The Children's Hour (1961) Script

You girls take the napkins and the plates.

Out of there. Come on, go find your mom.

Aunt Lily!

Aunt Lily!

Would you help me here, please? It's not exactly my line, Martha.

Thank you. But all right.

There we are.

Grandma!

Grandma!

Darling!

Grandma, I'm so glad you came.

I could hardly sleep last night, waiting to see you today.

Mrs. Tilford, will you excuse me, please? Yes, surely.

My!

Your new dress looks lovely on you, Mary.

And I must say, you look nice and healthy. Healthy?

The way they make you slave around here, I'm lucky I don't have gray hair and rickets!

It's all for your own good. Everything I hate always is.

Anyway, I'm glad you're here.

How do you do, Miss Dobie? Fine, Miss Wright.

What do you think of our school? I rather like it. And you?

I may be hasty, but I think it's here to stay.

I think we'll have two or three new pupils next term.

Martha, it's almost too good to believe.

Let's not stand here and gloat.

You should have a kitchen helper.

It's just too much to teach all day, then cook, wash the dishes.

Aunt Lily, 10 minutes is a long time for one glass.

I do not aim for speed, Martha. I aim for perfection in life.

Will you try to perfect a few more?

If you'll excuse me, I have one of my headaches.

I think I'd better go to my room and prepare for tomorrow's classes.

Good night. Good night.

Sleep well, Aunt Lily, and knit up the raveled sleeve of care.

Karen...

You know that if I could support her in any other way, I wouldn't have her here.

She worries you too much. One day, we'll have enough money to...

Money! I forgot to tell you.

I did the bills, and we're $90 ahead this month!

Ahead? I can't believe it! It's not much, but it's the first time.

Out of the red, into the black.

Finally! What'll we do with it?

Save it. You need clothes.

What about you? I'm a skirt-and-blouse character.

We're always in style. But you're not.

You're Fifth Avenue. Rue de la Paix.

You need to be kept up. Yes, like an old battle monument.

I'm serious.

I remember how you used to dress in college.

The first time I ever saw you, running across the quadrangle, your hair flying.

At the time, I was running from a chemistry professor.

I remember thinking, "What a pretty girl."

Time for lights out.

Your turn to crack the whip. I'll finish up here.

Hurry back, and we'll take a walk. All right, I'd like that.

All right, girls. Already?

Miss Wright, my new ring, it's gone. I can't find it anywhere.

Don't worry about it. We'll look for it tomorrow.

All right, bedtime.

Lights out, everyone.

Go ahead and sing.

A woman who sings while she works is a happy woman.

Who said that?

Joseph Cardin, M.D. You ever hear of him?

No. Ethical doctors don't advertise.

Ethical doctors starve.

I thought you were at the hospital Sunday nights.

I was. I traded with Dr. Mallory.

Sunday for Wednesday?

It's an even swap. They both have 24 hours.

Why don't you just crawl in and browse around?

You know what I did this morning? What?

I delivered my 100th baby.

Congratulations.

How many children do you want, Martha? I already have 20.

Upstairs.

Where's Karen? Putting them to bed.

That's good practice.

Why don't you pay tuition? Then you could eat three meals a day here.

Martha, you've been a little sharp with me lately.

Have I?

Maybe it's me.

Maybe it is.

Wait.

Where did you get this book, Mary? Hurry up. I've read this page twice!

Okay, turn it.

Wow!

Double wow!

She's headed this way.

How peaceful.

Everybody's studying.

Where's Catherine?

That'll be all for today, Catherine.

That's last year's history book, Mary.

I feel funny inside. I don't know what I'm doing.

I've got pains. Pains?

I've had them all day. Where?

Around.

Anything I can get you for pains "around"? I think I'd better call my grandmother.

Perhaps sleep is the best thing tonight, Mary.

Tomorrow I'll call Dr. Cardin and ask him about your pains.

All right?

Catherine, your harness.

Off to sleep, everybody. Good night.

Good night, Miss Wright. Good night.

"Dr. Cardin" this, "Dr. Cardin" that.

She always drags him into the conversation.

After all, she's in love with him.

Then why doesn't she marry him?

I heard him ask her that same thing once. Downstairs.

I brought your coat. Are you ready?

Look who's here.

Look who's here! Who's here?

You! It's Sunday. What happened?

I killed all the patients and emptied the joint just for kicks.

Come on.

But... Come on, Martha.

I'm too tired for two girls. Martha and I were going for a walk.

Then go.

You go, Karen. I'm tired. I have papers to correct.

See you later, Martha.


Want to go to a movie? Nope.

Walk by the lake? Nope.

Have a beer?

Hate beer.

What do you want to do?

Let's try something we've never done before, like getting married.

Even after we're married we'll be saying the same things every night.

Movies, a walk by the lake... I wouldn't like to think that.

No, I wouldn't.

It'd be nice to sit by ourselves in our own room and...

Read a book.

Read a book?

"Miss Wright, is that what you'll be doing after you're married?

"Reading books?"

What's the matter with you, Joe?

Same thing that was the matter with me last week, last month, last year.

You know why we had to wait. I couldn't leave Martha until...

"...until the school was on its feet." Yes, I know.

I've never heard you talk this way before.

Why are you angry tonight?

I don't know.

Why don't you know?

Why don't you know?

People feel the way they feel, that's all.

I feel lonely, and I feel tired and I'm sick of plans for the future.

Do you feel in love? Other people's children.

I asked you, do you feel in love? Don't be cute.

What I'm trying to ask you, only you talk so much, is...

