The Mad Magician (1954) Script

Now at this point you bring the music up, up... up, up, up to a crescendo.


There now. This is where i make my entrance.

Now, from here on, pianissimo, keep it under while I talk.

Softly, softly, softly. That's right.

Ladies and gentlemen, magic is the science of illusion, the art of misdirecting thought.

So if you will try and keep your thoughts on what I am doing, I'll...

There. That's fine, fine.

Sorry, sir. They're rehearsing inside. No visitors.

But this is something special. I have a lady friend in the show.

No smoking.

Oh, I'm sorry. I promised her I'd be here for the opening miss Karen Lee? Miss Lee? Oh, yeah, yeah.

The little one with the legs. Don't tell me you've never noticed them.

She's cute. Miss Lee!

Miss Lee. A gentleman to see you.

Alan. You got here after all.

You didn't think I'd miss your opening. How's it going?

Like they always go with a new show.

Oh, I want you to meet Mr. gallico.

No, no, look, i don't want to bother him now.

Oh, it'll do him good.

Make him forget his nervousness. You'll like him.

Gus. Be sure that entrance is kept clear for the buzz saw trick.

Remember, it's got to be rolled on in the dark. Mr. gallico?

I'd like you to meet lieutenant Bruce of the New York detective bureau.

How are you? He came all the way from New York to see our opening show.

I can see how busy you are, all this excitement.

Yes. Lt's especially exciting for me, lieutenant, since this is my first appearance on any stage.

But Mr. gallico knows more about magic than all the other magicians put together.

For years I've been inventing illusions for big-name magicians and watching them take all the bows.

Well, I finally caught the fever myself.

L'm like the playwright who wants to get in there and read his own lines.

I guess I'm just a ham at heart. Who isn't?

So I put this show together, and if our luck holds out, we're headed for Broadway.

Pardon me, please.

Mr. gallico, we're ready to rehearse the buzz saw illusion.

L've sent out everybody who doesn't have a part in it.

Good. Pull that curtain down, and be sure the stage door is kept locked.


That trick is the secret of our show.

You see, lieutenant, no magician considers it a crime to steal from a competitor, so we carefully guard all our new ideas.

This buzz saw trick of mine is a prize shocker, and I'm taking no chances.

We don't even trust the police.

She doesn't mean you, lieutenant. You don't have to go.

I think I'd better. I'll be rooting for you tonight. Good luck.

Thanks so much.

All right, now be sure that stage door is locked.

All right.

This trick can put us over on Broadway.

It all depends on how it's done.

L've made it as foolproof as possible, but that saw is dangerous. - it can rip its way through anything short of steel.

All right, boys, take it from where we place Karen on the table.

Excuse me, Mr.-

I didn't recognize you, Mr. gallico.

Is it really that good? Do I look like Rinaldi?

Like his twin.

I don't know. This is the first time any magician has ever attempted an impersonation of one of his rivals.

Holy smoke! That's the end of their act. Mr. gallico, you're on.

L'm ready.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. gallico, who is a talented mimic, will now present several of his own illusions as they would be done by other famous magicians.

First, the great Rinaldi.

Ah, how cooling it is.

This is one convenience we do not have in my place.

Let us have some more, please.

He not only looks like Rinaldi, but he sounds like him.

Was I all right?

You were great. Just listen to them. They loved you.

Did I sound like Rinaldi? Exactly like him.

All right, Karen, the buzz saw trick is next.

Now, remember, that trick is the high spot of our show.

If it's a hit, we're in. If it's a flop, we're dead. Good luck. - Good luck.

Ladies and gentlemen, first, a demonstration.

I have here a common newel post, cut from a solid piece of mahogany.

Hey. Where are you going?

L'm Ross ormond. Shh. There's a show going on.

L'm Ross ormond. I want to talk to the house manager.

Well, he's out front.

They said he was back here on the stage. This is police business.

Oh, all right. L'll see if I can find him. Wait down there.

Wait down there.

Now, let us assume that this is a human body, and that this is a human head.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the most dangerous exhibition ever attempted, and I must ask for complete silence.

The least disturbance could cause this experiment to end in tragedy.

So now, I present for the first time on any stage, the lady and the buzz saw.”

who pulled the curtain down? Get that curtain up again. Up.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention, please?

I wish to announce that owing to unforeseen circumstances, we are unable to continue with this performance.

What does he mean unable to continue”?

Ladies and gentlemen, please.

What were you talking about out there?

How dare you pull down on me.

Ask those men. They'll tell you.

And I'm holding you responsible for the loss on tonight's business.

L'm calling my lawyer right now.

What does he mean, ask you”?

He means I rang down the curtain, with an injunction.

An injunction against what?

The use of the buzz saw trick.

But what right have you to...

Lieutenant, do you know anything about these things?

