The Unknown Man (1951) Script

[ Joe Bucknor narrates: ]

"I work in that building across the street."

"That's our new Hall of Justice."

"It cost us taxpayers twelve million dollars."

"Ten million was actually spent on the building."

"The other two got kinda lost."

"It's that way in our city."

"It always was that way."

"But this is not a story about corruption. Far from it."

"This story is about justice."

"There she is, up there. With a bandage over her eyes and pigeons as playmates."

"Human nature being the way it is .."

"The lady can use all the help she can get around here."

"Officially, that's my job."

"And unofficially, that's Andy Layford."

"Layford is head of the Citizens Crime Commission."

"Right now, 3:30 in the afternoon .."

"The Commissioner is taking a look at Hulderman's on Cedar Street."

"You could know our town a lifetime without knowing Hulderman's."

"But it so happens a few weeks ago, his son made news."

"By having a knife plunged in his back late one evening."

"We don't have the knife, but we do have the killer."

"At least we believe so."

"The dark, nice-looking guy between the drunk and the conman."

"That's him."

"This is the attorney's room in the county jail."

"A prisoner waiting trial .."

"Can ask to see his mouthpiece here any hour of the day or night."

"That's the boy's lawyer, Wayne Kellwin, sitting opposite."

"At 3:45, four blocks away."

"A pretty girl is showing a dinner dress."

"A very pretty girl."

"The look of the lady may give you ideas."

"But it won't tell you why a young man is behind bars on a murder rap."

"He is."

"You just saw him."

"Yes, she'll take it."

"She thinks Brad will like it."

"Brad is her husband. Bradley Masen, attorney at law."

"He'll like it alright."

"They've been married 24 years, the Bradley Masens."

"But for Stella, Brad still wants the top of the Christmas tree."

"And he can afford it too."

"The best civil lawyer in town and one of the finest in the country."

"That's Bradley Masen."

"Mr Kellwin is here, Mr Masen."

Who? "Wayne Kellwin."

Oh. Have him come in will you please.

Brad. Wayne.

Well, well. How are you, boy? It's been a long time.

The class of '25. That makes it a quarter of a century.

Correct, so help me.

So help us both.

Say, you look great, fellah. You're getting to look just like your old man.

What more can a guy want? Well, not a thing if it's true.

Of course it's true. Sit down over there.

Remember the speech he gave us at graduation?

I still have a copy of it someplace.

Fine words, Brad.

I can't say I've lived up to them the way you have.

Most of my campus dreams failed to go the distance.

How? Who says so?

Oh, I'm not kicking. I've done okay.

But you've really made it, fellah.

And they tell me you've kept your hands clean and your buttons shiny.

How about a drink? Motion granted.

Is that your boy?

Ah, yes. He's ..

Twenty-three now.

In his last term.

Law school? Of course.

Of course .. the Masen, Masen line.

I'm hoping he'll join me here in November.

That will be great for you both.

It will give me a chance to do the office over.

That might not be a bad idea.

It's a little old-style, conservative.

Don't go changing things that suit you, Brad.

It tells the world what you are.

It wouldn't do for me of course. But my clients wouldn't do for you as a rule.

What do you take these days?

All there is, from larceny to murder.

Which, by the way, brings me to you.

Ah ..

What was that you said: 'brings you to me'?

Murder. Murder?

Has somebody killed somebody?

Somebody has killed somebody.

But not my client.

Not Rudi. Rudi?

Rudi Wallchek. That's the boy's name.

I say 'boy'. He's 26 but he looks younger.

Really?

It's a tough case, Brad.

It looks bad for the boy, but he innocent.

And that's why I've come to you.

To me? I want you to defend him.

But I'm not a trial lawyer. I never take criminal cases.

That's why I am here.

Look Brad, I've been in this game a long time.

There isn't a gimmick I haven't pulled in my day.

But you're different.

You really believe in law and justice and everyone knows it.

I think if you'll take this case, the boy might have a chance.

Wayne I'm flattered, but honestly .. it's out of my line.

I never take criminal cases. I'd stumble and fumble.

You know, sometimes a lack of technique works wonders with a jury.

Come on, fellah. Give the boy a break.

I've got a half dozen very important cases coming up.

A lot of money involved.

You'd only get peanuts from Wallchek.

Maybe five hundred if you're lucky.

Well. I guess that does it.

I tried anyway.

So long, Brad. Bye, Wayne.

Good to see you. Nice to see you.

Say hello to the big money for me, will you.

'Winterbottom versus Wright'.

You've got the longest eyelashes.

'Winterbottom versus Wright'.

I've got it. Let's go to the movies.

Later.

You've got the cutest nose, too.

'Winterbottom versus Wright'.

'The supplier of the charity is without anything more'.

'Not responsible in damages to a user'.

With whom he has no ..

Contractual relationship.

That was overruled by McPherson versus Blewitt.

It was? Definitely.

'One is not at liberty to put a finished product on the market'.

'Without subjecting the component parts to ordinary and simple tests'.

How are you, Ellie? Good, Mr Masen.

Why the monkey suit?

We're having dinner at Andy Layford's.

How is the Dean? Father is fine, thanks.

I think he'll call you. He will ask you to make this year's commencement speech.

Oh no.

I'd be proud to. A great honor. But you wouldn't do that to me, Dad.

I think I would. If the Dean asked me, I might accept.

That's going to make a tough afternoon even tougher.

Oh, you just don't know how he suffers trying to live up to his father.

Dad had the same problem. Only his father was a judge.

Mine is just a .. just a crummy lawyer.

Tell me just between the two of us, how is he doing?

He won't concentrate.

He won't get through his finals if he doesn't concentrate.

Well look at her Dad, I ask you.

Man to man.

Could you concentrate with this around?

Ah, man to man. I must say I see what you mean.

Stella! Coming.

How about giving us a lift to the theater?

Okay. Stella.

Here I am.

Uhoh.

It looked perfectly wonderful on the girl who modelled it.

Now, please say something nice.

It still looks wonderful.

Really, Brad?

I like it. Very much.

I like you very much.

So what do you think, Dad? Could I have two months?

And then I could take in Mexico and go up the coast.

Start right in after graduation, huh?

You understand how I feel. All full of theories and stuff.

I'd like to .. I'd like to polish up on life a bit ..

Before settling down in an office.

Well, maybe it's a good idea.

Not that life doesn't come into the office occasionally.

And death too. What was that?

Today, I was asked to defend a murder case.

Which one? The .. uh ..

The Wallchek boy.

What did you say? No, of course.

Why not, Mr Masen? It might be fun.

I wonder why they came to you.

Oh, some baloney about my passion for justice.

Well here we are, kids.

Thanks a lot.

You two be good now. Bye.

Say .. how about those two?

When I went into the study just now, they ..

Do you think it's serious?

I don't know, dear. What were they doing?

She was cramming him in accident liability.

Oh, then it is serious.

That's how I helped you, remember?

You did nothing of the sort.

Of course I did. It was all my doing from the first moment I met you.

You hadn't a chance.

And I thought you were a nice girl.

You ought to get around more.

Oh well. Too late now.

"I was just getting together with my second Old-Fashioned .."

"And wondering hopefully how much longer until chow."

"When I saw Layford go to meet them."

"Normally, I'm a cynic, concerning the gentler sex."

"But there was something about Mrs Masen."

"I don't know."

"Life had been sweet to her all the way. You could tell."

"But somehow with her, you felt good about it. Wished it would last."

