Saturday, August 9, 2008
A dark and dingy gutbucket hangout for black millworkers and down-and-outers. Rough-looking men and a few hard women drink and talk. Johnson is seated on a chair in one corner, ostensibly playing for the customers though no one is listening. He gloomily picks and strums a slow instrumental--the sound of which carries through the next few scenes.
Robert drunk, paper sack-wrapped bottle in his hand, wandering aimlessly through rainy, blustery Chicago slum. He stops in the scanty covering offered by the overhead elevated train tracks; tipsily reeling, he stands drinking and looking at nothing as an "El" train goes by overhead.
Robert, Big Bill (seen earlier), both with their guitars, plus a piano player, an upright bass man, and a cornetist, as well as a trio of young women (one on Robert's lap), all sprawled happily in the plush parlor of a fancy-house, passing marijuana cigarettes, taking deep drags and then giggling and coughing--and all the while attempting to play between hits.
The instrumental music slowly comes to an end as Robert wanders now in a bright, fresh spring morning. The world and he look a whole lot better. People smile and nod and yell greetings. Kids run around underfoot. He tips his hat to older people. Then, suddenly, a half-block away, Robert sees a woman who looks very much like Louise, entering an apartment building with parcels in her arms. She vanishes within and, too late, he runs down the block and on into her building.
INTERIOR APARTMENT BUILDING
Robert dashes into the hallway hoping to see Louise, but she has disappeared. No one is in sight. He looks at the unlabeled individual doors, and then starts calling out:
JOHNSON: Louise! (no response, so again louder) Louise!
One door opens and a little girl sticks her head out; she looks at him silently.
JOHNSON: Hello, darlin'. Kin you he'p me? (girl nods) Is they a purty woman name' Louise live here 'bouts?
The little girl silently nods again.
JOHNSON: Well, where she at then?
Still silent she points up the stairs. Robert turns and sprints up the stairway without thanking her.
UPPER HALLWAY AND DOORS
Johnson surges up into view and stops to survey the several doors on this floor. He shrugs, steps up to the closest one, and knocks.
LOUISE'S VOICE: Who is it?
She is already opening the door as he responds.
JOHNSON: Me. Robert.
Louise halts the half-open door and stares coolly at Johnson.
LOUISE: Robert. No. I tol' you to stay away.
JOHNSON: Yeah, you did. An' I did it--till I seen you jes' now on the block. Eyesight to the blind, baby. I need you, Louise--devil come som'ever.
He pushes his way inside.
Louise does not retreat, and the two of them stand just inside the half-open door.
LOUISE: Damn you, Robert. I want you too. But we can't. I'm scared of him--he beats me some already, and he'd kill us for sure wi' this.
JOHNSON: Leave his turf then. Got to be somewheres safe. Come on wid me...
LOUISE (drawn to him, wanting it, thinking) Wait, I got a cousin lives in Joliet. I could say I'm visiting her...
JOHNSON: Le's go, baby. Right now.
LOUISE: Just like that?
Now Robert smiles and shoves the door closed behind her.
JOHNSON: Well... mebbe somethin' else come first...
Through a light rain now, a Thirties-style bus moves along a highway. In the background looms a grim, forbidding, greystone prison.
Robert and Louise are seated together towards the rear of the mostly empty bus; the prison can be seen outside in the distance. Louise is happily talking, while Robert strums his guitar quietly.
LOUISE: So then I come north, on my own. I wasn't gonna wind up some dirt farmer's wife or white woman's house gal. I was a waitress for a while, then I worked as a ten-cent dancer at the Dixie Ballroom. That's where he found me. Oh, it was fun at first--all the attention an' the presents Ras give. But then he set me up in that apartment, and he just keeps me there, waitin' on him to visit. Lord, like to break my mind.
JOHNSON: Mebbe we do somethin' about that...
He points out the window at the distant buildings.
JOHNSON: Is that a prison over there?
LOUISE: Joliet Pen'tentiary. Big and ugly, isn't it? Colored go in there an' never come out.
