Prince from the Balkans
Dick Diver—Frederick March, Herbert Marshall, Robert Montgomery, Richard Barthelmess, Paul Lukas, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Ronald Colman, Leslie Howard
Baby Warren—Kay Francis, Ina Claire
Paklin Troubetskoi—George Raft, Ronald Colman, Charles Bickford, Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
Nicole Diver—Katherine Hepburn, Miriam Hopkins, Helen Hayes, Ann Harding, Myrna Loy, Delores Del Rio, Nora Gregor, Marlene Dietrich, Constance Bennett
Prince Paklin Troubetskoi, exiled Russian nobleman and ex-Cossack, has established a fashionable girls’ riding school on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. It is his habit every afternoon to take his pupils, girls from a nearby school, for a short, hilarious gallop through the surrounding country side. It is on one of these escapades that Nicole Warren, seventeen year old American heiress and Troubetskoi’s pet (though Troubetskoi is not cast as the type that would quite appeal to the average man as a son-in-law), loses control of her mount, and despite the valiant efforts of the Russian riding master to save her, is thrown in a nasty fall and dashed against the base of a tree. After having worked frantically to revive the unconscious girl, Troubetskoi dispatches one of his pupils to bring a doctor immediately.
A charity hospital is near the scene of the accident. Richard Diver, Assistant Resident therein, promising young brain surgeon and psychiatrist, is just completing a delicate operation. When word is brought to him of the accident he feels he is too busy to go, but when he is informed that the girl is an American and badly hurt he throws off his preoccupation and taking another horse rides to the scene. While hurriedly examining the injured girl, Dr. Dick Diver finds out what he can from the anxious Russian, Troubetskoi, and the distraught girl pupils. He learns that Nicole evidently suffered a severe blow on the head, and while she is still unconscious he has her removed to the hospital.
Word is sent to Nicole’s elder sister, “Baby” Warren, living in Vienna. Two days later Baby arrives. Tall, handsome and distinctly conscious of the prominence of the Warren name in America; she is slightly more irritated than sympathetic over her sister’s accident. Although X-rays prove that the skull is not fractured or any obvious damage done Nicole remains in a coma for two days. At Dick’s suggestion Baby puts up at a hotel not far from the hospital. Returning to consciousness Nicole shows some disturbing outward signs of mental disorder—nothing violent, but a tendency toward exaggerated elation and exaggerated melancholy, a sort of confusion. At the end of a week Dr. Dick Diver permits Baby to take Nicole to a cottage that she has found not far from the hospital and on the shore, where Nicole will get rest and quiet. At first only the anxious Troubetskoi and Dr. Diver are permitted to visit Nicole—Troubetskoi in the role of a man fast falling in love and Dick Diver purely as a physician. Even then, Dr. Diver calls rarely and only because he has a suspicion that there issome definite physical lesion in Nicole’s brain, whether or not caused by the accident—a suspicion, however, that he does not reveal to anyone.
But it is a different case with Nicole. She finds this young doctor fascinating. And in the course of three months she falls in love with him. This has been a monotonous three months for Baby Warren and when she learns of Nicole’s attraction to Dick she formulates a plan to “buy” Dick as Nicole’s husband, thus insuring her sister’s health and taking Nicole off her own hands.
In appreciation for his fine work at the hospital and out of respect for his tired condition, Dick Diver is granted a vacation. He plans to bicycle through Switzerland—and it is evening when he calls on the Warrens to say good-bye. Baby Warren, realizing that her plans to capture Dr. Dick Diver might run aground if she lets him get away, decides to put her proposition before him immediately. She takes Dick aside and in no uncertain terms tells him of the wealth of the Warren family, the sickness of her sister, the need of a medical man to take care of her, and the decision that, in return for Dick’s marriage to Nicole, he will be supplied with the money he needs to continue his work. Dick flatly refuses. The cold indifference of this older sister has stunned him. What about Nicole? Hasn’t Baby Warren considered her sister’s feelings in this matter? Nicole, though a patient, is still a human being. Baby explains casually that Nicole thinks she is in love with him.
