Dead Reckoning (1947) Script

Get your Sunday morning paper!

Get your Sunday morning paper!

Get your Sunday morning paper here!

Paper! Morning paper!

Well, goodbye, Father.

It's wonderful having you back. Good to be back.

It'll be tame after where you've been. I can stand it if the parish can.

Good night.

Father. Over here, sir.


I've got to talk to you. I'm a stranger here.

I gotta tell somebody, in case anything happens to me.

Happens to you? Lf you'll just listen.

Sorry it's in church... You're not Catholic?

No. You're Father Logan, aren't you?

The Jumping Padre, always first out of the plane?

You don't know me. I've heard of you. I'm a paratrooper too, ex-paratrooper.

All the more reason to listen. I was...

If you'll just hear me out. I haven't much time.

What's the trouble? I'll not only hear you out, I'll help you.

No, you can't. Not in this.

The cops are after me. Not that I've done anything wrong... but a couple of tough customers want to get their mitts on me.

Grab me as soon as I show in the streets again.

I want somebody to know what happened... for a friend's sake, to clear his name.

What is his name?

Johnny, a pal of mine. He was a paratrooper too.

It's like this, sir. A few days ago they flew Johnny and me... home from France in a stripped-down bomber.

Neither of us knew why the Army took us out of a Paris hospital.

We'd been under treatment for my shoulder and Johnny's punctured lung.

You see, only high-priority cargo rides a bomb-rack all by itself.

Why we rated it, nobody could or would tell us.

At La Guardia, we find a welcoming committee... with a lieutenant colonel from Public Relations, not the Medical Corps.

He was in a sweat because we were late due to winds over the Atlantic... and Washington, D. C. Was fogged in.

He hoped they'd hold the Limited for 10 minutes.

All the way to Penn station I tried to feel out the colonel... but he'd only grin. They'd actually held the Limited for us.

Somebody sure enough wanted us in Washington, but now!

By the time we rolled into Philly, I was feeling okay.

Houses with roofs on them, women with nylons, kids that eat.

Houses with roofs on them, women with nylons, kids that eat.

I can't believe it!

When you get on as a professor, and I'm running my cabs in St. Louis... send me up a problem in algebra, will you?

Blond or brunette? Redhead in a sloppy joe sweater.

You're a great guy too, if that's what this is about. Even in the U.S.A.

Listen, soldier... I'll drop in on St. Louis for a drink.

Careful you don't swallow that pin. You should know nothing good ends.

You're dreaming about that blond again.

I was remembering her low voice and how bad her grammar was.

And how you taught her English.

My life is simpler. I was thinking about that girl at the bar.

You don't even know her. What difference does that make?

Besides, she looked sad. Well, I'm the comforting type.

Why don't you get rid of the grief you got for that blond, whoever she is?

Every mile we go, you sweat worse with the same pain.

All females are the same with their faces washed.

Say, we're dynamite!

Priority 1 -A! That's how the president travels.

Where did you get that? Out of Silver-Leaf.

You'll have us up before a general court!

At ease, sergeant. Put them back, Rip.

What's wrong with reconnaissance? "Confidential." This will tell us.

Give me those! Okay.

Sgt. Drake, isn't that my blouse? Yeah, how come, sergeant?

And where did you get those papers?

Come on, speak up.

The papers fell down, your blouse dropped, the captain said to hang it.

What's the matter with your mouth? Personal secret. Never lets go of it.

Six-two and even, he swallows it, his senior sorority pin.

I peeked at your papers, and he rescued them.

You went through my papers?

The war's over. Where are we going and why? We don't like secrets.

Thank you. I should have known better than try to hold back from men... who have operated the way you have behind enemy lines.

I wanted Gen. Steele to see your faces when you heard.

Cold Steele?

It's his doing that your recommendation passed.

Johnny's congressional? Congressional?

There were certain errors in your report of the incident.

Don't tell me the guys in Washington refused?

Those guys decided to award the Congressional Medal to Drake... and the Distinguished Service Cross to the officer with him.

How's that?

The congressional. Won't you look pretty standing up there?

Maybe he'll even let you sit on his piano.

With the newsreels grinding. In Technicolor.

What's the gripe? That's the best they've got.

You shouldn't have done it!

Sometimes you go soft-headed. I'd like to see a blond do that to me.

What's the gimmick? Basic grammar.

I'll bet she talks beautifully now. Think so?

You look like the first time you jumped. Look, kid, if it's trouble...

Yeah, we had some, didn't we? Not like this, though.

Quit living inside there. If you can't tell me...

I can tell you. I just don't want any medal.

Is that all you don't want?

Captain Murdock? On the hoof.

Camera boys would like shots of you two.

Could you come out? You only stop here for 5 minutes.

The city of brotherly love? To New Yorkers. They don't live here.

I'm all for love, son.

Come on, hero.

And that's an order.

Washington hasn't released a story. What gives?

Washington hasn't released a story. What gives?

Drake's the story. I'm not. You see Johnny here... Johnny?

Sergeant Drake!


I didn't like that salute. There was something final about it.

I got it alright why Johnny had taken a powder.

He'd faked a birth certificate to enlist. John Joseph Preston, eh?

The Yale pin said so. All I needed was a telephone.

Sorry, gorgeous. I'd let you have it, only it's long distance.

Yale University.

Hello, Yale? Give me your top man there.

What college? Yale, of course.

Okay, so it's a university. How would I know? I just own taxis.

Yeah, one of my men found a pin with a name on it, class of 1940.

I want his address so I can return it to him. Thanks, lovely.

General, if you won't authorize me to go after him... l'm afraid I'll have to go anyway.

Yes, sir. I have a good idea of where he is.

But we don't want Intelligence in this.

I regret to say, sir, yes. That's right, sir. I refuse.

The last address Yale had for Preston was a town I'd never heard of.

Welcome to Gulf City, Mr. Murdock.

Murdock... Yes, a room is reserved for you.

Nobody knew I was coming.

Warren Murdock, and from St. Louis. I don't get it, but I'll take it.

It's our best. The gentleman who telephoned insisted.

Then it's for me, all right. Front, boy.

