Rope (1948) Script

Open it.


Don't.

We've got to see if there's anything...

I know.

But not just yet.

Let's stay this way for a minute.


Phillip, we don't have too much time.

It's the darkness that's got you down.

Nobody ever feels really safe in the dark.

Nobody who was ever a child, that is.

I'll open these, all right?

There, that's much better.

What a lovely evening.

Pity we couldn't have done it with the curtains open in the bright sunlight.

Well... Can't have everything, can we?

We did do it in daytime. All right now, Phillip?

Yes. Good. You better put those away.

Put them in my checkbook drawer, behind that metal box.

Now... This is a museum piece now.

We really should preserve it for posterity, except it's such good crystal, and I'd hate to break up the set.

Out of this, David Kentley had his last drink.

It should have been ginger ale or even beer.

I've always thought it was out of character for David to drink anything as corrupt as whiskey.

Out of character for him to be murdered, too.

Yes, wasn't it? But good Americans usually die young on the battlefield, don't they?

Well, the Davids of this world merely occupy space, which is why he was the perfect victim for the perfect murder.

Course, he was a Harvard undergraduate.

That might make it justifiable homicide.

He's dead and we've killed him. But he's still here.

In less than eight hours, he'll be resting gently but firmly at the bottom of a lake.

Meanwhile, he's here.

What are you doing?

It's not locked.

All the better. It's much more dangerous.

Anyway, the lock's too old, it won't work.

I wish it would. I wish we had him out of here.

I wish it were somebody else.

It's a trifle late for that, don't you think?

Whom would you have preferred? Kenneth?

Oh, I don't know. I suppose anyone was as good or as bad as any other.

You, perhaps. You frighten me.

You always have, from that very first day in prep school.

Part of your charm, I suppose.

I'm only kidding, Brandon.

I obviously can't take it as well as you, so I'm turning on you a little.

That's rather foolish, isn't it?

Yes, very.

May I have a drink now?

By all means. This is an occasion. It calls for champagne.

Champagne?

I put some in the icebox.

When did you put it there, Brandon?

Just before David arrived.

You were certain it would come off, weren't you?

Of course.

You know I'd never do anything unless I did it perfectly.

I've always wished for more artistic talent.

Well, murder can be an art, too.

The power to kill can be just as satisfying as the power to create.

Phillip, do you realize we've actually done it, exactly as we planned?

And not a single infinitesimal thing has gone wrong.

It was perfect.

Yes.

An immaculate murder.

We've killed for the sake of danger and for the sake of killing.

We're alive, truly and wonderfully alive.

Even champagne isn't equal to us, or the occasion.

I'll take it, though.

You're not really frightened anymore, are you, Phillip?

You can't have fear, you know? Neither of us can.

That's the difference between us and the ordinary men, Phillip.

They talk about committing the perfect crime, but nobody does it.

Nobody commits a murder just for the... Here.

...experiment of committing it.

Nobody except us.

You're not frightened anymore, are you, Phillip?

No.

Not even of me?

No.

That's good.

You just astound me, as always.

That's even better.

To David, of course.

Brandon, how did you feel?

When?

During it.

I don't know, really. I don't remember feeling very much of anything.

Until his body went limp, and I knew it was over.

And then?

Then I felt tremendously exhilarated.

How did you feel?

I...

Brandon, you don't think the party's a mistake, do you?

No, the party's the inspired finishing touch to our work.

It's more, it's the signature of the artist.

Not having it would be like...

Painting a picture and not hanging it?

I don't think that's a very good choice of words.

It may turn out to be a little too choice, thanks to the party.

Oh, rot. This party will be the most exciting ever given.

With these people?

They're a dull crew, all right.

The Kentleys couldn't be duller if they tried, but we did have to have them.

After all, they are David's mother and father.

That doesn't make them any easier to talk to.

Don't worry. Janet'll be buttering them up, poor girl.

She's banked everything on hooking David.

Somehow, I don't think she's going to succeed.

Do you?

No, somehow, I don't.

Well, she can switch back to Kenneth tonight.

You must admit, it was most considerate of me, in view of recent events, to...

Phillip. What?

Take the other one.

What for?

Never mind. Come with me.

What's this all about?

You'll see. It's brilliant!

What the devil are you doing?

Making our work of art a masterpiece.

Brandon, you're going too far.

Why? What do you mean?

I just thought it'd be nice to have supper in here.

On this.

Isn't it a good idea?

Well, at least this way, no one will try to open it.

I don't think you appreciate me, Phillip.

I'm beginning to, Brandon.

Well, come on, we don't have too much time.

Mrs. Wilson will be coming back soon.

Did you forget to borrow her key?

I might've known better than to...

I didn't forget. I have her key. I told her I lost mine.

Oh, good.

How are you going to explain this to her?

I'm not.

We've got to have some excuse.

We don't want to leave our guest of honor alone during supper.

Brandon, we've got to have an excuse for the others.

All right, all right. Let me think.

Really, you get much too upset much too easily, Phillip.

We have a very simple excuse right here.

What are you worrying about, Phillip?

After all, old Mr. Kentley's coming mainly to look at these books.

Now what could be better than to have them laid out neatly on the dining room table where the poor, old man can easily get at them?

Considerate, aren't we? Most...

Hello? Oh. Of course.

You start on the books...

Who is it?

Mrs. Wilson.

Brandon.

Brandon!

What the devil? Don't you have any more sense than to...

What is it?

Well, go on, yank it out.

I can't.

If Mrs. Wilson were here, she'd yank it out for you.

A stupid display like that in front of somebody else will be just as good as a confession.

Now, take these and get a hold of yourself.

If you'd let me keep the light on before as I'd wanted, I would have seen it. All right! You're perfect.

We have to be, Phillip.

We agreed there was only one crime either of us could commit.

The crime of making a mistake. Being weak is a mistake.

Because it's being human?

Because it's being ordinary.

I won't let either of us stoop...

You owe me $2.40 for taxis, including the tip.

If it weren't for the traffic, I'd have been here a half hour ago.

Oh, it's just as well. We didn't expect you back until now.

Well, I went to five stores for the special pâté we like.

But the prices!

I couldn't see any reason for throwing away our good money.

So I went downtown to that little delicatessen where Mr. Cadell goes.

But I tell you, the next time we give a party, I'm only going...

Good evening, Mrs. Wilson.

What, may I ask, is happening to my table?

We're just moving the things in here.

Well...

I personally thought my table was quite lovely.

Oh, it was quite lovely.

But you see, Mr. Kentley's coming to look at these old books I had in the chest.

And I'm sure you wouldn't want the poor, old man to have to get down on his knees to see them.

Well, I think it looks downright peculiar.

Peculiar?

Very. Particularly those candlesticks.

They don't belong there at all.

On the contrary, I think they suggest a ceremonial altar, which you can heap with the foods for our sacrificial feast.

Heap is right. Certainly isn't enough room for me to set things out properly.

Is there, Mr. Phillip? Oh, you can make it do.

You two will be the death of me.