To Dick the entire proposition is preposterous. Nicole is only a child— but quite a lovely child. He leaves Baby Warren but on his way out of the cottage runs into Nicole. The various influences of the evening on the lakeside, of Nicole’s beauty, and of her new-found love for him are not to be denied, and though he leaves somewhat abruptly with a few formal instructions for her as a patient, she has registered big on Dick Diver’s heart.
Bicycling is not the best thing in the world to take a man’s mind off a woman, and Dick finds himself constantly haunted by the girl, who has blossomed forth in his mind as a young woman. So, when by coincidence he meets Baby and Nicole in a funicular making the trip up a mountain for pleasure, his gaiety is somewhat forced. A casual conversation between two of the passengers about the possibilities of the cables that pull the car breaking seems to upset Nicole, and Dick again finds himself concerned about this delicate girl. Something goes wrong with the cable. The car begins to tremble and amid the terror of the passengers, Dick’s one thought is for Nicole’s safety. The cable splits and the funicular is precipitated down the incline for a horrible moment, then derailed. It crashes over on its side and amid the confusion that follows, Dick clutches Nicole tightly to his heart. Thankful that she is safe, and realizing that this girl and her future mean everything to him, he looks across her still body at BabyWarren, who is slightly shaken up and holding in his arms the girl that he now realizes is his love, indicates to Baby Warren his acquiescence in her proposition that he is to be her husband and private doctor for life.
This treatment must be broken off for a moment to explain the intention of what comes next. In the book, Tender is the Night, there is much emphasis on the personal charm of the two Divers and of the charming manner in which they’re able to live. In the book this was conveyed largely in description, “fine writing,” poetic passages, etc. It has occurred to us that a similar effect can be transferred to the spectator by means of music, and to accomplish this we have interpolated in the way shown below a melody written and copyrighted by Charles M. Warren.
Now go on with the treatment.
There is a view of the frayed end of the split cable, which gradually changes into a thick dangling rope. This rope is suspended over a cliff ledge and falls down to the shore below. At the top of the cliff is “Villa Diana”, the luxurious house of the Divers. With the Warren money, Dick and Nicole have literally bought an old mountain village and converted it into the most charming place in Southern France. At the bottom of the cliff two French workmen contemplate the possibilities of using this suspended rope to hoist a giant grand piano to the house above.
“Who lives up there?”
“The Divers, and believe me they tip well.”
“They better.” (Adjusting rope to piano) “Look at the size of the thing. It ought to be worth plenty to have this baby hauled up to that house.” (They look up at the cliff, that mounts like a wide staircase to the “Villa Diana”.)
“If the road hadn’t been washed away we could a used a truck. What do they want it for now? You said they already had one piano.”
“These crazy rich Americans! They’re giving a party tonight.”
“Well, it’s a good piano, anyway.”
Perching himself precariously on top of the piano he leans down and fingers the keys.
“Watch yourself!” comes a sharp caution from his co-worker.
But it is too late. On the top level of the cliff, eight farm horses, harnessed together and driven by a farmer, have begun to pull, and the piano is rising. Against his will the man is carried up with it. His fellow workman runs up a zig-zag staircase, cut on the side of the stone hill, crying in alarm to the driver on top to “Stop the horses!” The driver does so and the pianoswings into one of the indentations higher up on the cliff where it is allowed to come gently to rest. The danger over, the frightened workman hops off the piano and with forced bravado says:
“It wasn’t anything. See—I’ll play the rest of the tune.
He plays with one hand:
“It doesn’t go like that,” says the first workman.
“Sure it does.”
They are interrupted by a woman’s voice: “No, it goes like this:”
It is Nicole, happy and the picture of health. She has played the tune more fully than the workmen, who stand respectfully, listening. Dick joins her and with one arm around Nicole improves on her version of the music. As Nicole diminishes the melody to pianissimo Dick speaks to the workmen:
“Careful with this piano! Don’t let it bang now as it goes up!”
