Town Without Pity (1961) Script

All day, the sun had boiled down on the McBride barracks...

...just as it had the long summer past.

At 5:00 in the afternoon, four Gls started out...

...for the small German town nearby.

It was a Saturday early in September 1960.


Afternoon, boys.

Okay. The same?

Yeah.

-Where's Elsie? -Won't be here till 7:00.

Great.

-Where the hell is Trude? -Sorry. Not till 7:00.

Give me a Coke, okay?

If you want to have any fun at all in this town...

...you're gonna have to buy something stronger than Coca-Cola.

Chuck, lay off the kid, will you?


The girl was called Karin.

She had turned 16 last April.

The boy's name was Frank. He was three years older...

...the only son of a widowed mother.

Karin Steinhof and Frank Borgmann had known each other since childhood...

...but their love was new to them.

Frank's caution angered her. She blamed it on his mother...

...who she knew wanted to separate them.

"No one will separate us."

"Then prove it to me."


"Of course no one was there...

"...no one but mama's shadow.

"Run along, mama's boy...

"...and tell mama she can have her son all to herself."


What a dish.

So long, fellas.

Hold it, Corporal. I saw it first.


Come on, Jim. We got to go. Get the hell out of there.


It's okay.


"Get my clothes."

"I want my clothes."

Nobody in town knew about the crime yet...

...not even Karin's father.

Herr Karl Steinhof was the local bank manager.


The family doctor had given her a shot to make her sleep.

"And you let it happen.

"Just because there were four of them.

"I'd have let them kill me first."


All right, Larkin, let's go.


What was that for?

For leaving his shirt over that dame.

He might as well have left our dog tags!

You can get 10 years for this, you know that? Maybe even 15.

Now, I told you before...

...you lay off the kid.

Randall, you listen to me.

From now on, any enlisted man that gets into trouble, on duty or off...

...goes on the record of the company commander.

I've had a bellyful of this buck-passing. What unit are these men in?

I want Capt. Nichols transferred out of his command in 24 hours.

Do you understand? Right!

-How soon can you set up a court-martial? -In about three or four weeks.

Good. The sooner, the better. Get Pakenham to prosecute. Where is he?

Judge Advocates' headquarters.

Get him. You'd better get the defense counsel from the outside, too.

Dowling, I want you to be at the disposal of the girl's doctor.

Medical consultations, anything that he has in mind.

As far as she's concerned, I want you to look after her personally.

-I'll do that. -What about the press?

The whole town's in an uproar.

What did you expect? A vote of confidence? A tribute?

Of course the town's in an uproar!

Damned animals prowling around the countryside.

-Yes? -Burgermeister is calling on one.

Right. I'll take it.

Good morning, Herr Burgermeister.

That all sounds fine, Herr General...

...but if you pardon me for saying so, people here want proof of good intentions.

I've tried to explain...

...that no army should be judged by a few degenerates...

...but people are not open to reason when an outrage occurs...

...and it was an outrage!

I quite agree with you, and we intend to treat it as such.

We plan to have this trial wide open, smack in the middle of the town.

Is there a public building you could place at our disposal?

A fairly large one?

I'm sure you can have the high-school gymnasium.

I want everybody to see exactly how we handle a thing like this.

Yes?

- Maj. Dowling is back, sir. -Send him in. Our medical officer.

Did you see her?

Just been at the hospital. She's not well at all, sir.

-Bad state of shock. -How will these men be punished?

That's the main thing. That's what I have to tell my people.

According to our military law...

...for rape there are various terms of imprisonment at hard labor...

...depending on the degree of the crime. The maximum penalty is death.

Surely, a crime like that calls for the maximum, doesn't it?

The prosecutor, with my consent, asks the penalty...

...but the court, after hearing prosecution and defense, decides the penalty.

That's your law, I understand.

But in the Army, between us...

...isn't it up to the General to decide?

Not in the American Army.

Who did you pick for the defense?


Boy!

The first time I set eyes on the defense counsel...

...was when he walked into my hotel.

Maj. Garrett, sir.

-Yes? -From the Judge Advocates' office.

Thank you, Sergeant.

Major Garrett.

The wheels of American justice turn awfully fast, don't they, Major?

I beg your pardon?

I'm Inge Körner. I write for 'The Globus', a German news weekly.

Yes, I've heard of it.

-Have you? -And smelled it.

You work for a rotten sheet, lady.

Do you consider it more fragrant work defending four monsters?

I've been assigned a job here. The sooner it's finished, the happier I'll be.

So will a lot of people.

May I ask you a question?

Miss Globus, or whatever your name is, please stop following me.

I'm not the following type. I'm interviewing you.

Congratulations. You've set a record for the shortest interview in history.

"Theaters of operation:

"Pacific, Korean, Italian, North African.

"Bronze star. Silver star with clusters."

You puzzle me, Scott.

How can a man with your war record behave like a low-down hood?

Maybe I just forgot to declare peace, Major.

I don't have to be your lawyer. You can choose anyone you want.

I'll play the hand I drew, Major.

Were you drunk?

Can it. Stop hunting for the fancy motives.

It was hot, I was in the mood, and the dame was there.

-How drunk were you? -Just happy.

Was there anything in the girl's attitude that excited you?

Wouldn't a naked girl excite you, Major?

You make me wish I was on the other side.

Can't you get it through your thick skull? This is serious.

You'll hang or spend a lot of time on a rock pile.

I didn't do nothing she didn't let me do. She was just lying there nice and quiet...

...and real pretty. Prettiest little thing you ever saw.

Your story sounds like a valentine message.

Don't get me wrong. I believe you, every word of it.

Go ahead, you can tell me.

It was just something that came over me.

Something goes wild inside me, and I don't care who the girl is...

...or how much she begs.

I just don't pay any attention to her. She hasn't got a chance.

Sit down.

Why didn't you run away when the others did?