What's to be done with the books?

We'll lay them out on the dining room table.

A crazy idea, if you ask me.

Well, I have too much to do to discuss this thoroughly, dear.

However, I still think it's peculiar.

What on Earth's the matter?

I was sure she'd notice.

Notice what?

The rope, of course.

Brandon, we've got to hide it.

Why?

Why? Yes, why?

It's only a piece of rope, Phillip.

An ordinary household article. Why hide it?

It belongs in the kitchen drawer.

Uh, Mrs. Wilson? Yes?

There's champagne in the icebox.

Oh, we're not giving them champagne?

We are.

Oh, well, it's going to be that kind of party. I'd better doll up a little.

We only serve champagne at Mr. Cadell's on very high occasions.

Matter of fact, he and I once had a glass together on my birthday.

Tonight, Mrs. Wilson, you'll have an opportunity to renew that romance.

May I? Mr. Cadell's coming.

Oh, my. Oh, Mr. Cadell's terribly nice.

Rupert's coming?

Yes, I thought I told you.

Oh, I must say I did enjoy working for Mr. Cadell.

No, you didn't.

Such a gentleman!

Of course some people say he's a little peculiar, but I always...

Well, you might let me finish.

I thought you liked Rupert.

I do.

Well, then.

Brandon, of all the people on this Earth, Rupert Cadell is the one man most likely to suspect.

He's the one man who might appreciate this from our angle, the artistic one.

That's what's exciting.

I'm glad it excites you. It frightens me.

I know... I suggest you keep your voice down.

It would have been too easy with the others, Phillip, and too dull.

As for Rupert, I once thought of inviting him to join us.

Why didn't you? The more the merrier.

Because he hasn't the nerve.

Oh, intellectually, he could've come along. He's brilliant.

But he's a little too fastidious.

He could've invented and he could've admired, but he never could have acted.

That's where we're superior, Phillip.

We have courage, Rupert doesn't.

Mr. Cadell got a bad leg in the war for his courage.

And you've got your sleeve in the celery, Mr. Phillip.

Oh, they're here. Are we ready?

As ready as we'll ever be.

Now mind you.

Don't you be so busy at that piano that you don't eat anything, getting too thin.

And don't you let them gobble up all that pâté before you have any.

Let's hope it's a success. Oh, mind my tray.

Take it in the kitchen, Mrs. Wilson. I'll answer the door.

There wouldn't be this last minute hustle-bustle if you'd kept my table and let those old books...

Now the fun begins.

Hello, come in.

How are you, Brandon?

Fine. Just put your hat there.

Thank you.

It's been quite a while, hasn't it?

Yes, that's why I sounded so stupid on the phone.

Surprised, I guess.

Hello, Kenneth. Good to see you.

You, too.

Been up to much lately?

Nothing to speak of. You?

Oh, just trying to get ready for exams.

I always have to start cramming before everybody else.

Am I the first?

You are.

Why is it I'm always too early at parties?

Probably because you're always on time.

Uh, Mrs. Wilson, champagne.

Oh...

It isn't someone's birthday, is it?

Don't look so worried, Kenneth.

It's really almost the opposite.

The opposite?

Phillip's bidding the world a temporary farewell tonight.

I'm driving him up to Connecticut after the party.

Oh. Where are you going?

Just to Brandon's mother's place for a few weeks.

I'm to be locked up.

What?

To make sure he practices six hours a day.

I've finally wangled a debut for him.

Town Hall, at that. That's wonderful.

I hope you knock 'em dead.

Thank you.

Mmm! Most decorative.

Think so?

Hey.

What is it?

I feel pretty honored.

Oh? Why?

Looks like a pretty small farewell party.

Oh, well, we're really killing two birds with one stone.

The party's also for Mr. Kentley.

David's father?

Yes.

Oh...

Is David going to be here?

Of course.

Who else is coming?

Oh, no one you don't know, if that's what's bothering you.

The Kentleys, Janet Walker...

Janet?

Yes. I thought you'd be glad to see her.

Won't you be?

Brandon, Janet and I are all washed up. Didn't you know?

Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't.

Well, you knew, Phillip.

Oh, I heard vague rumors, but I never pay attention to that sort of thing.

I wish you had.

Why?

Well, Janet and David are...

Hello, Mrs. Wilson.

May I? Help yourself.

And cheer up. I have the oddest feeling, anyway, that your chances with the young lady are much better than you think.

What do you mean?

Janet!

Hello, ducks. Angel!

Be careful of my hair, it took hours. You smell dreamy.

What is it?

That swill you gave me last Christmas.

I always knew I had good taste.

You do. You look lovely.

I won't by the time it's all paid for.

Was that funny? I never know when I'm being funny.

Whenever I try to be, I lay the bomb of all time.

Phillip, sweet.

Hello.

What's this rumor I hear about you and Town Hall?

I bet you're going to play a foul trick on all of us and become...

...horribly famous.

I believe you've met.

Hello, Ken.

Hello, Jan.

Well, that was fascinating, wasn't it? I seem to have run down.

What would you say to some champagne?

"Hello, champagne."

You see what I mean about trying to be funny?

How've you been, Ken? Fine, thanks.

How's the new job? What are you doing?

Writing that same dreary column on how to keep the body beautiful.

For whom this time?

Oh, an untidy little magazine known as Allure.

Thanks, chum.

Oh, isn't that painting new?

Yes, it is. Do you like it?

Well, what is it?

A new, young, American primitive.

I have a new, young, American sister.

She's only three and her stuff is really primitive.

You dirty dog.

Why?

Didn't I notice another new one in the foyer when I came in?

I don't think so. Which?

Anyone else coming besides Mr. Kentley?

Yes, another old friend of yours.

This. Even older.

Who?

I could really strangle you, Brandon.

What have I done now?

At times, your sense of humor is a little too malicious, chum.

What are you chattering about?

Why did you invite Kenneth?

Why not?

You know perfectly well why not.

We called it quits ages ago and I'm practically engaged to his best friend.

David?

Yes, David.

Which makes everything just ginger-peachy.

I'm terribly sorry, but it is a little difficult trying to keep up with your romances.

After me came Kenneth, now it's David.

Why the switch from Kenneth to David, anyway?

Obviously, I think he's nicer.

Well, he's certainly richer.

That's a new low, even for you, chum.

Gave me a "D" in conduct.

How's your drink doing? All right.

How many years has it been since I said, "Oh, it tickles"? And don't you tell me.

I hear Rupert's coming.

Well, he was invited, but you never know with Rupert.

I hope he does come. How is he?

Who is he?

Rupert Cadell, he was our housemaster at prep school.

Housemaster for you three little dears?

Four little dears. He tried valiantly to teach David, too.

Rupert's a publisher now, isn't he?

Successful? Maybe he can give me a job.

Rupert only publishes books he likes, usually philosophy.

Oh. Small print, big words, no sales.

Right.

Rupert's extremely radical.

Do you know that he selects his books on the assumption that people not only can read, but actually can think?