A little, yeah, but I'm no lawyer.

This theater is enjoined against showing your buzz saw trick.

L'm afraid they've got you. What's it all about?

Well, if it's any of your business, I own a company that builds illusions for magicians, and gallico is my employee.

Anything he creates becomes my property.

But I built the buzz saw trick on my own time and with my own money.

Read your contract. No matter how you built it, it still belongs to me.

Why you rotten, low-down...

No, Mr. gallico, that won't get you anywhere.

It'll get him locked up in the cityjail.

Now, listen, you.

I want this trick back in my New York studio before noon tomorrow.

And if you know what's good for you, you'll quit playing actor and get back on your job.

Do you think I'd work for you after this?

You'll work for me, or you won't work.

So long, gallico the great.

This is a tough contract you signed with ormond.

Is it true that he owns everything I create?

According to this, everything but the air you breathe.

Can the contract be broken?

I doubt it.

But I told him at the time that I would take care of this business as long as my show was in New York, or... or until he could replace me, and he offered no objections.

But that's his way, to say nothing and then stab you in the back.

L'm sorry. I...

I don't often forget myself like that.

I understand ormond's a big man in show business.


I had my show all set for the 44th street theater.

They told me this morning that they'd booked another attraction.

I can thank him for that.

L'm afraid I have to go.

I thought Karen was meeting you here.

She's supposed to, but she's late.

I have an appointment at the Hudson university lab.

They're doing some pathological work for the department.

Make my excuses, will you?

Of course.

Hi, don.

Hello. You've met Mr. ormond.

Yes. Lieutenant.

And I'm sure you've heard of Mr. Rinaldi, the great Rinaldi?

Master of the black arts.

Magician by royal appointment to the court of the king of Spain.

L'm sorry. That's his billing. Next week, Jersey city.

Meet lieutenant Bruce, of the detective bureau.

A detective. Lt's a pleasure.

I trust it remains a pleasure.

L'm glad to know you, Mr. Rinaldi.

- Excuse me. I was just leaving. L'll tell Karen.

Please, and tell her I'll meet her for dinner at Tony's restaurant, 6:00.

So long. Thanks.

Ah. The mysterious buzz saw.

It looks very real, very dangerous.

It's no wonder you kept it a secret.

Go ahead, don. Show him how it works.

He's a magician. He should know how it works.

The girl's body drops through the trap.

Then, when you pretend to fix her hair, the dummy head comes up, and the real girl slips out of the machine.

Very good. But it needs a showman to present it to an audience.

It was presumptuous of you to think you could do it.

Only an amateur could be so brash.

But I'll make you famous, my pet.

In my hands you'll become a star.

Now, look, I'll send a moving Van to pick it up this afternoon and deliver it to me.

L'm bringing my show to the 44th street theater next month, and I want to start rehearsing this trick.

I'll give it top billing on all my posters.

The 44th street theater.

Of course.

Ross owns half interest in my show.

Well, I have a matinee in Jersey city.

Good-bye, Ross. Good-bye.

Good-bye, gallico the great.

So that's why you took the trick away from me.

I could have stopped you before you booked your first date.

But why didn't you? Why did you let me go on?

You needed a lesson. You belong here, not in the theater.

When I stumbled onto you, you were a two-bit concessionaire with a broken-down carny outfit.

All you had was a leaky tent and a bag full of cheap tricks.

I had a lovely wife.

She was the only reason I took a second look at your flea-bitten show.

The only reason you brought me here and gave me a job.

She was a lot different then.

For one thing, she had an innocent mind.

But to you, that meant ignorance, and so you did your best to change it.

She had one great weakness, a consuming hunger for rich living, and I couldn't give her that.

If you'd left us alone, she might have gotten over it, but you catered to it, built it up.

I could see her change before my eyes.

It was no surprise when she asked me for a divorce.

You seemed willing enough.

She didn't try to deceive me.

She told me what she wanted, and I let her have her way.

It couldn't have bothered you much, or you wouldn't have stayed here onthejob.

I loved her, Ross.

Oh, yeah.

That's funny, isn't it?

Yes, it would be, to you.

I knew you, even then. I knew what could happen.

I stayed on the job to pick up the pieces.

You're lucky i took her off your hands.

Look how she's behaved since I've married her.

Gallivanting all over Europe, spending my money like water.

I haven't seen her in six months.

Didn't try to deceive you”?

You stupid fool. She's always been a trollop.

She double-crossed you from the first, just as she double-crossed me.

Don. don, what's the matter with you? Keep away from me.

You took everything. Everything I ever had.

My wife! My brains! My self-respect!

Everything but the air I breathe.

Gallico the great, magician extraordinary.” that's funny, isn't it?

Gallico the clown. Gallico the stupid fool.