JOHNSON: Ain' nobody never gonn' cage me like that. Crackers love to catch 'em a black man. I go down dead first...
The two of them fall silent, huddled together on the bus.
DAY--INTERIOR HOTEL ROOM
Robert and Louise are lounging around--Robert likely naked under the sheet, propped up watching her, his lucky bag prominent against his chest. Louise is in her underwear, going methodically through the pockets of his pants, talking as she goes. The first item she pulls out is a rolled-up guitar string.
LOUISE: What's this, Robert? I thought we agreed: No strings attached!
JOHNSON (lazily): That G-string look mighty right on you.
Louise glances at him and smiles.
LOUISE: Go 'head with that. (holds it to her leg like a garter) Rather tie it 'round your big ol' root, pull you 'round after me...
Robert laughs and stretches.
CLOSE ON LOUISE
She dumps all the coins from his pocket and counts them silently, then:
LOUISE: Some big spender. Total out at four dollars, 'leven cents. What we get back to Chicago on?
Johnson sits up in bed.
JOHNSON: I play somewheres, pick up mo' change. You know I gots to head south, to Dallas, come June--cut some mo' records.
Louise is suddenly sad.
LOUISE: Oh Robert... that's less than a month. Then I'm lef' to Ras again.
JOHNSON: Come wid me if yo' want.
She doesn't answer, instead goes fishing at the bottom of his last pocket--and pulls out the same old lipstick top Johnson has been using to play slide throughout most of the film. Now her eyes flash saucily.
LOUISE: Which one o' your gals give you this?
CLOSE ON JOHNSON
He closes his eyes for a moment, effected by the sudden memory.
JOHNSON: Was a gif' for someone I knowed a long time gone.
Louise has detected something in his voice. She jumps up and strides over to the open window. Before Robert realizes what she intends, she hurls the lipstick top out through the billowing curtains. Then she turns around, striking a pose, hands on hips.
LOUISE: All you gonna carry from now on is what I give you!
Now she runs from the window and jumps on top of him. They tumble back laughing on the bed.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
NIGHT--INTERIOR HALLWAY OF APARTMENT BUILDING
The camera is jammed in amongst the men and women packed into this first-floor space (hall, stairwell, and open door to small apartment) where a house rent party is in full swing--shouts, laughter, and the resonant echoes from an Armstrong/Oliver New Orleans-styled jazz group arranged on the upper stairs. Johnson and Johnny are present, now in dapper suits and flashy hats, Johnny talking to chums, Robert roaming restlessly, his eyes alert for some attractive and available woman. Several in the crowd speak to him.
MAN: Hey, Bob, you rootin' groun' hog--you gonn' play t'night or me?
JOHNSON: Say, Bill. Mought's well us bof'.
WOMAN: When you comin' to see me, daddy?
Johnson smiles and points at her companion, who takes no offense at his remark.
JOHNSON: When you ditch him.
ANOTHER MAN (holding up rolled cigarettes): I got muggles here that is the mezz. Getcha high as Geo'gia pines, my man...
Johnson waves him off.
JOHNSON: Mebbe later, Blinky.
Now he stops and stares at someone across the crowded area.
Ahead of Johnson we see Louise, small, sexy, and a rich brown color, with carefully processed and coiffed hair. She is talking with some girlfirends. Robert moves towards her through the crowd; she notices as he draws near, coolly staring back at him.
JOHNSON: Hello, sweetmeat.
LOUISE (disdainful): Somethin' you want?
With no more introduction than that, he takes her arm and tugs her away with him. The girlfriends are surprised; Louise reacts angrily at first, trying to yank free. Then she shrugs and acquiesces, going along for the ride. She throws a not-to-worry smile back at her friends.
DAWN--INTERIOR HOTEL ROOM
The furnishings are merely adequate. Johnson is asleep in the bed; Louise is dressing, almost ready to depart. Johnson stirs on the bed and reaches over to where she should be sleeping beside him:
No body there, he opens his eyes and looks around.
JOHNSON: Louise? (seeing her) Hey, baby, what you doin'?