Curious fellow, but I like him.

You always did.

Golly, those bull sessions you and Rupert used to have at school.

Brandon would sit up till all hours at the master's feet.

Brandon at someone's feet! Who is this Rupert?

He used to tell you the weirdest things, didn't he?

Really? What sort of things?

I suppose Kenneth means Rupert's impatience with social conventions.

For example, he thinks murder is a crime for most men, but...

A privilege for the few.

Yes.

A privilege for what few?

It's all right, Mrs. Wilson. I'll answer the door.

Oh, Mr. Kentley. So glad you could come.

Thank you, Brandon.

Mrs. Kentley isn't well, so I took the liberty of bringing my sister-in-law, Mrs. Atwater.

She's been staying with us.

Oh, delighted to have you, Mrs. Atwater.

Delighted to come, dear boy.

I've been in New York two weeks.

Alice has been ill almost the whole time, and Henry is forever cataloging his library.

Oh, no, Anita. Occasionally, I even read one of my books.

But I'm on a visit, Henry. This is just my second party.

I suppose it's only fair...

Let me take your things. Thank you.

I'm sorry to hear Mrs. Kentley's so ill.

Oh, it's just a cold.

Oh, colds can be very dangerous this time of the year.

I hope Mrs. Kentley's staying in bed with lots of fruit juice.

She is, thank you. Well, that'll do the trick.

Colds dangerous, in this heat? I don't understand that at all.

Exactly two years ago this summer, I had one myself.

I was down for three weeks.

The doctors were just about ready...

Excuse me. This way, Mrs. Atwater.

...particularly at parties.

Particularly at this party.

This is all way over my head.

David!

Oh, no.

You've made a mistake. This is Kenneth Lawrence.

I'm so sorry.

That's all right, Anita. Kenneth is often mistaken for David, even by people who aren't nearsighted.

We haven't had much opportunity to observe the resemblance lately, my boy.

Haven't been studying, have you?

I've been trying to, sir.

Oh, dear. The resemblance is only physical.

I believe you both know Ms. Walker.

Janet, my dear.

I finished working out your horoscope just before we came.

Oh, tell.

The stars are very kind.

They indicate a marriage very soon to a tall, fair-haired young man with a very lovely father.

Oh, come, Anita, I told you that a week ago.

Oh, well, I suppose you did.

But the stars confirm it.

Wonderful.

Uh, Mrs. Atwater, may I present Mr. Phillip Morgan?

How do you do? Oh, you've hurt your hand.

Oh, it's nothing, just a little cut.

What happened?

Nothing. The glass was cracked and it broke, that's all.

May I get you some champagne, Mrs. Atwater?

Oh, I should adore some.

Daddy used to have a glass every morning at 11:00.

But, of course, Henry doesn't like it.

Mr. Kentley, may I get you some?

Well, I'd prefer a little scotch with a lot of water if you don't mind.

Is David here?

I expected him to come with you.

He called and said that he'd meet us here.

Where did he call from?

Oh, our maid spoke to him.

He was at the club, studying for his examinations.

Tennis.

The trouble with David is he doesn't have to study. He's too bright.

Well, David does all right, very much so.

Thank you.

How's Mrs. Kentley?

As usual, it's a cold this time.

I hope David arrives soon. She wants him to call her.

David's her only child, Mr. Kentley.

He's my only child, too, but I'm willing to let him grow up.

Why don't I call and tell her he's been detained?

No, you mustn't pamper her, Janet.

David might even have stopped off to see her.

Mr. Kentley? May I use the phone?

Of course. It's in the bedroom.

How cozy.

Aren't you ready for another?

I will be.

I am, thank you.

What a charming young man.

I wish David saw more of him.

Yes. I'll go and call.

Kenneth, there's too much air in your glass.

Oh, mine's fine, thanks.

Would you mind taking this in to Janet?

Sure. Why?

No particular reason. It's hers.

I thought you'd like to take it in to her.

She's in the bedroom, telephoning.

Then you'd like David to walk in.

No, no, that'd be too much of a shock.

When were you born?

July 14.

Can you really tell my future from that?

Of course, I'm only an amateur astrologer.

I'm sure you're very good.

I do my best.

I suppose you want to know if your concert will be a success?

Yes, I do.

Let me see now.

You were born on the 14th of July.

You're Cancer, the crab. You're a moon child.

You're very much influenced by the moon. May I see your hands?

You don't remember the hour of your birth, by any chance?

No.

Good fingers. Strong. Artistic.

What about the concert?

These hands will bring you great fame.

Extremely.

Well, I consider myself a very fortunate man today.

I'm on hand for the grand opening.

Of what?

Of your collection, so to speak.

Oh, yes, of course.

Are you going to play? How lovely.

Your wife sends her love.

David wasn't there?

No. He'll probably be here in a minute, though.

Your touch has improved, Phillip.

Rupert!

I was beginning to think you weren't going to show.

You know me better than that.

Mrs. Atwater, may I present Mr. Rupert Cadell?

Delighted. Thank you.

Mr. Kentley.

How do you do, Mr. Kentley?

Rupert Cadell, the housemaster at Somerville?

I used to be.

Then you must have taught my son, David.

You flatter me.

How do you do? Hello, chum.

Ms. Walker.

How did you know?

Brandon spoke of you.

Did he do me justice?

Do you deserve justice? Well!

Well, little Kenneth Lawrence. How you've grown.

Hello.

Now come, Kenneth.

School's out. You can say it.

Rupert, you're the same as ever.

It's awfully good to see you again.

Why?

Well...

Don't mind me. Very pleased to see you again.

And that bears a curious resemblance to champagne.

It is.

It's very good champagne, too. What's the occasion?

I told you on the phone.

It began as a little party for Mr. Kentley, so he could look over those first editions.

Then it turned out Phillip and I were going to the country...

Yes, you told me that, too, Brandon.

Did I? Yeah.

Well, I thought I'd make it sort of a farewell for Phillip.

Therefore, champagne?

Yes.

I see.

Well, it's true.

You always did stutter when you were excited.

Well, I guess I'm always excited when I give a party.

-Really? -Mr. Cadell!

Oh, Mrs. Wilson.

Well, what have we here?

I got that special pâté you like.

I don't like it anymore.

Oh, no! No, no, no, I'm just teasing. Just teasing.

Oh, you're awful.

Thank you. Thank you.

You'd better get along with the carving.

The rest of the things'll be here in two shakes.

Oh, Mr. Brandon! I found it.

I haven't the least notion what it was she lost.

Wonderful Mrs. Wilson.

I may marry her.

It looks heavenly. I hope David gets here soon.

Yes, where is David?

I haven't the faintest idea.

But he's so late, Mr. Kentley's getting annoyed.

And you?

Me? I'm hungry.

Brandon, exactly what is this?

A cassone I got in Italy.

No, I mean why are we eating off it?

Oh, I've turned the dining room into a library.

Trust you to find a new use for a chest.

One was always turning up in the bedtime stories he told in prep school.