"I still feel that way about Mrs Masen."

"As for her husband? Well .."

"His figure was fine and his forehead was noble and .."

"He knew how to wear a dinner coat."

My dear, I don't think you've met the District Attorney.

Joe Bucknor - Mrs Bradley Masen.

No, but I've heard about Mr Bucknor. Nothing good, I hope.

Brad, I imagine you two have crossed swords before.

Glad you could come. How are you.

I .. I don't know who your tailor is, but I like him.

I rented it from the waiter at Greasy Joe's.

Martini, Stella? Lovely, thanks.

Brad? Thanks, I don't.

I do.

A certain lawyer named Cicero once said:

'Non Minus Juris Consultus Quam Justitiae'.

Justice is even more important than law.

Your Crime Commission is a fine example.

And you've been doing a good job.

Since you stopped buying yachts and took a closer look at the town you live in.

Don't you agree with me, Brad?

Judge, I don't know very much about crime.

Andy and I play golf together. That's all.

He's a sound man in the bunker.

Why don't you join the Commission, Brad?

Are you serious? The reason I asked you over here.

We can certainly use a new man. And a good one.

May I think it over? Please.

The D.A. needs all the help there is.

We were over on Cedar Street today. The Hulderman killing.

Have fun?

It's a shocking business. Brutal.

The father was prostrated with grief.

How does the case look, Joe?

Will you get a conviction? Don't .. don't answer that, Joe.

Not while I'm here.

That case comes up before me next month.

Judge.

It was odd your quoting Cicero and justice.

It was my father's favorite quote.

That was my grandfather's. Came down the line from him to father and then to me.

Yes .. but you're ten minutes slow. I am?

You know, I've never been able to make up mind which I prefer.

That, or ..

'Justice is the foundation of empires'.

Yes, I know.

Who is defending the boy, Rudi ..?

Rudi Wallchek? Wayne Kellwin, I guess.

It won't help much. We've got a chair reserved for Wallchek.

It's a wrap-up.

You sound awfully sure, Mr Bucknor.

I am.

Do you mind?

Are you equally sure he's guilty?

Don't tell me you care?

I was asked to defend Wallchek this afternoon.

I refused.

I guess crime doesn't pay your kind of fee.

If I .. wanted to see the prisoner do you suppose you could arrange it?

I might.

When?

Tonight?

Alright.

I'm Masen.

Wayne Kellwin came to me and ..

He told me .. you taking the case?

Forget it, mister. It's hopeless. Forget it.

Shall we sit down?

Sorry it's so late. I hope I didn't disturb your sleep.

I sleep afternoons and do my thinking nights.

Uhuh. How long you been here?

Three weeks, four days and a half.

Treating you alright?

Three meals a day and all the smokes you can buy.

They even filled two teeth for me, here. Did they?

The guy said they ought to come out but figured maybe he could save them.

Just a chance, he says.

He did. He saved them. Good.

A crazy guy.

I don't know why he troubled.

I don't know why you trouble, either.

Did you do it?

What do you think?

I don't know yet.

Sure you don't. How could you?

So why should you care? Why have you come here anyway? Why?

Kellwin says you're innocent.

You believe Kellwin?

Not necessarily.

He knows you. I don't. He could still be wrong.

No, you're different. You're not like Kellwin.

New to this game, aren't you?

What game? Crime.

Yes, I'm new to it. I'm not.

You have a record?

Long as your arm. Larceny, car theft, assault and battery.

Twice.

That shakes you, doesn't it?

I've been on the grift since I was a kid.

How did you get started?

My Pop died when I was six, I guess.

Yeah, I guess that started me.

I liked my old man.

Ma was no good, but he was.

We got along just fine.

One day, he went out and got himself killed.

Just a smash-up.

They said he was quite a mess when they pulled him out.

Quite a mess, they said.

That's sob stuff.

Look, you'd better get of here mister before you get your fingers burned.

Look, you want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but?

Alright, I'll tell you the truth.

A guy gets cut to bits on Cedar Street. Okay, that's too bad.

Too bad for me.

Because I'm in bed and asleep when it happens.

In bed and asleep, see. But I got no proof.

No proof, no alibi, nothing.

Just my word.

My word? Oh brother, is that a laugh.

Because who is taking it? The cops, the D.A? You?

Are you going to believe me, with my record?

Are you crazy?

For a guy like me mister, there ain't no justice.

Go home to bed.

See this little bean-shooter?

It's a Czechoslovakian Czeska.

Only been fired once.

And it shouldn't have been, because it went through the mail man.

The killer got sentenced this morning.

What else have you got in here?

This knife did for Marjorie Oldfield.

He wanted to divorce. She wouldn't.

This little hatchet was Mrs Thompson's idea for dropping the curtain on hubby.

If you look close, you can still see the blood on it.

Want to look close?

All these milestones in your brilliant career.

Morbid isn't it.

Uhoh, no luck.

We got a mouse here, name of Molly. She's quite a character.

She eats all my doughnuts and search warrants.

Only moll that ever got away from me.

I'll get her one of these days, though.

How did you make out with Wallchek upstairs?

I asked you at dinner whether you thought he was guilty.

What do you think, Joe?

He's as guilty as Cain and he'll go to the chair.

"The case of the people versus Rudi Wallchek."

"His Honor, judge Holbrook presiding."

Be seated.

"For the people: Joseph Bucknor, District Attorney."

"For the defendant: Dwight Bradley Masen."

"The case looked solid."

"One night in his father's shop on Cedar Street .."

"Young Johnny Hulderman had come to a sudden end."

"It took the doctor from the Coroner's office an hour to explain to the jury."

"In medical language that Johnny was stabbed to death."

"Stabbed, said the medic, by a six-inch dagger, triangular shaped."

"Sure, we'd frisked Wallchek's place without finding it."

"But dagger or no dagger, that young man's goose was cooked."

"A plain clothes man saw him come out of the shop at the time of the murder."

"No ifs or buts."

"And old man Hulderman, Johnny's father."

"Sure as there are cops and robbers, he'd seen him come in."

"The motive?"

"Robbery."

And 26 dollars were gone from the till?

Is that right? Is that correct, Mr Hulderman?

And 45 cents.

How was that?

Louder please, Mr Hulderman.

Oh .. and forty-five cents!

Alright.

Now with the court's permission I'd like you to go back to the beginning, please.

Tell us in your own words what happened that night after you went to bed.

Johnny was working late in the shop.

And I was in bed, just nodding off.

My room was at the back, like I said.

When I heard a knock on the door. Which door was that?

The front door, sir.

Johnny had locked and bolted it an hour before.

Well .. like I told you.

I saw Johnny go to the door and .. How did you see him?

Through the glass door, from my bed.

Mr Hulderman, what kind of glass is that?

Just plain window glass. Alright.

What happened then?

What did you see next?

I saw Johnny let the man in.

I know the man.

I know him well, because ..

Because three weeks ago I fixed a new lock on the door of his place.

I'm a locksmith you see, and .. Talk into the microphone, please.

Oh yes, sir.

Well .. it was the same man.

I'd know him anywhere.

I'd know him for sure.

Right, you recognised the man.

Did you get out of bed?

No. I laid there watching him and Johnny talk for a bit.

I figured he'd come about another repair job.

Strike that out.

The conclusion of a witness is not evidence.

The court allows for the fact ..

That the counsel for the defence is a stranger to our procedures here, but ..

There are limits.

