The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) Script

It was on a side road outside of Los Angeles.

I was hitchhiking from San Francisco down to San Diego, I guess.

A half-hour earlier, I'd thumbed a ride.

Thanks for the ride, the three cigarettes and for not laughing at my theories on life.

But you broke off in the middle.

Why do you keep looking for new places, people, ideas?

Well, I never liked any job I had. Maybe the next one is the one.

-Not worried about your future? -I got plenty of time for that. Besides...

-...maybe my future starts right now. -Well, good luck.

-Maybe I'll see you again. -Thanks for the ride, mister.

Who do you think you are?

-He slipped you something, huh? -That's right, brother.

I stick my head in the window and say:

"Parking in the highway, who do you think you are?"

-He slipped me three little words. -Three words?

Yeah. He says, "The district attorney."

That's right, the old DA himself. He lives down the road here a piece.

Good morning, my friend. I'll tell you about that job.

All you've got to do is, you know, help around the place.

Right now I've got a certain trouble that keeps me from working.

-You look healthy. -My feet.

They keep itching for me to go places.

But it's a nice place you've got. How's the food?

I'll make you a wonderful hamburger, free.

To show you the food that goes with the job. Do you know about automobiles?

-Oh, I'm a born mechanic. -Swell.

Sit down.

The job doesn't pay all the money in the world...

...but you've got no expenses.

You eat and sleep right here. A fine bed, box spring and mattress...

...fresh air, sunshine.

-Boy, you'll be living. -Suppose I try it for a couple days?

-Yeah. Oh, a customer. -Go ahead. We're not making money here.

-I'll look after the hamburger. -Thanks.

Don't go away.


You drop this?

Mm-hm. Thanks.

Thanks.


That's it, burn it up. I'll go tell my wife you're going to stay.

Your wife?

Cora, I've got someone to help us now.

Oh, turn that off, Cora.

The electric light company is making enough money.

My, Cora, you look lovely tonight.

Thank you, Nick.

Um, Nick...

...that man you hired today....

Frank?

Well, if that's his name.

Why don't you give him a week's salary and let him go?

-A week's pay for nothing? -Well, we can get along without him.

Now, hold on, that's a bit too hasty. He's working pretty cheap.

That Los Angeles butcher has been cheating me.

Yes. He's been charging you U.S. Choice prices for U.S. Good.

Yeah. Well, we'll fix him.

My husband tells me your name is Frank.

That's right.

Well, Frank, around here, you'll kindly do your reading on your own time.

Your husband, Nick, told me I was through for the day...

...and I thought he was boss.

The best way to get my husband to fire you...

...would be not doing what I tell you to do.

Well, you haven't asked me to do anything. Yet.

I want all these chairs painted.

All right.

I'll look in the paper. Maybe I can find a sale on cheap paint.

You won't find anything cheap around here.

Look in the cupboard under the counter.

As my friend Nick would say, that's wonderful.

Next time anybody is in town they can pick up a paintbrush.

Look on the bottom shelf.

Well, what do you know about that?

Why didn't you start this campaign of rehabilitation before I came?

-Or were you waiting for me? -Nick was saving that.

-Nick saves a lot. -It's none of your business.

I didn't say it was. Only when I have something, I don't save it.

What do you want to paint these chairs for?

Because I want to make something of this place. I want to make it--

Well...

...aren't we ambitious?

We want to make a lot of money so we can buy lots of pretty clothes.

Or maybe we want to put a little aside for our husband and us in our old age.


For a couple of weeks then she wouldn't look at me...

...or say a word to me if she could help it.

I began to feel like a cheap nobody making a play for a girl that had no use for me.

Oh, I disturbed her.

I knew she hated me for that worst of all.

A customer wants this wiped off. It needs hot water.

Trying to figure a way to get that sign back.

-Well, don't bother. -No bother.

-All I need is a stepladder. -I don't want the sign put back, busybody.

I've been trying to get a new sign for two years.

Maybe there are some things you can't sell.

-Oh, now-- -Hello, there.

You know, Frank, I've been thinking, you must be in love.

You hardly eat any lunch. He doesn't get any letters.

-I guess his girl's got another fella. -Too hot to eat.

Funny climate around here. The harder the wind blows, the hotter it gets.

We call that wind the Santa Ana. It comes from the desert.

Nick, why don't you let me take your car, I'll run that sign into town and get it fixed.

Okay. Take it to the electric company. They did it for free last time.

Sure, why not? They make a fortune on it.

Now you're talking like the neon-sign salesman.

A neon sign would burn a quarter as much juice...

-...but, Nick, that's not the point. -It isn't?

Well, no. What's the purpose of a sign around here?

-Well, to show people where they can eat. -Not for my money.

A sign should give people an appetite. Your sign doesn't make me hungry.

Yeah. Maybe you're right...

...but I'm too busy to talk about it now.

He's hooked.

I could sell anything to anybody.

That's what you think.


Tell me one thing.

How did you ever come to marry a guy like that?

Is that any of your business?

Maybe.


Maybe it's none of my business, but what's Nick sore about?

He's so crazy about the sign, he's afraid you'll claim it's your idea instead of his.

Yeah?

Watch.

I've seen many a sign, but that's the daddy of them all.

-I gotta hand it to you. -Why, Frank?

I was trying to get the old one fixed, and you'd seen the neon salesman.

A new sign, prettier than a Christmas tree.

Thanks, Frank. Did it make you hungry?

-Uh-uh. Thirsty. -Sure, celebrate.

Thanks.

No, thank you.

-Sing something, Nick. -Okay.


Go on, Cora. Do a little dance for us. Cora's a wonderful dancer.

I feel silly dancing alone...

...but start the jukebox, Nick, and I'll dance with you.

Listen to her, Frank. I'm always telling her I'm like a lot of smart men.

My brains are not in my feet.

-How about me dancing with Mrs. Smith? -Okay, go ahead. Go ahead, Cora.

-I prefer to watch dancing. -It's silly. You can't dance in here.

I've got an idea. Try in here. There's lots of room.

Nick, I've practically forgotten how to dance.

Oh, you're wonderful, and you know it.

-Nick, I don't want to. -Go on, don't be silly. Enjoy yourself.

Go ahead, Cora.


Save your strength, Nick. It's too hot to dance.

Cora, you left the new sign burning.

Nick.

I'll drive to the beach and have a swim.

Sure, that's a wonderful idea. You haven't been out of this place for 30 days.

-Won't you come with me? -No.

I'll just stay here and celebrate the new sign.

All right.

Climb right in. It's okay.

Nick said it was all right with him if it's all right with you.

Let's not stay too long, I'd like to do this again.

Don't worry, you'll find this night air can get awfully cold in a very few minutes.


Hey!


Oh, do you like lemon meringue pie?

-I don't know. I-- -I'll make you some tomorrow.

It's you, Cora.

I thought it was a customer wanting gas.