It seemed like such a shame to leave her there all alone like that.

You did put your shirt over her, didn't you?

Yeah.

Why?

I don't know.

She looked so small lying there.

I couldn't leave her like that.

Got a girl back home?

Sure, everybody's got a girl back home.

Are you sorry for what you did?

Sure, I'm sorry, Major.

-Larkin... -The thing is...

I don't know. I keep thinking maybe I'll do it again, you know?

I'm telling you this for the last time, stop selling yourself.

I'm sure your mom thinks you ought to be president, but I can't use it in court.

I guess I'm a little nervous about how this will look on my record.

Record? I've seen it. It's enough to gag a hyena.

Personally, I hate your guts, but I have to defend you.

I'm sorry. I'll do anything I can to help.

Thanks.

-Then you saw her smoking a cigarette. -That's right.

We thought it was funny for her to be standing all by herself...

Stick to the facts. Then did you drag her into the bushes and pull her clothes off?

No, we just kept watching.

You won't believe this, but all of a sudden, that little dame took off her bra...

...and slipped off her pants, and she stood there, naked as a jaybird.

Wait a minute. Stood there?

-You mean she started to get dressed. -No, sir, she didn't.

You're lying.

No, sir.

I wouldn't lie to you.

It sure looked to us like she was just asking for it.

I see. Then maybe we ought to charge her with rape.

-Sit down, Snyder. -Yes, sir.

Quite a record you have here. Your mother would just be proud.

-I will not permit it. -I must agree with your wife, Steinhof.

Karin must not be upset. Keep her quiet. Let her rest.

You want these swine to go free?

Wouldn't that set off a celebration out there at the barracks...

...if it doesn't cost anything?

Next week, they'll come back and pick another young girl for their amusement.

Is that what you want?


Don't you think it will be easier for Miss Steinhof...

...if we turn the bed around?

I'm sorry, according to law, they have to be present...

...but you won't have to look at them.

I know you speak English. However, if you have any difficulty...

...Lt. Dunn, our interpreter, is here to help you.

As prosecutor, it's my duty to ask you a number of questions.

Some will be painful and embarrassing to you...

...but you must answer them because only you know what happened...

...and only your testimony can legally prove the crimes.

After I'm through, Maj. Garrett will question you for the defense.

-Maj. Dowling, will you swear her in? -Please, raise your right hand.

Do you swear the evidence you give shall be the truth...

...and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

I do.

I now draw your attention to the events of September 5.

Late in the afternoon, you went swimming...

...with Frank Borgmann in the river near the dam. Correct?

Yes.

As it started to get dark, you swam back to get dressed. Right?

Yes.

Now tell us exactly what happened...

...when you got back to where your clothes were.

Suddenly, I felt something in back of me.

I turned around, and there was a man.

Is that man in this room now?

Yes.

Can you point him out to us?

There, on the right.

The first one.

Let the record reflect the witness has identified defendant, Sgt. Snyder.

You turned around, and you saw this man. Then what happened?

He put his hand out toward me.

I was scared. I couldn't move.

Then he grabbed me.

And then?

I screamed, but he wouldn't let go of me.

I kept on hitting him, his face, all over.

He held his hand over my mouth. I could hardly breathe.

Then he dragged me into the bushes, and suddenly...

...there were three other men.

Are those three men present in this room now?

-Yes. -Will you point them out to us?

That one, that one and that one!

Let the record reflect the witness has identified Cpl. Scott...

...Cpl. Larkin, and Priv. Haines.

Please, go on.

They...

They threw me to the ground.

And then?

Then...

...they held me down...

...until he...

God.

They forced me.

Which one of the men disrobed you?

Objection. I don't think Miss Steinhof has indicated she was disrobed at any time.

Okay, we'll do it the hard way.

When they held you down, were you still wearing your bathing suit?

No.

Do you remember at what point you first found yourself naked?

No. No.

When Sgt. Snyder first grabbed you, you weren't naked, were you?

I don't know.

No.

Sometime in between, did one of the men disrobe you?

-Yes. -Which one?

They were all...

I don't remember.

Before going on to the next defendant, Maj. Garrett will ask you his questions.

I have no questions.

Go on, Colonel.


-Are you tagging me, lady? -All day.

Love to watch a clever defense counsel prepare his case...

...or shall I call it his whitewash?

Call it anything you want.

I read your last opus.

You like it?

Crazy about it.

Can't think of a better way to stir up trouble.

You've got a real talent there, Fraulein.

Do you really think freedom of the press is an American monopoly?

Nope.

Everybody's got the same right to dig in the mud pile.

- Guten morgen. -Hold it.

Do me a favor, will you?

Just stand right there.

You're the girl.

Just a moment ago, you're over there with a boy...

...probably necking, wouldn't you imagine?

You're the one who's imagining.

Okay, you were necking.

Then, for some reason, you left him, swam back to your clothes...

...and over there in the bushes, those four goons are watching, right?

Whatever you say.

You shouldn't be so acquiescent. Get into trouble that way.

You're here. All you've got on is a wet bikini.

-This is where your clothes are... -Just to keep the record straight...

...I've got my clothes on and that's exactly where they're staying.

Just imagining.

Anyway, you're standing in a wet bikini. What's the first thing you do?

Sneeze.

Look, save the jokes for your literature.

-What would you do? -Get into my dress.

Exactly.

Before that, you have to do something else.

Like what?

Don't tell me you'd put those nice, dry clothes on over that dripping bikini.

I suppose not.

You know not.

Before you get dressed, you have to get undressed, don't you?

In theory, maybe.

Tell me, which would you take off first? The bra or the shorts?

-The bra. -Good.

That's off.

-Then you bend over... -And I take off the rest like this.

Does this satisfy your dirty mind?

It wouldn't if I really had a dirty mind.

Tell me, what are you trying to prove here?

