his first day on the lot.
Yeah. His Traveling Salesman script.
It was supposed to be a Bill Powell, wasn't it?
He was happy then.
First day on the lot.
I could do with a fiver.
Sad day, Bess.
It was such a great part.
[door slides open]
How long has it been since your last confession?
Monroe: This is my first, Father.
I'm sorry. I'm... I'm not of your faith.
This place mattered to someone who mattered to me.
I have nowhere else to go.
Do you like to go to the pictures, Father?
Do you think they matter?
Not especially, no.
Someone just died trying to make one for me.
He trusted me, and I...
All day long, I convince people that I know better than they do what's best for them.
I guess it's your job, too.
Maybe a hundred times a day, I take someone to the edge of a roof, and I say "Don't worry. You can jump.
There's water down there. Trust me."
Not "I think this will work."
I have to be certain, or it all falls apart.
I have to know.
But I don't always know.
And there isn't always water down there.
Sometimes there's just pavement.
Which means I've lied to them.
I lie a lot, Father.
Can you stop?
Can you find another way?
It's how pictures get made.
And they're all I've got.
I can't feel anything else.
And I'm running out of time.
Do you have a prayer that can fix all that?
You make a fine hedge, Celia.
I'd make an even better producer.
If you don't like bandleader stories, I have one about...
Please, no pitches.
Not from you.
Then take me to the Screen Writers Ball tonight?
Celia, why waste yourself on me?
Pictures are my girl.
It would be like marrying a doctor.
Well, I love my doctor.
You ever read Dante?
In high school, a hundred years ago.
Well, then you should know.
There's a special circle of hell reserved for drunkards, bad comics, and anyone dumb enough to date his boss' daughter.
If I weren't my father's daughter, would you go with me?
I'd be the luckiest man there.
Luckiest man there.
Woman: Mr. Brady's office.
What time would the governor like to...
I have a lot of work to do.
The next picture you make, whatever you want.
With no interference from me.
As long as it's not about the Reichstag fire or my wife?
You know how I hate to part with money, Monroe.
Don't make me offer this twice.
You trying to buy my trust back?
Gun to your head.
And it'll never leave this room.
You know that Sally Sweet will make us money, don't you?
Just like you know that no studio is rich enough to cut off a revenue stream the size of Germany.
So maybe we can just get back to work, huh?
For the sake of the thousands of employees who are relying on us for our sound governance.
I always said you were the smartest guy on the lot, Pat.
Fat bit of good it does me.
Then there was that pirate picture.
You put him through ten drafts and still didn't make it.
I thought something was there. It wasn't.
Yeah, and the Broadway picture.
You had ten of us writing behind him, and you didn't make that one, either.
Just because you make a script better doesn't mean you made it good.
Dex knew that.
Dex just heard no too many times.
Christ, we all have.
It's a wonder he was alone up there.
"No" is supposed to make you work harder, George.
"No" is what keeps us from embarrassing ourselves.
You writers get mixed up because you think all this is personal... hating people and worshiping them, sometimes in the same breath... and expecting them to worship you.
You just ask to be kicked around.
I like people, and I like them to like me.
But I keep my heart where God put it: on the inside.
At least you have a heart, unlike Celia's father.
Not an unkind word about him, George, ever.
Not in front of me.
Didn't you like your meal?
Monroe doesn't eat during the week.
He likes the feeling he gets from being hungry.
It gives him an edge.
Doesn't smoke, either, or dance.
Do you, Golden Boy?
That's a lovely dress, Celia.
You should see what it looks like in a ball on the floor.
Why so shocked, Monroe?
Bennington's not a convent.
Is he as drunk as he looks?
Landon, you sly dog.
Don't be too impressed.
She only said yes because it's a memorial for Dex.
Maybe some coffee.
Would you care to dance first?
That would be nice.
I'll be damned.
Sorry about Landon.
I imagine he was just a bit overwhelmed.
By day he seems so tame.
You know his father was a carpenter.
Tell me, how is it you see all these writers and producers every day and no one's ever asked you to come read for something?
A face like yours makes me think I should fire the whole bunch.
Well, they've asked.
A few times.
I just don't have any interest.
In any of it.
It's sort of an unsavory business, if you forgive my saying it.
It hardly matters. I'm leaving next week.
To go where?
I guess I finally realized this place isn't like the movies at all.
It's just where they're made.
I don't think I ever fit in here.
Maybe I didn't try.
A whole year, and I never even found a church to go to.
Funny, I happen to know one.
They talk about you, you know.
All of them, all the time.
What do they say?