-Were you worried? -No.

Only I didn't expect you back so soon.

Good night, Frank.

Please don't.

Cora?

Cora.

The next day we were so busy I hardly had a chance to look at her.

Not until the middle of the morning. There was a lull about that time...

...and Nick had just left for L.A.


Nick had another brainstorm and drove into town.

This time it's the laundry service that's cheating him.

-Frank, about that question. -What question?

Why I married Nick.

My answer is that Nick came along at the right time and with a wedding ring.

The ring was the first thing he mentioned.

And you liked it for certain reasons.

You don't know the half of it.

Frank, I hate to say this...

...but I wasn't ever homely, so--

You must have had to fight off a lot of guys.

A lot of guys?

All the guys.

I don't especially like the way I look sometimes...

...but I never met a man since I was 14 that didn't want to argue about it.

Sure. By the time Nick came along...

...you were ready to marry anybody that owned a gold watch.

Seemed the best thing to do from my angle.

And as for him, I told him....

-I told him I didn't love him. -He said that would come in time.

Yeah.

-But it didn't. -But I meant to stick by him.

-And that's why-- -That's why you married him and retired.

The undefeated champ.

Not 100 percent undefeated.

Not now.

What's that?

Somebody trying to come in.

Is the door locked?

I must have locked it.

Whoever it was, they....

They went away.

-Too bad Nick took the car. -Even if it were here...

...we couldn't take it. Not unless we want to spend the night in jail.

Stealing a man's wife, that's nothing, but stealing his car, that's larceny.

Get over!


-Say, you're not tired already, are you? -A little.

Come on, let's sit down for a minute.

Here.

Don't worry, we'll get a lift in a minute.

Frank, look, if I divorce Nick, he'll never give me a nickel.

-He'll keep the Twin Oaks and everything. -What do we care?

-But where are we headed? -What's the difference? Anywhere.

-Anywhere. Do you know where that is? -Anywhere we choose.

No, it isn't. It's back to the hash house for me.

For you, some parking lot where you wear a smock with "super service" on it.

-I would die if I saw you in a smock. -I wore one at the Twin Oaks.

But that was mine.

Oh, don't you see? You're smart. Others could be wearing the smocks...

...and you could be manager.

-Yeah, I can hardly wait. -Oh, stop acting.

You're ashamed of being smart. I'm ashamed of begging for a ride...

-...that'll take me back where I started. -Want to go back?

I want to be somebody. And if I walk out...

... I'll lose everything, and I'll never be anybody.

Oh, I love you, Frank, and I want you, but not this way.

Not starting out like a couple of tramps.

I'm going back.

-Frank! -What's the matter now?

The note I wrote for Nick. If he gets home....

-Where'd you leave it? -The cash register.

Great. That's the first place he'll look too.

Look, here comes a bus. Stop it.

All right.


Frank.

Frank, look, it's Nick.

Look out!

That was close.

I'd like to see him get plastered like that some night and drive off a cliff.

You didn't mean that.

You were joking.

Sure.

Sure, I.... I was joking.

Of course you were.

Of course.

Well, I better change quick.

Why should I leave her?

Why should I go?

Don't look now, but I'm a little high.

And did I fix those laundry people and make them like it.

Frank, I even made them pay for the beer.

-Why don't you jump in a cold shower? -Yeah, yeah. I'm going to.

Because I'm not only a little high, I'm higher than a kite.

What's the idea...

...of your good clothes?

You're not going to quit on me, are you?

What's the matter, Frank? Don't you like the food?

Maybe you and I can get together on a....

What's the big idea of the suitcases?

Now, take it easy, Nick.

What were you stealing in those suitcases?

-Wait a minute! -I might have known.

I take in a hobo off the road, hungry.

The moment I've got my back turned, he tries to rob me.

-I'm not a thief. -Prove that by opening up those suitcases.

Come on, open up those suitcases.

Well, what's all the argument about?

He's a thief, Cora. Look at those suitcases.

I just got back in time.

Oh, you're crazy, Nick. Why, Frank's not a thief.

This afternoon he got an attack of road fever.

He said his feet were itching for a new place.

So he came in to say goodbye with a suitcase.

With two suitcases, you mean. One of them full of our stuff.

You've had too much beer, Nick. The other one was our suitcase...

...but Frank's bought a lot of things since he's been here...

...and I told him he could have it in exchange for the pay he had coming.

That's a pretty good bargain, Cora.

I'm sorry, Frank.

My boy, that road fever is never going to get you anywhere.

But that's all settled, darling. Frank's road fever wasn't very serious.

He forgot about it as soon as I promised you'd pay him $3 more a week.

Good girl.

Now if I'm really smart, I'll keep my big mouth shut...

...and go and take that shower.

-That's all right, Nick, I'll pick them up. -Oh.

What's the difference if they do get dirty?

I got them washed for free.


Right then, I should have walked out of that place...

...but I couldn't make myself do it.

She had me licked, and she knew it.

For a week she treated me as if I was only somebody working around the place.

I nearly went out of my mind.

I couldn't go, and I couldn't stay the way things were.

Then one night, I decided I had to have a talk with her...

...to see if there wasn't some future, some way for the two of us.


No.


What are we going to do?

That's great, coming from you.

After you've been high-hatting me the way you have.

What else could I do?

Oh, Frank.

Frank, if I'd only met you first.

Well?

Frank, do you love me?

Yes.

Do you love me so much that nothing else matters?

Yes.

There's....

There's one thing we could do that would...

...fix everything for us.

What? Pray for something to happen to Nick?

Something like that.

-Cora! -Well, you suggested it yourself once.

-Didn't you? -I was only joking.

-Were you? -Yes, I was.

-Or had you started to think about it? -I didn't really mean it.

-Well, I say it again now, and I do mean it! -Cora!

Listen, Frank, I'm not what you think I am.

I wanna keep this place and work hard and be something. That's all.

But you can't do it without love.

At least a woman can't.

I've made a big mistake in my life.

And I've got to be this way just once to fix it.

-They hang you for that. -Not if we do it right.

You're smart, Frank. You'll think of a way.

Plenty of men have.

He never did anything to me.

But, darling, can't you see how happy we would be together here?

Without him?

Do you love me, Cora?

That's why you've got to help me.

It's because I do love you.

I guess you do.

You couldn't get me to say yes to a thing like this if you didn't.

I guess I worked out the details...

...but the original plan was hers.

She got it from an article in a magazine saying most serious accidents...

...happen right in people's homes.

Mostly right in their own bathtubs.

Will you be able to hear the bathtub water running from down here?

Can't help hearing it.

He always starts to sing when he turns the water on.

We'll sink or swim on how that story's told.

Well, I won't miss.

Nick was taking a bath.

You were outside wiping off the car. I was ironing in the kitchen.

All of a sudden I noticed some water dripping from the ceiling.

