The Wrong Man (1956) Script

This is Alfred Hitchcock speaking.

In the past, I have given you many kinds of suspense pictures.

But this time, I would like you to see a different one.

The difference lies in the fact that this is a true story, every word of it.

And yet it contains elements that are stranger than all the fiction that has gone into many of the thrillers that I've made before.

Good night. Good night.

Good night, Mr. Rotunda. Good night, John.

Good night, Manny. Good night, John.

Hiya, Manny. How's the family? Morning, Stan. Fine, thanks.

What'll it be, the usual? The same.

I'll bring the toast over to the table.

Thank you.

Oh, Rose, did I wake you?

I was awake.

Is something wrong?

Mmm, it's just these teeth.

I haven't been awake all the time.

They hurt, though, huh?

Oh, not much.

I think it's the price that hurts more than anything else.

The dentist told me what it would cost this afternoon.


Three hundred dollars for the four wisdom teeth.


That's a lot of money, but with prices what they are, maybe it's not too unreasonable.

He even gave me a little lecture on evolution on the side.

It seems the human race is growing smaller jaws and having fewer teeth.

But the teeth are ahead of the jaws, and so everybody has more teeth than they know what to do with.

That's why I have four impacted wisdom teeth.

You look just about perfect to me.

If evolution can produce you, it's doing pretty good.

I don't think we ought to complain about a few impacted teeth now and then.

All right, we won't complain about it.

How do we pay for it?

Ah, we've had big doctor bills before this.

I know, Manny, but I thought we'd come to the end of all that.

We borrow money, and then for years we pay out on the installment plan.

It keeps us broke.

What is that, a crossword puzzle?

Ah, it's a little game I play.

I pick the winners of tomorrow's races, and I write my bets down here on the side, see, like this.

And then the next day, I figure out how much I've won or lost.

Oh, I didn't know you liked horses.

It's the arithmetic I like, honey.

I guess it's the musician in me.

You know, musicians are always fascinated by mathematics.

They can't read, but they can figure.

It would be nice if you could win us about $300.

In my experience, I always pay for what I get.

We won't win any 300, we'll borrow it.

Every time we get up, something comes along, and knocks us right back down again.

That's life, honey. That's the way it is.

I think we're pretty lucky people, mostly.

Are we? Sure, we are.

We're in love.

We've got two good, bright boys. I've got a job I like.

I think we're doing pretty well, except for this toothache.

You make everything all right again.

Are we lucky people? Sure, we are.

And the luckiest thing that ever happened to me was finding you.

Oh, Manny.

Sometimes I'm so frightened, waiting for you to come home at night.

I always come home, don't I?

We better get some sleep.

Can you sleep now? I think so.

Will you sit here for a while? Sure.


You know you've got some money saved up?

I have? Mmm-hmm.

Well, where? Your insurance policy.

I borrowed against mine, but yours is clear.

Do you think there'd be enough?

I'd have to ask, but I think there'd be enough for most of it.

Who do you ask? I'll go down this afternoon and find out.


Mother! Mother!

Those kids. Yes?

Yes, what is it?

Will you tell Greg to quit playing the mouth organ while I practice?

Greg? Greg? Will you tell him?

Gregory? Yes, Mother?

Don't play the harmonica while Robert is playing the piano.

But I was playing the same thing.

Was he? He thinks he was, but...

I was.

I don't want you playing, even if it is the same.

He hides in the closet and makes noise. Robert.

What's all this? Oh, Robert was playing the piano, and Greg was spoiling his music.

I didn't! You did!

I was playing the same. You were not!

You know, Bob, it sounded to me that last part, when Greg was playing, it almost sounded to me like he caught the melody.

Try it again, Greg. I can't do it now.

No, you can only do it when I'm playing.

Now, be fair, Bob. I know he's trying to annoy you, but he did play something of a Mozart.

I did, I did! Sure, you did.

And you were doing very well till you let him throw you.

I think you got a real gift for it, so maybe Greg has too.

Wouldn't that be fun, Robert?

Then you could play together. Think I did it well?

Sure you did. Sure you did.

But you mustn't let anything throw you off the beat.

You don't wanna pound the piano and then give up.

You were doing very well, except for that.

It says here Mozart wrote it when he was five.

So I should be able to play it. I'm eight.

I'm five, so I should be able to write it.

Tell you what we'll do. This evening, we'll take time for music lessons.

Bob will have a lesson on the piano, and Greg on the harmonica. Mine first!

Each lesson will be 15 minutes, and Greg's...


Hello, Mother.

How's Pop?


I guess I could, but I've got an errand to do first.

It couldn't be a very long visit.

And I'd have to leave early.

I promised the boys I'd give them music lessons before I go to work tonight.

Look, suppose I get there about 3:30 and leave about 4:00?

Goodbye, Mother.

Mother says Pop isn't very well. She wants me to come by this afternoon.

I'll go to the insurance office first, then I'll drop in on Pop, and come back as soon as I can.

January 4th is the first date you replied?

That's right.

You still at 6342, 55th Street? Yes, we are.

All right. Will you sign right here, please?

Is that all I have to do? That's all.

Goodbye, then. Thank you. Goodbye.


I wonder if you'd look at this policy for me, and tell me how much we can borrow on it.

Rose Balestrero? Yes. That's my wife.

I wonder, could you wait a minute while I check on something?

Yes. Yes, I'll wait.

Don't look all at one time.

Hmm? I didn't hear you.

I think the man at the window is the one that's been here before.

The man who... Yeah, I'm sure of it.

Miss James?

There's a man at the window, and Peggy thinks that he's the one who held you up.

Says he wants to find out how much he can get on his wife's policy.

