The Unguarded Hour (1936) Script

Step to one side, please.

A beautiful night, sir. Is it?

Ow!

I'm sorry, sir. Are you?

Are you really? Well, so am I.

You trod on my confounded corn, sir.

Very clumsy of me. I'm so sorry.

Don't make such a fuss, Henry.

Thank you, sir.

Your invitation, sir?

Pardon me, sir. There is no card here.

No card?

Where is it? Henry, what did you do with it?

I had it. What do we do? What do we do?

Lady, I've never seen you look so lovely.

Sir, please. Remember I'm a married woman.

I shall pay special attention to that.

The moment we arrive in Biarritz.

Oh, Alan.

It's heavenly to think I'm going to have you to myself for a few weeks.

Anybody going to receive me?

Offer me a stale sandwich or some flat champagne?

You're funny.

You know, it's bad form for a married couple to ogle each other in public.

Especially with half of smart London here to be making merry.

Against their will, of course.

Now, I can't think why I invited you.

Oh did you? I thought he just walked in.

You know very well Helen wouldn't think of giving a party without me.

Yes. She has a curious taste in knick-knacks.

You run along little boy. Helen and I will be together.

I must ask you not to be so familiar with my wife.

I'm terribly sorry.

My personal magnetism is always getting out of control.

I warn you to be careful.

You don't know what people are saying about you behind your back.

I don't want to. It would make me far too conceited.

Am I a wallflower or do we dance? We dance.

Right.

Good evening. Good evening, General.

Hello, Bunny.

I'm so glad you came. I know you loath dancing.

That depends on with whom I dance.

Now stop that. She's promised this one to me.

Should I shoot him or just go home defeated?

Don't go home, General.

Having the head of Scotland Yard in the house gives one a nice, secure feeling.

If I had known you were coming, I'd have worn my pearl studs.

Here we are, Helen. Oh, pardon me.

Evening, aunt Agatha. Hello, darling.

Uncle Henry. How are you?

About time we were known in this place. What's the matter?

Henry lost his invitation. He's always losing something.

I've had you for thirty years.

Don't forget to save one for me. No, I won't.

Good evening.

Shall we dance, Lady Dearden?

Thank you, I shouldn't. My guests are arriving.

I think we should.

You don't remember me, do you.

Well, I .. You shouldn't.

Because you've never seen me before.

How could you know me.

I'm a blaggard.

A what? A blaggard.

It's an interesting profession.

You dance divinely.

Thank you.

I had no idea the future Attorney General had such a charming wife.

I imagine Sir Alan's greatest ambition must be the appointment from The Crown.

It would be a shame if he were to lose it, and there's a chance that he might.

That's why I dropped in on you tonight.

Who are you? What are you saying?

I am talking about two thousand pounds. I happen to need it.

And I am going to get it from you.

I think you'd better talk to my husband. No, I don't think I should.

You would care for a nasty brawl at such a nice party, would you?

"Lewis" my name is.

The husband of a woman who was indiscreet enough ..

To save some letters written by your husband before his marriage to you.

My husband? Yes.

Of course, my wife and I were separated at the time.

And she was using her maiden name of Diana Roggers.

Even so, I have enough to provide the basis for a very ..

Nasty divorce suit if I have to bring it.

He was very young at the time.

You would be surprised how young he sounds in these letters.

What makes you think I won't expose you?

It wouldn't matter if you did.

I've nothing to lose but my freedom.

What is freedom when you're broke?

How do I know you have such letters?

Is that your husband's signature?

Of course it is.

Notice the date.

And the greeting.

"Diana darling .."

There are others much warmer than this.

You know, I feel sorry for him.

He'd probably be the youngest Attorney General England has ever known.

It seems rather pathetic.

Your letting him down for a paltry two thousand pounds.

I must be tearing myself away.

I shall call you tomorrow.

Promptly at two.

Goodnight.

Who was that chap, darling? I don't seem to know him.

Oh, I don't know. He ..

I can never remember his name.

He is very amusing though, really.

Alan.

Were you ever .. very young?

Yes. Why not?

But you've grown up now?

Well I'm being mentioned as the next Attorney General, so the King thinks so.

I think so.

That's even more important, isn't it.

Yes, darling.

What you think is the most important thing in life.


Sorry if I startled you.

It's 12 o'clock on the dot.

Promptness is one of my few virtues where money is concerned.

Why must we come to Dover to transact our business?

One must very careful in this sort of transaction.

The Police classify it under the very nasty name of blackmail.

I have the two 1,000 notes as you requested.

When do I get these letters? Very soon.

There are some slight details.

This is for you.

Are the letters in there? No, it's empty.

After you've changed the two 1,000 notes into five and ten pound notes.

We'll put the money in this bag.

Mystified? Completely.

I'll clear the air a bit. Lady Dearden, in 2 minutes you'll cross the road ..

Enter the Dover Highland Bank and change the notes as I requested.

You must not be in the bank over ten minutes.

It will take at least twenty minutes to mark the smaller bills.

Isn't that a bit absurd?

If you're in the bank over ten minutes, the deal is off.

I shan't be over ten minutes. That's the idea.

When you come out of the bank you will drive to the foot of the Dover cliffs.

Then you take number 3 path that leads to the top cliff known as "Sunset View".

There you will see a large tree.

Under which you will find a letter containing further instructions.

You must read this letter at exactly one-thirty.


I want to see the view. I'll be with you in a minute.

Oh, Annie.

Don't go near the edge there, dear. I'm alright.


Alan, don't!

Eggs, Henderson. My kingdom for an egg.

And hot buttered toast. Loads of it. We swam half way to England and back.

A gross exaggeration, Henderson. It was less than a mile.

I will hurry breakfast, sir.

Oh Alan! Look at these roses. Aren't they lovely?

They're at a slight disadvantage at the moment.

You are so bad for my vanity.

But you are awfully good for my peace of mind.

Come away from those roses. You're making me jealous.

Oh Alan, this holiday has been so glorious.

And darling, we have two more weeks.

All to ourselves.

[ Singing: ]

"Only a bird in a gilded cage. A beautiful sight to see."

"You may think she was happy and free from care."

Bunny! Darling.

Here. Don't let Alan see how delighted you are. It will only make him jealous.

When did you blow in? "Blow" is the word.

The Channel is full of air pockets. I'm so glad you came.

I knew you would. Oh, I resent that.

Why?

As a matter of fact, I'm running away from romance.

It crept up on me insidiously and dangerously just after you left.

I see I shall have to take you in hand.

It's quite time you were married.

Quite! Yes.

But what will we do with him, huh?

Oh no, no. I'm to pick the girl out for you.

You know, in a way, I'm unique.

Every woman I know wants to marry me. To some other woman.

Would you like to run and have a tub?

Can't wait for breakfast. We're ravenous.

Thanks. I'll tub later in the ocean.

It's awful cold out there. I'll warm it up.

I'm what is known in America as "hot stuff".

A letter, Milady. Thank you, Henderson.

Set another place for Mr Jeffers. No, I can't wait.

Oh, it's from Eloise.

This just arrived by special messenger, Sir Alan.

Thank you.

Looks pretty bulky. Been ordering suits and overcoats from London?

It feels like a brief.

Darling, I hope they don't ask you to ..

That's too bad. What?

My assistant, Bailey, had his appendix out last night.

He's been handling this case.

It goes on trial on the 10th.

That's .. Monday.

I suppose they want you to take it over? Yes.

I must take the afternoon plane for London.

Oh, Alan.

Oh nicely done, Helen. You're a superb actress.

I'm sorry, darling.

The 10th is only five days away. I'll need every second.

Oh, and I planned such marvellous times for these last few weeks.

Don't worry, Helen. I'll still be here.

I never last more than 2 weeks. But they tell me while I last I'm pretty good.

Pushed his wife falls off a cliff.

Oh that's marvellous. Eloise has had her baby.

He says it must have been an accident.

Eloise having a baby is no accident, darling. It's an event.

Huh?

Eloise had her baby.

I'm sorry darling. I didn't mean to interrupt.

You couldn't interrupt Eloise having a baby.