Geronimo, the paratroopers'jump call. It was Johnny, all right.

We could read each other's minds.

He knew I'd want to help. He'd seen me look at the back of his pin.

Will call later, the message said.

That was 10 hours ago. How long is "later"?

What to do in a hot wind, smelling of jasmine except wait and sweat... and prime the body to sweat more? A phone directory might help.

I'd never heard of Johnny speak of any relatives... but I was ready to try anything.

"Prendergast, Prescott, Prestwood."

Stalled again, like a jeep on synthetic gas.

48 hours since he'd called and no word.

I'd pitched the Cardinals into the pennant... and set the Red Sox down in the World Series.

Suddenly, Johnny's service record came to me like a photograph.

He'd enlisted October 11, 1943.

Whatever jam he'd got in must have been just before that.

It might have made the papers.

There it was, Father. All over page one.

Only five weeks before Johnny enlisted under the name of Drake.

The rest was what you'd expect. Nationwide search. A murder indictment.

Search for Johnny goes limp.

Story dribbling off until it fell out of the paper.

The newspaper gave me answers... but there were three things I had to find out:

How could Johnny be a murderer?

Why come back here where he was hotter than the weather? And why?

Why not another word from him since that first call?

Listen, honey.

Haven't you got any radio news programs in this city?

All I get is commercials and a lot of that apple pan dowdy.

Not until 12:00? Well, thank you kindly, ma'am.

I thought I'd turned the juice off.

But I'd flipped it to the police call band.

Car 42 reporting in. Car 42 reporting in.

Broken railing on Tarpon Springs Turnpike was due to auto smash.

A burned sedan. Body, charred beyond identification.

Been there two days. Send morgue wagon.

- Car 42 reporting. Got it? Okay, 42. Got it.

Two days ago. That'd be the night Johnny was to call me. Maybe he...?

I was getting desperate, but it might be a lead.

There was one place in town where I could find out for sure.


Could I take a look in your icebox? Somebody special?

Missing Persons thought I ought to look.

Who's missing? What's it to you?

Homicide Squad. Lieutenant Kincaid.

I thought you was a morgue buff. Buff?

A nut like those guys that chase fires.

I didn't know Homicide men hung out in the morgue.

Where you from? Out of town.

Frisco. How did you know?

The accent. I can spot any accent. What's the name?

Charlie Wilson. Met him on the train. I thought I talked him out of suicide.

He didn't show for dinner. No word since.

Yeah? I meant your name. I gave all that to Missing Persons.

Okay, mister. Okay. I'll handle this, Willie.

Thanks, Willie.

Fished this one out of the Gulf. Pass.

Hit and run. No, he's too old.

What'd he look like? Medium.

Medium what? Medium young, medium height.

Medium weight. Very illuminating.

You can call him medium, what's left of him. Barracuda got the rest.

That's the lot.

All the rest empty? Yeah.

Not much business for the one cool spot in town.

One just came in, but he don't fit. How do you know?

You said suicide. I was guessing.

This one came from a car smash. You don't want to see him.

I might as well blanket the field. He's as crisp as bacon.

I can stand it if you can. Okay.

He was like a lump of charcoal. Johnny's build.

It might be Johnny. It might not.

No hardware on him? Wilson had a wristwatch.

Nothing. He'd been cleaned as though somebody didn't want him identified.

The only thing was a hunk of melted gold, like a tooth.

Only it's big for a tooth and it's got some black stuff on it.

Black enamel and gold. Johnny's senior society pin.

So, Johnny had taken his last jump.

What's it look like to you? Gold bullet?

Are you kidding?

That's an idea. The newspaper boys will go for that.

Kincaid would check with Missing Persons... and find out I'd never been there but I wasn't worrying about that.

I was thinking, now I won't have to say goodbye to Johnny.

I remembered him in Berlin. The crazy song he always sang.

I used to say, "You drive me nuts with it." Yeah.

Why, I used to say to him...

Let's just say I remembered Johnny, laughing, tough and lonesome.

Let's just say that. But I knew all at once I had a job.

They don't give out the Congressional Medal to guys wanted for murder... but he was gonna get it.

I was going after whoever tried to gyp him out of it.

Why should anybody kill Johnny?

Because he hadn't shot Chandler and maybe knew who did?

There was a photo in the Gulf City Statesman.

Louis Ord, a waiter at the Sanctuary Club.

He was a witness at the Chandler inquest.

Maybe he wouldn't help, but you gotta start somewhere.

And he'd be fine. Mr. Louis Ord would be fine, just dandy.

I felt like a fight, Father. I felt like a fight.

How many, sir?

You alone, friend? I have a small table.

The bar is good enough, thanks.

It looked like feeding time at the zoo.

All you needed was money to start with and bicarbonate of soda to finish.

What'll it be? Rye and water.

Plain water? Yeah.

Here you are, sir.

Come here, sweetheart. Yes, sir?

Didn't you used to be a waiter here? Louis Ord, 45, single?

I seem to know your face, but the name...

Remember a guy named Johnny?

In this business you meet lots of Johnnies, sir.

You were a witness against this one.

He acted like a mine had gone off under his feet.

I hadn't seen a guy look that scared since jump training.

Who are you? The name is Murdock.

Capt. Murdock? How'd you know?

Johnny's told me about you, captain. Skip the captain. Where is he?

He's been holed up at my place, until two days ago. I ain't seen him since.

Who else has he seen here? No one, that is, except her.

The Chandler doll? What's she like?

She's tops. With him, with everyone.

When did he last see her? I don't know that.

Just before he left my place, he gave me a letter for you.

What are you waiting for? Give it to me.

Come on. Where is it? Here.

Hand it over. Give it to me. Go on and give it to him.

Not here. Tomorrow morning at your hotel.

I have that table for you, friend. I didn't want a table.

Sorry, sir. My mistake.

There was something about him I didn't like. Maybe his calling me "friend."

Evening, Mrs. Chandler. A Ramos gin fizz?

Nobody can make them the way you can.

Thank you...

very much.

Cinderella, with a husky voice. Where have we met?

In another guy's dreams. You still sing that song?

Who are you? Rip Murdock.

Where is Johnny?