There's one trick you've never seen, Ross.

That no magician has ever dared to try. But I can't do it alone.

You've got to help me. In fact, you'll be the star. don. Stop it! Don't! Gallico the great, the magician extraordinary.

Why don't you laugh at me now? Don, the blade.

Go on! Laugh! Don, the blade!

Laugh! Laugh!

Go on! Laugh!

You crazy murderer.

Laugh! Laugh! Murderer! The blade!

Laugh! Laugh! Don, the blade!

"Lau9h! Laugh! don! don!

Laugh! Laugh!


Who is it?

It's Karen.

One moment, please.

Hello, don. Ls Alan here?

No. He couldn't wait. He had an appointment.

Oh, dear. I know I'm late, but I couldn't help it.

I got a job today, working at Siegel-Cooper's store.

Oh. Alan said he would meet you at Tony's restaurant at 6:00.

It's almost that now.

Karen, I want to make you out a check for the time you spent in rehearsal and two weeks' salary in addition.

Oh, well, forget it, don. I know what this thing has cost you.

No, I want you to have your money, the same as the others.

If there's any change in my plans, I'll let you know.

Look, don, why don't you come to dinner with us tonight?

It'll do you good.

No, thanks, Karen, but I have something else to do.

Good night, Karen.

Good night, don.

Illusions, incorporated.

Yes, this is Mr. gallico. Who is this, please?

Dean's Van and storage?

Yes, I have a consignment for Mr. Rinaldi. I'll be here tonight.

I'll have it ready for you.


Hello there. Hello.

Don, you changed your mind.

Karen, you left your bag at the studio and took mine by mistake.

There's something in my bag that's very, very valuable. Where is it?

Oh. don, I...

What's the matter? What have you done with it?

I left it in the cab.

In a cab?

Do you remember the driver?

No, it was just a hansom cab.

It's all right. The driver will turn it over to the police.

Waiter, bring my check.

Did you bring a young lady to this restaurant? - Nope.

How long have you been here? About a quarter of an hour.

Did you see a hansom cab leave a young woman here?


Did you? Nope.

I did.

That was ed Burke's rig. Where did Burke go?

He picked up a couple who wanted to take a turn through the park.

Go after him. If you find him, I'll double that. Yes, sir.

Let's go.

Hey! Ed! Pull up a minute.


Are you the driver who dropped this young lady in Tony's restaurant?

Yep. She left a black leather bag in your cab.

She sure did. Well, that bag belongs to me.

There's nothing to worry about, mister. I gave it to a cop.

You gave it to a cop? Yeah, a cop.

The cop at the kiosk, back at Van cortlandt drive and Fordham road.

He'll turn it in at his station.

That's what he said.


Fordham and Van cortlandt.

Yes, sir.

Hello, don. Hello, Karen.

I saw your lights from the street.

Oh, are you going to the victory celebration?

Victory celebration?

Yes. Hudson won from parnell, and there'll be some sort of hijinks on the campus tonight.

You know, some kind of a bonfire and a snake dance.

That's not for me, Karen.

Here, sit down.

I hope you've forgiven me for carrying off your bag.

You did no harm. It was stupid of me.

But I couldn't understand why you let the policeman think that my bag was yours?

You couldn't?

Well, Alan was curious, too. You know how detectives are.

He questioned me after you left us.

Oh? Well, what about?

Why you were so excited. You were, you know.

It was all my fault. I've been so worried.

What was in that bag, don?

Do you really want to know, Karen?

It was a head.

A human head.

You're just making fun of me.

Not at all. It was your head, Karen.

The dummy-head I made for the buzz saw trick.

Do you remember how its eyes rolled and the mouth opened in a scream when the teeth of the saw ripped into its flesh?

That was the most lifelike thing I ever made.

Do you think I'm going to let Rinaldi take that away from me, too?

Oh, no, my dear.

He'll never find that lovely head of yours.

Well. I'm glad it was nothing more serious than that.

Oh, Karen.

That celebration tonight, do they build a big bonfire?

Oh, a tremendous one. Everybody brings fuel for it.

It's terribly exciting.

Yes, I'm sure it must be.

Well, good night, Karen.

Good night, don.

All right, boys, light it.

Toll the bell, here's parnell!

Dead as a doornail, dead as a post!

Dead on the vine, dead in the shell!

Poor parnell, well, well, well!

Toll the bell, here's parnell!

Dead as a doornail, dead as a post!

Dead on the vine, dead in the shell!

Poor parnell, well, well, well!

Toll the bell, here's parnell!

Dead as a doornail...

Mr. ormond.

I thought I recognized you.

Don't you remember me?

Oh, of course. Hello, miss Lee.

Bones found on college campus! Get your extra here!

Oh, extraordinary, isn't it?

About these bones they found. I beg your pardon?