You wouldn't want to, would you? Of course not.

This case looks interesting.

The fellow pushed his wife off one of the Dover cliffs.

Oh, that's the Sunset Murder case.

The English papers were full of it.

It's the old story.

There is a mysterious missing witness.

He claims a woman passed him just as he called a warning to his wife.

He's supposed to have cried out: "Don't go near the edge, Annie."

Sounds like a song, doesn't it.

[ Singing: ] "Don't go near the edge, Annie."

When did this happen? The afternoon of May .. 14th.

That's the night we left England.

I'm sorry, darling.

But you can stay on. I'll order a plane reservation.

Now if you must know the truth.

I had that fellow push his wife off the cliff ..

So as to get Alan back to London and be alone with you.

Oh .. what's the matter old girl? What are you thinking about?

Bunny, I ..

I'm going back to London with Alan.

Oh I say, look here. I'm not really as bad as all that.

Or am I?

My Lord, I object to this insinuation of my learned friend at this time.

Yes, Sir Alan. I think that is a matter for your address to the jury.

Very well, Milord.

Now, Metford. Were you and your wife happy together?

Yes. Very.

Did you and your wife quarrel with each other in the dining room of the hotel?

Yes. We had a bit of a quarrel but ..

What about?

What about? Yes, what about?

I'd rather not say. I ask you to answer my question.

Must I, Milord?

I've tried to answer all the questions.

I have indeed.

I've tried to tell you the truth.

But there are some things you have no right to ask me.

No, you haven't.

She wouldn't wish me to tell you.

You refuse to answer me?

If my life depends on it I shall refuse.

Very well.

The jury will no doubt draw their own conclusions.

Metford.

You have testified that two months prior to your visit to Dover.

Your wife drew out a second policy on her life for two thousand pounds.

Was it at your suggestion that she took out this new policy?

Yes.

You see.

My wife had a premonition that something might happen to her.

She was anxious about her mother.

And she wished to make a provision for her.

But she made you the beneficiary.

Well.

Her mother was old. She didn't want her to handle the money.

She knew I'd take care of her.

A very convenient explanation.

Do you still say that your wife's fall from Dover cliff to the rocks beneath ..

Was an accident? I do!

I do.

I warned her against going near the edge.

The woman who passed must have heard me.

I propose to deal now with your evidence regarding this mysterious lady.

Had she been staying at the hotel at Dover?

I don't know. I hadn't noticed her at the hotel.

But you did notice her on the path?

I couldn't help seeing her. She passed right by me.

Describe her.

Well, she ..

Well, was she tall or short or dark or fair?

What was she wearing?

I can't remember.

I think she was wearing a dark brown suit.

Yes. I'm sure she was dressed in brown.

What was her age approximately?

It is hard to tell a woman's age nowadays.

Splendid.

It relieves you of an obligation to tell the court about this woman's appearance.

Try again.

I wish to give you every opportunity.

I can't remember back all those weeks.

I've told you everything I remember about her.

So this lady heard you calling your wife back?

You wouldn't have warned your wife of the possible danger of falling ..

If you'd intended to entice her to the edge and throw her over, would you?

No!

No, I loved my wife.

I ..

Are you aware that England is ringing with the story of this mystery woman?

Columns have been written about her in every newspaper in the land.

Broadcasting stations have tried to locate her over the air.

To say nothing of the efforts of the Police.

Yet, she's not come forward.

Why?

Because, I suggest to you.

She does not exist.

[ Door knocks ]

Come in.

The latest edition, Milady. Thank you, Henderson.

Would your Ladyship settle an argument below stairs?

An argument? The Metford case, Milady.

There is vast controversy.

Most of the upper servants hold he's guilty.

Only the cook and the upstairs maid are for acquittal.

Why, you haven't touched your tea, Milady.

Shall I have some fresh made? No. That will be all, Henderson.

Yes, Milady.

Larkin thinks the whole thing was planned to get the insurance.

That will be all, Henderson.

I don't want to hear any more about the trial.

Oh, I'm sorry, Milady.

I thought you were interested in as much as you ordered all the editions.

I'm very sorry indeed, Milady. That's alright, Henderson.

Henderson, bring my whiskey and soda up here will you.

Yes, sir Alan.

How are you, darling?

How are you, darling.

Fine.

You look tired.

A little.

Quite a job on my hands.

This Metford fellow is above the average run of criminals.

What happened today?

He persists in this story of that other woman on the cliff.

I hammered away at him all afternoon, but he wouldn't be shaken.

What are all these newspapers doing here?

Why .. I've been reading them.

Apparently.

They're all open at the Metford case.

Now look here darling, I hope you're not going to let this trial upset you.

Oh Alan I know, I mean I'm sure Metford is innocent.

Now, Helen.

I've felt this about other cases. This time I'm sure you're making a mistake.

Alan, you just mustn't send an innocent man to his death.

Well, that is hardly my intention.

But supposing he really is innocent?

Innocent men don't have strategic lapses of memory.

They don't make contradictory statements, darling.

If you could see the man once, you'd soon change your opinion of him.

Oh, but I have seen him.

You have? Where?

Why, his picture is in the newspapers.

He has an unusually kind face.

You must admit that.

It's that whipped-dog expression he affects whenever he's photographed.

It fools you. Oh Alan, be fair.

Well I hope I am. No darling, you're not.

But darling, every bit of evidence points to the man's guilt.

He wasn't able to establish an alibi.

His story of that other woman on the cliff ..

Is one of the most fantastic tales I've ever heard in a courtroom.

He couldn't even describe her. Well ..

Perhaps he didn't get a good look at her.

Perhaps she hurried by him.

That's exactly what happened. So he says.

Well, it could have happened.

If he didn't get a good look at the woman, he shouldn't try to describe her.

First she was wearing a brown walking suit.

Then he was equally certain it was a grey suit trimmed with fur.

Men seldom notice what women wear.

Oh, rubbish.

Alan.

Alan, don't turn around.

How am I dressed? What colour is my gown?

You mean right now? Yes, now.

What do I look like? You look adorable.

The court would call that being evasive.

Alright, I won't be evasive.

Right now you have on ..

A white satin gown with red and green flowers on it.

It has short sleeves, a "V" neck.

A belt.

Of the same material laced and tied in a bow in front.

And now darling, if you want me to tell you how beautiful you are ..

Make yourself comfortable because it's going to take a very long time.

Of course that isn't a fair test.

No ordinary man has your power of observation.

No ordinary man has a wife like you.

Oh Alan, supposing that .. Darling.

I've known you to be sensitive about other cases but never like this before.

Why are you so sure this man is innocent?

Oh, I don't know.

Just intuition.

Well logic and not feminine intuition is what decides murder cases, darling.

It frightens me to realize how much you love me.

I'm afraid that some time in the course of duty I may ..

Do something wrong.

You won't have these worries when I get that appointment.

Alan.

That appointment means an awful lot to you doesn't it.

The first day I picked up a law book ..

I set the Attorney Generalship as a goal.

Then I found something more important.

I gathered that up on the way, too.

Now do you wonder why I love you so much?

You're always so patient with me, Alan. Everything I do or say sounds so ..

So infinitely like you.

How do you think I came to worship you?

Because you're so pretty.

Because you ride a horse well, or play good bridge? No, darling.

Because you're sprinkled with stardust.

You have what's called "quality".

It is an innate kindness that makes all the rest of us a little shoddy.

Hello, Hilton.

This came for you by messenger three hours ago, sir.

At ten to five.

I'd like to remind you sir that the christening is at 5:15.

Thank you, Hilton.


Yes, Sir Alan?

Phone Lady Dearden.

Say I'll be a few minutes late for the christening. - Yes, sir.

It's getting on towards five. I'd better be off.

Cheap stuff.

I suppose one shouldn't say that to one's hostess.

Cheer up, Diana. You will soon be in funds.

Or in jail.

My darling, you have the heart of a robust canary.

I don't like it. Really I don't.

You were alright three hours ago when you wrote the letter.

I've had time to think it over.

Where is your sense of humour? It's very amusing.

