Feature Drama | 1920 | Silent | B/W
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Title- "Marcus' attack was soon a forgotten incident. Macs moods of wrath always faded in Trinas company." A small room with patterned wallpaper. A brass bed stands in the middle of the room. Trina sits on one side, busy with her hands, while Mac pulls the bedclothes over himself on the other side. Close up of Trina, her hair unpinned in two braids, looking sadly over her shoulder at Mac. Close up of Mac yawning. Trina turns, with a crafty look in her eye, and wakes up Mac to say-"Mommer wants me…" She looks down at him "Wants us…" She widens her eyes-"To send her fifty dollars." Mac looks from under the covers to say "Well, I guess we can send it…can't we?" and settles back into bed. Trina looks outraged. She puts her hands on her hips and cries-"I wonder if Mommer thinks we're millionaires?" Mac, grimacing, goes up on his elbows to say "Trina, you're getting' to be a regular stingy! You're getting' worse and worse every day!" She stares down at him "But…fifty dollars is fifty dollars!" Mac smiles-"Well, you got a lot saved up…and besides, you still got all o' your five thousand." She yells at him, her hair flying "Don't talk that way Mac! That money is never…never going to be touched!" Mac laughs and settles back into bed. A crafty look comes over Trinas face. She chews her finger absent mindedly. She gets up, when she's sure Mac is asleep, and creeps around the side of the bed. She wears a floor length nightdress and house-coat, and her braids reach down to her knees. Mac stirs and she ducks down. Looking over him she reaches into his coat pocket, which lies by the side of the bed, and takes out a handful of money. She lifts it up, smiling to herself, and folds the note carefully around the coins. Checking Mac's still asleep, she creeps back around the bed and puts the money in the bedside cabinet. Taking some cream from a jar on the table, she rubs it into her hands, a mean expression on her face. She says to herself "If Mommer really needs the money so badly…she'll write again." She rubs her hands gleefully. A pile of coins shine on a black background, two skeletal hands reach forward and scrape up the coins, letting them run through their fingers. Title-"Trinas miserly attitude grew steadily through the following months…but her brusque outbursts of affection kept her tolerable to the slow-thinking McTeague." Mac sits smoking a pipe, Trina on his knee. She runs her fingers through his hair and holds his head in her hands. The other side of the door, Marcus, in a snappy suit and boater hat, knocks on the door with his cane. Trina jumps up from Macs knee. She panics and hurries to tidy herself and make Mac presentable. She goes to open the door, and Marcus stands smiling. Trina nervously puts her fingers to her mouth and looks from Marcus to Mac. Mac stands watching intently. Marcus asks if her can come in, and Mac nods. A cat runs out of a doorway. Trina gestures to Mac to make Marcus comfortable. She pulls up a chair to the table. They all sit down together. Marcus, looking relaxed says "Well…bygones is bygones, ain't they Mac?" Mac says "Sure" Marcus, looking suspicious, asks "Well, how's business, Doc?" Behind Marcus' head Trina waves, trying to attract Macs attention. She gestures 'Has he been drinking' Marcus looks around at her and she smiles sweetly and preens her hair. Mac watches them, looking confused. Marcus, shuffling in his seat asks "Plenty o' money?" Mac doesn't move. Trina gestures and points at Marcus, who, turning around to her says "Lots to do?" Trina pretends to look at her nails. Marcus says "Everything just fine…huh?" Mac doesn’t say anything. Trina replies "We've got lots to do" and says, with her hands in her lap, "But we haven't got no money!" Marcus, looking uncomfortable, says "Well…I'm goin' away. Goin' cattle ranchin' with an English duck."
Trina looks at him solomnly. He carries on- "Comin' back? Why…I ain't never comin' back" Trina says 'Oh' and looks down, pulling a face. Marcus explains "I came t'say goodbye" A cat sits in Macs dentist chair, looking upwards. The caged birds flutter above. Close up of the cats face blinking, closes in on its eye. Marcus shakes Macs hand sadly, Mac looks at him. Marcus says "I guess we won't never see each other again" Mac, emotionless, says "I guess so" Trina looks at him kindly and says goodbye. They show him the door. The cats face blinks. The birdcage seen from below. Marcus puts his hat to his heart, saying "Good luck…t'you both" and walks down the hallway. Trina closes the door, stiffling laughter. Mac looks on, confused. As she laughs, he joins in. She mimics Marcus, saying "Goodbye. That's the best thing I ever heard Marcus say" They grip each other, giggling. Title-"So Marcus had left…left for good. Never again should they be disturbed by him" Three letters fall through the letterbox of their front door. Trina is in the kitchen chatting. She carries a kettle of water to the sink and pours it. She is dressed in white, her hair tied up. Mac stands in front of the window, the curtains blowing in the breeze. He opens the letters. One of them reads 'Board of Dental Examiners of California.' The cat creeps up on the window sill and looks up at the birds. The letter explains that it has come to their attention that he is practicing dentistry without a diploma. He is to stop his work, and his actions may result in criminal prosecution. The cat suddenly jumps and clings to the bird cage, it swings from side to side. Mac raises his hand to hit it, but it jumps through the window. Trina looks up and continues to polish the table. Mac, disturbed, looks at Trina and walks over to show her the letter.
