2d 1932 WHOSE CHILD WAS MY CHILD?
Franz Werfel and Walter Gropius in conversation.
better stay with me. I know a few things about the true Alma
that no one else does. Not even this crazy Almaniac! And I'm
going to find out once and for all who was the father of my
not hard. I was Alma's husband then, so I must be Martin's
complete nonsense. Martin was my child. And anyway, he's dead.
sorry, Franz; I'm 100% sure it was me who got Alma pregnant
in December 1917. You weren't even in Vienna.
me?! - May I step in ?
no! No way! Many thanks! It's not possible! We've already
had the pleasure of suffering from your presence. Thank you.
It has to o end at some point!
go away, will you?!
MAHLER Well where am I supposed to go? After all, I've only
got my music.
If only you had studied something respectable
MAHLER This is just what it was like when I was alive... -
was born in July 1918
it was August 1918.
it was July 1918!
was in November 1918! An unforgettable day! I will never forget
it ! The street-fighting in Vienna... hundreds of thousands
in the city centre
swarming in from all boroughs
a huge crowd! They gathered near the opera house, in front
of city hall
Then suddenly, a red flag on the roof of
the parliament! Silence
! Dead silence! And then the
explosions, smoke, street
fighting - a riot! That was the end of the Austrian-Hungarian
monarchy... the end! Two left dead, two left dead
me, it was in July. The end of July 1918. I would remember
, don't you think ? So: when the child was born, Alma was
in her eighth month.
no, no. Alma was in the seventh month. It was a seventh-month
child. That I know for sure. Otherwise everything would have
been much easier!
do you know that?
that's what she has been claiming over and over for years.
The child was born prematurely because
errr- well, because
I don't know!
the way: what was the reason for that premature birth? She
refused to talk to me about it. Did she ever tell you? No?
Isn't that strange
? The medical record didn't say what
caused that awful bleeding.
she inherited it from Gustav Mahler--- along with his royalties
--- I bequeath upon my wife the estate on the Semmering
-- the score of Anton Bruckner's third symphony, the $100,000
in my American bank account, and My Subterranean Streams
subterranean streams'? What's that? A posthumous Cantata?
An 11th symphony?
it's his haemorrhoids, in equal monthly instalments.
call that disgusting? It's nothing compared to the naked truth.
You've only seen the medical reports of the Viennese doctor,
Professor Halban. (He flushes his livery exposing a blood
stained document) What a shame the first record of that incident
written by the village practitioner Dr. Erich Fleischhacker
was never found...
difference would it have made?
No difference at all! Leave us alone with your horror stories!
(To Gropius:) Some waiters are so disgusting, they ruin the
reputation of the finest households.
some lovers don't spare their mistresses, even when they are
very pregnant. Love can be a bloody business, especially in
times of war! When everyone's emotions are on fire, and the
real men are far from home... bleeding for their fatherland
while the most beautiful ladies are left at the mercy of the
corrupt useless cowards at the military press headquarters!
had enough of your information. We'll call you if we need
anything. Thank you. (He gives him a tip.)
You can't bribe me.
thought your evidence was harder than this crazy nut.
no evidence at all. This man is cracked. Alma was right. She
has such a good heart, keeping all these poor creatures under
her roof. He'd make a good character for a novel. By the way,
did I tell you I'm planning to write the Divine Comedy for
our time? Star for the Misbegotten but unfortunately
Eugene O'Neil beat me to it.
call it Star of the Unborn! You've every right,
in your position as a childless father.
do you mean a childless father?
of course you cannot be Martin's father, if the child was
born at the end of July
if Alma was in her seventh month
the child was conceived in the last week of December 1917,
or in the first week of January 1918.
is this going to prove?
tell me this: Were you with Alma in the beginning of 1918?
the beginning of 1918? How can I remember?
the beginning of 1918
in the beginning of 1918
That was the stone-age!
it wasn't the stone age, I was still married to Alma, you
you for reminding me.
are most welcome. Now, then, were you or were you not with
my wife during the first week of January 1918?
driving me crazy with your constant nagging and pestering!
I'm completely confused already! I don't know what you want!
January 1st, January 3rd, January 5th, Epiphany...! Why is
that so important to you?
want to know once and for all: who was the father of my child!
Was he my son, or were you his father?
child died before he was one year old. Leave him in peace.
worry about the child. He rests in peace. All I'm trying to
do, is find my own peace of mind.
that is so important to you, let's call Alma and ask her.
when do you believe Alma? Have you suddenly gone mad? She
is a born liar. If she happens to speak a word of truth, it's
either an oversight or a mistake. The few years I lived with
her polluted my life with so many lies! They are a cancer
gnawing away at the most intimate tissues of my soul.
