Screenplay by earl w. Wallace and william kelley from a story by william kelley revised draft april 23, 1984

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WITNESS

Screenplay by EARL W. WALLACE and WILLIAM KELLEY from a story by WILLIAM KELLEY

REVISED DRAFT APRIL 23, 1984

1 EXT. LANCASTER COUNTY, PA. COUNTRYSIDE - DAY

(TITLE SEQUENCE)

The faces of several young children are presented in CLOSEUP, as they walk TOWARD US across a ploughed field. On the SOUND TRACK, the haunting SOUNDS OF A GREGORIAN FUNERAL CHANT. The CAMERA PANS UP to the faces of older brothers and sisters, then to parents and grandparents. These are not familiar faces, but faces from another age, strong and open. All are dressed in the distinctive clothing of the Amish.

2 EXT. COUNTRY LANE - DAY

Through the last traces of early morning mist another group of black-clad figures make their way down a lane.

3 EXT. COUNTRY LANE - DAY

An Amish buggy, black and highwheeled, stark against the landscape, appears, a spirited chestnut in the traces.Framed in the glass window of the narrow buggy is the stern figure of an Amish man in black topcoat and flatbrimmed hat, his bonneted wife in muted colors, the face of a boy, attired like his father, peering out. The horse's breath smokes on the frosty air, the buggy CREAKS on its springs, and there's the rhythmic CLIP-CLOP OF HOOVES on the pavement.

4 ANOTHER LANE

Two Amish buggies reach a crossroads, join a procession of three others. They disappear as the lane wends through a leafless thicket of hickory.

5 VALLEY

A BIG SHOT... now the procession numbers almost a dozen buggies... it is headed toward a distant farmhouse.

6 BARNYARD

Where literally dozens of carriages are parked. The horses have been taken from the traces, removed to the shelter of the barn.

7 EXT. LAPP FARMHOUSE - FRONT PORCH

As the black clad mourners begin to move in the house (women and children presumably first).

8 INT. LAPP FARMHOUSE

the coffins the upper half open. We see that the worse has been dressed in white linen, a piece of white linen partially covering the bearded face.

END TITLE SEQUENCE.

9 INT. LAPP FARMHOUSE

Partitions have been removed, making the central rooms of the farmhouse a spacious hall. The place is packed, a hundred-fifty or more Amish, all sitting in absolute silence on rows of wooden benches. A wooden coffin rests on a bench in the f.g., and near it the close relatives of the deceased occupy a special Place.

RACHEL LAPP

A young woman of perhaps twenty-seven. Her face is pale and drawn. In happier circumstances, although there haven't been too many of late in Rachel's life, we would see a robust, sensual woman of full figure, spirit and intelligence. Eight-year-old SAMUEL LAPP flits next to his mother; he would appear stunned, possibly not entirely comprehending events. And the patriarch, ELI LAPP; his stubborn weathered - yet not unkind - features grief-stricken.

THE MOURNERS

Their faces...

CLOCK


as it begins to CHIME nine a.m.

FAVORING PREACHER

as he removes his hat. As one, the men in the congregation remove their hats also.

9 CONTINUED:

Then the preacher begins to speak in a formal German dialect:

(SUBTITLES OVER)

PREACHER

... a brother has been called home. God has spoken through the death of our neighbor, Jacob Lapp...

THE FAMILY

where Rachel, Samuel and Eli are sitting- SOUNDS of emotion and grief not quite suppressed are heard throughout as:

PREACHER

... husband of Rachel, father to Samuel, son of Eli. (and) His chair is empty, his bed is empty, his voice will be heard no more. He was needed in our presence, but God needs such men, too. That one should be taken so suddenly. Treat sorrow. Still, we would not wish him back. Rather we should prepare ourselves to follow him.

TIGHTENING to the Lapps, and...

10 EXT. CEMETERY

The mourners have gathered about the grave standing in silence as four pallbearers are lowering the coffin into the pit. The many buggies are aligned in the b.g. As the pallbearers begin to shovel soil and gravel into the grave, the Preacher begins to read a hymn in German ... a slow atonal litany which seems to hang forever on the frosty air.

RACHEL


TIGHTENING to her as the hymn continues...

CUT TO:


11 INT. LAPP FARMHOUSE

where the Amish have gathered for the traditional post funeral, midday meals.



  1. CONTINUED:

Long tables are laden with customary Amish fare... crocks of soup, hams, fowl, fried boiled eggs and pickled beets, preserves and an infinite variety of pies and pastries.