I don't dare look.

It is the same man.

What can we do?

Look at him.

I'm not looking at him now, you look at him.

I don't think I can.

What am I gonna tell him?

I'm not going near that window.

Just look at him. I think I'm gonna faint.


It is the same.

I'm gonna sit right here.

Talk to him about the policy.

Tell him he'll probably get the loan, but his wife has to come in.

Mr. Balestrero.

You are Mr. Balestrero, of course. Yes.

Um, I can fairly quickly give you the amount that can be borrowed.

This is the figure that corresponds with the number of payments your wife has made.

I've checked the amount.

Yes, I see.

The actual loan, of course, has to have the signature of the policyholder.

She'd have to come in? Yes.

Your wife would have to come into the office.

Yes, I see. Well, she can come in.

About how long would it take to make the loan?

Oh, it'd just be a matter of days.

Thank you very much.

Glad to have helped you.

Is he gone? Yeah.

Where's Miss Duffield?

In with Mr. Wendon.

There's the reason he didn't do anything.

You say that was the man that robbed you a while back, wasn't it?

I'm almost sure it was him. What did you think?

I'm sure... She's gone in there. Miss Duffield see it?

She said the way he entered the room was so very strange.

He put his hand in his pocket, but all he took out was this folded paper.

He said he just wanted a loan on his wife's policy.


I'll call the home office.

Maybe you and Pop can come over on Sunday?

I hope we can, Manny. It was good of you to come all the way out here today.

Ciao, Ma. Ciao.

I'd appreciate it if you ladies would wait at home.

Stay near a telephone, and I'll call you within the next couple of hours.

All right, let's pick him up.

Well, you know Daddy. He said 5:30, and he's always on time.

Mom, what time will Dad be home?

5:30. Who is it?

About 5:30, I think.

Who's calling, Robert? It was some man. He didn't say.

What time is it?

It's 5:25.

If he walks up the steps, it'll probably be him.

What do you suppose they call him for short?

Well, his first name's Christopher. Probably Chris.

Hey, Chris.

Your name Chris?

You calling me?

Is your name Christopher Emanuel Balestrero?

Yes, it is.

We wanna speak to you. We're police officers.

What about?

We'd like you to come down to the precinct and help us out a little.

I'm just getting home. I'd like to tell my wife if I'm going anyplace.

Oh, you'd better come along and tell her later.

Where is it? 110th Precinct.

Won't take long? Shouldn't take long.

I'd like to tell my wife.

It's all right, Chris. Just a routine matter.

Come down to the precinct, we'll tell you about it.

I found this man outside a liquor store.

Sit down, Chris.

Here? Fine.


Of course, you're wondering why you're here, Mr., uh, Balestrero?

Yes, I am. I'll tell you the whole thing.

There's been a number of holdups in this neighborhood, all pulled off by one man.

Certain people have come forward with descriptions of that man.

And it's been brought to our attention that you fit the description.

I fit the description? That's right.

Of the holdup man? Yep.

Well, it's crazy. That's crazy.

Sure. From what you say, this whole thing's a big mistake.

Why are you keeping me here?

Well, everything has to be done according with certain procedure, you see.

People bring accusations. All right, we have to look into the matter.

See if there's anything to it. I'm completely innocent.

Well, we can't take anybody's word for that, you know.

We have to clear you before we can send you home.

How do you clear me? Well, it's purely a routine matter.

But I'll tell you something.

It's nothing for an innocent man to worry about.

It's the fella that's done something wrong that has to worry.

Well, there's one thing. Yes.

I've never been late at home without calling, and I'm always on time... That'll be taken care of.

Now, there's one thing we'd like you to do for us.

We'd like you to go and visit a couple of stores, if you don't mind that.

Not if it'll help. It might.

It just might. Let's go.

What do you do at the Stork Club?

Play in the band. I'm a bass player.

I suppose you have some pretty high old times there.

What do you mean? Oh, women, drinks, dancing, that sort of thing. I don't drink.

Well, no? Of course, I don't dance at the club, I just play in the band.

Is this the one? Yeah, this is it.

You familiar with this neighborhood? Yeah. I've been around here.

Never been in this store? No. The liquor store? No.

Now, if you'll just walk into this liquor store, walk to the back of the store, turn around and come back here.

In... Walk in, walk to the back of the store, turn around and come out again.

Won't that look kind of funny? Not at all. You're just helping us out.

The fella in the store is expecting you.

I don't say anything?

Well, you can if you want to. It isn't necessary.

Was that all right? Get into the car.

Lenny's? Yeah, that's right.

Your wife ever go to the Stork Club with you?


No, we have two children, even if we didn't.

Even if you didn't? Costs money.

What costs so much, admission?

No, there's no admission price, but the people who go there are well-to-do.

They wear expensive clothes. Everything you order is expensive.

Oh, but you had lots of money at times.

No, I never have.

I'd like you to do the same thing again.

In the store? Yeah, they're expecting you.

Just walk in. Same routine.

Wait a minute.

Are you from the 110th Precinct? Yes, sir.

Can I do anything for you? No, no. The police sent him over.


Do you recognize him?


That's right, you weren't here Christmas Eve.

Well, I was here when the fella came in in November, though.

You want him to walk up and down again?

Well, yeah.

Would you do that again, walk back with your hat off?


Gee, I don't know.

Okay, you can go.

Hey, what was... Did you get your change?

No. Say...

I'll give you a ring. Right, sir.

Okay, next one.

Well, it's been over an hour since I called you the last time, Mother, and he still hasn't come home.

There must have been some sort of an accident.

Mother! Father! Be quiet!

Mother, come now!

