brought to you by The Val Lewton Screenplay Collection

                                     THE FACT OF MURDER

                              Screenplay by Val Lewton & Mark Robson
                The background on which the MAIN TITLE is imposed FADES
                IN to display the body of a woman sprawled, the back
                supported awkwardly by a bed, the legs outstretched and
                adrift, the head lolling.  The beam of a flashlight
                cuts in to show this victim of squalid and violent
                death.  The beam of light holds for a moment, then
                flickers off and the MAIN TITLE, itself, comes onto the

                At the same time a man's voice can be heard repeating
                the title.

                                      MAN'S VOICE
                          The fact of murder: The one crime that
                          cannot be undone.  The hardest of all
                          crimes to commit and the easiest for
                          which to evade punishment, the
                          murderer more often than not having
                          destroyed the chief witness against
                          himself escapes the law.  But having
                          destroyed a life, whether or not he
                          meets with legal punishment, a more
                          ancient law decrees that in this
                          destruction, like the needs of self
                          destroyal, the crime committed against
                          the race is its own punishment.

                As the speaker ceases, the TITLE FADES and the CREDIT
                TITLES are superimposed on the same dimly lighted scene
                of recent and violent death.  When the last credit
                fades from the scene there is a sharp click of alight
                switch and the room lights go on to disclose:

                INT. MRS. MACILWAIN'S ROOM - NIGHT

                In the full light all the details of the sprawled body,
                limp neck and disordered hair of the victim can be seen
                as well as the cheaply furnished room with tis sorry
                appointments, bed bureau, chair, desk and a rocker by
                the window with incongruous velour curtain.  Over the
                bed in a cracked and gilded frame, Pail and Virginia
                run ceaselessly from the storm.  From the other wall
                Rose Benhaur's doer-eyed horses, water dripping from
                their muzzles gaze down on the murdered woman from a
                frame of false metal bits, stirrup irons and spurs. 
                The CAMERAS momentarily contemplation of all this is
                interrupted by two voices, the first questioning, the
                second affirmative.

                                      MITCHELL'S VOICE

                                      DETECTIVE'S VOICE

                REVERSE ANGLE to show the doorway blocked with blue
                serge, blue uniforms, brass buttons and Homberg hats. 
                John Mitchell, a patrolman with that surprising
                youngness of a rookie just out of polic school, backs
                against the door jamb to let two older plain-clothes
                men go through.  They go toward the body.  A Cameraman
                steers the waivering legs of his tripod to solid
                footing in the doorway.

                                      CAMERA MAN
                                (To Mitchell; complaining)
                          I can't take a picture through you.

                Mitchell steps back into the hallway.  The cameraman
                grunts his gratitude.  Behind him, as Mitchell steps
                out of frame, can be seen the white-coated figures of
                an ambulance doctor and an orderly.  The orderly holds
                a rolled stretcher and cuts diagonally across the

                HOUSE - NIGHT

                As Mitchell steps back a naked electric bulb throws
                harsh light on the faces crowded in the narrow space
                between the stair rail and rose patterned wallpaper. 
                The cruel light cannot destroy the soft lines and
                pleasant contours of Sally Notcheck's young face, but
                only highlights the wide eyes and flushed cheeks, the
                animation, the terror and excitement that the fact of
                murder has communicated to her and which she is so
                busily passing on to the middle-aged Lieutenant
                Detective who stands courteously, hat in hand, before

                          He turned back -- as if he were
                          looking for something -- then he ran
                          right past me -- right past me.

                She makes a gesture with her hand to indicate the
                swiftness of the close passage.

                                      SALLY (CONT'D)
                          He looked at me.

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE
                          And you looked at him?  A good look?

                Sally nods excitedly.

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE
                          Tell us about it.

                          He was young -- younger than Mrs.
                          MacIlWain -- blonde -- sort of
                          brownish blonde.  He had a pale face.

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE
                          Tall? Short?

                          Tall -- I guess -- thin -- but not
                          very thin.

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE
                          Did you see him before?

                Sally shakes her head.

                          But I could pick him out if I saw him

                The Lieutenant Detective nods, almost smiles; he has
                head this before.  He looks around.

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE
                          Who's the patrolman here on this beat?

                Mitchell steps forward, saluting.

                                      MITCHELL'S VOICE
                          Patrolman Mitchell.

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE
                          Ever see a fellow like that around

                          Not that I can remember, sir.