Well, the other night, after the Hudson-parnell game, they were having a celebration on the campus.

A huge bonfire and, well, that sort of thing, you know.


Well, what do you think they found in the ashes the next morning?

I have no idea. Two human shin bones and part of a spine.

Not really. Oh, yes, indeed.

I don't know what we're coming to.

Do you have some rooms to rent? Hmm?

Well, I read this advertisement in the morning paper...

This is your advertisement?

Oh, yes. Yes, of course. Do come in.


We don't make a regular thing of renting rooms, but you see, my wife's mother occupied the top floor and...

Well, she's gone on to her reward, and so we have that space on our hands.

Yes, frank? Hmm?

Oh, oh, this gentleman came to see about the room you advertised.

Mr., uh... Jameson. Ward Jameson.

Yes. Mrs. prentiss, my wife.

Oh, yes. Lt's a pleasure, Mr. Jameson. I'll show you the rooms if you like.

Well, do watch the stairs. There's no light on the upper landing.

Here we are.

This is the sitting room. The bedroom is in here, with a bath beyond.

Oh, I'm sure you'll be comfortable, and very quiet here.

That's what I'm looking for.

And my husband goes to business, and I'm always busy in my study.

I write, you know.

You do? Yes. Alice prentiss.

Oh, yes. Yes, of course.

You see, I need a place where I can study and do some experimental work.

L'm afraid my habits are not those of the regular businessman.

L'm apt to return late at night, and I may not be here for days at a time.

Oh, that's quite all right.

Would you mind if I moved in right now?

I have everything I need.

But I haven't told you what I want for the rooms.

Anything you say.

Well, let me see. With maid services and everything, I had thought...

Fifty a month? Fifty a month?

In advance, of course.

Oh, that's very good of you.

You've no idea what a relief it is to find just the place I need, where I can come and go as I please and be left alone.

People are always so determined to poke into your business.

I could see at once that you're not that kind.

Oh, no, no, indeed. Uh, I'll get you a receipt.

Anytime at all.

Well, it looks like the deal is closed.

Everything is satisfactory, frank.

Oh, Mr. Jameson, have you had supper?

No, but I... L'll get you some.

Oh, please don't bother.

It's no bother. I'll have the maid bring it up.

Thank you.

Charming woman.

Oh, yes, yes. I say, did Alice tell you that she writes?

Yes, she did.

Murder mysteries. Oh, she's full of plots.

Morning, noon and night. That's all i ever hear. Plots, plots, plots.

Oh, oh, I say, here. Here's her latest, murder is a must'.

Rather good title, don't you think? Very good.

Yes, it sold over a hundred thousand copies. Vvhat does it mean?

Well, it's about a chap who murders a chap, and then, so not to be found out, he has to kill another one and then another one, and, well, that's the way it goes, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

However, it's rather cute the way she dreams these things up.

I say, Alice has a theory that all murderers are crazy.


Well, I don't know about that.

Well, maybe we all have a bit of it in us, and maybe if it wasn't for the law, we'd all go round killing each other.

I say, there's another good plot, don't you think?

Well, I do hope you like it here, Mr. Jameson.

Thank you.

Hello, Claire.

The village blacksmith.


Not bad.

Absence makes the heart beat faster.

Are you glad to see me, darling?

Very glad.

Well, you don't show it.

At least I would expect a compliment.

You look terribly expensive.

Now you sound like my second husband.

Shall we cheat him a little bit, darling?

I don't think so.

What's the matter?

Don't you love me anymore?

I'll always love what you were.

But not what I am?

Well, I think I'm rather nice.

Lots of people do.

What are you working on?

A new trick.

Is the studio making money?

It's doing very well.

Good. Good.

I suppose you know that Ross has left me.

Can you blame him?

Yes, and so would you, if you would react normally.

Have you forgotten that I was once your wife?

L'm not likely to.

Don, he's hiding from me. I've got to find him.

I'll get even for both of us.

Tell me where he is.

I don't know.

You don't know.

You're afraid of him.

Yes, I think you are.

You know...

You know, I often wondered why you let him make a fool of you and turned the other cheek.

Perhaps you knew all the time what was going on and didn't have the courage to do anything about it.


What's happened to you? I didn't want to do that, Claire.

Now, you'd better get out of here.

But I read in the paper where Mrs. Ross ormond had returned from Europe and found that her husband was missing.

I said to myself, oh, you poor little creature, if only I could help you.” Mrs. prentiss loves to help people.

And turned the other cheek.

It was rather smudgy.

No, thank you. It was a rather smudgy happiness.

And then, Mr. ormond was wearing his whiskers in a different style, but there was something about that face that rang a bell.

She... she... she studied it under a microscope.

It was then that I determined to write to you and ask you to come here.

