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A hotel room in Vienna, 1938, shortly before the Anschluss. Alma and father Johannes Hollnsteiner lying in bed.

HOLLNSTEINER   Manon Gropius blossomed like an exceedingly beautiful flower. She passed through life with the purity of an angel. To many she personified happiness and love. To those who knew her best she was the epitome of a sunny disposition and a joy for life. A year of grave suffering matured her, so that for her more than most , the following words from the bible are appropriate: "An early death, but full of wisdom". Manon was mature and thus the Lord, in whom she believed, who was her support and sustenance, has taken her into His Kingdom in the year of her suffering and maturing. She has not died. She has gone home with an open gaze. The eyes free from suffering and pain, the lips forming the smile so familiar to all of us, who had the privilege of being with her. She has entered into His Kingdom on the Holy Day of Love and Resurrection. The Divine Conqueror of death and need has taken her into the Kingdom of which is written: "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard the things which God has prepared for them that love him". Now as a token of our profoundest bond with Manon Gropius let us pray in Christian Fellowship.

ALMA   Holy, hey Holy!

HOLLNSTEINER   I asked you not to call me that.

ALMA   What's wrong with „Holy “?

HOLLNSTEINER   First of all, it sounds English.

ALMA   What's wrong with English?

HOLLNSTEINER   It is a decadent, degenerate language.

ALMA   English is a degenerate language?!

HOLLNSTEINER   „Holy“ doesn't only sound English. It sounds American. Even Jewish American. Like Hollywood.

ALMA   Can't you see the two of us in Hollywood?

HOLLNSTEINER   Are you crazy?

ALMA   Come on. Dream a little.


ALMA   Dream! Try to dream! Don't you have any dreams?

HOLLNSTEINER   I have a dream. I even have a dream full of great longing, but it will never come true .. But it's worth dreaming it all the same

ALMA   Tell me your dream, Holy.

HOLLNSTEINER   Don't call me Holy !

ALMA   All right, come on, tell me your dream.

HOLLNSTEINER   In my dream I see Austria becoming the true, pure German state. The cradle of a new race. The new Holy Roman Empire.

ALMA   Oh, your dreams are so dull, Holy!

HOLLNSTEINER   „Holy “?! If you say „Holy “ one more time, I'm leaving.

ALMA   Calm down, calm down!

HOLLNSTEINER   I know why you call me „Holy “. It's because of what it means in English.

ALMA   English again!

HOLLNSTEINER   You do it to remind me that I have broken my oath of celibacy. That I have betrayed the Church for you. That I am a false, sinful priest, and no longer a holy person.

ALMA   You are a holy person, Holy. For me you are, and you will always be. Ever since the day you delivered that marvellous speech on Manon's grave. I loved every word you said about my poor little only child. You made her immortal! I will never forget that you did that!

HOLLNSTEINER   She wasn't your only child.

ALMA   She was.

HOLLNSTEINER   Anna Mahler is still alive.

ALMA   Anna has mixed blood. She's half Jewish. Manon was my only thoroughbred Aryan child. And you found the right, inspired words to describe her. In your eulogy, you rendered her immortal, that angel. That's why I fell in love with you, Holy.

HOLLNSTEINER   Please, I beseech you, don't call me “Holy”.

ALMA   I will, Holy. And there is nothing wrong with the English connotation of the word. On the contrary. It is precisely at the sacred climax of our carnal union, when you touch that secret point deep down inside me with the tender tip of your powerful staff, that I feel most strongly that you really are a Holyman.

HOLLNSTEINER   Alma, oh Alma!…. (He sighs with passion and desire)

ALMA   I have a dream… In my dream I see the two of us in Hollywood. Yes, in Hollywood, Holy! Your associations were right. Because that is where the two of us belong, Holy! Look at us: we are beautiful, the two of us. And pure-breds too. We belong in a Hollywood film.


ALMA   Don't you think our love story is worthy of an bigger than life Hollywood film? „The Priest and the Maiden“. Or „The Butterfly And The Priest“. I can see Katharine Hepburn playing me, with Clark Gable playing your part. Werfel could write the script.

HOLLNSTEINER   Alma! Please, please, please!

ALMA   I can see my Franz writing a novel on the subject. say, that's not such a bad idea! I should talk to him about it.

HOLLNSTEINER   No, you won't!

ALMA   Why not? You think our affair isn't worthy of a novel? It could be much better and more sensational than Lady Chatterley's Lover. I could feed Franz all the details ---

HOLLNSTEINER   You will not do that!

ALMA   Why not? I think it's time for German literature to start including precise descriptions of sexual acts. I will talk to Franz.

HOLLNSTEINER   I forbid you to do it.

ALMA   You forbid me?! My poor Holyman! The man who can forbid me to do what I want hasn't been born yet.

HOLLNSTEINER   Alma, this isn't just about you. It's about me too!

ALMA   Are you ashamed of what you do to me when we make love?

HOLLNSTEINER   No, but it's nobody's business. Least of all your poor husband -

ALMA   Don't you ever dare call Franz Werfel my "poor husband "!

HOLLNSTEINER   What would you call him then?

ALMA   First of all, being my husband, he is not a poor. I have chosen him. He is the Happiest of Men, because I love him. Do You think my heart is so small that there is only enough room for one man there?

HOLLNSTEINER   I thought you were giving yourself totally to me.

ALMA   When I am with you, I give myself totally to you, but when I am with Franz, I give myself totally to Franz. And do you know something? When I return to Franz, after being with you, I am so passionate and full of desire that it spills over on him, ha ha! And he's almost grateful for it, Ha ha! I think that's one of the reasons he likes you - a little…

HOLLNSTEINER   Werfel knows about us?!