I sell her some letters. You sell him some.

As soon as the appointment is announced, we'll have a clearance sale.

And sell him the balance.

And go out of business.

I wouldn't mind so much if it was someone else.

But you don't know Alan as I do.

He's clever.

Even as a kid at Cambridge he knew all the answers.

Five thousand pounds against his career?

If he really is clever, there will be only one answer.

Suppose he kicks up a row?

Well, you can kick up a row too.

Can't you?

What you need is another drink.

It's a quarter to six, Helen. Oh, I'm sorry, Eloise.

Alan must have been detained longer than he expected.

Couldn't Bunny act as Godfather? Of course.

Doctor.

We won't wait for my husband. Mr Jeffers will act as Godfather in his place.

Very well.

Wait a minute ..

How do you go about this thing? Oh, you just name the baby.

That's all. You remember the name, don't you?

Why, I think so.

Turn him around, Bunny. You're holding him wrong.

Oh, I'm doing the best I can.

He's ..

He's so soft.

Don't babies have any bones?


Name this child.

Name this child, Mr Jeffers.

Oh yes, of course.

Thornton, Edward, George ..

Haigh ..

Is it Fennywake? Fennyfield.

Fennyfield, I see.

Fennyfield Cameron.

Thornton Edward George ..


Why your hand, Sir Alan.

It's nothing.

Ah, the prodigal has returned.

Good heavens, darling. What's happened to your hand?

Nothing serious.

It was a nail in the taxi.

Well, did you have it cleansed properly? Yes, it's nothing.

Is that why you missed the christening?

No. I had some rather urgent business to attend to.

I got my time muddled.

A dull business a christening, at best.

The object of this festival was a particularly surly little brat.

Henry!

A pious little brat.

I felt sorry for little Thornton George Haigh Fennyfield Cameron ..

Not having you for a Godfather.

Good heavens. Who stood? Bunny.

Oh, it was dreadful.

I really thought he would never get the name out.

Do you know what he said to Bunny?

Quite audibly, about half way through the name.

"Wouldn't it be better to hit the thing on the bow with a bottle and launch it?"

I still think it's a good idea.

Come along, Henry. I might as well.

Do you know, I haven't been asked to have a drink for half an hour.

Dinner at eight, remember.

You had better be dressing.

I wish we weren't having people in tonight.

Oh I know you're tired, darling.

It must have been very urgent business that kept you from the christening.

Yes, it was.

By the way.

How is poor Metford getting along?

Darling, I'd rather not discuss the Metford case tonight.

I'll get dressed.

I'll be up shortly.

I think I'll lie down for a while.

Yes, do.

[ Singing: ]

"Shine upon my brow today."

Speak.

Yes madam, this is Mr Jeffers' house.

No madam, I'm afraid you can't.

Mr Jeffers is taking his piano lesson now.

Of course it's me.

Hello darling. How are you?

What?

Now? That's very flattering.

May I come just as I am?

But I am serious.

What?

Why look here, Helen. Helen, what's up?

Of course. I'll jump into some rags and be right over.

Do you mind?

I need a drink. No, of course not.

You shouldn't have allowed yourself to be blackmailed.

Why didn't you turn him over to Alan?

Oh I didn't dare. You know Alan.

He'd have had him arrested and that would have caused a nasty scandal.

Goodbye to the new appointment.

I thought it all over very carefully Bunny, before I went to Dover.

It is a nasty mess, darling, really.

See, if you tell him the truth.

His career goes up in smoke.

And if you don't .. An innocent man may go to the gallows.

Of course .. I must help him.

If there were only some way of saving Metford without destroying Alan.

I've got it .. it's so simple, my dear.

You just tell Alan you went to Dover that day to see my sister off to Paris.

After the boat sailed, you thought you'd take a little stroll along the cliffs ..

And that's all there is to it.

You know, sometimes I'm frightened of my own cleverness.

No, I can't tell him that. Why?

The day I went to Dover, I told Alan I was at the tennis matches at Wimbledon.

Oh ..

Bunny, you've just got to do something. You must help me.

Of course I will, darling. But we don't have to rush things.

Lots can happen before this trial ends you know.

Now .. give uncle Bunny a little smile.

My dear, I was at the trial today. Alan was thrilling.

How he made that murderer squirm.

All the fellow did was to push his wife off a cliff.

Henry.

Oh Alan, I was so proud of you today.

How long will it take you to finish that little wretch?

The trial may take another week.

A whole week?

I mustn't miss a single day.

Excuse me, please.

Why is everybody so vicious about this fellow?

After all .. perhaps his wife needed murdering.

Well, if you think that's funny, I don't.

My dear, my dear, it wasn't meant for humour.

A cocktail, sir?

Lady Hathaway would have made a most charming cannibal.

Can't you see her dancing round the pot while the victim boils?

Well anyway, her morbidity is honest.

Why the newspapers and a legion of Lady Hathaways ..

Seem to gloat over the possibility of snuffing out old Metford is beyond me.

Look here, you haven't been discussing the case with Helen by chance, have you?

Good heavens, no.

Why?

Nothing.

Only you know how sensitive she is.

I must say I wouldn't like to go through the rest of my life ..

With the spook of old Metford sitting on my shoulder.

You certainly are a cheerful bloke.

Look here, Bunny.

You're a pretty good lawyer.

At least you would be if you hadn't so much money.

Submit one point in Metford's favour.

Alright. What about the other woman?

You mean, the "phantom woman"?

There may be such a woman.

There may be a Santa Claus.

It's a cock-and-bull story, Bunny.

Well, I don't entirely disbelieve it.

Then why hasn't she come forward? There could be a dozen reasons.

She might have .. gone abroad.

She might have been in Dover that day ..

Under circumstances which make it nearly impossible for her to come forward.

That's very nice. You've settled the whole thing, just like that.

Tomorrow I'll merely address the court and say "Milord, until last night .."

"I thought The Crown had built up a most convincing case against the accused."

"But Your Lordship will agree that Mr Jeffers' brilliant observations .."

"Must completely shatter the Crown's case."

So I move for a dismissal.

Will that satisfy you?

Or would you have us go further and erect a monument to poor Metford?

On Sunset View with the touching inscription ..

"Don't push."

Alan, dear.

Thornton Edward George Haigh Fennyfield Cameron ..

Will never forgive you for deserting the ship this afternoon.

Well, I'm sorry, Eloise.

Important business. On Mallet Street?

Of course not.

Why Mallet Street?

Coming to the christening I saw you turn into Mallet Street from The Embankment.

Not I. I wasn't near Mallet Street.

I could almost have sworn it was you.

You must have a double in London.

Well, I'm satisfied as long as he does not start signing my name to cheques.


Dinner is served, Milady.

Yes. Very well, Henderson.

Pass. Pass.

Well lead, lead ..

Ten-thirty, Lord Hathaway. Oh yes.

Well .. where's he going?

Just home. Ten-thirty is the deadline for uncle Henry.

I've seen him quit the House Of Lords in the middle of a speech in the same way.

You can send me a cheque in the morning.

But you lost.

If we could get somebody to take his hand there would be no need to turn in.

Alan shouldn't play anymore. Why do you say that?

Your mind isn't on the game old boy.

You played atrociously.

Post mortems are now in order, General.

Can you tell me why you led the Jack of Diamonds up to the King?

It's an old family custom. The Deardens always lead the Jack to the King.

I suppose you thought the ace was in my hand?

Though why you thought so, heaven only knows.

I suppose it was another of those natural deductions of yours?

Wouldn't you rather hear some music, General?

You couldn't look at my hand.

And yet you were sure that I had the ace.

You didn't see Metford kill his wife, yet you're sure that he did.

Why bring up the Metford case?

You decided my fate in that game exactly as you are deciding his.

I'm sure that Metford would be perfectly willing to change places with you.

The chances are, he's just as innocent as I am.

You don't really believe that. Curiously enough General, he does.

With the chain of evidence complete.

It might be a series of coincidences.

Yes, yes it might be. But ..

Hardly probable.

Oh I don't know. We all at times have our unguarded hour.