Oh, of course, this roomer may not be your husband, but it's well worth investigating.

What name did he use?

Ward Jameson.

What did he look like?

Oh, he's a very striking man.

The moment I laid eyes on him, i said, there's a character.” I collect characters. I'm a writer, you know.

Murder mysteries. Alice prentiss.

Oh. Here's a picture of my husband. Lt's a much newer one.

Frank. Frank, what did I tell you? I knew it in my bones.

Yes, my dear, in your bones.

This is the man, Mrs. ormond.

Is he here now?

Oh, no, no. He spends very little time here, but he did tell the maid that he'd be in late tonight, very late.

Oh, my dear, you... you do want to make up with him, don't you?

Why, of course. Lf only he'd let me.

I don't think that will be too difficult.


Yes, dear?

Oh, yes, my dear.

Now, my dear child, I've handled situations like this in dozens of my books, and they always turn out in a very interesting way.


Frank. Huh? What?

Shh. He's here.


What is the matter? Can't you speak?

Or is the shock of seeing me too much for you?

What are you doing here?

What am I doing here?

Well, after all, I'm your wife.

Where would I be but with my husband?

How did you find me?

Well, that was easy.

You shouldn't have rented rooms from a woman who writes.

You might have guessed she'd be curious about you.

Do the prentisses know you're here?

Why, of course, my darling.

Who are you?

You're not Ross.

You're don, aren't you?

It's amazing. Incredible.

I think it would fool anybody in the world, with one exception.

The woman who lived with both of you.

Why are you masquerading like this?

Are you trying to help him against me?

Where is he?

Well, don't stand there staring at me. Answer me.

He's dead.


You killed him.


Aren't they going to find him?

I don't think so.

It's all right, don. You don't have to worry about me.

I would never turn you in.

Did you think that i wanted him for myself?

I wanted his money, and now I've got it.

You've made me a very rich woman, don, and I could love you for it.

I could love you all over again.

Why, I know... I know I've been rotten to you.

I made a terrible mistake. I'll make up for it.

We could get married again.

We could be happy. We can buy anything we want.

My poor, dear Claire.


Don't you know i wouldn't dare trust you?

No! No!

Mr. ormond! Mr. ormond!

Open the door!

Frank! Frank, do something!

Here. Here.

Get the police.

Yes, my dear.

Thank you.

Er... Mr. gallico...

Mrs. ormond was your former wife.

Yes, sir.

Do you believe ormond killed her?

Apparently he was with her when she died.

Mr. prentiss, you'll testify to that?

Oh, we have to, inspector.

We heard their voices. We heard her call him by his name: Ross.

Why should he kill her? Tell me that.

I think I can show you that ormond convicted himself.

Now, he's going to show you his newfangled fingerprints.

It was adopted officially by the French, two years ago.

No two sets of prints are alike. Come here and I'll show you what I mean.

Now, here's a print of the index finger of ormond's right hand.

Where did you get it?

From articles ormond handled while he was rooming with the prentisses.

Now, here's a second print taken from another source and blown up to the same size.

You will notice that the prints match each other, line for line.

I found this print on the surface of a gold bracelet that belonged to Mrs. ormond.

I remember the bracelet.

She was wearing it the night she was killed.

Well, we know the man we want.

The job is to find him. That'll be all, thank you.

Oh, uh, don't leave town.

We may call you anytime. Good day, everybody.

I suppose you found the same fingerprints in ormond's house?

Yes. In his own room. Fresh ones, apparently.

He must have made them the night he packed a bag and moved into your house.

Are you sure it was Ross ormond you rented rooms to?

I identified his photograph.

Yes, but you could have been mistaken. You are not infallible, madame.

Now, if you'll excuse me, i have an audience waiting for me.

I hope they hiss him off the stage.

Oh, Mr. gallico.

Your work simply fascinates me.

It's so unusual.

I wonder if I could visit your studio sometime.

Why, of course. When I have something interesting to show you, I'll get in touch with you.

Oh, thank you so much.


Alice. Alice. What are you up to?

Oh, nothing, my dear. Nothing at all.

He's an odd character. I may put him in a book.

Besides, I have the strangest feeling that I've known him before.

Hello. Mr. prentiss? Oh, this is gallico.

Tomorrow morning at 11:00 I'm staging a sort of dress rehearsal in my studio of a new trick I've been building, and remembering your wife's request, I'm inviting you both to be present.

Can you come?

Well, Mrs. prentiss isn't here at the moment, but I'm sure I can speak for her.

Almost sure.

Uh, we'd be delighted, Mr. gallico. Delighted.

This is the first private showing of a new illusion I've built for my own use in the theater.

Karen knows how it works, and she's going to assist me.

But for the most part, the machine you will see is automatic.

Until it is shown in the theater, i must keep it a secret so that no other magician can steal the idea.