Will you be quiet? I'm on the phone.

No, it's just the boys.

Yes, I called the hospitals, but they didn't have anybody answering his description.

Well, this is unlike Manny.

You know if he couldn't make it home for dinner, he'd call.

I wouldn't worry about Manny, Rose.

I used to worry sometimes, but that's just because he's so steady, you never expect him to be late.

Well, we wanna ask you, have you ever been in the offices of the Associated Life of New York in the Victor Moore Arcade building?

I was there this afternoon.

Why did you go there?

Well, I wanted to find out how much I could borrow on my wife's insurance policy.

She's gotta have a lot of work done on her teeth, and the dentist said it was gonna be about $300.

I wanted to find out how much I could borrow.

Have you ever been in that office before? Yes.

Yes, we've got four policies there, my wife and I and the two boys.

We've each got one. There was a strike some time ago.

The collectors were on strike, and I went into the office to pay the premiums during the strike.

It was a long time ago. How long?

Oh, about a year.

And it's a year since you've been in the insurance office?

I was there this afternoon. But before that it had been a year?

That's right.

And today, you went in to ask about a loan?

Yeah. You need money, then?

Yes, I told you, for the dentist.

What do you make a week at the Stork Club?

Eighty-five. That's the take-home pay?

Yes. You play the horses?


Well, I have, but not very often.

How often?

Three or four times. Not more?

I don't think so. You go to the track regularly?

A friend of mine from the Stork Club goes on his day off, I've been a few times with him. You ever borrow any money?

Yes, I have. When was the last time?

Last summer, I...

I borrowed $50 from the Homewood Finance Company when we were going on a vacation. Did you pay it back?

Yes. Was it difficult to pay back?

I guess so. It's always hard to pay back.

How much do you owe?

You mean right now? Yeah, now.

Oh, there's not much right now. There's a few bills.

How much?

Oh, $45. Maybe 100?

No, it couldn't be that much. Less than 100?

It's less than 50, I'm sure.

Probably less than 40. Maybe less than 30, I don't know.

It's hard to say when I'm not... When you're not what?

Am I being accused of something?

Who says I'm a holdup man or look like one?

And what holdup are you talking about?

Don't I have a right to know? Of course you have.

I'll tell you.

You've been identified by several witnesses as the man who held up the offices of the Associated Life of New York in the Victor Moore Arcade building.

You've been identified as the man who robbed them of $71 on December 18th, and $200 on July 9th last year.

Twice they say you were there.

The last time less than a month ago. That's not true, is it?

No, it isn't, I've never done anything... Have you been arrested before?

No, I haven't. Who says I did it?

You'll be confronted by the witnesses.

If you haven't done anything, you have nothing to fear.

Now, we wanna give you every break possible, Manny.

That's the way we do things here.

And there's one thing you can do for us that'll make it a lot easier for us and for you.

This fella who committed these holdups passed a printed note to the girl at the window.

I'll tell you what was in that holdup note.

And if you would print it out for us, it'll go a long way to show us if you're the same man.

Now, you say you're not that man.

I certainly am not.

Well, then you certainly won't print the way he does.

Will you do it? Yes, I will.

Give him a paper and pencil.

I'll read the holdup note.

Yes? Ready?


An innocent man has nothing to fear. Remember that.

Oh, that's not the note. I'm just telling you.

Oh. This is the note.

"This is a gun I have pointing at you.

"Be quiet and you will not be hurt.

"Give me the money from the cash drawer."

Now, I wanna be entirely fair to you, Manny, so I'll tell you right now that there's a rough similarity between your printing and the note.

That's right.

Would you mind printing that again? No, sir.

I wanna give you every chance.

The note goes, "This is a gun I have pointing at you.

"Be quiet and you will not be hurt.

"Give me the money from the cash drawer."


It's one of the most remarkable things I've ever seen.

Look at this.

This looks bad for you, Manny. This really looks bad.

See that?

Well, Manny, I think you have a right to know, so I'll tell you.

I won't keep anything from you.

Here's three pieces of paper.

This is the note the holdup man gave the girl at the window.

And this other one is the first you printed at my dictation using the same words.

Now, there's a kind of similarity in the printing, of course, but that doesn't mean much.

Most people print alike when they use capitals.

But it was similar enough, so I asked you to print it again.

And when you did, well, something very strange happened.

Now, I put down the first copy of the note you made, and I show you the second.

Read it to me, Manny. Read it out loud.

Read exactly what's on the paper here, the second copy you made.

This your printing? Yes, sir.

Read it.

"This is a gun I have pointing at you.

"Be quiet and you will not be hurt.

"Give me the money from the cash..."

You didn't read the last word.

I meant to write "drawer." I guess I was in a hurry.

I left off the E-R.

And that's exactly how the holdup note read.

How do you explain it? I made a mistake.

And so did the holdup man.

And it happens to be the same mistake.

Find out if the witnesses are here for identification.

Well, I'd better hang up.

He might be trying to call me now.

Okay. I will.


Okay, Manny, come on.

Now, look carefully at the men in the other room.

I want you to count.

Please look at the men from right to left.

Count them off.

And when you come to the one you can identify, stop.

One, two, three, four.

You're sure? Absolutely.

Now, Mrs.... Please, don't mention my name.

Very well, I won't.

Look carefully at the men you see in the other room.

Count them off from the right.

Observe them carefully.

When you come to the one you know, stop.

One, two, three, four.

You're positive?


That will be all. We won't keep you any longer tonight.

And thank you.


Positive identification.

Here are the two notes.

Here's the original, and here's the copy.

Well, Manny?

They call you Manny, don't they? Yes, sir.

You made this copy of the note? Yes, sir.

