How would you like
a $50 cut in salary? Do I laugh now or wait till
it gets funny? No, I’m serious. I’ve just been talking to Norton.
Too much stuff piling up on my desk. Too much pressure on my nerves. I spend half the night
walking up and down in my bed. I’ve got to have an assistant
and I thought of you. Me? Why pick on me? Well, because I’ve got a crazy
idea you might be good at the job. That’s crazy, all right.
I’m a salesman. Yeah. A peddler,
a gladhander, a backslapper. You’re too good to be a salesman. Nobody’s too good to
be a salesman. Phooey! All you guys do is just ring doorbells
and dish out a smooth line of monkey talk. What’s troubling you
is that $50 cut, isn’t it? Well, that’d trouble anybody.
Now look, Walter. The job I’m talking about
takes brains and integrity. It takes more guts than
there is in 50 salesmen. It’s the hottest job
in the business. Yeah, but it’s still a desk job. I don’t want to be nailed
to a desk. Desk job? Is that all you can see in it? Just a hard chair to park your
pants on from 9:00 to 5:00, huh? Just a pile of papers to shuffle
around, and five sharp pencils… and a scratch pad to make figures on,
maybe a little doodling on the side. Well, that’s not the way
I look at it, Walter. To me, a claims man is a surgeon,
that desk is an operating table… and those pencils are scalpels
and bone chisels. And those papers are not just forms and
statistics and claims for compensation. They’re alive.
They’re packed with drama… with twisted hopes
and crooked dreams. A claims man, Walter, is a
doctor and a bloodhound and a… Who? Okay, hold on a minute. A claims man is a doctor and a bloodhound
and a cop and a judge and a jury… and a father confessor,
all in one. And you want to tell me
you’re not interested? You don’t want to work
with your brains? All you want to work is with
your finger on the doorbell… for a few bucks more a week.
There’s a dame on your phone. Walter Neff speaking.
I had to call you, Walter. It’s very urgent.
Are you with somebody? Yes, I am.
Can’t I call you back, Margie? No, you can’t. I’ve only
got a minute. It can’t wait. Listen. He’s going tonight. On
the train. Are you listening? Walter?
Yeah. I’m listening, Margie. Only, make it snappy,
will you? He’s on crutches. The doctor says he can go if he’s
careful. The change will do him good. It’s wonderful, Walter. Just the
way you wanted it, on a train. Only with the crutches it makes
it much better, doesn’t it? Yeah. Yeah,
that’s 100% better. Hold the line a minute, will you? Keyes, suppose I join you in your
office? That’s all right. I’ll wait. Only tell her
not to take all day. Go ahead. It’s the 10:15 from Glendale.
I’m driving him. It’s still the same
dark street, isn’t it? And the signal is three honks
on the horn. Okay. Anything else? No. Oh, uh… what color did you pick? Blue. Navy blue. And the
cast is on his left leg. Mmm-hmm. Yeah, that suits me fine. This is it, Walter.
I’m shaking like a leaf. But it’s straight down
the line for both of us. I love you, Walter. Goodbye. Sorry, Keyes.
What’s the matter? Dames chasing you again? Or still?
Or is it none of my business? If I told you
it was a customer… Margie. I bet she drinks
from the bottle.