I am deeply obliged, Your Honor.

Thank you, I should have objected.

Proceed.

I must have dozed off.

You mean you fell asleep?

Yes, sir. I had taken a pill when I went to bed.

I had not been sleeping well and the Doc, he ..

He'd given me something.

It must have been ..

While I was asleep that ..

What time did you wake up? Do you remember?

It was two hours later.

The light was still on in the shop.

But I can't see Johnny.

So I get up. I ..

Open the bedroom door.

And then I see him.

He is there on the floor.

Like that.

Mr Hulderman .. would you look around the room please.

Tell the court if you can see the man Johnny let into the shop that night.

Alright, do you see the man?

I see him.

Will the defendant stand up please.

Is that the man?

Yes, that's him.

Thank you.

Your witness.

The counsel for defence may now cross-examine.

I don't think I have any questions at the moment, Your Honor.

Well.

This seems a very good moment to take our morning break.

Possibly, something will occur to counsel during the interval.

The court is recessed for 15 minutes.

"Trial by jury is a curious business."

"From where I sat, Masen was dead on his feet before getting up on them."

"But from where the jury sat, I wasn't so sure."

"Everything about Brad said, here is an honest man."

"I had a hunch they were taking a shine to the guy."

"So was the judge."

"Yeah. So was I."

Well counsel, did something occur to you?

A small point Your Honor, I wonder .. You may cross-examine.

Thank you.

Mr Hulderman.

Do you see the ladies and gentlemen of the jury?

Yes I see them, sir.

Will you describe to the court the third juror from the right in the front row.

A lady in a blue suit.

A grey-haired lady with a string of beads around her neck.

A kind of amber color.

Thank you.

Now then, will you take off your glasses.

My eyeglasses, sir? Please.

I'll hold them for you, shall I?

Now then.

You see the gentleman in the front row of the public benches?

The one on the right of the aisle?

Uh ..

Yes .. yes, I see him.

Would you describe him, please?

Well, I'd say he is ..

He's kind of broad-shouldered isn't he?

With ..

With .. he seems to have a paper or a ..

A parcel under his arm. Oh yes, it is ..

It's a parcel, yes.

Thank you. Would you stand up sir, please?

Now what else do you see?

I'm not sure. Try these and see if they help.

Hulderman, see if that will help a little.

Well yes. Now I can see.

Yes.

It is not a parcel. It is a sling.

I guess he has hurt his arm.

Ah .. a tall man.

A gray suit .. a red tie.

Thank you. Thank you very much, sir.

Just one more question, Mr Hulderman.

You told the court that you saw the defendant ..

Enter the shop the night your son was killed.

Yes, I saw him.

You were in bed, you had turned out the light and you were ..

I believe you said, just nodding off?

That's right.

Mr Hulderman.

Do you wear your glasses after you've turned out the light ..

And you're just nodding off?

Uh ..

Well, no .. of course not.

That's all. Thank you. But ..

"I objected, of course. But Brad had a good point and it registered."

"What would hold far more though, was his final plea."

"The way he lived and breathed belief in Wallchek's innocence was .."

"It was kind-of like a crusade."

"I could feel the jury starting to pull for him."

"But he'd only managed to shake the evidence once and when he sat down .."

"I still figured it 6 to 4 in our favor."

"They were out until three the following day."

"I had slept the night through but I knew that Brad had sweated it out."

"He was leaning forward as though it were his life that hung on the verdict."

"The foreman stood up and we heard the words .."

"Not guilty."

Congratulations, Mr Masen. Wonderful job, Mr Masen.

How's it feel to win? Turn this way please.

You nervous with the jury out?

Nervous as a kitten. Had some doubts, huh?

Never doubted that right would be done. As it has been.

Sure, sure. How about a few more criminal cases?

No, please. Never, never again. It's too hard on me.

Do you go with that? If she says 'no', it is 'no'.

She's the boss.

How happy they look, don't they.

There's something familiar about that girl's face. Now where in the world ..?

She's a model.

Oh yes, I remember. Yes.

Pretty isn't she, Brad. Yes, she is pretty.

What a dirty, fifthly rotten business.

And they call it 'Justice'.

Don't take it that way, Mr Hulderman.

I'm sure they'll find the man that killed your boy.

The law will try him and convict him.

No, sir.

The law cannot touch him now.

Or ever.

Thanks to you.

Thanks to you, the law has just acquitted him.

He did it.

Didn't you know?

Poor man.

Hey, Wallchek. You got company.

Brad.

Well hello fellah, this is unexpected.

Come in, come right on in. Take off your coat.

Thank you.

The boy is taking a shower. He'll be out in a minute.

Good.

Can I fix you a Scotch? No, none for me thanks.

You don't drink, do you. No.

Say, we ought to do something about that. This is a night to celebrate.

Or is it?

Are you kidding? You don't beat the chair every day.

You did a terrific job, Brad.

Hi.

Oh this is Sally. Sally Tever.

Hi again. Good evening.

Won't you sit down? Thank you.

Well, I guess life must look pretty good to you tonight, eh fellah?

Yes sir. You made yourself a brand new reputation. You know that?

Hey Rudi, come on out here will you.

Brad! Well, Bradley Masen.

What brings you here?

Just the doctor paying a call on his favorite patient.

After quit a major operation, eh doctor?

Well. How do I rate, doc?

I should say you've made a very remarkable recovery.

Yeah, thanks to you. You sure put it across and boy am I grateful.

Honey, call up The Odalisque. Tell Joe my usual table.

Well Brad old boy, care to join us? How about a night on the town?

Come on, what do you say, pal?

No, not tonight thank you.

No? Alright, another time then.

You know, now that it's all over you and I ought to get together.

Talk over old times.

Yes, yes.

Say.

It just struck me. You did the job and you haven't been paid for it.

There was no fee.

Don't give me that. You do right by Rudi, he pays off.

Ain't that so, Wayne? I guess that's so.

Before I took the case you warned me there would be no money in it.

Ah, don't believe me.

You have to be awful careful with Rudi, Mr Masen.

He's a terrible liar.

You want to make something of it?

A terrible, terrible liar.

What's on your mind, fellah?

I was just thinking.

Twenty-six dollars and forty-five cents.

It couldn't have meant that much, could it? Not to him.

Didn't I tell you it was crazy to pin the rap on Rudi?

Yes, you told me.

You also told me that he hadn't a nickel.

Well, you know how it is with these guys. Down one minute and up the next.

I believe Wayne said 500, but I figure when a guy owes his life to a guy ..

Here.

That's a lot of money.

Two grand.

You want more? Say the word and you got it.

When I took this case, I understood you were broke.

That was one of my reasons for taking it.

Huh?

But still, there no is fee.

That's the craziest thing I ever saw in my life. Hey, Mr Masen.

Why did you do it? Why did you take the case?

I wanted the satisfaction of freeing an innocent man.

Goodnight. Goodnight, Miss Sally. Goodnight, Wayne.

Goodnight, Brad.

D.A.'s office.

Yes, we have the post-mortem, Mr Corrigan.

Thank you, sir.

Mr Bucknor.

Mrs Masen is here.

Right away, sir.

You can go in now, Mrs Masen.

D.A.'s office.

No, sorry. The Grand Jury is on vacation.

You could try Preliminary.

Yes, I will.

Mister Bucknor, this is very good of you.

You know, my housekeeper is a human mistake but her coffee is something.

You like coffee? Love it.

Good. This is for you. Thanks.