She holds it in one rubber gloved hand, the table sponge in the other.She reads the letter and, in anger, squeezes the sponge. She looks at Mac, who tries to explain. She calmly mops up the water she has spilt and sits down. She lays the letter neatly in front of her. The cat looks up from the window sill. She says "Why…it isn't possible" Mac holds her hand and says-"Well…I ain't gonna quit for just a piece of paper!" and bangs his fist on the table. The door opens and Mac gets up. Trina clasps his hand and saying "Go on Mac! Get all the money you can before they make you stop" Trina pushes him out. She bites her finger and bends down to reread the letter. Her face in her hands, she looks up at the birds and cries "It's Marcus…that’s done it!" She widens her eyes "Damn his soul!" In the surgery, Mac bends over a patient seated in the chair. Trina, with tears in her eyes, lays her head on the table. Title-"Only little by little did the McTeagues understand the calamity that had befallen them" Trina, in her apron, holds Macs head to her. He sits at the kitchen table. Mac gestures around him "I got everythin' fixed an' ready an' waitin' an' nobody's ever gonna come any more" He holds up a small black board, covered with appointments. Trina looks down at it. The blackboard is darkened with her tears. She says-"That's the only way to rub it out…by me crying on it" She rubs the water and the writing is erased. Mac looks into the distance. Slowly, he gets up, making his hands into fists. Trina looks up at him, nervously. He says-"If…I…ever…meet…Marcus Schouter!" He starts shaking. Trina echoes his words "If…you…ever…do!" and holds onto his chest. Title-"With the stopping of McTeagues practice, the grind began. Trina sold everything, she worked at toy whittling that her money might remain untouched" Trina sits at the end of a messy room. Her hair is tangled. She wears a sacking coat and hole-filled gloves. She carves at a piece of wood. The chips fall in a pile on the floor, she wears shoes made from sacking. A clock by the bed reads three. The bed is unmade, the wash bowl and cloths dirty, and the sink is filled with crockery from many meals. Trina, looking pasty, sadly takes off her gloves, rolls them up and throws them down. She inspects her work-worn fingers. The door opens and Mac comes in, wearing a shabby coat and flat cap. Trina looks up at him, surprised, then down to the clock. He takes off his cap and hangs it on the wall, looking ashamed. Trina watches him intently. He sits down and she wanders over, demanding to know why he's home so early.
He looks up at her and eventually says "They fired me!" Trina looks around, distraught. She grabs his shoulders and asks "Isn't there another surgical instrument factory in town?" He says "Yes…there's…there's two more" She shouts at him, shoving him, saying "We're loosing money every second you sit here." He looks miserable. "And we cannot afford it." She goes over to where his cap is hanging and throws it at him. She shouts and taking his arm, shoves him out the door, following him down the hallway. Before he goes she shouts down-"Mac-they paid you didn't they?" He nods. She demands to know where it is, becoming more and more agitated. Close up of her foot stamping the ground. Mac, beaten, reaches into his jacket, saying "Always money." She grabs it from him and, glaring at him, checks all of his other pockets. She rips open the envelope and counts out the money. From the bottom of the stairs, Mac stands, about to leave. Trina, looking like a witch, stares after him. He turns slowly to look at her. He walks to her, saying "Better gimme a nickel for carfare" He looks up, reaching for the money-"It’s a long walk" He adda "An' its gonna rain." Trina laughs down at him, her hands on her hips "A big fellow like you…'fraid of a little walk!" He lopes down the stairs, and she looks after him with cotempt. A street-Mac comes out of a doorway between two shops. Trina, narrowing her eyes, counts Macs money into a heavy bag. She smiles to herself, imagining a large table filled with glittering items, which two sets of iridescent hands pick up and admire. Mac, walking past Frennas saloon, is beckoned in by old friends. He is soaking wet from the rain. His friend says-"You oughta taken a car" Mac nods."You're goin' to catch your death o' cold" Mac resists but they pull him inside. The barman shakes his hand and Mac takes off his hat, brushing the water off himself. His friend orders "Two straight, Joe" Mac stops him, saying "It kind o' disagrees with me" His friend looks him up and down, saying "Aw hell, you'll die if you stand 'round soaked like that." So Mac gulps down the shot. Trina, meanwhile, manicly polishes a coin, admiring it.