With a mistake in it? Yes, sir.

Now, the girls identified you.

They saw you in the office, and they saw you here.

There's no use beating around the bush, Manny.

You held up the office, you might as well say so.

But I didn't.

You were in that office this afternoon.

Yes, I went in to see if I could get a loan on my wife's policy.

You better think of another story, Manny. Something more plausible.

But it's the truth.

You want to play it that way?

What can I...

Don't you see, I'm just trying to tell the truth?

Okay, Manny.

With the evidence before us, there's nothing to do but lock him up.

How can I tell you? What can I do?

If you can come up with something else, we'll listen.

Come on over here, Manny.

Throw your hat and coat on that chair.

Give me your right hand.


Wipe your hands with this.

Come on, Manny.

Take your hat and coat.

We're booking this man for robbery, Lieutenant.

All right, what's his name? Christopher Emanuel Balestrero.



Married or single? Married.


4024, 78th Street, Jackson Heights.

Use narcotics?


What's the charge? Assault and robbery.

Held up the Associated Life of New York.

Stole $71.

All right, search him.

Put your coat on the rail, Manny.

Six dollars,

17 cents.

What else have you got?

It's my wife's life insurance policy.

Here's your receipt.

You can keep the rosary beads if you wish.

Come on, Manny.

I never called my wife. That's been taken care of.

Give me your tie.

Yeah, well, naturally, we've been worried.

Yes, Officer.

My name is Conforti. C-O-N-F-O-R-T-I.

And I'm his brother-in-law.

Oh, I see.

Yes, sir.


All right. Thank you.

Yeah, goodbye.

Gene? Just a second.

I wanna make sure I get this right.

Manny was locked up for the holdup of the Associated Life of New York.

Arrested? I knew it was something like that.

He was booked and locked up at the 110th Precinct station.

Can I see him?

No, not tonight. He's gonna be arraigned at felony court at 10:00 tomorrow morning.

Then he has to spend the night in jail. Yeah.

That's what they told me.

Where's felony court? Um, I don't know.

We'll have to find out. But how could this happen to Manny?

Are you sure you heard it right, Gene?

I wrote down what the man said.

He said Manny was booked for a holdup?


The Associated Life of... Yeah.

You know, the office down in... I know what office it is.

I can't imagine. They'll find out he isn't guilty.

Well, everybody knows he couldn't be guilty.

How can a thing like that happen? Something sure went wrong.

Well, somebody's gotta tell them.

We'll go there tomorrow.


Everybody out.

Come on, let's go.

Hello, Manny. Come along.

Step aside.

Step over in front of the microphone.

Edward Ray, 97th East, 118th Street.

What about you? Do you care to tell us about this?

Ever been arrested before? Yep.

June 8, 1942.

Arrested for burglary by Detective Bard, 8th Squad, sentenced to state's prison, Judge Fell, County Court Manhattan, for five to 10 years.

Still on parole? No.

Step aside. This way, not that way.

Next case.

Queens 1. Queens 1.

Step up this way, please.

Stand in front of the microphone.

Take your hat off.

Christopher Emanuel Balestrero.

Address, 4024, 78th Street, Jackson Heights.

Assault and robbery. Nothing on the yellow sheet.

Ever been arrested before? No.

This man's being held for questioning by the District Attorney's office.

This man's being questioned by the District Attorney. Step aside.

Next case. Step down.

This way.

Brooklyn 4.

Over here. Stand in front of the microphone.

Take your hat off.

On a charge for grand larceny...

The defendant is discharged.

Felony court docket number 98, Christopher Balestrero.

Officer, raise your right hand.

Do you swear to the truth of the affidavit you've signed?

Yes. I'm appearing for the defendant.

Did you file a notice of appearance? Yes, sir.

You waive the reading of the complaint? Yes.

How do you plead? Not guilty.

Judge, will you put this over to February 2nd for a hearing?

All right, February 2nd.

The defendant is held on $7,500 bail.

Could you set the bail in a lower amount, Judge?

He's never been arrested before, he's married, has a family and has a steady job.

Your Honor, this is an armed robbery.

And that would be a minimum amount of bail in a case of this type.

Your request is denied, counselor. Put him downstairs, Officer.

Felony court docket number 98.

Sam Chulex.

Officer, raise your right hand.

Do you swear to the truth of the affidavit you've signed?

I guess I didn't know what happened.

You're being held over for the grand jury.

Bail's set at 7,500.

Bail? Yeah.

Will I be able to get out? If the bail's put up.

Yeah, but 7,500.

Who would see to it?

Well, you've got relatives, haven't you?

Won't they let me see my wife?

If she comes to Long Island City Jail.

Let's go, men.


Sign your name here, then here.

Ward, sign your name here.

Up front.

All right, let's go.

All right, come on.

Each on felony.

These guys too.

Balestrero, Christopher.

Remove your hat.


4024, 78th Street, Jackson Heights.

Age? Thirty-eight.

Occupation? Musician.

Born where? New York City.

Hold it there.





Okay, you've got bail.

Are you all right?

Who... Who raised the bail?

It was mostly Gene and Olga, darling.

Olga, I'll never forget this. Never.

You'll be okay now, boy.

Darling. Oh, honey.

You'll never know how much I needed you.

Manny, what is it? Oh...

I feel... We'd better get him to the car.

Manny, we're going home now.

I've got some coffee and lasagna and...

Manny, you'll be all right. I'm all right.

Oh, you'll never know. I know, I know.

What is it, Manny?

I was remembering the police car sitting over there about a million years ago.

It's okay. You're home now.

Daddy! Daddy! Hi, Dad!

Dad! Hi, Daddy, hi!