Can we have a baby 12 months from now?

All right, kid. You got a date.

How I love you.

Love you. Love you. Love you.


Martha, Joe and I decided tonight.

We're going to be married two weeks after school lets out.

So soon!

It doesn't seem so soon to Joe.

No, I suppose it doesn't.

Congratulations.

Wouldn't it be nice to have the wedding right here at the school?

The garden will be in full bloom and the roses out.

We could put up a candstriped awning.

And then good-bye, Wright-Dobie school.

My marriage isn't going to make any difference to the school.

It will, Karen. You know it will. It can't help it.

You keep saying things like that. We've talked about all this before.

You know Joe isn't asking me to give it up, and I'm not going to leave.

No, of course not. I don't know what I could be thinking of.

I don't understand you!

It's been so hard building this place up.

Just when we're getting on our feet you're ready to let it all go right to hell!

Martha, for God's sake, do you expect me to give up my marriage?

No.

No, of course not. I'm sorry, Karen.

I don't know how I could be so selfish.

Please, forgive me.

I already have.

It's been a long day. We both need some sleep.

Yes, you're right.

Who has the cooking detail for breakfast?

I do.

Karen... you know, don't you, that I only want the best for you?

I know.


"This proves me base, "if she first meet the curled Antony

"he'll make demands of her, and spend that kiss

"which is my heaven..." Evelyn. Evelyn.

Can't you imagine yourself as Cleopatra talking to an asp?

"This knot intrinsicate

"of life at once untie.

"Poor venomous fool.

"Be angry, and dispatch..." Mary!

Why, Mary, are you just arriving for your elocution class?

If you take no interest in your work, then...

I went to get these flowers for you, Mrs. Mortar.

You told us you loved flowers. And I walked so far to get them for you.

That was very thoughtful of you, Mary.

I suppose I'll have to forgive you this time.

Thoughtfulness and courtesy mean breeding and breeding is an excellent thing.

I think you should write that down, all of you.

We wrote it down last week.

Put them in a vase for me, Mary. Yes, ma'am.

Good afternoon, Miss Wright.

Evelyn has just been reading Cleopatra for us.

That's nice.

Mary just brought me a gift of some flowers.

Where did you get them, Mary? She picked them, especially for me.

Where did you get them, Mary?

Down near the lake.

I see.

That'll be all, girls. Thank you.

Mary? I have to get my biology book for...

I'd rather you waited.

It wasn't necessary to go down to the lake for those flowers.

There was a bunch exactly like these in the trash barrels this morning.

What a nasty thing to do!

What a nasty thing.

Come.

Come and sit down.

Mary, why do you do these things?

Why do you lie to us so often?

I'm not lying.

If you have to do things to let off steam or for adventure, come and tell us about it.

Tell us the truth. I promise you, we'll try to understand.

I picked the flowers down near the lake.

All right, you leave me no choice. You'll have to be punished.

Take your recreation periods alone. No field hockey, no swimming and do not leave the school grounds for any reason whatsoever.

Saturday, too'? Saturday, too.

But the boat races are Saturday, and you said I could go.

The boat races were a privilege which you've lost.

I'll tell my grandmother how...

Go upstairs. I'll tell her how you treat me.

Go upstairs, Mary!

I don't feel well.

I've got a pain.

It hurts here.

I've never had it before!

My heart! It's stopping or something!

I can't breathe! I can't!

I can't!

It's nothing.

You'd better telephone Joe and ask him to come over.

All right.

What happened? Did she fall? No. I was disciplining her and...

And you finally hit her? No, of course not.

She just seems to have fainted. Maybe it's a heart attack.

Now, I think the feet should be higher than the head.

Try it here. Where?

Here. Here. There?

Yes, there, a most important spot.

Yes, indeed.

When Delia Lambert had a heart attack in Buffalo right on the stage, that was the spot.

Did this Delia survive? Yes. I saved her.

How's her pulse?

The pulse is very bad.

I'm afraid she's slipping away. There's no heartbeat at all.

We'll need a specialist.

Perhaps you, Doctor, would condescend to take over?

What?

Heart attacks are nothing to play with.

Never played with one in my life. As the child's teacher, I...

Mrs. Mortar, please.

Well!

I was practically put out of the room.

So you don't resent your aunt being snubbed and humiliated?

Aunt Lily. Karen is rude to me, and you know it.

Karen is very kind to you. And what's even harder, very patient.

Patient with me?

When I've worked my fingers to the bone for both of you.

Yes, to the bone, to the very bone!

Aunt Lily...

You've talked about going back to New York for a long time now.

It's been years. I'll never live to play on Broadway again.

But you will, Aunt Lily, you will. You can go back to New York.

You want to get rid of me?

I'm trying to give you something you've always wanted.

You keep talking about the theater and the great opportunities in television that you're missing.

Turning me out. Nice, grateful girls.

How can anybody deal with you? Please, do not raise your voice.

I shall write to my agent. When they have a suitable part for me...

No.

I don't think we should wait that long.

I'll give you what little money we have now.

You think I'd take your money? I'd rather scrub floors first.

You'll change your mind after the first floor.

I should have known by this time that the wise thing to do was to stay out of your way when he's in the house.

When who's in the house?

Don't think you're fooling me, young lady.

Any day that he's in the house is a bad day.

Now, look...

Let's give it up. I'm tired. I've been working since 6:00 this morning.

I know what I know.

You can't stand them being together, and you're taking it out on me.

God knows what you'll do when they marry.

Jealous, jealous... Aunt Lily.