That Karin Steinhof seduced those four brave, innocent American boys?

Just wondering how long she stood around here naked.

Really, Miss Koerner...

...don't you think you've flaunted yourself long enough?

You'd better get some clothes on.

Maj. Garrett made the rounds...

...picking up information from Karin's neighbors and friends...

...and enemies.

At the school, her spinster teachers' malice...

...was as obvious as their smiles.

At the ice-cream bar where she and young Borgmann held hands after school...

...the proprietor jumped at the chance to sound off on wayward youth.

But the boy's mother was more subtle and more vicious.

Frank was all she had in the world, and he'd been all hers until...

Frank, you're home early.

-This is Major... -I know who he is.

You were at school today asking questions about Karin.

That's right.

Now you're here. What did you tell him?

Then keep him away from here.

-All he wants is gossip. -You see?

He gets more difficult every day.

It's understandable. He's in love.

Love.

What would a 19-year-old boy know about love?

I work like a dog here, just for him...

...but she's got him so mixed up he doesn't know what he's doing anymore.

-His marks are bad... -Don't get so upset.

I don't want to say anything against Karin. There's been too much scandal already.

Yes, I understand.

Maybe we'd better continue our chat some other time.

And thank you very much.


Soda?

I and Elsie had a date with them that night.

If they'd only waited for us, it maybe never would have happened.

-You know all four of them? -Sure. All except...

-I don't know the kid so well. Jim... -Larkin.

-Did you ever go out with him? -Just once, but he was too shy.

Were the other three shy, too?

No. They are nice guys.

I'm sorry they got in trouble, but the trial's good for business.

How do you mean?

Why do you think we got such a crowd tonight?

Because they are so scared they're leaving the town girls alone for a change.

Curt's watching. I'm not supposed to sit here unless you buy another round.

How long are they going to keep them locked up?

It may not be very long. They're asking the death sentence.

Death?

That shows what happens when you go out with town girls.

You love these town girls, don't you?

Yeah, like poison.

So fine and fancy...

...turning up their stupid noses at us.

But, brother, when nobody's looking, you should see them go to it.

And don't think sweet little Miss Steinhof is such a lily either.

-Has she got people fooled. -How do you know?

My cousin does housework and cooking for the Steinhofs.

She's seen Karin at work.

Dames are the same under the skin when it comes to that.

-Does she work there every day? -Sure. Why?

Do you think she'll do you a little favor?

More than a little.

Curt's got his eye on us again.

Make it three.

-Miss Koerner, sit down. -Thanks.

-Giving a party, Major? -This is Trude, a friend of mine.

Miss Körner, a town girl.

Don't forget there's a house commission if you take him out.

Does she resent my amateur status?

-Wouldn't you? A good kid, though. -I'm sure. Charming.

Tell me, Major.

May I ask you a question?

Can I stop you?

Stephen Garrett.

"Universities: Wisconsin and Columbia.

"Married: twice. Divorced: twice.

"Children: none. Purple hearts: two."

Now snooping in every corner of the town, collecting filth...

...to throw at a little girl who's lying in a hospital bed for reasons we won't mention.

You like the work?

I get a bang out of it.

One night in Korea, I had to shoot an enlisted man.

He'd gone berserk and was setting off flares in a concealed position.

Just 10 feet away from me, and I killed him just like that.

I got a bang out of that, too.

It's a touching story.

You should tell it to Karin Steinhof. She could have a good cry over it.

If these four men hang, that will cheer her up.

That wipes it all out, everything's rosy again.

Nothing will ever wipe it out for her.

Why do we even have a trial, why don't we lynch 'em?

The mob's big enough: you, the newspapers, the town, the brass.

Why do you think the law provides them with a counsel to defend them?

So that he doesn't defend them?

It would have cost them four lousy bucks right here at the Florida Bar.

To risk your neck for something that cheap you'd have to be sick, wouldn't you?

Crazy, stupid and sick!

You get pretty upset about things, don't you?

When it comes to hanging people, yes.

At least I found out what I wanted to know.

-What's that? -How you feel about your work.

You know more than I do.

Excuse me.

Can your cousin get something for me from the Steinhof house?

Just name it.

I'd like to take a look at the bikini she wore that afternoon.


I do not understand. Negotiate?

Herr Steinhof, a negotiated plea means that if I'm convinced...

...of the defendant's guilt, I can see the prosecutor in advance of the trial...

...and the two of us can work out a satisfactory sentence.

Then are you prepared to plead your defendants guilty?

Three of them, yes, if Pakenham agrees to limit the sentence to 20 years...

...and dishonorable discharge.

Three? There were four men. Everybody knows there are four.

I'm not convinced all four of them are guilty.

In the case of Cpl. Larkin, I must reserve freedom of action.

Colonel?

I find the evidence of guilt in this case so overwhelming...

...a negotiated plea is out of the question.

What penalty have you in mind, Colonel?

In view of the singular brutality of this crime...

...I have no choice but to ask your approval of the death sentence.

Sir, this is a dirty case.

Nobody comes out of a dirty case as clean as he went in.

It's bad for the town. It's bad for the Army.

It's worse for the girl.

In my opinion, justice won't be served if the death penalty's invoked.

In Germany...

In Germany, Herr Steinhof, you don't even have capital punishment.

The death penalty is on our books.

I'm inclined to believe there must be a reason.

If you don't ask the maximum for this crime, when do you ask it?

Very well, Colonel.

We are not interested in negotiating the plea, Major.

Sir, may I say one more word to Herr Steinhof?

Thank you.

Do you realize what a terrible strain this will be on your daughter?

To testify at this trial?

The death penalty worries Maj. Garrett, not your daughter.

By law, she's obliged to take the witness stand.

She must remain there until she completes her entire testimony.

If she does not do so, then the death penalty cannot be invoked.

-But it must be! -Not if I can help it.