RACHEL

Where she sits among women, accepting their condolences.

DANIEL HOCHSTETLER

A brawny-armed, ruggedly-handsome, raffish looking Amishman. There is something atypical about his face a slightly sardonic set of mouth, a bold eye, a prominent set of jaw. Not exactly what old Jacob Ammann had in mind, maybe, but a well set-up man

nonetheless, and at ease among men. He's among a group of men including old STOLTZFUS,

the local healer, FISHER, BIEILER and Bieiler's stout young son, Tom.

STOLTZFUS

Lapp was a good farmer.None better.

BEILER


But not the man to buy a horse for you. (and) Hochstetler, wasn't it your father sold him that horse with a ruptured testicle?

TOM


(grins) Told him it was a bee sting made him limp that way.

HOCHSTETLER

(amused) That horse had one good ball. That's all it takes. The others chuckle. But Hochstetler's attention is still on Rachel.

RACHEL


as Hochstetler looms on the horizon, plants himself like a tree in front of her.

CONTINUED: (2)

At ease as he was with the men, he's a bit awkward at this. All the women, very much aware of Hochstetler's availability, tune in as Rachel looks up.

HOCHSTETLER

I was sorry to hear about Jacob. Let us hope he walks close with God.

RACHEL


I'm sure he does, Daniel.

  1. IELDS, LAPP FARM - DAY

It is some time after the funeral and the Lapp family is hard at work breaking ground for the spring ploughing. The death of Jacob has increased the work load on; all three - Samuel maneuvers a four-mule team while Rachel and old Eli work nearby, further breaking up the earth. Rachel looks up from the back-breaking labor as several figures

approach - it's Daniel Hochstetler and two of his brothers. Without a word they fall in beside Eli and Rachel and take up various tasks associated with the work in hand. Daniel works close beside Rachel.

12A EXT. COUNTRY ROADS, LANCASTER COUNTY - DAY 12B

A few BRIEF SHOTS of a lone buggy containing the Lapp family take us from the 18th century into the 20th century the reassuring RATTLE OF THE CARRIAGE WHEELS on quiet backroad, to the ROAR OF TRAFFIC as the buggy waits patiently for a chance to cross a busy

interstate highway.

12B EXT. HIGHWAY, LANCASTER COUNTY - DAY 12B

A huge tractor trailer rig hovers over the frail buggy as it trots down the interstate. The camera cranes up to reveal a procession of vehicles behind the truck for a chance to overtake it.

13 OMITTED 13

14 EXT. PLATFORM, LANCASTER STATION - DAY 14

Daniel Hochstetler moves through the crowd on the plat-form, Rachel turns surprised, as he approaches, a faint color coming to her cheek.

RACHEL

Daniel?


14 CONTINUED: 14

HOCHSTETLER

I...I was at the feed store. And I saw your horse, so...

There is an embarrassment between them broken by the arrival of the train.

HOCHSTETLER

(continuing) You will come back soon?

Samuel can barely contain his excitement as he drags at his mother's hand.

SAMUEL


Quickly, Mothers Quickly!

Rachel embraces Eli.

ELI

You be careful out among them English.



She turns to Hochstetler.

RACHEL


I need time, Daniel.

14A EXT. CARPARK, LANCASTER STATION - DAY 14

Daniel Hochstetler leaps into the driving seat of his open wagon and with a flick of the reins and a whoop sets his horse off at a fast trot.

14B EXT. TRAIN - DAY 14B

The ENGINE gives a WARNING BLAST before creeping slowly forward.

15 OMITTED

16 INT. TRAIN (MOVING)

as Samuel spots something out of the window that causes him to light up.

SAMUEL

Look, Mama...l



17 HIS POV THROUGH WINDOW 17

A road runs parallel to the train track, and Hochstetler in his wagon urges his horse almost to the gallop as he attempts to keep pace with the train.



  1. ACK TO SCENE

as Rachel smiles.

RACHEL

I see, darling.

And Samuel cranes to look back, waving, for as long as he can.

18A EXT. LANCASTER COUNTRYSIDE - DAY The train moves across a broad panorama of fields, dotted with dolls'-house-sized farms and the tiny figures of Amish farmers working their horse-drawn equipment.

