Invitation (1952) Script

Good morning. Morning.

What have you got there?

Well, whatever I've got, I've got to bring it all the way up to the house.

Because it's registered. That's just too bad.

How's your Mrs Pierce?

She's fine when she gets her rest.

There you are. Thank you.

Bye, now. Bye.

What is it, Agnes? Postman, Miss Ellen.

A package from Felice.

Felice? Uhuh.

Oh dear, it looks like another .. Morning, darling.

Put it somewhere, will you Agnes. I'll open it later.

You sneaked out again with my hearing, didn't you.

What about my breakfast? It's waiting for you.

Good morning, Agnes. Good morning, Mr Pierce.

What have you got there? Not a thing, Mr Pierce. Not a thing.

Oh, it's alright, Agnes. It's not as bad as that.

I'm awfully afraid darling, it looks like another coat.

Oh no, not again. Not another one.

He's trying to make an Eskimo of you.

I know. But what am I going to do with him?

Why the man's mad. How many coats does he think you can use in Connecticut?

Oh, Dan. You really hate it, don't you.

Well there's been so much. The house, the car, the china.

I'll talk to him about it. No, don't.

After all, your father's got a right to be as generous as he wants.

You see, Dan.

He doesn't realize that he doesn't have to make up to me for anything anymore.

What do you mean? Oh, you know.

He doesn't realize that there is nothing more he can give me.

Because now I .. I have everything.

What a sordid way to start the day.

How about that coffee, huh?

You'll make the 5:18? I'll make the 5:18.

And have a cocktail ready for me. Alright.

And be sure to get your rest. You know I worry about you.

Don't. I'm wonderful. I've got to run, darling.

Bye, dear. Be seeing you.

Yes, yes. I know, Miss Ellen.

Don't worry. He'll be back.

Yes, isn't it remarkable. Every day he comes back.

However did it happen? I really believe in miracles.

Don't let him hear you say that.

He thinks the miracle is the other way round.

[ Door knocks ]

Yes. Come in, Agnes.

Your father's car is here.

Arthur said you're expecting him. Yes, I'm driving out to Long Island.

But Miss Ellen, you're not supposed .. There won't be any excitement.

I'll rest in the car.

And you haven't eaten your lunch again, Miss Ellen.

I've had enough, thank you.

Oh Agnes. I don't want Mr Pierce to know. I'll be home before he is.

Oh, I won't say anything, of course.

I assure you it won't hurt me.

And it's very important that I see father. Hmm?

They are playing croquet, ma'am. I'll tell them you're here.

I'll go out myself.

Well? What?

Now if you'd made a shot like that I'd immediately say: "good shot, Pritchard."

Why suddenly "Pritchard"? You've called me Warren for 30 years.

I see that was a mistake. From now on, I think I'll call you Pritchard.

Anyway, I didn't see the shot. I was smiling at Ellen.



It was a beautiful shot, father. I didn't want to spoil it.

Of course it was.

But why did you walk out here? You should have sent Paul for me.

Nonsense. I had a nap in the car. I'm fine. Hello, Dr Pritchard.

Ellen, you look far too fit to be needing me. What's on your mind?

Well, I .. Come, let's go inside.

Well finish your game. There's no hurry.

Oh, that's finished.

Come on, Pritchard.

Alright Ellen, now tell me what happened exactly.

Well, usually in the past whenever I've felt this shortness of breath coming on.

I was always stopped whatever I was doing immediately and rested.

I'd relax, take deep calm breaths, you know.

Try to think of something pleasant. You know, the way you told me.


And then in a few minutes I'm usually alright again.

Breathing perfectly normally and I get up and go about my business.

That's right. Yes, but ..

Do sit down, Simon. There is nothing to be so nervous about I'm sure.

Oh, I beg your pardon.

Yes, go on.

One day last week I was in the kitchen making myself a cup of coffee and I ..

Dropped the cup and it broke, and I started to sweep it up.

Sweep it up? Where was Agnes?

I don't know. She was busy somewhere. Oh, but sweeping ..?

Oh do be still, Simon.

It certainly can't hurt Ellen to sweep up a broken cup.

Alright. I beg your pardon.

Yes, go on, dear.

Well, I started to feel my breath coming short again.

So I stopped and I went in and lay down on the sofa.

But it didn't seem to help any and ..

Then I .. Yes ..?

I guess I must have passed out.

What do you mean?

She means, she passed out.

Now father, don't get so upset.

Yes, go on. Go on, Ellen.

Well, when I came to, I was pretty weak, of course.

But for the first time, I was kind of ..


And I lay there thinking about Dan.

Dan doesn't know about this and I don't want him to.

It would kill him to think there was anything wrong.

Anything more than usual.

I'm sure there is nothing wrong, dear. Believe me.

There is nothing for you to worry about.

Look here Warren. Perhaps we'd better not wait.

Why don't we go down this weekend ..? Simon.

Go where? What do you mean?

Oh, it's nothing really.

Your father can no more keep a cat in the bag than ..

It's just there is a new specialist.

Oh no, not another doctor.

Yes I know, I know. All these doctors.

But this one is supposed to have some new ideas.

And it happens he'll be in town next week.

Yes, yes. Of course I'll come. I'll do anything.

I'd do anything to get rid of this .. damnable thing.

You always told me it would clear up one day.

And it will. But when?

Don't you see? I never used to mind so much, but now I ..

I just hate myself for not letting Dan have a normal life.

But Ellen, he has. He hasn't.

How can a man have any kind of life at all married to someone like me?

Mustn't do this, mustn't do that. Always take things easy.

I'm beginning to think I'll never be cured of this thing.

You don't even know what to call it. Now, Ellen.

Would it really make you happy if I made up some long, medical name for it?

It's all still just a hangover from the rheumatic fever you had years ago.

Look, I think we'd better do something. I mean, before we see this new man.


Well, for one thing, Ellen has far too much excitement.

Oh father! Excitement ..?

Oh, darling.

Do you know what the excitement of my days is now?

Every morning, there is the excitement of having breakfast with Dan ..

And getting him off on the 8:53.

And then .. nothing.

Until midday.

Which overflows with the excitement of planning dinner with Agnes.