                Mrs. Mainwairing is the proprietor of the rooming
                house, middle-aged, but dimpled, with kewpie doll
                makeup around the eyes, dyed hair relentlessly coifed
                and curled.  She moves her heavy body.

                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING
                          I never seen him.  But Wednesdays and
                          Fridays was his night to come up.

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE
                          Wednesdays and Fridays?  What kind of
                          place is this?

                          It's ok, sir -- perfectly respectable.

                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING
                          The house has always had a good

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE
                          Let it ride.  I was making a joke --
                          you know -- a joke.

                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING
                          Mrs. MacIlwain was perfectly
                          respectable too.  This fellow was her
                          steady boy-friend.  That's why they
                          had regular date nights -- Wednesdays
                          and Fridays.

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE
                          You never saw him?

                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING
                          I don't bother the tenants.  I stay

                The Lieutenant turns to Sally.

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE
                          What'd he wear?

                          A brown suit, I think.

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE
                          A hat?

                          No, I think he had it in his hand.  A
                          tan hat.  That's right, it was in his

                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING
                          A terrible -- terrible.

                The Lieutenant looks at her, the ponderously turns and
                goes toward the door of Mrs. MacIlwain's room.

                INT. MRS. MACILWAIN'S ROOM - NIGHT

                The cameraman, his camera focused on the body takes a
                picture with a flash bulb; living and dying in an
                instant of blinding brightness.  The Lieutenant enters,
                strides to the center of the room, planting his
                ponderous feet within a few inches of the dead woman's
                outstretched legs.  He looks around.  One detective
                stands at the desk rifling through the pages of a book,
                shaking it so that nay hidden papers or money would
                fall out.  Another is rummaging through the clothes
                closet.  A third has spread white powder over the foot
                board of the bed and is examining it carefully.

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE

                There is no answer.  He snorts and throws out the word

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE

                                      DETECTIVE WITH THE
                          Just smudges.

                                      DETECTIVE AT THE DESK
                          A fellow once told me most murder
                          victims have diaries.  I can't find
                          nothin' but bills and some letters
                          about alimony from a lawyer four years

                                      DETECTIVE AT THE CLOSET
                          Moths here -- in her winter coat. 
                          There's some stuff my wife uses --

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE
                          Yeah -- the moths killed her.  What'd
                          you find beside moths?

                ANOTHER ANGLE OF THE ROOM as the Detective at the
                closet reaches down and picks up a pair of men's
                galoshes and throws them out into the middle of the

                CLOSET FULL SHOT - as the Lieutenant takes a step
                toward the galoshes, picks one up, glances at it and
                lets it fall from his hand.

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE
                          We'll take these along.
                                (To the doctor and orderly
                                 waiting in the doorway)
                          You guys take this.

                He points to the body.  He then starts from the room
                and behind him one of the detectives picks up the

                INT. HALLWAY - NIGHT

                As the Lieutenant emerges and starts toward the stairs,
                Mitchell moves forward to speak to him.

                          Did you get any clues?

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE
                          About as much as we usually get --

                          We've go a good description of him. 
                          I'll keep my eyes open.

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE
                          Yeah -- you do that.

                                                          DISSOLVE TO:



                LONG SHOT - of the proof room taking in the long
                horizontal lines of the tables and the overhead lights
                that march down the room one after the other, each with
                its pendant pool of light and under each light proof
                readers hunched quietly, their pens nibbling at error.
                A shirt-sleeved boy with a square paper hat on his head
                goes past the CAMERA, proof sheets writhing in his

                INSERT A - PAGE 6

                STREET - NIGHT

                From the middle of the street the parked ambulance, a
                patrol car and police sedan can be seen parked at the
                curb.  The patrol car, its front wheels turned toward
                the house, its lights on to illuminate the steps of the
                brown-stone, cut a sharp, white plane across the
                sidewalk.  A small crowd has gathered to gawk and three
                uniformed policeman stand idly by.  It is shirt-sleeve
                weather, late August, and the faces of the people are
                shiny wet with the spent heat of the day.

                The Lieutenant of Detectives, followed by his men,
                comes down the steps.  There is a stir in the crowd, a
                craning of necks.  He walks swiftly across the
                sidewalk.  A police chauffeur holds open the door.  The
                Lieutenant steps in and takes his seat.  One of the
                detectives is about to follow him when an untidy little
                man, his coat pockets crowded with warn copies of
                Harper's Magazine, New Departures an Story, pushes
                through the crowd and past the detective to poke his
                head into the doorway of the sedan.