Title-"Gold was her master…a passion with her, a mania, a veritable mental disease" She smiles at the shiny coin. Mac and his friends are talking at the bar. They persuade him to have another drink. Trina is admiring her money. Suddenly, she hears footsteps and quickly hides away her hoard. Mac pushes at the door. Trina hides the bag of money. Mac thumps on the door. He wanders in and sits down on the bed. She puts her hands on her hips and says-"Did you get a place?" He looks at her. She wipes some water from his shoulder and asks-"Did you get…caught...in the rain?" He looks up at her and suddenly shouts-"Wouldn't even gimme a nickel…for carfare!" She says fearfully-"I didn't know it was going to rain" He screams after, shaking with rage-"Didn't I tell you it was?" She widens her eyes. He says "You ain't gonna make small o' me…all the time!" She clasps her hands, saying "Did you…get a place?" He stands up slowly. Towering over her he holds out his hand-"Gimme back the money I gave ya!" She looks around, helpless, and says-"I…paid…the grocery bill with it." He yells "I don't believe ya!" Her eyes wide with tears she says "Why, Mac, do you think I'd lie to you?" She repeats "Did you get a place?" He screams at her face 'No'. She collapses on the bed in tears. He looks around at their filthy home. In the cage, the two birds peck one another. Mac yells down at Trina-"Ain't that fine?" She looks up from her lap, he cries "Ain't that lovely?" She looks up, saying "I won't have you yell at me…like that!" They glare at one another. He says "You're gonna do…just as I tell you…after this…Trina McTeague!" She grimaces, smelling his boozy breath, and says-'You've been drinking.' He shouts out "Yes!…I been drinkin' whiskey!" They shout and shout and he lifts up his hand to strike her, but stops himself. She bites her hand, afraid of him. He says "I'm beat out…an' I don't wanta be bothered!" He shoves her and, tearing off his jacket, collapses into bed. The birds in the cage peck at one another. Trina, crying to herself, asks-"I wonder where he got the money…to buy the whiskey?" Title- "As time went on Macs idleness became habitual. His dislike for Trina increased with every day of her persistant stinginess."
Mac drinking in the saloon. His friends all buy him drinks. He says-"I'll get some money and come back." Trina is asleep in bed. Mac storms in, slamming the door behind him. Trina jumps up, her hair in a mess. He picks her up by the arm, she writhes in pain. He holds out his hand. She says she has no money. He laughs and pinches her. He says-"You with all that money…an' me with nothin'. Come'n!" He holds her hand in his mouth, threatening to bite off her fingers. She reaches under the mattress, and pulls out a parcel with a single note inside. She hands it over. He demands to know where the rest is. She eventually finds another note in a drawer. He searches the rest of the drawer. Throwing it down, he threatens to pinch her again. She shakes her head, asking-"Don't you love me any more, Mac?" He laughs, saying "Sure I do!" and pushes her down onto the bed. She cries. He laughs and walks out, slamming the door behind him.Title- "As Trinas greed grew, Macs ambition waned…and died. They sank lower and lower that Trina might still save from her meagre earnings." Mac sits, his head in his hands, on their bed. The room is filthy. He has grown a shabby beard. He looks up to see their wedding photograph sliced in two. Trina runs to the market, it's raining heavily. She looks along a row of meat. The butcher appears in a blood-stained overall. She talks to him and he lifts up a bucket, saying-"That's three days old. It's hardly fit for dogs." She picks out a bone and pays. She leaves, counting out her change carefully. She puts two coins in one pocket, and one in the other. She opens her umbrella and leaves. Arriving back home Mac looks at her suspiciously. She lights the oven and starts frying the meat. Mac walks over, saying "Wheres my change?" She reaches into her pocket and hands over a coin. He looks at it saying "Two bits…out of a dollar?" She looks up at him, wide eyed, saying "Do you think I'd cheat you?" He wonders off.