And then .. nothing.

Until early evening.

When there is the excitement of Dan's coming home.

Oh it is exciting. It's terribly exciting.

But it's not the kind that's bad for me.

It's the excitement of knowing ..

From a lifetime of having been sort of ..

Pitied and left out of things.

This very morning I poured a second cup of coffee for a husband of my own.

Oh, I just thought .. I know.

You want everything there is for me. Even to three fur coats in a year.

What? What's that?

Well, it gets cold in Connecticut in the winter.

Cold enough for three fur coats at once?

Oh no, not all at once. But some days .. are colder than others.

Alright, it was ridiculous and I won't do it again.

Oh I'm sorry I burst out before, father.

Please try to get it through your head that despite everything, I'm very happy.

That you didn't give me what makes me so happy shouldn't make any difference.


No it shouldn't, should it.

I'm glad you're happy, my dear.

I'll give you a ring in day or two.

I'll set an appointment for the end of the week.

Goodbye, Dr Pritchard. Thank you.


Arthur .. stop at Professor Redwick's house will you. I want to get out.

Hello, Professor Redwick. Hello, Ellen.

How are you, my dear? Fine, thank you.

You must be feeling good these days.

Dr Pritchard just told me you've been made Vice President of the ..

The New York Medical Research Institute. Yes, I have.

Congratulations. Thank you.

How is Maud?

Maud? Oh, she's fine.

That is, perhaps a little moody these days.

I wonder if I could go in to see her.

Well, I hardly know what to say, Ellen.

Couldn't I go in just the way I always used to?

Alright, yes. Go in, Ellen.

Well, what do you want? Maud.

I must say I never expected to see you in this room again.

I was visiting father. I know. I saw you.

Well please say what you have to say and then go.

If that's the way you want it.

How else did you think I'd want it?

I had hoped that maybe things had changed.


You may have thought it over.

And you would say: "alright, Ellen. No hard feelings".

"It was a fair fight and the best man, or rather girl, won".

I suppose that way you thought you could have Dan and a clear conscience, too.

My conscience is clear, Maud.

You know, I think you mean it.

Maybe I'm slow. Maybe you can explain it to me.

Nobody knew better than you that I was in love with Dan.

And suddenly without any warning, he marries you.

How should I feel about it?


I want your friendship again. Please understand it wasn't anybody's fault.

It just happened. Really?

Just like that?

Oh, I know it seems impossible that he should have wanted me instead of you.

But that's the way it was. We couldn't help it.

We fell in love. Did you?

Well, let me tell you something.

In some respects the daughter of a Professor of Bacteriology may ..

Look a lot better than the daughter of Mr Simon Bowker.

But when it's a struggling young architect that's doing the looking?

Believe me .. there is nothing prettier than a capital dollar sign.

I made a mistake in coming here. I assure you I never will again.

You needn't. Everything seems pretty well under control.

At least Dan looked satisfied enough when I saw him the other day.

What do you mean?

Business seems alright for him lately.

Doesn't it.

You saw Dan? Oh, don't worry.

I just happened to be in the building and dropped into his office.

Oh, he's still yours.

At least for the time being.

I told you. Remember, the day of your wedding?

I don't give up so easily.

Remember I said, the first round goes to you.

Or your father's money. Oh Maud, stop it.

You could have Dan I said, for about a year on loan.

That's why you're really here, isn't it?

Because the year is dwindling out fast.

Only a couple of months left.

You're scared to death.

Well, Ellen. Do you think I have given up?

I think you must be a little out of your mind.

I'm sorry for you, Maud.

What happened? Are you alright?

Yes. Well, what kept you?

I telephoned your father and he said you'd left long ago.

He's on the phone. I'll tell him you're here.

We thought something must have happened to you.

Alright, Arthur. Thank you again. Goodnight, Miss Ellen.


Yes, it was Ellen. Just this minute.

No, no. Nothing at all. She's perfectly alright.

I guess it just took her longer than we thought.

I did already.

Of course I will. Yes, I've taken care of it.


Yes, I'll tell her. She'll call you.

You sure gave us a turn. I was nearly crazy.

Sorry. I had Arthur drive around for a bit and then stopped for coffee.

What's the idea anyway? Why didn't you tell me you were going to your father's?

I thought it might worry you. Well, maybe it would.

Alright. As long as it came out alright.

I've got to have a drink.

I think I'll have one too.

You think you should? Yes, I think I should.

Dan. Yes?

Why didn't you tell me you'd seen Maud Redwick?

You saw her? Yes.

Why didn't you tell me you'd seen her?

For the same obvious reason you didn't tell me you were going to your father's.

I thought it would upset you.


Because every time her name comes up, you are upset.

What did she say?

She still thinks she's going to get you, Dan.

What's the matter, Ellen?

You are not taking anything Maud may have said about us seriously are you?

She seemed so sure.

Look Ellen, I've told you I was never in love with Maud.

I was never in love with anybody.

It's true I liked her.

She was attractive and smart and a lot of fun.

And I guess she kind of liked me, too.

As a matter of fact, as things were going, if it hadn't been for you ..

I might have married her.

But I didn't.


Why did you marry me?

Why, I married you for your money of course.

Oh, Dan!

Oh Ellen, you idiot.

Oh you terrible idiot.

I knew Maud must have put an idea like that into your head.

Has it ever occurred to you that I've you since I was ten years old?

Did it ever occur to you that I didn't ask you to marry me until I was thirty?

If what I wanted was a bed of roses ..

I was sure a chump for taking the beating I took for ten years.

I suppose a lot of people must think what Maud thinks, Ellen.

It's inevitable.

But let them. Do you we care?

Oh, I'm so sorry.

Oh, I love you so much.

Mrs Daniel Pierce.

Maud Pierce.

Sounds kind of nice, doesn't it? It sure does.

Has be broached the subject yet? No, but he's close.

But I keep jogging him every now and then.

Oh Maud, it just has to happen.

I'm just mad about that man.

I loathe that Molly Eaton he's playing with.

She is pretty.

Too pretty.

A little delicate knife work would help that face no end.

You'd have to do a small amputation too. Especially when she wears those shorts.