19 SERIES OF CUTS 19

as the train continues its eastward journey... Samuel stares raptly out of the window at the changing patterns of the countryside. He points in wonder at a brightly colored hot air balloon as it drifts slowly over timbered hills... he looks unsure as the pattern

of field and wood gives way to suburbs, bustling shopping centers, restaurants, car lots and fast food outlets.

20 EXT. PHILADELPHIA SLUMS as the train travels past dilapidated row houses, streets choked with cars and the gutters with filth.

21 INT. TRAIN (MOVING) Now Samuel is staring out the window with some confusion, almost apprehension:

SAMUEL

Is this where we're going?


RACHEL

Of course not. We're going to Baltimore. It's much nicer in Baltimore.

21 CONTINUED: 21

And Rachel draws her son closer, turning her back on the window.

22 OMITTED 22

23 INT. 30 ST. STATION, PHILADELPHIA - DAY

Rachel is in a line at one of the counters. The plain dress of the two Amish - particularly Samuel's black coat and hat - are drawing curious stares.

SAMUEL


He's uncomfortably aware of the shy looks and giggles of a little girl about his own age, standing in line with her parents at the next counter. He edges away from his mother...

ANGLE


as Samuel comes upon a figure garbed in a long black frock coat and flat-brimmed hat... the man's back is turned, could, from appearances, be an Amishman. Samuel stares... A beat, the man turns to face Samuel and we discover that he is a Hasidic Jew.

SAMUEL


as he reacts.

BACK TO TICKET COUNTER

as Rachel's turn arrives. The TICKET SELLER glances up and she shows him her ticket.

RACHEL


We have a ticket to Baltimore. Where is that train, please?

TICKET SELLER

Delayed three hours. You'll hear an announcement when it's time to board.


  1. CONTINUED

He starts to go without his hat, but Rachel collars him and puts it on his head.

25 ANGLE IN MEN'S ROOM as Samuel enters. It's a long row of sinks, urinals, and stalls...Samuel stops before one of the urinals - a long, trough-like affair with water drizzling down the rear porcelain panel.

It's set a little high for Samuel, and it is making GLUGGING-FLUSHING NOISES that are, at least, intimidating. Samuel stares for a moment, then turns, looks toward the stalls, stoops to see which are empty.

HIS POV - TOILETS

beneath the row of doors we can see no feet visible. Samuel is alone in the restroom.

BACK TO SCENE as Samuel proceeds along the row of door, finally selects a stall near the end. He enters. As he does so, a heavily bearded youth in a dirty sweatshirt enters. With some urgency, he removes small notebook from his pocket and places it behind a paper towel dispenser. Suddenly he glances up. Two other men have entered the men's room; one is a large BLACK MAN in a three-piece suit under an expensive, overcoat. His PARTNER is a Caucasian in designer jeans, half boots and a short leather jacket. They advance on the young man with unmistakable menace. The young man whirls in terror; his two assailants lunge for him... a savage, wordless struggle ensues in the close confines of the lavatory.

ANGLE IN SAMUEL'S STALL

as the struggling men bounce off the door of his stall... he can see their feet under the edge of the door.

BACK TO FIGHT

as the struggle builds to a climax... ends with the young man stiffening with a grunt, his face draining of color. The two attackers step away, the blade in the black

man's hand bloodstained. His partner stares at what they've accomplished with a stunned expression:

PARTNER


Jesus...

The young man's hand comes away from his belly covered with blood. He stares at it, staggers toward the sinks. Finally his bloodied hand reaches to smear at his face in the mirror. Then he collapses to the floor. The black man motions for his partner to watch the door, then quickly reaches up and removes the notebook from behind the dispenser.

ANGLE IN SAMUEL'S STALL

as he edges open the stall door a crack. Over his shoulder we can see the black man, his BACK TO US, rifling the backpack. But beyond him, in the mirror on the far wall, we catch sight of the black man's face.

SAMUEL

as he stares out the narrow crack. A beat, then he closes the stall door.


ANGLE IN STALL

Samuel tries to make the latch work, but it's warped and won't fall closed.

BLACK MAN

as he checks the notebook before placing it in his pocket. His partner is covering the door, an automatic in his hand. The black man makes for the exit, then on second thought, glances at the row of stalls.

HIS POV - STALLS

All quiet, but...

BACK TO SCENE The black man whips out a SR caliber revolver, and starting at the near end, starts pushing open the stall doors.

25 CONTINUED: (3) 25

ANGLE IN SAM'S STALLS

as the black man approaches, Samuel working desperately on the latch. At the last minute he finally wedges it in.