                REVERSE ANGLE - to show this man, Henry Hamlin, a
                reporter, as he pokes his head into the doorway of the
                police sedan to face the Lieutenant.

                          Good evening, Lieutenant.

                The Lieutenant grunts in greeting.

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE
                          Hi-yah, Hamlin.

                          If you ask the question, sir, I can
                          only reply that I am unfortunate.

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE

                          It was I who had to leave on this
                          burning night the delights of cold
                          bear, hot pastrami to follow you and
                          your investigation of great crimes.

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE
                          You lose the cut, huh?

                          The rest sit comfortably while I
                          pursue their business with my own. 
                          What's up?

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE
                          A woman got killed.

                                (In mispronounced French)
                          En crime passion --

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE

                          Who was this unfortunate that shucked
                          these mortal coils?

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE
                          They'll tell you upstairs.

                He makes a preemptory gesture to the detective who
                pushes Hamlin to one side and gets into the car.

                                (As he withdraws)
                          Farewell, brave minion of the law.
                                (He pauses)
                          Of averages.

                The other detectives crowd into the car, the door
                closes and the car starts off with a blast from the

                EXT. CENTRAL PARK WEST - NIGHT

                LONG SHOT - up the avenue showing the swift and orderly
                stream of traffic, the headlights glowing two-by=two
                like the eyes of feral creatures some dread clan had
                regimented into these swift and seried ranks.

                INT. POLICE SEDAN - NIGHT

                The Lieutenant and his men sit quietly, relaxed,
                swaying to the accustomed motion of the vehicle.  One
                of the detectives is seated on the jump seat and holds
                the galoshes in his hand.  Suddenly the silence is
                broken by the Lieutenant.

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE
                          Not much to go on -- a pair of men's
                          galoshes left in the apartment last
                          winter -- an ex-husband -- the last
                          four years ex -- a girl who saw the
                          murderer -- that's all.

                                      FIRST DETECTIVE
                          The guy was there every Wednesday and

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE
                          Check the overshoes.  Find out who
                          made 'em, where they were sold -- who
                          bought 'em -- you do that Charlie.

                                      SECOND DETECTIVE
                          A tidy little job in this weather.

                                      LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE
                          We'll check the ex-husband -- don't
                          expect much.  Not after four years --
                          and the neighborhood -- she must have
                          bought papers, groceries, cigarettes --
                          might have talked to the people. 
                          Woman like that usually talk to
                          somebody -- all she's got to talk
                          about is boy friends -- or boy friend.
                                (he heaves a long sigh)
                          Where're we goin' now?

                                      POLICE CHAUFFEUR
                                (Without turning his head
                                 replies to the question)
                          Man don on sidewalk after fight. 
                          Thought to be dying -- fifty eight
                          street -- near the Circle -- ambulance
                          is there.

                The chauffeur steps on the siren.  As it SOUNDS:

                                                          DISSOLVE TO:


                DOLLY SHOT - The CAMERA follows the boy.  At each desk
                he deposits a few proof sheets and the darker, wider
                pages of copy.  Finally, at one desk, he lays down a
                proof sheet and a copy sheet and then goes on.  The
                CAMERA remains fixed on the slightly built, thin-faced
                greying man who sits there.  He lifts his head as he
                reaches forward to pull the proof sheet toward him.

                INSERT: As the proof readers hands pull the proof
                sheets closer a pen poises over the lines and begins to
                follow them closely making small space and indentation
                corrections on the following copy.

                "At the street where she had lived for the past two
                years, Mrs. Dorothy Macillwain, a divorcee, met death
                last night at the hands of an unknown assailant.  The
                murderer, a constant visitor --"

                At the name "Macillwain" the pen pauses for a long
                pause, then very slowly lowers and makes the correction
                to "MacIlwain."

                CLOSE SHOT - The proof reader's face, motionless and
                impassive, the pen resting on the corrected name.  Very
                slowly the CAMERA moves further left to shoot past his
                profile to take in the neat name on the desk.  It
                reads: Herbert S. MacIlwain.

                                                              FADE OUT


                CLOSE SHOT - Mrs. Mainwairing on the doorstep.  This is
                a rear view of Mrs. Mainwairing's becurled poll, fatted
                shoulders, pendant flanks and pachydermian haunches. 
                She is busily screwing some object to the wall of her
                house.  Over this back view of Mrs. Mainwairing can be
                heard two of the distinctive street cries of New York.

