One Good Turn (1930)

FADE IN:

INT. VAUDEVILLE THEATER - NIGHT

A black signboard at the edge of the stage reads ETON AND FARRELL 
in white Art Deco type. A piano plays. The voice of RUTH ETON 
begins warbling the verse of "If I Could Be With You (One Hour 
To-Night)" a pop tune by Henry Creamer and Jimmy Johnson. 

We PAN from the signboard, across the stage, past Ruth's studly
accompanist EDDIE FARRELL, and HOLD ON Ruth, a sad-eyed jazz 
singer in a sexy black dress who stands in front of the grand 
piano, a scarf in her hand. 

			RUTH
		(sings)
	I'm so blue I don't know what to do
	All day through I'm pining just for you 
	I did wrong when I let you go away
	And now I grieve about you night and day
	I'm unhappy and dissatisfied
	But I'd be happy if I had you by my side... 

As Ruth begins the refrain, an unseen orchestra joins in.

			RUTH
		(sings)
	If I could be with you I'd love you strong
	If I could be with you I'd love you long

	I want you to know that I wouldn't go
	Until I told you, honey, that I loved you so 

Eddie sings the second half of the refrain, not nearly as well as 
Ruth.

			EDDIE
		(sings)
	If I was free to do the things with you
	If I could do the things I know I'd do

	I'm telling you true
	I'd be anything but blue
	If I could be with you

Ruth takes the second refrain in a faster, rhythmically complex 
tempo.

			RUTH
		(sings)
	If I could be with you I'd love you strong
	If I could be with you I'd love you long

	I want you to know that I wouldn't go
	Until I told you, honey, that I loved you so 

	If I could be with you one hour tonight
	If I was free to do the things I might

	I'm telling you
	I'd be anything but blue
	If I could be with you

	For just one hour ...

	If I could be with you

Ruth bows to the audience as they APPLAUD. She gestures to Eddie 
who rises and bows.

					DISSOLVE TO:

INT. RUTH'S DRESSING ROOM - NIGHT

Ruth's agents enter the room looking for her: Tall Anglo-Saxon JIM 
and heavily-accented Jewish cigar-smoker SAUL. Ruth is out of view, 
changing clothes behind a screen.

			JIM
	Oh, Ruth! Ruth!

			RUTH'S VOICE
	Hello?

			SAUL
	Hey, Ruth!

			RUTH'S VOICE
	Hello! Sit down, make yourselves at home. 
	I'll be out in a second.

Saul strikes a match on the wall and lights his cigar while Jim 
takes a seat.

			JIM
	You certainly wowed 'em tonight, Ruthie!

			SAUL
	You certainly did! Five curtain calls and 
	they could've rung up again. 
		(sits) 
	But I don't blame you, honey. Leave 'em 
	hungry.

Ruth emerges in a plain white dress. The agents rise to greet her.

			JIM
	Hello, Ruth.

			RUTH
	Hello, boys!

			SAUL
	Hello, Ruth!

			RUTH
	To what do I owe the honor of this visit? 
	Unwrap the bad news.

			JIM
	You worrying about bad news after...?

			SAUL
	You worrying! Mm-mm! Such a performer! It 
	is to laughing, ain't it, Jim? Heh! The 
	office wants to give you a new roof. Such 
	a roof! Mm-mm! Starting with the Palace, 
	headline billing. Even the Colonel'll tell 
	you to sign.

			RUTH
	All right, all right. Let's have the 
	"but--" ...

			SAUL
		(laughs) 
	Cute, ain't it? It's no "but," Ruthie -- 
	it's a "because"!

			RUTH
	Well, because what -- ?

			JIM
		(hesitant)
	Well, be-- Because of your partner. They 
	don't want Farrell -- and you don't need 
	him. Oh, why should we beat around the 
	bush?

			RUTH
	They don't want Eddie? 

			SAUL
	They don't want Eddie -- that's the truth, 
	straight from the suspenders.

			RUTH
	Well, what's the matter with him? Why 
	don't they want him?

			SAUL
		(holds up two fingers)
	I can tell you in just two words what's 
	the matter with him:
		(counts off)
	Im - possible.

			RUTH
		(upset)
	Well, if they don't want Eddie Farrell, 
	they can't have me.

She retreats to her dressing table and sits, fixing her hair and 
powdering her nose. The agents follow and stand on either side of 
her.