When everything is against us. When we can't remember faces or dates or places.

Metford had his unguarded hour.

But unfortunately for him it synchronised with his wife's death.

Now, he's accused of committing a murder that he claims he never committed.

Ha-ha.

That's pure Tommy-rot.

Well, there's another aspect.

Take the murderer's first line of defence.

He must tell a consistent story, huh?

The real criminal provides for that in advance.

Of course. But the innocent man?

Ask him where he was and what he did at such and such an hour.

He will have great difficulty in answering.

People don't bother to remember those things.

An innocent man could.

Could you?

Definitely. Alright.

Now let's assume that a crime was committed this afternoon.

And that you are under suspicion.

Could you prove an alibi? Certainly.

Good. Let's say the crime was committed between five and six.

Where were you, during that hour?

Why, between five and six?

Because you had an important appointment at 5:15 and you failed to keep it.

To tell you the truth, because I thought you'd make a better-looking Godfather.

You're evasive. Have a drink, General?

Yes. Yes, I don't mind if I do.

I'm in no mood for any of your parlour games tonight, Bunny.

I'm sure the General feels the same way.

As a matter of fact I'm trying to recall my movements between five and six today.

And I confess it's very difficult. I thought perhaps it's my age.

And do you really mean that offhand, you can account for each minute of the hour?

Most assuredly.

Then where were you between five and six, huh?

Well ..

See, stopping to think, already.

I'm doing nothing of the kind.

Just before 5, I got a letter pertaining to some business that couldn't wait.

I had Hilton phone Helen that I'd be late for the christening and I left.

Go on, go on.

Well, the business took me longer than I'd expected and ..

I arrived home about 6:15.

Not so fast. You'd never allow a witness to explain away an hour in that fashion.

I'm afraid he's right, Alan.

Well, you left the office. Then where did you drive?

I dismissed my car.

That's odd. Why?

Well, I didn't want to inconvenience Helen so I sent the car home to her.

Well, what about Sergeant Burns?

Sergeant Burns? Yes, you know.

The plain-clothes man who guards you since you broke up that racehorse gang.

I dismissed him.

You .. you dismissed Sergeant Burns?

I know I promised you General, but ..

Well today, I felt I just couldn't have him dogging my footsteps.

He was getting on my nerves.

I suppose you realise that in getting rid of Sergeant Burns ..

You've lost the only witness who could prove definitely ..

Where you spend the time in question.

There is a point for the Prosecution.

I think you two should exchange jobs.

Yes, I think so.

And do you see the further implication that you are now under suspicion?

Why?

Because on this particular afternoon you did a thing you never do as a rule.

You dismissed your chauffeur and the detective assigned to guard you.

But there was no crime.

No. But if there had been and you were suspected ..

That would be considered a suspicious circumstance. Right, General?

Well .. I think so.

You rang, sir?

Whiskey and sodas for General Lawrence and myself.

Very good, sir. What ..?

You'll need all your wits, Alan. Suspicious characters shouldn't drink.

Any game that robs a man of a drink is getting serious.

No flippancies from the accused, please.

Now.

You left the Strand Chambers shortly before five.

Where did you go?

I turned south on to the Victoria Embankment.

You turned south on to the Victoria Embankment.

You're speaking like an accused person already.

Accused people, when flustered, always say things like that to gain time.

Bunny, I never knew anyone could be so exasperating.

That's how Metford feels about you.

Well, you turned south on to The Embankment and then what did you do?

I walked about five streets to Northumberland Avenue.

Turned north and entered the Brock House.

You're doing nobly. You've accounted for about .. fifteen minutes.

And on whom were you calling at the Brock House?

Gerald Houseman. Gerald Houseman.

You're tripping over solicitors all day long in the court.

And yet you call on one at five o'clock. Why?

I see nothing unusual about that. Thanks for the lift, General.

And what was your important business with Gerald Houseman?

The court is adjourned. Oh, no it isn't.

Here, General. Make yourself comfortable.

It's his life that is at stake you know.

I was asking you the nature of your business with Gerald Houseman.

It was a very private matter. I'd rather not discuss it.

You mean you refuse to discuss it?

Yes. Aha.

You insisted on poor Metford explaining the quarrel he had with his wife ..

Leave Metford out of this.

Alright .. how long were you with Houseman?

I didn't see him.

Whom did you see? No-one.

I went into the outer office and there was no-one there so I sat and waited.

The future Attorney General waits to be announced to Mr Houseman.

Why didn't you boom into his office the way you boom into poor old Metford?

I wanted to think a while before I saw him.

How long did this meditation last?

Possibly fifteen minutes. And then?

Then I changed my mind about seeing him and I left the office.

Without seeing anyone?

Exactly.

The lift couldn't have been crowded at that hour, going up.

The lift man must have noticed you. I didn't use the lift.

Up or down. No?

I always use the stairs. The exercise, you know.

And in all this time you didn't encounter one, single person?

No.

Of all the fishy stories, this is the prize sardine, isn't it.

It is a little strange, I'll admit.

Strange? It's fantastic.

Why if any witness dared to tell you a story like that, you'd bite his ear off.

Possibly, but it's true. Ha.

Well, after your elusive ghost had finished haunting Houseman's office.

Where did it go? I went back to The Embankment.

Leaned against the parapet and watched the river traffic.

What an alibi.

While the crime was being committed.

You are visiting deserted offices and leaning against parapets.

Well .. what next?

I strolled along The Embankment.

You went for a stroll?

Despite the fact that Helen and us were waiting for you at the christening?

Me with a baby in my arms.

Not the best-mannered baby in the world, either.

Why?

I had to reach a decision regarding the business that took me to that office.

Have you got one witness that can prove that you meandered along The Embankment?

Remember, your life may depend on this.

Witnesses don't follow one about the streets.

Do you insist that a prisoner at the bar produce a witness to every trivial act?

Otherwise, you say he's lying. Wait a second.

I bought a paper at the corner of Charing Cross bridge.

The man who sold it to me would identify me.

Yes? But suppose he couldn't?

Then I can't prove it.

Well, what paper did you buy?

The Daily Record.

Which edition?

The 6:30.

Ah .. the Daily Record doesn't have a 6:30 edition.

Only The Chronicle and The Herald. Right. It was The Chronicle I bought.

A complete contradiction, you see. We've got him, General.

What did you do with The Chronicle? Did you bring it home with you?

No, I ..

I must have dropped it somewhere.

Hmm .. and then?

Then I decided to see Houseman after all and I went back to the Brock House.

Oh the Brock House again.

I hope it hadn't disappeared when you got there.

No, it was still there but I didn't enter. I changed my mind again ..

Hailed a taxi and drove to the church.

Obviously you saw someone there?

No .. no, the church was empty.

So I walked home.

Only don't you think it's a little uncanny ..

The way you keep popping up in places that are deserted?

Nevertheless, it happens to be true.

Sounds awfully queer to me.

Now, earlier this evening.

You told us you cut your hand on a nail in the taxi.

So I did.

Are you sure you didn't get it in a life and death struggle with your victim?

Nonsense.

"Nonsense" is a word used by prisoners as they're tied in knots by prosecutors.

Do you believe me or don't you? Oh, my dear fellow.

As your closest friend, of course I'm willing to believe anything you say.

But .. if I were the General, I would view you with the gravest suspicion.

I might even apply for a warrant for your arrest.

Bunny, you're carrying this joke a little too far.

Getting the wind up, eh?

Oh, shut up.

All evening, you've been pale, agitated, unlike your usual self.

Nonsense. There is that word again.

When Eloise arrived, she said she'd seen you on Mallet Street about five o'clock.

She was mistaken. Possibly.

But she's known you all her life.

Now supposing this hypothetical crime had been committed on Mallet Street.

And around five o'clock and you came under suspicion ..

Inspector Grainger is here sir, to see General Lawrence.

I'm sorry.

Must be something important. That's alright.

Show him in here. We'll go in the drawing room.

Good evening, General.

What's up, Grainger?

There was a murder committed between five and six this afternoon, sir.

Number 9, Mallet Street.