By the way, hello and how are you and it's a fine day and .. what's wrong?

I'm worried about Brad.

And look, this visit is off the record if you don't mind.

I don't want him to know about it.

It's about the Wallchek case.

Mister Bucknor.

Brad thinks it's possible he may have been wrong.

So?

Of course, I know it's absurd.

But if by any chance, there had been some mistake.

I mean.

Suppose this boy really had done it, after all.

Brad says he never would forgive himself for 'perverting the law' as he calls it.

You see, the law is Brad's life.

It's as much a part of him as his arms and legs.

He was brought up on it by his father.

They look on justice ..

As something sacred.

The Masens.

It's .. kind of a religion with them.

And now Brad feels he may have dishonored it.

Good coffee, huh?

Oh.

Yes .. yes, it is good.

You know, Mrs Masen.

The law has quite a few holes in it here and there.

But from where I sit, trial by jury is not one of them.

Maybe the boys do make a mistake occasionally. So what?

That could happen to the worst of us.

But if we take it to heart we'd all go nuts.

Now that's exactly what I ..

Oh, please. Would you say that to Brad?

Just the way you said it to me.

Coming from you, it might ..

Oh, I'd be so very grateful.

Get Bradley Masen's office please.

Thank you. You know something?

I like your hat.

Mind you, it wouldn't look well on everybody. What do you call those ..

Little thingamajigs on the side?

Bobbles. Just .. just bobbles.

Bobbles?

You learn something every day.

Thanks again, Mr Bucknor.

Goodbye. Goodbye, Mrs Masen.

At first it was five dollars, then fifteen, then twenty-five.

All the time they were raising the price, raising the price.

They called it protection. Protection.

Every Thursday night they came and we paid.

You don't have to believe me. I can't prove every word.

Yes, but I do believe you.

That's my trouble.

Funny.

All through the trial I took if for granted you knew.

Funny.

No, I didn't know.

I'm the one to blame for not telling the court.

But I was scared.

Scared of what would happen to me if I talked.

Well .. I'm not scared any more.

Will you talk now, Peter? Will you tell the D.A. everything you've told me?

No. The law cannot touch him now.

It is too late for the law.

The law acquitted him for murder, Peter. I mean it's ..

You could very easily turn it round and get him for extortion.

Oh no, no. I cannot prove anything.

And he has friends. Big friends.

So you just don't know.

You didn't want to help me? Of course I want to help you.

Well maybe you can.

Afterwards.

Afterwards?

This key fits Wallchek's place. Uhuh.

I fixed a new lock for him.

Like I said in the court.

I am going up there one day when he's alone.

I'll slip in quietly.

And there will be ..

Just the two of us.

Like him and Johnny.

I wonder.

Would you defend me ..

Afterwards?

Listen to me, Peter.

You're not going to kill Wallchek. You're not going to kill anyone.

You know why?

Because it says so in the book. Remember?

'Thou shalt not kill'. Now come on, snap out of it.

Look at that stain on the floor. I know, I know.

It won't come off.

I scrubbed it over and over and over.

That's where it happened.

That's where Johnny died.

He was just nineteen.

I know. I know, Peter.

Alright now, come on.

You'd better take the key.

Take it!

Take it before I change my mind.

"Early next morning, Brad found me as I was leaving the morgue."

"He told me he was morally certain now, that Rudi was guilty."

"We'd been right with our man but wrong with our motive."

"According to Hulderman, all shops in the area were paying protection money."

"With Wallchek collecting."

"But collecting for who?"

Well, for himself I suppose.

You suppose? You're green, brother. Wallchek is small-fry.

You think so? I know so.

Is the old man ready to talk? Does he have any proof?

Well, he says it's too late. But I was hoping ..

Hope is for kids and when you're in love.

Have you gotten anything solid I can get my teeth into?

Facts, proof, evidence?

A witness with guts?

No, but I .. I thought not.

Then we're licked before we start and I'm not starting.

You mean to say you're going to do nothing?

Right.

Look, grow up. There's no new case against Wallchek. The old one is busted.

Busted, snafu-ed, smashed. You smashed it, remember.

Alright, I smashed it. I was wrong.

I'm green, I'm naive, I'm anything you like.

But right now I'm trying to put things square and you won't raise a finger.

Licked before we start? Start what?

Are you scared to start something? What kind of a man are you?

What kind of a town is this, anyway?

I'll show you.

Our fabulous metropolis.

Eleven hospitals.

Half a dozen parks, two museums ..

An opera house and sundry other holes of lesser delights.

A cultured city teeming with pride and industry.

All that's good and strong in men.

Teeming also, with all that's base and weak in them.

Gambling, extortion.

All the syndicated pastimes.

The traffic in vice is highly organised.

I know that Joe, but .. Highly organised ..

Ruthlessly administered and way beyond the clutch of the law.

I don't believe that.

Nobody is beyond the law. Not today. Not in this country.

No? No.

Crime today my friend, functions from skyscrapers and plush hotels.

The big wheel, the boss man, the brains behind it all is may be your friend.

A guy you like to have a drink with at the club.

Your most exclusive club.

You know this man? No .. I don't know.

I know that he exists.

Suppose I did know him.

When I try to bring him in, within a week I'm peddling vacuum cleaners.

He goes on as he goes, and I can't even do the little bit I've been doing.

Grabbing the small-fry, the Wallcheks, the hired help.

Go on home, Sir Lancelot.

Home to your nice clean practice and your pretty wife.

Stop bunny-hugging crime before it blows up in your face.

I tell you it's dynamite.

Hey.

Take it easy, will you.

Look, I'll put a man on Wallchek.

I'll have him tailed night and day wherever he goes.

Maybe he'll put some other guy to sleep.

If he does.

Next time he'll be a dead duck for sure.

Hulderman, Hulderman.

First name? Peter.

Peter Hulderman. 62549 Cedar Street.

Age of deceased? Sixty-one.

Family? None.

Cause of death?

A guy in a truck knocked the old boy over and beat it.

"Old Hulderman was dead."

"This was the first real shock."

"Now he had to go on."

"He had to find out."

"He went back to Wallchek's apartment."


[ Telephone ]

[ Telephone ]

Yes?

"Wallchek?"

"Be there tonight at 9:30."

"Don't be early because I'll be out, but don't be late either."

"9:30 sharp. Understand?"

"Hello? Wallchek?"


"Now he knew and now he would have given everything not to know."

"His faith in his world of perfect law and justice had begun to crack."

"It went on cracking."

"Get me the facts I told him. Facts, evidence, proof, a witness with guts."

"So, back he goes to Cedar Street."

"To the shopkeepers, the scared little rabbits .."

"Who will suffer the crime and take the punishment."

"All that day he goes from shop to shop walking miles and getting nowhere."

"Getting nothing but a shake of the head and a frightened look in their eyes."

"They're not sticking their necks out."

"They're not talking."

"They won't come forward. No, not one of them."

"As the day wears on, Brad gets desperate."

"Finally, he remembers the Crime Commission."

"He had nothing to eat or drink all day but he doesn't even wait to telephone."

"He needs help badly."

"It's just 9:20 when he rings the bell."

Andrew.

Thank heaven you're home.

I know it's a little late, but I ..

Tell me, have you got guests? No. No, I'm alone.

Mind if I come in for a minute?

What is it, Brad? You look terrible.

Oh, my head is sort-of spinning a bit, but ..

I'll be alright if I can just sit down for a minute.