			SAUL
	Never mind the display of temperature! 
	But, listen, it's for your own good!

			JIM
	Ruth, it ain't us, it's the office. They 
	don't want him.

			RUTH
	You don't understand. I couldn't break 
	with Eddie.

			JIM
	Oh, I got it. Love certainly makes the 
	world go 'round.

			RUTH
	Oh, I know Eddie's no wonder but he's 
	young and he'll develop.

			JIM
	Sure, he'll develop lockjaw the way he 
	tries to sing.

The agents walk off in disgust. Ruth rises and confronts Saul 
while Jim takes a seat.

			RUTH
	Please, Saul, listen. I can talk to you 
	as a friend. Let us lay off a couple of 
	months. I'm working with Eddie. I'll give 
	him poise and polish and I'll show him 
	how to wear clothes.

			SAUL
	Say, what's going on here?

			RUTH
	Aw, he has the makings. I'll teach him 
	how to sell a song and all you have to do 
	is to book us into the Strand and have 
	the office catch the act.

			JIM
	Yeah, I know. And in Newark, you'll want 
	us to look at you in Trenton.

			SAUL
	Yeah, and in Trenton, you'll want us to go 
	to Poughkeepsie. And in my condition --!

			RUTH
	Say, Saul, with your drag up in that 
	office, you won't have any trouble stalling 
	them off a few months. Tell 'em -- aw, tell 
	'em my health's bad. Tell them anything. 
		(voice breaking)
	I don't care anything about the money. I 
	want Eddie to come through and I know he can 
	do it.

			SAUL
	A few months?!

			RUTH
	A few months. What's the difference?

			SAUL
	Say, it's a big difference between you and 
	Eddie. You're marvelous. And he's, uh, er 
	... Say, Jim. What's the opposite of 
	marvelous?

			JIM
		(with a dismissive wave)
	That's Eddie.

					FADE OUT


TITLE (to a slow instrumental version of "If I Could Be With You"):

		Eddie hitched his wagon to a star --
		and was on his way to success.


FADE IN:

INT. REHEARSAL - NIGHT

Ruth plays piano and looks admiringly at Eddie who, with a knee on 
the piano bench, stands next to her, singing a line from "The Kiss 
Waltz," a ballad by Al Dubin and Joe Burke:

			EDDIE
		(sings)
	Kiss me, sweetheart ...

			RUTH
		(stops playing)
	Oh, that's much better, darling. But when 
	you sing the word "sweetheart" open your 
	mouth. Don't sing through your nose. And 
	try this little slur of mine:
		(sings and plays)
	Ki-iss me, swee-ee-eetheart ...
		(speaks)
	Now, you try it.

But Eddie grabs her hands lovingly and sits beside her on the bench.

			EDDIE
	Oh, say, honey, you're great to work with 
	me like this. But I don't kid myself. I 
	know you don't need me.

			RUTH
	Don't need you? Why, I wouldn't go on 
	without you. And if you ask me, you're 
	getting along wonderful.

			EDDIE
	On the level? Say, if ever I do get 
	anywhere ...

			RUTH
	Well, what?

			EDDIE
	Well ... you figure it out.

			RUTH
	Well, as long as I have you by my side, 
	I'm happy.

			EDDIE
	Oh ho. That sounds like a music cue, 
	doesn't it?

			RUTH
	It is.

She begins to play.

			EDDIE
		(sings)
	This waltz is the Kiss Waltz
		(rises and sings as if onstage)
	Telling us both what to do ...

					QUICK DISSOLVE TO:

INT. VAUDEVILLE THEATER - NIGHT

Eddie, in a tuxedo, stands onstage with Ruth beside him looking on 
proudly as he completes the song:

			EDDIE
		(sings)
	... Kiss me, sweetheart, kiss me
	While I dance the Kiss Waltz with you ...

Eddie bows twice to the audience's APPLAUSE, then turns to Ruth. 
They exchange bows.

					DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. THEATER - NIGHT

Ruth and Eddie exit out the Stage Door. A crowd of young women 
push past Ruth to get to Eddie and surround him, chattering 
excitedly. Agents Jim and Saul arrive from the opposite direction 
from the girls and stare at the scene.

Eddie signs autographs and chats with his adoring fans while a 
bemused Ruth shakes her head and walks away.

			SAUL
	Can you beat it? Six months ago that guy 
	was a bust! 

			JIM
	And now he's a natural.