                                      STREET CRIER'S VOICE
                          Old clothes, old clothes, who got, who
                          got, who got any old clothes?

                                      ANOTHER STREET CRIER'S
                          Bones, bottles, brass, j-u-u-u-nk!

                A man walking along the street pauses and looks up at
                Mrs. Mainwairing.  After a second or two she is
                conscious of his gaze and turns.  As she turns she
                reveals that what she has been screwing to the wall is
                an enameled sign which reads, "Room To Let."

                REVERSE VIEW from Mrs. Mainwairing's angle to show that
                the man is MacIlwain.  He tips his hat.

                          I wonder if I might see that room,

                MED. FULL SHOT - Mrs. Mainwairing from his angle as he
                starts up the stairs.

                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING
                          Yes indeedy!  It's a lovely single --
                          just right for a gentleman -- sun in
                          the morning -- nice soft bed -- lovely
                          soft bed.

                MacIlwain has climbed to her level and she turns to
                lead the way into the house.


                FULL SHOT of the lower hall as Mrs. Mainwairing enters,
                followed by MacIlwain.  She starts up the stairs,
                puffing and panting at each step.  She is short of
                breath but not of words.

                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING
                          It's such a nice room -- I've always
                          thought of it as gentleman's room --
                          near the bath -- nice rocker by the
                          window and my husband's favorite
                          painting --

                                      MR. MACILWAIN
                          You're married?

                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING
                          Oh dear no.  So many of us girls are
                          divorced these days.  Have to share
                          the boys you know.

                They pass out of view on their way up the stairs.

                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING
                          I don't often have vacancies in this
                          house.  It's just pure accident that I
                          have one now -- just pure accident.

                HOUSE - MORNING

                As Mrs. Mainwairing and Mr. MacIlwain come up they
                start down the hall toward the room formerly occupied
                by Mrs. MacIlwain.

                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING
                                (Stepping aside to let him
                                 look through the open
                          This is the room.

                CLOSE FULL SHOT - of MacIlwain in the door as he stands
                looking in.  Over this shot can be heard a peculiar
                rhythmic noise.


                From Mr. MacIlwain's ANGLE at the door.  The bed has
                been stripped, the windows opened and the curtains are
                blowing.  A scrub woman kneels at the bedside, a bucket
                beside her, busily shampooing the rug where Mrs.
                MacIlwain's body had lain.

                Mr. MacIlwain comes in past the CAMERA and stands
                looking down at the scub woman.

                MED. CLOSE SHOT - MacIlwain as he transfers his
                attention from the rug.

                PAN SHOT - from MacIlwain's ANGLE to take in the
                freshly emptied closet, the open drawers of the bureau
                and finally the curtains blowing at the open windows.

                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING
                          I always like to get a room cleaned
                          for the new tenant.

                FULL TWO SHOT - as she comes into scene MacIlwain turns
                to her.

                          Yes. I see.

                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING
                          The lady who had the room was just
                          crazy about it.
                                (She pauses)
                          She had to leave -- such a nice woman
                          too -- such a nice woman.

                          Such a nice woman?  My name is
                          MacIlwain.  I was her husband.

                He turns and starts for the door.

                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING

                At the door he pauses.

                          I just wanted top see the room -- you

                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING
                                (Very flustered)
                          Oh yes -- yes.

                HOUSE -- MORNING

                MacIlwain comes out of his dead wife's room, goes down
                the hall and starts down the stairs.  From below him
                comes a man's merry whistling of "The Harp That Once
                Through Terra's Halls" and the thud of thick-soled
                shoes on the worn carpet of the stair.


                MacIlwain, on hs way down, passes Patrolman Mitchell on
                his way out.  The patrolman crowds himself against the
                wall to let the other man pass, breaks off his whistle
                and watches MacIlwain as he goes down the stairs,
                transverse the lower hall and leaves the building.

                When the front door is closed behind MacIlwain,
                Mitchell resumes his climb up the stairs.

                HOUSE - MORNING

                AN ANGLE that shows Mrs. Mainwairing leaning over the
                railing looking down.  Mitchell comes on a level with
                her and pushes his cap back on the back of his head.

                          Morning, Mrs. Mainwairing.

                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING
                                (Without replying to his
                          You know who that was?  That was Mrs.
                          MacIlwain's husband.


                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING
                          Yes.  Her husband.  He said so.  He
                          wanted to see the room.