This audience had to be one I could trust, and Karen suggested that I invite you.

Oh, Mr. gallico, we're so flattered.

Yes, this is quite an event.

Sit down, please.

Well, here we go.

Gallico the great presents his sensational new illusion, the crematorium”..

This device feeds the body, which is to be destroyed, into the fire chamber of the crematorium.

Once inside, it releases the body, leaves it there, and then withdraws.

But unless the machine is shut off, it automatically repeats the performance within 40 seconds.

Gas is the fuel, operating under a forced draft of oxygen.

It takes a few moments for the heat to build up, but once it gets started, it develops a temperature of 3500 degrees fahrenheit.

All right, Karen. You take over.

Well, how did you like it?

Well clone, gallico. Well clone.

How did you get in here? Through the door.

Then you knew that I was showing this trick.

Oh, yes. I have ways of finding out what goes on.

Can you blame me for being curious?

Take it easy, gallico. There's no harm done.

We'll see about that.

Did you like it?

It was terribly exciting.

Oh, but isn't it dangerous?

Of course, I knew it wasn't you in there while the burning was going on, but supposing your escape device didn't work and you oouldn't get out?

What then?

The assistant controls the magician's escape.

She lets the boss out just as the flame comes on.

And what if she doesn't like the boss?

Ashes to ashes.

This thing is more than an illusion. It really works.

Oh, it's... it's still hot.

I say, where did you get the idea for this crematorium?

From a crematory.

The heat principle is the same.

It does more than burn. It disintegrates.

Oh, thanks for inviting us. It was a wonderful show.

But we must be running along.

Oh, by the way, have you gentlemen heard anything new about our murder case?

They're still hunting ormond.

Do you know, I'm beginning to believe that that man is dead.

No one could disappear so completely.

Want to share a cab with us, Karen?

Yes, I'm coming.

Oh, it was so sweet of you.

Yes, thanks again.

Thank you, Karen. Good night.

Not bad, gallico.

Not bad at all.

Of course, it needs work, but I know you'll get the bugs out of it.

Yeah, I'll have the lithograph people send an artist over here to make me some sketches for a new poster.

The great Rinaldi presents his shocking new illusion...

The crematorium! save yourself the trouble. You'll never get your hands on this one.

Do you really think so?

You know, gallico, that prentiss woman is nobody's fool.

I believe she came close to the truth about ormond.

If he were alive, he'd need money.

He wouldn't dare go to his bank, nor would he go to you, I think.

But he'd surely come to me. I'm his partner.

Not that he'd trust me particularly, but he'd know I wouldn't turn him in.

Because, you see, he had a couple of things on me.

Ross ormond was a cold, calculating customer.

He'd ditch a woman, but he'd never kill her.

No woman could mean that much to him.

He might kick her out of his house, but he'd never move out himself.

You see, I know these things because I knew him.

I knew Claire.

I know you.

You're the kind who loves deeply, believes in the sanctity of the home, suffers in silence, broods and waits.

You had every reason to hate him.

What did you do with him, gallico?

How did you get rid of it?

Was this thing already built and hidden away?

Waiting for a job like that?

Ormond was seen alive two weeks ago.

The prentisses identified him.

That didn't have to be him. Who else could it have been?

It could have been you, gallico.

From what ormond told me, you are a clever mimic, developed a wonderful new makeup, something new in the theater.

Something that might be used offstage, too.

Only a man who dreams up illusions would think of such a thing, and only people of the theater would know it was possible.

Lieutenant Bruce thinks he has ormond's fingerprints.

What if he should think to compare them with yours?

This belongs to me.

And so does everything that comes out of that brain of yours.

From now on you're a private enterprise.

Ah, I may incorporate you.

Get your souvenir programs here.

Pictures of each and every act you saw on the stage tonight.

Learn how to read your own horoscope.

The secrets of the stars taught in ten easy lessons.

All instructions for performing 5o different feats of magic.

Souvenir programs of the great Rinaldi, the one and only Rinaldi.

Mr. Rinaldi. Oh, lieutenant. How do you do?

L'm fine, thank you. It sounded like a good matinee out there.

Yes, we were sold out as usual.

I wonder if I could see you for a moment.

I have an evening performance. I must rest.

Of course, but I actually mean a moment.

L'm not looking for an autograph. This is police business.

Very well.

Please, uh, sit down.

You will pardon me if I change while you are here.

Of course.

Mr. Rinaldi, you've said repeatedly you don't believe Ross ormond killed his wife.

That is correct.

Do you still hold that opinion?

I am not sure that I do.

Did you have any reason to suspect that some other person might have been with Mrs. ormond when she was killed?

Why do you ask that? Have you found new evidence?

No, but let's say I've hit upon a new theory.