			SAUL
	Yeah, a natural imitation of Ruth Eton. 
	She taught him everything. And such a 
	matinee idol! Mm!

The crowd disperses and Eddie greets Jim and Saul with handshakes.

			EDDIE
	Hello, Saul!

			SAUL
	Hello, Eddie!

			EDDIE
	Hello, Jim!

			JIM
	Hello, Eddie! Oh, say, Eddie. If we're not 
	breaking into your social life ...

			SAUL
	Hey, listen, Eddie, we've got to talk to 
	you. It's important.

			EDDIE
	Yeah?

			SAUL
	Shienfeld is putting on his new Ritz Revue 
	and we got a swell offer for you. You've 
	been in vaudeville long enough.

			EDDIE
	Say, I'd like to be with that outfit. 
	Think we ought to take it?

			SAUL
	It ain't a "we" proposition, Eddie. They 
	want you.

			EDDIE
	They don't want Ruth?

			SAUL
	Pre-zactly!

			EDDIE
	Well, what'll I do with her?

			SAUL
	Say, why should you worry about her? She 
	can take care of herself. She don't do 
	anything anymore in the act anyway.

			EDDIE
	Well, she's got to live.

			JIM
	Oh, don't worry. Ruth can play the small 
	time just as long as she likes.

			EDDIE
		(almost persuaded)
	Well, I guess that could be arranged.

			SAUL
	Say, why should you worry? You've got your 
	own troubles. You know how this business 
	is. Today, you're upstairs. And tomorrow 
	-- who knows? -- you're in the cellar, 
	ain't you?

			EDDIE
		(convinced)
	Well, I guess you're right. You know, I've 
	always wanted to be with that--

The three men start talking simultaneously as they walk off.

					FADE OUT


TITLE (to a fast instrumental version of "If I Could Be With You"):

		Ruth learned that on Broadway the 
		billing was over when the cooing 
		stopped.


FADE IN:

INT. APARTMENT - DAY

Ruth opens the doors to her kitchen and turns to see a framed 
photo of Eddie on a table beside her chair in the living room. She 
sits in the chair, picks up the photo, stares at it a moment, sets 
it down, then turns away sadly, burying her head in her shoulder.

Ruth's roommate MARGE enters, carrying packages.

			MARGE
	Hello, Ruth.

			RUTH
		(tries to get a grip)
	Hello, Marge.

Marge puts the packages in the kitchen and returns to the living 
to discard her purse, hat and coat. Marge is a low-paid, wise-
cracking chorus girl, always on the lookout for a man or a buck.

			MARGE
	Well, here I am -- all tired out. I've 
	been from five-and-ten cent store to 
	five-and-ten cent store. Just couldn't 
	find a fur coat to fit me.

			RUTH
		(laughs)
	Gee, I wish I had your disposition. What 
	are all the bundles?

			MARGE
		(pulls out a card table)
	Rations, dearie, rations. It looks like a 
	hard winter -- we might as well eat while 
	we can.

Throughout the following, Marge sets up the table next to Ruth, 
covers it with a tablecloth, brings cups, food, a chair, etc.

			RUTH
	Fix something for yourself. I'm not 
	hungry.

			MARGE
	Oh, I've brought some swell corned beef. 
		(off Eddie's photo)
	I thought it'd be a change from that 
	ham o' yours.

			RUTH
		(takes photo and stares at it)
	Aw, Eddie was all right until success went 
	to his head.

			MARGE
	Yeah, it went to the place where it had 
	the most room.

			RUTH
	Somehow I - I just can't work without him.

Ruth puts the photo back.

			MARGE
	Aw, come on, brace up! Come on, show me 
	the chinaware, will ya?

			RUTH
		(faint grin, head down)
	Aw, I'll get over it, I guess.

			MARGE
	Sure. Love 'em, tease 'em, and give 'em 
	the ozone.

			RUTH
	That's all right when you're playing with 
	numbers. But when you've just got one 
	who's ... been everything to you.

			MARGE
	Say, you sound like a page out of "True 
	Confessions"!

			RUTH
	Well, I feel worse. And think how hard I 
	worked with him. That's gratitude.

			MARGE
	Yeah, when you first knew him, he couldn't 
	carry a tune if it had a handle.

			RUTH
	And this is the thanks I get for it.