                          He did, eh?  Did he tell you anything
                          about himself.

                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING
                          Not a thing.  Just that he was her

                          Wanted to see where she died, huh?

                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING
                          Guess so.  Something like that.

                          Did he tell you his first name?

                Mrs. Mainwairing shakes her head.  Mitchell sighs and
                pushes his cap further back on his head.

                                      MITCHELL (CONT'D)
                          Well, I guess I could locate him.

                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING
                          What for?  He didn't do it.

                          He might give me a lead on who did.
                                (He pauses)
                          You know -- I'd like to get the guy
                          who did it.  Yeah, I would.  You know
                          what it would mean to me -- promotion
                          maybe -- plain-clothes duty, maybe --
                          thirty bucks more a month.  The wife
                          and I could use that.  There's a
                          little apartment my brother-in-law
                          could get us in Flushing.

                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING
                          Flushing's nice.

                          Nice for the kids -- a place to play --
                          decent people.

                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING
                          It is a good place to bring up kids.

                          Yeah -- if I could get the guy.  You
                          could help me Mrs. Mainwairing.  Let
                          me know if anybody comes around.

                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING
                          They always return to the scene of the
                          crime, don't they?

                          I don't know about that -- but if
                          anybody comes around, you'll let me
                          know, huh?

                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING
                          Yes indeedy!


                He turns and starts down the stairs.

                                      MRS. MAINWAIRING
                          And if anybody asks you about a good
                          room, you tell 'em about my room.



                LONG SHOT of this residential street with its walkup
                apartment houses all a little run down, stained with
                time and weather.  There are only a few passersby.  One
                of them is MacIlwain.  He walks slowly on the south
                side of the street looking at the second story windows
                on the other side.  Suddenly, he stops.

                NEW ANGLE - SHOOTING PAST MacIlwain to an open window
                on the second floor in the house opposite.  The lace
                curtains move in the gentle morning breeze and beyond
                them can be seen the flashing oval mirror held between
                two horns of wood above an ornate dresser.  The room is
                a bedroom and so far as can be seen, it is empty.

                CLOSE FULL SHOT of MacIlwain as he takes a few more
                steps down the street and pauses to look again.

                ANOTHER ANGLE - This is the same setup as the previous
                one, SHOOTING PAST MacIlwain to SHOW the next window; a
                double one.  Through this window can be seen a stained
                oak sideboard and other evidences that this is a dining
                room.  At the table there can be clearly see through
                the window and on old white-haired woman.  She uses her
                napkin daintily against her lips and looks up.  Out of
                the gloom back of her comes a tall, thin blond young
                man dressed in a neat business suit and carrying a tan
                hat in his hand.  He leans forward and kisses the old
                woman.  After he straightens from the kiss, she pats
                his arm affectionately and they speak together for a
                few seconds but their words cannot be heard because of
                the great distance.  Then he bends to peck at her cheek
                again, turns and disappears into the darkness at the
                other end of the room.

                FULL SHOT - MacIlwain.  He takes his glance from the
                window, rummages through his pocket for a cigarette,
                then for matches, all the while watching the door of
                the house opposite.  Just as that door opens, he
                strikes the match and brings his cupped hands,
                shielding the flame, before his face.

                LONG SHOT - The doorway from MacIlwain's angle.  The
                young man comes out, goes down the steps and starts off
                toward Broadway.

                CLOSE SHOT - MacIlwain watching him over the flame of
                his match.  He lights his cigarette, blows out the
                match and throws it away, still standing watching him.


                CLOSE FULL SHOT of the window.  A white-capped chef is
                busily baking hot cakes, tossing them with histrionic
                skill.  So used are the passersby to this sight of
                culinary legerdemain that no one pauses.


                MED. LONG SHOT - The patrons absorbed in their
                newspapers and their breakfasts.  Sally Notcheck in
                waitress uniform passes the CAMERA.  The CAMERA DOLLIES
                with her as, tray in hand, she walks hastily toward the
                kitchen.  With an expert flip of her left arm she opens
                the swinging door and bobs through with her tray.

                INT. CHILD'S KITCHEN - MORNING

                As Sally Notcheck comes through the door, two
                waitresses and the manager stand within a foot or two
                of the door waiting for her.  One of the waitresses,
                Blanche, is a woman about fifty, heavily rouged and
                madeup.  The makeup on this harsh, lined face assumes a
                grotesque effect.  Her arms and hands show the muscles
                of a veteran waitress.  The other girl, Sylvia, young,
                frivolous is about Sally's age, but much wiser in the
                ways of the world she knows.  The manager, white
                coated, his trousers sharply creased, his hair pomaded
                to the shine of a skating rink, is the first to speak.