You've always had a jealous, possessive nature even as a child.

If you had a friend, you'd be upset if she liked anybody else.

And that's what's happening now.

And it's unnatural. It's just as unnatural as it can be.

The sooner you get out of here, the better. You are making me sick.

And I won't stand for you any longer. I want you to leave tomorrow, no delays.

What are you doing down here?

We just came to... I was going up...

I was going upstairs. We just came down to see how Mary was.

I think you came down to listen deliberately.

We didn't mean to.

Eavesdropping is something that nice young ladies just don't do.

You wait outside in the hall. I'll talk to you later.

You should not be around children.

When you're at your best, you're not for tender ears.

So now it's my fault, is it?

You'd better look to yourself and not continue to blame me for everything.

What's the matter with the duchess?

Rehearsing an exit in case she finds the right play.

How's Mary? Strong as a mule.

I don't know who's teaching fainting here, but she flunked.

We've about reached the end of our rope with that child.

Someone should talk to Mrs. Tilford about Mary.

You wouldn't be electing me, would you? She's your aunt.

Yes, but I'm not writing the Tilfords into the marriage contract.

Incidentally, did Karen tell you she finally set a date?

She told me, incidentally.

What's the matter, Martha? Nothing.

I think there is.

I don't know what's bothering you. I always thought you approved of me.

You must know how fond I am of you.

If it's the school you're worried about, don't.

Karen knows I have... Damn you! Leave me alone!

Stop consoling me, or... patronizing me, or feeling sorry for me, or whatever it is you're doing.

Leave me alone!

The angel child is just coming back to life.

Her roommates were busily eavesdropping at the door when Aunt Lily and I were yelling at each other.

Karen...

I think we should separate those girls from Mary.

Yes. She's a bad influence.

I have a class waiting. They're outside. I'll take care of it.

All right, girls, you may go in now.

How does it feel to be back from the grave?

Did you meet any interesting people? It's my heart, and it hurts.

You like that story, don't you?

I want to see my grandmother. We're awfully sorry, Miss Wright.

I'm sorry, too. You never used to do things like that.

I'm afraid we're going to have to separate you girls.

Peggy, move into Helen Burton's room, and Mary, change rooms with Rosalie Wells.

Miss Wright. And it's just because I had a pain.

You're always being mean to me.

I'm always getting punished, picked on, blamed for everything that happens around here!

Tell Rosalie.

Help!

Are you leaving?

Not until I get paid.


Good-bye, teacher. Good-bye, Doctor.


Now, go on. Why did Dobie want to get rid of Mortar?

Dr. Cardin and Miss Wright are going to get married.

Everybody knows that. Stupid! But everybody doesn't know that Miss Dobie doesn't want them to get married.

How do you like that? Why doesn't she?

I don't know, but Mortar said that Dobie was jealous and that she was like that when she was a little girl and she never wanted anybody to like Miss Wright and that was unnatural.

Boy, did Dobie get sore at that.

What did she mean by unnatural?

"Unnatural."

"Un" for "not." Not natural.

Then genius here dropped her book.

What are you doing? My bracelet.

I still can't find it.

I don't like that Mary Tilford coming in here.

Come here, Sylvester. We're moving. Peggy says she blows her nose all night.

I need $2. I don't have it.

You have $2.75. Get it for me.

No, I won't get it for you.

Get it for me.

I won't! Get it for me!

Let go of my hand! Get it for me!

Girls!

What are you making all this fuss about?

I shall get one of my headaches.

I'm very upset today, with all my packing and moving and I cannot stand this noise.

Isn't that Helen Burton's bracelet, the one that was lost?

I...

No, ma'am.

It's Rosalie's bracelet. You dropped it.

In my day, children were seen and not heard.

Try and be ladies.

Rosalie!

Now will you get me the money?

Keep the change.

I'm sorry, grandma.

I didn't mean to hurt your feelings.

Forgive me?

What made you act that way, run away like that?

I told you.

I'm scared of them. Nonsense!

They've got something against me. I don't believe that.

They're always punishing me for anything they can think of.

You imagine it.

Miss Wright and Miss Dobie are nice young women and good teachers.

You don't know anything about them. I do.

I know lots of things.

Like what happened yesterday.

What happened yesterday?

I can't tell you. Why?

Because you're going to take their part. Very well, then.

It was all about Miss Dobie and Mrs. Mortar.

They were having a terrible argument, and Peggy and Evelyn heard them and Miss Dobie found out.

That's why they're making us change our rooms.

What's wrong with that?

They don't like to have us near them. They've got secrets or something.

There's nothing wrong with people having secrets.

But these were funny secrets.

Peggy and Evelyn heard Mrs. Mortar say that she knew what was going on.

And they were talking about all sorts of things about Miss Wright and cousin Joe getting married and how Miss Dobie was jealous.

And boy, did Dobie get sore at that.

I don't wish to hear anymore of this ugly gossip.

Besides, I don't believe this talk of jealousy between Miss Dobie and Miss Wright.

But I didn't say she was jealous of Miss Wright.

I said that Mrs. Mortar said that Miss Dobie was jealous of cousin Joe.

I don't understand.

Neither do I.

But Mrs. Mortar said that it was unnatural for a woman to feel that way.

I'm just telling you what she said.

Mrs. Mortar said that Miss Dobie was like that even when she was a little girl, that it was unnatural.

Stop using that silly word.

That's the word she used.

Then they got mad at each other and Miss Dobie told Mrs. Mortar to get out of the house.

That probably wasn't the reason at all. I bet it was.