Been on my feet all day and ..

I'm weary.

Oh, that's good.

You don't mind my dropping in like this do you, unexpectedly?

That's quite alright.

Here.

Come on, take a good pull.

Thanks.

Boy, what was that? Brandy.

That's the first I've had in a ..

I don't, you know.

You look all in. Shall I call up Harry Garvin?

Oh no, no. I don't need a doctor.

I just want to talk, Andy.

What's the trouble?

You remember the Wallchek case?

I found that today.

Where? In his apartment.

Then he did it?

I think I've known since just after the verdict.

But that's not the half of it. I went to see old Peter Hulderman and ..

Look, would it surprise you to know that this town is riddled with the most ..

Vicious form of extortion?

It wouldn't surprise me.

I've stumbled on to a regular hornet's nest.

I don't know where it's leading me, but one thing I do know, I can't turn back.

Were you serious when you wanted me to join the Crime Commission of yours?

Certainly. Right then. I'm with you.

That's great news, Brad. We need you.

And I need you, believe me. You're my last hope.

That's what we're here for. If the law won't act or can't ..

It's up to the ordinary decent citizen to clear up the mess himself.

Take my word, we'll do everything we can.

I know. Now then, where do we start?

Where did you start?

With Hulderman.

No, no. No more thanks.

I think you need it.

So you went to Hulderman? Uhuh.

And he talked?

To me, yes.

Will he talk to us?

He can't .. he's dead.

Dead?

Since when?

This morning.

Thank you.

It seems they'll stop at nothing.

Then I went to the D.A.

He says there is somebody running this town.

Behind all this. The big wheel. I know it sounds like nonsense, but ..

I'm not sure.

I've often wondered if there wasn't some superior brain.

[ Blender noise ]

Forgive me, I'm expecting someone.

Don't move .. I won't be a moment.

[ Blender noise ]

[ Blender noise ]


Sorry.

How do you feel now, better?

Alright.

You know, when I was a boy I was crazy for milkshakes.

I used to dream of the day when I could have them by the dozen.

Well, now I can. And you know something?

I'm still crazy for milkshakes.

I feel there is a moral in that somewhere.

Who was it, Andrew?

Who?

Your visitor. Who was it?

A friend.

What friend?

Look here, what is this?

You drop in unasked, cry on my shoulder and then start firing questions at me.

Who was it?

I think you must be drunk or crazy.

No, I'm not drunk but there are things that ..

Drive a man almost crazy. Such as?

Such as, you're searching the home of a murderer. Suddenly the telephone rings.

You sound like a detective story.

You pick it up.

There is a voice that's vaguely familiar and ..

A noise that you can't place at all. A noise like a fan or a motor running.

The voice says to be at some place at 9:30 sharp.

You hang up.

You try to remember the voice. You go on trying all day.

That night, you're at the home of a friend.

At 9:30 somebody calls.

The host goes out and you're alone.

There is only a noise.

That noise.

Who was it, Andrew?

The D.A. put a man on Wallchek. They're tailing him.

They'll know. They'll know where he was a 9:30.

Alright .. he was here.

Wallchek?

There is a perfectly simple explanation.

The Crime Commission puts me in contact with criminals every day.

What they tell us about each other is often valuable to us.

You didn't want me to know he was here.

Why?

We guarantee a man secrecy if he talks.

The D.A. says that somebody is running this town that the law can't touch.

He is too big, he's too powerful.

Does he? That's very intelligent of Joe.

If I believe that, I'd ..

This is America 1951. You couldn't get away with it.

Of course not.

But suppose.

Purely for argument's sake.

Suppose I were what you appear to believe I might be.

Come out here. I'd like to show you something.

Suppose all this were one man's kingdom.

That he'd built up an organisation that reaches into its homes, offices, shops.

He controls and corrupts it for his own satisfaction.

Ruling it from the shadows. Behind and above the law.

Suppose this were true and no-one could do anything about it.

What would you do?

I'd fight him with everything I've got.

You wouldn't get to first base.

Not with a man like that.

Try the courts and he'll smear you.

Blacken you, even get you disbarred.

Go higher?

And he'll go higher, too.

After your wife, your boy.

He has the power to break you and he will break you.

Until everything is gone.

Home, work, family.

There is just you.

Disgraced and powerless.

Then what would you do?

What could you do?

I might kill him.

Never.

No, really you wouldn't.

Not for one moment.

I know you.

You are soft and sentimental.

You love the law. Love it and serve it.

You're Bradley Masen. So you get tricked and cheated by the any Rudi Wallchek ..

Who plays you for a sucker.

If I am what you think I am.

That knife cut young Hulderman to bits on my instruction.

If I am what you think I am, I had that man run down by a truck this morning.

But of course, I'm not.

How did you know he was run down by a truck?

You said so.

I said he was dead.

I didn't say how he died.

I think this joke has gone far enough, don't you.

It's getting late.

I have a heavy day tomorrow.

Can I get you a nightcap?

No?

Well.

Goodnight then.

Let's see.

Did you have a hat?


Is it in? Yes.

His man found him an hour later.

I'd like to think it was the drinks.

I'd like to think I was drunk.

I'd had a couple.

I wasn't used to it.

That wasn't it.

I knew what I was doing. I ..

I knew exactly.

What happened?

Couldn't it be self-defence?

No. It wasn't. It wasn't.

He just talked and I hated him more than I've ever hated anybody in my life.

He turned and looked at me .. just before he fell.

He had an expression of absolute amazement.

Oh, my darling. My darling.

I'm not making any excuses. I haven't any.

But ..

I want you to understand this, if you can.

When I killed him, for one second, I ..

I thought it was right.

Everything I've ever believed in.

Justice, morality, the law.

He laughed at.

He laughed at the law.

So I killed him.

Alright, alright. Take it easy, fellahs.

He says 'take it easy, fellahs'.

Sure, what's the hurry? One of the top men in town gets rubbed out.

Is that important? Why don't we all go home?

What's the D.A. doing? He stares into a little crystal ball.

Maybe he don't know it, but this job is liable to bust him out of office.

Yeah. You boys had better come up with something fast.

The boys are getting nervous. Let 'em sizzle.

Call Bradley Masen.

Tell him to get over here right away.

I think you got him, sir.

These fingerprints definitely show .. Can't you do any better than that, Ed?

Okay, sir. He's cold.

Look .. see these tented arches, here.

They are blurred but not too badly.

And the loops and the composites add up all along the line.

I guess that does it.

Did you get Masen?

"Sorry, Mr Bucknor. Mr Masen went out a half hour ago."

Where'd he go? "They don't know, sir."

Try his office. "Right away."

Alright, Sarge. Go get him. Right.

You can let them in now.

Thanks, Ed.

Gentlemen.

Oh .. Brad.

Brad, are you sure?

Are you expecting him? Do you know where I could reach him?

Well, would you have him call the D.A.'s office please the moment he ..

Thank you.

Yes, please? I have to see the D.A.

Sorry, the D.A. is tied up.

But I must see him. It's about the death of Andrew Layford.

Name, please? Bradley Masen.

Yes, Mr Masen. Just a moment, please.

Mr Masen, Mr Bucknor. "Where?"

Here. In the office. "Send him in."

Yes, sir .. go right in, sir.

Thank you.

Layford was killed between 9 and 10 o'clock.

Oh come in, Lancelot.

You all know Bradley Masen?

Yeah. Sure.

This about completes the cast.