You haven't told me if you still sing that song. You remember it, don't you?

Excuse me. The boss said to ask you as a favour... will you sing that song when you were in the show?

I couldn't, not possibly. As a favour to him, he said.

Yeah, I'd like to hear it.

All right, but just that one.

I'll take that table now, friend, for two.

I hated every part of her, but I couldn't figure her out yet.

I wanted to see her the way Johnny had and hear that song with his ears.

Maybe she was all right and maybe Christmas comes in July.

But I didn't believe it.

You've seen Johnny since he got back? Yes.

Where is he now? I've been frantic for two days.

He was frantic for three years. Was he?

In spite of the fact you testified against him.

If you know Johnny, you know he understands. I had to testify.

When did you see him? Day before yesterday.

He was to call and let me know about going to Mexico, so I could join him.

But he never called.

I've been staring at my phone. I've been out of my mind.

I had to get out just to keep from going crazy.

I just saw him. Tonight?

About 10:00. Where?

We have a special treat for you tonight.

As a favour, the lady who was our star attraction... has agreed to give us the song she made the sensation of the South.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mrs. Coral Chandler.

I see what Johnny meant.

You and Johnny, you were together all the time, weren't you?

We fought together.

And spent your leaves together. London, Paris, Rome.

Me with a gal, him without one. Just a picture of you in his eyes.

Where is he? Won't you tell me, where did you see him?

Let's dance. Please, I want to know.

I wanted her in my arms when I told her.

My right hand on her spine would feel the shock. She'd tested pure so far.

But so did another girl I knew. Right up to the dollar point.

And it wasn't 4 million.

Still wear the same perfume? Tell me where you saw him.

"She wears jasmine," he said. Please.

He called you Dusty. It was a name he had between the two of you.

Tell me where you saw him.

On a slab in the morgue, burned to a crisp.

I think we'd better sit down.

Her whole body had gone soft when I slugged her with it.

But I kept thinking, she has to know something.

Take a couple of deep drags.


I won't do that again. Tell me what happened. Please, I promise...

You're not feeling ill, Mrs. Chandler?

No, I feel fine, thanks.

It isn't often we have the pleasure of seeing Mrs. Chandler dance.

Mr. Murdock, this is Mr. Martinelli, who owns all this.

Mr. Murdock's an old friend.

Any friend of Mrs. Chandler's is welcome.

I'm afraid I don't sing.

Perhaps you'd like to try a little roulette.

It's not wise to tell you, but the house is having a streak of bad luck.

Mrs. Chandler doesn't feel like gambling.

Oh, I'm all right, really I am. I'd like to.

You too, sir?

I'll just watch. Roulette wheels have a way of running over me.

I was walking into something. We were going to gamble, win or lose.

He hadn't asked her to, he'd told her she had to. It was an order, but why?

I didn't like the feeling I had about her.

The way I wanted to put my hand on her arm.

The way I kept smelling that jasmine in her hair.

The way I kept hearing that song she'd sung.

Yeah, I was walking into something all right.

Krause, have fresh drinks brought for Mrs. Chandler and Mr. Murdock.

And some of those pâté de foie gras sandwiches... that Pierre makes so well. Real pâté from Paris. Prewar.

Right away, sir.

Number 11, black.

Two stacks, please.

Make your bets, ladies and gentlemen. Make your bets.

No more bets. No more.

That way you'll get rid of it fast.

It's a system I use. Ever try throwing it out the window?

Number 13, black.

Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen. Place your bets.

No more bets. No more bets. No more.

Eleven then seven. What next? I repeat. One then the other.

It won't work, Dusty. You got the right numbers in the wrong game.

Number 4, black. Nothing on 4.

She lost fast and heavy.

Maybe it was her way of easing off the pain of Johnny.

But I suspected there was more to it. I decided to find out.

How much is she on the rim for? Sixteen thousand.

Let's see what I can do with the same numbers.

Did you ride in on the killing?

Her horse stumbled. Give me the 7-11 dice.

They're all 7-11 dice. It depends on the player's talent.

Not the luck? I was returning your compliment.

You shoot honestly, we give you honest dice.

Open up the table. You won't mind if I watch, I hope.

Not at all, if you think you can take it.

What's the limit? For Mrs. Chandler, no limit.

We shoot 2000.

Seven. Seven the winner.

The 4000 rides. Ad infinitum, if you wish.

Eleven the winner.

7-11, your system, Dusty. Once more, and we're even.

We'd better stop with what we have. No, we'll get even.

The house will change the dice.

That's your privilege, friend.

That squares you with the house.

You think there's something wrong?

I never think when I gamble, I just feel. And I feel snake eyes.

Krause, give Mr. Murdock back the dice he had before.

I'd be delighted to have you roll for any part, or all of the 16,000.

Let's say all of it.

Four. A difficult point, Mr. Murdock.

What man has done, Murdock can do.

Please, Rip, I'm 16,000 ahead. Bother you?

A solid winning every now and then is the best advertising for any casino.

Can't we have a nightcap? It's your money.

We'll have it in my office.

If it's all the same to you, I'd like that pair for a souvenir.

Much obliged.

With all that money on you, I'd better see you home.

Snake eyes again.

Krause is a fool. My cutting him in on the profits was a mistake.

He's becoming greedy.

I'll keep these to remind me never to stretch my luck.

A judicious principle. I gather that you've been around, as the saying is.

East St. Louis is around enough. Ah, St. Louis.

In what business were you, may I ask?

I owned taxicabs, but they got sunk at Pearl Harbor.

Then you know Al Baretto? You know Al? Were you in St. Louis?

Many times, although my headquarters were in Detroit.

I thought Al's Detroit friends were all mobsters.

Where's Mike?

He mixed them, sir, but he got busy, so I brought them up.

Ramos gin fizz, madam. Thank you.

Our very best, sir. Mr. Martinelli's private stock.

Louis! Coming, sir.

I got it all right. Something in the drink.

Also my private stock. That's all.

To the beauties of St. Louis.

You disapprove of the toast? I'm thinking of a better one.

If I didn't drink, he might fall in on Louis for tipping me off.