Because, honestly, Miss Dobie does get mean and cranky every time cousin Joe comes.

And yesterday I heard her say to him, "Damn you."

You've picked up some very fine words, haven't you?

But that's just the word she used.

One time, Miss Dobie was in her room late.

It's right near ours.

And Miss Wright goes in there almost every night and stays late.

That's why they want to get rid of us. Of me, I mean.

Because we hear things.

That's why they're making us move our rooms.

I've heard other things, too.

Plenty of other things. Strange, funny noises.

And we've seen things, too. What things?

Bad things. I can't tell you. You're annoying me very much.

If you have anything to say, say it.

I mean, I can't say it out loud. I've got to whisper it.

Why must you whisper it? I don't know. I've just got to.

Mary, do you know what you're saying?

Stop the car, John.

Stop the car, John!

Just a moment.

It's true.

You wait right here.


MY goodness!

Good morning, Mrs. Tilford.

I've come here to see Miss Wright or Miss Dobie.

They're in class. I never carried a suitcase before in my life.

Oh, dear.

I'll wait.

I guess I'd better cram these things into this bag.

My theater maid usually does the packing for me.

What must I look like?

I gave up a very important role in Morning Sunshine just to teach here.

And now my niece has dismissed me.

Dismissed, after a year of backbreaking work.

I sacrificed my youth for her but I'm sure you know all about that, and ingratitude, and the sting of the wasp.

Do you suppose I could get one of those coats in that other bag?

Mrs. Mortar...

I've been told you used a strange word in connection with your niece.

I've heard that you feel there's something unnatural...

Something unnatural? Why, the whole thing's unnatural.

You would think that a healthy woman her age would have a husband or at least an admirer but she hasn't, and she never has had.

Young men who liked her, yes, but not for long, because she has no interest in them, only the school and Karen Wright.

Mrs. Tilford, at 28, do you spend your life with other people's children no new clothes, working every night, nothing to look forward to but a summer vacation with Karen Wright?

And now that Karen's getting married, Martha's in a frenzy of bad temper and she's taking it out on me.

Friendship between women, yes. Nobody's had more friends than I.

But not this insane devotion.

I'm forgetting something, my umbrella.

I left it in the closet.

Perhaps it's all for the best.

It was bound to happen sooner or later.

I couldn't have stood it much longer.

Here it is. Anyway, one shouldn't be away too long from his true profession.

My make-up case. I left it upstairs. I'll be right back.

Drive back to the house, John. Yes, ma'am.

I don't have to go back today? No.

This week?

No, Mary, you don't have to go back.

Ever?

Ever.

You're the nicest, sweetest grandmother in the whole wide world.


John, please stop at Mrs. Anderson's house.


Catherine, will you please continue?

Rosalie, will you come outside with me a moment?

Go ahead, Catherine.

Rosalie, your mother has sent us a message that you're to pack a bag and spend the night at the Tilfords'.

John will drive you. Why?

I'm sure it's nothing to be upset about, dear.

Your mother's been away and very likely just wants to see you as soon as she gets back.

John's outside. Don't keep him waiting.

Yes, Miss Dobie.

I'm going to ask it, too. Why?

First Mary doesn't come back. Now Rosalie?

I don't know. I just don't...

Another car's coming.

Rosalie Wells is here to spend the night with you.

What? Till her mother comes for her.

You mean, she's going to sleep here? If you don't keep her awake all night.

Why?

How do I know the crazy things that are going on in this house?

All right, come on in, Rosalie.

Have you had your bath, dear? Yes, ma'am, this morning.

Better have another. I'll be in later to make up your bed.

And if you need anything, you just let me know.

Sissy!

But, Mrs. Walton, there must be a reason. You don't...

Mrs. Vincent, won't you please tell us... Come along, now.

She hung up.

Did you get Joe? No. I tried twice. He's out on a call.

Miss Janet. Are we coming back, Miss Dobie?

I don't know, dear.

All the girls leaving, it's all so funny.

Come along. Your mother wants you to hurry.

Didn't Mrs. Webb leave us a message? Yes, ma'am.

She said have Janet's trunk packed, and I'll pick it up.

That's all she told you? Yes, ma'am, that's all.

Mr. Burton, don't you...

What is happening here? Has everyone gone insane?

I'm awfully sorry to leave, Miss Wright. Come on, Helen.

We're sorry, too, Helen. Thank you. Good-bye.

Go on out to the car, Helen.

How much do I owe you for the rest of the term?

We don't want your money, Mr. Burton. We want to know why all this is happening.

If you don't know, I don't know.

You mean, you're taking your child out of school and you don't know why?

It'd be better if you talk to Helen's mother.

Why?

It's not the kind of thing I want to talk about!

Mr. Burton!

Mr. Burton, you've got to tell us.


What would you say if I told you that I knew why you were leaving school?

You're always pretending you know everything.

You and your silly secrets.

Suppose I told someone it all happened because you told me something.

Me?

I don't know anything to tell you.

That's not what I told my grandmother.

Why, Mary Tilford.

I didn't tell you anything.

I'm going right down to your grandmother and tell her I didn't tell you anything...

Whatever it is.

You're just trying to get me into...

Why don't you go?

Wait a minute. I'll come with you.

What for? I want to tell her all about this.

What about it? Just that you stole it from Helen Burton.

I never did any such thing. I borrowed it.

And I was going to put it back as soon as I'd worn it to the movies.

I never meant to keep it.

I was putting it back yesterday when you made me drop it.

And who do you think will believe that?