Do you know, I wouldn't put it past me.

Hi. Hi.

Careful Dan, don't choke her.

Thanks, Maud, but I'll scream when it hurts.

How about a swim?

Hey, that's a good idea. You coming, Maud?

I'm not as hot as you are. Well, you haven't been playing.

No. That's what I mean.

These women, huh. I really pity you.

You should. I'll see you later.

So long.

You know, I detest women.

Mean, petty, scheming.

And since that's the case, I think I'd better join them.

How I love you, Maud. Mutual.

Hello, Ellen.

Hello Ellen, like to take a hand?

No thank you, father. Not with those sharks.

Oh, will you play this hand for me Warren, please?

[ Door knocks ]


Hello father.

You alright, dear? Yes, sure.

I just thought it wouldn't hurt to get away for a few minutes.

Yes, well I ..

I think so, too. I think I'll sit here for a while.

What about your bridge game? Oh, it's finished.

Poor father.


It's miserable for you isn't it, darling.

I don't know what you mean.

It just kills you to see me out there and not able to be a part of it.


Do you know something, father? And I want you to believe this.

I don't mind the fact that I'm going to be a spinster at all.

You really make me angry. What's got into you, Ellen?

I did for a while when I was younger and not popular with young men.

I confess, it hurt.

But I realized some time ago that that's the way it is.

I am quite plain, father. That we can't help.

And being plain, I've always been timid and uncertain of myself.

And that we can't help either.

And the fact that I've always had this ..

That I've always had to be ..

Quiet and careful of myself. That's all part and parcel of the same thing.

So let's face it .. that's me.

But that's not all of me by a long shot.

And when I looked at all of them out there just now.

Running a little madly around thinking ..

"How do I look, is my hair alright? Will I get him or will she get him?"

Who will be the lucky one and get Dan Pierce?

Well you'd be surprised how very little it bothered me.

I'm going to be a spinster father. All my life.

But there is an awful lot to be said for it.

Especially when you're a little tired anyway.

Oh, that's no attitude to have, Ellen.

[ Door knocks ]

Yes what is it?

Your office is calling, sir.

Alright. I'll be there.

I hate to see you giving in.

I don't think you're ..

Plain, my dear.

Not at all. I think you're very .. special.

Very special, my dear.

Thank you, father.

Good afternoon, Miss Selby.

Good afternoon, Miss Bowker. Your packages are there.

Oh thank you. Arthur, do you mind?

I'm afraid Mr Bowker has someone with him right now.

Shall I say you're here?

No thanks. I don't want to see father. I'm going out to the country.

Why, Dan?

Hello. Hello Ellen, dear.

What are you doing here?

Oh, my affairs are very extensive.

Yes. I just heard about something I thought I might throw Dan's way.

Are you coming in?

No thank you, father. I'm going to drive right on out. You going out to see Maud?

I wasn't going for another hour, but if you were thinking of giving me a lift ..

I was, come on. I'll see you at dinner, father.

Yes, dear.

Goodbye, Mr Bowker. I'll think it over. Alright, Dan.

I can almost hear you thinking. Oh.

I haven't been very sociable, have I.

It doesn't matter. I don't mind not talking.

Did father say something to make you angry?

Your father? Why, no. Nothing.

He could have. You know he has a way of doing that sometimes.

You mustn't take him seriously.

He's really very sweet and warm-hearted.

I'm sure he is.

All the same, I think I'll concentrate on your side of the family.

Why, Dan.

That's alright.

It's just love.

You mustn't trifle with me, Dan. I might believe you.

How you doing? Fine. Having a beautiful time.


Not tired are you? Never felt better.

Perhaps we had better sit down after this one.

What's the matter with right now? Alright.

[ Italian language ]

Do you come here often? Oh, pretty often.

Whenever I'm bored with caviar and champagne ..

I just land my private plane on the roof.

It is so convenient. And the beer only costs a buck.

[ Italian language ]

It's awfully nice here. You are awfully nice, too.

Well that's funny. I was just thinking how nice you are.

After all these years.

You know, we've never really talked before, have we? I mean like this.

You've been holding out on me, Ellen. Maybe.

You'd probably be surprised if I told you some of the things I know.

For instance? Oh.

Things about you. Me?

What do you know about me that I haven't told you?

Lots of things. You're really different than you make yourself out to be.

In what way?

Well .. you laugh a lot. More than you feel.


And you .. What?

Go on.

You flirt an awful lot and you don't really care.

Not very solid, am I.

That's just it, Dan. You are. Quite solid and serious.

I promise not to expose you, though.

Ellen. What?

Oh nothing. Forget it.

Now you're in one of those funny moods again.

What do you mean, "again"?

I don't know. You've been acting rather strange lately.

For one thing, asking me out to dinner is rather unheard of.

Is everything alright with you and Maud?

Sure .. more coffee?

Yes, please.

Where did she go?

That's what's so strange. I don't know.

It's the first time Maud's ever acted like this. She just picked up and left.

Your mother always used to like the first fire.

So do I.

Yes, Paul?

Mr Pierce to see Miss Bowker.


It's so late.

Ask him to come in, Paul.

Mr Pierce asked especially to see you, Miss Ellen.

I showed him to the solarium.


Tell Mr Pierce I'll join him in a minute.

I wonder if anything is the matter.

Why? I don't find it surprising that a young man asks a girl ..

Father, don't be ridiculous. It's nothing like that.

I've had a feeling for days that something was worrying Dan.

Then you'd better go and see.

Yes, I'd better.


No, you don't mean that. I do, Ellen.

I want you to marry me.

But .. I love you, Ellen.

I think in my own way I've loved you for years and years.

What about Maud?

There was never anything really between us.

But she loves you.

Not really .. not the way I love you.

I want to marry you, Ellen.

Do you think you could .. love me?

Well, I ..

I don't know.

I know it might seem rather abrupt and ..

Out of a clear sky.

I hardly know what to say.

Don't say anything. Just think about it.

Yes, I'll have to think about it.

I appreciate your asking me to marry you, Dan.

It's quite an honor.

Now, if you don't mind, I ..

I think I'd better go back.

Yes. I'll go along.