                          Sally, you can't keep us in suspense --
                          then what?

                          But a customer was looking for me.

                          What happened?

                          Then I ran down stairs and yelled for
                          Mrs. Mainwairing.  She called the

                          Was he her steady boyfriend?

                          I guess so.  Mrs. Mainwairing said so.

                          Had you seen him before?

                Sally takes a look through the little square window in
                the door toward her table.

                LONG SHOT - Through the little window from Sally's
                ANGLE showing a rather nice-looking man in a neat
                business suit as he comes in and seats himself at
                Sally's table.  He reaches for the menu.

                GROUP SHOT - Sally and the others as Sally looks
                nervously over her shoulder.

                          I've got to get back.  Another

                She picks up an empty tray and starts back toward the
                dining room.  As she goes through the door, the manager
                turns to Sylvia.

                          Next time you go.  I want to hear what

                          She's a quiet biddy, that Sally.  I
                          never heard her speak so much in my

                          Never get nothin' out of her.  Murder
                          happens right in front of her nose and
                          you get about five words on it --
                          between customers.


                CLOSE FULL SHOT - As Sally comes up to the new

                          Good morning.

                The young man looks up pleasantly.  He is Bob Shulman,
                a clerk in the employ of The Arden Rubber Novelties
                Corporation.  He is about twenty-four, city born and
                bred, but without the ingrown pugnaciousness of most
                New Yorkers.

                          The usual.

                MED. CLOSE SHOT - Sally.  She is embarrassed.

                          The usual? Oh!

                Obviously she doesn't remember what it is that this
                regular customer wants for his breakfast.

                TWO SHOT - Shulman notices this and smiles.

                          I mean the usual thing for breakfast --
                          hot cakes and coffee.

                Sally smiles at him, deftly pours out water into his
                glass, then turns and goes off toward the front of the
                restaurant where the hot-cake orders are given to the
                chef in the window.

                INT. CHILD'S KITCHEN - MORNING

                Blanche, Sylvia and the manager peer through the little

                          She's gone off to order hot cakes. 
                          We'll never hear about that murder.


                This is the hallway in which the employees of the
                company pass on their way to work.  A rack on the wall
                holds their cards and a battery of time clocks waits to
                greet them in the morning and speed their departure at
                At this moment these time clocks are clacking away
                quite merrily as the employees queue up to punch in.

                The young man whom MacIlwain had watching leaving his
                house enters the hallway.  Without a word he goes to
                the rack and picks out a card.

                INSERT: TIME CARD

                The card is made out to keep a record of the time of
                Harold Briggs, Clerk, Recieving Dept.

                MED. FULL SHOT - With his card in his hand Briggs
                crosses and takes his place in a queue in front of one
                of the time clocks.  In front of him are two girls. 
                They are chattering.

                                      FIRST GIRL
                          Friday is always such a busy day for

                                      SECOND GIRL
                          A lot of work come in on Friday?

                                      FIRST GIRL
                          Oh no.  I have to get my hair done and
                          mother wants me to buy fish on my way
                          home.  Friday is such a long day; the
                          day before date night.

                She clangs down the handle of the time clock, takes her
                card and moves on.  Briggs punches in.  As he depresses
                the handle a heavy hand descends on his shoulders.  He
                moves nervously.  Behind him is a grinning

                          Hi-yah, chum?

                                (Moving away)
                          Can't complain.

                He walks across the room to the door leading to the
                main office.


                This is an enormous room at one side of which is a long
                series of big windows with ventilator transoms top and
                bottom.  The various departments are separated from
                each other by railings, counters and partitions of
                milled glass.  In the LONG SHOT it looks like some
                intricate and modernistic maze for the confusion of
                office boys.

                Briggs comes in through the main door and threads his
                way through the various desks, counters and partitions
                to the square of desks and filing cabinets marked
                "Receiving."  He goes to one of the desks, seats
                himself, pulls open a drawer and takes out two files
                which he places before him. Then he looks over
                nervously at the neighboring desk, the top of which is
                still clear. He leafs through the files before him,
                almost without comprehension of what he is doing, then
                takes another look at the desk next to him and back
                again at the way he had come. The man he is seeking is
                evidently not in sight. But from his left, a tall,
                thin, older man, Mr. Johnson, approaches his desk.