We've all been waiting for you.

Could you eat just a bite of something hot?

What I want right now...

Can I have it later, Mom? Of course.

I gotta lie down for a while. Then that's what you should do.

Come in, Bob.

Mother tell you what happened to me?

No, she didn't.

I got arrested for something I didn't do.

You don't have to tell me. I heard what they said on the phone.

Dad, you're the best dad in the world.

I do the best I can, Bob.

Thanks for telling me. You're the best.

Hope you never have to go through anything like I did.

If you ever do, I hope you've got a son just like mine to come back to.

I never knew what my boys meant to me till right now.


You ought to get some sleep now.


The lawyer in felony court said he'd recommend a Mr. O'Connor.

He said we should get in touch with him right away.

What does Manny say? Well, I haven't talked to him about it.

He's too tired to even think about it now.

Did the lawyer tell you where we could find Mr. O'Connor?

Yes. He has an office nearby, in the Victor Moore Arcade.

Why don't you call him?

Mom, I wouldn't know what to say to him.

You'd have to think of what to say.

You always told me not to go out without my jacket, Mommy.

Why did you and Grandma go out in the yard?

Hello. I wonder if I could speak with Mr. O'Connor, please.

No. Mr. O'Connor has left the office and is not expected back this afternoon.

Look, I know he'll see me. Is it urgent?

Well, I believe he intended to go straight home.

Oh, all right. Thank you.

We ought to get two music lessons today because we didn't get any yesterday.

He'll give us lessons as soon as he can, but not now.

Oh, hello. Is Mr. O'Connor in, please?

Oh, I wonder if you could...

Oh, yes. Is this Mrs. O'Connor?

Well, Mrs. O'Connor, I'm calling because we're in trouble.

And I was told that your husband could help.

No, no. I'd like to tell you, if I can just think where to begin.

My husband plays the bass fiddle at the Stork Club.

Oh, good afternoon. Mr. Balestrero?

Mrs. Balestrero?

This way, please.

Mr. and Mrs. Balestrero.

All right. Hello. Hello.

This is my husband. Hello.

Hello. I'm Frank O'Connor.

This is Mr. McKaba. How do you do?

Do sit down, won't you?

I'll see you later, then, Ray.

All right, Frank. Please.

Since you called my wife, Mrs. Balestrero, I've made some preliminary inquiries.

And the general outline of the facts seem to be as you stated them.

Well, everybody knows Manny couldn't be guilty.

Everybody at the Stork Club knows he's not guilty anyway.

I spoke to Mr. Billingsley himself.

He said not to worry.

Well, then, you'll take the case?

Now, that's what we're here to decide.

Well, what is it you want, proof of Manny's innocence?

We've been married for nine years and we haven't been separated for more than two days at a time.

If Manny had done anything wrong, I'd know about it, and I know he hasn't.

What I want first is Manny's own story, the full story about himself.

His life, his work and all the events after he went to the insurance office to raise money on your policy.

Can you give me that? Yes, of course, Mr. O'Connor.


This will be an old story to you, of course, but it's all new to me, so take your time.

Mrs. Daily, I want you to take down Mr. Balestrero's statement.

All right, then, Mr. Balestrero, let's start with some of your background.

Start with your full name and address.

Well, my name is Christopher Emanuel Balestrero.

I live at 4024, 78th Street in Jackson Heights with my wife and my two boys.

Well, that does it for me, Mr. Balestrero.

I'll take the case. Oh, Mr. O'Connor, how wonderful!

There is one difficulty,

which it's only fair to mention.

I have little experience in criminal cases, and I shall be at a disadvantage with a skillful prosecutor.

We trust you, Mr. O'Connor, and you trust us.

We can't ask for more than that.

It's the money problem that... Yeah. Well...

Let's not think about that.

Let's just concentrate on winning the case.

If we can do that, then the rest will take care of itself.

Now, um, I...

I want you two to go home and dig into your memories and into any records you may have and discover exactly where you were and what you were doing on these two key dates, the dates that the insurance company was held up.

We know where we were the first date.

We were vacationing at a hotel in the country.

Can you remember what you were doing that particular date?

No, not offhand. No?

Mr. Ferraro might be able to help. He's the owner of the hotel.

Well, why don't you both go out there and make a thorough checkup?

We might be able to use Gene's car.

We can't keep Mr. O'Connor any longer, Rose.

Yes. Goodbye. Thank you very much.


Thank you, Mr. O'Connor. Goodbye, Mr. Balestrero.

Of course. You were staying here those four days.

But there was so many guests, I just couldn't swear to where anybody was on any one day.

The 9th of July, that's my birthday.

Yes, but you know where Manny was that day?

No, I... I remember.

You had a birthday cake.

And you were going to have a party under the apple tree.

No. We had the party inside.

Because it rained. Now I remember.

It pour rain all day long.

Not that it had... Was that that day it rained?

That was... It just rained one day while we were here.

We played cards that day because it rained so hard.

Four of us sat out here on the porch and played cards all day, right at that table.

You know, I probably knew their names then, but I can't remember one of them now.

First one I think of was a short fella with heavy eyebrows that grew out every which way.

Oh, yes, um, a Mr... I don't remember him.

But we must have the names in the register.

And then there was a tall fella with a...

I remember he walked slowly and kind of stooped over.

And didn't he wear something like a wig?

Yes! A little wig, right up in front. Yeah.

That was Mr. Lamarca. Yes. That was him.

Lamarca, that's right. He was here the first half of the summer.

And the third one was a tall fellow, used to be a boxer.

You don't remember any of their names? No, I don't.

They write in this book. We just look the wrong place.