May I see you tomorrow?

Yes, of course.

Goodnight, Ellen.

Goodnight, Dan.

Goodnight, Ellen.

What is it, dear?

Dan Pierce has asked me to marry him.

He said ..

"I want to marry you."

Do you want to, Ellen? You've always liked Dan, haven't you?

Yes, of course, but ..

I don't know what it means.

Well, it can mean only one thing. He's in love with you.

But how can that be?

Oh Ellen my dear, you mustn't think so badly of yourself.

I've told you that before.


Knows how fine you are, my dear.

But Dan Pierce. It couldn't go better.


Father, do you realize what I'm saying?

Dan Pierce has asked me to marry him.

That means I'm ..

That means I'm not so ..

That means I can be a woman.

And have a home.


Somebody loves me.

Oh! Somebody loves me!

Yes, darling .. yes, my dearest.

Ellen dear, I've never seen a lovelier bride.

Congratulations, Ellen. Thank you, George.

Have a lovely time.

A clever boy that Dan. He sure picked a beautiful bride.



Dr Pritchard.

Congratulations my dear and best wishes.

Many, many years of happiness Ellen, to both of you.

Thank you, Professor.

I'm so glad you could come, Mrs Redwick.

Have you heard from Maud? Yes, she should be home in a week.

The best of luck to you, Miss Ellen. You deserve it.

Thank you, Agnes.

Oh Ellen, it's such a beautiful dress.

You look wonderful.

Thank you, Sarah.

Hello, Miss Collins. Ellen.

Where will you and Dan live?

It's a lovely old farmhouse in Connecticut.

Dan designed the changes and it will be ready for us when we get back.

Where are you going on your honeymoon? Europe.


Hello, Paul.

I hope I haven't missed all the festivities.

Well, happy honeymoon, sweetheart.

Maud, you're back.

I wouldn't have missed this for anything.

Seeing my nice, quiet, sweet, little Ellen getting married.

My pal. Maud.

Oh .. she still knows me.

My, what a lovely party.

I've been over to see you lots of times.

You went away. Sure. On a little pleasure trip.

Alright, Ellen. The first round goes to you.

Or to be more accurate.

To your father's money.

What are you talking about?

But I don't give up as easily as that.

Maud, you've had too much champagne.

You can have Dan for about ..

Let me see .. for about a year.

Since I'm going to have him for all the rest of my life after that ..

You can have him for a year on ..

On loan.

Hello, Maud.

Hello, Dan.

You just get here? Your father said it would be another week.

Why, what goes on?

Nothing of any importance, Dan.

Well, happy honeymoon, angels.

See you around.

What's she been saying?

Nothing. She's a little high, I think.

She's a little crazy, too. Why? What did she say?

Oh Dan, she is in love with you. Oh, nonsense.

I wish we'd kept in touch with her. Well, we tried.

I know, but .. Look darling, it's over.

Let's not let her spoil everything.


Come on, let's get out of here.

Hurry up, darling.

Dan, look!


Why can't we spend the rest of our lives up here?

It's very possible we may have to.

I'm willing.

Oh it's not real. I'm not real. Nothing is real.

I am.

Oh yes, you are. Thank heavens, you are.

Do hurry, darling. It's no fun being alone anymore.

Be right with you.





Look, Dan! Look!

It's wonderful.

I've never seen anything ..

Darling, what is it? What's the matter?

Why, you are all upset.

Did you think you'd lost me?

For a moment I thought I'd lost you.

[ Car horn ]

[ Car horn ]

Where on earth have you been?

Good morning. Good morning?

It's nearly noon.

I know. I'm sorry, darling.

I ran into St Moritz to get the mail and I brought some along.

This is Dr Fromm Ellen, from Zurich.

My wife, Dr Fromm. How do you do, madam.

How do you do, Dr Fromm.

I hope my husband hasn't brought you here for professional reasons.

I'm afraid, yes, madam.

I heard Dr Fromm was an expert .. It's alright, darling. Sweet of you.

This mysterious heart of mine seems to worry my husband more than it does me.

Oh that is often the case with people who are in love.


Don't be discouraged. I'm not.

After all, why should Dr Fromm know so much more than all the others?

I love you, Ellen.

I should hope so. You're married to me. No, no. You don't understand.

I love you much more than I ever dreamed it was possible for me to love anyone.

I love you too, darling.

I love you, too.


Sorry, did I awaken you?

What's the matter? Can't you sleep?

I'll be able to now.

Good afternoon, Mrs Pierce. Hello, George.

I got the clippers Mr Pierce was asking for.

I'll tell him.

Mr Pierce went to Baltimore yesterday. He'll be back tonight though.

I'll just leave them there. Alright. And George ..


After you've put the garden to bed.

I think you'd better start on the leaves.

The eavesdrops are full of them.

I'll get the ladder and get right at it. Good.

Miss Ellen.

I'm going to run down to the village now to get some ice-cream for dinner.

And if you don't mind, I'd like to go to Westville to see John for a few minutes.


Is there anything the matter?


I've just received a rather odd invitation.

And I can't quite make out why.

Oh well, you know you get all sorts of things in the mail these days.


Well, I'll be back in time for lunch. Why is it you're going to Westville?

To see that husband of mine.

He's getting so grumpy I almost can't manage him anymore.

Why? What's wrong?

Well .. you know, Miss Ellen.

The year is almost up.

Do you remember? I promised your father I'd stay with you for a year.

John says you've had me all your life.

Now I've got him to take care of.

I'd completely forgotten.

You were a wedding present from father, weren't you.

Wages prepaid for a year. Agnes ..

Look at this desk and the rug and the collection of china.

They were all presents from father.

But we're not going to give them back at the end of the year.

Why, I'm afraid you're stuck with us just the way the rug is.

But I can't just leave John.

Well, you always said you wished he could come to work for us one day.

Well, with Mr Pierce doing so beautifully.

We can afford to have you both now.

Oh, that's wonderful. I'll talk to John right away.

I must say I hated to think I'd only be with you only two more months.

You'll be with us a lot longer than that, I'm sure.

I'll run along then.

And don't worry about anything.

I've got dinner all planned.

