Christopher Marlowe - A Screenplay by Francis Hamit
This Screenplay is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author's PRIOR consent
INT. QUEEN ELIZABETH’S PRIVATE OFFICE - DAY
The Queen is sitting, a bit majestically, behind a large table. Two of
her ladies are in attendance, handing her various papers to read. She
signs one, then another. Reads a third and then looks sharply at Sir
Robert Cecil, who is standing to one side waiting patiently. She
beckons him over.
(showing him the paper)
Is this the matter you wished to discuss?
She sighs, looks upward and gestures to her ladies.
The two women exit.
Pygmy, I would think a lawyer such as yourself would know when not to
bring such a case to my attention. You are unfamiliar with the works
Very familiar. I read them daily.
Then why not just try the man and be done with it? If he has turned
his coat then execute him!
It touches Raleigh as well. 'Twas at his house the speech was made.
And we have other proofs.
Queen Elizabeth leans back, studying him carefully.
So you seek to implicate Sir Walter in heresy? (disgusted) Fie, sir!
You know that his ‘School of Night’ is but a clever trap set for
heretics to bring them out of the dark and into the light where we may
know them. And that Kit Marlowe is simply his unwitting cat’s-paw in
So it might seem, but Sir Walter is a devious man.
And you are more devious still, but you lack the skill that Walsingham
had. You think that, because I banished Walter for getting that little
bitch Bess Throckmorton with child, he is now out of favour and I have
no further use for him? The man is a star soldier and I may yet need
him to lead an army. His head is safe as long as I live. More so than
yours with all your schemes and plots, Robert. You do weary me.
I did not mean ...
Oh, please, Pygmy. Please do not dissemble. For a master of spies, you
are really rather bad at it. Now this Marlowe? He who wrote
Tamburlaine, Doctor Faustus and that disgusting play about Edward the
Second, whose vices we tolerate only because he has done us such great
service? Why should he die?
He now denies God. Publicly and draws others to that opinion.
Queen Elizabeth reads again the paper, slowly, and finally gives off a
And in so doing denies me my majesty and right to rule.
Just so. And we dare not try him publicly. We have as many secret
atheists as secret Catholics.
Then dispose of the matter and of him. My pardon for the man who does
the deed be it never revealed. I am sorry it has come to this for I do
love a good play, but prosecute this to the fullest extent.
She signs the death warrant and hands it to Cecil.
Leave now. I must pray.
INT. RED BULL INN - GREAT ROOM - AFTERNOON
Marlowe is resting.
INT. RED BULL INN - POLEY’S ROOM - EVENING
Poley is alone. He is looking at a paper. He hears sounds from the
INT. RED BULL INN - OUTER TAVERN AREA - EVENING
Marlowe enters, drunk, laughing with Frizer and Skeres.
Mistress Bull! Give us more beer.
(to Frizer and Skeres)
Ah, my friends, ‘tis a goodly day ...
And a goodly company.
Aye, and with good meat and beer ... and such a fair day.
And friends. Good friends such as I have not many of nowadays ... for
we are dark and dangerous fellows, tested by the fire. Where is that
Master of Knaves, our good Robert?
You forgot, Kit ... he felt poorly and took to his bed for a time.
Let me go up and see to it, Kit.
Come, Kit, and we will play at Tables.
Ah ... a wager then.
A shilling on the counter and he who is gammoned pays twice.
INT. RED BULL INN - POLEY’S ROOM - EVENING
Aye, did ye talk further on it?
He will not be deterred from his rash course. He now speaks of a
Pamphlet? What manner of pamphlet?
His title prospective is 'Policy Gone Mad, or My Secret Services to
the Nation' by Christopher Marlowe, Gentleman and Master of Arts.
(a bit stunned)
That's drink talking. He would not be so foolish. But still, he would
prosecute the quarrel with Cecil.
In that madness is he most determined, Robert, and he would have us
Why, he cannot, for we did swear a solemn oath ne'er to speak nor
write on such service as we have given.
Can he not? He speaks of compelling you, for some irregularity of
accounts. His voice is powerful in the ear, my master, I tremble at
the curses he laid on Cecil's head.
There must be a bond between us two and yon Nicholas ... a bond in
I like not the sound of that.
Aye. It means what you think it does.
Assassination, for reasons of state ... it matters not that it touches
our own interests.
Nay, let us be straight each with the other. You've never forgotten
Newgate, and would be revenged on him. His treason is to you. This is
Kit Marlowe, who saved my own life divers times. He is a brother in arms.
By law, Ingram. I am no murderer. Here is a secret warrant from the
Star Chamber that commands his death at our hands. For the love of
God, Ingram! He's a mad dog now, full of vice. Do we suffer such an
animal to live, or do our duty and put it down?
[End of Extract]