Between five and six?

Mallet Street?

A woman named Diana Roggers was found strangled to death in her flat.

Upon my soul.

The body wasn't discovered until an hour ago.

I wanted to report to you personally, because of a strange angle to the case.

What angle?

This memorandum was on the table in the lady's bedroom.

"A.D."

"Strand Chambers."

The only A.D. in the Strand Chamber is ..

Is your host, Sir Alan Dearden.

Hmm.

Why don't you let Mr Jeffers play for you, Alan?

It's much easier for him. He's seen all the hands.

Better stand in the corner, Bunny. You make us nervous.

It's terribly stupid of me, darling. I'm not concentrating.

Take it as a compliment, Helen.

No man could play as badly as that unless he was terribly in love.

Bunny, if I were to strangle you, no jury in the world would convict me.

You don't think ..?

Well, I mean to say, Sir Alan couldn't know anything about this, could he?

That's too difficult a question to answer at this moment.

But if he does.

Remember this, Inspector.

We have a very intelligent man to deal with.

Yes, sir.

The mere supposition seems fantastic.

And yet.

He spoke of relieving an important letter in his office.

Shortly before five o'clock.

I'd give considerably to know what's in that letter.

Most letters are thrown in to waste-paper baskets, sir.

A chance in a million. We mustn't overlook it.

Take a detail and go to the Strand Chambers immediately.

Very good, sir.

Will you be viewing the body tonight, sir?

Later, later.

Nothing has been moved?

The knife and the newspaper?

Just where they were found? Yes, sir.

Report what progress you're making with the letter.

You had better telephone me here, in ..

An hour. Very good, sir.

Hadn't I better detail some men to watch this house, sir?

I suppose so.

Yes, sir.

All the stuff from the waste baskets comes down this chute into the bag here.

Then it's taken out into the incinerator.

We generally do that around this time.

We're going to have a look through the stuff in the bag. Empty it on the floor.

Goodnight Helen, I've had a lovely time.

I shall be at the trial tomorrow. Watching you make the kill.

Really, you make me feel like a matador.

Such ego, my boy.

I can hardly visualize poor old Metford as a bull.

A goat would be a much better simile.

Why don't you have breakfast with me? We can go to the Old Bailey together.

No thanks, aunt Agatha.

Why it's much more dramatic than any play.

I'm afraid I haven't your appreciation for the morbid.

Oh darling. Goodnight.

Why don't you go home? Waiting for General Lawrence.

Well, why doesn't he go? I haven't had a moment with Helen and I'd like one.

I could stand more than a moment.

Alan, you go along with Bunny. I'm tired. I want to go to bed.

But darling, the trial is over soon. I'd like to plan the finish of our holiday.

I don't think there is much point in our planning it.

Goodnight.

Goodnight, Helen. And don't worry.

Don't worry?

What is there to worry about? Nothing. Nothing at all.

Just don't worry. That's all. I always say that.

It's nicer than "pleasant dreams" or "sleep tight".

"See you tomorrow."

Look Bunny, aren't you ever going home?

Well, not until the General does. He's giving me a lift.

General, we're being insulted.

Our genial host is actually anxious for us to go home.

By Jove, don't tell me everyone has left.

How stupid of me. I told the Inspector to telephone me here in an hour.

It's very important. I ..

Hope you won't mind my staying a while. Why, you may stay all night, General.

I'm sure you can get into a pair of my pyjamas.

Thanks awfully, but ..

There will be no need for your hospitality after I get the message.

It is no imposition, I assure you. How about a drink?

I could use one very nicely. Ditto.

I might have known your answer would be "ditto".

What's the case, General? Anything gooey?

I'm sorry, but it's a rule of the yard that ..

Of course, of course.

How stupid of me to ask.

There you are, sir. Thank you.

It must be rather awkward not having the full use of one's right hand, I imagine.

It will be alright in the morning. I'm not so sure about that.

Let me take a look at it. Oh, it's nothing, General.

Nothing?

The bandage is too tight for one thing. I tell you it's quite alright.

I saw you exercising your fingers tonight.

It's a sure sign of a tight bandage.

Really, I .. Well ..

What caused that? A knife?

Of course, I remember.

You said you ripped it on a nail in a taxi. Is that right?

Yes.

If you ask me it's exactly like a cut from a knife.

Nobody asked you, Watson.

You were wearing gloves when you got this, weren't you?

Yes. Dr Watson asks "how".

The nature of the wound.

See where the cut ends abruptly here at the side of the hand?

That's just where the seam of the glove would be.

Amazing, my dear Sherlock. I shall think twice before stabbing anyone.

You know, one can't be too careful with a thing of this sort.

Infection, you know.

Well very often, the dye from the glove is extremely poisonous.

I'd like to take a look at the one you wore.

I threw the gloves away.

This one was ripped. Ah yes, yes. Of course.

Alan, you may say that was done by a nail.

But a nail doesn't make a clean cut like that.

Oh for heaven's sakes Bunny, stop it.

Fancy, you're trying to humbug me.

That's a cut from a knife, my boy.

If it was done by a man you'd have told us.

You haven't told us, so it was done by a woman.

Don't forget they're making Dearden .. Attorney General.

Yes, that means he's got to be twice as careful not to be found out.

What?

You couldn't risk an exposure, old boy.

You would take any steps to keep it covered up.

Yes.

There you are.

I see it all clearly.

Give me my crystal. I'll give you more than that.

I see .. I see!

Two gay young sparks at Cambridge.

One of them is named "Dearden".

The other, a brilliant, dashing young fellow.

Can it be I?

It is I.

I'm warning my friend against being too fond of the ladies.

Does he heed my warning? No.

I see the sad face of poor little Lottie from the tobacconist.

Maisy from the bar, and a score of others.

Stop being an ass.

Ah, the years roll by.

My friend is married.

The past suddenly gallops up to him.

One of these fair damsels, by a ruse, gets him to her apartment.

She tries to awaken the old interest.

He's unresponsive, there is a scene, a clash of temperaments.

He grabs a knife .. Will you shut up.

He has a very vivid imagination, hasn't he.

All the same, I wish I'd seen the cut on his hand when he was in the witness box.

I'd have riddled that asinine yarn of yours ..

About deserted offices, strolls along The Embankment ..

And that evasion about being seen in Mallet Street.

That's strange. What?

Well, I don't suppose I should tell you. There's a curious coincidence.

The crime that was committed today really happened in Mallet Street.

I knew it. General, there is your man.

What was the nature of the crime?

Murder. Was it a woman?

Yes. Yes, she was found strangled to death in her flat.

The hour and the place of the time of her death between 5 and 6.

Between 5 and 6 in Mallet Street, and a woman.

My dear old fellow, why don't you give yourself up?

The woman's name was Diana Roggers.

Oh .. did you know her? No.

No. Of course not.

Were there any clues? Yes, a few.

There was an unopened copy of the Evening Chronicle found on the divan.

The 6:30 edition.

The 6:30 edition of The Chronicle?

Why that's the paper .. Yes, yes.

You did mention earlier in the evening purchasing the Chronicle, didn't you.

Yes .. yes, but ..

He told us he'd thrown it away. Remember?

And on the floor beside the woman's body was found a knife.

With which she evidently attempted to defend herself.

There was blood on the blade.

So we feel that the murderer will be found with ..

A cut on the right hand.

Why .. why the right hand?

Because there were marks of a right hand on the woman's throat.

She was strangled, remember.

And on the finger-marks were traces of blood.

Then there were fingerprints? No, no.

But the bruises of the fingers on the neck are clearly marked.

There were no fingerprints.

So ..

He must have worn gloves.

It's getting awfully close in here, isn't it.

Mind if I open a window? No. Do.

A fresh drink, General?

No. No thanks.

Well ..

There's a storm knocking around somewhere.

Probably why it is so oppressive.

I thought we were in for one.

It was like an oven in court today.

Next week, we'll probably all be shivering again.

Yes .. that's our English climate. Yes.

Don't stand there like a stuffed owl! I know what you're thinking.

No, no, no. I was just .. You think I'm the murderer.