The Mistletoe Bough, that was always your favorite tale, wasn't it?

What was that one about?

I don't remember exactly how it started.

It was about a lovely young girl...

She was a bride-to-be.

And on her wedding day, she playfully hid herself in a chest.

Yes, that's right.

Unfortunately, it had a spring lock.

Fifty years later, they found her skeleton.

I don't think I'll get that playful.

Would you all please help yourselves?

Talking of skeletons, have you seen that new thing at the Strand?

Yes, I adored it.

Did you? Good.

I didn't like the new girl much. Definitely Scorpio.

No, I didn't like her either, but her clothes were fabulous.

Simply divine!

Absolute heaven!

I must see it.

Of course, the man I have a passion for is James Mason.

Is he good?

Absolutely terrific!

So attractively sinister! Taurus, the bull, you know?

Very obstinate. Really?

But I have a confession to make.

Do you know I think I like Mason as much as Errol Flynn?

I'll take Cary Grant, myself.

Oh, so will I!

Capricorn, the goat. He leaps divine!

So much... Mmm! Yes.

Absolutely.

Oh, he was thrilling in that new thing with Bergman.

What was it called now? "The Something of the Something."

No, that's the other one. This was just plain "Something."

It was sort of... You know?

It's right on the tip of my tongue.

Mine, too.

It was just plain "Something." I'm sure. I adored it.

And Bergman!

She's the Virgo type!

Like all these... You know?

Oh, I think she's lovely.

I once went to the movies. I saw Mary Pickford.

I was mad about her! Didn't you love her?

The Virgo type, rather, like all of these...

Well, what did you see her in?

I don't quite recall.

"The Something Something."

Or was it just plain "Something"?

Really something rather like that.

I don't believe you ever went.

Really?

If I were you, I'd go easy on the pâté, dear.

Calories.

Come on, Kenneth, don't be polite.

Phillip, would you mind helping Mrs. Atwater?

I'd be glad to.

You sit down, Mrs. Atwater. I'll bring it to you.

Thank you so much, dear boy.

I really must apologize for David.

I can't think what's keeping him.

He's only in town for the weekend, Mr. Kentley, and David is a very popular young man.

Here, let me help. White or dark?

A little of both on this for Mrs. Atwater.

What about you?

I don't eat it.

How queer. I never heard of anyone who didn't eat chicken.

Did you, Brandon? Oh, you probably did.

Why don't you eat it, Phillip?

I just don't.

Well, now, there must be a reason.

Freud says there's a reason for everything. Even me.

There's no reason, Janet.

As I remember, Phillip, you have a very funny reason.

Doesn't he, Brandon? Yes.

I knew there had to be one. Now, what is it? Tell.

Oh, it's nothing too much.

Well, I think it's quite fascinating.

Come on, Brandon, please.

Well, it happened about three years ago in Connecticut.

Mother has a place there, you know?

We were going to have chicken, so we walked over to the farm.

It was a lovely Sunday morning in late spring.

Across the valley, the church bells were ringing.

And in the yard, Phillip was doing likewise to the necks of two or three chickens.

Oh, dear!

It was a task he usually performed very competently.

But on this particular morning, his touch was, perhaps, a trifle too delicate, because one of the subjects for our dinner table suddenly rebelled.

Like Lazarus, he rose...

That's a lie!

Phillip!

There isn't a word of truth in the whole story.

I never strangled a chicken in my life!

Now, look here, Phillip...

I never strangled a chicken, and you know it.

Forgive me, but it just seemed very funny, you two being so intense about an old, dead chicken.

Sorry. We were ridiculous and very rude.

I apologize for both of us and the story.

Well.

Is it all over?

I'm afraid so, Rupert.

Oh, what a pity.

In another moment, you might have been strangling each other instead of a chicken.

Mr. Cadell, really!

No. But a man's honor was at stake.

And personally, I think a chicken is as good a reason for murder as a blonde, a mattress full of dollar bills, or any of the customary, unimaginative reasons.

Now, you don't really approve of murder, Rupert, if I may?

You may, and I do. Think of the problems it would solve.

Unemployment, poverty, standing in line for theater tickets.

I must say, I've had a perfectly dreadful time getting tickets for that new musical, what's it called?

You know.

"The Something," with what's her name? Mmm-hmm.

My dear Mrs. Atwater, careful application of the trigger finger and a pair of seats in the first row is yours for the shooting.

And have you had any difficulty getting into our velvet rope restaurants?

Frightful!

A very simple matter.

A flick of the knife, madam, and if you'll kindly step this way.

No, step over the head waiter's body.

Thank you, and here's your table.

Rupert, you're the end.

There's a hotel clerk I could cheerfully flick a knife at.

Oh, no, sorry. Knives may not be used on hotel employees.

They are in the "death by slow torture" category.

Ohh!

Along with bird lovers, small children, and tap dancers.

Landlords, of course, are another matter.

You seeking an apartment? Call on our Ms. Sash Weight of the blunt instrument department.

What a divine idea!

If it suits your purpose, merely...

But then we'd all be murdering each other.

Oh, no. Oh, no.

After all, murder is, or should be, an art, not one of the seven lively, perhaps, but an art nevertheless.

As such, the privilege of committing it should be reserved for those few who are really superior individuals.

And the victims, inferior beings whose lives are unimportant anyway.

Obviously. Now mind you, I don't hold with the extremists who feel that there should be open season for murder all year round.

No, personally, I would prefer to have "Cut a Throat Week."

Oh!

Or "Strangulation Day."

Probably a symptom of approaching senility, but I must confess that I really don't appreciate this morbid humor.

Well, the humor was unintentional.

You're not serious about these theories?

Of course, he is.

Oh, you're both pulling my leg.

No. Why do you think that?

Well, Brandon, the notion that murder is an art which a few superior beings should be allowed to practice...

In season!

Now I know you're not serious.

But I am.

I'm a very serious fellow.

Then may I ask, who is to decide the human being is inferior, and therefore a suitable victim for murder?

The few who are privileged to commit murder.

And just who might they be?

Oh, myself, Phillip, possibly Rupert.

Oh, I'm sorry, Kenneth, you're out.

Gentlemen, I'm serious.

So are we, Mr. Kentley.

The few are those men of such intellectual and cultural superiority that they're above the traditional moral concepts.

Good and evil, right and wrong, were invented for the ordinary, average man, the inferior man, because he needs them.

Then obviously you agree with Nietzsche and his theory of the superman.

Yes, I do. So did Hitler.

Hitler was a paranoiac savage.

His supermen, all fascist supermen, were brainless murderers.

I'd hang any who were left.

But then, you see, I'd hang them first for being stupid.

I'd hang all incompetents and fools anyway.

There are far too many in the world.

Then perhaps you should hang me, Brandon, for I'm convinced I'm so stupid, I don't know whether you're all serious or not.

But in any case, I'd rather not hear any more of your, forgive me, contempt for humanity, and for the standards of a world that I believe is civilized.

Civilized? Yes.

