THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE MOVIE CARLITO’S WAY, AS WELL AS SOME IMAGES OF VIOLENCE AND GORE
The juke music cuts out, and we get Patrick Doyle’s score come in, heard from now on, of course, at the same volume throughout the room.
YOUR BOSS IS DEAD AND SO ARE YOU!
From now on until the knifeman is killed, we get on the soundtrack at the same volume level, wherever we are in the room, the horrible sound of Guajiro’s scream.
One down, one to go.
But it might be too late.
Okay, we have the gun. We might just pull this off.
It`s too late.
Brigante, convicted assassin, hits the knifeman, who is doing something Brigante might have done in the past, from a room’s distance away.
Despite all the action contained in these previous shots, the camera is almost entirely still, which is crucial, because the energy needs to be held before it goes higher as Carlito and Quisqueya go after each other, building up to the close-up of Quisqueya, shot. Here the camera moves, as Quisqueya and Brigante come closer and closer together.
A zoom for the surprise effect and to stand out in all this movement; the knifeman’s still alive. Brigante is a man of great skill, but he’s getting old, and this shot from a room away was a little off.
Brigante stays focused too long on Quisqueya’s death, looking the other way from the downed assassin:
Caught by surprise:
This time the knifeman definitely gets it, but Brigante is getting old, since he’s lost count of the number of bullets left.
An attempt to divide the action of the scene between the perspectives of Carlito and Quisqueya during this whole sequence in a split screen. Inevitably, things are a little out of sync at the beginning, with the assassin crossing over in the sunglasses before he does so at Quisqueya’s location, Quisqueya’s face lit up by the bathroom light slowed down so that Carlito’s shot is in sync with the knifeman getting hit, Carlito slowed down so that his shot takes place when Quisqueya is killed, and both the shots of the knifeman and Brigante have to be held entirely still for the thing to work. Even with these limitations, this might be helpful as an additional guide for the plotting of the action.
This whole sequence, with the knifeman instead carrying a gun is all in one short passage in the novel. Brigante, as stated, has a gun from the outset:
That’s what saved me. When Guajiro’s hands went up, I turned right. The shooter bust out the bathroom door and shot Guajiro in the neck, behind the ear. Guajiro spun around draggin’ Quisqueya with him. They got between me and the shooter, who kept shootin’. That’s all I needed. I threw myself backwards and pulled my piece out. I fired at the pool table to my left first. I musta blown it up ’cause splinters was flyin’. Somebody screamed for his mother. I’m rollin’ all over the floor. The shooter, a little fucker, got clear of Guajiro and Quisqueya. I think he’d gone through his five shots (he had a snub nose) because he just stood there. I blew his chest out with two or three quick shots, then still firin’, I scrambled over him into the bathroom.
My back burned as I crawled into a stall. They kept shootin’, but there was no light in the john and they wasn’t about to charge into the dark.
The draft script retains more than a few details of the book, while adding much of the material that, I think, makes the scene so successful. There is no knifeman in the sunglasses or “trick shot”, just a simple cue stick smack. More men are still in the room after the knifeman and the first pool table opponent go down, so you can’t have the duel between Quisqueya and Brigante. In the movie, there’s no diversion from the action by shifting to the women leaving the room. They’ve either left the room, unnoticed, under a pre-arranged signal, or they leave unseen and unheard in the turmoil. The distraction of the shot-up pool table in both the book and draft, is gone in the movie.
AT THE BAR,
Quisqueya still has Guajiro’s hands in his, and it’s getting a little odd. Guajiro looks down at them.
You got the cash with you?
Yeah, Hey, come on, what news?
Guajiro tries to pull his hands free, but Quisqueya’s fingers lock around his wrists, hard.
Your boss is dead. So are you.
Everything happens at once. The door to the bathroom flies open —
— Carlito WHAPS the pool cue across the face of the Dominican next to him, stripping him of his gun as they both hit the floor —
— the KNIFE MAN who was hiding in the bathroom flies up behind Guajiro and cuts him twice, once in the back, once across the throat —
— the Girls SCREAM and bolt from the room —
— and Carlito FIRES, SLAMMING a shot into the Knife Man before he can turn, sending him flying against the wall.
Carlito scrambles across the floor, along the length of the pool table, keeping it between himself and —
— the other two Dominicans. He’d positioned them on the other side of the pool table, but they’re moving now, their guns out. Carlito FIRES four shots at them as he crabwalks for the bathroom.
Huge chunks of splintered pool table fly up, somebody SCREAMS and goes down, and a SHOT ZIPS across Carlito’s back, grazing him, cutting a line through his jacket. He reacts to it but continues on, diving over the body of the Knife Man and into the bathroom.
Images and screenplay copyright Universal Pictures.