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The untouchables : screenplay


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Original screenplay by David Mamet of

The Untouchables, 125 pages plus 25 rewrite pages. Mamet's holograph additions, deletions, and corrections are evident throughout as he advances the storyline to an interim stage that would be reworked further into the film form.

The title page is signed by Mamet, dated "February 1986" in his hand, and has also written out in full what has become a famous quotation from the film, "He pulls a knife, you pull a gun -- he sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue -- that's the Chicago way."

Major changes made include the naming of Al Capone's chief killer as the real-life Frank Nitti. In the typed draft, he is referred to only as the man wearing a bowtie. In this draft, the police sharpshooter is of Polish descent. In the movie, he is an Italian. The screenplay has the gunned-down Malone dying not in his apartment but in a Chicago hospital. Finally, the climactic scence in which Elliot Ness seizes Capone's bookkeeper takes place in this draft on a moving train. The movie, of course, plays out this crucial event in the Chicago train station and features the celebrated cinematic homage to Eisenstein's

The Battleship Potemkin -- an abandoned baby in his carriage rolls slowly down a steep marble staircase to apparent doom while a shootout is taking place between Ness and Capone's men, who are holding the bookkeeper hostage. The last page bears Mamet's handwritten epigraph, "Do it the Chicago way." Housed in a specially designed cloth clamshell box and matching chemise.

Box 44, F0721: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0099 manuscript boxes.

Purchase, 2004.

Processed and encoded by George Apodaca, March 2016.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2016 March 7
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

The untouchables : screenplay, 1986 September.
Box 44 Folder F0721

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