Perhaps what is called "civilization" is hypocrisy.

Perhaps.

Well, I'm sure Rupert, fortunately...

Now, gentlemen. Really...

...has the intelligence and imagination...

Please, Brandon, I think we've had just about enough!

Phillip, where did you put those books you set out for Mr. Kentley?

I'd very much like to see them myself, if I may.

Of course. They're in the dining room.

Mr. Kentley, wouldn't you like to see the books now?

I apologize, sir, again.

I'm afraid I let myself get carried away.

Oh, that's quite all right, my boy.

I think it's a good collection.

The first editions, I mean.

Yes, I'd like to see them. May I use the telephone first?

I'd like to talk to my wife. She may have some word of David.

Of course. It's this way.

Dear, dear. I'm afraid Henry...

Uh...

Brandon? Yes.

You were really pushing your point rather hard.

You aren't planning to do away with a few inferiors, by any chance?

I'm a creature of whim. Who knows?

I see.

I think he's definitely Scorpio.

I know exactly what you mean.

Uh, Mrs. Atwater, wouldn't you like to see the books?

Oh, I'd love it.

Do you know, when I was a girl, I used to read quite a bit.

Oh, we all do strange things in our childhood.

Kenneth, why don't you switch on the radio or play some records?

A little atmospheric music goes a long way.

He is such a sly, little devil, isn't he?

Bringing us back together again with sweet music.

Don't let it get you. He's always doing something like this.

I'm going in the other room.

To see the books?

No, to let Brandon see me.

Do you care what he thinks?

I know what he thinks!

He thinks I threw you over because David has a bigger bank account.

Then why do you go?

Because...

Because I'm embarrassed at being here with you.

Oh, Janet.

Never thought I could be, did you?

Honestly? No.

Well, I am, and I don't like it one bit.

I should think you'd have the decency to be embarrassed yourself.

Why?

Well, you threw me over, chum, remember?

My, wouldn't friend Brandon love to know that?

What's the matter?

Nothing. I'm just thinking.

What about?

Female vanity.

Well, I'm also embarrassed because...

Go on.

Well, you and David used to be such good friends, and you're not now, and it's my fault.

I'm such an idiot girl.

No, you're not.

Then I'm certainly giving a good imitation of one.

Why must I try and be so smart with everyone but David?

Don't you kid with David, too?

I relax with David, thanks to you.

To me? Yes.

That grim Sunday at Harvard, when you called it quits, David took me for a walk.

My chin was about an inch from the ground.

I just couldn't be the gay girl.

I just relaxed and let everything pour out.

The real, real me stuff.

Did you hear that phrase? I hear myself saying things like that and...

Oh, where's David? You know, I'm not very smart.

Why?

I never realized you were...

Brandon and his atmospheric music.

You are in love with David, aren't you?

Yes.

I don't get it.

Get what?

Brandon made a crack when I got here.

He sort of implied I'd have a better chance with you again because David would be out of the running.

Wait. You mean, before I got here, Brandon knew we had broken...

He even knew about you and David.

What?

Kenneth, he pretended to be completely ignorant when I told him.

He said... What's going on here, anyway?

I don't know, but I'm going to find out once and for all!

Brandon? Yes?

May I see you for a moment? Certainly.

Why can't he keep his hands off people?

Well?

Just exactly what are you up to, chum?

I'm up to getting you coffee if you like.

Let's dispense with the charm.

I'd like to know why you had the gall to tell Kenneth he wouldn't have to worry very much longer about David and me?

I don't think that's precisely what I said, Kenneth.

It's what you implied, and I want to know why.

Some women are quite charming when they're angry, Janet.

Unfortunately, you're not.

Cut that out, Brandon.

Well, chivalry rears its ugly head!

I don't believe David's coming!

Wait and see. I don't have to.

He's never this late. He's never late at all.

And if something had come up, he'd have phoned.

I think you deliberately arranged it so that he wouldn't come.

How clever of me!

I might have known you couldn't just give a party for Mr. Kentley.

No, you'd have to add something that appealed to your warped sense of humor.

Well, I hope you've enjoyed yourself, Brandon. I haven't!

He's really impossible.

You shouldn't let him upset you so much.

Something gone wrong, Brandon?

No.

Janet just has a talent for being bothersome at times.

However, I suppose I'd better...

What did you mean, "Something gone wrong"?

You always plan your parties so well, it's odd to have anything go wrong.

She seems to be missing David.

As a matter of fact, I'm beginning to miss him myself.

Aren't we all?

Two desserts, Mr. Cadell?

One for you and one for me, my love.

Oh, Mr. C.

Well, the others don't seem to be in the mood for ice cream.

No, though they could all do with a little cooling off.

My, it's a peculiar party, not that that surprises me.

Why not?

I could have predicted it this morning.

Both of them must have got up out of the wrong side of the bed.

They've been in a state all day!

Oh, Mr. Brandon says he's always in a state when he gives a party.

It's the first time I've seen it.

Usually, he lets me prepare everything in my own way, but, look at this, the chicken's hardly been touched!

Well, what was so different today?

What wasn't!

Mr. Brandon was in the maddest rush for me to clean up and get the table set.

And, oh, it looked so lovely!

But then when I was whisking out to do the shopping, he suddenly told me to take the whole afternoon for it.

The whole afternoon, after that mad rush in the morning.

Did he say why?

No, just a whim, I suppose.

But when I came back, he and Mr. Phillip were going at it hammer and tongs.

Oh. What about?

Well, now, Mr. Cadell, even if I did know, do you think I'd tell?

Well, I hope so.

Not me. Really?

I'm like the grave. I see.

Look at this mess! Just makes double the work.

After I have this cleaned off, I just have to clear all those books off the dining room table, bring them in here, and put them back in the chest, which is where they were in the first place.

Why did you serve from here, anyway?

It wasn't my idea.

I had everything laid out in the dining room and it was just beautiful.

Of course on this thing, there isn't half of the room.

Is she still harping on her table and how awkward it is to serve from this?

It's really much more convenient, you know?

Because this way, people don't have to go all the way into the dining room to get their food and come all the way back here to eat it.

Hmm. Seems to me they've gone all the way in there now for their dessert and coffee.

Mrs. Wilson, please serve the guests. Don't lecture them.

We did get up on the wrong side of the bed, didn't we?

I'm in quite an embarrassing position.

How do you mean?

Well, I seem to be the only one having a good time.

You and Mrs. Atwater.

What's going on, Phillip?

Would you mind turning that off?

Sorry.

I don't like to play with light in my eyes.

You know, Phillip, I get quite intrigued when people don't answer questions.

And quite curious.

Did you ask me a question?

Yes, Phillip, I asked you a question.

Well, what was it?

I asked you, "What is going on here?"

A party.

Yes, but a rather peculiar party.

What's it all about, Phillip?

What's what all about?

Stop playing crime and punishment, Rupert.

If you want to know something, come out with it! Otherwise...

No. Temper, temper.

Don't stop. I'd like a drink.

Wait, I'll get it for you. Keep playing. What would you like, scotch?