Maybe we'd better say--

Don't change a word of it. I know it backwards!

All right, all right. Make sure he's in the tub when you go in.

Just say you came in to get some clean towels.

And then...

...when he's not looking, you--

Then what do you do?

Then I lock the door...

...and make sure the water is still running.

I step out the window, down the stepladder--

Put the stepladder in the shed. If anybody sees it, we're sunk.

Don't move away from that car in case anyone comes along.

Don't worry. If I give you the signal on the horn, you call everything off.

Nobody stops here when the lights are out in front.

Cora....

Maybe it would be better if I did it.

We settled that a dozen times. If I go in there, he won't pay any attention to me.


That your car?

It belongs to the fellow I work for.

Oh, hello. Yeah, yeah. So it does. So it does.

Okay, just checking up.

-What's that? -What's what?

Well....

-Look at that. -What is it?

Oh, that doggone cat climbing up that stepladder.

I like cats. Always up to something.


-Frank! -Shut up! Shut up!

Are you crazy, screaming like that? Did you do it?

-What happened? All the lights went out. -A fool cat jumped on a wire.

-Did you do it? -Yes, I did.

But before I could do anything else, the lights went out.

He's unconscious, but he's still breathing.

-Did he see you do it? -I don't know!

-We got to bring him to. -No!

Listen, there was a state cop outside and he saw the stepladder.

-But he mustn't come to! -He's got to. If he dies, we're sunk.

The cop saw that stepladder. If he dies, they'll know and get us.

-I'll get him. You phone a doctor. -Suppose he saw me. What will he say?

Get on that phone and call a doctor!

Operator. Operator, this is Twin Oaks.

I want a doctor.

Any doctor. Quick. There's been an accident.

But I don't want an ambulance! I want a doctor!

Frank, will you please stop--?

-Oh, so it's you. -Hello.

-The boss, Mr. Smith, he had an accident. -So I heard.

-This is Mrs. Smith, isn't it? -Yes.

This is the district attorney, Mrs. Smith. He lives near you.

-My name's Sackett. -How do you do, Mr. Sackett?

What happened?

Well, I went in there...

...to the bathroom, I mean, to get some towels.

He was in there?

Yes, just standing up in the tub.

Suddenly there was a big flash of fire, a terrible noise...

...and the lights went out all over the house.

I heard him fall, but it was so dark, so I....

-The doctor thinks you'd better come in. -Thank you.

He seems to be coming back into consciousness now.

Doctor, is he going to...?

I'm afraid I can't make any promises. That's why I called you in.

Nick.

Nick.

Nick, it's me. Cora.

Nick, don't you even know your own wife?

And aren't you ashamed of yourself?

Falling down in the bathtub like a little boy...

...just because the lights went out.

Nick, aren't you going to speak to me?

Everything...

...went dark.

What happened?


-Quick. What happened? -I stuck to my story.

Same thing here.

What are we going to do? They know something's wrong. Suppose Nick dies.

That's what we've got to figure on right now.

I thought so. There's that cop. I'll lay you 10-to-1 it's the DA's car too.

Watch your step now. Business as usual, and don't weaken.

Yeah.

-It's me, laddie. -Oh. Hello, Mr. Sackett.

I'd better look at that fuse box just for the record.

I was just gonna try to find some new fuses.

-Right there at the top of the stepladder. -What's the ladder doing here?

I noticed some insulation worn off the feed wire...

...but I didn't get around to fixing it.

Well, I'll be doggoned. Look at that!

Yeah, there's your cat.

Deader than a doornail.

-That's right. Remember? -Sure.

We were looking at her.

She must have walked off right onto the bare wire.

Boy, those fuses blew out like a cannon!

-Cats are poor, dumb things. -Yeah.

-They don't know a thing about electricity. -Killed her deader than a doornail.

Yes, the cat's dead, all right.

Well, accidents can happen in the weirdest sort of ways.

So long, laddie.

I never saw a prettier cat.

Killed her deader than a doornail.

-Oh, Frank. -Easy, Cora. Easy.

-It was all my fault. -Mine too.

No, it was all my fault.

I was the one that thought it up, but you didn't want to.

-But next time I'll listen to you. -Except there won't be any next time.

-Oh, never. Never. -Listen, baby.

If Nick should die, they'll know.

They always find out. They guess it right just from habit.

I guess I'm not any braver than I thought I was...

...or else I wouldn't have been so scared.

I'm plenty scared too.

When all the lights went out...

... I was just a little girl again...

...afraid of the dark.

But from now on you'll be the brains of this outfit...

...and I'll work so hard for this place.

We can't make any plans until we find out about Nick.

Yeah, I know.

Answer it.

Hello?

This is Mrs. Nicholas Smith.

What?

Yes.

Yes.

Oh, well...

...thank you so much for letting me know.

Goodbye.

He's all right. They wanna keep him for a week, but he'll be okay.

-Now we can breathe again for a minute. -Just think.

A week. A whole week to work things out.

You give me a big kiss before I sock you.

You know, it's after 7:00. We've got to get this place going for business.

That was the happiest week I'd ever spent in my life.

I wouldn't let myself think.

And Cora wouldn't even discuss what was gonna happen when Nick came home.

All I cared about was her being happy.

And as for me, I felt as if I was riding on a cloud.

Look at that, a battery and a whole set of plugs.

I'll say everything's fine around here. One sale.

Will Mrs. Smith be tickled pink! Say, how about a nice cold drink on the house?

No. Nope, I've got to hurry.

-So your boss is coming home? -Any day now.

Today, you mean. Sure, I just passed the car coming from town.

That gorgeous blond was driving careful...

...and the old boy has a bandage on his head.

Oh, that poor little pussycat.

-Sure killed her. -Yep. Deader than a doornail, remember?

Yeah.

It was for her sake as well as mine that I knew I had to move on.

If I waited for them, I couldn't convince her...

...to give up the place and go away with me.

And if I stayed there, I could see where she and I were headed.

But after a couple weeks in L.A...

...I sunk low enough to hang around a wholesale market...

...where they bought a lot of their stuff, hoping I'd run into her.

I just couldn't get her out of my mind. It kept nagging me all the time.

Hey, Frank!

I've been looking for you all over for weeks!

-Hello, Nick. -Come on. Get in.

-We're going back to Twin Oaks. -I can't.

Something important's happening tonight, and you're in on it.

Besides, I wanna tell you about my accident.

That's the truth.

Yes, sir, I can show you the doctor's bill receipted.

That little business in the bathroom that night cost me $322, believe it or not.

-That's a lot of hamburgers. -Yeah-- Aw, no....

Well, where did you come from?

I found him near the market.

Hello, Mrs. Smith. How have you been?

Splendid, thank you. You're quite a stranger.

Well, I've got work to do. Hope it was cooler in town.

Uh-oh. It's a customer. Just a minute.

Have you been thinking about me, Cora?