With a negotiated plea, Karin won't have to testify...

...and I'd much prefer not to cross-examine her.

But hasn't she already been cross-examined?

Not by me.

Not in a public courtroom.

My questions won't be as gentle as Col. Pakenham's.

You don't have to worry about my daughter, sir.

Nonetheless, I do.

I do.


The trial began on Tuesday, October 10...

...at 9:00 p. m. in the high- school gymnasium.

This court will come to order.


This court-martial is convened...

...at the Ludwig High School, Neustadt, Germany...

...by order of Maj. Gen. Lucius B. Strafford, commanding.

This is to be tried as a capital case of rape.

Therefore, I'd like to question the court.

You may proceed with your questioning.

Col. Weldon.

If the accused are found guilty...

...and the evidence of this case warrants it, will you object to the death penalty?

No, sir.

Lt. Col. McKenna.

If the evidence of this case warrants it, will you object to the death penalty?

No, sir.

Maj. Miller.

If the evidence warrants it, will you object to the death penalty?

No, sir.

Maj. Fodowsky.

If the evidence warrants it, will you object to the death penalty?

No, sir. Not in the least.

Capt. Horner, if the evidence of this case warrants it...

...will you object to the death penalty?

No, sir.

Lt. Kennedy, if the evidence of this case warrants it...

Sgt. Browning.

If the evidence of this case warrants it, will you object to the death penalty?

No, sir.

Thank you, gentlemen.

Maj. Garrett.

Defense asserts two peremptory challenges.

Lt. Col. McKenna and Maj. Fodowsky.

Lt. Col. McKenna and Maj. Fodowsky will be excused.

The court will now be sworn.

Proceed, Maj. Garrett.

There's already on record a deposition which the prosecutrix made in the hospital.

I move that, in view of her health the court refrain from calling on her...

...in order to spare her additional strain...

...and the embarrassment of public testimony.

May it please the court, I should only have wished the accused...

...would have shown the same concern for the prosecutrix...

...as the Major himself now displays.

Counsel for the defense is surely not unaware...

...that the death penalty can only be given in this case...

...if the prosecutrix is available for testimony in person.

I therefore move that the motion be denied.

Motion denied.

Trial counsel may proceed.

Sgt. Snyder.

-How do you plead? Guilty or not guilty? -Not guilty, sir.

Cpl. Scott.

Not guilty, sir.

Priv. Haines.

Not guilty, sir.

Cpl. Larkin.

Please answer the question. Guilty or not guilty?

Sir, I know how I'm supposed to plead...

...but I also know what I did.

If I'm to be honest, I have to plead guilty, because I am guilty. I did...

Disregard that.

By law, he can plead not guilty and place the burden of proof on the prosecution.

-But, sir I did... -Therefore...

If it pleases the court, Cpl. Larkin changes his plea to not guilty.

Proceed, Col. Pakenham.


Next witness, Frank Borgmann, please.

We have another room for you, Fraulein.

It will be more quiet there. -Thank you.

Do you swear the evidence you'll give to be the truth...

...and nothing but the truth?

I do.

-State your full name, age and profession. -Frank Borgmann, 19, student.

-Do you know the accused in this case? -Yes, two of them.

Him and him.

And that's where I found her, lying on the ground, a man's shirt over her.

-What did she have on under the shirt? -Nothing.

Then what occurred?

I helped her get dressed.

I carried her through the forest until I got to the road.

A car gave us a lift.

Why did you carry her?

Because she couldn't walk by herself.

No further questions.

You said you and Karin had taken a sunbath.

It was getting dark, Karin had to go home. She swam across to get dressed.

-Is that correct? -Yes.

The current's pretty strong there, isn't it?

Yes.

Why did you allow her to swim back alone?

-Please, answer the question. -I don't know.

I don't remember anymore.

You don't remember anymore?

Yes, I do.

I mean, it was kind of late. She was in a hurry to go home.

Isn't it usual in Germany to see a young lady home?

Of course, but...

But this time, you didn't. Why not?

I was going to take her home.

I wanted to give her time to get dressed.

While you were lying there taking this sunbath, did you two kiss?

Probably.

We kiss sometimes.

Thank you, Herr Borgmann. I reserve the right to call him back later.

At first, I couldn't believe it.

"And something so bestial."

I knew I should call Dr. Urban...

...but I was so mixed up.

Frank had to call for me.

Was she unconscious?

-Please? -Was she in her senses?

Did she know you?

Yes, but she didn't speak.

On the contrary, I always encourage my daughter...

...to go in for sports:

Skiing, tennis, swimming, all kinds of exercise.

That's what made her such a healthy, happy girl.

A girl I was proud of.

I think we all realize the difficulties of bringing a young girl up...

...among the dangers and temptations of modern life.

Tell me, did Karin ever give you cause for concern in this...

Objection. Irrelevant and immaterial.

I'm attempting to establish the character of the prosecutrix...

...before the events of this trial.

Mr. Law Officer...

Objection withdrawn.

Karin never gave us anything but happiness.

Even as a small child, she made friends wherever she went.

My wife and I could always trust her 100 percent.

If we told her to be home at 10:00, she was home at 10:00 on the dot.

Tell me, Herr Steinhof, have you had any indication...

...that Karin's future has been damaged through this experience?

I have, indeed, unfortunately.

I've received anonymous letters in this town...

...hinting...

"Evil."

Yes, evil things about my daughter.

Karin had the whole world open to her until...

Until those animals over there smashed everything to bits!

Objection. I move that the last sentence be stricken and the court to disregard it.

They are animals!

Hanging is too good for them!

There'll be no demonstrations in this court.

Unless silence is observed, I'll have the room cleared.

Objection sustained.

Strike the witness' last two sentences from the record.

No further questions.

Thank you, Herr Steinhof.

Just a minute, Herr Steinhof.

Did you ever catch your daughter in a lie?