ANGLE ON MIRROR
Louis is straightening her dress in front of the mirror, Johnson reflected in the glass.
LOUISE (business-like): Leavin', Robert. I'm goin'.
JOHNSON (lazily): Ain' no rush. Wait up an' I go 'long witcha.
LOUISE: No! (turns to face him) No, daddy. You can't. Last night was good, but this is today. You ain't a part of my life, an' you can't be...
JOHNSON (sitting up): Wha'cha mean, woman. We got a passle o' nights headin' to us.
Louise has her make-up out now, but she pauses to walk over to the bed and put her arms on Robert's shoulders, keeping him on the bed.
LOUISE: No, Robert. I like you. A lot. But you are courtin' death around me. I got me a steady-rollin' man, a man of means. And he is mean enough to see you dead if he found out about this.
She looks into his eyes for a moment, then walks over to pick up her hat and purse, dropping the unused make-up inside the purse. Johnson rises from the bed, grabbing for his trousers, still bare-chested.
JOHNSON: What are you mumblin' on at?
LOUISE: Get back from me now. I'm tellin' you they's no way for us. Don't even look for me...
And with this parting warning she dashes to the door and hurries on out. Johnson is still trying to pull on the second leg of his pants. He hobbles over to the door after her, but she has already vanished.
Robert and Johnny are sitting across from each other in the small restaurant seen earlier during their Southside jaunt. Johnny is wolfing down a plate of barbecued ribs and greens. Robert's similar plate is largely untouched; he is focussed instead on a another bottle.
JOHNNY (smacking his lips): Now these is ribs, nigger. Kin smell the Delta drippin' off'n 'em. Make me homesick. Say, what about that? You 'bout ready to head South agin? This big city ain't sit right...
JOHNSON: I like it fine.
On each of them in turn as their dialogue proceeds.
JOHNNY (looks at him admiringly): You the tush-hog, ain'cha. Git-tar an' a gal, strum on 'em both, is all you wants. Where' you get to las' night, anyways?
Johnson simply shrugs, pours himself another drink.
JOHNNY (eating again): I trustin' you ain't go wi' that big-leg woman I see you talkin' at. That Nubian princess is somethin' fine--skin like coffee an' cream, um, um. But I axed about her an' she's a bad 'un. Lady frien' to the man wit all the action here-'bouts. He's the ba-ad mothe'fuyer, folks say...
JOHNSON: That so? Ain' no truck wid me.
He empties the glass, thrusts it aside, and upends the bottle instead, then:
JOHNSON: Got us a gig tomorr' evenin'. Uptown, John--an' no bucket o' blood neither. (grins evilly with the bottle poised) White folks time, for when they comes a-studyin' at the Nee-gros. Well, the coins what I studyin', an' white ones spen' fine too. Club suit you, I 'spect?
Johnny is indeed excited at the prospect, waving a rib around as he answers.
JOHNNY: Hell, yes, Bob--that's travelin' money. I never did see nobody for luck like you--you musta been conjuratin' that bag again.
Johnson touches his lucky bag.
JOHNSON: Big Bill set it, truly--took me in t' meet the man. But my luck done met a woman done hoodoo me some, I b'lieve...
Johnny stops eating to look at Robert curiously. But Johnson has his head tipped back, glugging the whiskey down.
A bar, several tables, and a small bandstand; a few white couples seated waiting. The clock over the bar reads exactly 9:00, but the owner is already drumming his fingers on the bar impatiently. Robert swaggers in, followed somewhat cautiously by Johnny. Both have their guitars and Robert has a sack-wrapped bottle.
OWNER: Where the hell you been? I said nine o'clock, ready to play.
JOHNSON (grinning tipsily): Tha's what it is, an' tha's what I is. An' Johnny too, my ass-istant here. (laughs)
He upends the bottle to drink two last swallows, then shakes the remaining drops out sadly and sets the empty carefully on the bar. Meanwhile Johnny is looking around nervously.
JOHNSON: Keep the whiskey comin' , boss, an' we play ya a mess o' blues.