Two and two make four. Is that the idea?

Generally.

It is a little disturbing, Alan.

That cut on your hand and some other things.

No doubt, you can explain them.

The injury to my hand, I can.

It wasn't a nail.

That's quite obvious.

When I left the temple I was followed by a man.

Evidently one of the racehorse gang.

He struck at me with a knife.

As I shielded myself I got it in the right hand.

Why did you say it was a nail?

I know it was stupid of me but I didn't want to frighten Helen.

I felt guilty for dismissing Sergeant Burns after giving you my promise.

Well that clears everything up then.

Where did this attack take place?

In one of the lanes as I cut through to The Embankment.

Well surely you can remember exactly which lane?

As a matter of fact I can't.

I was very much occupied. My mind was worried with something else at the time.

It all happened so quickly, I was a little confused.

Who saw it?

No-one. The lane was deserted. What happened to the man?

He got away.

That settles that, now ..

Do you think we ought to be toddle along gentlemen? It's getting late.

You should have reported to the Yard. I didn't want to frighten Helen.

Why argue about it anymore? The whole thing is .. perfectly ridiculous.

Yes.

Almost all murders are ridiculous.

Look General, I'd like to know what you mean by that.

Steady, Alan.

But if you had to go through all I have with this Metford case day after day ..

Hours on end.

You wouldn't want to be badgered with a string of questions.

Where have I been this afternoon? What did I do? What the devil does it matter?

General, Alan is tired. Don't you think we should go home? - No, wait.

Perhaps Alan would like to settle this now.

Settle what? I've told you everything. It isn't my fault if I can't prove it.

No, you haven't told everything.

Would you tell me one thing, the nature of your business in Houseman's office.

I'm sorry .. I refuse to divulge the nature of that business.

[ Telephone ]

Why, that's probably for me.

May I? Certainly.

Hello?

Yes, yes. Correct.

We've come across a part of an envelope addressed to Dearden.

The same handwriting as the memorandum found in the murdered woman's bedroom.

Very good.

I'm going to Mallet Street and then to the Yard, so ..

You keep in touch with me.

Well.

I look for an early solution to this case.

If you're sure you have your man, why don't you arrest him?

Why Alan, I haven't said anything about being sure of anything.

Now, I'll be running along. I'll have Henderson get your things.

That's nice of you.

Goodnight, Alan.

Goodnight, General. I'm sorry if I seemed a little short.

Oh please, no apologies are necessary.

Henderson, the General's hat and coat.

Goodnight, Bunny. Goodnight, General.

Alan, trust me. You do trust me, don't you?

Will you please stop this. I don't care why you did it.

All I know is I'm your friend. I want to help.

I didn't do it, I tell you. I didn't, I didn't!

Of course you didn't old boy. Of course not. All I meant was.

Oh Alan, why don't you trust me?

When things close in on you like this, you can't escape ..

Will you stop it!

You have your passport. You could leave England tonight.

Don't be a fool, Alan. You must go away somewhere and have a chance to think.

Every circumstance points to .. Yes, I've been tied up very nicely.

Very nicely indeed.

The missing alibis and the newspaper and my cut hand.

And Eloise thinking she saw me in Mallet Street.

It's like a nightmare, one thing following another like this.

And it all started with your idiotic joke about alibis.

Why did you ever start it?

I tell you, I've explained everything.

I won't listen to another word about it. Go home, Bunny.

If you won't discuss it with me, send for someone.

But do it tonight. Now.

Physicians don't cure themselves.

Oh Bunny, goodnight. But ..

Goodnight.


Bunny. Hello, darling.

What made you get me up at this unearthly hour?

Where are the horses? There aren't any.

Good. I didn't feel like riding. No, neither did I.

I wanted an excuse to leave the house.

Come on Bunny, I must talk with you. Yes.

Come on, old girl.

You can't just sit there, staring into space.

What's on your mind?

The end of everything that matters in life for me.

I know about Alan.

What?

It wasn't just a youthful escapade this Diana Roggers situation.

You heard him deny he was on Mallet Street. Well, he ..

Did that because ..

That's where she lives.

Lives?

He was with her yesterday afternoon.

He'll probably be with her today, tomorrow and the next day.

It must have been going on since we've been married.

Nonsense.

Alan wouldn't do a thing like that to you.

Did you talk to him last night?

I'm a coward, Bunny.

I dread to face him with this sordidness standing between us.

All the normal clean things seem to be so far away now, don't they.

Ambition, contentment.

Loyalty.

Everything is going to work out alright.

You mustn't be impulsive.

It's all so vividly clear, Bunny.

When Alan comes home tonight, I shall tell him just why I went to Dover.

It will be easier to help Metford now.

Yes.

Yes of course. Only ..

You mustn't do anything yet.

Not today I mean. Not until I've had time to check up on lots of things.

You mustn't. You absolutely mustn't.

I wanted to help them both, Bunny.

I guess Alan didn't need me.

Darling.

He may need you now.

More than you ever dreamed.

Is Lady Dearden awake yet?

Yes, Sir Alan. She's out.

Out?

She went riding. Left the house about 7:30.

Thank you, Martha.


Now then, Metford.

I was asking you when the court rose, yesterday.

About ..

I beg the court's indulgence for a moment while I consult my notes.

A rather timid approach this morning, don't you think?

Rather.

Now then.

When the court rose yesterday.

I was asking you ..

He seems rather upset, don't you think?

Rather.

Good morning, sir. How do you do, sir.

Well, did you get any sleep? No, sir.

I didn't leave the Strand Chambers until 9:30 this morning when I telephoned you.

Is the letter taking shape? Yes, sir.

When I left only two pieces were needed to complete the reconstruction job.

They'll find them before noon, I'm sure.

I can't understand him not burning that letter, sir.

A man of his intelligence.

Every murderer, however intelligent he is, generally makes one mistake.

I'm happy to say.

Haven't we enough evidence to make an arrest now, General?

No hurry, no hurry. He can't get away.

There is just one thing missing to make our case complete.

The motive.

Lady Dearden? Yes?

This is for you.

What's this? A subpoena.

A subpoena?

Anything wrong, Milady?

No, Larkin. Wait at the car. Yes, Milady.

When must I appear?

Right away. I am to accompany you to the court.

Very well, come along.

The Old Bailey. Yes, Milady.

Then you can't remember the exact date when the policy for 1,000 was issued?

Well, if I ..

If I could only think for a minute.

I have no objection. Go ahead and think.

If I remember correctly.

The policy was taken out on the 5th of March, 1935.

You did remember correctly.

Your witness.

No questions.

At this time I should like to call another witness.

Call the witness.

Lady Helen Dearden.

Silence .. silence in the court!

Silence.

Milord, Lady Dearden knows nothing of this case.

I beg to disagree with my learned friend, Milord.

I think we shall find that Lady Dearden knows a great deal about this case.

Milord.

Lady Dearden is my wife.

Lady Dearden at the moment, is a witness.

Yes, Milord.

Administer the oath.

What is your name?

Helen Dudley Dearden.

Helen Dudley Dearden.

Take the book in your right hand.

The evidence which you will give to the court shall be the truth ..

The whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you, God.

Kiss the book.

Lady Dearden.

You are the wife of the counsel for The Crown in this case, are you not?

Yes.

Do you have any idea why you have been called as a witness today?

I think I have.

Were you in Dover on the afternoon of May 14th last?

Yes, I was.

And while there, did you make a trip to the summit of one of the Dover cliffs?

The one known as Sunset View.

Silence! Silence.

What time did you arrive at Sunset View?

At precisely one-thirty.

And what time did you leave?

About five minutes later.

Five minutes later?

Why did you go there, Lady Dearden?

Everyone has heard of the wonderful view from there.

Oh yes. Of course.

But you saw all that you wanted to see in five minutes.

The view didn't come up to your expectations, I take it?

I object, Milord.

The counsel for the defence insinuates there may have been something strange ..

About Lady Dearden's visit to Sunset View.

Such an insinuation is absurd and unfounded.

Thousands of tourists visit this cliff yearly.