I beg your pardon?

Most children do lie occasionally.

Not my daughter.

She's never told a lie in her life!

I'm sorry. No further questions.

The prosecution calls Dr. Franz Urban.

And what did the laboratory analysis show?

It established derivation from two different blood groups.

Would that mean that only two different men were involved?

It would not. I merely said two blood groups.

Many people have the same blood group.

Tell me, would it be perfectly possible that four men were involved?

Perfectly.

Would the witness speak up? We can't hear him.

I said, "Perfectly."

Did you notice any injuries that pointed to a previous struggle?

I did.

The patient had a number of bruises and contusions.

Thank you, Doctor. No further questions.

Dr. Urban.

You've testified that it's possible that four men were involved.

Am I correct in assuming...

...that your tests cannot prove the participation of more than two?

Yes. That is so.

Thank you. No further questions.

The prosecution calls witness Karin Steinhof.

Next witness, Miss Karin Steinhof, please.


Raise your right hand.

Do you solemnly swear the evidence you shall give...

...shall be the truth and nothing but, so help you God?

I do.

Please, be seated.

...like in a horrible dream. I couldn't move or make a sound.

I just prayed he'd go away.

All the time, he kept standing there, looking down at me.

Then he bent down.

I felt him cover me with something.

Then he ran away after the others.

You said before, you stopped screaming...

...because you were afraid these men might kill Frank.

Yes. I heard him calling me.

Then right after...

...I heard fighting, and I didn't want...

I understand. You're very fond of Frank Borgmann, aren't you?

Yes.

Had you made any plans for your future together?

Sometimes we did talk about getting married when we're older.

You speak as if something has happened to make you change your plans. Has it?

Everything is different now.

Frank...he might feel ashamed of me.

Tell me, Fraulein...

That's all right.

No further questions.

No questions.

But I reserve right to call witness back at another time.

You're excused.

Thank you.

Since when hasn't the press the right to interview prisoners?

-The prosecution has no objection. -The defense does have objections.

Get the boys together for me, will you?

-I'll take Larkin first. -Yes, sir.

-Don't forget the coffee. -Yes, sir.

Actually, for the purpose of my story, you'll do, Major.

Do you still think you're going to beat the death sentence?

-I think so. -What makes you so sure?

Three reasons: first, because all witnesses lie a little.

Second, because age hates youth, and ugliness hates beauty.

But third, because there's no way of measuring...

...the incomparable nastiness of the human mind.

If you'll excuse me, Miss Globus... Miss Körner, I've got work to do.

Maj. Garrett, could you come quickly, please?

I knew this guy belonged in a booby hatch.

-Is he all right? -He's more scared than he is hurt.

Let's get him on the cot.

Here I am beating my brains out for you, you try to sneak out the back door.

I'm sorry. I promise I won't try it again.

I promise you won't get the chance.

Keep a 24-hour watch on him.

Yes, sir.

Hello, Trude.

Here it is. Don't say where it came from or Frieda will be out of a job.

Good girl. I owe you a dinner for this.

Are they really going to hang them?

Maybe.

Why don't you do something?

-What do you suggest? -Nail that Steinhof kid.

You had her and didn't ask her one question.

An oversight. I'll make up for that tomorrow.

Just because her father's a banker, that makes her a saint?

What do you think?

I know she isn't, and right over there's the proof.

Frau Kulig.

All the dirt you can use.

Got to get back to work.


Frank was appalled to find his mother a witness...

...even though she protested she did it only in his interest.

Dr. Riessmann, you're on the psychiatric board of the army base hospital.

Not exactly.

Occasionally, I'm called in as a special consultant.

When was the first time that you...

...examined Jim Larkin?

Last June.

What was his condition when you examined him last June?

He was subject to sudden attacks of paralysis...

...which couldn't be traced to any organic disorder.

After a series of sessions with the patient...

...I concluded that since puberty...

...he has suffered from a severe inferiority neurosis.

Nerve tests indicated a state of chronic impotence.

That's a lie!

That's a lie, you lousy doctor!

There's nothing wrong with me! You're a quack-fink doctor!

There's nothing wrong with me!

Order, please! Order. Quiet!

Pipe down, jerk. He's trying to help you.

Now, Doctor...

...will you tell the court the last time you examined Jim Larkin?

Five weeks ago.

How did you find him at that time?

He was responding to psychotherapy. Paralysis had largely disappeared.

Reflexes were still sluggish.

The neurosis was still rather severe.

And the condition of impotence?

Stop saying that!

There's no condition of anything, 'cause there's nothing wrong with me...

...you stinking doctor!

Why do you keep lying? There's nothing wrong with me!

You're lying because he told you to.

You're a liar! Damn you!

You tell them it's a lie!

You tell them it's just a lie, damn it!

You're a liar, damn you!

Damn you! You tell them it's a lie!

May we have a brief recess?

-So ordered. -Court is recessed for 30 minutes!

Yes, I know the skiing cabin.

Up to a year ago, I used to go there myself with my son.

There are two small rooms.

How do you know that Karin and your son spent the weekend there together?

When I took his suit to the cleaner, I found two ski lift tickets in his pocket.

He tried to deny it at first...

...but after we had a good talk together, he finally admitted it.

Why did you oppose your son's association with Miss Steinhof?

I did not want him to be made a fool of by a teenager...

...with nothing in her silly head but to get married.

These question and answers are clearly and intentionally defamatory!

Whether the witness likes or dislikes Fraulein Steinhof...

...or welcomes or opposes her son's association with Fraulein Steinhof...

...or where Fraulein Steinhof elects to spend her weekends...

...is in no way pertinent to this case.

We are here solely to determine if the four accused are guilty of rape.

Yesterday, Col. Pakenham rebutted a similar objection of mine.

He said, and I quote:

"I am attempting to establish the character of the prosecutrix."