“We’ll follow it, Monsieur Diver, and see that it won’t scrape against the stone, so it’ll be in good condition for your party tonight.”
Dick turns to Nicole. “Come along, young lady. You have to get some good rest before the party—remember! Papa doesn’t consider you entirely strong yet.”
As they start trailing upward along the zig-zag walk we hear:
“…so damn glad to get a few minutes alone with you. We won’t have much time when that crowd comes.” Upon Nicole’s encouragement they sit down and kiss then and there…
…Throughout this the tinkle of the piano is heard continuing as if by itself. But now there is just the suggestion of an ominous note in its melody as it reaches a still higher level, and swings from side to side and then comes to rest like a pendulum might.
OVER THE HEADS OF:
Baby Warren and her latest “royalty”. He is a small pudgy individual, a Prince Somebody from the Balkans—a type with whom Baby is invariably involved, and just as invariably discards.
Due to some difficulty overhead, the piano is temporarily lowered, and, giggling, Baby’s boy friend plays a repetition of the previous melody but now comically in the highest octave of the piano. Again there is an ominous note in the score as Baby Warren walks over to his side and finishes the tune in the bass cleff.
The workmen, impatient to get their job done, signal the man above, who lifts, and so almost snatches the piano from under Baby’s hands.
“Crude fellow. Might hurt someone doing that sort of thing.”
“That reminds me. As I was telling you—you might say we—well, why not come out with it—you’ll understand—we bought this doctor, and now it seems—” Their voices fade as they begin climbing—
—And up above, the driver looks over the edge and blusters down to his companions:
“What is this—anyhow? You’re hired to help them get the piano to the house “Villa Diana”?—or do you want ’em to play it on the side of this cliff? Tell those people to lay off this God—” The crack of his whip starting the team of horses behind him and the sound of the horses moving, drown out his description of the piano job.
And our piano, at first lazily spiraling as it moves upwards, begins to twist around and around so quickly that it, and the eccentric music accompanying it in its rise, blend into a whirling blur.
Finally it slows, and as it gently rights itself the keys are seemingly played by an unseen hand. Slowly a figure at the piano emerges and is playing. Blending into the picture is an orchestra surrounding the musician at the piano. The orchestra is now rendering a full score of the melody that accompanied the piano up the cliff!
The Divers are giving a dinner. Here all the charm of the menage which the Divers have created is apparent. The atmosphere of luxury and good taste of intimate friends has not yet been broken by the underlying sinister threat of cold hard calculating selfishness as personified by Baby Warren.
There is Dick, the compelling and magnetic host; there is Nicole, incomparable hostess and wife supreme; there is Rosemary Hoyt, motion picture star—young and beautiful and obviously infatuated with the enchanting Dick Diver; there is Prince Troubetskoi, with such attractions as women associate with romance, vainly endeavoring to conceal his passion for Nicole; there is Baby Warren, half-comic in her pretended aloofness; there is her little pudgy beau, pal of Troubetskoi and heir to the throne of some other vague Balkan principality, and there is an elderly English doctor from Cannes.
During the past three years of happy married life, the luxury and ample supply of the Warrens’ money have caused Dick Diver’s charm and ability to stage-manage his parties to overshadow his interest in the medical profession, even to the extent of dropping “Doctor” as a prefix to his name. But inwardly there have been longings and old regrets, even though Dick is too proud to show them, and dreads the effect upon Nicole.
After dinner the men and women separate—the men following PrincePaklin to a series of small tables placed beside the cliff, the women going to the flat Moorish roof of the villa.
Dick and the old English doctor from Cannes remain at table—finishing a glass of champagne—they are naturally less interested in the visits from the cliff. The doctor has begun to take a paternal interest in Dick but his persistent remarks about getting back to work are irritating to Dick.
On the roof directly overhead the women closest to the edge are able to overhear the conversation that ensues. First Baby hears it, then Nicole, then Rosemary and a couple of curious guests.