Send him in, Sam.

Come on over here, Brad.

You just have to be here for this.

Rudi, no need to tell an old campaigner like you ..

You need not talk unless you want to.

Okay Rudi, why did you do it? Was Layford getting in your hair?

He knew too much and he was on to you?

Show us how you did it, Rudi. Was it this way?

You're crazy! I had nothing to do with it, I tell you. Nothing. I'm innocent.

Sure, like a tarantula.

I never touched the guy. I never touched him.

He's all yours, Sarge. Take him away.

It's about time to go, boys.

Well, it's kind of a beautiful morning, don't you think?

The mills of the Gods grind slowly but they grind exceedingly fine. Hallelujah.

Ah, the morning gets more beautiful.

No bobbles today?

What? What's happening, Brad?

Our prize rat just got his comeuppance.

I told you it would all come out in the wash.

You want to take 'Honest Abe' here on a vacation. He looks a bit out of whack.

I hear it's kind of pretty up Alpina way.

Woods and flowers and a trout stream way up in the hills.

So long, children. I'll be seeing you.


I know I've no right to try to influence you.

But you're going to, aren't you ..

Hello, Bob.

It's alright, Brad.

Have a good evening, Bob?

Yeah, I guess so.

That Ellie is really something. We got into an argument.

She threw the book at me ..

But I threw it right back.

Do you know, we kinda liked it.

It seems the more we go for each other, the more we ..

Go for each other.

That's love, I guess.

Yeah, I guess.

Night.

Brad.

Wallchek's a murderer.

He committed murder.

Not this one. Alright, not this one.

He didn't kill a vile degenerate.

He only murdered a decent honest boy who never hurt anyone.

And now he's to pay for it.

Can't you see there's a ..

A higher justice in that?

I can see the irony of it, but justice?

That's another thing.

Well it may not be Man's justice.

But it could be God's. That still doesn't let me out, Stella.

God would any normal person.

Alright then, I'm not normal. I can't help it.

But I've tried for two whole days and I just can't stomach it.

You've no right to ask me. I am asking you.

No, Stella. No. Brad!

No, no, no. I can't.

Do you want to destroy everything?

Our home, our life together?

Even our love. You don't mean that.

Yes, I do. I mean it.

I mean our love.

You are sacrificing everything.

Everything.

Into a blind obsession.

You can't go back now and say it makes no difference:

'Here I am, take me. I'm guilty'.

If you won't think of yourself, Brad.

Think of me.

Of .. Bob.

Oh, please.

Please ..

Stella darling, listen. I know all the arguments.

I've gone over them again and again and there is only one that matters.

Do you honestly want me to let another man die for something I've done?

Who says that he will die?

He may be acquitted.

He probably will be. He's innocent. Why should they convict him?

Wait, Brad.

There is no harm in waiting, surely?

Wait for the trial.

Please.

Brad, do you believe Wallchek killed Layford?

No.

You must. If you've taken the case. If you didn't you couldn't refuse.

I am refusing.

You defended him once.

You believed he was innocent and you, Bradley Masen, spoke for him.

That swung the verdict.

Without you, he hasn't a chance.

And I'm asking you, what are you going to do about it?

The superior court of Blake County is now in session.

The Honorable James B. Hulbrook. Judge presiding.

The people versus Wallchek.

Be seated and remain quiet.

Members of the jury, give me your attention.

There is.

Just one point that I particularly want to stress before we begin.

Whatever you've heard or read concerning the defendant's previous trial ..

You must put out of your mind.

That case was decided by a previous jury.

And no concern of yours.

You must base your verdict in this case solely upon the evidence ..

You are about to hear in this court.

At this trial. Nothing else.

The people's witnesses are here.

Mr Bucknor? All here.

Defence witnesses, counsel?

We .. we have none, Your Honor.

You ..

Mean that you are not calling any witnesses for the defence?

I shall call the defendant. That is all.

I see. I see.

Well.

We may as well begin.

Your Honor it's a bit warm in here. May we have a window open, do you suppose?

Yes, yes. A good idea. Bailiff.

Open one of the windows.

Thank you.

The deceased lay in a supine position.

The weapon had penetrated the gladiolus piercing the ..

Pericardium and entering the organ by the left ventricle.

Uhuh.

Could it perhaps be put more simply, sir?

Well you could say he was stabbed in the heart.

Thank you.

Dr Palmer, I have here a dagger which has been marked as ..

People's Exhibit number One for identification.

Do you recognise it? Yes, sir.

When did you first see it?

It's the same weapon I removed from the body of Andrew Layford.

Would you describe it, please.

Wooden handled blade, six inches in length, triangular shaped.

Triangular shaped.

Tell me doctor, would this particular weapon inflict a special kind of injury?

I don't follow.

I mean, is an injury inflicted by this weapon ..

Easily recognisable as having been caused by it?

Could it perhaps be put more simply, sir?

Well, this weapon caused a certain specific wound. Isn't that so?

Yes.

Have you seen a similar wound, doctor? Recently, about three months ago?

Think a moment.

You must mean the murder of young Hulderman.

Yes, certainly. That must be the same dagger which ..

Objection, Your Honor.

Utterly irrelevant and immaterial.

The District Attorney is trying to influence the jury ..

By dragging in charges of which the defendant was acquitted.

Objection sustained.

I was summoned to the apartment of the deceased by his manservant at 11:04 pm.

I remained there approximately 40 minutes.

Then I took Sergeant Walker and went at once to the apartment of the defendant.

Thank you, Lieutenant.

Now will you please tell the court what made you go at once to the defendant.

That you found a certain article on the floor of the deceased's apartment.

Yes, sir.

What was this article?

A laundry bill, dated May 2nd of this year.

Made out by the Melway Laundry to R. Wallchek.

Is this the bill, Lieutenant?

Yes, sir.

A laundry bill made out to Rudi Wallchek.

Just a moment.

The witness said 'R' Wallchek, Mr Bucknor.

Not 'Rudi'.

Thank you, Your Honor. 'R' Wallchek.

Lieutenant, did you show this bill to the defendant?

Yes, sir.

How did he explain its presence so close to the body?

He couldn't .. he said it had been on his desk that morning.

And that someone must have broken in his place and stole it.

Oh? Had he reported a burglary?

No.

Was there any sign of one? A forced lock, a broken window?

No, sir.

So, some unknown person affected an entrance ..

In a mysterious manner without leaving a sign or trace of his coming or going ..

For the sole purpose of stealing a laundry bill.

Your witness.

No questions.

Naturally, we check and double check everything.

The prints on the handle of the dagger and ..

The fingerprints of the defendant.

Are identical.

There is no doubt at all?

No, sir. Absolutely none.

Your witness.

Did you find any other prints on the handle?

No sir, just the defendant's.

But there were other prints in the room where the body was found?

Yes, sir. Whose were they?

The deceased's and his manservant's.

Any others?

Yes, sir. Several.

And .. do you remember ..

A glass .. a brandy glass ..?

On a long, low table in front of the couch in the living room.

There was a glass, yes sir.

With fingerprint on it? Yes, sir.

The defendant's? No sir.

The deceased's? No, sir.

Whose were they?

Well, they weren't clear enough to identify.

You couldn't identify them? No, sir.

Thank you.

Why were you detectives following this man?

Orders of the D.A.'s office, Your Honor.

Proceed.

Just after 9 pm Wallchek came out of the restaurant ..

And walked slowly towards Markus Drive.

