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 screen. 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 Homicide? DETECTIVE'S VOICE Homicide. 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 scene. INT. SECOND FLOOR HALLWAY - MRS. MAINWAIRING'S ROOMING 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 her. SALLY 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 (CONT'D) Tell us about it. SALLY He was young -- younger than Mrs. MacIlWain -- blonde -- sort of brownish blonde. He had a pale face. LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE Tall? Short? SALLY Tall -- I guess -- thin -- but not very thin. LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE Did you see him before? Sally shakes her head. SALLY But I could pick him out if I saw him again. 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 here? MITCHELL 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? MITCHELL It's ok, sir -- perfectly respectable. MRS. MAINWAIRING The house has always had a good reputation. 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 downstairs. The Lieutenant turns to Sally. LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE What'd he wear? SALLY A brown suit, I think. LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE A hat? SALLY (hesitantly) No, I think he had it in his hand. A tan hat. That's right, it was in his hand. 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 Well? There is no answer. He snorts and throws out the word again. LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE (CONT'D) Well? DETECTIVE WITH THE POWDER 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 back. 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 room. 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 (CONT'D) 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 overshoes. INT. HALLWAY - NIGHT As the Lieutenant emerges and starts toward the stairs, Mitchell moves forward to speak to him. MITCHELL Did you get any clues? LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE About as much as we usually get -- nothing. MITCHELL (Eagerly) We've go a good description of him. I'll keep my eyes open. LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE Yeah -- you do that. DISSOLVE TO: ------- INT. NEW YORK MORNING TELEGRAM PROOF DEPARTMENT - NIGHT 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 hands. INSERT A - PAGE 6 EXT. MRS. MAINWAITING'S ROOMING HOUSE . 246 WEST 68TH 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. HAMLIN Good evening, Lieutenant. The Lieutenant grunts in greeting. LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE Hi-yah, Hamlin. HAMLIN If you ask the question, sir, I can only reply that I am unfortunate. LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE Yeah. HAMLIN 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? HAMLIN The rest sit comfortably while I pursue their business with my own. What's up? LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE A woman got killed. HAMLIN (In mispronounced French) En crime passion -- LIEUTENANT DETECTIVE Huh? HAMLIN 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. HAMLIN (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 siren. 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 Friday. 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 EX. MRS. MAINWAITING'S ROOMING HOUSE - MORNING 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 VOICE 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. MACILWAIN I wonder if I might see that room, madame. 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. INT. MRS. MAINWAITING'S ROOMING HOUSE - MORNING 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 (CONT'D) I don't often have vacancies in this house. It's just pure accident that I have one now -- just pure accident. INT. SECOND FLOOR HALLWAY - MRS. WAINWAIRING'S ROOMING 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 doorway) 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. INT. MRS. MACILWAIN'S ROOM - MORNING 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. MACILWAIN 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. MACILWAIN Such a nice woman? My name is MacIlwain. I was her husband. He turns and starts for the door. MRS. MAINWAIRING Oh. At the door he pauses. MACILWAIN I just wanted top see the room -- you understand? MRS. MAINWAIRING (Very flustered) Oh yes -- yes. INT. SECOND FLOOR HALLWAY - MRS. WAINWAIRING'S ROOMING 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. INT. STAIRWAY - MRS. WAINWAIRING'S ROOMING HOUSE -- MORNING 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. INT. SECOND FLOOR HALLWAY - MRS. WAINWAIRING'S ROOMING 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. MITCHELL Morning, Mrs. Mainwairing. MRS. MAINWAIRING (Without replying to his greeting) You know who that was? That was Mrs. MacIlwain's husband. MITCHELL Aye? MRS. MAINWAIRING Yes. Her husband. He said so. He wanted to see the room. MITCHELL He did, eh? Did he tell you anything about himself. MRS. MAINWAIRING Not a thing. Just that he was her husband. MITCHELL Wanted to see where she died, huh? MRS. MAINWAIRING Guess so. Something like that. MITCHELL 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. MITCHELL 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. MITCHELL Nice for the kids -- a place to play -- decent people. MRS. MAINWAIRING It is a good place to bring up kids. MITCHELL 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? MITCHELL I don't know about that -- but if anybody comes around, you'll let me know, huh? MRS. MAINWAIRING Yes indeedy! MITCHELL Thanks. He turns and starts down the stairs. MRS. MAINWAIRING And if anybody asks you about a good room, you tell 'em about my room. MITCHELL Sure. EXT. 74TH STREET NEAR THE CORNER OF SIXTH AVENUE - MORNING 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. EXT. CHILD'S RESTAURANT - 46TH STREET AND BROADWAY - MORNING 