BLACK MAN

He elbows Samuel's stall...the door won't open.

ANGLE IN SAM'S STALL

Fighting back panic, Samuel has retreated as far as he can.

BLACK MAN

as he gives the door a kick. It holds. He swears under his breath.

ANGLE IN SAM'S STALL

In desperation, Samuel does the only thing he can think of... he slips under the partition into the neighboring stall the black man just checked out. But he loses his hat in the process. His hand snakes back INTO FRAME to snatch it just as the black man gives the door a ferocious kick that splinters the lock and nearly takes it off its hinges. He's framed there, the big muzzle of the .38 revolver looking down our throats.

ANGLE

as his partner snaps from the doorway:


PARTNER

Will you come on, for Christ's sakes!

A beat, then the black man holsters his weapon, turns to follow the partner out.

BACK TO SAMUEL

as we hear the SOUND OF THE TWO MEN EXITING the lavatory. A long beat, then Samuel opens the stall door a crack.

25 CONTINUED: (4) 25

HIS POW THROUGH DOOR

Samuel's own face reflected in the blood-smeared mirror... then PANNING DOWN to the still figure of the young man lying in the crimson pool of his own blood on the floor.

26 OMITTED 26

thru thru

29 29

30 BENCH WAITING ROOM - LOW ANGLE - NIGHT 30



Samuel sits close to his mother, his face pale, his eyes staring. Rachel holds his hand tightly in hers as the torsos of various police and officials pass through foreground, occasionally obscuring the lonely couple. There is considerable ECHOING NOISE as commands and requests mingle with the CRACKLE OF TWO-WAY RADIOS.

CUT TO:


DOOR - MEN'S' ROOM

The diffused shape of faces behind the frosted glass of the Men's room door, which is pushed open to reveal, JOHN BOOK, who comes striding through to be momentarily

lost in the crowd of police, reporters and others. He is about 40, with a rangy, athletic body. Behind him comes CARTER, Book's black partner - about five years younger than Book. Book is wearing a suit, Carter is much more casually - almost disreputably - dressed.

CUT TO:


BENCH

Little Samuel watching Book, back to crowd of police, as Book questions an old black CUSTODIAN.

BOOK

You found the body?


CUSTODIAN

Uh uh. Not me, daddy,I just reported it. It was the kid.

Book

What kid?


CUSTODIAN

How'n hell do I know what kid? The kid in the funny black threads.

TIGHT SHOT - SAMUEL

Worry-eyed, still staring straight ahead. Then his eyes move suddenly to his left.

BOOK'S LEGS - SAMUEL'S POV

coming in at full stride, then stopping.

SAMUEL

He doesn't raise his eyes...just looks at the legs. And, slowly, the legs begin to bend at the knees. We see Book ' s belt buckle, then his big pistol in its holster, then his face. He stares at Samuel for a moment, then...



ANGLE - BOOK

as his face breaks into a big grin, and...

BOOK

Hi, kid.


RACHEL immediately alarmed, intervening.

RACHEL


What do you want of my son?

THE SCENE

as Book takes out his wallet, displays his shield.

BOOK


I'm a police officer. I'm going to have to talk to the boy. What's his name?

RACHEL


Samuel. Samuel Lapp.

30 CONTINUED 30

RACHEL

But what happened here is none of his affair. My sister is expecting me . . . our train is leaving soon.



BOOK

There'll be another train.(turns to Samuel) The man who was killed tonight was a policeman,

Sam. It's my job to find out who did it.

I want you to tell me everything you saw when you went in there.

SAMUEL

(stammers)



I saw him.

BOOK


Who'd you see?

Sam looks at his mother.

BOOK (CONT'D)

Who'd you see, Sam? The man on the floor?

SAMUEL

No . . . I saw the man who killed him.



Book stares at him in surprise, speaks over his shoulder to Carter.

BOOK


Anybody know about this?

CARTER


I didn't even know about it.

BOOK

(back to Sam)

Okay, Sam. Can you tell me what he looked like?

SAMUEL

(groping, touching his clothes and pointing at Carter)


He was . . . like him.

BOOK


(nods)

Black . . . I understand. What else, Sam?

A beat, then Sam crosses quickly to Carter, Book's rather slightly built partner:

SAMUEL


Not Zwartich, like him -

Book frowns, puzzled:

BOOK

Try that one again, Sam -



Samuel gives his mother a helpless look; exasperated,

Rachel intervenes with Book. She glances at Carter:

RACHEL

May I talk to you?



