When a Stranger Calls (1979) Script

I made the reservations for 8:15. We're gonna be late!

Dr. "Minakis"?

Mandrakis. It's okay. Everyone gets it wrong the first time.

You're Jill. Come on in. Hi, Jill.

I'm Mrs. Mandrakis. Honey, could you get this for me, please? Thank you.

Oh, I wrote the number of the restaurant on the notepad by the phone.

Now, if we're not home in two hours, that means we've decided to go on to a movie... and won't be back until after midnight... Is that okay? Sure.

I've told my service to pick up any calls coming in on my office phone, so...

Oh, the children are asleep upstairs, first door on your left at the top of the landing.

Now, they're both just getting over really bad colds, and I had a terrible time getting them to sleep, so please try not to wake them.

Okay. Do you have any questions?


Okay, great. We're late. Let's go, honey. Okay.

Make yourself at home. The refrigerator's loaded. Okay. Bye.

Oh, we even have some low-fat yogurt in there. Honey, come on, will you?

Are you over at Dr. Mandrakis's? Yeah, I've been here for about an hour already.

Isn't it a neat house? I guess. I haven't looked around much.

Did you see his kids? They were asleep when I got here.

They're really cute. So, what's goin' on?

You think you're gonna be talkin' to him sometime tonight?

Who? Bobby.

Probably. You know, Bobby asked me to go out with him this weekend, and I was really, really tempted, 'cause I like Bobby a lot... as much as you do.

But I told him I couldn't 'cause I didn't think it was right, because you were my friend. You are my friend.

Yeah, I guess so.

Listen. Do me a favor.

Just give Bobby the number here, okay?

Don't tell him I told you to.

Okay. I gotta go now. Okay.

Bye, Nance, and thank you.

Yeah. Bye.




Have you checked the children? What?

Hello? Have you checked the children?

Dr. Mandrakis?

Oh, yeah, sure. Dr. Mandrakis.

Have you checked the children?

Robert, I don't think this is very funny.


Who is this?

Golden Bull. Hello. Uh...

Is Dr. Mandrakis there? This is his baby-sitter. Hold on a minute.


Hello? Yes? Dr. Mandrakis left the restaurant about 40 minutes ago.

Forty minutes ago? That's right.


Operator. Hello. Could you get me the police?

Is this an emergency? Yes.

Well, no, not really. The number's 555-9431.

Would you like me to connect you? Yes.

Seventh Precinct, Sergeant Sacker. Hello. Uh, I've been getting phone calls about every 15 minutes.

It's a man. I think he's trying to scare me.

An anonymous caller, ma'am? That's right.

Has he threatened you? No.

Has he been using obscene language? No.

Sometimes he doesn't say anything. He just keeps calling.

Well, there's really nothing we can do about it down here.

Is the phone listed in your name? No, I'm just a baby-sitter.

It's probably just some weirdo. The city's full of 'em.

Believe it or not, we get reports like this every night.

It's nothin' to worry about. Oh.

Hey, have you tried whistling? What?

Well, if you can find a good loud whistle somewhere in the house, blow it into the phone, hard, next time he calls.

Probably break his eardrum. He won't bother you after that.

No, I...

You're probably right. It's nothing to worry about.


Why haven't you checked the children?

Seventh Precinct, Sergeant Sacker.

I called you before... about the man who keeps calling me?

Oh, yeah. He called me again.

Did you try whistling?

No. He's out there. Out where?

In the neighborhood. He's watching me through the windows.

Did you see him? No, but I know he's there.

Is the house locked up? Yes.

Well, then you're safe. If he wanted to break in, he wouldn't be calling you.

Please, can't you help me? I'm all alone here.

Okay. Now, take it easy. I'll tell you what.

If this guy calls you again... He will call again. I know he will.

All right. Now, calm down. Look, I can alert the phone company...

So that if he calls again we can try to trace the call.

What's your number there? Uh, 555-2368.

And the address? Uh...

Uh, 3317 Oakridge.

Oh yeah, I know where that is. Okay, now, if the guy calls again, you try to keep him on the line for at least a minute so we can trace the call.

I can't do that. He doesn't stay on for more than a couple seconds.

Well, uh, that's the only way we can help you.

Uh, by the way, what's your name?

Jill Johnson. Jill, the important thing is for you to relax.

Now, you're safe where you are. We've got patrolmen cruising that area all night long.

Just stay calm. Will you do that for me?