He reached the apartment house, Seven Gables ..

At 9:25.

He stood under the street lamp a while, smoking a cigarette.

And then he entered the building.

Did you see him go in? Yes.

And come out? Yes.

What time was that? 9:35.

Then he was in the building approximately five minutes?

Exactly five minutes.

The defendant was taken to headquarters and I proceeded to search his apartment.

In the closet in his living-room found Exhibit Three.

Your witness.

No questions.

Exhibit Three.

Found in the apartment of the defendant's.

Exhibit One.

Found in the body of the deceased.

Alright. It's mine, but it was stolen. I'm innocent! You've got to believe me.

Silence, silence!

The defendant will be seated.

Any further disturbance and I will order the courtroom cleared.

Counsels will join me in my chambers immediately.

Court recesses for five minutes.

Well, I suppose you know what you've done, Joe.

You've just made it impossible for this jury to keep an open mind in this case.

I have, sir? Oh, don't.

Don't be so innocent.

You've proved whether or not Wallchek killed Layford ..

He certainly killed young Hulderman.

The jury knows now they are dealing with a murderer who was wrongly acquitted.

Bound to influence them. It would anybody.

I don't like it. That's bad judge, legally.

Morally, it could be called 'Justice'.

Not by me. Nor by me.

Look who's talking.

Who came to me crying because his precious client had cheated the law?

Who could eat .. or sleep nights because he'd let loose a murderer on society?

I can't figure you, Lancelot.

One minute, you build his gallows high.

And the next you're in there swinging for him like crazy.

There's something screwy somewhere. You don't add up.

Well, I happen to know he's innocent.

You happened to know that once before, remember?

Yes.

But this time it is true.

He's guilty, sure as the knife is steel.

Oh, that's enough of that, Joe. That's enough.

How are you feeling, Masen?

Here.

Thank you.

You don't want to pay any attention to anything Joe says.

I never do.

Well, gentlemen.

Here we go.

Back to the salt mines.

Hey, how come you know about the prints on that brandy glass?

How come you know there was a brandy glass on that table that night?

This court is now in session.

Be seated and remain quiet.

I conclude the case for the prosecution, Your Honor. The people rest.

I call the defendant, Rudi Wallchek.

Raise your right hand.

Do you swear to tell the truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

I do. Take the stand.

Is your name Rudi Wallchek?

Yes.

Were you tried in this court ..

Three months ago, for murder?

Yes.

Were you acquitted?

Yes.

Wallchek.

Did you kill Layford?

No, no, no! Alright.

Now.

You heard the medical evidence.

That Layford died between the hours ..

Of 9 and 10 pm on the 3rd of May.

Yes.

Were you at his apartment ..

On that evening, between those hours?

Yes. I was there at 9:30.

Exactly 9:30?

Yes.

How do you know the exact time?

He said to be there then. It was expected.

Who was? Layford.

He got me on the phone at Shiners while I was having lunch.

He called me at my place earlier, but I was out.

He said to be there at 9:30 so I went.

How long did you stay?

Ask the cop. He was tailing me.

Answer the question.

Two minutes, three minutes. How do I know?

Long enough to kill him, if that's what you mean.

Only it just so happened I didn't.

This laundry bill. Is it yours?

Yes. And this dagger?

Yes.

Did you have them on you that evening? No. I swear it.

Can you explain .. No, I can't.

It doesn't make sense. I've tried and tried to figure it.

Look, they must have been stolen. I wasn't in my place all day, see.

Someone must have sneaked in and pinched them.

Someone who wanted them .. but who?

Who would do a thing like that?

When you ..

Rang the bell of Layford's apartment, who answered the door?

He did. Layford.

You went in?

No, not right in. He ..

Said there was someone with him. He couldn't see me.

He said what?

He said there was someone there in the apartment.

Some guy who dropped in unexpectedly.

A friend of his. Ah.

Did he ..?

Did he say who he was .. this visitor?

No.

Did you see him?

No. We were in the hall.

I guess this guy must have been in the living room.

Strike that out.

The witness will indulge in conclusions.

Just tell us what you saw.

Uh ..

Can you see the living-room from the hall?

If the door is open.

Was it open?

No, it was shut. All the time?

All the time.

So you never saw this person? No.

And ..

While you were in the hall.

Did you hear a sound of any kind? A noise?

Yeah. Yeah, there was a noise.

Where did it come from?

From behind the door. Which door?

The living-room door. It was ..

It was kind of a buzz like a bzzzz. Like that.

Now, was it continuous?

Or did it start and stop and then start again?

Yeah, come to think of it, it ..

Was on.

And then it went off, and ..

Then it went on again. But how did .. About this visitor.

Is there anything else you could tell the court?

Did you see some article in the hall that might identify him?

Yeah, there was a hat.

On the hall table, right next to the door.

A man's hat. A hat?

What color was it?

Brown. Kinda ..

Light brown with a dark band around it.

Would you recognise this hat if you saw it again?

Yeah, I guess so. Yes, I would.

Do you know anything else about this man?

Why he came? What he was doing there?

No, I don't.

I don't know why or what or who.

I don't know anything about the guy, but I do know this.

He ought to be sitting where I'm sitting today.

Because he killed him.

I don't believe I have any further questions, Your Honor.

Wallchek, were you in the habit of visiting the deceased?

Huh?

Was that your first visit to Mr Layford's that night that you ..

The night that he died.

I'd been before.

Often?

Sure. Why not?

What was his interest in you?

We were friends. Friends?

You and the head of the Crime Commission? Really?

Why not?

I just wondered.

You told the court that you were out all day on the 3rd of May.

Is that correct? I was out.

How about the door to your apartment? Did you leave it open?

No.

You locked it, didn't you.

Did you lock the door? Alright, so I locked it.

What kind of lock is it, Rudi? What do you mean? A lock is a lock.

Yours was a special kind of lock, wasn't it? You had it made for you?

So what?

So, it's impossible for anyone to enter the apartment without a key, isn't it?

Locks can be forced. But this one wasn't, was it.

It must have been. Nobody had a key but you, did they?

Did they? Yeah ..

The guy who made it had one. A duplicate in case I lost mine. He could easily ..

Yes, go on. Forget it.

You were telling the court about the locksmith, weren't you, Rudi?

What was his name?

Well, what was his name?

Answer the question.

His name was Peter Hulderman.

Peter Hulderman.

But we know that Mr Hulderman couldn't have used his key ..

To visit your apartment that day .. don't we, Rudi.

Because that was the morning Hulderman was run down by a truck .. and killed.

Members of the jury.

I'm not defending a noble character.

A decent, clean-cut American boy.

I may be defending the scum of the earth.

But I shall go on defending him until my last breath.

As long as I believe in my heart.

That he is innocent.

You have heard the evidence.

The people's case is a an extremely strong one. I don't deny it.

But there is one link.

You may say, a very vital link.

That is missing.

Not one reason.

Not one reason has been advanced.

As to why the defendant should have killed this man.

Well, the ..

Prosecution is under no obligation to establish motive.

But still there remains the everlasting question: why?

Why was Layford killed?

The district attorney is a practised speaker.

He has ridicule ..

Irony and sarcasm.

At his command and he has used them all over again.

In his attempt to laugh out of court.

The unknown man.

Who was there that night in the apartment.

Ladies and gentlemen, this man is no figment of the imagination.

He exists just as surely as I am standing here.

He lives and eats and breathes. He is flesh and blood.

He could stand right up in this court.