                         Good morning, Briggs.

                          Good morning, Mr. Johnson.

                                (In a kindly manner)
                          Go on, Briggs, get your smoke.

               You fellows with nicotine on your thumbs are never worth
               anything to the company until you've had your morning drag.

                          I'm waiting for Shulman.

                             (As he moves on)
                         Don't wait too long. We've got a
                         lot of work to get out this

               Briggs resumes his idle fingering of the two files before
               him, then suddenly the sound of footsteps behind him makes
               him turn. The pleasant young man who had been breakfasting in
               the restaurant comes into the Receiving Department a smile of
               greeting on his face.

                          Good morning, Ralph.

               Briggs gets up from his chair. As he turns, and Shulman sees
               his face for the first time; Shulman stops smiling and looks

                          What's the matter, Ralph?

               Briggs comes closer to him before answering.

                                (In a low flat voice)
                          I killed her.

               Shulman looks at him with shook and disbelief.  There is a
               pause before he can find words.

                         What are you talking about?

                         I told you — I killed her — I
                         killed Dorothy.

               Shulman continued to look at him for a moment then beckons to
               him turns and starts out of the Receiving cubicle.  Briggs
               follows him.

                INT. MEN'S WASHROOM - MORNING                                           

               There is a row of sinks flanked by partitioned stalls. The
               urinals are out of CAMERA, range. A man bent over one of the
               wash basins, his coat off, his sleeves rolled, is splashing
               his face with water. He finishes these sketchy ablutions,
               pulls out an enormous number of paper towels and swabs
               himself dry. As this man begins to put on his tie. Shulman
               and Briggs enter. They search their pockets for cigarettes
               and matches, light up and wait for the other man to put on
               his jacket and depart.

                          You see —-

                Shulman interrupts with an upraised finger, then bends
                down and looks under the door of the toilet
                compartment. Evidently his scrutiny has revealed no
                telltale feet.

                          But why? What happened?

                          I couldn't stand it any more — all
                          that beefing and fighting.  I hit her.
                          She began to bawl and I wanted to stop
                          that awful bawling and whining.

               There is the sound of the door opening; the low hiss of
               compressed air in the door-closing device. Shulman makes a
               gesture for silence. A moment later a dapper young man comes

                          Hi-yah, fellas! Wonderful morning.
                                (He sniffs ecstatically)
                          Air like wine.

               Both Shulman and Briggs nod, to him. He struts past them to
               the mirror and begins to carefully adjust the Windsor knot of
               his tie, all the while humming, "What a Wonderful Morning."
               Having fixed the tie to the precise triangular exactitude of
               his desire, he turns and struts out.  Immediately Briggs
               resumes his confession.                      

                          I had to do it — kind of funny, way
                          she made me do it.

                          I know. I know you've been having
                          trouble.  But what are you going to

                          I don't know.

                          Anybody see you?


                          Did you leave anything?


                         Anybody in the house know you were
                         calling on her — the landlady?

                         Dorothy didn't like her; didn't
                         talk to her.

                          Then nobody saw you.


                         Then you're in the clear.  Just
                         don't talk about it —do anything.

                          But you see —

               They are interrupted for a second time by the whooshing sound
               of the door closing.
               A lean, little man in an alpaca coat comes in, goes past them
               to the wash basin, removes a bottle of mouthwash from his
               pocket, uncorks it, takes a brief swallow and runs it back
               and forth in his mouth, by briskly shaking his head, then
               spews it forth. He leaves, returning the cork to the bottle.

                          What were you saying?

                         Her husband — he knows about me.
                         They'll ask him.

                          What does he know? 

                         She told him everything. She used
                         to needle him that way. Just like
                         she did with me.

                         He'll be the first person the
                         police will question.

                         Yeah — I've got to get out of here.
                         But I need money.

                         Where's your pay? You only got paid
                         off day before yesterday.

                          I gave it to Ma.

                                (Reaching Into his pocket
                                 for his wallet)
                         I can skip my rent — I've always
                         been up on it.

               He counts out all but a few bills from the wallet.

                          What'll I do?

                         Well, take the money anyhow. Got
                         any friends outside the city?

               Briggs shakes his head.

                          Where do you go on vacation?

                          You know — Ma and I go to Ceagirt.

                          People know you there?