I couldn't forget you that quick.

-How have you been? -All right.

Have you got a little kiss for me?

We're going to have dinner in a few minutes, and you'd better get ready.

As a homecoming, this is the worst flop I ever saw in my life.

Of course, they took a lot of x-ray pictures...

...but this is the one that makes it look worse, see?

-What's this? A family album? -Sure.

There's my first license to sell food in Los Angeles County.

And that's a snapshot of Cora and me the day we were married.

Wasn't she cute?

Just a minute. I'll put the other light on.

Which one of you two is working for the electric light company?

Put on the lights again, Cora, please.

All right, waste your money.

The next time the electric light bill comes in, I'm not gonna be here to pay it.

-You're not going to be here? -No.

Oh, now you've made me tell the big surprise before I was ready.

I'm selling the Twin Oaks.

Well, that's not a very good joke.

It's not a joke.

A fellow named Stanton said they're turning this road into a highway.

He's offering a big price for the place.

Why sell now when it might turn out to be a gold mine?

Somebody's bound to open up a better place and put us out of business.

But mainly, Cora, so as you can stop work and take it easy.

Stop work? Where? Doing what?

-We're going back to live with my sister. -Your sister?

Nick, you never even told me you had a sister.

Well, I didn't want to worry you about her. You see...

...she hasn't been very well for a good many years.

-Where is she? -In northern Canada. She's got a house.

Of course, half of it belongs to me.

Nick, this is pretty sudden.

-Let me tell you what I think about it. -No, Cora.

-This is best. -But, Nick, please.

-Let's talk this over. -No. There's nothing to talk over.

I've given it a good deal of thought. My mind's made up.

You thought it over and your mind's made up. Without even talking to me...

...your mind's made up. Well, mine isn't!

That's too bad.

You see, my sister recently became paralyzed.

She can't move at all.

Oh, she's going to live for a long time yet. I hope.

But she needs us to take care of her. Especially you, a woman.

Nick, you....

You mean you want me to...?

Nick, don't sell the place! I'm telling you, don't sell it!

Well, I'm....

I'm going to sell it.

I'm superstitious. I....

Never turn down a good offer. You always regret it.

I'm going to close the deal now before something happens to it.

Excuse me. I'm gonna use the extension.

Hello, Mr. Stanton. This is Nicholas Smith.

Oh, Mr. Stanton, you've just bought a restaurant.

How soon can you have the papers ready to sign? And, of course, the check?

Sure, I'll come to Santa Barbara on Wednesday. Oh, Mr. Stanton...

... I've located that fellow I said would be a wonderful manager.

Yeah. Sure, I'll bring him along.

Yeah. Goodbye, Mr. Stanton. Until Wednesday, 10 a.m. sharp.

Now everybody's got something to celebrate.

My boy, you're gonna have a first-class job with a future!

As you get along in the world, you'll lose that itching in the feet.

Cora, my dear, in years to come, you'll thank me for this.

As for me, well, I'll have enough money to live out my days...

...in the house where I was born.

What was good enough for my father is good enough for me.

Come on. Let's get a good night's rest. We'll close up early tomorrow.

After a nice little supper party, we'll drive up to Santa Barbara.

Wednesday at 10 a.m. sharp, we've all got ourselves set for life.

Come on. Good night, Frank. Come on, Cora.

Oh, uh....

We'll let Stanton have a big electric light bill. He got the place too cheap anyway.


Why did you come back?

I had to. That's all.

No, you didn't.

I could've gone through everything if you hadn't come back.

Why couldn't you just leave me alone and not come back?

Cora...

...let's....

Let's figure something out.

I love you, Cora.

You love me...

...and what do you do?

You let him take me away to some miserable little dump of a town...

...where I'll rot the rest of my life away waiting on him and his...

...half-dead sister.

You love me...

... I love you, but what do you do?

You let him take me to Santa Barbara.

And you're even going right along in the car with us.

You're gonna stay at the same hotel with us.

Why, if you really loved me, you could--

-All right. -No!

Yes. I can't leave you.

But isn't there any other way out for us?

You were just gonna put a knife in him, weren't you?

No.

That knife was for me, Frank.

Not him.

Cora. You love me that much?

That much.

We tried every other way.

I guess it's in the cards.

That other time had cured me of any idea we could pull a perfect murder.

This was gonna be such a bad murder, it wouldn't be a murder.

A regular drunk automobile accident...

...with liquor in the car and all the rest of it.

Closed up early?

Hello, Mr. Sackett. We're just going on a little trip.

Anything I can get you before we close up?

I need a little air in my tires. I'll get it myself.

Oh, my bag!

It's all right, Mrs. Smith. I'll get it.

-Frank, that's Sackett! -Perfect. The DA will be our witness.

We'll do our act here instead of at the next gas station. Hop to it!

Let me get behind that wheel. You're too tight to drive.

No. You're as drunk as Nick is, only you don't show it.

Me, drunk? I'm not drunk. I'll prove it to you. Listen.

Frank Chambers, get in that back seat.

Okay, Mrs. Smith, if you want Nick to drive, I don't wanna fight with you.

Nick, you shove over. You can't sing and drive at the same time.

All right, all right.

No, Cora, you keep straight on.

I've always wanted to see Malibu Lake. It's only a few miles to the other road.

Okay.

See, Cora, look what you're doing.

This is the worst piece of road in all of Los Angeles County.

No, no!

Look at that gauge.

She's boiling over. You're gonna ruin this car.

-Should I pull over and let it cool off? -Sure, Cora. Pull over and stop.

We gotta save this little bus to take us to Canada.

There.

Hey, Nick, what happened to your voice? We were going pretty good.

I gotta get out.

Nick! Hey, Nick. Nick! Come on back in the car.

Listen!

-It's an echo, yeah. -Sure, it's an echo!

Let's go back in the car.

-It's a wonderful echo. -It's a swell echo.

It's a wonderful echo. It's the best echo I ever heard.

Cora, there's an echo out there. Listen.

Ahh See? Which is best, me or the echo?

The echo can't take your high note, Nick.

Here, listen.

Ahh

Ahh....


It's gonna be tough going now. Can you go through with it?

-After that, I can go through anything. -All right, let's get down there.

We gotta mess ourselves up to prove we've been in the accident too.

-Right. -Come on.

It's hardly smashed up at all. It didn't go down far enough.

Look, Frank, a car is coming!

-Can they see us? -I don't think so.

There are no marks on us, but it's too late.

Go yell for help, I'll get the car down the rest of the way.

No!

Frank!

Help! Help! Help!

Help! Help!

Help!

Help!

Help!

Help! Help!

You can stop yelling, Mrs. Smith.

Sure. I've been following you.

It's too bad I couldn't have been closer behind.


Hello there, laddie. How do you feel?

I'll be all right.

You're not very hospitable for a patient who hasn't had a single visitor.

There's nobody in this part of the country that's interested.