The two musicians walk to the bandstand and clamber up, Johnny still nervous, Robert too tipsy to care. As they tune up, Robert dons the same old lipstick top for his little finger, and starts talking to the audience.
JOHNSON: Good evenin', peoples. How you-all be gettin' on?
There is no answer, though one woman titters.
JOHNSON: Me an' John here gonn' see is you folks ready--see kin you kick 'em on down. (louder, to the owner) Say, Mist' Clark, where's 'at drink at you promise'? (to the audience) Mist' Clark, see, he the man in this be-yoo-tiful club we all be sittin' in, an' mos'ly drinkin' too.
The bartender arrives with two shot glasses. Johnny nods his thanks and sets his aside, but Johnson tosses his off and motions for a refill.
JOHNSON: Some ol' fool tol' me white folks was jes' black folks after they's ceased--he say y'all ain't got no soul a-tall 'lessin' it be sto'-bought...
Johnny is just as stunned as the audience at this effrontery. There are some mutterings, and Johnny reaches over to pull at Johnson's arm.
JOHNNY: Hush up, Bob. Le's be playin' now.
CLOSE ON JOHNSON
But Robert goes blithely on.
JOHNSON: Oh, I tol' that fool he was a liar---yes sir. Lord have mercy, ain' none o' mine--we is jes' poor Ethiopian musicianers. I knows you white folks get the blues jes' like us...
Then he rolls his eyes in minstrel-show exaggeration and launches straight into an upbeat dance number, Johnny scrambling to catch up in the arrangement.
ANGLE ON SHOT GLASSES--ZOOM OUT
Three empty glasses beside Robert now on another chair. He looks drunker, Johnny tireder, and the crowd has dwindled some, except that a new couple is sitting close to the stage, the woman eyeing Johnson somewhat appreciatively. The two musicians are retuning and talking.
JOHNNY: Ain't found her yet. But I reckon we goin' to Memphis nex' t' look...
JOHNSON (staring now at the nearby woman): You know how lonesome it get sleepin' all by you'se'f... (laughing at his own recklessness) Well, you swing mine an' I swing yours, sweet chile.
Now he's laughing so hard he starts coughing too.
The woman looks more amused than offended, but the boyfriend is on his feet coming for Johnson. The owner quickly interposes himself and stops the angry man, murmuring soothing words. Meanwhile, Johnny has sized things up and he quickly moves over to Johnson (still coughing and laughing), steps in and clobbers him on the jaw, knocking Robert off his chair, guitar flying and crashing into the empty shot glasses. Robert tumbles to the floor and is too surprised or too drunk to move.
The owner points at Johnson's collapsed condition to mollify the boyfriend, then he escorts the couple to the door, motioning for others to leave too.
OWNER (calling out): Sorry, folks, closing early tonight...
Then he strides back to the stage area where Johnny is kneeling beside Robert.
ANGLE ON THE THREE
Robert actually looks peaceful.
OWNER: Get up, you bum. You're fired.
JOHNSON (laughing again): Cain't fire me--I jes' quit.
OWNER (to Johnny): Go on, get him out of here before I call the cops. I don't need no black bastard causin' trouble in my club, and I especially don't want his black ass bleedin' in here.
But when Johnny tries to help him up, Robert knocks his hands away and rises slowly on his own. Johnny picks up both guitars and heads for the door.
ANGLE BACK TOWARD THE BANDSTAND
Johnson walks with drunken dignity to the door, the white owner still standing by the stage glaring after him. At the door, Johnson stops, turns around, and in a parody of Johnny's brand of charm, gives a foolish half-bow.
JOHNSON: Thank you all for a lovely evenin'.
Laughing again, he staggers on out.
Outside the club, however, Johnson stops laughing. He stares at the nervous Johnny without saying anything at first--simply holds out his hand for his guitar and then staggers off, shrugging the strap up and over his head. Johnny follows along too.