I've got Mr Pierce's favorite dish.

Long distance operator please.

Operator .. will you get me ..

Circle 65098.

Yes, please.


Is this the New York Medical Research Institute?


This is Mrs Daniel Pierce.

I'm calling from Coopersville, Connecticut.

I just received an invite to the dinner you give next week for Dr Toynberry.

I wondered if there's any way to find how I was included on the guest list.

One moment, please.

The invitation was sent at the request of our Vice President's daughter.

Miss Maud Redwick.

"Is that what you wanted to know, Mrs Pierce?"


Thank you.

"Not at all, Mrs Pierce."

[ Maud's voice: ] "You can have Dan, for about a year."

"Since I'll have him after that for all the rest of my life."

"You can have him for a year."

[ Dr Pritchard's voice: ] "Ellen, would it really make you happier If I had a long, medical name for it?"

[ Agnes' voice: ] "The year is almost up."

"What do you mean?"

[ Agnes' voice: ] "I only promised your father I'd stay with you for one year."



What is it, Miss Ellen?

I'm sorry. Aren't you feeling well?

There's been something on your mind all day.

It's nothing. I just hurried too fast.

Would you make me a cup of coffee please?

Yes, of course.

Here is your coffee, Miss Ellen. Thank you. Just put it there.

Shall I pour it? No thank you. I will.

Exactly when is your year up, Agnes?

About the middle of January.


That's a little less than two months.


You sure I hadn't better pour your coffee?

No thank you, I will. I just want to sit here quietly for a moment.

Thank you.

Yes. You just take it easy.

Until Mr Pierce comes home.

"Until Mr Pierce comes home."

"He'll make the 5:18."

[ Dan's voice: ] "I'll make the 5:18."

"Have a cocktail ready for me."

"And be sure to get your rest."

"You know, I sort of worry about you."

"Don't. I'm wonderful."

No father, I don't mind that I'm going to be a spinster at all.

You really make me angry, Ellen.

What's got into you?

Why, Dan.

That's alright. It's just love.

That you didn't give me what makes me so happy shouldn't make any difference.


No, it shouldn't, should it.


Why did you marry me?

Why, I married you for your money, of course.

Oh, Dan.

I'd like to make a person-to-person call to Mr Simon Bowker.

Bowling Green 97598.

Yes, please.

"Hello?" Hello?

Mrs Pierce?

One moment. He'll be right on.


Tell me something, father.

"Yes, of course. Is anything wrong?"

How much did you pay Dan to marry me?

"What? Ellen .."

"You don't know what you're saying."

"Who's been talking to you?" Nobody.


I asked you a question, father.

How much did you pay Dan to marry me?

"What's come over you?"

How much did it cost once Dr Pritchard told you I had only a year to live?

"How much did it cost to provide me with everything a girl might need or want .."

For one perfect year of happiness?

Including a handsome husband.


Was it expensive, father?

"It's not like that at all. You must understand."

Did Dan come as high as the rug and the china?

Or the three fur coats or the house itself?

"There is nothing to what you are saying."

That's why you made Agnes promise to stay for another year, isn't it?

"You paid her in advance so she would."

Is Dan on a weekly salary?

Or did you get him for a flat fee?

"I can't tell you anything while you're in this state."

"You're completely wrong, darling."

What's he going to do with the money after I'm dead?

In about two months.

Are you going to invest it for him because he did such a good job?

What you are saying is ridiculous.

Dan loves you.

And as for the other ..

There is every reason to believe you are going to get well, Ellen.

There is a new operation. Dr Pritchard will explain.


Get well?

Who wants to get well?

I want to die, father.

Don't you understand?

"I want to die, die!"


How I want to die.

Ellen, darling.

"Please hear me out."

I'm quite tired.

But I do want to say one thing more.


Can you hear me? "Of course, darling."

"What is it?"

Thank you.

Very much, father.

It was a lovely year.

"Ellen, my darling."

Or almost a year anyway.

See you in the morning, Dan. Goodnight, Charlie.



Ellen, I'm back.

In here, Dan.

Hello, darling.

Miss me?

What's the matter?


Did you take your rest today?


Oh, so that's it, then.

I can always tell.

Aren't you going to have one, too?

The train was 20 minutes late out of Baltimore.

I was afraid I would miss my connection.

But we picked up a little on the way.

And I just made it.

What's the matter? What is it that's wrong?

I think I'll have another.

You want one?

Oh, I forgot.

You must be awfully bored, darling.

Out here all day long.

Every day with nothing to do but wait for me to come home.

No, I haven't been bored.

I've loved every minute of it.

Ever since we were married.

Have you?

Because I've loved every minute of it too, sweetheart.

Every minute of it.

What's the matter?

What is it, Ellen? Tell me. What is it, what's wrong?

Don't go away from me.

Ellen. Ellen, my dear.

Doctor, quick. Do something. There is something terribly wrong with her.

Come Ellen, what is it, darling?

You can answer that. She'll be alright.

I want to talk to you, Ellen.

She will be alright.


There's no need to be this upset.

Let me explain things to you.

Now, please. Please don't, Ellen.

Try to listen to me.

Mr Pierce. Mr Pierce, come to the telephone.

Not now, Agnes. You've got to come. Right away.

Hello? "Hello, Dan?"


Where is Ellen? How is she?

"I don't know."

"Dr Pritchard is with her now."


Did he tell you?

Tell me? No. What? "Now listen carefully, Dan."

"Ellen has found out."

Found out what?


"How serious her condition is and worse than that, she knows of our agreement."

"Yes, it's .."

Horrible. Coming at ..

At a time like this when there is a chance ..

Look here, Dan.

"There is absolutely no way that she can actually know. She must be guessing."

"It's up to you, Dan."

"You've got to convince her that it's all a mistake."

Now I'm in Greenwich, on my way out. I'll be there soon but ..

I'm afraid there is very little I can do.

It's you that she loves. You've got to make her believe it's all a mistake.

"You must convince her you loved her when you married her. Do you hear me?"

"Well, do you hear me?"

I hear you.

Is that all?

Yes, that's all.

Except ..


Forget any differences between us.

Be kind.

There were times we thought you wouldn't live.

