1. LONG SHOT—ESTABLISHING PARIS—with the superimposed title:
PARIS, OCTOBER 1929
2. EXTERIOR. MEDIUM-PRICED APARTMENT BUILDING ON A NICE STREET
3. INTERIOR. FRONT HALL OF AN APARTMENT
—as it might be furnished by the American wife of a Frenchman making thirty-five hundred dollars a year— which sum would go twice as far in the Paris of those days.
The eleven-year-old son of the house is in the hall putting his books into his school bag. His name is Richard Petrie (pronounced “Reeshard” in French) and he is more French than American; his hair is dark and close cropped; he wears glasses and a black schoolboy's apron.
RICHARD (calling offscene, rather impatient and surly) Qu’est-ce que tu as, Victoria? [What's the matter with you, Victoria?] We'll be late for school.
VICTORIA’S VOICE (offscene) I'm coming.
4. INT. VICTORIA WALES'S BEDROOM
She is an attractive little American girl of eleven, excellently brought up and without any self-consciousness or airs. In this part of our story, a certain gravity and preoccupation overshadows natural high spirits. Some one dominant purpose is driving her.
For the rest she is simply dressed, her glance is level and straight, and her enunciation is clearcut and not slangy— the effect of having been (up to recently) under the charge of an English governess.
Her bedroom is small, spare, and neat. On the bureau reposes her school sack, and at the moment Victoria is swiftly and quietly removing the books from it. She puts them in a bureau drawer from which she takes several pairs of socks, some underwear, and handkerchiefs. These, with a toothbrush and tomb, she puts into the book bag.
RICHARD'S VOICE (impatiently—over shot) Victoria! Vien!
Victoria works quickly. She is almost ready. On the bureau stands a china bank in the shape of a pig. She cracks it with a hairbrush, pours into her purse the one- and two-franc pieces it contains, and puts the broken pig into the drawer. Slinging the school bag from her shoulder, she starts out.
5. INT. THE HALL
Richard impatiently opens the front door as Victoria comes out of her bedroom.
6. ext. OPEN COURT OF THE APARTMENT
The children cross toward the gate in the morning sunlight.
7. UNDER THE ARCH OF THE GATE
As they pass the concierge's (janitor's) door, the concierge's wife, a fat, cheerful, peasant woman, comes out.
CONCIERGE'S WIFE Bon jour, Reeshard.
THE CHILDREN Bon jour, Madame Restaud.
CONCIERGE'S WIFE (to Victoria) And the little American cousin!
She gives a flower to Victoria, obviously a favorite of hers.
RICHARD (feeling neglected) I'm half American, too.
VICTORIA Merci, Madame.
8. EXT. STREET
The children coming out of the arch. They walk silently as CAMERA TRUCKS BACK before them. Victoria is absorbed in thoughts of her own; Richard is conscious of her, with a mixture of grudging admiration and jealousy.
RICHARD Early this morning—I heard somebody on the phone. (no answer) Was it you?
VICTORIA (evading him) You know we're forbidden to use the phone.
Silence a moment.
RICHARD I bet you don’t know your lessons.
VICTORIA (her thoughts far away) I bet I do.
Suddenly her eyes become aware of him. She can use him. Look out, Reeshard!
VICTORIA Except I didn't study my geography. And we have Switzerland today.
RICHARD (boastly) Oh, Switzerland’s easy. We had it.
VICTORIA Did you? (pause) How far away is Hautemont, Switzerland, from Paris?
RICHARD (shrugging) I just know the capital is Berne. The population is four million. You see, I know.
VICTORIA About how long does it take to get there?
[(to be continued)]
Note: This screenplay was made for producer Lester Cowan during the spring and summer of 1940.The intended title for the movie was Cosmopolitan. Film wasn’t made and Cowan sold the script to MGM, who rewritten and extended original and produced The Last time I saw Paris (1954). Original script has been published in 1993.