INT. DARLING’S BEDROOM (1930) — NIGHT
INSERT: Female opera recording.
RITA LONGWOLF GHOST, Native American, in Native inspired theater costume, slams window, shakes curtains. Darling opens eyes.
DARLING: It can’t be…it’s a dream.
Rita knocks Native costume and music from Darling’s nightstand. Darling looks around.
DARLING: It’s you isn’t it Rita? I’m the star of the theater now.
Darling picks up costume and music.
DARLING: I wear what I want, sing what I want—what you need it for now anyhow? Leave, you hear me, scat, goodbye!”
Curtains, music stop.
DARLING: Better. My name will be front page…you’ll…see.
Rita drops red scarf from Darling’s bedpost. It lands over Darling’s throat. Darling tosses and rubs throat.
EXT. OPERA HOUSE — NIGHT
REPORTERS and PHOTOGRAPHERS shouting. LENNY, manager, used car
salesman smile, and JOHNNY, teenager, Native American, hold them back. Darling in Native inspired costume.
REPORTERS: Darling! Miss Belle! How’s the ‘ol theater treating you?
DARLING: It’s sweet as drugstore candy boys. Staying for a taste or will you be shooting questions at the moon all night?
REPORTERS: Darling! Nice get up—not spooked about the Rita Longwolf ghost?
DARLING: Oh fellas, that’s just a publicity bauble cooked up by the opera. Nothing to fear—but if it turns a few heads why sure…I’m just terrified!
Lenny, reporters laugh. Johnny shakes head.
REPORTERS: Miss Belle! What’s it like singing with the dead! Cold in there? Sightings? Fancy Longwolf wants one last jab at the stage?
DARLING (to Lenny): I’m going nutty with all these dopes hollering at me. Isn’t there another way in?
LENNY: Touchy tonight ha?
JOHNNY: There’s a secret tunnel.
DARLING: Just get me outta here.
Darling follows Johnny.
REPORTERS: Darl’, Darling! Careful! Don’t let her get ya!
Dripping noises, dimly lit. Darling slips.
DARLING: Some getaway.
JOHNNY: Feel free to turn back, but I’m almost there.
DARLING: No, I’ll manage. I just—
INSERT: Opera song.
DARLING: What’s that?
JOHNNY: It’s her.
JOHNNY: Before she strayed from her people, she was a singer known only to the Cahuilla.
DARLING: How do you know?
JOHNNY: I’m of the Cahuilla tribe.
DARLING: Ah, I see. What’s she want?
JOHNNY: Maybe she wants her songs back. Have anything else belongs to her?
Johnny laughs, points at her dress.
Fog surrounds. Darling gasps, coughs.
RITA: Darrrrr-ling. Afraid? Someone might steal the show? Like you stole mine?!
DARLING (cracking): My voi—voice Lenny. The tunnel—
LENNY: Nerves Darl’.
DARLING: I can’t…
LENNY: Time kid…show must go on!
Lenny pushes Darling on stage.
INSERT: Clap and cheer recording.
Darling lights up, fake smile, opens mouth.
DARLING (cracking opera singing): Hooooooooe…
Rita appears, Native costume.
RITA: What’s the matter Daaaaar-ling?
Darling faints. Lights flicker, dim. Rita disappears.
Lights flicker, brighter. Darling sits up with jerky, floppy rag doll movements. She sways and slips to stand, opens mouth.
INSERT: Opera recording plays beautifully.
Darling sings, moves on stage awkwardly.
Darling closes mouth, stands doll-like, stares, faints.
Audience cheers wildly.
Johnny sits in spotlight, reading newspaper.
JOHNNY: After that fateful performance, Darling rose to national stardom. Her name
hit front pages just as she wished. She was invited by every stage across country.
People everywhere wanted to hear the angelic voice of Darling Belle. But to their
disappointment she never sang again. Some say it was because she couldn’t duplicate
what must’ve been just a lucky night. Others say her voice was destroyed by the tunnel
gas leak. But I don’t say any of that—what I say…it was the ghost of the opera.