Today, I claim the same privilege.

Let's not forget that four lives depend on her testimony.

Objection overruled.

What did your son say when you reproached him...

...for having spent the weekend with Miss Steinhof?

He begged me not to say anything about it to Karin's parents.

But why not?

Because she had lied to them.

She told them she was spending the weekend with girlfriends.

Thank you. That'll be all.

Herr Schmidt, what is your occupation?

Head bookkeeper at Schnack and Pellman, Ladies' Wear.

-How long have you been employed there? -34 years and three months.

-Do you know the Steinhof family? -Yes. We live in the same street.

Is it true that you can see from your living room into Karin Steinhof's bedroom?

-That's correct. -What's the distance approximately?

50 meters, maybe less.

Less.

Have you ever seen anything from this window that seemed...

...peculiar?

Yes, most peculiar.

Tell the court.

Since last spring, Fraulein Steinhof has the habit...

...to exercise every morning in front of the open window...

...in the nude.

Objection, Mr. Law Officer.

It's totally irrelevant how, when, or where Fraulein Steinhof chooses to exercise.

Objection overruled.

Did Fraulein Steinhof in any way ever indicate to you...

...that she was aware of having a spectator?

She most certainly did.

Objection! This is merely a conclusion by the witness.

It is not, as will become apparent immediately.

Objection overruled.

Herr Schmidt, describe the events of a certain morning...

...when Karin Steinhof was aware of being watched.

She was again standing before the window...

...when she turned around and she saw me looking at her...

-...and she had the frechheit... -"Impertinence."

To...

I don't know how to say it in English.

Say it in German.

She made...

We call it 'eine lange nase'. Like that.

Let the record reflect that the witness made a nose-thumbing gesture.

Thank you. No further questions.

Did you ever draw the Steinhofs' attention to their daughter's behavior?

Why should I? We do not meet socially.

Even though you're neighbors?

The house I live in belongs to the bank.

In business, Herr Steinhof can be most unfriendly.

Then you're not on good terms with the Steinhofs?

You may put it that way.

Thank you. No further questions.

Is your dislike of the Steinhof family so strong...

...that here, under oath, you'd give false testimony?

What?

Never!

Thank you. No further questions.

Thank you.

You told us yesterday afternoon that you let Karin swim back alone...

...so she'd have time to get dressed.

Think it over, Frank.

Could there have been another reason?

Another reason?

No.

Are you quite sure there wasn't?

I don't know what you mean.

For example, you could have had a quarrel.

Did you?

It was getting dark, and...

That's not what I asked you.

I don't remember.

You can't remember whether you quarreled.

Could your memory of other events be equally imperfect?

Her screams, for example, your fight and all the rest?

I remember that perfectly.

Please remember you're under oath...

...and I want to know, did you or did you not quarrel with Karin Steinhof?

We had no quarrel.

Witness dismissed. Will Frau Kulig take the stand?

Kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel, isn't he?

Bottom of the sewer, if you ask me.

Will you raise your right hand?

Do you solemnly swear the evidence you give...

...will be the whole truth, and nothing but?

-I do. -Please, be seated.

Will you state your name and occupation?

-Berta Kulig, widow. -Do you know Karin Steinhof?

Yes, her I know.

When and where did you see her last?

On September 5, late in the afternoon...

...on the riverbank near the dam.

Was she alone?

That's just it. No!

She was with the Borgmann boy.

What were the two of them wearing?

-He had a black 'badehose' on. -"Swimming trunks."

And she had on a blue bikini with white spots.

Would you describe to the court this bikini more exactly?

There isn't much to describe.

A few little spots on top and downstairs, not much more.

What were the two of them doing there?

-They were necking. -You mean they were kissing?

Yes, but the real thing...

...not the way you kiss your mother.

Did their bodies touch?

First, he was half on top of her, and then it was the other way around.

Did you hear what was said?

Yes, everything.

"Kiss me," she said.

I don't know how many times, "Kiss me."

I thought you said he had already kissed her.

Yes, but not the way she wanted. That's what made her so upset.

That's why she called him a 'mutter söhnchen'.

-What's that? -"A mama's boy."

Then she yelled to him...

...that his mother was coming between them...

...and when he absolutely didn't want to do what she wanted...

Stop! Are we going to elevate gutter gossip to the status of evidence?

"What she wanted!"

The witness hasn't said one word to prove that Fraulein Steinhof...

...had anything indecent in mind.

You should have been there!

-Quiet! -You should have been there!

Silence, or I'll have the courtroom cleared!

I must admonish the witness to testify only to things she actually saw or heard.

All sentences including and after the one objected to...

...will be stricken from the record.

What did you see or hear...

...that would show what Karin wanted from Frank?

I don't know what to do here.

Speak, not speak. Everything is striked out.

-"Objection." -Now, Frau Kulig. Bitte?

All right.

Then the boy said:

"Nobody can come between us."

And she 'zitterte' all over.

She trembled.

And then she said:

"Prove it to me."

She looked up to him.

I don't like it, Major, not at all.

-The girl should have recovered long ago. -What can you do?

Every time something like this happens, she slips right back again.

I wouldn't. Not now.

Is something wrong?

Yes. She's received another anonymous letter.

No.

What this time?

It's about your mother's testimony and what this Kulig woman said.

What makes people do things like this?

Yes, such a small town and so much hate and meanness.

That afternoon, Herr Steinhof had lost his starch...

And his pride. He was a stranger in his own house.

She hated to leave him like this...

...but an uneasy feeling about Karin nagged at her...

...drew her to the hospital.

- She wanted to be home. -Is Papa here?

"A lovely daughter."


I know you don't want to speak to me, but you should.

Really, you should.

How dare you come to my house.

I want to talk to you about Karin.

Have you no shame, no decency?

No, I guess not. You don't know the meaning of shame.

I ask you for the last time, withdraw her from this trial.