Title-"Macs meal was eaten and finished in silence. For the first time in his life he had thoughts." Trina is cleaning away the table. Mac, in coat and hat, collects up his fishing things, and says to Trina "So long." She looks up at him, horrified. She smiles and puts her hands around his neck, saying "Kiss me goodbye, Mac?" Grabbong his hair, she forces him to kiss her. Mac looks away, confused. She asks "Why don't you bring some of your fish home sometimes?" He laughs down, saying "It might save you a nickel." She nods, smiling up at him. Mac looks over at the bird cage saying "I think I'll take them birds o'mine along" She smiles saying "Sell em?" He nods slowly. Excitedly, she says "You ought to get at least five dollars for them." He looks at the birds, she says "Maybe six dollars" As she talks, he unhooks the cage, and puts a cloth over it. He looks at her and says "Well, so long" She smiles. He takes a look around the flat. As she shuts the door, she takes the coins out of her pocket to put with the rest. She holds the coins to her face, saying "How I've slaved and starved for you" On a black background, hands place a glittering object on a full table.Title-"Mac never returned after that day…so Trina took employment as a scrub woman." Trina, with a bucket and mop, scrubs a table. Behind her, children play. A building on a busy street. Children run up the steps. Trina walks past them, keeping out of their way, carrying her mop and bucket. She closes the doors to a room outside. Children sit ready for their class. Title-"And with all her gold, she was a solitary, abandoned woman." Trina pours her money out onto her bed. Joyfully, she spreads it out and runs her fingers through it. Mac, a tramp, goes through a dustbin, to find his wedding photograph, ripped in two, outside of Trinas new home in the school. Trina, with her hair spread out, makes herself comfortable in bed. Mac creeps up to the entrance outside. Mac looks through the window to see Trina sleeping. He knocks on the window and she jumps up in fright. She wraps the bedclothes around her and goes to the window. Pulling back the curtain, she sees Mac looking up at her. She pulls open the window. He says "Say Trina…lemme in will ya?" She says no and tries to shut the window. He says "I ain't had nothin' t'eat since yesterday mornin'" She looks down at him with contempt and says-"I'll see you starve before you get another penny…of my money" Mac says "I wouldn't let a dog go hungry!" She widens her eyes, saying "Not if he'd bitten you?" She slams the window in his face, shouting him to go away. He says through the glass-"If I had hold o' you I'd…" He makes a fist and turns to leave.
The next day, Trina kneels on the floor, scrubbing, a black cat lies beside her. Suddenly, the cat jumps up and runs off. Macs shadow moves past the window. The door bursts open and Mac staggers in. He slams the door behind him and he clenches his fists. Trina backs away, he looms over her. Behind them a banner reads Merry Christmas, and a tree sparkles. Mac stares down, lit from below. He says "I want that five thousand" She shakes her head and runs to the next room, locking the door. Mac bursts in,Christmas decorations sparkle behind him. He wrestles her. Ouside, two men in bowler hats greet one another. Mac throws Trina to the ground, Mac backs away, Trina is out of the shot. He kicks the shoe that fell off her foot in the struggle. He examines a fine chain he has in his hands. He bursts through the door into her bedroom and searches through her drawers for the money. The cat runs into the room. The men outside chat. Mac finds the bag of money. He tucks it into his jacket and goes to walk out. He turns to look at where Trina lays and, hesitating, closes the doors behind him.. The two men outside move on. Mac creeps out of the front door. View of the building from the street. Holding the bulge in his jacket, Mac looks both ways and leaves the schoolhouse. Above him, clouds gather. He looks up to say "I bet…it'll rain tomorrow" He pulls his jacket closed. On a black background, a hand clenches slowly, superimposed are two figures, trapped within the palm. Title-"McTeague had been missing from San Francisco for weeks, when…"
A poster reading Wanted $100 Reward John 'Doc' McTeague, with a photograph. In a mountainous desert landscape a group of people crowd around the poster. Marcus is amongst them. He is dressed like a cowboy. He yells, seeing the poster, and jumps onto his horse. Title-"The Fugitive" In a rocky valley, Mac, bearded and in rags, leads a mule laden with bags. Marcus rides up to a large building and ties his horse up outside. Inside, a group of men in cowboy attire stand around drinking. In the middle stands a suited man, holding up the poster of Mac. Marcus runs up saying "I know um well! I can identify um!" He carries on-"An' that five thousand he got away with…belongs to me!" Marcus beats his chest. He looks around him-"There ain't a man o' you big enough t' stop me from goin'!" He bares his fist as the crowd laugh. The man says-"Lord love you. Come 'long then. He's been reported headin' for Death Valley." The crowd close in on Marcus. Title-"That night desolation lay still around Mac. Every nerve cried aloud for rest, yet every instinct seemed goading him to hurry on" In a bleak landscape, Mac, lying on the ground, wakes up suddenly. His mule is teathered nearby. He looks around him, at the empty landscape, pointing the rifle. He yells out "Damn you! Come on, will ya…an' have it out!" He looks throught the sites and shoots randomly, making the mule jump. He looks down, realizing that he's out of bullets, so he takes the rifle by the handle and throws it. Meanwhile, a gang of men on horses set out from the ranch. The sun rises over the rocks. Mac, with the mule, faces into a flat, featureless landscape. He mops his brow and looks up at the sun, which blazes down. He looks around him, and says "If it gets much hotter, I don't know" Dust rises from the party of men riding into the valley. Mac leads the mule between sand dunes. He looks around and takes off his shirt. A rattle snake moves, and the mule runs off, but Mac holds it still. Two lizards fight in the sand. Mac watches, entranced. He says "God, what a country" and leads off the mule.
