For Classes #7 and #8

 Instructor: Norman Hollyn T.A.: Robert Abilez
 Office: 323-275-1869 Phone: 213-220-0213-220-0408408

 E-Mail: hollyn [at]

E-Mail: rnabilez [at]

We will viewing the following scene from Anthony Minghella's masterful film THE ENGLISH PATIENT, as we begin to discuss the topic of how to use sound effectively in editing.

Please analyze the scene as you would any other scripted scene you've got. We will discuss the whys and wherefores of it next week.

As usual, the script isn't presented exactly in screenplay style, just in a way that's easier for me to deal with on the Web.


Caravaggio is slumped at a table, HIS HANDS MANACLED TO ITS THICK WOODEN LEGS. There's A TELEPHONE at another table in the corner of the room attended by a CLERK with A STENOGRAPHER working next to him. The room has stone walls which appear damp, and no windows. SOLDIERS stand guard at the door. It's a horrible room. Caravaggio is trying to sleep, he's unshaven, and pasty-looking. His interrogator, Müller, seems incredibly tired and aggravated. He approaches the table carrying a collection of photographs which he lays down on the table in front of Caravaggio.

David Caravaggio.


(of the photographs)
This was taken in Cairo at British Headquarters - July 41.
And so was this - August 41. And this -February 42.

It's impossible. I was buying or selling something. I've been to Cairo many times.

You are a Canadian spy working for the Allies. Code-name Moose.

THE PHONE rings again, is answered. The Clerk calls to Müller who gets up, irritably. Caravaggio addresses the room.

Could you get me a doctor? I'm sick, I'm leaking blood.

Nobody responds. Müller is irascible on the phone, checking his watch, negotiating time. The call finishes.

(in German)
He's asking for a doctor.

(to Caravaggio)
You want a doctor?

I've been asking for weeks, a month, I don't know -

We don't have a doctor, but we do have a nurse.

(taken aback)
A nurse? Well, sure, a nurse is great. A nurse? Great.

Müller nods at the Clerk, who instantly gets up. Just then the telephone rings again. He hesitates.

(in German)
Leave it and get the nurse!

The Clerk exits.

(turns to Caravaggio)
Look - give me something. A name. A code.
So we can all get out of this room.
(wiping his face)
I'm sick of this heat. It's too hot.

I slept with the girl. I've got a wife in Tripoli.
A girl comes up and points at you, you only see trouble.

The NURSE comes in. She is Arab, unbearably young, pure. Her head is covered.

I'll tell you what I'm going to do. This is your nurse,
by the way. She's Moslem, so she'll understand all
of this. What's the punishment for adultery? Let's leave
it at that. You're married and you were fucking another woman,
so that's - is it the hands that are cut off? Or is that
for stealing? Does anyone know?

There's silence. Müller turns to Caravaggio.

Well, you must know. You were brought up Libya, yes?

Don't cut me.

Or was it Toronto?

Now the phone starts again. The CLERK picks it up, there's a terse exchange, he puts the receiver on the desk, waits for the moment to interrupt Müller.

Ten fingers. How about this? You give me a name for
every finger - doesn't matter who. I get something,
you keep something. I'm trying to be reasonable.

Don't cut me. Come on.

(pauses, suddenly puzzled)
Are thumbs fingers?
(in GERMAN to the others)
Is a thumb a finger?

No response. Müller opens his palms to Caravaggio.

I get no help from these people.

Müller walks over, takes the receiver and slams it down. an AIR RAID SIREN is going off somewhere, and now the faint sound of explosions is also discernible, but all muffled in this room with the steady clack-clack of the STENOGRAPHER. At that moment, Müller suddenly becomes aware of what is happening. He turns on the Stenographer.

(in German)
What are you doing?

(awkward, in German)
That Geneva Convention. I'm -

Müller peremptorily rips out the paper, throws it on the floor.

The Geneva Convention! Ach!

Hey - come on! You can't do that!

DURING THIS Müller's gone to the table, pulled out a drawer and produced A CUT-THROAT RAZOR. He hands it to the nurse, makes a line across his own left thumb and jerks his head towards Caravaggio. The nurse is extremely reluctant. Müller claps his hands, pushes her towards Caravaggio.

Go! Hey! Go!

Caravaggio is in terror.

I'll give you names. I'll give you names.
Tell me the names and I'll agree.

The guards come away from the door and press down on Caravaggio's shoulders to prevent him from moving. The nurse, grim-faced, approaches, kneels at the table, takes the blade from Muller, takes gentle hold of Caravaggio's hand.

(as she prepares to cut)
Please - please - oh please - oh please - I promise.
What name did you say? I knew them!

And then Caravaggio SCREAMS AND SCREAMS. The AIR RAID is continuing outside, the PHONE IS RINGING. Muller watches as Caravaggio is mutilated, his cries continuing, his whimpers horrible.

Copyright© 1995 The Saul Zaentz Company

Though I've tried to accomodate other browsers THIS SITE IS DESIGNED FOR BEST USE WITH SAFARI for the Mac, and FIREFOX for both the PC and the Mac. It also looks reasonably good on the iPhone. Lucked out on that!

All material, except where noted, ©1999-2012 by Norman Hollyn. Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Send me an e-mail at my office
Last Modified - October 15, 2012