			MARGE
	Oh, you'll get over it. I've had more 
	knocks in this racket than a crosstown 
	bus. And I been in this game since the 
	Big Dipper was just a drinking cup.

			RUTH
		(chuckles) 
	It's the woman who pays.

Marge brings a coffee pot to the table and sits.

			MARGE
	Well, why don't you stop paying and do 
	some playing? Say, you know, you've passed 
	up more offers this week -- and for what?

			RUTH
	Well, I just can't get him out of my mind.

			MARGE
	Oh, that ungrateful double-crosser... Say, 
	do you know if you were drowning, he'd 
	turn a hose on you.

			RUTH
	Well, I'm not drowning yet.

			MARGE
	Yeah. With those eyes and that shape, 
	you'll always be able to stand up.

			RUTH
	Maybe it would be better if I tried to 
	forget him.

			MARGE
	Better? You're speaking mildly.

			RUTH
	Will you help me?

			MARGE
	Will I help you? Can Lindbergh fly? 

Marge forks some corned beef onto a plate for Ruth.

			MARGE
	Come on, eat some of this.

			RUTH
	Mmmm. It does smell good.

Ruth moves closer to the table, puts a napkin in her lap, sugars 
her tea, etc.

			MARGE
	Listen, after you've huddled up with this 
	corned beef, you'll have a better outlook 
	on life. And after we finish, we'll put on 
	some powder and go gunning for big game.

			RUTH
		(laughs) 
	I believe you will help me to forget him 
	after all.

			MARGE
	Forget him? Say, you'll forget that that 
	ivory-tickler ever existed.

Ruth sips her tea thoughtfully as we

				FADE OUT


INSERT (to a sad instrumental version of "If I Could Be With You"):

A newspaper article. The headlines read: 

		Eddie Farrell, Revue Star
		Suddenly Loses Voice

		Broadway Playboy
		Stricken At Party

The article, next to a photo of Eddie, reads:

		Eddie Farrell, famous tenor who had 
		been touring the Inter-Mountain 
		Circuit and other well-known 
		vaudeville circuits, was suddenly 
		stricken at a theatrical party 
		given by Florenz Shufield.

					DISSOLVE TO:

INT. TRAIN COMPARTMENT - DAY

[We know we're on a train because we hear TRAIN SOUND EFFECTS and 
a porter enters after the first line and wanders around in the 
background.]

Four men, all faceless show-biz types, sit around while one of 
them deals out four hands of playing cards atop some suitcases. 
The FIRST MAN reads a newspaper which presumably contains the 
above article.

			FIRST MAN
	Well, there's the guy that got just what 
	was coming to him.

			SECOND MAN
	It's the old story. Wine, women, and 
	sauerkraut.

			THIRD MAN
	In other words, the boy went the way of 
	all fish.

			FIRST MAN
	This paper said it started with a case of 
	laryngitis.

			THIRD MAN
	Well, that ham would drink anything.

			FOURTH MAN
		(dealing the cards)
	Eddie's no ham. You can cure a ham.

			SECOND MAN
	And what a terrible deal he gave that 
	Eton girl.

			FIRST MAN
	I should say so. She taught him everything 
	he knew. Nothing but a stooge piano player 
	till she straightened him out.

The men begin to play. The game is bridge:

			FOURTH MAN
	Pass.

			THIRD MAN
	One club.

			FIRST MAN
	One no-trump.

			THIRD MAN
	Well, just the same, boys, don't forget 
	to be at that benefit Sunday night.

			FOURTH MAN
	Don't worry, we'll be there with bells.

			SECOND MAN
	Never mind the belles. That's what put 
	Farrell on the bum. Two diamonds.

					FADE OUT


INSERT (to a rousing FANFARE):

A page of the program for the Sunday night benefit:

		MONSTER BENEFIT
		for EDDIE FARRELL

		The following guest artists 
		will positively appear:

		JOE FRISCO
		JIM BARTON 
		TRIXIE FRIGANZA 
		EDDIE FOY, JR. 
		WALTER WINCHELL 
		ANN SEYMOUR
		MARK HELLINGER
		JOE PENNER
		HELEN BRODERICK
		ROBERT L. RIPLEY
		WILLIE HOWARD
		SYLVIA HOWARD
		YORK & KING

		and other well-known artists [sic]

		at the 
		WINTER GARDEN
		Broadway and 51st Street
		New York City

					DISSOLVE TO:

INT. WINTER GARDEN THEATER - NIGHT

A full house. The orchestra leader conducts the rousing FANFARE.