But you were so positive it was ormond. You showed us his fingerprints.

I showed you what I assumed to be his prints.

To make sure I'm on the right track, I want a set of fingerprints from every person who was well acquainted with Mrs. ormond.

That includes you and Mr. gallico.

I have my equipment here with me.

But what right have you to ask that of me? Am I a suspect?

Well, no, of course not.

What possible use could you make of my prints?

Don't you understand? They can prove a person innocent as well as guilty.

I do not have to prove my innocence.

Don't you want this case solved?

That is police business, not mine.

And now, if you will excuse me, lieutenant.

Just as you say, sir.

Sorry to have troubled you.

Thanks for letting me see you.

Judas priest.

Sir, I've got something to show you.

Well, all right, what is it? What have you found?

Today at the 44th street theater, I asked Rinaldi to let me take his fingerprints and he refused.

Rinaldi. What the devil?

Sir, please. Will you listen?

After he left the theater, i broke into his dressing room and photographed some prints from objects on his makeup table.

This is one of them. This is ormond's.

Ormond and Rinaldi are the same man.

That's the craziest thing i ever heard.

You can see for yourself. The prints are exactly the same.

Which proves that you can't depend on that method of identification.

But you can, sir. The fingerprints of different persons are never the same.

L'm going to bring in Rinaldi and hold him on a suspicion of murder.

On evidence like this? Do you want to make a laughingstock of the department?

The system's too new. We don't know enough about it.

At least let me assign a couple of men to watch him. Let me make sure of him.

All right. All right.

But don't make an arrest until you get the goods on him.

And I don't mean fingerprints.

But how you can work in the same room where that poor girl was killed is beyond me.

The thoughts of a murderer and his victim are supposed to linger on the atmosphere of a room.

Why, I... I getjust the mood i want in here.

Well, you can have it.

Good luck on your murderer.

Oh, I say, there was a very nice one in the fall river thing.

The killer used an ax, and...

Oh, no, no, no, no, don't tell me now, frank. Save it.

I shall.


Do they know who did it? Know who?

Oh, oh, no. Some neighbor saw him, but he was wearing a mask.

His impersonation of the man he had killed was perfect.

The mask he wore was equally perfect.

Another face that fitted him like an outer skin.

Thin as tissue and elastic enough to give with every move of the facial muscles.

Frank. Frank.

Frank, I've got it.

Your... Your plot? No. What actually happened.

Remember I told you how much Mr. Gallico reminded me of ormond?


Well, there had to be a reason for that, and I think I know what it is.

They've never found a trace of ormond. I don't believe that he was ever in this house.

I believe it was gallico who rented those rooms upstairs.

Wearing greasepaint makeup?

Oh, no, frank, no. You were right about that. It had to be more than a makeup.

I think it was a mask.


A face, I mean. The face of ormond. That must have been his secret.

How else could he have made those quick changes in his show?

I don't believe it. It is too incredible.

But I'm convinced of it. So convinced that I'm going to lieutenant Bruce right now.

Alice, I forbid it.

My dear, don't be ridiculous.

Karen should be here soon.

I'll be honest with you, Mrs. prentiss. Lt's my job to follow up every lead I get, but I'm afraid your theory is going to steer us right up a blind alley.

I was worried about it myself, until you told me that the fingerprints of ormond and Rinaldi were one and the same.

Doesn't that mean they were made by one man?

Yes, it does and it could be gallico, but...

I'll find out about that before this night's over.

Hello, Karen. Hello. Now, look here, Alan...

Honey, I'm sorry to have to drag you down here at this hour.

I should think you would be sorry.

What you told me on the phone about Mr. gallico is simply impossible.

Why, he's the kindest, sweetest man I've ever known.

What he told you on the phone was my theory, not his, Karen.

Well, how can you even think such a thing?

L'm sorry. I like Mr. gallico, too.

Now, listen to me, Karen.

When gallico impersonated other magicians in his show, what method did he use to make himself look like them?

Well, I don't know. He always kept it a secret from the rest of the company.

He always changed in his dressing room.

Do you think he used a mask?

No. How could he even talk or move his face with a mask on?

It would have to be a special kind of mask.

What of it? Suppose he did use one? He never killed anybody.

He couldn't do such a thing.

Mrs. prentiss thinks that gallico might be in there right now on the stage impersonating Rinaldi.

That's utterly ridiculous.

I hope you're right. Let's go take a look.

You know gallico better than I do. Better than any of us.

Tell us... What do you think?


I don't understand it.

He does some things very much like Mr. gallico.

Mrs. prentiss may be right.

Now, if gallico's prints should match those of ormond and Rinaldi...

I'm going to gallico's studio.

May I go with you? Well, don't you think I've earned that reward?

Karen, do something for me.

Wait at the stage door till Rinaldi comes out.