Not even Mrs. Smith? Cora?

Come on, laddie.

You and she murdered her husband.

The sooner you admit it, the better it'll be for you.

You're wrong, Mr. Sackett.

How about a full confession?

A plea of guilty, and I'll do what I can with the courts.

-Clemency for you. -You're crazy.

Interested to know I've been wise to you ever since that bathtub business?

Nick's death was an accident.

Why should I wanna hurt a nice, harmless guy I was working for?

A motive? The girl herself, for one thing. A nice-paying business, for another.

That's no good, Mr. Sackett. I never wanted to be tied down...

...to anything or anybody in my life.

All right. Then we'll come to the real motive.

That brand-new $10,000 insurance policy Nick Smith took out on his life.

Here.

Have a drink of water, you'll feel better.

-Insurance policy? -For $10,000.

And he took it out the day before you came back.

I give you my oath.

I never heard about any insurance policy until this very minute.

No? Why did you turn white as a sheet and nearly pass out?

I don't know anything about a policy. You leave me alone!

-You think I'm going to stand for that? -I didn't do it! That's what I stand for!

It all started when you and Cora Smith had a great idea.

Nick's had an accident, get him to take out a policy.

I left before Nick came home from the hospital.

And two days after you came back, he got killed.

You were in touch with her by phone.

And the day after the policy was granted, you ran into Nick and what do you think?

She'd fixed up this Santa Barbara trip.

And for old time's sakes, you had to go along.

Then she had to see Malibu Lake. Wasn't that an idea, now?

-Would you like to pick it up from there? -No. No!

Well, it was all planned. You crowned him from behind...

...then she slid out and started the car.

Then it was your turn to climb out, so you could both claim you'd escaped in time.

She moved too quick, you couldn't make it.

-She jumped, you went over the cliff. -That isn't what happened!

How do you know? You were drunk.

-I mean, I don't think that's-- -You were drunk!

You don't know what happened.

-I.... -Wait a minute.

Maybe you didn't have anything to do with it.

Maybe she did it.

Listen, laddie, she did do it.

There were three people in that car, Nick, you and Cora.

It's a cinch Nick didn't do it.

So if you were too drunk, that leaves her.

-Who says anybody did it? -I do.

If you told the truth, you didn't have interest in her...

...except as the wife of your boss, then you gotta do something.

I-- Do something? I don't follow you--

You've got to sign a complaint against her!

A complaint?

If you were in that car, drunk and helpless, then she tried to kill you too.

You've got to do something about that.

Because it'll look pretty funny if you didn't.

She couldn't have meant to kill me.

You were drunk, you couldn't know what was going on, could you?

-Uh, I guess not. -Then it was Cora who crowned Nick.

Then she slid out and sent the car over the cliff.

-You saying it don't make it so. -Yes, it does.

When I drove around, that car was turning over...

...but she was already on the road, yelling.

She felt the car going over, so she jumped.

She jumps out of a car turning over and has time to pick up her handbag.

Because I can testify she had that white, beaded bag when she ran up screaming.

Oh, no. Cora wasn't in that car when it went over, but you were.

You were still in it when I climbed down.

It wasn't nervousness on Cora's part that sent that car over with you and Nick in it.

She wanted that sweet property and insurance money all to herself...

...instead of sharing it with you.

-Now, are you gonna sign this complaint? -No.

-You got it mixed up. -It's you or her.

If you didn't have anything to do with it, sign this.

If you don't, I'll know. So will the judge, the jury...

...and the guy in the poison gas chamber in San Quentin.

So will the boys who bury you alongside the others...

...who were too dumb to make a deal...

...while they still had a chance to save their necks.


Officer, you may come in.

-Hello there, Kyle. -Arthur.

-Been hitting the headlines, haven't you? -In a mild way.

Can I see your friend here for a minute?

-You his lawyer? -No, hers. Mrs. Smith's.

That so? Laddie, I pity you.

-For how much money? -A hundred bucks even...

-...she's a gone goose. -That's a bet.

Of course, maybe I shouldn't take your money. Look.

Mm-hm.

I like to play a hand without any trumps.

-The bet goes. -I'll be seeing you.

What about dinner tonight?

Seven o'clock. Same place. You pay the check.

-And give my regards to the missus. -Right.

-Goodbye, laddie. -Goodbye.


Chambers, my name's Arthur Keats. I'm Mrs. Smith's attorney.

I shouldn't have signed it, but he got me going.

Mr. Keats, do me a favor and tell Cora--

You shut up.

I'll tell her what's good for her to know.

As for the rest of it, I'm handling it.

And that means I'm handling it.

-Yes, sir. But I-- -You don't count now.

I was gonna ask questions, but since you signed that...

...the less you know, the better.

Uh, just once more:

I'm handling this.

And that means, whatever I do, I'm handling it.

-But, Mr. Keats-- -I'll see you in jail.

Or, which is the same thing, in municipal court for the arraignment.

-Hold it, please! -Hold that.

-Thank you. -Thanks.

This way. Thank you.


Quiet, please.

The court is again in session.

-The People v. Cora Smith. -Stand.

Cora Smith, you're charged with the murder of Nicholas Smith.

And the attempted murder of Frank Chambers.

Steady. I'm handling it.

Your Honor, we waive preliminary examinations...

...since we intend to plead guilty to both charges.

Quiet! Quiet, please!

We're ready to appear in superior court as soon as you can file your information.

We'll be prepared to arraign the defendant in superior court at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.

So ordered. There'll be a short recess.

Hold it.


I....


We....

We've been double-crossed, Cora.

That lawyer, Keats, he's nothing but a police stool pigeon.

I've been double-crossed, not you!

I see it all now. I see why I had to drive the car, not you.

And that other time, I had to do it, not you!

-That's not so. -Oh, yes, it is!

I used to say to myself I fell for you because you were smart.

Now I find out that you are smart!

Double-crossed, ha! I'll say I was.

You and Keats fixed it so that I tried to kill you too.

That was to get you clear!

Then you two fixed it up to plead me guilty!

Well, listen, Mr. Frank Chambers...

...when I get through, you'll find out there's such a thing as being too smart!

Get out of here, you stool pigeon.

Why, what's the matter, Chambers? I told you I was handling this.

When I get my hands on you--

So you...

...you and this man.

This so-called man.

You two framed me so I would get it and he would go free!

He's not gonna squirm out of it. He was in this mess as much as I was...

...and I'll tell the world!

-I wouldn't do that. -He's not gonna get away with it!

He's not going to get away with anything. I'm gonna tell it all right now!

-Just let me handle-- -You handled it before! Now I'll handle it.

I'll tell the district attorney you want to confess.

You the lady who wants to make a statement?

That's right. A statement.


Okay.

-Cora-- -This will be...

...a full and complete confession of how....

Go ahead.

Of how Frank Chambers and I deliberately planned...