Metford and his wife were two of those thousands, Milord.

The accused has testified that he and Mrs Metford went there to see the view.

The Crown has persistently scoffed at such an explanation.

It suggests that Metford's trip to an out-of-the way place like Sunset View ..

Was a singularly sinister and most uncommon expedition.

The objection before the court, Mr Wilson.

Is to your insinuation that there was something strange ..

About Lady Dearden's visit to Sunset View on May 14th last.

I no longer insinuate, Milord.

The defence maintain Lady Dearden's five minute visit to Sunset View was unusual.

And subsequent events bear us out in our contention.

Until a minute ago, The Crown placed but two people at the scene of the tragedy.

Now there are three.

The first: Annie Metford, deceased.

The second: her husband who stands accused of her murder.

Lady Dearden, the mysterious lady who for the past month ..

Has been implored by the press to come forward.

Is the third person.

She did not appear until her identity became known.

And a bailiff armed with a subpoena was sent to get her.

Why? Milord.

I'm sure Lady Dearden can explain why she has not come forward before this.

I am equally sure ..

She is most eager to answer any and all questions from my learned friend.

Therefore, I withdraw my objection.

Continue with the witness.

Why did you go to Dover?

To .. to keep an appointment.

With whom?

Why must I answer all these questions?

What does it matter when I got there or whom I went to see?

I think the questions are perfectly proper, Lady Dearden.

Your Lordship notices the reluctant way in which the witness answers questions.

I think it's within your Lordship's discretion in the circumstances ..

To allow me to cross-examine her, as a hostile witness.

Any objection, Sir Alan?

None, Milord.

You may cross-examine the witness.

Lady Dearden.

Shortly after 12 o'clock noon, on May 14th last ..

You entered the Dover Highland Bank.

And changed two 1,000 notes into five and ten pound notes.

Did you not?

You did to that, didn't you?

You put the money into a small, black bag you were carrying.

That bag was found opened and emptied beside the body of Annie Metford.

That same bag has been identified as such by the bank clerk who served you.

The same clerk ..

Mindful of the fact that people don't go around changing 1,000 notes every day.

Jotted down the license number of your car parked across the road by the bank.

You did change those two large notes into smaller ones.

Didn't you, Lady Dearden?

Yes, I ..

I did.

After leaving the bank, where did you go with the money?

To the foot of the Dover cliffs.

When you got to the foot of the cliff, what did you do?

I parked my car and ..

Started up the road which leads to the Sunset View.

Why did you carry the money up there?

It was rather an odd proceeding, was it not?

Yes .. I suppose so.

When you reached the top of the cliff.

What did you do with the money?

I threw it over the cliff.

Threw two thousand pounds over the cliff?

Why?

There .. there was a man waiting for it at the bottom.

I gave him the money for some letters my husband had written to this man's wife.

That was before Sir Alan and I were married.

Did you husband know of this?

No, Milord.

I knew what he would have done and ..

I loved him too much to let him sacrifice his career.

Then your trip to Sunset View was made under strange circumstances.

Was it not, Lady Dearden?

Yes. I suppose you could say it was.

You were there at almost the exact time of the tragedy.

Did you pass anybody on the way up to the top of the cliff?

No.

Was there anyone at the place known as Sunset View when you arrived there?

No.

Now, Lady Dearden.

On your way back, did you see anyone?

Yes.

A woman. First, I heard a voice.

She was speaking with some man.

I stepped behind a rock and she passed.

Alone.

I didn't see her face.

How far had you gone when this woman passed you?

It was close to the summit.

Just before you come to a slight bend in the path.

We have here a map of Sunset View.

And the path which leads to it.

Now this is Sunset View.

This is the path that leads to the base of the cliff.

And this woman passed you about here?

Yes.

How long after she passed you did you come from behind the rock?

I should say about 5 .. or 6 seconds.

And then you continued down the path?

Did you see anyone else?

Yes. A man.

I saw him.

Just as I came to the bend in the path.

This bend? Yes.

Where was the man?

He was climbing up an embankment on the right hand side of the path, about ..

Just about there.

He ..

He apparently was gathering some wildflowers.

Did you hear him call to his wife?

Yes. What did he say?

I can't remember his exact words but he ..

He called her name and ..

Warned her not to go too near the edge of the cliff.

Lady Dearden.

I want you to think carefully before you answer this next question.

Had the man seen you when he called to his wife?

No. His back was to me at the time.

Did his wife answer him?

Yes. She called back that she was alright or ..

Or something like that. Did they seem happy?

Very.

In your opinion, was this man genuinely concerned about the safety of his wife?

Yes.

Did the man see you when you passed him?

I didn't know he had until I read it in the papers.

I stepped on some pebbles when I was directly beneath him and ..

I thought at the time I must have attracted his attention but ..

I didn't turn round to see.

And he hadn't seen you when he called and warned her not to go near the edge?

Yes, I'm positive.

Would you recognise this man if you saw him? - Yes.

Metford .. step forward.

Is that the man?

Yes.

Thank you.

The defence rests.

Milord, I wish to take this opportunity ..

Of explaining Lady Dearden's attitude in this case.

Though she has never stated her reasons for thinking so ..

In conversations ..

She has steadfastly maintained that the accused, Metford, was innocent.

Knowing her as I do, I'm positive that she would have come forward eventually.

And would not have permitted a miscarriage of justice.

Sir Alan's reading is correct, Milord.

Only this morning Lady Dearden confided ..

That she intended to appear as a witness for the accused.

But this is most irregular.

Who are you?

Oh .. yes .. well ..

William Jeffers, Milord.

Barrister at law.

Then you should know better .. than to interrupt the proceedings, Mr Jeffers.

I humbly beg your Lordship's pardon. Please take your seat.

Yes, Milord.

The defence has rested, Sir Alan.

No questions.

Ah, wait, Lady Dearden.

You have testified that you have paid the sum of 2,000 to a man ..

In return for some letters written by your husband to that man's wife.

Under the law, the man who received that money is guilty of extortion.

And the court asks that you divulge his name.

I .. I can't remember his name.

The letters in question.

Were received by the wife of this .. unnamed person.

Therefore it must be assumed that she is a party to the extortion.

Surely you can remember her name?

Yes .. her name is ..

Diana Roggers.

Diana Roggers?

Isn't that the name of the woman who was found murdered in her flat last night?

Murdered?

Alan.

There is the motive.

Milord .. with the consent of the court ..

And the counsel for the defence, I should like an adjournment.

For how long, Sir Alan?

I can't say at the moment.

Perhaps General Lawrence could answer that question.

General Lawrence?

Milord.

It is my painful duty to arrest Sir Alan Dearden for the murder of Diana Roggers.

Silence! Silence in court!

Silence! Silence!

Silence! Silence!

Silence.

Alan.

There's nothing to worry about, darling. No, no, no. Nothing at all.

Frazier, you and Sergeant Hawk wait in there.

Very good, sir.

Believe me when I say this is a most unpleasant duty.

General, this whole affair is absurd.

I hoped you had changed your attitude. Alan isn't himself, General.

Excuse me sir, but ..

Sergeant Wallace just reported with the letter.

Oh.

Do you mind if I look too, General?

No, no. I don't mind at all.

This letter demanding that you call upon her at five o'clock.

Was sent to you by Diana Roggers sometime yesterday.

This is the last link in a perfect chain of evidence.

The tone of that letter is definitely threatening.

It supplies an excellent basis for a plea of self-defence.

Yes, I agree with you.

As your friend, I advise you to make a statement.

Oh yes, do darling.

This evidence is overwhelming.

In all my years with the Yard, I can't remember a more .. complete case.

A denial now would create the impression that the crime was premeditated and ..

Not self-defence.

May I speak to Helen alone?

Yes. Yes, if course.

You can wait here in this little room.

Come in .. in here.

Diana Roggers had been an old sweetheart of Dearden.

They were the victims of a blackmail plot.

Lady Dearden's testimony ..

Has undoubtedly saved Metford from the gallows and put her husband in the dock.

Goodbye, darling.

Goodbye, Alan.

I'll take care of her.