No, brandy.

You're very fond of that little tune, aren't you?

You know, Phillip, I wish I could come straight out with what I want to know.

Unfortunately, I don't know anything.

I merely suspect.

I said that... I heard you.

This all right?

Thank you.

That's fine.

Do you use this?

Sometimes.

I thought only beginners did.

I must say...

All right, Rupert, I'll ask you.

What do you suspect?

Oh, I've forgotten.

Where's David, Phillip?

I don't know.

Why? Brandon knows.

Does he? Doesn't he?

Not that I know of. Oh, come now.

I don't. Why don't you ask Brandon?

I have.

But he's too busy maneuvering the other two points of the triangle.

What for, Phillip? Just what is Brandon trying to do with Janet and Kenneth?

What's the matter? What are you laughing at?

Nothing.

What is it? What, am I so far off the track?

There's nothing going on at all, Rupert.

You're...

...more than usually allergic to the truth tonight, Phillip.

That's the second time you haven't told it.

Thanks. When was the first?

When you said you never strangled a chicken.

You're confused. Brandon dreamt that up for the sake of a very unfunny joke.

No, he didn't.

No, he didn't, Phillip.

And if you'll think back very carefully, you'll realize that I know he didn't.

About a year ago, I was up at the farm. Do you remember?

One morning I saw you display your handiwork.

You're quite a good chicken-strangler, as I recall.

Well, I just meant that Brandon's story wasn't true.

I didn't mean I hadn't killed any chickens.

That's what you said.

Well, I didn't think it was a suitable topic of conversation while we were eating!

You could have said that. All right, I didn't!

We're not eating now, Phillip. What'd you lie to me for?

Because I don't like to talk about...

About what?

Strangling... I can't play with that thing!

I want you to have them very much.

It's extremely generous of you, Brandon.

Please, I know you appreciate first editions far more than I, Mr. Kentley.

It's really very nice of you, Brandon.

What's wrong?

You and Phillip must come to dinner very soon...

What's wrong now, Phillip?

Don't you want Mr. Kentley to have the books?

No. I mean, I don't care if he has them, I just...

What? What?

I just think it's a clumsy way of tying them up that's all.

David never had any trouble taking care of himself.

I know, but I cannot understand this.

Whenever he's been detained before, he's telephoned. Isn't that so, Janet?

Oh, yes. He's always been after me to be more punctual.

As well he might.

You wouldn't know me these days.

I'm a new woman. Punctual as a clock.

That's very unfeminine, my dear.

Perhaps, but I prefer manners to femininity.

Oh, Henry, you sound just like Daddy.

I remember once when David was very small...

Take it easy, Phillip.

Rupert's on to something. He isn't. Now, let up.

I've got to have a drink, Brandon.

You've had enough. You're not...

Take your hand off my arm!

Don't you ever again tell me what to do and what not to do.

I don't like it, Brandon, and I'm not going to take it.

All right, keep your voice down!

I hope I didn't upset Phillip.

Uh, no, he's more likely mixing his drinks.

You seem rather upset yourself.

Do I?

Yes, there's something upsetting both of you a great deal, something that...

Excuse me, sir.

There's a lady phoning for either Mr. Kentley or Mrs. Atwater.

Oh, it must be Alice. I'll talk to her, Henry.

All right.

Down the hall to your left, dear.

Thank you. The first bedroom.

Mr. Kentley, do you suppose David could possibly be home?

I don't know, Janet. I hope so.

I hate to throw a damper, but if David was home, I should think he'd be calling instead of Mrs. Kentley.

Wouldn't you say so, Brandon?

I wouldn't know.

The David I remember was very polite as well as very punctual.

He hasn't changed.

Of course. If he's not at home, where could he be?

Don't ask me. I don't know.

He might be any number of places, such as the club, or the Bradleys are giving a party, or maybe he went down to Janet's.

Why?

Perhaps he decided to pick her up after all.

I phoned my place after I spoke with Mrs. Kentley.

He wasn't there?

No. I left a message just in case, but...

We might have a better chance at finding out where he is now if we knew where he was this afternoon. What do you think, Brandon?

I haven't the least idea where he was this afternoon.

But don't you think it would help if we found out where he was?

I suppose so.

I know he went to the club this afternoon to play tennis, -and I know that he got there. -Why?

Because someone phoned from there with a message that David would meet us here.

Well, do you know who gave the message?

No.

Well, then, obviously, David ran into someone at the club who changed his plans.

You weren't there this afternoon, by any chance, were you, Kenneth?

No. I wish I had been.

I don't suppose you or Brandon were, Phillip?

-No. -Hardly. We had our hands full getting ready for the party.

Oh, there was a lot to be done this afternoon.

Well, you know.

Yes, I see. You didn't speak to David at all today, then?

No. Why do you ask?

I just thought that perhaps he might have called to say he'd be late or something.

He didn't. Neither Phillip nor I have talked to David since the day we invited him to the party.

That's odd.

What do you mean?

I thought I heard David on the phone to Phillip yesterday morning.

Really?

Yes, you did. I'd forgotten.

Oh? What were you talking to him about? Did he call about the party?

Yes, he wanted to make sure about the time, that was all.

Here, I'll help you with that.

Oh, thank you, Mr. Cadell.

Very good.

That's all right, Mrs. Wilson.

You can put the books back when you come in to clean in the morning.

Well, I didn't have any idea of coming in in the morning.

I'm afraid you have to.

Just let the books go for now.

Well, all right.

Henry, Alice hasn't had a word from David. She's frantic.

I better talk to her.

She hung up. She began to cry so badly.

Oh, Henry, I'm worried.

What did she say?

She's been calling every place he might be. Not once, but several times.

And now, Henry, she thinks he may have had an accident.

She wants you to call the police.

The police?

Oh, no, Anita, I don't think that's necessary.

David's no longer a child.

I'm quite sure he's all right. I...

Brandon, I think I'd better go home. My wife needs me.

This isn't like David. He...

Of course. I understand.

May I go with you, Mr. Kentley?

Thank you, Janet.

I'll get your things. Thank you.

Oh, Mr. Kentley, your books.

Oh. Yes.

I can't tell you how sorry I am.

Would you call me as soon as you hear from David?

Be glad to.

I'm sure the dear boy will turn up somehow.

Janet.

Yes?

This is hardly the time, but I'm very glad we had that talk.

So am I.

And David will be, too.

Good.

Well...

Kenneth, why don't you come along with us?

Oh, I don't... Please.

Thanks.

This yours, Janet?

Yes, I'll just carry it.

Oh... Thanks.

I'll get my hat.

Going with Janet?

Yes, we're all going together.

Well, what did I predict?

Good night, Mr. Kentley.

I hope Mrs. Kentley's feeling better very soon.

Thank you.

Uh... You will call me the moment you hear from David?

I will.

Say good night to Phillip for me.

I'll get your hat, Mr. Cadell.

Mrs. Atwater, thank you so much for coming.