And if I told my grandmother she'd tell your parents and everybody at the school and the police, of course, that you're a thief!

And you'd be put in a school for delinquent girls.

Mary, don't tell anybody! Please, don't tell!

See?

Whatever you ask, I do.

Wild horses couldn't drag the secret out of me now.

Thank you, Mary. As long as you do what I say.

Want to join my sorority?

Yes, I think so.

Put your hand on your heart, and take the oath of allegiance.

"I, Rosalie Wells, "am now a member of the inner circle."

I, Rosalie Wells, am now a member of the inner circle.

"I will never betray a sister member."

I will never betray a sister member.

Hello, Amelia. Good evening, Joseph.

How are you?

Tired.

We're getting the results of the mating season about now.

Did I take you away from a patient?

No. I was just finishing at the hospital.

I told you that on the phone.

Yes, of course.

How is the hospital?

How is it getting on? Just the same.

Not enough money, badly equipped.

Amelia, you didn't call me here to talk about the hospital.

What's the matter? Aren't you feeling well?

If I only knew how to start.

Start at the easiest place.

It's a very hard thing to say.

Hard for you to say to me?

Did you know they dismissed Mrs. Mortar from the Wright-Dobie school?

They did? Good. It's about time.

Don't you think it odd they wanted so much to get rid of that silly, harmless woman?

Lily Mortar is not a harmless woman, though God knows she's silly enough.

She's a selfish old bore.

If you're feeling sorry for her, you're wasting your time.

You didn't call me to talk about that. Joe.

No, something else.

You've been engaged to Karen Wright for a long time, haven't you?

Two years.

She doesn't seem to be able to make up her mind.

It wasn't that so much as it was the school.

It was a tough job getting it on its feet. And there's Miss Dobie.

Yes. Anyway, it's all settled. You can buy the wedding present.

It's official.

Well? No congratulations?

Joseph...

You must not marry Karen.

Why must I...

What are you talking about?

Why must I not marry Karen?

Because there's something very wrong with Karen.

And there's something very wrong with you for thinking you can talk to me this way.

I know what I'm talking about.

Who's that?

Mrs. Tilford, is she in? I won't have them here.

What are you talking about? I won't have them here!

Then you don't want me here either!

Darling, what is this?

What did she do it for? What are you doing to us?

I don't think you should have come here. What is all this?

Hasn't she told you? Nobody has told me anything.

What's the matter, Karen? Martha? Did anything happen at the school?

There is no school anymore.

The children have been taken by their parents.

Why?

We couldn't find out. Nobody would tell us.

Finally Mr. Burton told us.

Told you what? That...

That Martha and I...

That Martha and I have been lovers.

Mrs. Tilford told them.

Did you tell them that? Yes.

Are you sick? You know I'm not sick.

Then what did you do it for?

Because it's true.

You think it's true, then?

You crazy, crazy old woman! You mean, you did say it?

You knew what you were saying? I don't think you should have come here.

I shall not call you names, and I won't allow you to call me names.

And I don't want to talk about it with you, now or ever.

What is she talking about? What does she mean?

Where did you get this idea?

This can't do any of us any good.

Can't do any of us any good?

Listen, this is our lives you're playing with.

Our lives!

That's very serious business for us. Can you understand that?

Yes, I can understand that. And I can understand a great deal more.

You've been playing with a lot of children's lives.

That's why I had to stop you.

I know how serious this is for you, how serious it is for all of us.

I don't think you do know.

You came to find out if I'd made the charge.

You found out. I made it. Let's end it there.

I don't want you in this house.

I'm deeply sorry this had to be done to you, Joseph.

Amelia, you've done a terrible thing. I've done what I had to do.

You know I wouldn't have acted until I was sure.

What they are is possibly their own business.

But it becomes a great deal more than that when children are concerned.

But it's not true!

It's just not true, not one single word of it!

We're standing here defending ourselves against what?

Against nothing. Against a lie, a great, awful lie.

I'm sorry. I can't believe that.

Don't get the idea we'll let you whisper this lie.

You made it, and you'll come out with it.

We'll make you shriek it.

And you'll do it in a courtroom.

Tomorrow, Mrs. Tilford, you'll have a libel suit on your hands.

Don't do that, Miss Dobie.

It frightens you, doesn't it? Yes.

I'm frightened for you, because I know it will bring you nothing but pain.

It was wrong of you to brazen it out here tonight.

It would be criminally foolish for you to brazen it out in public.

It's already quite public, Mrs. Tilford.

Five hours ago, we had our lives decently to ourselves.

Now we have nothing left but the dirt you made of us.

The dirt you made for yourselves!

This thing is your own.

Go away with it. I don't understand it.

I don't want any part of it. Take it out of here.

Clean your house, Joseph, and in time, count yourself lucky.

You have understood nothing.

These are my friends.

When we clean house, the three of us will clean it together.

Maybe we should clean your house for you, Mrs. Tilford.

Where's Mary?

Under no circumstances. I wouldn't allow that.

That's where you really got it.

How could you believe a child saying something as awful as that?

And how could a child that age even know about such things?

She could hardly invent them.

She's a bad girl, your Mary. She always has been.

I'll have no more of this.

All I wanted to do was get those children away.

That's been done.

You've been in my house long enough.

Get out!

The wicked very young.

The wicked very old.

Let's go home.

When three people come to you with their lives spread out on a table for you to cut to pieces the only honest thing you can do is give them one last chance to come out alive.

We want that last chance. If you're honest, you'll give it to us.


Mary!

Sit down, dear.

I'd like to tell you something.