And if I did... But I kept remembering, Louis had been Johnny's friend.

Maybe his only friend. I needed Louis alive.

We await your pleasure.


A lovely word, with the added charm for me of being meaningless.

A St. Louis expression? No. Just one I picked up.

Your expressions have the Baretto flavour, almost medieval.


Mobster, as applied to me, is more colourful than accurate.

I've always had a preference for legitimate enterprises.

With a gambling racket on the side.

Scarcely a racket, Mr. Murdock.

More for my own amusement than for profit, as you know.

Gambling is illegal, to be sure... but the city is aware of it and approves.

My house encourages tourists, pays large taxes...

Coming out of it was like after being tapped on the button.

Everything foggy, an anchor on my head and ringing in my ears.

Rip, this is Coral, Dusty. What happened?

I don't know. Don't you know?

I just woke up in my garage.

That's a great place to wake up.

Mr. Martinelli is a fine...

Remind me to put him to sleep sometime.

My head's splitting.

Look in your bag. See if you've got your money.

Just a minute.

Murder. What'd you say?

I said murder. I just sat up.

The money's all here, Rip. It is?

Then I can't understand why he slugged us both.

What's your phone number, Dusty? Surf 3181.

I'll call you back. I've got company.

It was Louis.

His neck was broken. My brain began to unscramble.

Louis, Johnny's letter. That was the joker.

Then Martinelli was tied to Johnny's death.

He'd found out about Johnny's letter, so he'd silenced Louis too.

And Louis' body was to block me out of the play with a murder rap.

I had to get rid of Louis before the cops followed up...

Martinelli's next play, an anonymous tip to pay me a call.

Should I kick it in?

It may have been a phoney tip. I don't know where it came from.

It's you, the smart guy from Frisco. You're better than I thought.

How'd you locate me? Mind if we take a look around?

Mind? Why should I mind? What's a little sleep?

You mind telling me what you're looking for?

Maybe that guy you was looking for, Charlie Wilson.

What do you know about that corpse? Same as you, nothing.

You heard the report about that car smash.

That's why the rental job with a police call-band.

You knew that guy had been taken for a ride.

You guys murder me.

That's the only radio the shop had. I bet.

If you'd stop playing smart, I might help.

Where'd you get the head, the Sanctuary Club?

You're a day early for Easter bunnies.

You had a row with Louis Ord. What'd you threaten him about?

Why don't you ask him? Don't think I won't.

You don't object to my going back to bed, do you?

I got a habit of sleeping late, often right up to 6.

How long you known Coral Chandler?

Sometimes I think all my life.

Nice thing you did, getting her even. I always get even, lieutenant.

I'll leave the door unlocked. You can walk in any time.

Come on, Casey.

If my laundry is picked up, when can I expect it back? Wednesday?

When does the laundry pick it up? What time?

Send the boy up at 8. While you're on the wire, get me Surf 3181.

Yeah, thanks.

Hello, Dusty. Yeah.

Yeah, my company's gone. I'm alone, I think.

What did the world look like when you first opened your eyes?

Head like a balloon, huh? With what? Oh, yeah.

What kind of a taste do you have? Sour molasses?

Maybe it was DDT. I don't know, I never drank any before.

How's your stomach feel? Am I checking up on you? Of course.

I forgot to tell you, I don't trust anybody, especially women.

Look, I got a job for us.

What time is the top rush hour for lunch in this hotel?

Park your car in the garage at 1:00 and meet me in the lobby. Got it?

All right, see you then.

How soon can you get me Operator 19, St. Louis?

That's my girl.

Hi, Al. This is Rip. Sure, I'm great.

Did you get my phone message this morning?

Not yet. Not for a while.

I got unfinished business down here first.

Somebody who used to be your Detroit competition. Calls himself Martinelli.

Yeah, in spades.

Did you dig me up the name of a good man down here?

McGee, 25 Palmetto Street.

Okay, pal. You're a pal.

I'll be seeing you. Yeah, when I got aces back to back. So long.

Lieutenant Kincaid? Call for Lieutenant Kincaid.

Calling Lieutenant... Okay, boy. Who wants me?

Headquarters, sir. On the phone.

Hello, lieutenant?

Chief wants to talk to you. Will you hold the wire?

At last. You said 1:00. Where were you?

The dining room's over there.

Hello? Hello?

What's wrong? Can't you say a word? Sure. Hello.

Where are we going? Anyplace out of town where we can eat.

Not to speak of why. You're an inquisitive gal.

There's a place at Flamingo Beach, but it's far. I have to be back at 3.

Stand him up. You're with me until after dark.

It isn't a man, it's my hairdresser. That makes it rugged.

My hair's a mess after last night. Then let it down.

Maybe I'll let mine down too.

I can't understand why Martinelli spiked our drinks.

He thinks you're with that gangster? He knows I'm not one of the mob... just a guy who sat in on a stud game once in a while.

Well, then I don't see why... Women ask too many questions.

They should just be beautiful. And let the men do the worrying.

Women ought to come capsule-size, about four inches high.

When a man goes out, he puts her in his pocket.

That way, he knows where she is.

He gets to his restaurant, he puts her on the table... then swaps a few lies with his pals without danger of interruption.

When it comes that time in the evening when he wants her full-sized... he just waves his hand and there she is.

That's the most conceited statement.

But if she starts to interrupt, he shrinks her back and puts her away.

I understand. What you're saying is, women are made to be loved.

Is that what I'm saying? It's a confession... that a woman may drive you crazy, but you wouldn't trust her.

And because you couldn't put her in your pocket, you'd get mixed up.

I don't understand what does it. What did it for Johnny?

The trouble is, it happened to Johnny but it didn't happen to me.

At least not as intensely. That's what he was afraid of.

I was going with him because he was the nicest person I'd ever met.

And I'm lonely. You're right about women being made for love.

But what happens when it never comes the way you want it?

Like music that never reaches a pitch?

What do you do, go on singing songs and drinking Ramos gin fizzes?


I can see why Johnny loved you.

And why he couldn't reach you. I loved him, Rip.

It's just... There's some people you feel you can talk to.

They come along, they sit beside you in your car.