Yes. Okay. In the meantime, we'll be watching your line.

All right, Jill?

Yes. You call again if there's any problem.


Good night.


It's me.

I know.

Who are you?

I'm not gonna be here much longer.

Dr. Mandrakis and his wife are coming home.

I know.

Can you see me?


Sorry I turned the lights down.

I'll turn 'em back up if you like. Hmm-mm. Don't.


You've really scared me, if that's what you wanted.

Is that what you wanted?


What do you want?

Your blood... all over me.

You don't know who I am... or-or where I live.

And Dr. Mandrakis will take me home, or maybe even the police.

You've called the police?

I wanna... I wanna talk to you.

Leave me alone!

Jill, this is Sergeant Sacker. Listen to me.

We've traced the call. It's coming from inside the house.

A squad car's going over there right now. Just get out of that house.

Jill? Jill?

1000 Chestnut, a 918-X. 1000 Chestnut, a 918-X.

Are the parents here yet?

Yeah, they arrived about ten minutes ago.

Christ. What a homecoming.

What happened, Charlie?

We were less than a block away when the call came through.

When we got here, the guy was still upstairs in the kids' bedroom.

He was covered with blood. Blood?

Not his own. The children had been dead for several hours.

Oh, Jesus.

He'd been using some old phone the parents never had disconnected.

Who is he?

Well, we found this merchant seaman's card on him.

He's English, entered this country less than a week ago.

How 'bout the baby-sitter?

She'll be all right.

Dr. And Mrs. Mandrakis, I'm Lieutenant Clifford. I'm very sorry about this. I'll try...

Sit down. Thank you.

So, you're in business for yourself now.

Yes, sir, for the past three and a half years. That's good.

And you'd heard about Curt Duncan's escape?

Oh, yes.

Do you think the police will find him?

I know they haven't assigned anyone to it specifically. It's an old case.

An old case.

Can you find him?


Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not this week, but I'll find him.

He could be anywhere by now. I don't think so.

Because he's a foreigner, he'll come back to the city.

After six years in confinement, that's the only place that's familiar to him.

It's important.

A man murders two children in cold blood.

A jury declares him insane.

How could such a person not be?

He's sent to a state mental institution... where the security is less than perfect, and he escapes.

It isn't fair.

A thing like that... should never be allowed to happen again.

I couldn't agree with you more.

Go ahead then. My accountant will contact you.

Thank you.

State Hospital.

Curt Duncan isn't going to run out and kill more children.

I'm not worried about that. We had him in here for six years under continuous therapy, some of it rather forceful... drugs, tranquilizers, depressants, lithium.

Eventually, anyone will respond to the treatment here.

You gave him electric shock? Yes, some.

It says here 38. 38 times?

It's a fairly standard procedure.

Uh, what will happen to him now without the, uh, drugs he was on?

Well, there'll be some deterioration. That's inevitable.

We can't say how much.

During the time that you had him here, did you discover any particular habits of his... peculiarities, quirks... anything that might help me find him?

Well, yes, of course. It's all in the folder, Mr. Clifford.

Any mail from, uh, people back in England... family?

That, too, is in the folder.

Let's get somethin' straight here, Doctor.

I've been 33 years in the business of trackin' people down and puttin' 'em away.

I spent almost a year on Curt Duncan alone, with the trial... and the testimonies and the background investigations.

Now, I didn't come here today to look in your goddamned folders.

In fact, I wouldn't be here at all if you'd done your job right.

This is a hospital, Mr. Clifford, not a penitentiary.

Everything appertaining to one of our patients is meticulously recorded in that patient's folder... whether you can make sense of it or not.

Do you want to know how much we really understand of the human mind?

Listen. This is Curt Duncan, shortly after he was admitted here six years ago.

...is to give you medication that will calm you down.

We're not putting anything in your food either. No?

I don't eat the food. It doesn't taste right!

That's Duncan. Curt, why are you fidgeting?

Can't you get comfortable? No!

I'm not comfortable!

Don't you touch...

Don't you talk to me.

Don't you touch... me.

Stay away.

Curt, I'm only trying to help you. Stay away.


Whatcha been up to? My own business.

Look, thanks for the light.


Next round's on me.

Look, I've got my own money, so if you don't mind...

After what I've been through, I don't mind anything.

See, that's the whole point:

My mind, your mind... where do they fit in?

Do you see what I mean?

Okay, pal.

Do you live 'round here?

Get off of me! Oh, listen, I...

I didn't mean anything.