JOHNNY: Why you haveta get unruly? You ain't jes' drunk, I know that. But you is gone crazy, mouthin' like that to a goddam room full o' crackers. You be whupped at leas', mebbe strung up, ifen I ain' knock y' upside the head...
Johnson refuses to look at his friend, instead talks as though to a third party.
JOHNSON: Lissen at the house nigger. Thinks he knows his way aroun' white folks. (slowly now, emphasizing each syllable) Ain't that jes' some-thin' now.
He stops short and addresses Johnny straight on.
JOHNSON: Son, you is shit t' those peckerwoods an' shit t' me. They walk all over you' head an' you be sayin' "Thankya, thankya," an' done lick the boots clean. Tell you what, John--you ain' tell me how t' live, an' I ain' tell you how t' play.
Then he walks on. Johnny draws back injured, but walks after him.
JOHNNY: Hell sakes, Bob. You ain't livin', you's dyin'... Ever since Betty Mae done lef', you got some kinda mean shit in you that's jes' got to git out!
JOHNSON (musing to himself sarcastically): Why I hole up in dis-yeah crappe' town wid a dumb spaginzy like you...
Johnny has had enough insults, and he asserts his dignity.
JOHNNY: I ain't so dumb. Huh. Think you kin smile an' sass yo' way through anything. Well, that ain't it. This world is white man's, Robert. Ifen you black, git on back! I knows it--an' I know where I be livin' better'n this ruckus. If you be smart, you git right an' ride wid me...
CLOSE ON THE TWO
Johnson looks at him scornfully.
JOHNSON: Tuck yo' tail 'tween yo' laigs, ol' monkey man. I'm set right here.
JOHNNY: That's it, then. Reckon I see you somewheres else, some other time.
He holds out his hand for a farewell handshake. But Johnson scorns the gesture and walks away.
JOHNSON: Not in this life, burrhead.
Johnny shakes his head sadly, watching Robert go. Then he turns and heads the other way. Johnson keeps moving a distance further. Then he stops to look back. But Johnny has vanished, and Robert seems surprised--evidently expected him still to be following along.
No answer. He shrugs and moves off into the darkness.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
((The third section begins here.))
NIGHT--EXTERIOR REDLIGHT DISTRICT--MOVING
The first of several brief scenes detailing Johnson's several-months' descent into seamier aspects of the bluesman's "Sportin' Life"; on the soundtrack throughout is his rocking, bitterly violent "32-20" with its lines like these:
I sent for my baby, an' she don't come (repeat)
All the doctors in Hot Springs sho' cain't he'p her none...
An' if she gets unruly, things she don' want to do (repeat)
Take my 32-20, man, an' cut her half in two...
In this first scene Johnson and two low-lifers wander drunkenly in the redlight district of some town, carousing, shoving each other, pawing at the street women.
NIGHT--EXTERIOR WOODEN STAIRWAY
Johnson following a chippie up the rickety stairs to her second-floor "crib," grabbing at her and drinking from a bottle. At the top of the stairs, she opens the door and starts inside, but he stops to stand teetering dangerously, head back to guzzle down the last of the whiskey. Then he smashes the bottle down into the alley below, staggers over to the woman, and vanishes inside.
DAY--EXTERIOR COUNTRY JUKEJOINT
Johnson is playing cards with another man, the game called Georgia Skin, flipping the cards over from the top of the deck. Thee are a few onlookers and Robert has another bottle at his elbow. He takes a snort, rubs his lucky bag, winks at the folks watching, licks his thumb ostentatiously, and then flips over the Jack of Diamonds--which wins the hand and a great deal of (unheard) congratulations from the watchers.
Johnson and another chippie are in a well-furnished hotel room, elaborately sniffing cocaine, fumbling at each other, giggling and laughing and ending in a heap on the bed.
DAY--INTERIOR BLACK CLUB
Johnson sits slumped over a table, drunk again, barely conscious. At the outside door, across the room, his friend Johnny appears; the barman meets him and points over to Robert. Johnny comes gloomily over and begins the difficult task of getting Johnson up on his feet and out of the club. Robert reacts with drunken affection at the sight of his old friend.