...and carried out the murder of my husband, Nicholas Smith.

Frank Chambers and I are equally guilty.

Although it was Frank who smashed Nick in the head before the car went over.

That's all. Except...

... I didn't know anything about that $10,000 insurance policy.

Anyway, we didn't do it for that reason at all.

That's it.

All right. Sign here.


I'll put you out of business. There must be a law, even for lawyers.

You know the district attorney fooled you into that confession, don't you?

And you fell for it, both of you.

He got you working against each other.

-Don't you see? -You bet I see.

He got nothing from me, so he started in on you.

-And right away you turned yellow. -Yellow?

Yellow is a color you figure on in a murder.

And nobody figures it better than Kyle Sackett. That was his trump card.

Once he tricked you into signing that complaint...

...he knew no power on earth could keep you from turning on him.

That way, he gets you both.

If you knew all that, why didn't you stop me from confessing?

Oh, I tried.

I tried, but nobody could have stopped you.

However, now that you've got it off your chest....

-Kennedy. -Yes, sir?

That confession Mrs. Smith signed, what did you do with it?

I gave it to Jimmy White to lock up in your safe, like you told me to.

That's all.

You mean he's not from the DA's office?

A plainclothes dick if I ever saw one.

He used to be a dick. But he's not a dick anymore.

He works for me now. He's my gumshoe man.

With the DA using high-pressure tactics, I had to fight fire with fire.

Since you were due to spill the beans, better to do it to my man, not Sackett's.

-Why, you-- -That's why I said we'd plead guilty.

To stop everything cold in that courtroom before you blew your topper.

-Then the DA's got nothing against me. -You're not even under arrest.

Oh, sure. He goes free, and I get tossed in...

-...for murder and attempt! -Unless....

-Unless you let me handle it. -Ha!

Listen, my girl...

...you're still in trouble.

Because we don't know what evidence Sackett's got against us.

From now on, speak only when spoken to.

And in that court tomorrow, try and look as young and innocent as possible.

And remember, I'm the only hope you've got.

Time's up, young lady.

Cora Smith.

Is that your true name?

Yes.

Cora Smith, you're charged in information number 19-X5-27 in the...

...Superior Court of California on two counts.

Count one, murder of Nicholas Smith.

Count two, attempted murder of Frank Chambers.

Your Honor, we waive further reading.

-Very well. -Are you ready to plead?

We are.

To count one, murder of Nicholas Smith, how do you plead, guilty or not guilty?

-Not guilty. -What?

If Your Honor please...

...my client protested her innocence from the beginning.

I didn't believe her.

In her best interest, I urged her to plead guilty and ask for the court's mercy.

But with later developments...

...no other course is open to me but to plead not guilty to both charges.

Will the district attorney consent to a brief conference, with the court's permission?

Kyle...

...you're bluffing.

You gambled on getting a confession, and you didn't get it.

I know you haven't got one iota of evidence against her...

...and without witnesses, you'll never prove it couldn't have been an accident.

Dismiss that phony attempt charge...

...change murder to manslaughter, and we'll plead guilty...

...providing you give a recommendation for leniency.

If Your Honor please...

... I move to dismiss the charge of attempted murder...

...and to permit her to withdraw her plea of not guilty...

...for the purpose of entering a new plea.

Motion granted.

I'm informed by defendant's counsel...

...that she will enter a plea of guilty to the charge of manslaughter.

I feel this plea will be satisfactory to the people and in the interest of justice.

That's correct, Your Honor.

Very well.

Cora Smith, to the crime of manslaughter, how do you plead?

Guilty.

Guilty.

Your Honor, we waive time for sentence. We're ready for sentence now.

It is the sentence of the law and the judgment of this court...

...that you be confined in the state institution for women at Tehachapi...

...for the term prescribed by law.

If Your Honor please, I recommend leniency be granted this defendant.

It seems to me that considerable leniency has been given this defendant already.

May we approach the bench and explain the facts to Your Honor?

Very well.

I am personally satisfied of the defendant's guilt...

...beyond a reasonable doubt...

...but there are many practical and legal difficulties in proving the case against her.

In these circumstances, I deemed it wise to follow this course...

...thus saving the people of the state of California the expense of a protracted trial.

Return to your places.

Having full confidence in the district attorney...

... I follow his recommendation.

The court summarily grants probation.

And suspends execution of the sentence.

That's it. You're free.

It's all right, Mrs. Smith. Everything's gonna be all right now.

That's what you think.

That was a brilliant piece of strategy, laddie.

Thank you, Kyle.

But you're crazy if you think I'm through with those two murderers.

Well, that's the whole story.

Except that if either one of you even parks a car alongside a fire hydrant...

...Mr. Sackett will see that you get 20 years.

Just a minute. There's one other little matter.

Yes?

That insurance policy.

This 10,000 bucks you get for knocking off your husband.

Oh, sure. That's how I knew Sackett was bluffing.

If the company with the smartest detectives couldn't find evidence...

...it's a cinch the DA couldn't.

-I.... -Uh....

In an exceptional case like this, I ought to keep it all.

But this time...

...you take it.

I don't want that 10 grand. Besides, I got 10 grand.

I've been trying to figure things out, and I still don't know what to say.

Don't say thanks. You did me a favor. Look what I got out of it:

I won 100 bucks from Sackett. I made him write me a check.

I'm gonna frame it and hang it over my desk.

-Let's get going, Kennedy. -Back to town, Sammy.

Okay, boss.

Well, goodbye, Mr. Yellow.

I don't know what you're going to do and I don't care...

...but I'm going in and open up my lunchroom.

Cora. Cora, look...

...maybe-- Maybe you could sell the place and...

...we can go away somewhere and start fresh, where nobody knows us.

Oh, no.

You've tried to make me a tramp since you've known me.

But you're not going to do it.

I stay here.

All right.

I'm gonna stay too.

Let me tell you something. If you do stay...

...there's going to be a lot of hard work, because I've got ideas for this place.

I'm going to fix a nice spot under the trees...

...then I'm going to sell beer--

-You're in the hamburger business-- -I'm going to amount to something!

So if you want to keep your job...

...you'll have this place clean and open for business tomorrow at 7.

Okay.

Okay, Mrs. Smith.

That expresses it perfectly.

Things stayed that way for several weeks.

I had to watch her like a hawk because I didn't trust her.

People started flocking to the Twin Oaks just to see what she looked like.

Oh, Mrs. Smith?

Mrs. Smith, would you kindly give me your autograph?

Oh, thank you.

Popular girl, huh?

Listen....

-Well, how are you, Mr. Keats? -Hello.

-Hello, Mr. Sackett. -Mrs. Smith.

Something I can do for you?

-Only some beer at the moment. -I see.

You're pretty busy.

Suppose I handle this table.

You shouldn't mind my handling anything for you.

-Hello, Frank. -Hi, Mr. Keats.