Only, the funny thing is, it's never happened before.

That's crazy to say. You're the one that's mixed up.

But I'm not mixed up. Get back in my pocket.

Do me a favour, park it for a while. I'd like to be alone with the lady.

Careful, I'm the marrying type.

When you worked for Martinelli, did he take stuff home... briefcase, papers or did he leave them locked up in his office?

I don't know, except he kept my contract in his office. Why?

Last night, Louis the bar man had a letter for me that Johnny gave him.

What did it say? I don't know. Martinelli got it.

How do you know? When your phone call woke me up...

Louis was in my room, lying on the other bed... with a broken neck.

Oh, Rip. Yeah.

I'm a guy that likes to get his mail.

Martinelli would have destroyed it by now.

No, he'd want to read it first.

Johnny would have written it in code.

My guess is, he's still trying to figure it out. I'm going after it.

Not back there? Yeah.

I just had my friend Baretto on the phone.

He gave me the name of a safe expert.

He was so good the law took a little slice out of his life.

He's retired. Lives in this town. What good is...?

I don't think Johnny killed your husband.

Why? I knew him like my own birthmark.

Rip, there's something I didn't tell the coroner... because Johnny wouldn't let me.

I was right there when it happened.

Johnny was afraid they'd blame me, tie us both up.

Ex-nightclub singer and young college professor murder her husband.

But that wasn't the way it was. What way was it?

Stuart had always been crazy jealous. That night, he was drunk too.

He started hitting me and jabbing a gun into me.

He was mad enough to kill me, and I was terrified.

Suddenly, Johnny came into the room. He'd followed us home from the club.

He took the gun from Stuart, or was trying to... but it seemed to go off right in my ear.

I passed out and when I came to...

Johnny was kissing me.

That was the last time I saw him until he came back, two days ago.

I remember he said goodbye. I think he was crying.

You don't believe me, do you?


Yeah, sure, I believe you... but I still want that letter.

Let's get out of this lobster trap. We need salt air.

They say salt's antiseptic.

Rip, what's the matter?

Is something the matter?

Yesterday you called me Dusty. Today... Johnny used to call you that.

Yes. What would you like to call me?

I'll have to think about that. Yes, think of that.

I want you to. We'd better get back to town.

I couldn't stand there looking at her. I had to keep moving.

Her story about Johnny sounded real.

I'd buy it, on approval, as the dolls say.

Only maybe I was buying a lot more than that, and didn't know it.

McGee, 25 Palmetto Street. It was a nice little house.

McGee, 25 Palmetto Street. It was a nice little house.

He'd probably paid 4 or 5000 for it, before houses went up.

From all I hear, it would probably bring 15 G's by now.

And here was this guy, McGee, all nicely reformed.

Chances are, it's the first house he ever lived in.

When this is over, go see him, Father. You two would get along.

But I had something else on my mind right then.

What'll it be? Phone company, checking calls.

Did you get one from St. Louis a little while ago?

Hiya, Murdock? Okay, McGee.

Step right in.

Oh, McGee, this is Mike.

Hiya, Mike?

I'm fine now.

What a nice place you've got. It's messed up right now.

Joe, that's my kid, he brought this junk back from Japan.

Joe took this off a Nip colonel. Ain't it a pip?

Almost cut your head off, didn't I? Joe says these are new.

Those are German. That's what Joe said. How'd you know?

I'd turn them into Army ordnance. Start coughing too hard... there'll be nothing left but the gold in your teeth.

Holy smoke!

That Joe, collecting stuff like that. It used to be just guns.

What sort of trick you got in mind? A small wall type.

My family bible.

When you spot your job, holler.

There. Am I right? That looks right.

That one? It's a pipe. What's the layout?

Martinelli's private office at the Sanctuary Club.

I was willing to turn a trick because you're Al's friend.

I'd cut it off to here for Al. But I ain't souping Martinelli's safe.

I've built up a legitimate business here, with a positive future.

Forget it, Murdock.

Wash it out of your mind.

No grease. It wouldn't do me any good with sand in my mouth.

If it's a pipe, couldn't you show him how to do it?

How you like that? Murdock, you got something there.

I have a letter I want to get, and she wants me to get it.

Lady, there was a time I could have used you.

I'll show you how in five minutes flat. Come on.

Where next? Where does Martinelli live?

Crescent Beach. Why?

Suppose you drive around, show me the sights and wind up there after dark.

The letter wouldn't be at Crescent Beach.

Maybe not. While I'm at the club, I want Martinelli at police headquarters.

I don't see the connection. Nobody can... without opening the back of your car.

The trunk compartment. Louis Ord's body's back there.

How long you been driving? I didn't see the signal.

It was my fault. Let's see your driver's license.

I just told her something that startled her.

It must be here. I know it is.

It better be, unless you want to come along to the station house.

It isn't here. It just isn't here. Keep your head.

I guess we're hooked. She must have left it in some other bag.

That's the standard answer.

Can we stop by the mayor's office? We got a date with His Honour.

He's your pal, I suppose.

No, but he told me that if I got Mrs. Chandler there by 4:00, he'd marry us.

That's what I'd just told her when we went through that stop signal.

Is that a fact?

And I hardly know him.

Okay. Get along with you.

Hey, wait a minute!

What did you say, lady? I said yes.

That was close.

That was a funny thing to say.

What was the matter with it? He fell for it.

Yes. He found it easy to believe.

Martinelli's beach house fronted on the Gulf.

A big place he'd probably built with hot priorities and cold dice.

All right, get out, quick!

Did they go for it? They said they'd send a police car.

What time have you got?

Five to 9.

Hello? Hotel Southern? This is Mr. Murdock.

Give me the manager, will you, honey?

Well, this was gonna be it. If I got that letter, it was all I needed.

If everything rolls on rubber, I'll be at your place by 11.

Can't I wait down the road? No. This is Operation Solo.

I don't want you hurt. By the way, where is Surf 3181?

The penthouse at The Gables.

You won't take any fool chances, will you?

Not any fooler than I'm taking now...

doing that.

Be careful. Sure.

It's funny how loud crickets sound and the way you feel.

Funny, too, how a kiss stays on. The way you can still taste it.