Everybody lies all the time.

Sometimes they have to, sometimes they don't.

I've told lies for a lot of different reasons myself, but...

There was rarely a time when, if I'd had a second chance I wouldn't have taken back the lie and told the truth.

I'm telling you this because I'm about to ask you a question.

Before you answer the question I want to tell you that if you've made a mistake you must take this chance and say so.

You won't be punished.

Do you understand all that? Yes, cousin Joe.

Were you telling your grandmother the truth, the exact truth about Miss Wright and Miss Dobie?

Yes, cousin Joe.

We're not through, Amelia.

Why don't you like Miss Wright and Miss Dobie, Mary?

I do like them. They just don't like me.

They're always punishing me for everything.

Why do you think they do that? Because they're...

Tell your grandmother why you were punished.

Because Peggy and Evelyn heard things and they took it out on me.

That's not true! Heard what, Mary?

Mrs. Mortar told Miss Dobie there was something funny about her.

She said she had a funny feeling about Miss Wright.

Mrs. Mortar said that was unnatural. That's why we got punished, just because...

That is not the reason they were punished.

My aunt is a stupid woman.

What she said was unpleasant, but it was only said to annoy me.

It meant nothing more than that!

What do you think Mrs. Mortar meant by all that?

Stop it.

I don't know, but all the girls would talk about it.

When Miss Wright visited Miss Dobie's room late at night.

And funny things did happen.

We'd stay awake and listen, and we'd hear strange, funny noises.

I'd get frightened. Be still!

No, you don't want her still now. What else did you hear? What did you see?

I don't know.

They were just things. What things?

I don't know. She doesn't know?

I saw plenty of things. What?

One night they were in Miss Dobie's room late.

And I looked through the keyhole, and they were kissing and...

Like what I told you.

That child is...

Ask her how she could see us again.

I was leaning down by the keyhole.

There's no keyhole on my door.

What?

There is no keyhole on my door!

It wasn't her room, Grandma. It was Miss Wright's room!

How did you know anybody was in her room?

I told you. We heard them. Everybody heard them!

My room is at the other end of the house. It's impossible to hear anything from there.

What is this?

Why did you say you saw through the keyhole?

I'm so mixed up! Everybody's yelling at me at one time!

I did see them! I did see them!

Mary, I want the truth.

Whatever it is, Mary.

We're finished here. We've cleaned your house.

Let's go home. Wait.

Please, wait. Stop crying. I want the truth.

All right.

It was Rosalie who saw them.

She told us all about it.

I only said it was me so I wouldn't have to tattle on Rosalie.

You ask Rosalie.

She said it was when the door was open.

And she told us all about it.

Agatha!

Get Rosalie.

Yes, ma'am.

You deserve whatever you get, Mrs. Tilford.

I don't know anymore.

Maybe it's what I do deserve.


Rosalie...

Mary says there's been a lot of talk at school lately about Miss Wright and Miss Dobie.

Is that true?

'Can

I don't know what you mean.

That things have been said among you girls.

What things?

What was the talk about?

Don't be frightened.

I don't know what she means, Miss Wright.

Mary has told her grandmother that certain things at school have been puzzling you girls, you in particular.

Arithmetic puzzles me.

I guess I'm just not very good at... No. That's not what she meant.

Mary said that you told her that you saw certain... certain things happen between Miss Dobie and myself late at night.

Once when the door was open, you saw us together in my room.

Oh, Miss Wright, I didn't. I didn't.

I never said any such thing. Mary!

Yes, you did, too.

You told us about what you saw.

I remember...

It was the day that Helen Burton's bracelet...

I never did!

The day Helen Burton's bracelet was stolen.

And no one knew who did it.

Don't you remember?

Helen said that if her mother found out who did it she would call the police, and have the thief put in jail.

Rosalie, there's no need to cry.

You must help us by telling the truth.

Grandma.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

I told Mary! What Mary said was true!

I said it! I said it! I said it!


It's cold in here.

Yes.

What time is it?

I don't know.

I was hoping it was time for my bath.

Take it early today.

I couldn't do that.

I look forward all day to that bath.

Makes me feel important to know there's one thing I have to do.

Kind of a date with something.


Let's go out.

Take a walk.

What if we see somebody?

What if we do?

Come on.


We'll go tomorrow.

No, we won't.


There's our friend.

I knocked on the kitchen door, but nobody answered.

You said that last week.

All right. Thank you. Good-bye.

Stop it!

I've got eight fingers, see?

And two heads! I'm a freak!


Martha, what are we doing here like this?

It's as if we're in a nightmare and can't seem to wake up.

You'll be getting married soon. Everything will be all right then.

It'll be a good day and a happy one for me, too.

What's wrong?

There's nothing wrong.

It's just that I don't know what I'm thinking anymore.


That about sums up my official duty, Dr. Cardin.

I don't have to tell you how much we've valued having you here.

You also know this hospital is kept going by people who are meddlesome as well as generous.

Thanks for the speech. Joe!

Everybody here knows that you're not guilty of anything.

It's a matter of association.

I feel sure that if you were to sever your relationship with these two young women...

I'm sorry.

Good-bye.


I don't believe it.

And here I am!

Hello! Hello! Hello!

May I come in?

My old chair.

It's very good to see you both.

How is everything?

Everything's fine.

How are you?

A little tired.

It's been a long trip. Of course.

Is there anything I can get you?

You know, I would like a cup of tea, but don't you bother.

It's no bother, no bother at all.

Why, Martha...

You know, I think...

Where have you been?