Then talk to him.

Say anything you can think of, but keep him as long as you can.

In case he is gallico.

Come on, Mrs. prentiss.

Oh, don. don.

Why, hello, Karen. What are you doing here?

Why, I was waiting for Mr. Rinaldi.

L'm... I'm looking for a job.

You see, I haven't done very much work lately, except a little modeling.

So I thought there might be something in this show.

Oh? Well, that's too bad.

I came here to see Rinaldi myself, but he's gone.

Oh, I didn't see him leave.

No, they told me that he came out through the front.

Can I drop you some place, Karen? Oh, no. No, thank you.

Well, I'm going straight home, and you live near my place.

It's much better than waiting here for a bus.

Come on. Get in.

Well, you're not afraid of riding with me, are you, Karen?

What's your address?

29 palisades Avenue.

How's our friend the detective?

Alan? Oh... He's all right.

He's having a little trouble finding his murderer, isn't he?

Considerable trouble.

Looks all right.

A matter of opinion.

Come in. That's the door to gallico's apartment.

See if there's a rear exit. We may have to get out of here in a hurry.

L get you.

Well, thanks for the lift, don. That's all right.

Go to bed now and get a good night's rest.

I shall. Thanks.

Good night, Karen.

Good night, don.

457 rensselaer drive.

Yes. Mm-hmm. Sure.

Well. Mm-hmm.

Good evening, miss Lee.


I knew it.

Thank you. Thank you, sir.


This is Karen. Gallicds on the way to the studio. He'll be there any minute.

You'd better hurry and get out of there quick.

All right, Karen. L'll tell Bruce.

Well, lieutenant?

L'm sorry, Mr. gallico.

I decided to get fingerprints from all those who had known Mrs. ormond.

I asked Rinaldi for a set of his.

What did he say?

Oh, he was very angry.

I was afraid I might get the same reception from you.

You policemen don't trust anybody.

Why, lieutenant, I haven't the slightest objection to giving you my prints.

That's very nice of you. Do you have an ink pad here?

Yes. Yes, of course.

Here you are.

And here's some paper. Anything else you want?

We'll take your left hand first.

Just roll it on the pad, then make an imprint on the paper, so...

I'm glad to help you, lieutenant. I... I want you to solve this case.

Next, the index finger of the left hand.

You know, I have a high regard for you, lieutenant.

I'll always have a high regard for you.

Even though we should have a slight misunderstanding.

You shouldn't have come here, lieutenant.

L'm afraid I'll have to dispose of you.

Ah, lieutenant, so you're with us again.

It's a pity I had to deal with you the way I did, but one must be firm with policemen.

Give them an inch and they'll take a mile.

Gallico, you'll get the chair for this.

They'll give me the same voltage for killing four as they would for killing three.

Ormond. His wife. The great Rinaldi.

You should have seen how neatly this machine disposed of him.

In no time at all he was a handful of ashes.

Karen. Karen. Up here.

Bruce is hurt. I'm afraid gallico will kill him.

I'll go and get a policeman. No, no, there isn't time for that.

Go to the front of the studio. Bang on the door.

Anything to get gallico's attention.

Hurry! Hurry!

You shouldn't have come nosing around here, lieutenant.

Takes a little time for a job like this, but I set the machine at 3500 degrees fahrenheit.

When it nears that point, this door will open.

When it is fully opened, the machine will roll you in.

Actually, there will be very little pain.

Such a blast of heat brings instant oblivion.

Can you hear it sing, lieutenant? It has the voice of a mad bull.

As you can see, my crematorium is more than an illusion.

You haven't seen it work, have you?

But you will. You'll be in it.

Gallico, you don't know what you're doing.

Yes, I know. They'll say I'm mad, quite mad.

They'll lock me in jail for life, put me in a padded cell with a straitjacket.

No, thank you. I'll take the chair.

Who's there? Who is it?

What do you want?

Mr. gallico, please!

Mr. gallico, please open the door!

I can't see you now. Get away from here.

I'll get the police!

Please open the door! You don't know what you're doing!

Help! Police!

Help! Help! Help! Help!

Bruce, are you all right?


They are remarkable likenesses, but I'll never believe a man could get away with such a thing.

You didn't believe the fingerprints either.

You confused me.

You told me that ormond's and Rinaldi's prints were the same.

They were. Because they were both made by gallico.

Don't take too much credit.

If it hadn't been for Mrs. prentiss, you wouldn't be alive to tell the tale, and that's exactly what I'm going to tell the newspapers, my dear lady.

Oh, no, inspector. I won't let you.

But be sure and mention my new book, murder is a must'.

So nice seeing you again. I'd better be going.

Oh, dear me, I haven't everything that I brought in with me.

Let me see.

Oh, yes, of course. Here it is.

Come, frank.