Martinelli was still up there. Maybe the phone call hadn't worked.

But it had. All I had to do was wait.

He was right on schedule.

I was thinking, "Go ahead. Beat it to your big beach home. "

This is the same gag you pulled on me. It's even the same corpse.

Only thing missing is a sledgehammer highball and a pair of snake-eyes dice.

There was one joker. What if he'd left a goon to watch his office?

Here I was again, back to the scene of the TN T highball... with the pretty girl camouflaging the safe.

Martinelli left in a hurry. He hadn't turned the radio off.

Not that I don't like music, but I work better in silence.

I'm crazy about you, sweetheart, but move over.

She moved over, Father. The safe was wide open.

Martinelli really had hauled freight in a hurry.

After my trouble to get Martinelli out, this would be dandy.

I kept thinking, "It had to be here somewhere. "

Up to now, everything had gone like grief.

He had the letter. He'd been working on it.

But he hadn't gotten very far with his homework.

He was doing research on that letter but good. The Leising Book of Codes.

Here was the real merchandise. I recognized Johnny's writing.

Martinelli! Martinelli!

Then, suddenly, I got a whiff of jasmine.

For a second I thought it might have been...

It was like going out the jump door. I was falling through space.

Count, sucker, and pull the ring.

One thousand. Two thousand.

Then, lights. The ground batteries had picked me up.

I tried to side-slip the chute, but I couldn't.

The lights got brighter, blinding me.

He's coming to.

Go ahead and make with the music, friend. We love it.

What's the letter say, friend?

Tell us about it, friend. Quiet, Krause.

I haven't yet solved the code. Repeat the message in the letter.

I hadn't read it yet.

I just started to when you sapped me.

You place me in an extremely distasteful position.

By nature, I'm a gentleman. Truly gentle.

Brutality has always revolted me as a weapon of the witless.

Like your friend Baretto. Yes, and Krause here.

Although Krause's inclinations are more psychopathic than intelligent.

He suffered an injury to his brain once, and ever since then...

If you make me leave you to his quiet whims, I will never forgive you.

Go take a flying jump for yourself.

I'd formed a higher opinion of your ability to make decisions.

The rest is to dance time, friend.

You like music, friend?

I like music.

I love music.

I like all kinds of music.

Maybe he'll talk to you now, I think.

Prop him up in the chair facing the wall.

I can't bear the sight of your handiwork.

And don't put that thing away, in case.

In case there's more music?

There he is, all tuned up for you.

That's better.

You're a stubborn man, Mr. Murdock.

Your whole attitude, I find thoroughly aggravating.

What time is it?

That seems a little beside the point.

It happens to be 10:45, or thereabouts.

You're licked, Martinelli.

Quarter to 11, manager, Hotel Southern... will phone me here.

Don't fall for that. Shut up.

Yes, Mr. Murdock? Do go on. I'm interested.

He's just making with the mouth.

Wrong, as usual.


This is Mr. Martinelli.

No, Sanderson, Mr. Murdock is not here.

I haven't seen him tonight.

That's the right answer. Now you're really taken care of.

In what manner, if I may ask?

Sanderson's got a letter I wrote.

If I'm not back at the hotel by 11:15 to collect it myself... he's to call the police and turn it over to them.

Are you going for that garbage?

And just what does this fascinating letter contain, Mr. Murdock?


Evidence that a couple of cheap guns named Martinelli and Krause... knocked off Johnny Preston on the Tarpon Springs Road.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

Take him to the Hotel Southern.

Walk arm in arm, with your hand on the gun in your pocket.

Go to the elevators, our bruised guest's hat down over his face.

Murdock will call the manager and tell him to bring the letter.

Station him in the bathroom.

He will call out to Sanderson to give you the letter.

Bring the letter here, with Mr. Murdock. Is that clear?

As glass.

Of course, there wasn't any letter.

I was kicking on the first down and praying for a break.

It didn't look like there was any coming up.

Hold it, you two! You, Murdock. I've been chasing you for six blocks.

Hello, lieutenant. What run over you?

Shake hands with my friend, Krause. Lt. Kincaid, of the Homicide Squad.

Haven't I seen you around?

Frisk him, copper, he's got a gun!

The other guy, Murdock, follow him!

But they didn't get me. Not yet, anyway.

Then it's this man, Martinelli... Yes, Martinelli.

But as I've been telling it to you, I've been thinking. I'm not so sure.

I remember there was a whiff of jasmine before I was knocked out.

Maybe it was her.

Suddenly I got a feeling I know it was.


You're in a bad way. Let me get you something.

Thanks, anyway. A bit of brandy, at least.

If I ask Father Donlin, he might find some in the rectory.

For medicinal purposes of course, you understand.

It won't take me a minute. I'll get it for you.

Before I see Father Donlin, just how are we going to handle this?

The two of us, I mean.

Of course, my boy, you want me in this with you, don't you? Don't you?

By all that's holy, he don't.

Rip, what have they done to you?

Come closer and you can see.

Come on, closer.

There, that's about right.

Get me a drink.

Tell me what happened, darling.

I heard of a girl once, kissed a guy and stabbed him in the back.

I heard of another girl that kissed a guy and blackjacked him.

Had the smell of jasmine in her hair.

In Martinelli's office, all around me, just before the lights went out.

And when I woke up, they turned the radio on and played music.

Mr. Krause likes music. You like music, honey?

Was the window open?

Why don't you tell me about the guy with the dream...?

The smell of jasmine is strong in Martinelli's office.

Night-blooming jasmine grows all through this part of the country.

You think fast, don't you, sweetheart?

I ought to hate you for thinking a thing like that.

But I can't.

You can say anything, do anything.

Oh, Rip, what does a girl have to do with you?

Turn inside out to make you see? You know, you do awful good.

I came here to... But go ahead.

Tell me about paradise and all the things I'm missing.

I haven't had a good laugh since before Johnny was murdered.

I'm not the type that tears do anything to.

I'm the brass-knucks-in-the-teeth- to-dance-time type.

It's no use with you, is it?

Maybe the trouble is, my name isn't Johnny.

I don't appreciate the finer things.