Down below Dick has exploded.
“Stop it! Do you think I don’t know? Do you think you are the only one who knows? Cooped up for three years! Private doctor? Private nurse!”
And he leaves the table and walks out on the terrace. Nicole is shocked and hurt. It is the first suspicion she has had that Dick was not entirely satisfied with their easy existence. Young Rosemary Hoyt’s exaggerated sympathy for Dick tends to deepen Nicole’s hurt. Baby Warren immediately takes possession of the situation. Her suspicions have been further aroused by Dick’s outburst of discontent—and by Rosemary’s tearing down the stairs to console Dick. Finding that Dick prefers to be alone, Rosemary kisses him lightly. Nicole arrives upon the scene at this moment and falsely interprets it as a love passage between Dick and Rosemary. The panic in Nicole’s expression is the fade out on this sequence.
We open up on the Divers and their house guests on the beach next morning taking their customary dip in the blue Mediterranean and the inevitable sun bath on the beach. Dick suggests that they take the Divers’ speed boat and do some aquaplaning. Nicole, with the jealousy of the previous evening still close to her, interprets Dick’s desire to aquaplane as a method of showing off physically before Rosemary’s exciting youth.
With Paklin Troubetskoi guiding the smooth little craft, each member of the party takes his turn on the board. When it comes to Dick’s turn Nicole finds herself wondering with growing coldness if he will make a spectacle of himself, fumbling through stunts he had once done with ease. She compared him with the romantic figure of the Russian riding master beside her. For the first time Dick suffers from a comparison made by his wife.
Dick is preparing to do his old lifting trick—the object being to straighten all the way up, from a kneeling position, and carry a man on his shoulders. It is noticeable to the people in the boat, watching closely, that he is having difficulties. As the boat gathers momentum and the men on the board get their balance, Dick, with a last wrenching effort, stands upright, but the board slips side-wise simultaneously and they both topple off into the sea. Rosemary is enthused. “Wonderful! They almost had it!” Baby Warren and Nicole are a little disgusted.
Dick—annoyed and perhaps alittle embarrassed—tries again. He ismore careful in this second attempt, and almost succeeds; but at the crucial moment his legs suddenly buckle, and both men are throne into the water again.
Dick is angry and asks for another chance, which, though he looks tired, is readily granted. As the speed of the boat increases, Dick rests for a moment, belly-down on the board. Then he crouches beneath the man and his muscles flex as he tries to rise. The passengers in the boat scarcely raise him-and-his-burden two inches from the board and exhausted, he collapses into the water. The boat races back to pick him up and Nicole’s anxiety changes to contempt as she finds him floating exhaustedly but safely in the water. On the way in to the shore Baby Warren smiles as she remarks that the huge, well-built riding master beside him could have turned the trick easily “with three men on his back!”
It is the last day of the week-end party and every one decides to go to a fair that is being held close to the Divers’ home. On the way Dick senses Nicole’s attitude towards the episode on the aquaplane that morning and this causes him to show more than ordinary interest in Rosemary. Arriving at the fair, Nicole suddenly opens the door of the car and leaps out. Dick and Baby follow her on the run while the riding master is left with Rosemary.
After bursting through countless tents and zig-zagging through the grounds of the entire fair, Dick finally sees Nicole riding on a ferris-wheel. As the car in which she is riding nears the top Nicole stands up and looks bewilderedly at the ground far below. Dick shouts to the operator of the wheel to stop it immediately. The man at first refuses, but Dick frantically presses money into his hand and the wheel is brought to a stop. Childishly, Nicole is reluctant to leave scolding Dick and Baby for following her. Dick and Baby realize that the mental disorder, which has been dormant for three years, has cropped up again. Baby accuses Dick.
“It’s your fault that this happened. Your attitude towards that little kid, Rosemary—”
Dick and Baby lead Nicole against her will back to the car.
Nicole’s mind wanders.