ALMA   What kind of a question is that?

HOLLNSTEINER   Alma, don't toy with my nerves! This is crucial! Does he or doesn't he know what has been going on between the two of us?

ALMA   How should I know what he knows?

HOLLNSTEINER   Have you told him?

ALMA   Well, that at least s a more precise question.

HOLLNSTEINER   Answer me !

ALMA   Have I told him what?

HOLLNSTEINER   You know what.

ALMA   No, I don't know what you have on your mind.

HOLLNSTEINER   Why do you torture me?

ALMA   My dear Holy, things in our world have names. You want to talk about something, name it.

HOLLNSTEINER   Why are you doing this to me?

ALMA   Be a man! Call your actions by their names. It's about time you started. We live in 1938, not in 1338, thank goodness!

HOLLNSTEINER   Alma, have you told Werfel about us?

ALMA   What about us exactly? That I was the first woman in your life?


ALMA   That I taught you how to hold a woman in your arms, how to kiss…

HOLLNSTEINER   Alma, don't ---

ALMA   …how to fondle my breasts, how to suck and bite my nipples until I lose control ---

HOLLNSTEINER   Alma, please --- Please!!!

ALMA   That I was the first woman to unbutton your trousers, to caress your holiness with the tips of my fingers and to take your bulging prick in my hand…

HOLLNSTEINER   Please, don't!!! Oh no!!

ALMA   … and put it into my mouth before finally pulling it down into holy oblivion?
Burning with passion, Hollnsteiner throws himself on her, but she pushes him away.

ALMA   No, my dear, tell me what is it you want to knowwhether I told Werfel?

HOLLNSTEINER   Did you tell him we're lovers?

ALMA   "Lovers"? Is that all you can bring yourself to say about us?

HOLLNSTEINER   Did you or didn't you?

ALMA   When I first became aware of what you were doing to me, I couldn't believe my eyes. Me, a woman in her late fifties, suddenly losing touch with the ground under my feet, like a sixteen-year-old girl - not knowing any more where I was or what was happening inside me. And you talk about "lovers"! - Good God! Why are men so senseless?

HOLLNSTEINER   That's not fair ! You know damn well what I risk every time I meet you.

ALMA   What do you risk? Your false existence as a priest?

HOLLNSTEINER   I believe in my principles!

ALMA   You do? Do you believe in your love? Do you believe in your passion?


ALMA   Do you believe that God brought us together to consummate our sacred love?

HOLLNSTEINER   Yes, I do believe. !

ALMA   In God, the Almighty?

HOLLNSTEINER   In God, the Almighty.

ALMA   Creator of heaven and earth?

HOLLNSTEINER   Creator of heaven and earth.

ALMA   And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten son?

HOLLNSTEINER   And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten son.

ALMA   Conceived by the Virgin Mary?

HOLLNSTEINER   Conceived by the Virgin Mary…

ALMA   Who saw her son crucified and buried?

HOLLNSTEINER   Who saw her son crucified and buried…

ALMA   her son who rose from the dead on the third day?

HOLLNSTEINER   her son who rose from the dead on the third day…! - (excitedly:) Oh Alma, you're wonderful!!! Men have composed for you, painted for you, but never has anyone read mass for you.

ALMA   You really don't know what a woman is.


ALMA   How dare you say that after being with me! Go, go away.

HOLLNSTEINER   Alma, please ----

ALMA   No, leave me alone. Don't touch me! That is the biggest insult anyone ever dared utter to me.

HOLLNSTEINER   Alma, please, forgive me….

ALMA   To say you don't know what a woman is - after I gave you all I have! My soul, my feelings, my passion, my experience, my body - and you say you don't know what a woman is ….


ALMA   What do you know?

HOLLNSTEINER   I know now what a woman is.

ALMA   Really?

HOLLNSTEINER   Yes. A woman. The embodiment of woman.

ALMA   Then tell me !

HOLLNSTEINER   The embodiment of woman .... is you!

ALMA   Oh, how charming!

HOLLNSTEINER   You want me to go on ? After all, you're the reason know what a woman is, and I'll never have a comparison. You are the first and you'll be the last.

ALMA   I hope so.

HOLLNSTEINER   A woman… You want to know what a woman is? Who can ever recount all the falsehoods, all the tricks and schemes she plots, a woman, her non-stop bargaining, her recklessness, the tears she can shed so easily, a woman, her fickleness, her impudence, her immodesty, her tireless verbosity, her intrigues, her forgetfulness, her malevolence, her ingratitude, her slippery cunning, her ability to say one thing and its opposite in one breath, a woman! Her moodiness and her unexpected twists and turns, her pretence and arrogance, her pride and false humility, her base submissions, her chattiness and gossip, her sluttishness and witchery, her lies, her contempt, her slandering, her vulgarity, her readiness to use all possible means to achieve her goal, a woman! Her irrationality, her lack of remorse over her evil deeds. She will privately pleasure you one moment, only to slander you in public the next. Oh what a plague, what a short stay in paradise for a lifelong sojourn in hell! What misery it is for a man to fall into a woman's clutches, and then to have to remain involved with her for any longer than the short burst of time that she holds him inside her body and buries him in her womb!

ALMA   Oh Holy-, that's the most beautiful declaration of love anyone's ever made to me! I love you! (she opens her arms) Holy, do with me, do with us whatever you want!

HOLLNSTEINER   Come on, Alma, come with me. I'm going to take you to Hollywood...