The music stops as the show's tuxedoed MASTER OF CEREMONIES walks 
onstage. 

			THE M.C.
	Ladies and gentlemen. We have waited as 
	long as possible. I regret very much to 
	announce that all the stars to appear, 
	none have shown up. Your money will be 
	refunded at the box office. However, 
	before you go, I wish to state that we 
	have with us tonight a very unexpected 
	guest performer. A girl none of us can 
	forget. Eddie Farrell's old partner, Miss 
	Ruth Eton.

The audience APPLAUDS.

			THE M.C.
	Thank you. 

The M.C. turns and beckons to Ruth offstage.

			THE M.C.
	Oh, Ruthie? 
		(to the audience)
	Miss Eton.

MUSIC begins, lights go down, the M.C. retreats. 

Ruth, dressed in ordinary street clothes, walks to center stage, 
her head down, her purse and gloves in her hand. She pauses, looks 
out at the audience sadly ... and sings the verse and one refrain 
of the torch song "Don't Tell Him What Happened To Me" (by B.G. 
De Sylva, Lew Brown and Ray Henderson) in one long glorious take:

			RUTH
		(sings)
	I loved him, I lost him
	He craved a thrill
	I can't forget him
	I love him still
	It's over, all over
	And yet I find
	That he's always on my mind

	Tell me where he is, tell me where he goes
	Tell me what he does, tell me who he knows
	But don't tell him what happened to me

	If he says his life now is like a song
	Tell him he was right, tell him I was wrong
	But don't tell him what happened to me

	Let him remember me
	As I used to be
	When his love for me
	Made me strong and free

	Ask him if the new kisses are divine
	Ask him if they thrill just as much as mine
	But don't tell him what happened to me

CUT TO EDDIE watching from the wings. He clutches his laryngitic 
throat and expresses guilt and remorse.

RESUME ON RUTH as she sings another half refrain of the song:

			RUTH
		(sings, clutches her purse)
	Let him remember me
	As I used to be
	When his love for me
	Made me strong and free

	I wonder if the new kisses are divine
	I wonder if they thrill just as much as mine
	Oh, don't tell him what happened to me

The MUSIC ends. Ruth, head bowed, walks off. The audience APPLAUDS 
and rises -- whether to begin a standing ovation or to go home is 
not entirely clear.

					CUT TO:

INT. BACKSTAGE - NIGHT

It's dark. The only illumination comes from a single standing lamp
-- a.k.a. the "ghost light": a bulb traditionally left burning on
the stage whenever a theater is dark and empty. An IRISHMAN, in
overalls, sweeps the floor with a broom as an emotionally-drained
Ruth walks past.

			IRISHMAN
		(pleasantly)
	Good night, ma'am.

			RUTH
		(listlessly)
	Good night.

The Irishman walks off as Eddie, hat in hand, emerges from some 
curtains and steps in Ruth's path. She pauses, looks up, and
recognizes him.

			RUTH
	Oh.

			EDDIE
	Yes, it's me.

They stand alone in the darkened backstage with the one lamp 
glowing between them.

			RUTH
	Hello, Eddie.

			EDDIE
		(genuinely)
	Yes, I had to see you. As much as you must 
	hate me for the way I've treated you. But 
	I got what was coming to me. And I see 
	now that I deserved it. Those fair-weather 
	friends of mine certainly put the skids 
	under me plenty. Just think of it. Not one 
	of them showed up. Gee, Ruth, you were 
	great. 

Ruth can't meet his eye.

			EDDIE
		(lightly)
	I used to play the piano pretty well in 
	your act. Didn't I? I mean, as piano 
	players go. Well, maybe ... maybe I could 
	come back. 

Ruth looks straight at him.

			EDDIE
	Farrell's the name.

He offers his hand. She takes it.

			RUTH
	Come up tomorrow for an audition?

Relieved, Eddie holds her hand in both of his.

			EDDIE
	Can I bring the ring?

			RUTH
	What ring?

			EDDIE
	We're two-thirds married now, aren't we?

			RUTH
	What do you mean?

			EDDIE
	Well, I'm willing, the preacher's willing ...

He doesn't need to finish. Ruth grins and puts her head to his 
shoulder. Eddie embraces her. We hear a jaunty version of "If I 
Could Be With You" as we

					FADE OUT






1