The music has continued throughout, but now there is a harsh, nerve-jangling sound, as a 78 record player's steel needle scrapes across a record, stopping it in mid-phrase, and:
We see Johnson standing beside an old-fashioned, bell-horn, wind-up victrola; he has just stopped the record as heard. Robert and Johnny are in the sitting room parlor of a plush, New Orleans-style black whorehouse. He turns to face Johnny again, tipsy this time rather than incapacitated.
JOHNSON (giggling): He, he, he. Wha' chu think o' that, nigger? You' ol' buddy Robert on record...
CLOSE ON JOHNNY
He is quite subdued--puzzled by his friend's belligerant attitude, and working at keeping the peace.
JOHNNY: Soundin' good, Bob. I been hearin' you all aroun'.
As Johnson hurls the disc across the room at Johnny.
JOHNSON: Bet you' raggedy ass!
But his aim is bad, and it hits a nearby Tiffany-style lamp instead, which crashes to the floor.
JOHNSON: Fame an' fortune you done tol' me to grab aholt of!
Johnny kneels to pick up the broken lamp.
JOHNNY: You sho' nuff grab on t' some-thin'. What in hell's eatin' on you anyways?
ANGLE ON DOOR
As the madam and one of her girls come hurrying in to check on the clatter. Madam swears when she sees the lamp's condition.
MADAM: More o' your dam-fool doin's, Robert Johnson. I don't care what kinda killer musician you is, I won't have this in my house.
Johnson lunges unsteadily over to wrap himself around the other girl; he squeezes a breast and she struggles to break free.
JOHNSON: You kin squeeze my lemon, baby.
The angry Madam shoves him away from her girl.
MADAM: Ain't I tol' you 'bout that too? Keep you' ham-hocks offa my girls, lessen you payin' your way. Johnny, you get this dumb country boy out o' here!
The two women stalk out.
Robert is weaving back and forth.
JOHNSON: G'on, you b.d. bitch. If you cain't sell it, sit on it! I ain' take no pigmeat an' sowbelly offen you!
Then he collapses on the couch. Johnny has watched the preceding sadly. Now he walks over to pat Johnson awkwardly on the shoulder.
JOHNNY: Come on, Bob. Le's you an' me find us somewhere's else to easy ride.
Johnson frets and mumbles.
JOHNSON: ... ain' seen Chicago...
JOHNNY (helping him up): That's it--mebbe we roll on up Big Muddy, bust you' conk in Chicago-town..
And they stumble toward the door.
A crowded street in Southside Chicago, black people of all ages passing, sitting on front stoops, kids playing in the street. Robert and Johnny are walking along, carrying their guitars and valises. They are dressed in their good clothes, but compared to the big-city folk they look a bit back-woods. The two of them seem slightly awed by the hustle and bustle and gab going on all around.
ANGLE ON STREET CORNER
Finally they muster the nerve to approach two rakish hipster-hustlers, dressed to the nines in the height of black Thirties fashion (not yet zoot suits, but flashy). The city guys exchange a look and a rib-dig suggesting something like "Let's get these hicks."
JOHNNY: 'Scuse me, gents, can you tell me...
FIRST HUSTLER (interrupting, to his buddy): Say, bro', looka these two hankachief heads from down yonder, brushin' at the cuckaburrs in their wig, ya dig? All jumped up to pick out what's goin' down in windy ol' Chicago town. I kin tell by the drape o' they vines (fingering the wrinkles in Johnson's baggy jacket) they has de-signs.
Johnson pulls away, surprised. Talker Johnny's jaw is still hanging.
SECOND HUSTLER (to Johnson): Don't mind my signifyin' man, this here Dapper Dan with the built-in tan. They calls me Lewis 'cause I gives 'em bliss--I got my shit, grit, an' mother-wit in-tact. (now to Johnny) So whatcha need, doodley-deed? You lookin' to grease you' chops, or Lindy Hop? Mebbe get tall an' have a ball? Lay it on me, jeff--name you' gig an' we all dig!