Was the little man with the big eyebrows Mr. Molinelli?

Yes, I think that was his name. Then here it is.

Here is his address, and Mr. Lamarca address too.

Is Mr. Lamarca in?

Who? Lamarca.

Oh, they're the people that used to live here.

You know where they moved? Well, Mr. Lamarca died, and Mrs. Lamarca, I don't know where she is.

That was about three months ago.

We're looking for Mr. Molinelli.

They're on the third floor, D. Oh, thanks.

Do you speak English?

What? What did she say?

Molinelli is dead.

There's our alibi.

It's perfect!

And complete!

They'll find the other man, the third one, you know, the boxer?

You remember him. And one's... One's really enough.

It's my fault this happened to you. It's these wisdom teeth.

I knew I shouldn't let you go down there, and yet I let you go right ahead.

It's just been an accident, Rose.

I let you go to the insurance company to borrow money for me, and then this fell on you.

We've been in debt before because I haven't known how to handle things.

You had to borrow money from relatives and the loan company, and now we're going into debt to O'Connor all because I haven't known how to economize.

Truth is I've let you down, Manny.

I haven't been a good wife.

But that's nonsense.

You've been the best wife anybody ever had.

Rose, you're just talking nonsense.

You can imagine how we felt when we found out that Lamarca and Molinelli had both died.

You know, like somebody was stacking the cards against us.

But since it happened, it happened.

There was this other fella playing cards with us that afternoon, and Mr. Ferraro and his wife will help us find him.

And we'll find him, won't we, Rose?

Yeah, it was... It was bad luck. But we can't let that shake us.

You'll just have to search your minds and find other witnesses.

Find that ex-prizefighter if possible.

And we'll be able to use the Ferraros as character witnesses, at least.

They promised they'd help us any way they could, you know, with the hotel register and whatever they could remember.

Didn't they, Rose? Yes.

Of course, you realize it'll be the prosecutor's job to break down your alibi if that can be done.

He'll have those identification witnesses in court, and they'll swear you're the holdup man.

I think maybe you'll have to go back to Cornwall, and dig up some more facts on your side.

Now, um, this second date, December 18th.

Uh, did either of you recall any event or circumstance that might be useful to us?

December 18th? I remember I didn't go out much before Christmas. I had a toothache, and my jaw was so swollen, I didn't feel like working, looking that way, you know.

I did work at the club, but otherwise I didn't leave the house.

Was that noticeable?

Oh, yes, the fellas in the band kidded me about it all the time.

How long did it last?

It was two weeks before Christmas.

See a dentist? Yeah, several times.

Uh-huh, and he'd testify to that?

And if you'd held up the insurance office December 18th, this swollen face would be noticed.

Sure would. Yeah.

But this was not mentioned by any of the girls who identified you.

Yeah, I think we may be able to make something of this.

And, of course, Rose could testify to that too.


I suppose so.

Hmm. Yeah, I...

This swollen jaw of yours is something for me to work on.

Um, have you got the name of the dentist?

I have it someplace. I'll phone you when I get home.

I'm going to bring in a handwriting expert because your printing and the printing on the holdup note will have to be compared and proved to differ.

Well, now, I want you two to think again about Cornwall when you get home.

Try and get the name of that boxer.

Try and recall any other details.

See you again day after tomorrow, right?

Yes, sir. Okay.


Goodbye, Mrs. Balestrero.

We're gonna win this case, you know.


Is this usual?

No. I don't understand it.

I think you should let a doctor see her, Manny.

I think I will.

You mean right away?

Oh, I don't know. I'm no doctor, but I'd say she's a very sick woman.

Rose, it's almost morning. Haven't you gone to bed yet?


Honey, it's chilly in here.

You should have been asleep a long time ago.

I can't sleep.

Rose, this is the second night I've come home and found you awake.

And you're not eating either.

Honey, this isn't right.

Don't you think you ought to see a doctor?

There's nothing wrong with me. Why should I see a doctor?

Well, when a person doesn't sleep and doesn't eat and seems to lose interest in everything, maybe a doctor can think of something.

We can't pay for things now. How could we pay for a doctor?

I've been thinking about the trial, and who will stay with the boys while we're away.

I called Mother, and she'll come over and stay.

If you want her to.


The last few days, you've... You haven't seemed to care what happens to me at the trial.

Don't you see? It doesn't do any good to care.

No matter what you do, they've got it fixed so that it goes against you.

No matter how innocent you are or how hard you try, they'll find you guilty.

We're not going to play into their hands anymore.

You're not going out.

You're not going to the club and the boys aren't going to school.

I've thought it all over, sitting here.

We're going to lock the doors and stay in the house.

We'll lock them out and keep them out.

Yes, maybe that's the thing to do.

We won't go out any more than we have to, but there's one thing we should arrange, whether Mother comes here or the boys go and stay with her.

You wanna get the children out of the house because you think I'm crazy, don't you?

Don't you?

Well, you're not so perfect either.

How do I know you're not crazy?

You don't tell me everything you do.

How do I know you're not guilty? You could be.

You could be! Rose.


You went to the loan company to borrow money for a vacation.

You did that when we couldn't afford it.

You always wanted to buy things on time.

I told you not to.

I told you they'd pile up and pile up until we couldn't meet it all.

Rose. And it did pile up.

And then they reached in from the outside and they put this last thing on us.

And it'll beat us, and you can't win!

They spoiled your alibi.

They'll fix it so that they can smash us, and they will.

They'll smash us down!

It's true, Manny.

There is something wrong with me.

You'll have to let them put me somewhere.

What makes you think so?

People had faith in me, and, well, I... I let them down.

But it wasn't always that way, was it?