I'll contact Houseman right away. Please do.

General.

I killed Diana Roggers.

How did it happen?

It had been many years since I'd seen her or heard of her.

Until I received that letter yesterday.

I knew it meant trouble and decided to consult my solicitor.

I even started for his office.

I changed my mind. Why?

I foresaw a nasty scandal.

Finally I decided to have a talk with Diana Roggers myself.

What time did you arrive at her place?

About twenty minutes to six.

I entered the house and walked up the stairs to her flat.

At that moment I heard someone enter the building.

Not wishing to be seen, I quickly turned the knob of her door.

It wasn't locked.

I stepped inside her flat.

The room was in semi-darkness and as I shut the door and turned from it ..

A woman, Miss Roggers, rushed at me from the bedroom with a knife in her hand.

She shouted .. drunkenly:

"So you've come back, have you."

And slashed at me with a knife.

And what did you do?

I put up my right hand to ward off the blow and received this cut.

It was obvious she was mistaking me for someone else.

Before I said a word, she raised the knife again. - Yes?

Instinctively, I grabbed her by the throat.

As she tried again and again to reach me with the knife.

My fingers tightened on her windpipe.

Suddenly she relaxed and fell in a heap.

I thought she'd fainted, but when I stooped over to pick her up ..

Her eyes .. were wide open.

Lifeless.

I left immediately and went home.

I knew I should have gone to Scotland Yard.

But there was the thought of the publicity ..

I didn't care about myself. I was thinking of Helen.

I understand.

And your theory is that Diana Roggers mistook you for somebody else?

Yes. He must have been in her flat shortly before my arrival.

They undoubtedly quarrelled before he left.

And when I appeared she thought it was this other person returning.

Of course you realize your plea of self defence relies solely on this other man.

Unless he appears and admits quarrelling with her prior to your arrival.

I'm afraid your story won't stand up.

But I feel sure this other man will come forward.

I have an idea it might have been her husband.

Perhaps so.

We have questions to ask that gentleman regarding a trip to Dover, and 2,000.

Grainger. Yes, sir?

Get me the name of Diana Roggers' husband. I want him brought in.

And see if we have a photograph of him for Lady Dearden's identification.

I'll check up right away, sir.

Sorry, but you will have to be taken to Bow Street to be formally charged.

Morning, Helen. Morning, General.

Bunny. General.

Sorry to have brought you here so early, but I've something I think is important.

Won't you sit down? Yes, of course.

We have identified Diana Roggers' husband.

Luckily the Yard had his record and photograph.

His name is Hugh Lewis. He was arrested six years ago for a stock fraud.

That is the man you gave the two thousand pounds to, is it not?

No. This isn't the man.

Are you sure? Absolutely.

According to Helen's description, he was an undersized fellow.

Dull, rather stupid-looking. A little sandy moustache, thinning hair.

This man doesn't resemble him in any detail.

Obviously, the blackmailer was not Diana Roggers' husband.

That's strange. It isn't to me.

She must have been working with a man who posed as her husband.

Yes. Then there is no point in trying to effect the arrest of this gentleman.


How are you, Lady Dearden?

I don't think we need the chauffeur, do we?

Larkin, wait at the kerb. Yes, Milady.

Do you mind if I smoke? No.

You aren't surprised to see me, are you?

No.

It's awfully nice of you not to identify me.

I was sure you're the other man involved.

And you took the police off my trail for the extortion.

So that I wouldn't be afraid to come forward and help Sir Alan.

Very clever.

You're the man who quarrelled with her.

Weren't you? Yes.

She was quite a shrew.

You don't know how much this means us.

Well.

It wouldn't be cricket to allow an innocent man to be punished.

Then you'll come and make a statement? Of course.

That's why I am here.

Just a minute.

I do hope you won't think I'm mercenary.

But I expect to travel extensively after Sir Alan has been freed.

And travelling is so expensive.

How much do you want?

My heart is set .. on a little ranch in Canada.

I can pick one up for ten thousand pounds.

You shall have it. When do I collect?

It will take a day or two to raise that amount without creating comment.

You must trust me. I do.

For a very good reason .. you need me even more than I need the money.

Larkin. Yes, Milady?

Larkin.

Scotland Yard.

And the man who blackmailed Lady Dearden posing as you.

Have you any idea who he is?

According to Lady Dearden's description.

It could be the man my wife became involved with after we were separated.

I believe his name is Adams or ..

Abbott. Something like that.

A very unattractive fellow. Mr Jeffers, sir.

Yes, yes.

Well, General. I got here as quickly as I could.

Hello, darling.

You're Mr Lewis, I presume? We're very grateful to you for coming forward.

Merely doing my duty.

The Lewis statement, sir. Alright.

You'd better look that over.

Inspector Grainger with the prisoner, sir.

Bunny.

Darling.

Oh, Dearden.

This is Hugh Lewis, Diana Roggers' husband.

I had you brought here to check both your stories.

How are you, Dearden? I think I can help you out of this mess.

Yes, I think you can.

This is quite accurate.

Alright.

I'll read it.

"On the day in question I called upon my estranged wife to discuss our divorce."

"She was drinking and abusive."

"We had a violent quarrel. She flew into a rage and ordered me out the flat."

"As I went down the stairs she called: If you ever come back, I'll kill you."

"I make this statement voluntarily and in the interests of justice."

Now Mr Lewis, your signature please.

Ah yes, of course.

There you are.

Dearden, with this testimony I don't believe the jury will be out an hour.

As long as that? I shouldn't think it would take two minutes.

And now if you've done with me today, I think I'll say .. au revoir.

I want to thank you, Mr Lewis.

Lewis, I must thank you too. Don't mention it.

But I must.

What's the matter? Did I hurt your hand? No, not at all.

I'm sure I did.

Let's have a look at it.

Here, here. What ..? What is this?

Take your hands off me. I resent this. Look at that!

What does this mean, Dearden? Lewis, you killed Diana Roggers.

Absurd.

How about your confession?

It was a deliberate lie to lead the real murderer into this trap.

I wasn't near Mallet Street that day.

And now .. Lady Dearden will identify this fellow as the blackmailer.

Yes, I will.

You will understand now, General why I didn't do so before.

What have you to say to this, Lewis?

It's all very amusing.

Grainger.

Get me that photo of the dead woman. Yes, sir.

Let me take a look at that cut on your hand, Dearden.

Hmm.

You see that neck?

See the blood oozing through the cut in the glove worn by the murderer.

Left a distinct mark on the woman's throat.

That thin line of blood indicating an almost vertical cut.

It matches completely the cut on your hand, Lewis.

Why, the wound on Dearden's hand is an inch shorter and horizontal.

That evidence is going to hang you, Lewis.

Unless it was self-defence.

It was self-defence. She came at me with a knife.

Darling.

It worked!

We were sure Lewis was the murderer.

We had to make him think he wasn't, and he'd come forward as the alibi witness.

What was his price this time, darling? Ten thousand pounds.

Ten thousand ..?

Oh really my dear fellow. Don't you realize these are hard times?

Clever of you, Dearden.

You lulled me into a sense of false security.

When I read your confession there was only one thing I could figure.

That I hadn't killed her .. I had merely choked her into unconsciousness.

Alright Grainger. Take him out. Yes, sir.

Get a statement.

It's too bad Dearden that I can't retain you as my counsel.

You think fast .. and you take chances.

Come on.

Congratulations.

Oh, thank you.

I'll say you do take chances.

If I hadn't our friend would probably be on his way to China by now.

Yes, but how about that strange story you told at your house that night?

The visit to Houseman's office, the strolls on The Embankment.

Strange as it may seem, every word I told you was the truth.

But I realized I couldn't prove it.

Then the truth got you into this difficulty and a lie gets you out.

Darling, l had no idea you could lie so beautifully.

Well, if I may so Lady Dearden, you did very well yourself.

While you're handing out the diplomas, don't forget ..

I'm the genius that manufactured the undersized, stupid fellow with the ..

Small, sandy moustache and thinning grey ..

0h good heavens ..

I was describing myself.

(Ro_s)