You see, I don't live around... Hey!

I think the lady wants to be left alone.

I think an apology's in order.

Is that the best you can do?

I think you better move along, pal. Bill, it's okay, really. He...

No! I want him outta here, man!

Hey, are you deaf?

Go on, beat it!

Hey, I'm not gonna say it again, mister.

Get... out!

Hey, Billy. Bill!

This is Torchy's. I want to report a fight.

Who you callin'?


I don't know why I keep coming back to this dump.

For a cop, that Charlie Garber really throws a party.

Charlie? Hey! Hey, Cliff.

Hey, let me fix you a drink, man. No, I want to talk to you.

You want some of this? No, no, thank you.

What's goin' on? Let me talk to you in private.


You know these people here? Yes, I do. Excuse me.

What can I do for you? What's goin' on here? I want to talk to you privately.

Ah. Ohh, hey, come on, Cliff.

I can't take any more surprises tonight, huh?

Come on, I want to tell you something. Let's go upstairs for a minute.

All right, now, what's goin' on? Come on, tell Papa.

Hey, you gettin' married? No.

I got a job this week tracking someone.

Fantastic, Cliff. Fantastic.

I knew you could do it. Keep up the good work.

It's Curt Duncan.


You didn't know he escaped?

Shh-shh-shh. I need your cooperation on this one.

Yeah, sure, anything you want... anything.

Oh, it's you.

What do you want? I came to apologize.

Listen, I'm... I'm the one who should be sorry.

I didn't mean for that to happen.

I'm new in town.

I don't know anybody.

Where you from?

Excuse me.


No, I just got in.

I don't know if I can.

Listen, I can't talk right now. Can I call you back?

All right. Bye.

Uh, I'm, uh...

I'm from New York, actually.

Look, you can't come in here.


Well, I... I thought perhaps we might get some coffee.

No, I don't think so.

Somewhere nearby? Not tonight.

You'd better go.

I got no place to go.

Well, you can't stay here.

Just a coffee, please?

Well, maybe tomorrow.

Okay, tomorrow. When?

I said maybe. I don't know.

Look, I'm sorry about what happened this afternoon, I really am.

All right?


That was my boyfriend on the phone. He's coming over, so please leave... now.

I like you. Look, do you want me to call the cops?

No, it's okay. It-It-It's okay.

I'll see you sometime...


I still want to buy you that drink.

How long will you be here?

Depends on how lucky I get.

I want to look through the old files on him... and check every recent report of assault, vagrancy, things like that.

Just want to ask you a question, Mr. Trumble.

Alright, what do you want to know? What was stolen?

Wake up! Hey, God bless it, get outta here! Out!

All right, all right! Damn it, all right!

All right.

What do you say, partner?


Hey, looky here...

I'm dry as a bone, man. You got any money?

Well, keep the picture. If you think you see him, I'd appreciate a call.

About four blocks. Oh, yeah? Down by the park, huh?

Foreigner... has a British accent. No, I haven't.

He's about my height, light complexion.

I was just with that guy. Looked bad.

Where? Ah, hell, partner, I can't remember.

Probably see him again, though. I tell you what.

You leave that money with me, and I'll see that he gets it, as... as a favor to you.

I gotta talk to him. What's a matter? Don't you trust me, hmm?

We can work together.

Yeah, sure.

Now, you keep the bottle, huh?

I'll be back.

Bar downtown? Yeah, I got the name and the address if you want it.

Appreciate it.

Oh, shit!

Who is it?

My name is John Clifford. I'm a private investigator.

You're a what?

A private detective.

What do you want with me?

I thought maybe we could talk, ask a few questions.

I don't know nothin' about anything or anybody.


Listen, lady, I can be back in 30 minutes with a search warrant and a handful of cops, and I could probably have you arrested, whether or not the charges would stick.

Now, you wanna let me in and talk?

Have you got a badge? I'll show you a badge when you open the goddamned door!

I don't have a badge. I'm issued a license... a piece of paper... and I left it at home.

You're Tracy Fuller?

Will you sit down?

You recognize this man?


He's escaped from the insane asylum.

Seven years ago, he murdered two children... broke into the house and found them asleep in bed.

It was a little boy, four and a half, and his little three-year-old sister.

After the coroner's investigation, the bodies were taken to the mortuary...

...where the undertaker took one look at them and said their bodies couldn't be reconstructed... for the burial without six days of steady work.