And say:

'I am the man who dropped by unexpectedly. The ..'

'The ..'

'Friend who was given the drink, and ..'

'Left his fingerprints on the brandy glass'.

'I .. wear a ..'

'A brown hat with a dark ribbon around it'.

'I ..'

Was there that night in the apartment behind the closed door, waiting'.

'I killed Andrew Layford'.

Members of the jury.

I can't tell you.

What to think or ..

Who to believe.

It is for you.

And .. only you.

To decide whether ..

The defendant has a debt to pay to society.

Whoever killed ..

Andrew Layford.

Has a debt to pay.

I don't believe you will say.

Wallchek must pay.

He killed him.

No.

I don't believe you will say that.

Because.

It isn't so.

Will it be long, the verdict?

I hope not.

Just the waiting.

When do you think?

I hope in the morning.

Darling.

If they ..

Whichever way it goes ..

Don't worry about us.

You do whatever you think.


Hi.

Oh hello, Bob. Tough luck, Dad.

Well, I guess you didn't have much of a chance anyway. But you did a fine job.

How are the exams coming?

Oh, I got through the written stuff alright, but .. the orals begin Monday.

Rough.

I had the shakes on the orals, too.

You did alright. You'll do better.

You'll be taking over pretty soon.

And you're going to do quite a job of it. How's Ellie?

She's fine. What was that about taking over?

Say hello to her for me, will you.

She's outside in the car. You through here yet?

No. Not quite, Bob.

Well, I'll see you later. Right.

Oh, Bob.

Er .. you know the ..

The watchmaker over there on the corner of ..

8th and Garrison? Uhuh.

Take this in will you. It loses ten minutes.

Have him fix it up for you. Okay.

For me?

It's coming down the line to you.

One day.

Going to be home for dinner? Uhuh.

Look after your mother for me, will you?

What do you think? Bye.

[ Buzzer ]

Yep? "Mr Masen to see you."

Oh.

Alright. Send him in.

A cup of coffee and a doughnut and I'm as soft and as sweet as a nurse myself.

Almost mellow in fact.

Hello, Lancelot.

Hello, Joe.

I had a hunch you'd show up.

You had a hunch, huh? Uhuh.

Well I'm glad. That will make it easier.

Always getting hunches. Usually over a cup of java.

Just had a humdinger. It's about Andy Layford.

I want to talk to you, Joe.

You like doughnuts?

I'm crazy about 'em.

I want to talk to you too, Brad. It's about Layford.

You know it's an odd thing. Since Andy left us ..

The organised crime .. has dropped to an all-time low.

Of course it all depends on which way you look at it.

But it struck me there might be some connection.

What do you say?

Whichever way you look at it, Joe.

It's still murder.

Murder.

Yep.

Murder.

From where I sit you don't condone it, ever.

You can't. No man can take the law into his own hands and get away with it.

But sometimes you ..

Understand it better than others.

Which makes it tough when you have to go after the guy.

Because that's your job, whether you like it or not.

You can't let him off the hook, no matter what.

All you can do is ..

Try and show them that you're not exactly having fun.

No fun at all.

Thanks, Joe.

Okay, let's get it over with.

You came here to tell me that you ..

The Judge's compliments and it's all yours, Joe.

Thanks, Sam.

Yeah, that Wallchek is a bad boy. Real bad.

Break my heart to see him go free.

Ah well ..

One more for the chamber of horrors.

Hey, what do you know? We caught Molly.

Look at that. Isn't she a cute little devil, huh?

Sam.

Hey, Sam.

Look who's here.

Well, for Pete's sake.

Say, she's kinda cute, ain't she.

The little son-of-a-gun. There you go, Sam.

What will I do with her? Drown her?

Drown her?

Sam, take her out and buy her a nice lunch.

And walk her for about six blocks and ..

Let her go. On parole.

Yes, sir.

You know, I'm going to miss her.

That's the toughest case I ever had to handle.

Parole?

I wonder.

I ..

Guess you couldn't extend that to me.

Could you, Joe?

Brad, the rules for mice and men are kinda different.

Yeah.

Their needs are different too, Joe.

A man may need more than a ..

A piece of cheese or a rind of bacon.

He may be reaching for something higher. Something that's ..

Probably beyond his reach.

What are you reaching for?

Justice has always been a religion with me.

And it breaks my heart too ..

To think of that boy going free.

Joe.

Let me have five minutes upstairs with him, will you?

Why?

Come on. Just five minutes.

Okay, five. I'll be waiting right here for you.


Thank you. Alright, sir.

Cigarette?

Okay, what now?

I'm not sure.

To tell you the truth, I'm worried. You're worried?

Yes.

Of course, we can appeal.

Claim misdirection of the jury.

Ask for a retrial or ..

There are a dozen ways to postpone things.

I'm afraid it's a waste of time.

Well if you think I'm going to give up without a fight, you're crazy.

I wouldn't call it giving up.

I'd call it .. facing the facts.

Facts? I'm innocent and I want to live! There's a couple of facts for you.

Look, get this. If you can't beat this rap for me, I'll get somebody who can.

You can get yourself another lawyer, Rudi.

I don't think it's going to help very much.

No-one can help you now.

I'm sorry. I've done everything I could. Ha! You say.

No, really.

After the verdict, I went to see the D.A.

To tell him the truth, but ..

Well, he knew already.

You what?

I went to his office to tell him who killed Layford.

It wasn't necessary.

The brandy glass had already told him.

That and the hat with the dark rim around it.

It was right on the desk in front of him while I talked .. and he recognised it.

But by then he wasn't interested.

I am afraid he ..

I'm afraid he doesn't care now who killed Layford.

You're going to the chair and that's all that matters to him.

When I realized that, I didn't even bother to ..

Show him this key.

This key to your apartment.

The old man, Peter Hulderman gave it to me.

The day before he died.

I had no idea I was going to use it.

Strange how ..

You can't foresee the future.

Perhaps it's just as well.

You were right about the visitor in the living room.

I ..

I waited there while Layford went out in the hall to ..

Talk to you.

When he came back.

I killed him.

With this.

I .. just took it from the D.A.'s closet.

I think perhaps we ..

Never really know ourselves completely.

I'm not sorry I killed him and ..

I can't say I'm sorry you are going to die for it.

You cheated the law once.

If I burn it won't be for something I didn't do.

Is that a bible there?

It's in the Old Testament, isn't it.

'An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth'.

I'm not sure, but I think it's Leviticus 24.

Yes, here it is.

'As he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be rendered unto him'.

'And he that killeth a man'.

'Shall be put to death'.

He said that he killed Layford. I'm innocent!

Not now.

And so now you are all about to become Counsellors at Law.

Attorneys, lawyers.

Some of you good.

Some not so good.

Some of you great and some not so great.

Well, that's okay.

Only a very few ball players ever get to hit 400.

As you know, I'm pitch-hitting this afternoon for a better man.

Who couldn't make it.

His son made it.

He graduates today.

And Mrs Masen is right here beside me to see him do it.

I guess her husband would be ..

Very happy about that if he knew.

Maybe he does.

Well, I've said my little piece. There is just one more thing.

It's something l have a hunch Bradley Masen might have said if he were alive.

And here today.

Well, he isn't, so I'm going to say it for him. It's this.

You will find.

That the law.

May make mistakes.

But justice .. never.

So, reach out for justice.

And keep your hands clean and your buttons shining.

He did.

Until the end.


.s.d.