Like looking at a doll cry and taking the rap for a murder she committed.

Johnny didn't tell you that! Why shouldn't he?

You think I fell for that fancy tripe? Let's have a new story, baby.

You killed him, why lie? Because...

It was exactly like I told you. Except for a few changes.

Only the struggle. It was in your hands when it went off.

Yes, that's the way, Rip. Your way, any way you want it.

I'm tired. I can't go on anymore.

For nearly four years, being threatened by the police.

Since I came into Stuart's money, hounded every day for more money.

I could stand Martinelli, but when you turn against me...

How did he cut himself in?

I had to talk to somebody when Johnny ran away.

I wanted to tell the police it wasn't murder. That I did it.

But I was afraid, because I hadn't said so before.

So you picked the worst hoodlum in town.

He's always been nice. He gave me a job when nobody else would.

He knows about courts. He said they'd convict me.

And offered to get rid of the gun.

The mark on the bullet would prove it killed Stuart.

Strike one. Stay with it. I felt safe when I gave him the gun.

I never thought about fingerprints, that mine were on it.

High, fast and on the inside. Strike two.

You can't hurt me anymore. I'm going to call the police.

Then your Johnny will be cleared.

You don't care what happens to me. Well, neither do I. Not anymore.

There's the telephone.

I'll miss you, Mike.

Larry? May I have police headquarters, please?

The chief, I guess. I'd better speak to the chief.


This is Mrs...

Yes, who is it? Hello? Who did you say you were?

I had to make you prove it the hard way, to ever really know.

A few minutes ago, I didn't dare do this.

Now I can, Mike. I'm doing it so that you know I can.

I never thought it could happen.

I've been waiting so long for things to be like this.

Rip, I lived by the train tracks.

I was a carhop in Texas, a cigarette girl in a... Guys getting fresh.

And then I sang, and when Stuart Chandler came along, I thought...

But money wasn't the answer either. The answer is...

Well, every time I had a chance to find out... somebody's pushed me, pulled the whole thing out from under me.

Oh, it's a blue, sick world, Rip.

I'm tired of it, and tired of being tired.

I want to go away. With you.

I don't know if it makes sense, or if this makes sense.

I love you. Does that make sense?

I said a while ago, you do awfully good.

I'll always do awfully good, if you let me.

My bet's on you, kid.

I'm wrong about you this time, I'm dead.

You're not wrong. I'll be your girl. I'll be anything you want.

We'll go anyplace you want and begin to live.

Be the kind of people who live.

I'm going to call the doctor. It isn't natural, anyone sleeping for 36 hours.

When a woman frets about a man like you been doing... she needs a preacher, not a doctor. You got it bad.

Yes, I've got it bad. I have a surprise.

He shaved and had breakfast. Why didn't you tell me?

I went in, and he wasn't there.

I had cold fingers up my back till I looked in the bathroom.

And there he was, his face all over soap.

I just gave him the biggest breakfast ever.

So stop worrying. Get that look out of your eyes.

Have I got that look in my eyes?

Lf you have, keep it there. Oh, Rip. You're all right.

I never had a better night's sleep.

Two nights and a day. Now that's real Southern hospitality.

I've been packing, all the time you slept.

For our trip.

That little trip to paradise. I remember something about that...

Any stops we have to make on the way? Washington, D.C. After that...

Do they have taxicabs where we're going?

What kind of a question is that?

Maybe we won't have to touch any of my money.

It's been nothing but trouble, and taxicabs are your business... and I'd like to start out fresh, with you.

Mike, I may be a sucker for saying this, but from here on, it's a deal.

Anything you want, any way you want to go.

The two of us.

Darling, where are you going?

While you're breaking camp, I've gotta see an old pal.

Who? A guy named McGee.

McGee? Why?

Mable! I'm going, Miss Coral, I'm going!

Take it easy, Mr. Rip.

Who are you? A friend of Murdock's.

Rip, where have you been?

I was afraid you were never coming back. What on earth kept...?

What are you doing here? Where's Rip?

He's climbing the back stairs. I come up the elevator.

He figured the cops was following him. If they picked him up carrying this... he'd get 1 to 10 in the big house.

What is it? A persuader and a couple of coaxers.

Don't touch them! Murdock says they don't need much to start coaxing.

What does he want with them? I'm sorry. This is where I get off.

Pleased to have met you.

He's got it cosy here, I'll say that. Real cosy.

Sure nobody tailed me? I had you spotted.

Thanks. Don't mention it, pal.

It perked up my whole day.

You almost set? Rip, at last. That man scared me.

Where are your bags? In the car.

Good. Where's McGee's junk? What are you going to do?

After a call on Martinelli, we hit the highway... to the next stop on the main line.

Let's go away now, drive to New Orleans and get a train there.

Martinelli won't ever know what happened to us.

I don't care about anything. I just want to be with you.

And leave your fingerprints on that gun?

Do it my way. I'll never ask you anything again.

Don't push me, darling.

Chucking your fingerprints will be my last pitch.

Martinelli won't give up that gun. You might be killed.

That would be awful, wouldn't it? Darling...

My trouble is, I never should have let you sing that song.

Is there any other reason I shouldn't see Martinelli again?

Please, Rip, don't start being suspicious again. I told you.

Yeah. Then I'll need your help.

I'll need you to open the back door to Martinelli's office.

Please, Rip. How about it?

All right. What can I do?

Well, you can start by crawling out of my pocket.

Getting full-sized. Big girl.

Chief said there was a call on this... Stretch, copper.

Nobody asked me, but I'd call this a dumb play.

Nothing personal. The chief just wants to talk to you.

I'm booked for tonight. Open that closet door.

All right, that's far enough. The cigar.

Here. Cut off a hunk of that curtain cord.

Okay, lieutenant, drop them. Behind your back.

Down on your belly.

Cradle, or what? Cradle will do.

Tie him up, and tight.

Wrists first, then ankles and a few loops hooking them together.

Not that tight. Even a Homicide man has blood in his veins.

That's more than I can say for you. I'm really a sweet guy.

Once I get clear of this, I'll write you about that burned body.

Then they'll make you a captain. Me and your friend Charlie Wilson.