You'd love that, wouldn't you?

Pull her out of this mess while you still have time.

You tried everything to make her a liar and a tramp...

...in front of the town, and now you want her to run away...

...so that everyone is sure to believe it!

Listen for just one minute.

No German can be forced to appear as a witness in an American court-martial.

-Only you can force her. -I don't have to.

My daughter knows what she has to do.

Don't let her. You'll never forgive yourself if you do.

Are you threatening me?

-I'm not threatening, I'm begging you. -I'll go to your General. I'll report you!

Do anything you want, but understand me.

If she was my daughter, I'd leave town before I'd let her appear tomorrow.

Leave my town? What do you think I am?

An American who has no town, who's always building new towns...

...who has no feeling for the place where he was born?

Isn't your daughter more important than a pile of stones?

That pile of stones...

...is where my grandfathers were born and buried before your America existed!

-What's that to do with your daughter? -How can a man like you understand?

You spring from nothing. You come from nowhere!

I will not let you drive me from my town!

You know, Herr Steinhof, I was born in an American town...

...that was founded 134 years before Germany became a nation.

I'm very fond of my town, too.

I'd leave it and never look back if I had a daughter...

But Karin is my daughter! She'll do what I say! I'll fight you!

But you won't fight me! Karin will, and she's not strong enough!

Get out of my house.

All right, Herr Steinhof.

But just remember.

With or without Karin, those four boys will not hang.

There can be no death sentence unless I've cross-examined Karin in full...

...and until she's been dismissed by me.

-She won't be able to stand it. -Damn you!

I'm a good lawyer. I know my business.

I'll make sure she won't be able to stand it.

-Get out of my house! -Papa!

What kind of way is this to run around in front of strangers?


It's late, Major Garrett.

Please leave us alone.


You know, there's another great German lawyer:

Rudolf von Jhering.

He said, "The defense of man's rights...

"...is the poetry of law."

"The defense of man's rights..." I don't know, something like that.

-Do you remember how it goes? -I don't even know the gentleman.

I hate to misquote a fella like that.

Anyway, he's dead.

But dead or alive, a man's got a right to be quoted correctly.

Getting loaded?

Miss Globus.

Come in. Sit down. Have a drink.

Thanks.

I'll have one, too.

The ugly made a fine case against the beautiful today, didn't they?

They generally do.

Make a lot better case tomorrow, though.

If Karin shows up.

Why don't you stop it?

No can do.

The law's like a river.

A great big, wide, deep river.

Once you jump in, the current grabs you...

...and there's no way to stop.

That old river of the law carries everything along with it:

Boats, barges, scows, people, sewage.

That sure was a lovely pair you put on the stand today.

-This Herr Schmidt, I could... -Don't be too tough on the poor old devil.

I'll bet you 10-to-1 he never had the guts to touch a woman in his whole life.

Maybe it would've been different if just once some pretty girl had blown a kiss...

...instead of thumbing her nose at him.

Then one morning, Karin stood in front of that window.

He saw her there.

He saw beauty.

The one dazzling moment of beauty in his whole life.

It was out of reach.

Poor Schmidt.

Poor Karin.

Poor everybody.

You just broke my heart.

You ought to be a poet. I'll quote you in my piece.

You just do that.

While you're at it, give them a little advice.

Tell them never to get into a lawsuit.

Never.

No matter who they are.

No matter how good a case they've got.

No matter how virtuously they live.

Never get into a lawsuit.

Hasta la vista.

Auf Wiedersehen.

Bonsoir. Good night.

Just never get into a lawsuit, that's all.


You won't have to be sworn again. You're still under oath.

-Thank you. -Your witness.

-Are you feeling better today? -Yes.

Don't be nervous. Just feel at ease. I'll make it as short as possible.

Thank you.

One thing first.

I ask that this be marked as defense Exhibit "E".

May it be so marked?

So ordered.

Will you tell the court if this is the bikini you wore...

...on the afternoon of September 5?

Yes, that's it.

I offer this evidence as defense Exhibit "E".

How did your parents feel about you going out with Frank Borgmann?

They didn't like it. My father said we were too young.

Did your parents' attitude make it difficult for you and Frank to see each other?

Yes.

But you did manage somehow.

-Yes. -How?

I didn't always say exactly where I was going.

I see, like the time you went skiing with Frank?

It was testified that you spent a weekend with him at a ski cabin.

Your father didn't know about that, did he?

He didn't know Frank was along.

Let's go back for a moment.

A witness at this trial, your neighbor, Herr Schmidt, testified that you:

"Exercise in front of the window in the nude."

When you saw him watching, you thumbed your nose at him.

-That nasty old man! -Did you tell your parents about it?

No, I didn't.

But why not?

I didn't want my father to know I forgot to pull the curtains.

And sometimes I'm careless.

He's very strict about those things.

There's testimony that when you and Frank were by the river...

...you held each other and you kissed. Is that right?

Yes.

It was also stated you left abruptly. You had a quarrel?

No, not a quarrel. It was...

Just a few cross words? A spat?

Yes, that's it.

Then you called him a mama's boy, and swam across the river?

Yes.

When you got back to where you'd left your clothes, what did you do?

I lit a cigarette and stood there for a minute.

While you were standing there, these four men came and dragged you away.

Yes.

Then, as you previously testified, your bikini was ripped off of you?

Is that how it happened?

Yes.

Then you were raped.

Describe to the court what happened after...

No, never mind.

You've already testified to this in direct examination by Col. Pakenham.

No use rehashing all the embarrassing details.

Fraulein Steinhof, I show you Exhibit "C" for the prosecution...

...the shirt worn on the afternoon of the crime by defendant Snyder.

You'll observe that it's ripped in several places.

Were those rips and tears made by you?

I don't know for sure. Maybe they were. I was trying to fight him off.

Exactly. You were struggling.