Then he asked what had been the murder weapon, because, looking at the mess in front of him, he couldn't imagine what had been used.

The coroner told him there had been no murder weapon.

The killer had used only his hands.

He's been here.

Think he'll try to see you again?

I don't know. He... He said he had no place to go.

Well, let's play it safe. Let's assume he will.

Will you work with me?

You found him?

I think so. Where?

From here on, I go it alone.

Why take a chance on it, Cliff?

We'll let you have the credit. No.

I'm gonna kill him, Charlie.

The closer I get to this guy, the more...

he gets to me... I don't know.

Look, you better go on home, Cliff. You're fallin' in. No.

Not this time. This is the case that makes up for a whole career.

Now, if you don't understand that now, you will in a few years.

Who hired you to do this?

So, now you're a hit man.

Jesus Christ, he killed two kids in cold blood! You were there too!

What are you going to use?

Lock needles.

You are straining our friendship, Cliff.

If you blow this thing at all...

You'll never hear from me again.

All right.

Take your time, and do it good.

You okay?

All right.

Keep it, honey. My treat.

No luck. Did you see him?

He still could be out there though.

Oh, God. Are you okay?


I'm gonna hang around outside for a while.

I'll be back on and off again all night.

You sure you're all right? I'm fine.

Okay. Bolt your door, and don't let anybody in, no matter what.


I'll be seein' ya.

Listen. Thanks.


I... I must talk to you.

I want you to be my friend.



No! No!


Tracy! Tracy! No!



Hey, what's happening, old buddy?

Hey! Hey! Crazy Curt!

Hey, old fella, well met and all that jazz. Looky here.

This is our lucky day. Friend of yours has got some money for ya, and we got to get on back down to the park now and meet him.

Hey, come on, now. Come... Wait. Listen. He gonna be comin' for you, Crazy Curt.

He's got some M-O-N-E-Y.

We can get us a little joy juice, partner. Come on, now.


Hey. Come on, man.

What's the matter with you? You really are crazy.


Hey there, partner!


It's over now.

Come on out.

My name's John Clifford.

I'm a private detective.

I was hired by Alexander Mandrakis to take you back.

I'm not gonna hurt you.

There'll be no more pain.

You're safe now.

Take it easy, Duncan. You're all right.

Nobody's gonna hurt you. Just come with me.

It's all right, Duncan. Duncan!




Grab him! Stop that guy! Hold him!


Come on. Get out of the way.

Let me through here! Come on!

Nobody can see me anymore.

Nobody can hear me.

No one touches me.

I'm not here.

I don't exist.

I was never born.

No one can see me anymore.

No one can hear me.

No one touches me.

No one can hear.

I don't exist. I wasn't born.

Come on.

Hi, Mommy. Hi, you guys.

Look what the wind blew in. You been playin' hard? Yeah.

Yeah? You hungry? Yeah.

What do you want for dinner? Hamburgers.

Hamburgers? I never knew he liked hamburgers, did you?

Can you get that? Okay.

Maybe that's Daddy, huh?

Hello? Hey. How's my little tiger?

Okay. When you coming home? Real soon.

Why don't you let me talk to Mommy, okay? Okay. Bye, Daddy.

Thank you. Hello. Hi, babe. How's my girl?

Fine. You wanna go with Stevie? Come on.

I'm comin'. You know that dress I got you for your birthday?

Yeah? Well, now's your chance to wear it, 'cause I'm taking you out to dinner tonight.

What's goin' on? A little surprise. Look, I'm leaving here now.

I'll be home in half an hour. Okay. Bye-bye.

Bye, babe.

...pray the Lord my soul to keep.

If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.

God bless Mommy and Daddy...

And me.

Grandma, Aunt Lucy, Uncle George...

And me. And her.

Now will you read us a story? No, I will not read you a story.

You try and go to sleep, okay? Okay.

Good night, Mommy. Good night. And Sharon will be here while we're gone.

Okay. Okay. Good night.

Mommy, will you come here a minute? I wanna tell you something.

What is it?

Come closer. Hmm? What is it?

I love you. I love you too, Beebell.

Good night. Good night.

Sleep good.

Good night.

Hi, Sharon. Hello, Mrs. Lockhart.

I saw your picture in the paper the other day. Congratulations.

Eww. Wasn't that a terrible picture? I thought it was nice.

The kids asleep? No, but they will be.

I give about 20 minutes, then go up and take a peek. But I warn you:

If Stephen sees you, you're gonna have to read him a story. Okay. Let's go.