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. INT. CHILD'S RESTAURANT - MORNING 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. MANAGER Sally, you can't keep us in suspense -- then what? SALLY But a customer was looking for me. BLANCHE What happened? SALLY Then I ran down stairs and yelled for Mrs. Mainwairing. She called the police. SYLVIA Was he her steady boyfriend? SALLY I guess so. Mrs. Mainwairing said so. BLANCHE 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. SALLY I've got to get back. Another customer. She picks up an empty tray and starts back toward the dining room. As she goes through the door, the manager turns to Sylvia. MANAGER Next time you go. I want to hear what happened. BLANCHE She's a quiet biddy, that Sally. I never heard her speak so much in my life. SYLVIA Never get nothin' out of her. Murder happens right in front of her nose and you get about five words on it -- between customers. INT. DINING ROOM - CHILD'S RESTAURANT - MORNING CLOSE FULL SHOT - As Sally comes up to the new customer. SALLY 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. SHULMAN The usual. MED. CLOSE SHOT - Sally. She is embarrassed. SALLY 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. SHULMAN 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 window. MANAGER She's gone off to order hot cakes. We'll never hear about that murder. INT. HALLWAY ARDEN RUBBER NOVELTIES CORPORATION - MORNING 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 night. 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 me. 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 acquaintance. ACQUAINTANCE Hi-yah, chum? BRIGGS (Moving away) Can't complain. He walks across the room to the door leading to the main office. INT. MAIN OFFICE - ARDEN RUBBER NOVELTIES CORPORATION - MORNING 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. JOHNSON Good morning, Briggs. BRIGGS Good morning, Mr. Johnson. 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. BRIGGS I'm waiting for Shulman. JOHNSON (As he moves on) Don't wait too long. We've got a lot of work to get out this morning. 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. SHULMAN 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 concerned. SCHULMAN What's the matter, Ralph? Briggs comes closer to him before answering. BRIGGS (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. SCHULMAN What are you talking about? BRIGGS 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. BRIGGS 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. SHULMAN But why? What happened? BRIGGS 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 in. CLERK 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. BRIGGS I had to do it — kind of funny, way she made me do it. SCHULMAN I know. I know you've been having trouble. But what are you going to do? BRIGGS I don't know. SCHULMAN Anybody see you? BRIGGS No. SHULMAN Did you leave anything? BRIGGS No. SHULMAN Anybody in the house know you were calling on her — the landlady? BRIOOS Dorothy didn't like her; didn't talk to her. SHULMAN Then nobody saw you. BRIGGS No. SCHULMAN Then you're in the clear. Just don't talk about it —do anything. BRIGGS 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. SHULMAN What were you saying? BRIGGS Her husband — he knows about me. They'll ask him. SCHULMAN What does he know? BRIGGS She told him everything. She used to needle him that way. Just like she did with me. SHULMAN He'll be the first person the police will question. BRIGGS Yeah — I've got to get out of here. But I need money. SHULMAN Where's your pay? You only got paid off day before yesterday. BRIGGS I gave it to Ma. SHULMAN (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. BRIGGS What'll I do? SHULMAN Well, take the money anyhow. Got any friends outside the city? Briggs shakes his head. SHULMAN Where do you go on vacation? BRIGGS You know — Ma and I go to Ceagirt. SHULMAN People know you there? BRIGGS Yeah — It's a little place. We've been going there for years. SHULMAN That's no good then. Go to Stamford -- go to the "Y" there. BRIGGS But what about Ma? Shulman tries to think this out. SHULMAN Doesn't she know. BRIGGS Of course not. SHULMAN 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. BRIGGS Don't call Ma. That upsets her. Go see her, will you? SHULMAN Okey. 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 (Ecstatically) A dream boat — Shulman gestures toward the door and he and Briggs start out. As they go Briggs speaks. BRIGGS You'll go and fix things with my Ma. Shulman nods. DISSOLVE 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 avenue. 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? MACILWAIN Yeah? Mitchell comes through the door. He is dressed in civilian clothes. He shows his badge in the palm of his hand. MITCHELL I'm Mitchell — police department. MACILWAIN (What do you want?) MITCHELL I'd like to speak to you about Mrs. MacIlwain. MACILWAIN 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? MITCHELL (Stumped) Well, you see, I thought you might give me a lead. MACILWAIN I tell you I don't know anything. I paid my alimony and I stayed away from her. MITCHELL But didn't you ever hear of any friends she had. MACILWAIN 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 headline. SALLY (Hesitantly) 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. JACKS Huh? Sally is almost overcome. SALLY Yes. I did. I saw him. I live in that house — on the same floor. JACKS Yeah? 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. JACKS Yeah, — I might have news for you kid — good news. SALLY Oh? JACKS I might even make bright the evening for you, dearie. Where do you live? SALLY I told you. JACKS Oh yeah -- makes It convenient doesn't it? What's your name? SALLY Sally Notoheck. JACKS Funny name, huh? SALLY I guess so. A lot of people have said so. JACKS Well — a rose by any other name, you know. What're you doing tonight? SALLY Nothing. JACKS Friday night and you ain't doin' nothing? SALLY No.