I? How many times has she betrayed you?
are you laughing?
dear friend, my beloved rival, you're either naive, or a master
mean you know ---
know what I know about myself.
mean, she betrayed me with you?
it really surprise you?
can't believe it!
you wish to deceive yourself - my congratulations! I'll not
trouble your peace of mind.
she was lying in the hospital, after she gave birth to Martin.
made love to her right after she gave birth
what do you mean she betrayed me?
visited her in the hospital. I surprised her there when she
was on the phone with you. From the way she spoke on the phone,
I suddenly understood she was having an affair with you. With
you, Franz! That was a surprise, really! I wasn't prepared
for you! For you least of all. I asked her if you had been
her lover. Instead of answering, she played the sick one.
I understood everything. I didn't insist anymore. Get
away, get away! she whispered. I am sick and tired
of you! I suggested she call you. That made her mad,
angry,, hysterical, shouting and yelling: Get him out
of my sight, that fat bow-legged Jew with his swollen lips,
nicotine-stained fingers, and oozing eye-slits!
course not, it only explains everything that happened before
- and later with you, with me, and with Kokoschka
even mention his name.
not? He was the only man she ever really desired, while she
was cheating on both of us with one another. I hear now she's
flirting with the Catholic church. There's a rumour that she's
having an affair with a certain Father Hollnsteiner.
Oh, no! Ever Since he gave that beautiful sermon for Manon's
funeral, he's become Alma's confessor.
confessor? I see! That's why he spent a night in her hotel-room
in Vienna last Sunday.
spent a night in her hotel room in Vienna? Who told you?
heard it in New York.
her! The bleeding horny hag! !
relax! Don't get excited.
cheated on her too.
really? With whom? one of your heroines? With Barbara? With
Bernadette? Certainly not with Jacobovsky!
can laugh, but at the time I was quite a rascal! I had an
ongoing affair with a certain Gertrud Spirk when I started
seeing Alma. Neither of them knew about the other. It was
easy, as long as Gertrud stayed in Prague, but things got
complicated when she insisted on coming to Vienna.
you let her come to Vienna while you were having an affair
with Alma?! How could you do that?
couldn't help it! Both of them were clinging to me. Gertrud
sensed I wasn't whole-heartedly so to speak with her, so she
said: Don't you think I'm going to let go of you!
She was a sweet little thing in her own way, I must say...
did it all happen?
was... let me see... by Summer it was all over... so it must
have been the winter of 1917, ... shortly after Christmas...
probably the beginning of January---
mean, the beginning of January 1918?
was exactly when Alma got pregnant.
that's when it was... now that you mention it, I remember
that Alma felt sick. She invited me to join her at a spa where
she was staying ----
you join her?
of course not. I invented some silly pretext... I said I needed
to feel absolutely secure in order to open up, to offer myself
entirely and to enjoy....
means your affair was already under way at the time?
by the end of December 1917 and during the first days of January
1918 you were having sex with Alma.
am I supposed to remember after all this time?! I didn't keep
a diary of it all! My God! You're like a man obsessed! I told
you I'm not sure of the dates. Anyway, there was a break in
our relationship during Gertrud's short stay in Vienna.
don't know! You hear me?! I don't know!!
I understand that this break in your relationship
occurred when Alma was already sick due to the early stages
that's what you say -
that's what you just said.
don't know, I don't know, I don't know! Leave me in peace!
to think, man! Try to think! It's as important to you as it
is to me!
The Almaniac enters and interferes again:
finished yet? Whose son was it after all? Kokoschka's?
you leave us in peace, you insufferable loon?
people recover from their Alma-mania, some never do. And for
some of them it becomes very important to understand what
their Alma has done to them.
me, too, I can assure you! Alma is the only person who could
make me an artist, and she has done it. If I hadn't met her,
I would have written another few poems, and then sunk into
oblivion. It's thanks to her that I've become a world-renowned
novelist, a popular playwright and a successful script-writer.
It is Alma who made me a famous artist! It's thanks to her
that I will one day write The Divine Comedy of the twentieth
century! The day I get the Nobel prize, it will be thanks
to Alma's endless love! Yes! She loved a great many talented
men, but she loves me much more than she loved the others!
And baby Martin was my child! I'm sure of it.
why did you kill him?