Now, there's your temper again. Answer me!

I've been on tour, you knew that. Mostly one-night stands, although we did have one ghastly week in Detroit.

But the theater's changed. There's no question of it.

They simply will not accept a serious play on the road.

Isn't that interesting?

Is it a trend? Will it pass?

I don't know. I really just don't know.

I was interviewed in San Francisco and, I said, quite frankly...

I said that perhaps a whole culture is changing.

It's possible, you know.

You think so? A whole culture.

My, we'd be so interested to hear about it.

Why didn't you answer our telegrams? I told you, I was moving around.

How did you manage to get out of the summons?

What difference does it all make now, anyway?

Karen is quite right. Let's let bygones be bygones.

Why did you refuse to come back here and testify for us?

I didn't refuse. I was on tour. That's a moral obligation.

I couldn't just leave. The curtain must go up.

For goodness sakes, let's not go on like this.

My trunk's at the station. Things have changed here, Mrs. Mortar.

I don't suppose you've heard about it...

Although it's been in every newspaper in the country.

How we lost a suit for slander against a woman named Tilford who accused us of having had what the judge called, "Sinful sexual knowledge of one another", based on remarks made by one Lily Mortar against her niece.

But, my dear...

A large part of the defense's case rested on the telling fact that Mrs. Mortar would not appear in court to confirm, explain, or deny those remarks.

She had a moral obligation to the theater.

It wouldn't have done any good for us all to get mixed up in this unpleasant notoriety.

But I do see it your way.

And now that I'm here, I'm going to stand shoulder to shoulder with you.

There's an 8:00 train. Get on it.

All my grown life, I've been something for you to pick dry.

Now get out and don't come back.

How can you talk to me like that?

Because I hate you. I've always hated you.

God will punish you for that.

He's doing all right.

I'll wait upstairs until train time.

You'll be sorry one day for what you've said to me.

Look who's here. A few weeks late, aren't you?

So it's you. I call that loyal.

A lot of men wouldn't still be here.

You're a very lucky girl, Karen. Get out of here!

Why did she come back?

She's broke.

Stop it.

She's not worth all that.

We'll give her some money and get rid of her.

Why'd you do that? Do what?

Turn away from me.

I didn't turn away from you. I was putting out a cigarette.

Karen.

We sit around here much longer, we'll all go mad.

So we're not going to sit around.

I sold my place this morning to Foster. You can't do that!

We're getting married this week.

You have two days to pack and close the place.

Thursday we'll be in the car... You can't leave here. I won't let you...

It's all done. I found a good place that needs a doctor.

It's farm country. It'll be tough at first.

But we'll live cheaply. There will be plenty for all three of us.

Joe, I'm not going with you.

But thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

You're coming with us. We want you to come.

It's going to be good, starting fresh in a new place.

You don't want to go.

No. I don't want to go.

This was my place, where I wanted to be.

And you don't want to go. You wanted to stay here, too.

We can't stay, so to hell with it. We're going to a place where we can live.

Joe's right.

But I'm not going with you. It's better for all of us if I don't go.

Stop talking nonsense. You're coming with us.

Later on, you can leave if you want to, when you have something to leave for.

All right?

All right.

I think I'll cook us a dinner.

A departure dinner, whatever that is. Something fancy.

I've done this to you.

I've taken away everything you wanted.

Stop talking that way.

There are a lot of people in this world who have bad trouble.

We happen to be three of those people.

We could sit around the rest of our lives and live on that trouble and we'd get to where we'd have nothing else, because we wanted nothing else.

We're going to put the whole business behind us.

There'll be no more talk about what could have been or should have been.

I'm sorry.

I'll be all right as soon as we get out of here.

Joe, I want a baby.

I want to have a baby.

Maybe in a year or so. We won't have enough money now.

But I don't want to wait a year. You said you wanted children right away.

Why have you changed?

We can't go on like this!

Everything I say is made to mean something else.

Yes, every word has a new meaning.

Child, love...

Friend, woman.

There aren't many safe words anymore.

Even marriage doesn't have the same meaning anymore.

It does to me, and it should to you, if...

If what?

If you won't try to take the past with us.

Wherever we go, that'll be with us a long time.

We can't move away from that.

A new place, a new room won't fix that for us.

It won't work.

What won't work?

The two of us, together.

Stop talking like that. You'll begin to believe it soon.

Tell me. Tell me what you want to know.

I don't know what you're talking about. Yes, you do.

We've both known for a long time. Say it now. Ask it now!

I have nothing to ask.

All right, is it? Was it ever?

No.

No, Martha and I never touched each other.

It's all right, darling. I'm glad you asked.

My God! What's happened to me?

I'm sorry, darling. I didn't mean to ask that. I never believed...

I know.

Of course you didn't, but after a while, you weren't sure and then you began to wonder.

You've been a good, loyal friend. Don't be ashamed of what you felt.

All right, good or bad, I've asked, you've answered.

That's all.

Let's go ahead now.

You believe me?

Of course I believe you.

Yes.

Maybe you do.

But I'd never know whether you did.

And your saying it again won't do it.

It doesn't matter anymore whether you believe me.

All I know is, I'd be frightened that you didn't.

That's the way it would be. We'd be haunted by it.

Things would never, ever be right between us like that.

You know that.

Darling, I didn't know what I was asking. Don't be sorry. You can't help it.

It would have been a miracle if the poison hadn't reached you, too.

But go away for a while.

Go away from me and love and pity, and all the things that mess people up.

Go away by yourself and I will, too.

And after a while, I'll know.