Thank you for letting me come. I'm so sorry we have to leave.

Good-bye.

-Good night. -Good-bye.

That's not yours.

I'm very sorry we had to spoil it.

You couldn't possibly spoil it, Mr. Kentley.

Well, I meant by leaving so early.

Good night. Be careful of those stairs, Anita. Here we are.

I'm all right.

Thank you, Mrs. Wilson.

Good night, Mr. Cadell.

You going, too?

Yes. Yes, I must. Good night.

Good night.

Can I help you with those books, Mr. Kentley?

Thank you.


Thank you for a lovely evening.

Good night, good night. It's been charming.

Oh, Phillip, this party really deserves to go down in history.

Well, come on, it's over, and it couldn't have gone more beautifully.

Yes, it could. Without Rupert.

Oh, but he was brilliant.

He helped me say all the things I've wanted to say to those idiots.

He gave the party the very touch I predicted.

The touch of what?

Prying? Snooping? Or just plain pumping?

Do you know how busy he was questioning me?

About what?

Oh, what difference?

You were busy in there arranging that other little touch of yours.

What touch?

Tying up the books that way.

Oh, I thought that was wonderful. Didn't you like it?

No, Brandon, I didn't like it one bit.

You'll ruin everything with your neat little touches.

Be quiet. Mrs. Wilson's still here.

Determined to get drunk, aren't you?

I am drunk.

And just as childish as you were before when you called me a liar.

You had no business telling that story.

Why did you lie, anyway?

I had to. Have you ever bothered, for just one minute, to understand how someone else might feel?

I'm not sentimental if that's what you mean.

No, that's not what I mean, but it doesn't matter.

Nothing matters, except that Mr. Brandon liked the party.

Mr. Brandon gave the party. Mr. Brandon had a delightful evening.

Well, I had a rotten evening.

Keep drinking and you'll have a worse morning.

At least if I have a hangover, it'll be all mine.

You know, Phillip, I've been thinking.

We deserve a real holiday after it's all over.

Where would you like to go?

Of course, I think we should come back here for a few days, first.

Otherwise, it might look a little like...

I've been praying I'd wake up and find we hadn't done it yet.

But why?

I'm scared to death, Brandon. I think we're going to get caught.

Oh, there's not a chance.

There was, I suppose, but not anymore. Why, we're...

Uh... Is that you, Mrs. Wilson?

Yes. I'll need a key to get in and clean up in the morning.

That is if you're still driving up to the farm tonight.

Oh, we're driving up, all right.

Oh, well, that's good. You don't look well, either one of you. Thanks.

Of course, I could do with a rest myself.

But I want both of you to come back in tip-top, A-one shape.

We will. Well, I'm off.

Enjoy yourselves. Don't forget to write.

And mind your P's and Q's. Mmm-hmm.

Who are you calling?

Only the garage.

Hello? This is Mr. Brandon Shaw.

Would you send my car around, please? Yes, right away. Thank you.


We'd better draw the curtains.

Who's that? Brandon, who's that?

Probably the garage man with my car keys. Answer it.

There hasn't been time for him to get here.

Then maybe Mrs. Wilson forgot something. Answer it.

Brandon, couldn't we pretend we're not home?

With all these lights on? Answer it, Phillip.

Who is it?

Brandon. Brandon, it's Rupert.

What?

He wants to come up. He says he left a cigarette case here.

He wants to come up.

Well, let him come.

But you know he's lying! He's caught on! He didn't leave...

Shut up and get back to that phone.

I won't.

Get back to that phone.

Brandon, I can't.

You've got to. No! He knows!

Shut up!

Rupert? Come on up.

No, of course not. He's just a little tight.

No, but we'll find it in no time.

Right.

Phillip. Phillip, listen to me.

Rupert's on his way up now, and you've got to pull yourself together.

Phillip, did you hear me?

Come on, have another drink if you must, but get hold of yourself and keep your mouth shut.

It'll be over in five minutes.

I don't know how much, if anything, Rupert knows, but I promise you, he'll be out of here in five minutes, one way or the other.

Phillip, for those five minutes, you've got to pull yourself together.

Brandon, Brandon...

Now look, I'm not going to get caught because of you or anyone else.

No one is going to get in my way now.


Brandon, it's not loaded, is it?

Sorry to bother you, Brandon.

It's no bother at all. Come in.

I knew you were leaving tonight, and I didn't want to be left without my case.

Hello, Phillip. Hello.

I didn't mean to alarm you before.

You didn't alarm him.

I'm afraid Phillip's a little antisocial tonight.

Oh? I thought perhaps...

Any idea where you left the case?

No. No, none at all.

Completely unlike me to forget it, isn't it?

I suppose a psychoanalyst would say that I didn't really forget it at all.

I unconsciously left it because I wanted to come back.

But why should I want to come back?

Yes, why?

For the pleasure of our company, or another drink.

Well, that's a very good idea. May I have one for the road?

Of course. A short one?

No, I'd prefer a long one if you don't mind.

Not at all.

Phillip, will you fix Rupert a drink?

Now let me see.

The last I remember having the case was when I was there.

I was just going to open the chest for Mrs. Wilson when you came over, Brandon.

And then what?

I think I...

Wonder where it could be.

Oh.

Well, here it is right where I left it.

Gentlemen, I beg your pardon. I'm very sorry.

Well, may I have that drink anyway?

Of course.

You really don't mind?

No. Why should we?

Well, you might be...

What?

Tired. You're sure it's all right?

He said you could have it.

Thank you. Don't mind Phillip.

I'm afraid he's had a few too many.

Well, why not? Why not? After all, it was a party.

Well, it's very pleasant to sit here with a good drink and good company.

I'm glad.

Please don't let me be in the way.

Of what?

Well, I know you have things to do.

What do you mean?

Oh, packing, last-minute odds and ends.

You are driving up to Connecticut tonight, aren't you?

Yes, but we're all packed.

Oh, I see. All ready.

All except one guest, who must be gotten rid of.

Well, I'll be off, as soon as I finish my drink.

There's no need to hurry, Rupert.

Thank you. I would like to stay a bit.

Perhaps even see you off.

I always hate to leave a party, especially when the evening has been unusually stimulating, or strange, like this evening.

What do you mean "strange"?

Did I say "strange," Brandon?

Well, you often pick words for sound rather than meaning.

I don't exactly know what I meant, unless I was thinking about David.

What was strange about David?

His not showing up.

You don't think anything really did happen to him, do you?

What could have?

He could have been run over or held up.

In broad daylight?

That's right. I'd forgotten.

Yes, it must have been broad daylight when it happened.

When what happened?

When whatever did happen to David.

Nothing, probably.

Still, where is he?

What's your theory?

Mine?

I was considering Janet's for the moment.

I didn't know she had one.

Yes, you do.

I couldn't help overhearing Janet.

I gather she thinks you kidnapped David, or did something to prevent him from coming.

I'm not interested in Janet's prattle, but you always interest me, Rupert.

Do you think I kidnapped David?

