“A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.”
— Edgar Allan Poe
STREET – DUSK
MONTRESOR walks purposefully up the street, oblivious to the lavish decorations and noises of celebration all about him.
EXT. TAVERN – DUSK
Montresor peers through the dirty, grimy windows, when suddenly FORTUNATO bursts out of the TAVERN, wearing bizarre motley.
FORTUNATO looks around blearily, obviously drunk, and sees Montresor.
Fortunato rushes up to Montresor and embraces him enthusiastically.
Montresor, looking very pleased, shakes Fortunato’s hand excitedly.
My dear Fortunato, you are
luckily met. How remarkably well
you are looking today.
Montresor glances over Fortunato’s tight-fitting, parti-striped dress and bell-adorned cap.
But I have received a pipe of what
passes for Amontillado, and I have
my doubts about it.
How? Amontillado, a pipe?
Impossible! And in the middle of
As I said, I have my doubts, and I
was silly enough to pay the full
Amontillado price without consulting
you in the matter.
Montresor shrugs his shoulders and spreads out his hands helplessly.
You were not to be found, and I
was fearful of losing a bargain.
I do have my doubts, though.
And I must satisfy them.
Fortunato shakes himself slightly.
As you are engaged, I am on my way
to Luchresi. If any one has a
critical turn it is he. He will
tell me —
Luchresi cannot tell Amontillado
And yet some fools will have it
that his taste is a match for
Come, let us go!
To your vaults!
My friend, no; I will not impose
on your good nature. I perceive
you have an engagement. Luchresi–
I have no engagement; — come!
My friend, no. It is not the
engagement, but the severe cold
with which I perceive you are
afflicted. The vaults are
insufferably damp. They are
encrusted with nitre.
Let us go, nevertheless. The cold
is merely nothing. Amontillado!
You have been imposed upon. And
as for Luchresi, he cannot
distinguish Sherry from Amontillado.
Putting on a black silk mask and pulling a cloak closely around Montresor, Fortunato links his arm with Montresor’s.
To my palazzo. Hurry then!
EXT. MONTRESOR’S PALAZZO – NIGHT
Montresor and Fortunato, the latter still clinging to Montresor’s arm, enter the palazzo.
INT. MONTRESOR’S PALAZZO – NIGHT
Fortunato, releasing Montresor’s arm, looks around curiously.
Pray, where are your attendants?
Making merry in honor of the time, most likely. Come.
Montresor takes two torches from their sconces and gives one to Fortunato.
Monresor and Fortunato walk through several suites of rooms to an archway that led into the vaults.
Montresor walks in front of Fortunato, down a long and winding staircase.
INT. MONTRESOR CATACOMBS – NIGHT
Montresor and Fortunato come to the bottom of the stairs and stand together upon the damp ground.
The catacombs of the Montresors.
Montresor and Fortunato walk on, Fortunato’s gait unsteady and the bells jingling merrily as he strode.
It is farther on, but observe
the white web-work which gleams
from these cavern walls.
Fortunato glances around and turns toward Montresor, eyes still filmy with intoxication.
(after a long pause)
Nitre. How long have you had
Fortunato suddenly bursts into a fit of coughing and hacking, which lasts many minutes, with Fortunato unable to reply.
(after coughs subside)
It is nothing.
Come, we will go back; your
health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you
are happy, as once I was. You are
a man to be missed. For me it is
no matter. We will go back; you
will be ill, and I cannot be
responsible. Besides there is
Enough. The cough’s a mere
nothing; it will not kill me.
I shall not die of a cough.
Fortunato glares at Montresor, as if daring him to disagree.
True — true. And indeed, I had
no intention of alarming you
unnecessarily — but you should
use all proper caution. A draught
of this Medoc will defend us from
Montresor draws out a bottle from a long row of similar bottles that lay on the mold, and knocks off the neck of the bottle.
Montresor hands the wine to Fortunato.
With a leer, Fortunato raises the bottle to his lips.
Fortunato pauses and nods to Montresor, his bells jingling.
I drink to the buried that
repose around us.
And I to your long life.
A slight smirk flits across Montresor’s face as he and Fortunato drink from the bottle.
Fortunato takes Montresor’s arm and they proceed.
These vaults are extensive.
The Montresors were a great
and numerous family.
I forget your arms.
A huge human foot d’or, in a
field azure; the foot crushes
a serpent rampant whose fangs
are imbedded in the heel.
And the motto?
‘Nemo me impune lacessit.’ No
one strikes me with impunity.
The wine seems to sparkle in Fortunato’s eyes and his bells continue to jingle cheerily as they walk.
Montresor and Fortunato pass through long walls of piled skeletons, with casks and puncheons intermingling between the piles, into the innermost recesses of the catacombs.
Montresor pauses and seizes Fortunato by the arm just above his elbow.
The nitre! See, it increases. It
hangs like moss upon the vaults.
We are below the river’s bed. The
drops of moisture trickle among
the bones. Come, we will go back
ere it is too late. Your cough–
It is nothing. Let us go on. But
first, another draught of the Medoc.
Sighing, Montresor hands him a flagon marked ‘De Grave.’
Fortunato empties it in one breath, eyes flashing with fierce light.
Laughing, he throws the bottle upwards with a peculiar gesture.
Montresor looks at him in surprise and Fortunato repeats the rather grotesque movement.