No, I guess not.

When did you first feel this way?

When my husband was arrested.

That's when I knew I'd let him down.

Well, how did you know it then?

I could tell.

They wanted to show me up.

Were they thinking about Manny or about you?

No, they wanted to punish me because I'd failed him and then let him down.

I did everything all wrong.

Well, didn't they arrest him because they thought he was guilty?

Oh, no. No, they knew he wasn't guilty.

I was guilty. They were after me.

They were after me and they'll get me.

It's no good trying. It's useless.

What is it that's useless, Mrs. Balestrero?

Well, everything.

They come at me from all sides.

And it's no good.

They know I'm guilty.

What's wrong with Rose, Doctor?

Is it her mind?

Yes, it is, Mr. Balestrero.

How serious is it?

Well, at the moment, her mind is in an eclipse.

She doesn't see anything as it is, and she blames herself for everything that has happened to you.

But she wasn't to blame for any of it.

Of course not, but she thinks she was.

And she believes this so strongly that it darkens the whole world for her.

She sees great, lurking dangers everywhere, and she thinks she's brought them on you.

Now, there's a well-known pattern to what she's going through.

She's buried under some kind of landslide of fear and guilt.

What can we do, then?

The best thing would be to place her in a controlled environment where she can receive medical care.

You mean an institution?

It must be chosen carefully, and must give her a tranquil surrounding.

And the kind of assistance she needs to find her way out of this maze of terror she's in.

She couldn't be at home with us?

Not if you think of her, and of giving her a chance to get well.

I just can't believe that Rose...

I can't let her go.

She's living in another world from ours, a frightening landscape that could be on the dark side of the moon.

And I'm not there?

You're there, and the children are there, but not the way you are.

Monstrous shadows that say hateful things.

Now, she knows she's in a nightmare, but it doesn't help her to know.

She can't get out.

Is it incurable?

No case is incurable.

I want her to have the best there is.

The best for her.

Here's your bag, honey.

Come on, honey.

Mr. Balestrero? Yes.

This is my wife.

I think it best if you say goodbye here, Mr. Balestrero.

Goodbye, Rose.


Would you come with us, please?


Christopher Balestrero, please rise.

These persons are called here today as jurors to try you on indictment charging you with the crimes of robbery in the second degree, two counts, grand larceny in the second degree, three counts and assault in the second degree, two counts.

As they come to be sworn, and before they are sworn, you may be heard.

Be seated, please.

Also, ladies and gentlemen, we'll hear from another young lady who works for the insurance office by the name of Constance Willis.

She will positively identify him for you, ladies and gentlemen, as being the same man who was in that insurance office on the date that the robberies occurred.

You'll further hear from Alice Dennerly, another young lady who works for the insurance office, who will testify substantially to the same as Miss Willis.

And you will hear from the detectives who arrested this defendant.

And this defendant admitted to the detectives that he was in financial difficulties, that he had to borrow money not to go to the racetrack to bet, but he had to borrow money to pay off the bookies in New York.

He was in trouble with the bookies. He had to pay them off.

And what he borrowed, ladies and gentlemen, may not have been enough.

This, substantially, is what the people's witnesses will testify to.

They will positively identify this defendant as being the man who committed the robberies.

And I'm sure, ladies and gentlemen, when you have heard and seen the people's witnesses, you will only be able to bring back one verdict, and that will be "guilty as charged."

Thank you.

May it please the court, Mr. Foreman, ladies and gentlemen of the jury.

You have heard in considerable detail the indictment in this case.

As the District Attorney has told you, an indictment is only an accusation.

I would much prefer that the proof in this case come entirely from the lips of the witnesses that we will bring into the court during the trial, because in the last analysis, what I say to you now or hereafter, or what Mr. Tomasini has said or may say to you later on, is of little or no significance in the case.

You must decide the case upon the testimony from the lips of the witnesses as they appear before you.

A defendant, under the American system of justice is obliged to prove nothing.

He can sit here mute and say not a word.

And the burden of proof lies upon the people.

We are, however, going to bring into the court during the course of this trial a series of substantial, reputable citizens.

And I invite you to scrutinize them closely, and to determine, in the light of their testimony, the guilt or innocence of Christopher Emanuel Balestrero.

Because from the lips of these witnesses, it will be established to your complete satisfaction that this defendant who stands here today accused of these crimes did not, in fact, commit any one of them.

I'm going to ask you to consider the probabilities of this case.

And I'm going to ask you that when the proof is all in, to see if you don't say to yourself that this is a tragic case of a mistaken identity.

Because on July the 9th, 1952...

Was that the entire extent of the conversation you had with this man?

As far as I can remember, yes.

He said, "Don't call anyone or ring any bells."

And I gave him the money.

You gave him $200? Yes.

What did he do then?

He left the office. And what did you do?

I went in to the district manager and told him about it.

Mrs. James, would you look around this courtroom and tell us if you see the man who was in your office on July the 9th in this courtroom?

Yes, I do.

Would you step down and point him out to us?

Right there.

Will you step down and put your hand on his shoulder?

Let the record show that the witness stepped down and walked to a place alongside the defendant and put her hand on his shoulder.

And did something else happen after you gave him the money?

Yes. Ann was asked to go to her...

By Ann, you mean Mrs. Ann James? Yes, sir.

Mrs. James went to her cash drawer, also gave him cash from...

Before Mrs. James went to her cash drawer, did you hear this man say something, Mrs. James?

Yes. After I gave him the cash from my drawer, he told her to get the cash from her drawer.

And did she get some cash from her drawer?

Yes, she did.

Did she give it to this man? Yes.

Do you see this man in this courtroom?