ANGLE

As Rachel takes Book aside, and in a low voice:

RACHEL (CONT'D)

Zwartich . . It's the way we say. . . dwarf.

(glances at Carter)

Not like him . . . very big.

Book nods, starts to turn back to Sam. Just then a commotion o.s. catches his attention.

31 OMITTED 31

31A BOOK'S P0V - ONCOMING COPS 31A

It's Capt. TERRY DONAHUE, Chief of Homicide, striding past the crowd of journalists and TV crews . .. brushing off reporters' questions and snapping orders to the aides he's got in tow:

BACK To SCENE

As Donahue comes on Book:

DONAHUE

(to aides)



Close it all down . . . I want a man on every exit . . . I want the lab in here now !

(to Book)

And I want to talk to you, Captain.

ANGLE


As Book steps aside with Donahue . . . In the b.g. Rachel moves protectively to Samuel's side.

BOOK


All right, talk.

DONOHUE


This is homicide - not Internal

Affairs! So why are you behaving like you own this case?

BOOK

We were running Zenovitch . . .



That's all I can tell you. But I want it, Terry.

(then)

I've got a call into Schaeffer.

RACHEL/SAMUEL

They can't help but watch the confrontation between

Donahue and Book . . . although they're keeping the volume down, it's obviously intense and angry:

SAMUEL

(alarmed)


Momma . . . are they angry with us .

RACHEL


(reassuring, but hardly in her own mind)

No . . . No. It is just the English way.

31A (CONTINUED) 31A

Donahue has lost the confrontation; he gives Book a smile:

DONAHUE

You ought to think about coming back to Homicide, Johnny. . . Stick with



Internal Affairs and you're not gonna have any friends left.

BOOK


(smiles right back)

I'll buy a dog.

32 EXT. 30th STATION - NIGHT 32

Book emerges from the terminal, looks about Him, then crosses to a big Mercury Sedan which is parked nearby. Two men sit in the front seat. Book crosses to the driver's side and opens the door.

BOOK

Go get a cup of coffee, Stan.



The driver, a uniformed policeman, glances at the man beside him who nods in agreement. He gets out and Book gets in behind the wheel.

33 OMITTED 33

34 INT. SEDAN

Book sits next-to SCHAEFFER, a surprisingly kindly looking man of about fifty. Schaeffer is a Deputy Chief.

SCHAEFFER

How reliable is this kid?

BOOK

Oh, he's good.



SCHAEFFER

Amish.


BOOK

Yeah.


34 (CONTINUED)

SCHAEFFER

What have you got?

BOOK


Zenovitch was about to deliver a list of names tonight – street chemists...the guys processing this P2P into speed.

SCHAEFFER

So one of them got to him.

BOOK


Maybe.

SCHAEFFER

You know who?

BOOK


Maybe.

SCHAEFFER

You're still convinced there's a link to the department?

BOOK

If there isn't I've just wasted the last six months.

SCHAEFFER

That's the problem. We need results. The press is driving us crazy over this P2P thing.

Calling us the speed capitol of the country'. You know the sort of thing . It's getting political. The Commissioner's getting very uneasy.

BOOK

The Amish boy saw him, Paul. I'll make it,but Set Donahue and the Homicide Department off my back or they'll blow the whole thing.


SCHAEFFER

When word gets out that Zenovitch was a cop, all hell will breaklose. You've got 24 hours. That's all I can give you. 24 hours on your own. After that the case and the witness go back to the Homicide Department.

34 CONTINUED:

SCHAEFFER

(shakes his head)

Tell you what... why don't you and that blonde - what's-her-name -come over for dinner Sunday. How 'bout that.

BOOK

What's-her-name moved to Buffalo.



SCHAEFFER

(Sighs)

Well, anyway, don't get crazy.

(dismisses him)

I'll do something for Zenovich's wife.

35 OMITTED 35

36 INT. BOOK'S CAR (MOVING) PHILADELPHIA - NIGHT

Book drives around 13th Street, a ravaged corridor between neon-lit restaurants, bars, porno shops and darkened storefronts.

Carter sits beside him, Rachel and her son in the back seat looking out at the assorted array of desperate characters huddled in doorways or wandering aimlessly about. On the POLICE RADIO a description of the cop killing is BROADCAST EVERY FEW MINUTES.




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