But now there is every reason to believe this operation will cure you.

I'm trying to explain to her.

I don't seem to be getting anywhere.

We didn't tell you about it before, as we didn't want to excite you needlessly.

We wanted to examine you, first.

Oh Ellen, please. Cooperate with us.

We need your help to get you well.

Doctor Pritchard.

Would you mind if I spoke to Ellen?

Mr Bowker will be here soon and I would like to speak to her first.

Maybe she'll listen to me.

I'll wait out here.

I hope you can make her understand.

I'll try.

Well, Ellen. You've found out.

I don't know who sent you that invitation.

Maud, probably. She always was the danger.

It doesn't matter much now.

Now that you know.

This operation Dr Pritchard spoke to you about may cure you once and for all.

What I've done to you.

Well, maybe there is no operation for things like that.

It's true Ellen. Most of it, anyway.

It's true that your father and I ..

Oh, Ellen.

No, don't move away. Stay there.

I won't come near you.

I'll stay way over here.

A little less than a year ago, your father called me.

Asked me to come in and see him in his office.

He wanted to talk to me about something.

I went.

He was very pleasant.

Nice to see you, Dan. Thanks for coming in.

Sit down. Thank you.

When Simon Bower wants to see you, you usually make it a point to be there.

Oh come, it's not that bad.

I hope.

I'll come right to the point if you don't mind.

Not at all.

Perhaps you'll think that what I'm going to say ..

Is none of my business.

But are you and Maud Redwick engaged?

Maud Redwick? Engaged .. no.

Are you in love with her?

No, I wouldn't say so.

Planning to be?

Well frankly Mr Bowker I'm not in any position to make plans about love.

Yes I know. Things are difficult in your profession just now, aren't they, Dan.

I've been thinking about your situation quite a bit lately.

Oh really?

Yes. I've known you .. so long.

As a matter of fact I find I may be in a position to throw some things your way.

All contributions will be gratefully accepted.

I wouldn't let pride stand in my way, you know.

Yes, I know.

We'll go into that later.

What do you think of Ellen, Dan?

A pretty nice girl, isn't she. Ellen?


She's not as gay as some girls, possibly.

Look Mr Bowker, you don't have to sell Ellen to me.

I've been crazy about her ever since we were kids.

Ellen hasn't much longer to live, Dan.


Not much longer than a year.

The doctors can't say exactly but they all agree pretty well on ..

About a year.

Can't something be done? No.

That rheumatic fever she had as a child.

Has developed into a mitral stenosis.

That's why we had to protect her from too much activity. From any infections.

Isn't there some cure? Some doctor? No.

She picked up a strep' germ a while back and ..

It all took a turn for the worse. It seems without much doubt it will be ..


That's horrible. Does Ellen know? No.

She must never know.

You'll have to give me your word on that, Dan.

Of course, of course.

As you probably know, I'm very fond of Ellen.

And I'd like the short time that she has left to be as ..

As happy as possible.

Oh, Ellen puts on a good front about all this.

But I know that she feels very deeply that she's been cheated.

I know that more than anything else in the world, Ellen would like to ..

Be married.

And have a home.

I suppose you're way ahead of me, Dan.

I'm not quite sure.

Very well.

I wish you could see your way clear to marrying Ellen.

Look, Mr Bowker, I .. Wait a minute.

This isn't as cold-blooded a proposition as it sounds.

Ellen has known you all her life and she's always been very fond of you.

You may not know this and Ellen herself may not be altogether conscious of it.

But I have a feeling that she's always been in love with you.

Now look at it from your angle. You say you're .. free.

You like Ellen.

And you're having a difficult time of it in your profession.

Now, I could easily see to it that you made contacts ..

Mr Bowker, I must say I don't understand why you think I'd do a thing like that.

I think I know you fairly well, Dan.

You are not the plodding type. You're much too fond of ..

Well, let's say tennis, for that.

Ah thanks. I can't say that's especially complimentary.

No, it isn't is it.

I must say if circumstances were not what they are ..

You're not exactly the type of young man I'd choose for a son-in-law.

Well, we certainly know where we stand.

Well, I've always found that the best way.

And remember Dan that marriage to Ellen would mean only ..

Something about a year, then you'd not only be free again ..

But you'd be well on your way to success.

If you care to add a sentimental reason on top of all this.

Believe me you'd be doing something very kind for an exceptionally fine ..

And lonely, girl.

Think it over, Dan.

I thought it over already and I'm afraid the answer is no. Look, Mr Bowker ..

I understand. We're not a couple of schoolboys dreaming over a back fence.

There's nothing I wouldn't do to make the last year of my daughter's life ..

As rich and as full as it can be made.

Think it over, Dan.

Now, perhaps some of the things that I have said, I ..

It's possible that I'm likely to judge young men too much along business lines.

But I didn't mean to offend you.

Not at all.

I know how fond Ellen is of you.

And I know that she seldom makes mistakes in her judgment of people.

Goodbye, Mr Bowker. Goodbye, Dan.

[ Dan's voice: ] "And as we opened the door we suddenly saw you."

"It was rather a shock."

"I wondered if you noticed the guilty expressions that had been on our faces."

Yes, I just heard about something I might throw Dan's way.

Your father didn't mean that, of course.

The way it sounded to my ears.

It was just a quick excuse.

But it sounded horrible to me.

I didn't want any part of the whole thing.

Well, the time went by.

The job I was on finished up.

And I didn't seem to have much luck getting another one.

Finally, I gave up even trying.

The whole thing your father had suggested kept gnawing at me.

It seemed to paralyse me.

And something happened that ..

As I look back on it now, really decided me I think.

I came home one night.

I'd been out drinking. I'd spent many nights like that during those weeks.

Going from bar to bar.

Not wanting to go home.

Not wanting to see anybody.

Hi, Dan.

Hello, Maud.

What are you doing here?

It shouldn't be so hard to guess.

You want a drink?

No thanks.

You're looking pretty sharp.

Just for me?

Well not just for you, Dan. I was at the Becketts.

A big party in honor of something or other.

I kept hoping you'd turn up.

As you didn't, I figured this was the next best thing.

Been here long? A couple of hours.