“I won’t ride. I never want to see another horse. I had an accident riding a horse. They always frighten me now. Please don’t make me ride—I’m afraid of horses.” (She sees Paklin Troubetskoi) “But I’m not afraid if he’s here. He was my riding master.”
Bewildered and uncertain, Nicole sits next to Dick who is driving. It is when Dick has stepped on the accelerator for a short straightaway run that Nicole, laughing hysterically, clutches the steering wheel and swerves the car off the road, down a little incline at the bottom of which it rolls over on its side. Dick’s leg, unknown to the others, is pinned agonizingly under theside of the car. Rosemary is thrown against him in such a way that it looks as though he might have crawled over to her. Baby, unhurt, is draped awkwardly over the upright side of the car. Paklin Troubetskoi’s first thought has been of Nicole and he scrambles out of the car with Nicole in his arms, holding her until she assures him, still hysterically, that she has not been hurt. Paklin has already hailed a passing car to take them home when the three women discover that Dick is hurt. But his injury doesn’t succeed in quieting Nicole or curing the suspicion in Baby’s mind that Dick’s usefulness as Nicole’s husband is over.
At the Divers’ home Dick and Nicole are immediately put to bed in separate rooms. Baby Warren, who has been waiting for a chance to get another doctor’s opinion on Nicole’s case, calls in a physician from Cannes. He turns out to be the same old senile Englishman who aroused Dick Diver’s ire during the dinner party. Being a simple country practitioner, it is comparatively easy for Baby to convince him, during the examination, that the sick girl’s husband is responsible for her condition.
“He causes her worry over every new face he sees. He’s lost all interest in my sister and thinks only of himself. How can we blame Nicole for getting sick when her husband, the man who should take care of her, does nothing but cause her mental anguish?”
Convinced, the small-time doctor prescribes a change of environment and urges that Nicole should be spared even seeing Dick.
This is all that Baby Warren needs and she goes into Dick’s room and tells him as a matter of fact that Nicole would be better off without him. It is not in Baby’s character to mince matters or situations; and without regard for Dick’s injured condition she ends by telling Dick:
“We hired you to take care of my sister—not to make her worse. The doctor and I have decided that it would be better for Nicole to forget you entirely. Nicole herself will realize that it is the best thing that could possibly happen to her.”
Dick, lying in bed with his leg badly crushed—physically and mentally hurt, and weary of Nicole’s sickness, gives up. That Baby should come to him at a time like this and tell him flatly that they no longer require his service is more than he can stand. He murmurs:
“Do you think that I could have stood a moment with Nicole if I hadn’t loved her? Would I have locked myself away from everything for three years if I hadn’t cared? All right—I’m through. If you think Nicole can get along better without me—I’ll leave. Perhaps I won’t make such a mess of things alone.”
Impulsively, he topples out of bed and hobbles painfully to the door. The car is called and he leaves them. There is no restraining hand—they are glad to see him go. Baby and the doctor and Prince Paklin Troubetskoiwatch the receding lights of his car as it threads its way down the steep descent to the road which leads away from the “Villa Diana”. The case is finished. Doctor Diver is at liberty.
Now the flowers and foliage of the gardens and terraces which surround the “Villa Diana” with their loveliness of spring have bared themselves in the lonely bleakness of winter. An atmosphere of restlessness prevails in the Divers’ household. In particular, Baby Warren, a guest, cannot suppress her restless desire to leave the “Villa Diana”. She intimates as much to the senile old English doctor from Cannes, who has been a regular visitor attending Nicole.
“I feel as though I’m shut off from the rest of the world—as though I’m a prisoner up here on this cliff.”
“That is what her husband said as he left,” says the doctor.
“This is different. I’m thinking of Nicole. She needs a change. The place gets on her nerves.”
“The young Russian who visits your sister so often—doesn’t he relieve the monotony?”
“He can’t change this place. This house is still the same, whether he’s here or not. Besides, he thinks she should go away, too.”