You do not comprehend?
Than you are not of the
You are not of the Masons.
Yes, yes. Yes, yes.
You? Impossible! A mason?
A sign, a sign!
Montresor pulls out a trowel from the folds of his cloak.
It is this.
Fortunato recoils, backing up a few paces.
at the trowel)
But let us proceed to the
Be it so.
Montresor replaces the trowel somewhere inside his cloak and then offers Fortunato his arm, who leans upon it heavily.
Montresor and Fortunato pass through a range of low arches, descend down a slight drop, walk still further, and descend down once again.
Montresor and Fortunato arrive at a deep crypt and they both make a wry face at the foulness of the air, which causes the torches rather to glow than flame.
At the most remote end of the crypt, there appears another, less spacious than the first. Its walls are lined with human remains, piled to the vault overhead. Three sides of the interior crypt are ornamented with these piles of bones. The fourth side’s bones have been thrown down, lay promiscuously upon the ground, forming a mound. Within the wall, exposed by the scattered bones, there is a recess, formed merely by the interval between two of the colossal supports of the roof of the catacombs and backed by one of the circumscribing walls of solid granite.
Fortunato, lifting his dull torch, tries to see into the depth of the recess, but the light is too feeble.
Proceed. Herein is the Amontillado.
As for Luchresi —
He is an ignoramus.
Fortunato walks unsteadily into the niche, Montresor following very close behind.
Fortunato walks straight into the niche until he is unable to move on, then he stares at the wall, looking bewildered.
With a sudden movement, Montresor restrains Fortunato to the granite.
Montresor grabs two iron staples that hang on the walls about two feet from each other, horizontally. One of the staples has a short chain at its end, the other a padlock.
Montresor throws the links about Fortunato’s waist, and swiftly secures it, Fortunato being too astounded and caught off guard to speak or resist.
Montresor locks the padlock with an ominous click and, tucking the key into his cloak, steps back with a satisfied grin on his face.
Pass your hand over the wall; you
cannot help feeling the nitre.
Indeed, it is very damp. Once
more, let me implore you to return.
Fortunato says nothing, too astonished to speak.
No? Then I must positively leave
you. But I must first render you
all the attentions in my power.
True. The Amontillado.
Montresor turns away and digs into the pile of bones by the recess. Throwing them aside, he uncovers a large amount of building stones and mortar.
With a wicked smile at Fortunato, Montresor pulls out his trowel, and begins to vigorously wall up the entrance of the niche.
Montresor lays one row of the bricks, when there is low moaning cry from inside the recess.
After a long silence, Montresor continues laying the stones and lays three more rows when there is a rattling sound as Fortunato shakes his chains furiously.
Montresor looks up and with a look of insane ecstasy and satisfaction, ceases in building, and sits on the pile of bones.
The clanking subsides, and Montresor stands, takes up the trowel again and builds another three rows of the eventual wall.
Montresor pauses and shines his torch upon Fortunato.
Fortunato screams shrilly, and Montresor starts violently, jumping back. Montresor hesitates and, trembling all over, slowly unsheathes his rapier and sticks it into the recess, groping about. Looking reassured, Montresor places his hand on the wall of the catacomb, and nodding satisfactorily, starts to build again.
Fortunato continues to scream, and Montresor echoes his screams mockingly, an insane smile lighting up his features once more. The screams cease and Montresor continues to build.
Montresor builds three more rows and leaves one small portion on the last row needed to finish. Holding the last
stone, Montresor heaves it into its spot, leaving it partially open.
Fortunato gives a low laugh and Montresor stiffens at the sudden noise.
Ha! Ha! Ha! — He! He! He! –a
very good joke, indeed –an
excellent jest. We will have many
a rich laugh about it at the
palazzo –he! He! He! — over our
wine –he! He! He!
He! He! He! –he! He! He! –yes,
the Amontillado. But is it not
getting late? Will not they be
awaiting us at the palazzo, the
Lady Fortunato and the rest? Let
us be gone.
Yes. Let us be gone.
For the love of God, Montresor!
Yes. For the love of God!
Montresor stands by the newly-created wall, quite still, and waits for a reply.
There is a long pause.
There is naught but silence.
Montresor thrusts his torch into the small hole still open and lets it fall. There is a small sound of jingling bells.
Looking sick, Montresor hurriedly pushes the last stone into place and plasters it up. He piles up the scattered bones against the new masonry and with a final glance, walks quickly away, into the darkness of the catacombs.
Fifty Years Later
Montresor, old and gray, is bending over a piece of parchment on his desk. With the quill shaking slightly, he slowly and deliberately writes a few sentences.
Montresor sits back and stares at the page for a long time.
(picking up the
No mortal has ever disturbed
those bones nor have I ever been
captured. ‘In pace requiescat!’
Rest in peace!
So this was written in 2007 for a high school English assignment. We were to take one of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories and convert it into a script. As you can see, I did this “adaptation” rather literally, taken it nearly word-for-word from the original text (which can be found HERE). I’d never written a script before, and as I learned later in my college screenwriting class, you’re not supposed to put parentheticals in the dialogue unless absolutely necessary. Also, there was no real reason why I couldn’t have added more dialogue in places or otherwise tried to make it more interesting. Still, I think it’d make a decent History Channel type of reenactment. x)