Yes, sir.

Will you step down and put your hand on his shoulder?

That isn't necessary. Will you point him out to us?

Which man is it?

The gentleman standing there with the red tie.

Standing? Sitting there.

How is he dressed?

Navy-blue suit, a red tie and white shirt.

Now, Miss Willis, is it not a fact that they had a lineup at the 110th Precinct?

That's right.

And how many men were in the lineup?

Six, I'd say, seven men.

And Christopher Emanuel Balestrero was one of them?

That's right.

What did he wear?

He wore a coat and a hat, I believe.

Were there any men in that alleged lineup that you knew before that night?

I'll object to the words "alleged lineup."

Whatever you wanna call it.

No, I will allow it. That's his choice of words.

How many of the men did you know?


Who is that? Mrs. James's husband.

What did Mrs. James's husband have on that night?

A brown overcoat and a brown hat.

Now, Miss Willis, will you please tell the jury how this thing worked?

I mean, what were you told to do with regard to picking the defendant out of the lineup?

We were told to count, and then tell them what number he was.

What number did Mr. Balestrero have?

If you remember. If you don't, just say so.

No, I'm afraid I don't recall. Do you recall what number Mr. James had?

No, he moved around too much.

Did the number one man have an overcoat on?

As far as I can remember, they were all dressed the same.

Did he have an overcoat or not, the number one man?

She said as far as she knows, they were all dressed alike.

Well, this...

Can you remember how tall he was, approximately, the number one man?

If you know. If you do not know, say so.

No, I don't know. Approximately how much did he weigh? If you know, say so.

If you do not, say so. No, I do not know.

Your Honor, do we have to sit here and listen to this?

The court will rule on what is proper evidence, Mr. Juror.

The court is a sober judge of what is proper evidence.

When the case is submitted to you, you will be the sole judges of the facts.

Your Honor, may counsel approach the bench?

Yes, certainly.

If Your Honor pleases, in view of all the circumstances connected with the incident that has just occurred, at this time, I move for a mistrial.

Your motion is granted.

Foreman and ladies and gentlemen of the jury, it's the right of defense counsel to make the motion for a mistrial, which the court has just granted.

We had to ask for a mistrial. There was nothing else to do.

What does that mean, Mr. O'Connor?

It means we have to go through the whole thing again.

Everything? Everything.

Wait for days on the calendar, choose another jury, examine the witnesses.

Can't we just go ahead?

Not after what that juror said, no.

We have to start all over.

Oh... We've just as good a case as we had before, though.

Nothing's lost.

We just have to face up to it all over again.

Can you take it, Manny?

I'll try, Mr. O'Connor. Thanks.

I think I could have stood it better if they'd found me guilty.

It's like being put through a meat grinder.

Once isn't enough. They've gotta do it to you again.

I brought it all on myself, though.

I've been such an idiot.

You'd all be better off without me.

None of it is your fault, Manny.

You've just had a lot of bad breaks that can happen to anybody.

Yeah, what can I do?

Have you prayed?


What did you pray for?

I prayed for help.

Pray for strength, Manny.

I don't see how anything can help if I don't get some luck.

Somebody committed those holdups. Where is he?

Maybe in jail already for some other crime, in some other state. Maybe we'll...

He'll never be suspected for anything he committed in our neighborhood.

My son, I beg you to pray.

I gotta go to work.

A pound of ham, please.

What's that?

This is a gun.

Give me the money from the cash drawer.

What money?

Temper, lady, temper.

That won't do you any good.

Don't you come near me.

Keep back!

I never did this before!

Let me go. I've got kids! I didn't hurt anybody. Let me go!

Police? I didn't hurt anybody.

We have a guy here. Tried to hold up the store.

Yeah. We can hold him.

One for the detectives, Lieutenant.

Straight ahead.

Manny, they want you over at the 110th Precinct.

What is it?

They got the right man. Everything's going to be all right.


Well, I guess it won't be long now.

What is it, Mr. O'Connor? Where'd they find him?

They got him. They got him.

Now, you, Miss Willis. Start counting from the right.

When you come to the man you know, stop on the number.

Are you ready? Yes.

Okay, go ahead.

One, two, three, four.

Are you sure that's the one?


That's all. Thank you.

Okay, Manny?


I can't wait to...

This way.

You realize what you've done to my wife?

Wait here for me.


Honey, it's all over.

They caught the man who committed the holdups. It's all over, darling.

It's Manny, Rose. He's come to see you.

I know.

Would you tell her the good news again?

Yes, of course.

There's no more trial, Rose.

They know I'm not guilty. They caught the man who did it.

They know I'm innocent.

We can start our lives all over again.

We can start someplace else if you'd like it better.

We have some wonderful friends, Rose.

They've stood by us right through everything.

Mr. O'Connor, the Stork Club, the people up at Cornwall.

Don't look away from me, Rose.

All right.

Rose, honey, I love you.

This awful nightmare we've been through, it's all over now.

That's fine for you.

Fine. For you too, Rose.

It's not good for me if it isn't good for you.

Doesn't it help you?


Is there something I've done, Rose?

Is there something you can't forgive me?

No, nothing you've done.

Can I help you, Rose?

Nothing can help me.

No one.

You can go now.

Don't you wanna come with me?

It doesn't...

It doesn't matter where I am.

Where anybody is.

What will I do with my life, honey?

There's nothing left without you.

The boys pray every night that you'll come home.

We need you.

Your husband's going now, Mrs. Balestrero.

Couldn't you speak to him? He brought you good news.

That's fine for you.

You can go now.

But come back.

I guess I was hoping for a miracle.

They happen. But it takes time.


She's not listening now.

English - SDH