Well, it's the sort of mischief that would have appealed to you in school for the experience, the excitement, the danger.

But it would be slightly more difficult to pull off now, though, don't you think?

You'd find a way.

How?

I mean, suppose you were I.

How would you get David out of the way?

You're much better at this sort of thing than I am.

No, but what would you do if you were I?

Well, if I wanted to get rid of David, I'd invite him for a drink at the club or some quiet bar, or better still, I'd invite him here.

Then no one would see us together.

That's good. And no witnesses.

Yes, that's right.

Then what?

Well...

Well, let me see.

At the appointed time, David would arrive, I'd walk slowly out of the room into the hall, and greet him.

Tell him how fine he's looking and so forth, and take his hat.

And I'd bring him in here, make some small talk to put him at his ease, probably offer him a drink,

and then he'd sit down.

Yes?

I'd try to make it all very pleasant, you understand?

Phillip would probably play the piano.

Now, as I recall, David was quite strong.

He'd have to be knocked out.

So I'd move quietly around behind the chair and hit him on the head with something.

His body would fall forward on the floor.

Then where would you put him?

Well...

Uh...

Well, let me see.

Well, I think I'd get Phillip to help me carry him out of the room, down the back stairs, and the two of us would put him into the car.

You'd be seen. What?

Well, you said yourself that if anything did happen, it must have happened in broad daylight.

Oh, that's right. I'd forgotten.

That means I'd have to find someplace to hide the body until dark.

Yes, you would, but where, Rupert?

Yes.

Yes, where?

Cat and mouse! Cat and mouse!

Phillip!

Which is the cat and which is the mouse?

That's enough of that.

Mind your own business.

That's enough, Phillip!

I told you before, mind your own business!

It really isn't any of my business. I'm not his keeper.

With him in this condition, though, there doesn't seem to be much point in your staying, Rupert.

That is, unless you came back to find something besides your cigarette case.

You mean, for example, to find if you really got rid of David?

Yes, that's what I mean.

Oh, you're as romantic as Janet.

I don't think for a moment that you kidnapped David.

Oh, I will admit that Janet put the notion in my head, but I never would have mentioned it if it weren't that you seem to be carrying fear of discovery in your pocket.

What?

That's a gun, isn't it?

That teased my suspicions more than anything else.

And to tell you the truth, it really scares me a little.

I'm terribly sorry, Rupert. I don't blame you, but, well, here.

You can relax. I have to take it up to the country.

There've been several burglaries, and Mother's a bit on edge.

Finished, Phillip?

All right.

Did you hear what Rupert said about the gun?

He thought...

It's odd the way one can pyramid simple facts into wild fantasies, isn't it?

We all do it, don't we, Phillip?

Yes.

Particularly after a few drinks. How is yours, Rupert?

I think I'll be running along.

Phillip, you'll feel much better once you get out in the open air.

I don't think there'll be much traffic, and we ought to make good time.

It's a lovely night. You'll be driving up in good weather.

I almost wish I were going with you. It might be rather exciting.

Driving at night always is, but driving with you and Phillip now might have an additional element of suspense.

You were right, Phillip. Those books were tied clumsily.

He's got it.

He's got it! Phillip!

He knows. He knows. He knows.

All right, Phillip. Easy. I'll take care of it.

He knows! No, you won't.

I'd just as soon kill you as kill him. Sooner!

This is what you wanted, isn't it? Somebody else to know.

Somebody else to see how brilliant you are, just like at school.

I told you he'd find out, but, oh, no! No, you had to have him here.

And now we're done for! Shut up! Shut up!

No! You made me do it, and I hate you. I hate both of us! I...

Stupid, babbling drunk.

I'm sorry, Rupert.

It's all right.

It's all right. If you really want to kill, you don't miss, not at that range.

Of course he didn't want to kill you.

He didn't know what he was doing, any more than he knew what he was saying.

I didn't want anyone to know this, but he's been becoming an alcoholic, Rupert.

Brandon, will you step over there, please?

Phillip's drunk, Rupert.

Surely you don't take those nightmare ideas of his seriously?

Brandon.

Brandon, I'm tired.

And in a way, I'm frightened, too.

But I don't want to fence anymore.

What are you going to do?

I don't want to, but I'm gonna look inside that chest.

Are you crazy?

I hope so. With all my heart, I hope I'm crazy.

Rupert, this has nothing to do with you.

I've got to.

Don't! Rupert! I've got to look inside that chest.

All right! Go ahead and look.

I hope you like what you see.

Oh, no. No!

Rupert...

I couldn't believe it was true.

Rupert, please.

Please what?

Listen to me. Just listen. Let me explain.

Explain? Do you think you can explain that?

Yes, to you I can.

Because you'll understand. Understand?

Rupert. Rupert, remember the discussion we had before with Mr. Kentley?

Yes. Remember we said, "The lives of inferior beings are unimportant"?

Remember we said... We've always said, you and I, that moral concepts of good and evil and right and wrong don't hold for the intellectually superior.

Remember, Rupert?

Yes, I remember.

Well, that's all we've done. That's all Phillip and I have done.

He and I have lived what you and I have talked.

I knew you'd understand, because you have to, don't you see?

You have to.

Brandon.

Brandon, till this very moment, this world and the people in it have always been dark and incomprehensible to me.

And I've tried to clear my way with logic and superior intellect.

And you've thrown my own words right back in my face, Brandon.

You were right to. If nothing else, a man should stand by his words.

But you've given my words a meaning that I never dreamed of!

And you've tried to twist them into a cold, logical excuse for your ugly murder!

Well, they never were that, Brandon.

And you can't make them that.

There must have been something deep inside you from the very start that let you do this thing.

But there's always been something deep inside me that would never let me do it, and would never let me be a party to it now.

What do you mean?

I mean that tonight you've made me ashamed of every concept I ever had of superior or inferior beings.

But I thank you for that shame, because now I know that we are each of us a separate human being, Brandon, with the right to live and work and think as individuals, but with an obligation to the society we live in.

By what right do you dare say that there's a superior few to which you belong?

By what right did you dare decide that that boy in there was inferior and therefore could be killed?

Did you think you were God, Brandon?

Is that what you thought when you choked the life out of him?

Is that what you thought when you served food from his grave?

I don't know what you thought, or what you are, but I know what you've done.

You've murdered!

You've strangled the life out of a fellow human being who could live and love as you never could, and never will again.

What are you doing?

It's not what I'm going to do, Brandon.

It's what society's going to do.

I don't know what that will be, but I can guess.

And I can help. You're going to die, Brandon, both of you!

You're going to die.

Was that a gun?

Yes, there were three shots fired.

It must be in the next street.

Did you see the firing from the gun?

No, we thought it came from the next street.

No, I saw them back there. There were three!

Did you hear that gun fired?

Yeah, they came from up there.

There were shots fired, weren't there?

I think we better have somebody call the police.

Did any of you hear any shots fired?

Yes.

Somebody better call the fire department.

Can I use your phone?


Here comes a squad car now.

They're coming.