Nicole is living in confusion. Something is missing. She cannot decide whether it is her condition or the loss of her husband that bewilders her. She had thought of Dick really as an inexhaustible energy, incapable of fatigue and she had forgotten the trouble she had caused him. Sometimes she has felt the old hypnotism of his intelligence, his kindness and patience with her. Yet, this Russian has been kind and undoubtedly patient. And most of all he has loved her for herself—not through the eyes of a professional man seeing only the work he revers so much.
Paklin enters even as Baby and the doctor are talking and goes into the next room to see Nicole. He comes right to the point.
“You’ve been keeping me waiting here for six months. Can’t we go away? Your sister says you need the change.”
Comparative pictures of Dick and Paklin flash before Nicole’s eyes. Doctor Diver—working, playing, knowing all. Paklin Troubetskoi—handsome, romantic, loving her because she is the rich Nicole Warren.
Baby Warren and the doctor enter. Baby explains that Nicole must leave “Villa Diana” for her own good.
“The doctor and I have decided that a change—”
There follows a week of quiet, but thorough levity. The music, the dancing, and the gay nights are a tonic to Baby Warren’s pent up nerves and incidentally serve as a change of environment for her sister. Back in circulation again, Baby nails one of her many admirers (the one who happened to attend the Divers’ week-end party) and he invites them tohis principality. Nicole and Paklin enjoy this rough little Balkan sea-side town (planted to be like Corfu or Ragusa) but Baby tires quickly and leaving the two alone, takes her Prince and goes to Vienna.
Meanwhile Doctor Diver has resumed his studies in Vienna, and has been practising brain surgery. He is badly in need of money. On his way home from one of the hospitals he sees Baby Warren sweeping grandly into the finest hotel, where she is staying. He enters and follows her into her suite in order to inquire after Nicole. Baby politely but coldly tells him that her sister is doing very well. A telephone call comes through at the moment from Nicole who is in trouble.
Upon Baby Warren’s departure from the little Balkan resort Nicole and Paklin were elated to find themselves just as completely alone as though they had been stranded in mid-ocean. Nicole wanted an “affair”—she did not want any vague spiritual romance; she wanted a change. And this Russian was making her thrill with delight in thinking of herself in a new way.
Driving through the pleasant countryside Nicole does not object when Paklin turns the car into a drive that leads to a small mountain hotel. She hovers, outwardly tranquil, as Paklin fills out the police blanks and registers the names—his real, hers false. Their room is simple, almost ascetic. Paklin orders brandy and when the waiter has brought it and left—they suddenly move together and meet standing up. Then he is kissing her as they sit on the bed.
Suddenly Nicole is conscious of that nameless fear which precedes all emotions, joyous or sorrowful, inevitably as a hum of thunder precedes a storm. Moment by moment all that Dick has taught her, all that he has grown to mean to her comes back. Realizing that she cannot go through with her “affair”, she tells Paklin so, as gently as she can. Paklin is astounded and at first does not believe her. When he is convinced that she means what she says, his hurt and disappointment turn to anger. He accuses her of being afraid of Dick, of being mentally still attuned to her doctor husband—unable to break away from his professional grip on her. But Nicole’s mind is made up. She knows now that Dick matters more to her than anything else.
Paklin, who has drunk the remainder of the brandy, becomes defiant and drives Nicole back to town, telling her furiously that he will break this hold that Dick has on her.
“You don’t know what a really good time is. You’ve never had one. You couldn’t be gay—really gay, with a psychiatrist nagging you all the time. Now you’re throwing over what could be the happiest part of your life—”
“Because I love Dick.”
“You don’t love him. You didn’t love him an hour ago. It’s becauseyou’re always afraid of him. Well, tonight I’m going to get rid of that fear. You’ll be gay tonight if it’s the last thing you do.”
Frightened, Nicole is taken by Paklin to various bars and cafes. The Russian’s method of showing her a gay time merely serves to disgust and frighten Nicole, and to make an objectionable drunk out of himself.