Title-"And for many days, on Mac went…chasing the receeding horizon that always fled before him" Mac walks the mule up to a darkened patch with a dried out tree. "The last water hole" He kneels on the ground, and sticks his head in to drink. He scoops up some water in a pan for the mule. As it drinks, Mac takes a bottle from the mules pack and goes to fill it. In the distance, the band of men dismount their horses. The leader says to Marcus "It's impossible to cross Death Valley! There ain't enough for one man an' his mount…let alone eight!" Mac looks up from the water hole and leads off the mule. The leader of the gang of men gestures with his arm and says "We've got to circle 'round the valley" Marcus shouts at him "Like hell I will! I ain't sworn in" He thumps his chest. "I do as I please" The other cowboys laugh to themselves, and the leader says "Go on then…you damn fool! But I ain't got nothin' t'do with it!" He holds up a pair of handcuffs-"If you catch him, put these bracelets on him an' bring him in!" Marcus, shouting to the group, rides off while they laugh and jeer. Title-"McTeague was headed for the very heart of Death Valley…that horrible wilderness of which even beasts were afraid." The horizon of Death Valley, the sun rises. Close up of Mac and the mules feet walking across dry cracked land. They walk into a flat horizon. Mac stops, saying "It's goin' to be worse than ever today" They walk on. Marcus rides up to the water hole. He looks down to find it empty. The sun blazes down. He unhooks his water bottle and takes a drink. Mac kneels down, moving rocks. Marcus finds his water bottle near empty, his horse has collapsed in the heat. With determination he walks on alone. Mac lies on his belly, looking for water. Marcus looks down at the rocks, he suddenly takes a long swig of his water bottle. He says "By damn…if he ain't got no water with 'um I'll be in a bad way." He throws the bottle, empty, to the ground. He sways in the blazing sun-"But hatred and the greed for gold kept Marcus up…and closer and closer he came." Marcus walks up, Mac lies in the sand in front of him, his mule nearby. Marcus falls to his knees and begins to crawl. He reaches Mac and holds a gun to his head. They stand up, Mac with his hands in the air. Marcus checks Macs pockets. Finding them empty, he says- "What did you do with that five thousand?" Mac motions towards the mule. Marcus says "Got any water?" Mac nods and again gestures to the mule. As Marcus walks towards the mule, he frightens it and it runs off into the distance. Marcus asks-"Is that all the water you've got…on the saddle?" Mac nods. Marcus takes aim with his pistol, saying "He ate some loco-weed. We'd better finish him t'aint right to let um suffer" They run after the mule, shooting. The mule bucks and kicks, but eventually collapses. Marcus grabs the water bottle and shakes it. He looks down to see that he has shot a hole through it. Mac and Marcus look at one another, and at the stain of water on the sand. They both look into the distance. Marcus says "There's no water within a hundred miles o'here." Then, looking at Mac-"We…are…dead…men!" The sun blazes down. Marcus looks down to see Macs pile of gold. Mac says "Even if we're done for, I'll take some o' my truck along." Marcus pushes him, saying "I ain't so sure 'bout who that money belongs to." Marcus gets his gun out of his pocket. Mac says "An' don't try and load that gun either." Mac watches Marcus, his hands making fists. Marcus says, holding his gun up by the barrel "Don' you lay your fingers on that sack." Thay jump at each other.
Close up of their hands grappling with the gun. Mac grabs it and hits Marcus over the head. Marcus looks up at him, blood pouring from his nose. Mac hits him with the gun severaal more times, finishing him off. He gets up, slowly, but realizes that Marcus has handcuffed their wrists together. Mac looks in disbelief. The handcuffs, the gold, Macs confused face, the empty water bottle, he sinks to his knees. He sees a bundle in the sand and gets up, dragging Marcus, to get it. He sets it down on Marcus' belly and takes off the cloth cover. It's the birdcage. He reaches into it and grabs the bird. Close up of the bird in his bloodstained hand. He looks around him and, kissing the birds head, throws it up into the air. He looks across at the pile of gold. The scene from far away. The empty desert.
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