-Maybe it doesn't mean a thing. -What?

Maybe the district attorney's gonna take action.

He claims folks are talking about you two living here like this.

-Talking about it? -That's a laugh.

Is it? An unmarried man and woman living together under the same roof?

In Los Angeles, they held a murder suspect.

When they couldn't hang it on him, they threw him in the can...

-...under 47 different laws. -I'm way ahead of you, Mr. Keats.

And I'll handle this.

Don't wipe it off, Mr. Keats. You look stunning in my lipstick.

This kind tastes good too. What flavor do you call it, Frank?

-I can't remember that far back. -As far as I'm concerned...

-...you imagined it even then. -Oh, dry up.

-Thanks. -Notice his necktie, Mr. Keats.

It's my wedding present to him.

The way he wears it, you'd think it was a noose around his neck.

Well, I can only think of 15 or 20 reasons why you two should never be happy.

Well, there you are, my dear.

Thanks. We'll paste it right alongside of our beer license.

Say, this came while you were getting prettied up.

Hope it's congratulations from Sackett.

-Would you? -Bad news?

You hope.

Oh, it's my mother. She....

She's had a heart attack.

I haven't been home in three years.

Mr. Keats, would you drive me to the station, please?

Leave it to me. I'll handle everything.

-Check your baggage, sir? -Yeah.

-When will you be back? -A week, maybe. I'll wire you.

I'll walk you to the train.

Please, I hate goodbyes.

A blind man without a cane could see you're in a bad way.

Yeah.

Come on, Chambers, I'll drive you home.

No, thanks, Mr. Keats.

I'm gonna see if I can't get that blond out of my system.

Excuse me. You've flooded your carburetor.

You'll have to wait a while.

I'm gonna wait standing up.

It's a hot day and that's a leather seat.

And I've got on a thin skirt.

I'll cool the seat off for you.

Thanks.

Name: Madge Gorland.

Address: Joe's Highway Haven.

-What's that? -Lunchroom.

A lunchroom? Well, meet another member of the club.

Sometimes I think everybody in Southern California...

...makes a living selling hamburgers to each other.

-There. See? It works. -Thanks. You're a genius.

Yeah. With my brains and your looks, we can go places.

-Such as? -Oh, take a run down to Tijuana.

I'll buy you the best Mexican dinner you ever had.

-Why Mexico? -I like the food.

Besides, I got a little trouble.

-Trouble? -Yeah. My feet.

-They keep itching for me to go places. -You're an outlaw.

Can't stand captivity.

Me too.

I get so sick of hamburgers sometimes, I....

What time will we get back from Mexico?

Oh, I got a whole week.

Come on, slide in.

All right.

I'll bet you got a little gypsy in you.

They say I was born with rings in my ears.

Maybe a week won't be long enough, and Mexico won't be far enough.


-The large one with the stripes, please. -Yes, ma'am.

Cora, why didn't you let me know she died?

-I didn't wanna bother you with it. -I feel badly, you not letting me know.

-Why should you? -You back in Iowa, your mother dying...

-...and me back here having a good time. -I don't mind.

When we get home, I'll give you a drink. You could use a pickup.

-I'm not drinking anymore. -Well, what's the matter?

I have a lot to tell you. I think you and I will get along better from now on.

-Well, what is it? -Not now. Tonight, maybe after dinner.

Here we are.

Where'd you get the new car?

Oh.

Hello.

Remember me?

Yeah, sure, I remember you.

Come on in.

How you been, Mrs. Chambers?

Fine, thanks.

Oh, Frank, why don't you take Mr. Kennedy into the living room?

I'll get you a couple of beers.

-Yeah, you'll be more comfortable there. -Thanks.

-How's Mr. Keats? -Me and him had a little argument.

-I walked out. -Yeah?

Well, if there's anything we can do, just say the word.

I was wondering...

...if you could let me have a little money.

Well, I don't keep very much money here, but if $20 will help....

I was hoping you could make it more.

-All right, Kennedy, what is it? -That paper...

...the one I wrote up for you, Mrs. Chambers.

You mean that daydream she called a confession?

Yeah. It was still in the files when I left Keats...

...so I took it. I was thinking maybe you'd like to get it back.

-How much do you want for it? -How much would you pay?

We don't need that confession now. We might give you $100 for it, though.

Sure. I'd pay that for it.

I was thinking it was worth more.

I was figuring on about...

...$15,000.

-Are you crazy? -Well, you got 10 grand from insurance...

...and the publicity's making you a fortune.

Maybe 5 grand more. That makes 15.

-You'd clean us out just for that paper? -It's worth it.

-Why you-- -Now, don't start anything, Chambers!

In the first place, I haven't got the paper with me.

I'm not starting anything. I....

I guess you got us.

Yeah, but, you're figuring too high.

-Keep talking. -Well...

...we made $4000, not $5000, but we spent a couple of thousand.

And I had to go East and of course, it cost quite a lot.

Her mother died.

And then we've been fixing up the place.

All right.

Ten and two makes 12.

-Twelve grand. -The whole 12?

Twelve thousand, or the confession goes to Sackett.

Well, it looks like we'll have to give it to him, Frank.

-It's tough, but he's got us. -Yeah.

I'll phone you at 5:00. That'll give you time...

...to go to the bank and get it. At 5, if you got it, I'll come right out.

If you haven't got it, Sackett.

You know, Mr. Kennedy, it's really too bad that Frank was here...

...because if we had been alone, I feel...

...that I could've talked you out of it.

All right, snap out of it and get your friends on the phone.

I got no friends.

I'm the only one that knows--

-You're gonna call your friends? -I ain't got no friends.

I'm the only one that knows about it.

-You're gonna call your friends? -I got no friends. I tell you--

Don't hit me no more!

-I tell you, I only got one friend. -All right.

Get him on the phone. Come on, in the kitchen.

All right! All right!

Here.

Thanks.

Cora, bring the extension phone, will you?

There it is, Kennedy. Make it a good story.

Here.

If he tries to pull a fast one, I'll give you the sign.

Okay.

Come on.

Say--

Is that you, Willie?

This is me. Listen, it's all fixed.

How soon can you get out here with it? Yeah.

Yeah, Chambers is on his way to the bank now to get the dough.

Willie, get this. He knows we got him, see.

But he's afraid if she finds out he's gonna pay all that dough, she won't let him.

You get it?

Well, maybe it sounds to you like a funny way to do it, Willie...

...but I got my reasons.

Okay.

Willie's gonna bring the papers out here.

He's awful suspicious.

Willie's a bad hombre when he gets suspicious.

Yeah? Thanks.

That's so you'll act right when he gets here.

And that's for playing along, Cora. I think we better open the place up...

...just the beer garden, better not let anyone inside.

All right, Frank.

I think that's your friend Willie, but if it's not Willie...

... I'm gonna give you another going over just for luck.

Gesundheit.

