The Intoxicated by R. J. Cardullo | Script Revolution

The Intoxicated

In the early 1950s, two strangers, a drunken adult male and a teenage girl, meet alone inside a kitchen during a suburban house party—to discuss the future of the world.



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Based On: 
“The Intoxicated” (1949), a short story by Shirley Jackson.

"The Intoxicated" takes place at a 1950s house party in suburban America. A guest named Gerald, intoxicated, escapes to the kitchen—supposedly to retrieve more ice, but in fact hoping to become sober. Once there, Gerald encounters Eileen, the eighteen-year-old daughter of the party hosts, sitting across from him at the table and having a cup of coffee. Eileen offers Gerald black coffee, which he drinks to clear his head. She comments that the party must be fun, without expressing any desire actually to join it. Eileen is in the kitchen to escape the heat from upstairs, where she was finishing a senior paper regarding the future of the world.

Gerald encounters difficulties, whether actual or perceived, in relating to Eileen, the high-school girl; he struggles to find a topic of conversation, wondering if he should ask her about boys or basketball. He even seems irritated that he must make an effort to talk to her. Eileen, however, unhesitatingly tells Gerald about her paper and states that she does not believe the world has much of a future at all. Unnerved by Eileen’s precociousness and earnestness, he attempts to brush her off at first. As the conversation continues, Gerald seems to become even more impatient with Eileen and gives her rather condescending responses.

When Eileen says that, given the current state of the world, she doesn’t think it has much of a future, Gerald answers that girls of his generation thought only about cocktails and necking. Eileen remains unperturbed by this mocking attitude and continues the conversation seriously, despite the fact that Gerald is clearly put off. She persists in describing her vision of the end of the world. Gerald responds flippantly to her predictions, finding them to be nothing but “morbid trash.” Nonetheless, Eileen carries her vision to an endpoint where there are no schools, no houses, no nothing—except people with new rules and new ways of living.

Uncomfortable, Gerald ends the conversation and exits the kitchen. Before leaving, though, he offers to assist a giggling Eileen with her homework. Gerald returns to the party and tells Eileen’s father that he has just had an interesting conversation with the man’s daughter. Eileen’s father and Gerald commiserate over the state of “kids nowadays,” then the host goes to get his guest another drink.

Submitted: April 9, 2021
Last Updated: April 9, 2021

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R. J. Cardullo's picture

The Writer: R. J. Cardullo

A former university film teacher, I turned to screenwriting several years ago. I have also written film criticism for many publications. A New Yorker by birth, I grew up in Miami and was educated at the University of Florida, Tulane, and Yale. My last U.S. address was in Milford, Connecticut; I am now an expatriate residing in Scandinavia. Many of my scripts (both long and short) are adaptations of lesser-known works by well-known authors. I am happy to re-write, collaborate, or write on demand. Thanks kindly for any attention you can give my work. Go to bio

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