Defendant Snyder looks strong, yet you inflicted considerable damage on his shirt.

Do you find any rips or tears in either of these garments?

No.

Since you were struggling, it follows that he was also struggling with you.

One tug from a strong man should rip that bikini to bits, right?

Objection!

Witness is not obliged to answer to counsel's conjecture.

Withdraw the question.

May I?

This bikini looks pretty flimsy.

One strong tug should rip it to shreds.

Did Sgt. Snyder tear them off...

...or did you let him take them off?

Answer the question.

I didn't let him do anything!

I didn't even have them on.

I took them off so I could get dressed!

So you were naked the first time you saw these four men?

Just as you were naked when Herr Schmidt looked out the window.

-That was different... Herr Schmidt saw you naked?

-It was in my own... -And Frank? He's the one you love.

-Did he see you naked the weekend skiing? -No, the girls slept...

Answer the question! Did Frank see you naked?

No!

You lied about your nakedness in front of these four men?

Only because I was ashamed!

-Yes or no? -Yes!

You lied to your father? Yes or no?

Are you lying now when you say Frank didn't see you naked?

-Objection! -Withdrawn.

Has Frank Borgmann ever seen you naked?

No, never!

You've testified that you were standing by the river...

...naked, as we now discover, and you were looking at him.

If he were looking at you, could he have seen you? Yes or no?

-I don't know. -You don't know?

If you could see him, he could see you, and you were naked.

You say it like it was dirty...

Will witness confine her remarks to yes or no?

-Did Frank Borgmann see you naked? -I don't know.

Then you cannot swear that he has never seen you naked, can you?

-But you did swear? -Yes.

You took off your clothes and stood there so he would look.

No!

This is incredible! He's putting words in the witness' mouth!

I'm trying to get the truth from her!

I'm won't see four men hanged on a rope of lies.

That's what we have here, straight lies.

Objection overruled. Proceed.

All right.

We've established that five men...

...possibly six, have seen Fraulein Steinhof naked.

Does it give you pleasure to expose your body to men?

No!

You did strip in full view of Frank...

...with a deliberate intention of exciting him, didn't you?

No!

For whose excitement did you stand naked?

Was it perhaps for these four men?

I didn't know they were there!

When you did see them, what did you do, thumb your nose at them?

I can't!

-I don't know anything anymore. -Let me help you remember.

Frank was a mama's boy, so you left him. You were alone and naked.

You still wanted a man's arms around you. You still wanted the kisses Frank refused.

Suddenly, standing beside you was a man, any man.

The man you were waiting for. Scott! Larkin! Snyder! Haines!

-No. Don't say those things! -Objection! I protest.

This is no cross-examination, this is a circus!

I move the defense counsel be reprimanded...


Quiet, please. Quiet.

And so, on October 13...

...the hearing of the witnesses came to an end.

Herr Steinhof withdrew his daughter from the trial.


You were terrific!


I'll kill you!

You want to kill me? Then what are you doing with this?

If you really want to kill somebody, then take a gun or a knife.

Don't try to prove you're a man to me.

Prove it to the girl.

Don't you realize she loves you?

Take her and get out of this town as fast as possible.

And never come back.

Quarrels and ugly scenes had become a daily custom in the Steinhof household...

...and always Karin knew she was the cause.


Would nothing ever be normal again?

Now Frank's mother was here looking for him.

Forged her signature on a check and disappeared.

Probably had it in his silly head to run off with their sex- mad brat.

If they didn't prevent it, maybe the police would.


"Your mother's here."

"I'll wait at the lumberyard."


What's the hurry, Karin?

Going swimming, Karin?


Karin begged him to go home, forget her.

They couldn't possibly run away with this hanging over them.

But Frank's mind was set.

It was his money, anyway, from his father for his 21st birthday.

He'd work, pay it back.

Or didn't she trust him?


Frau Borgmann made good her threat.

She had proffered a charge of forgery against her son.


Sgt. Charles P. Snyder, it is my duty as president of this court...

...to inform you that the court sentences you to dishonorable discharge...

...and to be confined at hard labor for 25 years.

Cpl. Birdwell Scott, it is my duty as president of this court...

...to inform you that the court sentences you to dishonorable discharge...

...and to be confined at hard labor for 16 years.

Cpl. James Larkin, it is my duty as president of this court...

...to inform you that the court sentences you to dishonorable discharge...

...and to be confined at hard labor for six years.

-Priv. Joseph E. Haines... ...and Haines was the last of the four.

Just as calmly as the others, he stood and heard himself sentenced...

...to 20 years at hard labor and dishonorable discharge.

Garrett, the legal lion...

...who'd battled the death sentence so fiercely was at their side.

He seemed a tamed, almost an indifferent lion...

...now that the fight for their lives had been won.

Judging from the handful of spectators present...

...there was a falling off of interest in the proceedings.

A few grumbles were heard about the relatively lenient sentence...

...Cpl. Scott's brilliant...

May I come in?

-Why not? ...the sentencing was fair.

How did your men react to being spared the death penalty?

-You weren't there either? -No.

Three straight days, we had a hit show, standing room only.

This afternoon, we were a flop.

No girl to be stripped in public.

No chance to see the light go out of men's eyes when death is pronounced.

No sex, no death. Where's the fun?

You and the town stayed home.

I was trying to line up a story on Karin.

I hope you got a beauty.

I did.

She's dead.

How?

Suicide.

Ended in the river, right near where it all began.

Excuse me a minute.


Forgot my toothbrush.

I'm sorry for a lot of things I thought about you.

Don't be.

You were probably right.


Early this morning! Yeah. Fished her out.

I would say about 8:00 or 9:00 last night.

I got a honey of a story from the girl's teacher.

A real tear-jerker.

Are you covering the funeral?

I got a picture of her, but I thought we weren't allowed to use it.

Of course you can print it now. The girl's dead!