Monday, August 30

The Last Picture Show


Lois frowns at the sky as SONNY sips; she turns on radio.

LOIS: That'll be a big help if you mean to live your life in Anarene.

SONNY: I don't.

LOIS: (shakes her head) Strange to have a daughter who wouldn't go through with her wedding night. When I was her age I'd go through with just 'bout any old night.

SONNY: (sips bourbon) I guess I can't get in the Army now -- not with this eye.


Moonlight on the water; they drive into Texas again.


The car pulls up in front]

SONNY: Sure wasn't outta Texas very long.

LOIS: Well, Oklahoma's not much of an improvement.

SONNY: (sips bourbon, pauses) 'S not the same now. Nothing's really been right since Sam the Lion died.

LOIS: (starts; sadly) No it hasn't. (eyes water slightly) I get sad when I think of Sam for long. Did you know he had beautiful hands?

SONNY: I guess you liked him, didn't you? I guess everybody did.

LOIS: No, it was more than that with me, honey -- I loved him. He loved me.

Surprised, SONNY looks at her and it dawns on him.

SONNY: Are you the one he used to take swimming? Out to the tank?

LOIS: (looks at him; smiles) He told you about that, huh? Oh yeah, I was the one. (pauses) If it hadn'ta been for him, you know, I'd have missed it -- whatever it is. I'd have been one of those Amity types that think bridge is the best thing life has to offer. He's the only man I ever met who knew what I was worth. Sam the Lion. (smiles) Sam the Lion. Nobody knows where he got that name. I gave it to him -- one night. Just came to me. He was so pleased. I was twenty- two then -- can you imagine?

Looks at SONNY briefly, holding back her tears; a few spill over.

LOIS: You know something, Sonny? It's terrible only to find one man your whole life that knows what you're worth. It's just terrible -- I wouldn't be tellin' you if it wasn't. I've looked, too -- you wouldn't believe how I've looked. When Sam ... was sixty- five years old he could jus' walk into a room where I was and do more for me ... (pause) Nobody was like him. (falls silent)

SONNY: (hesitantly) Now I know why Sam liked you.

LOIS: Loved me!

SONNY: Loved you, I mean.

LOIS: Aw, do you? (looks at him, gently puts hand on his cheek) I can kinda see what he saw in you too.

She looks forward again, then back at him a moment, with a reckless smile. He looks back, curiously. Finally:

LOIS: Nope. I'll just go on home.

SONNY: Think I could learn to drink?

Throws back his head and swallows, then coughs and sputters. LOIS is amused. He hands her back the flask.

LOIS: You might. Keep practicing.

She drives away. He goes into the poolhall.

-- Larry McMurtry and Peter Bogdanovich