-What gives? -This. Keep moving.

All right, Cora, his pockets.

-Here it is! -The other pockets!

-This is it. -Here.

Photostats!

And the negative.

So they meant to keep on blackmailing us.

Yeah, but not anymore.

Thanks, boys.

Come on, I'll show you out. Come on!

Come on, come on, come on. Out!

Well, we did it, didn't we?

-That's the last of the Photostats. -Oh, no, it isn't.

That isn't the last of the Photostats. I got a million of them here.

-So you got a million of them. -Just one is enough for Mr. Sackett.

You're not foolish enough to stick your nose in that gas chamber...

...just to get even with me.

No, you didn't understand Mr. Keats at all.

Once they made it manslaughter, they can't do anything more to me!

What's the matter with you, Cora?

This! While you were wet-nursing Kennedy...

...your friend dropped in outside.

So you're an outlaw, and you just love Mexican food.

I hope your broken-down sweetie brings you plenty to the death house...

...where I'm going to send you!

Just hanging up my clean uniforms, dearie.

That's nice of you.

-What did you think I was doing? -I didn't think anything.

Don't worry, when it's time to call Mr. Sackett, I'll let you know.

In the meantime, just take it easy. You're gonna need all your strength.

Just taking something to keep up my strength, dearie.

-That's nice of you. -What'd you think I was doing?

I didn't think anything.

Don't worry, when I'm ready to skip out, I'll let you know.

Just take it easy, you may need all your strength.

That's the way it kept up all day.

Me following her around for fear she'd call Sackett.

Her watching me like a hawk, for fear I'd....

Both of us hating each other like poison.

Finally, she went up to bed.

I went to my room, but I knew I didn't dare sleep.

Then all of a sudden....

-Get away from there or I'll-- -Or you'll what?

Hello? Yellow Cab?

We changed our mind. We don't need a cab now, thanks.

-Or you'll what? -Sock you in the jaw maybe.

Something else, wasn't it? You've been thinking of a way to kill me.

-I've been asleep. -Don't lie to me!

-Because I'm not gonna lie to you. -All right, I was.

You were gonna duck out and hand me over to Sackett, so we're even.

Right back where we started.

Not quite, Cora.

That other girl...

...she didn't mean anything to me.

She told me you were going away with her.

Why didn't I? I planned to, and never come back.

Why didn't I go away and never come back?

Because we're chained to each other, Cora.

-Don't tell me you love me. -But I do.

-Oh, but love when fear comes into it.... -Then you hate me?

I don't know.

But we've got to tell the truth for once in our lives.

All right, why were you gonna run away then?

I told you I had something to tell you.

Frank...

... I wasn't going to Mr. Sackett tonight.

I was running away...

...for good.

So that you wouldn't ever see me again.

Me or....

-Me or.... -Cora.

Oh, no, don't, Frank. I've got to tell you all about it.

We....

We took a life, didn't we, Frank?

Well, now we can give one back. Then maybe God will forgive us...

...and maybe it'll help square us.

Maybe it will.

Maybe it'll help. We've been all mixed up.

Oh, Frank, I couldn't turn you in to Sackett.

I couldn't have this baby and then have it find out I'd sent its father...

...into that poison gas chamber for murder.

Was...?

Was the baby the only reason?

No.

Oh, Frank. Please, there's one thing I have to be sure of.

No, don't ask me any questions.

Just take me down to the beach. We've been so happy there.

And let's be happy again...

...just once more.

And then I promise that everything will be settled, one way or the other...

...before we come back.

I'll get the car, Cora.

Frank.

All the hate and revenge has left me...

...but is it all out of you?

I'm trying to find some way I could prove it to you.

Maybe I know a way.

Let's swim out there, way, way out...

...until we're so tired that we'll just barely be able to get back.

-How is that gonna prove--? -Please, Frank.

Come on, I'll show you.


This is far enough.

-Are you tired? -Very tired. How about you?

I'm still all right.

Frank...

...what I wanted to be sure of was...

...whether you trust me.

If you don't believe that I can never turn on you again...

...and if you don't want me to go back with you...

...you could swim back by yourself.

I'm too tired, I could never make it alone.

Nobody will ever know.

Cora, Cora, don't say another word. Darling, save your strength.

I'll take you in.


Are you sure now?

I'm sure.

I've been waiting a long time for that kiss.

When we get home, Frank, then there will be kisses.

Kisses with dreams in them.

Kisses that come from life, not death.

I hope I can wait.

Darling.

Look out!

Frank!

Cora.

This man, Frank Chambers, and the dead woman...

...first murdered her husband to get his estate.

Then Chambers murdered her so that he'd have it all to himself.

The jury was out five minutes.

The judge said in sentencing me...

...that he was giving the same consideration...

...he'd show any other mad dog.

I see.

I see.

And now, Father...

...comes the important thing you can do for me.

Do you think she knows?

Knows that you didn't kill her?

She must know it.

But that's the awful part when you monkey with murder.

Somehow...

...maybe it flashed through her head when the car hit...

...that maybe I did do it.

Father, do you think she knows the truth?

We can hope.

We got off to a wrong start, and somehow or other...

...we never got back on the right track.

But I didn't kill her.

I loved her so much, I tell you, I would have died for her!

I just talked to the governor.

But, I....

I didn't do it.

-I didn't do it, I tell you! -Wait a minute!

All right, suppose you didn't do it.

Get me a new trial. I'm not gonna go in that gas chamber for killing her!

Suppose you got a stay of execution, new trial, acquittal of killing Cora. Then what?

Last night they auctioned off the fixtures at the Twin Oaks.

A man who bought the cash register found a note in the back of the drawer.

He brought it to me. It's addressed to you.

Cora wrote it.

It's a very beautiful note, Frank...

...written by a girl who loved a man very much.

I imagine it was written earlier the very night she died.

A note of farewell, isn't it?

She did try and run away that night.

And since she had no idea anyone would ever see that note but you...

...it therefore has just enough of a confession...

...to convict you of helping her kill her husband.

So if you were to leave this room because you didn't kill her...

...you'd soon be back here again for helping her kill Nick.

What's the use?

Then....

Then what's gonna happen to me is not because I killed her?

No, laddie, for killing Nick.

You know...

...there's something about this that's like....

Well, it's like...

...you're expecting...

...a letter that you're just crazy to get...

...and you hang around the front door...

...for fear you might not hear him ring.

You never realize that he always rings twice.

What's that?

Well, he rang twice for Cora...

...and now he's ringing twice for me, isn't he?

That's about it.

The truth is, you always hear him ring the second time.

Even if you're way out in the backyard.

Father.

You were right.

It all works out.

I guess God knows more about these things than we do.

Somehow or other...

...Cora paid for Nick's life with hers.

And now I'm going to.

Father...

...would you send up a prayer for me and Cora?

And if you could find it in your heart...

...make it that we're together, wherever it is.