                         Yeah — It's a little place. We've
                         been going there for years.

                         That's no good then. Go to Stamford
                         -- go to the "Y" there.

                          But what about Ma?

               Shulman tries to think this out.

                          Doesn't she know.

                          Of course not.

                         I'll call her— tell her you had to
                         go out of town for the company and
                         I'll tell Mr. Johnson that you're
                         been taken sick.

                         Don't call Ma.  That upsets her. Go
                         see her, will you?


                The door warns them again.  Two men come in.

                                   FIRST MAN
                         I tell you she's a dream boat
                         adrift on the river of love.                        

                                      SECOND MAN
                          A dream boat — 

               Shulman gestures toward the door and he and Briggs start out.
               As they go Briggs speaks.

                         You'll go and fix things with my

               Shulman nods.


               INT. MACILWAIN'S ROOM - NOON

               The blinds have been pulled down to the window sills but the
               brightness of noon light steals in through every crevice so
               that the room is in a dim light. MaoIlwain lies on the bed
               sleeping soundly with only a sheet pulled over his pajama
               clad body. A black eye bandage is over his eyes and rubber
               stopples in his ears. From outside comes the yammering and
               shouting of innumerable children at play in the street with
               an obligato of taxi horns and the roar of traffic on a nearby

               There is a knock at the door. MacIlwain does not stir. The
               knock is repeated louder. Still there is no response. Then an
               even more thunderous hammering of knuckles on the door panel.
               This finally rouses the sleeper. He shucks the eye shade,
               removes the stopples, glances at the alarm clock beside his
               bed, curses under his breath and finally lowers his feet to
               the floor and staggers across the room and opens the door.                                     

                                      MITCHELL'S VOICE
                                (Through the door)
                          Mr. MacIlwain?


                Mitchell comes through the door. He is dressed in
                civilian clothes.  He shows his badge in the palm of
                his hand.

                          I'm Mitchell — police department.

                                (What do you want?)

                         I'd like to speak to you about Mrs. 

                         Your pals have been here.  I told
                         'em — we're divorced.  I don't know
                         anything about her. I don't know
                         any of her friends. What do you
                         want to know?

                          Well, you see, I thought you might
                          give me a lead.

                         I tell you I don't know anything. I
                         paid my alimony and I stayed away
                         from her.

                         But didn't you ever hear of any
                         friends she had.                              

                         I went into all that with your
                         friends from homicide.  If she had
                         any friends I didn't know about
                         'em. How let me get some sleep.

               Mitchell allows himself to be forced out of the room.
               MacIlwain closes the door, then turns back into his room and
               sits down on the edge of the bed. He looks at the alarm
               clock; the hands point to ten minutes after twelve. He begins
               to put back the stopples In his ears. 

               INT. CHILD'S RESTAURANT - NOON                                               

               The lunch-hour rush is on. It is a hot day and half the men
               in the restaurant are in their shirt sleeves. The place
               steams with heat, activity and food.

               MED. FULL SHOT -Sally as she arranges Jacks' setup and pours
               his water. The handsome salesman is studying a newspaper,
               holding it before him at a distance that would indicate
               either eye defect or the assumption of a high-bred manner.
               Sally's hands fluttering about him neither distract nor
               interest him. Suddenly she points with her forefinger to a

                          I saw the man who did it.

               Mr. Jacks looks at her. Probably it is the first time he has
               looked at her.  He even speaks.


                Sally is almost overcome.

                         Yes. I did. I saw him. I live in
                         that house — on the same floor.


                This little interchange of words has drawn his
                attention to her. He looks her over paying particular
                regard to that portion of her anatomy where the cotton
                cloth of her uniform in strained tightly over her
                bosoms. He seems to approve what he sees.  It is at
                this moment, however, that Shulman pushes his way past
                Sally and takes the single seat opposite Jacks. He
                picks up his menu and looks it over.

                                      JACKS (CONT'D)
                                (To Sally)
                          You're a cute trick.

               Sally is flustered.

                          Yeah, — I might have news for you kid
                          — good news.                                                           


                         I might even make bright the
                         evening for you, dearie. Where do
                         you live?

                         I told you.

                         Oh yeah -- makes It convenient
                         doesn't it? What's your name?

                          Sally Notoheck.

                          Funny name, huh?

                         I guess so. A lot of people have
                         said so. 

                          Well — a rose by any other name, you
                          know.    What're you doing tonight?


                         Friday night and you ain't doin'