Okay, now, I have the number of the restaurant here, and you know the number for police and emergencies is 9-1-1?

You know that, right? Honey, in ten seconds, I'm gonna eat this staircase.

Yes, lord and master.

I'm not wearing that thing.

Have a good time. Okay. Thank you.

Good-bye, Sharon. Bye-bye. Good-bye.

You got everything, right?

I don't believe it... district sales manager.

It's about time.

It's about time they recognized you for what you really are.

You know, I'm going to be the youngest district sales manager... in the company's history.

Does this mean a raise? It sure does.

How much? A lot.

Well, how much?

You are kidding? No.

And a car? Do you get... Yes? And a car. And a car.

I'm so proud of you.

What's the matter? Don't you want your food? Excuse me.

Mr. And Mrs. Lockhart? Yes?

There's a phone call for you. No. I'll get it. I'll get it. It's just Sharon, I'm sure.

Eat your dinner.

This way.

Thank you. Hello?


Have you checked the children?

Someone help us!

Please. Jill?

What's happened? What's wrong? The phone! That man!

He's on the phone! He's got my babies! Wait. What?

Curt Duncan. He's back. He has my babies. He's on the phone?

He's on the phone? My babies. Please.

It's okay. It's okay.

It's okay, honey. Hello?

Hello? Sharon? This is Mr. Lockhart. What's going on over there?

Nothing's going on. Is everything all right?

Yes. There's nothing going on. Everything's fine.

Why? What's the matter? Sharon, listen to me very carefully.

Look. If there is a man in the house... if there's any reason why you can't talk to me right now... just answer "yes" over the phone.

If there's any danger of any kind, just say "yes. " I don't understand.

What man in the house?

Sharon? Please do me a favor. Just tell me truthfully:

When was the last time you checked my children?

About 45 minutes ago. Everything's fine.

They were fast asleep. Wh...

Sharon, I'm sorry about the hysterics.

We're leaving the restaurant now, and I'll explain everything as soon as we get back.

Before we hang up, would you do one more thing for me?

What? Would you go upstairs and check the children?

No! Honey!

Sure. Hold on. Excuse me. Excuse me, please.

Excuse me. What's the problem, sir?

Officer, I'm Stephen Lockhart. Just a second. I'll explain everything.


Why doesn't he hurry up, get her to the hospital?



Sharon? Sharon?

Sharon? Jill!

Hello? Sharon?

Mr. Lockhart, what's the matter? What's going on?

Nothing's going on. Are you all right? What about the phone?

What phone? When we called you from the restaurant.

Mommy? When I got back to the phone, the line was dead.

Go back to sleep.

Was anybody else here tonight?

Is it okay if the police take you home? I don't want to leave Jill alone.

Have I done something wrong? No. No.

Don't worry about it.

Jill, I'm here. We're both here.

We're safe now.

Okay. Look.

If it'll make you feel any better... Hmm?

I'll keep it right here beside me all night long, hmm?

You know I'm a light sleeper and a damn good shot.


I'm sorry to be putting you through all this. Oh, come on. Hey.

Hey, Bert. This report just came in on that guy, Curt Duncan.

It seems he broke out of the nuthouse about three weeks ago.

Oh, yeah? You gonna put this in our report?

Diamonds, Charlie. Diamonds was led.

Yeah, yeah, I think we should put it in the report. Maybe this gal tonight really did get a call from him.

Who knows? Your lead, Charlie.

What the hell you doin'? That's a trump.

A card lead is a card played.

Yeah. You're right. We'd better leave this on Ruznik's desk in the morning.

Sorry, fellas. Give 'em all to me. I've got 'em all.

Jesus Christ. I can't help that.

Say, Omar, can I see this a minute? Yeah.

You guys have a stakeout on this house? Yeah.

Bernstein and Waller are checking in about every 20 minutes or so.


Cliff, I think I got something for you.

Stephen? Stephen? Wh... Yes?

Honey, where'd you get this?

The candy. Where'd you get the candy?

Operator, what does that mean? I'm sorry, sir.

That line seems to be disconnected.

Then why don't I get a recording? I don't know, sir. Maybe the number... was just recently disconnected, or maybe there's a temporary malfunction in the wiring.

Could you try it again in the morning?

Yeah. Okay. Thanks.

You can't see me...

but I had to come back.

Stephen. Don't you know why?

Stephen! Stephen!


Shh, shh, shh.

Your husband's okay.