And you'll know, and then we'll see.

Please. There's nothing for me to know.

A few weeks won't make any difference. Please!

I don't want to go!

Go now, darling.

What will you do?

I'll be all right.

Go now, darling.

If it's what you want.

It is.

I'll be coming back.

I'll be coming back soon.

I don't think so.

Oh, God!

Hold still!

You're as nervous as a cat. What's the matter with you?

I couldn't sleep well last night. Going to a new school, I understand.

You'll like Elmhurst. Doris Tanner thinks it's wonderful.

Doris Tanner just likes horses.

That's all they do at Elmhurst, ride.

It has a very high rating, and you'll make new friends.

You won't be moping around, like you did all summer.

What's all this?

My compact! I've been looking everywhere...

And whose ring is this?

This scarf and gloves?

"Happy birthday, Helen."


Mary!

She made me do it! She made me do it!

Don't believe her! She's just trying to blame it on me...

Be still!

Come here.

No.

No!

I'm all right.


Cooking always makes me feel better.

I suppose we'll have to feed the duchess. Even vultures have to eat.

I baked a cake.

And you know what? I found a bottle of wine.

We'll have a good dinner.

Where's Joe?

Gone.

A patient? Will he be back in time for dinner?

No.

Then we'll wait dinner for him.

What's the matter?

He won't be back anymore.

You mean, he won't be back anymore tonight.

He won't be back at all.

What happened?

Karen, what happened?

He thought... it was true.

I don't believe it.

I don't believe it!

What kind of talk is that? I don't believe it. All right!

Didn't you tell him? For God's sake, didn't you tell him it wasn't true?

Yes!

He didn't believe you?

I guess he believed me.

Then what have you done?

I don't understand.

What do you mean, you guess he believed you?

I don't want to talk about it. It's over.

Lord, I wanted that for you so much!

What's happened to us?

Whatever happened go back to Joe.

It's too much for you this way. Stop talking about it.

Let's pack and get out of here. Let's take the train tomorrow.

The train to where?

I don't know. There must be someplace we can go.

I don't know where it is.

They'd know about us. We've been famous.

But this isn't a new sin they say we've done.

Other people haven't been destroyed by it.

They're the people who believe in it, who want it.

Who've chosen it for themselves.

We aren't like that.

That must be very different.

We don't love each other.

We've been close to each other.

Of course, I've loved you like a friend, the way thousands of women feel about other women.

I'm cold.

You were a dear friend who was loved, that's all.

Certainly there can be nothing wrong with that.

It's perfectly natural that I should be fond of you.

We've known each other since we were 17, and I always thought that...

Why are you saying all of this?

Because I do love you.

Of course. I love you, too.

But... maybe I love you the way they said I love you.

I don't know.

Listen to me!

I have loved you the way they said!

There's always been something wrong.

Always, just as long as I can remember.

But I never knew what it was until all this happened.

Stop it.

Stop this crazy talk!

You're afraid of hearing it, but I'm more afraid than you.

I won't listen to you. No! You've got to know.

I've got to tell you. I can't keep it to myself any longer.

I'm guilty!

You're guilty of nothing!

I've been telling myself that since the night I heard the child say it.

I lie in bed night after night, praying that it isn't true.

But I know about it now.

It's there.

I don't know how, I don't know why.

But I did love you.

I do love you!

I resented your plans to marry maybe because I wanted you.

Maybe I've wanted you all these years.

I couldn't call it by name before, but maybe it's been there since I first knew you.

But it's not the truth. Not a word of it is true.

We've never thought of each other that way.

No, of course you didn't.

But who's to say I didn't?

I never felt that way about anybody but you.

I've never loved a man.

I never knew why before.

Maybe it's that.

You're tired and worn out.

It's funny.

It's all mixed up.

There's something in you, and you don't know anything about it because you don't know it's there.

And then suddenly one night, a little girl gets bored and tells a lie.

And there, for the first time, you see it and you say to yourself, "Did she see it? Did she sense it?"

But it could have been any lie! She was looking for anything to...

But why this lie?

She found the lie with the ounce of truth.

Don't you see?

I can't stand to have you touch me!

I can't stand to have you look at me!

It's all my fault!

I've ruined your life, and I've ruined my own.

I swear I didn't know it!

I didn't mean it!

I feel so damn sick and dirty, I can't stand it anymore!


I have something to say to you.

Let me come in.

Please.

You must hear me.

Mary and Rosalie Wells have admitted the whole thing was a lie.

I have more to tell you.

I tried to call Joe. He wouldn't answer my call.

But I've spoken to Judge Potter.

He'll hold a hearing and reverse the court decision.

There'll be a public apology and an explanation in the papers.

The damage suit, of course, will be paid to you in full.

And anymore that you'll be kind enough to take from me.

So you've come here to relieve your conscience.

A public apology and money paid, and you can rest your head again.

Don't rest it! You've come to the wrong place!

There's nothing we want from you, Mrs. Tilford.

There's no relief that can be bought for me.

I didn't come here for that. I swear to God, I didn't.

There must be something I can do.

Please?

Please, help me!

Help you?


Please go, Mrs. Tilford. We don't want you here!


I'm going away someplace to begin again.

Will you come with me?

We can find work now.

Thank you.

Let's talk about it tomorrow.

I want to go to sleep.


Martha!

Martha?

Karen, is Martha with you?


Her door is locked. I don't understand.


"The Lord bless you and keep you

"and make His face to shine upon you

"and give you peace.

"Both now and evermore."

Goodbye, Martha.