Will that do?

Yeah, okay. Now get Mable.

What do you weigh, lieutenant?

You got a watch? Yes.

All right. Sit down here till 12:30.

Then let him out and give him his gun back.

No one will do anything to you.

I ain't worried since my first husband.

Come see us again. Gulf City won't be the same without you.

Here goes nothing, kid. Geronimo.

Good evening, Mrs. Chandler. Good evening, Joe.

Can't it wait? He's got a grouch on. Think I enjoy coming here?

Okay. It's your funeral.

You can't handle this from Detroit. I must know if Baretto is in with him.

Didn't he tell you I didn't wish to be disturbed?

It's important. She said it wouldn't hold.

What is it? Murdock's down at the bar.

He followed me. Why didn't you buzz me?

I didn't see him, boss. Get him. Bring him up here.

I'll go out this way. I don't want to see him.

You have to jerk the bolt. It sticks. I found it wiser...

Get them up!

Beat it, Mike. Keep the motor running and the headlights on.

Geronimo, Rip.

You've got the gun that killed Chandler. I want it.

Who told you that, Coral? On the button.

She couldn't have told you unless you blackmailed her.

She has the shrewdness... He ain't nowhere down...

Kick it shut and lock it. Yeah, sure.

Move over.

Turn around.

Keep your right hand up and reach for your gun with your left, and slow.

One quick move and you'll waltz this time, friend.

Drop it on the floor.

Kick it over toward the window.

Now, turn around.

Come a little closer.

One more step.

There. That's about right.

How's the tempo of the music, friend? Suit you?

Here's a little melody for you!

One of my favourite tunes.

Now, I'll take that gun.

Get over to the safe.

The safe? I'm bewildered. Coral knows it wasn't in my safe.

She went through everything in it after blackjacking you.

Start moving.

If she hadn't taken Johnny's letter and I had it... would I have asked you to repeat it and not read it myself?

Never mind. Get that gun.

Maybe I ought to tell you she's my wife.

She was my wife when she married Chandler.

You're a sharp boy on the angles, aren't you?

Baretto warned me about that. For a minute I almost believed you.

Are you in love with her? That hadn't occurred to me.

Did she mention anything about it was a blue world?

Did she tell you she was a carhop once in Texas? She wasn't.

That was the story she gave old man Chandler.

She came from the slums of Detroit. She was my girl in Detroit.

You don't want that gun. Unless you want to send her to the electric chair.

Maybe I'll put your fingerprints on it just so you pay for Johnny.

The weakness of your position is that if you shoot me... obviously you'll never find out where the gun is.

You worry about your position, I'll take care of mine. Up, friend.

My position is clear.

Since I was in it with her, that gun could send us both to the chair.

As a choice, particularly under these circumstances, I find a bullet...

As a good last gesture... just shoot straight and make it fast, will you?

All mushy outside and hard at the core, eh? I counted on that too.

These are out of Tojo, by Hitler. Creeping Jelly, we called them.

Because they crawl and burn, not quick like the chair, but slow and to the bone.

Are you crazy?

Either I get that gun or the slow broiler for you, even if we all cook.

Can't you see I'm telling the truth?

Chandler offered her marriage and told her he had a bad heart.

And in six months she'd get all his money.

After the marriage, the doctor told me the old man might live to be 80.

That night Johnny Preston and Chandler quarrelled. People heard.

That was all I needed. I followed him and shot him with her gun.

Preston thought she did it.

If you don't believe this... how do you suppose I knew Johnny had come back? From her!

But you knocked Johnny off. I didn't mean to.

I only told Krause to shadow him. But he's an idiot as well as a coward.

Would I admit this if I were lying?

Maybe, maybe not. It's a pretty story. But I still want that gun.

I haven't got it, I swear!

Would you like yourself medium-rare? In the desk!

Liar! I'm telling you!

She took it! No, no, no, there! The drawer!

If you're right, it's your hard luck.

Scratch one hoodlum. Where in the desk?

There. Bottom drawer!

Unlock it! It's unlocked. Button!

Where? There. Under there!

Beat it. We're going to headquarters.

Move over, baby.

Why'd you shoot him? In cold blood like that?

I thought they'd killed you.

That was decent, but we'll pass that for now.

The cops won't squawk about Martinelli when we prove he killed Johnny.

What do you mean? We gotta be all square with John Law.

We're going down to headquarters and lay it on the line.

We're going to headquarters?

You tried to kill me just now.

You expected me to be the first one out... and I'd know a lot more than when I went in.

You're right about that. You're going to fry, Dusty.

Rip, can't we put this behind us? Can't you forget?

I can't forget I might die tomorrow.

Suppose you got sore at me some morning for something?

Then there's Johnny. When a guy's pal is killed, he ought to do something.

Don't you love me?

That's the tough part of it, but it'll pass.

Those things do, in time.

And then there's one other thing: I loved him more.

What'd you do with the gun? It's in my pocket.

Give it to me.

It is a blue, sick world for you.

Like I said, somebody always pushes me. Give me the gun.

If you shoot, baby, you'll smear us all over the highway.

Rip, Rip. Where is Rip?

He's coming. He'll be right here.

Never mind the spelling. I'll get it from Krause when he comes to.

She wants you.

Any hope?

She's lucky.

Who? Captain?

Murdock, you got a call in from Washington.

Since when was you a captain? Don't salute. I'm out of uniform.

Hello? General Steele? Yes, sir.

Mission all cleaned up, sir.

Well, as soon as I can get a plane.

There's one thing, general. The ceremony will have to be changed some.

Sergeant Drake's Medal of Honour will have to be awarded posthumously.

Yes, sir.

So am I, sir.

Goodbye, sir.

Hello, kid.

This is it for me, Rip, isn't it?

I wouldn't kid you, Mike.

Let me hang on to you.

Your hand.

I'm so scared.

I wish you could put me in your pocket now.

Everything's slipping.

Inside I'm falling.

Like going out the jump door.

Hold your breath and just let go, Mike. Don't fight it.

Remember all the guys who've done it before you.

You'll have plenty of company, Mike.

High-class company.

Geronimo, Mike.