Where have you been in the last couple of weeks?


You look terrible, darling.

Yeah, I suppose I do.

What is it, Dan?

Nothing. Is it me?

Are we washed up?

Is that what's worrying you and you're afraid to tell me?

Look Maud, I'd ..

Dan. What?

I've been thinking quite a lot about us.

Let's face it.

You're not in love with me, are you.

Well ..

Oh you never said you were. I'll give you that.

But you see.

I am.

Oh, am I ..

But I just didn't make it, did I?

Look, Maud.

I don't know what to say but I'm so sorry.

So am I.

I think we could have had fun.

But if that's the way it is.

Not somebody else, is there?



I don't think I could take that.

That also fits in with a little plan I have.


I'm going away for a couple of months.

Maybe you'll miss me.

You know darn well I will.

No. I mean maybe you'll find you miss me a lot.

A lot more than you realize.

It's an old trick.

Where are you going?

I'm not telling anyone.

I'm going to play hard to get.

Look, Maud. I've told you before.

That you're no good for me. Yes, I know. You'll find some guy ..

That's much better. Yeah, I know that, too.

Get hold of yourself, Dan.


Comb your hair.

Take care of yourself.

Don't drink so much.

Maud, I ..


Anyway, I should cry.

Poor Ellen. You know what's happened?

No. What?

I probably shouldn't tell you this but ..

I overheard Mr Bowker talking to Dad the other day.

He wanted the address of some ..


Ellen is in a bad way.

They don't think she can live for much more than a year.

It's so unfair.

She never really had a life.

Poor kid.

You mustn't tell that to anyone, Dan.

Dan. Yes?

I said you mustn't tell that to anyone. No, no. Of course not.

Be seeing you, darling .. I hope.


Goodnight, Dan.

Strange how things work out sometimes.

That's what did it.

Maud making it so easy.

Telling me to get hold of myself.

Yes, I think that's what did it.

It's a pretty picture, isn't it.

Not exactly the one your father wanted me to paint for you.

Oh, Ellen.


And so we were married.

I don't know exactly when I fell in love with you, Ellen.

Knowing you since we were children, I ..

I thought I knew you pretty well, but I didn't of course.

I didn't know any of the things that make you the woman that you really are.

As I watched you every day it was as if I were seeing a new person being born.

Everything you touched took on a meaning I'd never known.

You see, Ellen.

My whole attitude ever since I was a young man was ..

Well, just to try to get by.

Grabbing what I can from here and there and not feeling very deeply, I guess.

All I know is that my life completely changed.

The days we've spent together.

The things we've done together.

Building our home here, walking in the woods out there on the weekends.

All the little things.

I found that the times I wasn't with you .. everything seemed very empty.

I couldn't wait each night to come home to you.

And always the haunting fear that one night I would come home and find you ..

Oh, Ellen.

It was a long time ago that I realized.

If anything happened to you.

My life would be over, too.

You remember Switzerland?

The day our car heated up and you went down the road for a minute out of sight.

And the avalanche came?

Listen to me, Ellen. Please listen to me.

Yes .. for a moment I thought I'd lost you.

[ German language ]

[ German language ]

[ German language ]


Oh, what may I do for you, sir?

I was looking for Doctor ..

Ah, Mr Pierce?

Yes, Doctor Fromm?

I am sorry to have kept you waiting.

Not at all. It's very kind of you to see me on your vacation.

Well, you letter was so eloquent, how could I refuse?

Shall we sit over there? Yes, please.

Well, Mr Pierce.

I read your letter carefully.

I have also read all the reports you have sent me.

From them ..

There seems very little ..

I know, I know, Dr Fromm. But it's terribly important ..

And necessary that my wife get well. She's a very unusual woman.

Do you want to have ..? No, thank you.

This Dr Pritchard that you mentioned.

He has said a few months ago.

That she had only about a year .. Yes, yes.

I know. Even so, it is important for her to live.

How long have you been married, Mr Pierce?

A little over two months.

And you love your wife very much?

Yes. Very much.

Did you know how serious it was when you were married?


And yet you loved her enough to marry her even so?

I beg your pardon.

But then you must have been somewhat prepared for this.

From the very beginning.

I was prepared.


But as the time grows shorter.

You find that you were really not prepared at all.

Is that it?

And you become frantic.

That's it exactly, Doctor Fromm.

Mr Pierce.

You must look at this philosophically.

I beg your pardon, Doctor From.

But I've looked at it philosophically for some time.

You wish me to come out and examine your wife?

If you would be so kind.

Very well.

You will?

Doctor Fromm, I can't tell you how much I appreciate this.

You see, it's so terribly important that my wife ..

There may be hope .. mayn't there?

Mr Pierce.

There are scientists, doctors all over the world.

Constantly experimenting, searching.

In fact, in this line now there's a Doctor Toynberry.

In your own country in Baltimore.

He is working on an operation called mitral commissurotomy.

[ German language ]

But please Mr Pierce, do not have any false hopes.

This operation is still in an experimental stage.

Danke schoen.

But it might be perfected in time to ..

As I say, there is always a race ..

Between people who are constantly dying from a disease we know too little about.

A race between them and the scientists who may discover the cure.

That is the hope you have, Mr Pierce.

Yes. Yes, of course. Can we go now Dr Fromm? My car is outside.

Yes, of course. This way, Dr Fromm. Outside.

Fromm had written Toynberry and I made an appointment with him in Baltimore.

What he had to say was rather disheartening.

No operation using his technique had been made as yet.

We all discussed it, of course.

Your father, Dr Pritchard.

We resolved to lie and pretend and everything.

And one day the wonderful news:

That Toynberry had performed his first successful operation.

And later on, there were two others.

But only one of them was successful.

He asked us to wait.

He wanted more time for research.

Then you had this attack last week.

Your father and Dr Pritchard told me about your talk with them.

I decided to get some action.

That's why I went to Baltimore yesterday.

To persuade Toynberry to make all of the arrangements.

And on the way, after all these months of despair and incredible happiness.

The thing happened that I'd been afraid of all along.

I was at Penn Station waiting for my train.

I had a about a twenty minute wait when suddenly I met Maud.