FIRST HUSTLER (laughing): Lewis, that' some hincty jive. Jes' slip me five.
They slap hands while Robert and Johnny stand there still confused--should they be angry? are these street dudes still speaking English or some bizarre variation? They look at each other for an answer, but neither knows.
JOHNNY: Uh... say whut? I ain't unnerstan' all that.
SECOND HUSTLER: We's rhymin' it an' chimin' it. Give you the gate to ease you' weight--he'p you get hip, foxy an' fly. Stick wid it an' you got to git it!
JOHNNY: Uh, thanks... I guess.
ROBERT (getting angry): Jes' tell us the way to the Black-an'-Tan club.
The first hustler hits the strings of Johnson's guitar.
FIRST HUSTLER: Well, dog my cats--two razor-leg, slewfoot, mojo men from way behin' the sun come nawth to moan an' holler an' blow the blues from kin to cain't. Ain't they somethin', Lewis?
SECOND HUSTLER: Somethin' else, Daniel. (to Robert) All reet, big feet, 'fore you cain't see for lookin', here's the route you is be tookin'... (and he winks at his partner)
ANGLE ON CORNER
At this point, Johnson's song called "Sweet Home Chicago" begins on the track, drowning out those directions--though we see them acted out in all their elaborate glory. Hustler Lewis points this way and that, waves his arms in circles, names numerous streets, and counts blocks on his fingers. Robert is antsy and suspicious, but Johnny restrains him and pays close attention, trying to duplicate the airy map along with Lewis. The active scene looks like some weird game of charades.
Finally the directions end. Johnny shakes hands with both guys, and Robert nods coolly. As they stride purposefully off carrying all their gear, the hustlers burst out laughing, collapsing against each other in great glee.
Further down the street, the hustlers visible in the distance. Johnny looks at Robert and shrugs; Johnson shakes his head, still not sure what has just happened. "Sweet Home Chicago" continues through the following brief scenes:
Robert and Johnny passing a "good luck" store, its display windows filled with an amazing variety of powders and philtres, religious statues and dream books, voodoo artifacts and conjure bags, bones and roots and herbs. Johnny is amused and lingers to look, but Robert nervously hurries on, fingering the lucky bag around his neck.
A hole-in-the-wall cafe devoted to soul food, with handwritten signs advertising "sweet potato pie," "red beans & rice," "chitterlings," and "downhome cooking." Again Johnny is willing to stop, but Robert wants to press on and get where they're bound.
The two are now on a corner amidst a crowd of black people. A black policeman is in the street directing traffic, and they marvel at this, to them, strange sight. Then they cross the street with their burdens, bumped and jostled some by the other folks hurrying on.
The two now passing a house of ill repute with several stunning and fetchingly attired young women arrayed in the windows. This time Robert is the one who wants to linger, but Johnny pulls him on.
EXTERIOR STREET CORNER
The two peer up at a street sign, trying to get their bearings. They look around at the various directional options, confer on their memories, finally decide which way to go, pick up their gear again and move off.
Now they are passing a black barber shop, but this one looks somewhat ritzier than Lucky's back in Memphis. Discreet dark drapes line the window, and there's a cost placard in the door glass; name sign above the door reads "CONK-EROR JONES, TONSORIALIST." Johnny points at the cost of a hair treatment and shakes his head at this outrageous figure.
EXTERIOR STREET CORNER
They are evidently nearing their goal at last, weary but heartened to see this particular corner. Johnny signals the new direction with his head and holds up two fingers for the two blocks left to go. They stagger off again.
Robert and Johnny coming towards the lens, looking more eager; camera pans around to follow as they turn the last corner and stop suddenly, shocked to see...
A wide view of the cattle pens at the vast Chicago Stockyards, hundreds of beeves milling about and lowing loudly, their noise drowning out the last few bars of the Johnson song that's accompanied their long trek across Chicago's Southside.
CLOSE ON THE TWO
After their initial surprise, Johnny is laughing, Robert angry at first but then finally chuckling too. A final loud "Moo-oo" ends the sequence.