That nothing's ever good enough for you.
That you're never happy with anything.
Well, it was.
About five minutes ago.
♪ Won't you please arrange it ♪
♪ 'Cause I love you ♪
That's for my husband.
You knew he was putting that garbage into his veins, didn't you?
But you had your script.
And now he's dead.
Just like Minna.
Everyone who comes close to you pays for it.
What about you?
I had three or four on the way.
There's Mr. Brady.
Do you see it?
Let's collect it.
How much is it?
Stay here. Stay here.
Don't you want any of...
I need a job, Mister.
You got one of those in that hat of yours?
Do you know who I am?
Yeah. You know who I am?
Got a driver's license?
An Oklahoma one, yeah.
Come by the lot the first of the month.
Ask for a man named Zepp.
Max Miner from Oklahoma.
Miner, if any of these people ask, I told you to screw off, understand?
She didn't leave a glass slipper?
Monroe, I know what story I need to tell you, but just...
Celia, please, not now.
I want to do a movie about the Nazis right now.
Don't you read Variety?
The Führer runs Hollywood now.
Just ask Dex Davis.
Let me finish!
Gosh sakes, Monroe!
There's a spy ring.
Foreign agents loyal to the Fatherland operating in the middle of Manhattan.
Espionage, that sort of thing.
A woman begins to suspect that it's all being run from the apartment next to hers... an old man she's always hated because he was mean to her cats.
She goes to the FBI, but they laugh her out of the office, so she eavesdrops on him through the radiator.
Turns out she was right.
They are foreign spies about to assassinate the President.
So she goes back to the FBI, and one agent decides she isn't crazy.
They start to work together. They even fall in love.
But then they...
I can't make that movie.
I can't even say the word "Nazi" in a movie anymore.
But don't you see?
You wouldn't be saying it at all.
That's the point.
These spies are from a fictional country.
It's totalitarian, murderous.
But we don't call it Germany.
So the only way Gyssling could complain it's about the Nazis Is to admit they behave the same way.
And he can't.
We call it Birnel.
The country. Birnel.
It's Berlin with...
With the letters mixed up.
So you like it?
You want a story credit?
I want to produce it.
One thing at a time, darling.
You still have a few things to learn yet.
Aubrey should write this.
Aubrey loves me.
Why wouldn't he?
Type up some pages for him to look at.
We'll start there, all right?
But no more talk about your dress wadded up in a ball on the floor.
This is business.
Hi. Where are you off to, honey?
Daddy, I've decided something.
I'm not going back to Bennington.
You were right.
Why pay all that money when everything I want is here?
And what's that?
He just hired me.
What are you talking about?
I pitched him a story. He wants me to produce it.
That son of a bitch.
I'm going to marry him, Daddy, and help him make that one perfect picture before he...
I think you are the smartest person on that lot.
But it's an ugly lot.
It's an ugly world.
But we're going to shine a light on it, Monroe and I, while he still can.
See you at work.
We never did finish that dance.
No. We didn't.
I'm sorry about that scene with Bernadette.
Did it drive you away?
It just reminded me why I'm leaving.
Giving in my notice today.
Miss Moore, I don't know you very well, and I have no right to ask this, but it'd mean a lot to me if you just hold off for a moment before you do that.
Well, for one thing, the rest of the waitresses in this place are terrible.
Then if you still want to go, I'll buy you the ticket myself.
It's not just that I remind you of someone else.
But also that you called me on it.
I hate sad endings.
And they are playing our song.
You picture people.
You tell these beautiful stories.
They're not all beautiful. Are they?
That's why we do rewrites.
Mr. Stahr's office.
It was Celia's idea.
And, Aubrey, make them monsters.
I have something for you.
I don't know what to say. It's...
Some things exist just to be beautiful.
They don't have to make any more sense than that.
Should I send Dr. Gyssling in?
Let him wait.
We have movies to make.
Sternberg, you resent me, that's fine, but why drag my family into it?
You made my daughter a producer?
Why don't you just shove a hot poker up my ass?
Now she'll never straighten out.
She's talented, Pat.
Must be in her genes.
You stay out of her genes, you hear me?
I'm the king here, and what I say doesn't live dies.
Maybe. But I'm making her movie.
Oh, yeah? With whose money?
Yours. Courtesy of that blank check.
I'm cashing it, unless I can't trust you after all.
Sometimes I think I'm actually the one with scruples.
The movie's the baby, Pat.
f*ck the baby.
He doesn't care much about beauty, does he?
I am sorry, Monroe.
I told you.
This has to stop.
I hate everything else.
Does that make you angry?