At last they reach a cabaret where a listless band is playing and a dozen couples cover the wide floor. Paklin has become somewhat noisy. With apparently no reason he picks a fight with one of the waiters. When they see that the big man is easily beating their co-worker, the other waiters join in the fight and before Nicole’s horrified eyes Paklin is beaten brutally to the floor. The police come in and take Paklin to the police station. Nicole is left in the cabaret with Paklin’s drunken shouts for her to “do something” still ringing in her ears. “Go to the American Ministry! Go to the Consulate! Go somewhere and get me out of this filthy mess!”
In a daze Nicole goes to the Ministry to get help. It is late at night and everyone there is asleep. She goes almost automatically through the torture of shouting to half asleep men in their night shirts, explaining to them why she is there, what has happened and what is needed. But she runs up against a stone wall. They refuse to help her saying it is impossible to assist a man who has started a street brawl and resisted the police.
Nicole is frantic. The day and night has progressed at a staccato rate and she is not habituated to such strains. She feels the old mental reaction coming on and the need of her husband’s steadying hand. Hurrying to the last resource, the Consulate, she finally succeeds in awakening the Consul and almost hysterically with her impotence to get results, repeats her story. The Consul is galvanized into activity and sends the vice-Consul with Nicole to rescue Paklin.
They find Paklin, under guard, slumped in a solitary chair in a cell. His face is bruised and cut, his hair matted with blood. The vice-Consul asks Nicole to call for a doctor. She does so, and then, thoroughly exhausted phones to her sister in the hotel in Vienna—
—where Baby Warren and Dick are talking. Nicole is at the breaking point. At intervals a stupid central cuts in on the frantic conversation—this serving further to upset Nicole.
“Baby—Baby! Come quickly. “We’re here—police station. It’s Paklin. He’s—He’ss—” Hilarious hysterical laughter as Nicole sinks to the floor still grasping the phone and her voice continuing: “Where’s Dick? Find him, bring him with you—I want him. Please find Dick—” Nicole drops the phone as she slips into unconsciousness. At the other end of the line Baby is confused and worried. Dick senses that it is Nicole who has phoned.
“What’s the matter?”
“She’s in trouble. Something wrong with Paklin, too. I’m going to her.”
“I’m coming with you.”
“No. They don’t need you.”
By the time Baby and Dick arrive, Nicole has been taken to a hospital. Doctors there consider her condition very serious and are at a loss as to the origin of it. When they hear that Dr. Diver has arrived they consult him on what to do. The implication is that it is a mysterious organic disease of the brain, something new to medical science. To operate calls for the skill of the best of brain surgeons and Dick is called upon to operate on his wife.
Whether he is operating on Nicole to save her for Paklin, Dick doesn’t know, but he is making the attempt regardless.
In the quiet, mechanical smoothness of the operating room, in the midst of his delicate work—with the newness and mystery of this particular operation—and the burning sensation that he is trying to save Nicole for another man, Dick’s nerve fails.
But Nicole, deep in the oblivion of the anesthetic murmurs once “Dick” and his hand does not falter after that.
It takes weeks for Nicole to be able to sit up, but with her peace of mind and Dick’s nearness it is made possible.
Finally when Baby Warren brings in Prince Paklin (whose face still shows the disfiguration of his battle with the police) to say goodbye before she (Baby) and Prince Paklin start on their newly planned love trip, both Nicole and Dick are happily content to look towards a future that promises brighter than it ever has before.
Editorial: There were no immediate movie offers for Tender Is the Night when the novel was published. Hoping to make the property more attractive to the studios, Fitzgerald prepared a movie treatment in 1934 with Charles Marquis Warren, a young Baltimore writer. It is impossible to differentiate the collaborators’ contributions; but this treatment had Fitzgerald’s approval. As such, it shows how Fitzgerald tried to satisfy Hollywood’s requirements by providing melodramatic action and the obligatory happy ending. Even so, no studio was willing to buy Tender Is the Night at that time.