She'd come in from Long Island.

I hadn't seen her since that time she dropped in to my office.

We had a cup of coffee.

Isn't this pretty early for you to be in town, Dan?

I'm going to Baltimore. Oh?

You're looking fine, Dan. Am I? Thanks. So are you.

How is Ellen?

She's quite well Maud, thank you.

What's the matter?

Something wonderful has happened, Maud. Can we have 2 coffees, please?

Yes, sir.

Good. Tell me.

Oh, we think that Ellen has a very good chance to recover.

That's why I'm going to Baltimore now. To see a new doctor.

As a matter of fact he comes here next week to lecture at the Institute.

Just think.

It would not only mean that Ellen wouldn't ..

Well .. Die.

Yes. But that she would get really well. Better than she's been her whole life.

It's tough isn't it, Dan.


What do you mean?

All you year's work gone for nothing.

Well, I'd hardly have put it that way.

You wouldn't? No.

Don't try to get away with anything with me, Dan.

I know you too well.

Thank you.

You see, when I heard that you and Ellen were going to marry, I ..

I thought rather a fast one had been put over on me.

But when I had time to simmer down, I saw the whole thing.

I thought it was a pretty lousy deal if you ask me.

But I was in love with you.

So I said to myself.

Okay, if that's the way Dan wants it, why not?

He's not really hurting anyone.

And I can wait a year.

You can wait? A year?

That's right.

What are you talking about?

You don't think I married Ellen thinking I'd ever come back to you?

I didn't exactly know what was in your mind.

But I did know that after Ellen died, you would come back to me.

I'd see to that.

I don't know what kind of person ..

Let me get this straight.

For the record.

You married Ellen. You didn't love her.

Well, I .. Did you?

Maybe not the way you meant .. You knew she was to die in a year.

Yes. You did it for the money.

Nothing is that black and white, Maud ..

Why don't you admit it? At least that would be honest.

Well, primarily I guess so.

You guess so?

Alright, have it your own way. But you miss the whole point.

I love Ellen.

I love her, desperately.

I see.

It's very interesting.

I think you're beneath contempt.

Because I asked you, before I knew about Ellen. That time I went away.

I asked you if there was someone else. There wasn't then.

When you married Ellen you were still in love with me in spite of everything.

That's not true, Maud. Oh yes it is.

Don't think Ellen won't know about it. Maud.

You think I'd let her have you without knowing why?

Without knowing that you didn't love her?

Oh no, darling. I'm not as noble as all that.

Ellen may get well. If she does she may wish she hadn't.


I think if you ever said anything to Ellen I'd kill you.

Do you? We'll see.

Oh don't worry. I won't say anything.

Thanks for the coffee, Dan.



Oh, yes.

So that's the story.

Not much to add except that Toynberry is willing to make the operation.

I've made an appointment for you for next Friday.

The thing you must do Ellen, is not to let all this ..

You've got to get well, Ellen. That's the main thing.

Maybe living is the important thing.

Maybe it doesn't matter whom you love.

Maybe just keeping alive is what's important.

So keep alive.

Keep alive, Ellen. No matter about me or your father.

I guess I'm not the one to talk to you now.

Maybe I shouldn't have told you all of this anyway.

I don't know much of anything at the moment.

I suppose I wanted to get some ..

Small measure of ..


In your eyes, perhaps.

They may be empty words, Ellen.

But I love you.

Where is she?

Has she calmed down? I guess so.

What have you told her?

Everything. What do you mean?

I mean everything, just as it happened. The truth.

You didn't. You couldn't. Just as it happened.


Where are you going?

What difference does it make?

I'll go in alone if you don't mind. Of course.

Hello father.

I bungled it all, didn't I dear? No, no father.

You did everything you could.

You've always done everything you could.

I'm really very sorry for what I said on the telephone.

It's just that.

When the pieces started falling together.

Into the horrible puzzle I guess I went a little mad.

You see, I learned I was going to die.

No, Ellen.

And that I ..

I might live. All in on afternoon.

But it wasn't that.

It was the other.

It seemed incredible.


Like an awful nightmare.

I was sure I must wake up.


Dan did this to me.

Dan didn't love me.

Had never loved me.

Father, do you realize what that meant?

My child.

Everything crumbled.

Broke into a million pieces.

Dan didn't love me.

Dan didn't love me when he married me.

It was all a ..

It was all a joke.

Oh my dear. My dear.

It was just as if I'd never lived. There had never been an Ellen Bowker.

I was just a ghost.

What can I do?

How can we wipe it all out and start again. All the mistakes.

[ Car engine starting ]

What's that?

Just a car.

A car?



Where's Dan?






I've put the garden to bed, Mrs Pierce.

Got most of the leaves raked.

I hate to burn them.

Can't I put them in the compost heap?


I'll mix green stuff with them they'll be fine for your garden next spring.


I'll come back tomorrow and fix it up for you.


Bye, now.


Dan's upstairs.

He came back in a few minutes ago.

Thank you.

Thank you for everything, Dr Pritchard.

I wish you'd go in to see father.

I will.

I thought the least I could do was not hang around.

It's been a bum goal.

Doesn't much matter whether the score keeps or not.

Does it.




Doctor Toynberry.

He thinks there is a chance?


I don't care if there is a chance. Or not.

No. You misunderstand what I'm saying.


Listen to me.

Try to understand.

You said keeping alive is the important thing.

It is not, Dan. It isn't.

I have no fear of dying.

You see, I learned something this afternoon.

I learned that there is something ..

Much more important than keeping alive.

And that is.

Knowing that you have lived.

Knowing that the years behind you.

You can look back on and see that they're not empty, not wasted.

But had some reason for existing.

If you .. can do that.

Then, whatever of your life that lies ahead is just a ..

Natural, logical culmination of the years that have passed.

0h, Dan.

I'm so glad to have had my life.

Because I have it.

Because out of all the sham and deceit, something happened.

Because in loving me ..

You've given my life a meaning.

A reason, a justification.

You've made the past years worthwhile.

And the future glorious.

And we'll have that future. Yes, darling.

How long after will they know?

I asked that, too.

He said by the spring.

It's not long.