House by the River (1950) - full transcript

The unsuccessful writer Stephen Byrne tries to force his servant Emily Gaunt sexually while his wife Marjorie Byrne is visiting a friend and accidentally strangles her. His crippled brother John Byrne coincidently comes to his house in that moment, and Stephen asks him to help to get rid of the corpse and avoid an scandal, since his wife would be pregnant. The naive and good John helps his brother to dump the body in the river nearby his house. Stephen uses the disappearance of Emily to blame her and promote his book. When the body is found by the police, all the evidences points to John, and he becomes the prime suspect of the murder.

I hate this river.

What's the trouble,
Mrs Ambrose?

Oh that things floated
by again, Stephen.

In with one tide, out with
the other. Why, I'm sick of it.

Don't get upset, Mrs Ambrose.
It's due to sink any day now.

Why don't the authorities
do something about it?

They know that the tides cause the
same filth to wash back and forth.

Back and forth.

Oh, I tell you I
hate this river.

It's people who should be blamed
for the filth, not the river.

The mail just
arrived, Mr Byrne.

Put it on the table please.

Looks like a manuscript.

My manuscripts are
like the tide out there.

They always come back.

Maybe they wouldn't
if you took my advice.

Spice 'em up. Make 'em racy.
That's what the public wants.

What is it, Emily?

Well, it's just that it's
getting awfully late Mr Byrne

and the plumber hasn't arrived
to fix the downstairs tub.

Well, if he hasn't come by now he
probably isn't coming by at all today.

Use the upstairs one if you like.
- Thank you, sir.

How does your wife like
the new maid, Stephen?

Very well I think.
- Good.

Where is Marjorie by the way?
I haven't seen her all day.

She's spending the day with
the Lawlers, in the country.

That's nice. Did she
say when she'd be back?

Only in time to dress for Miss
Whittaker's party. -Good heavens!

Why I better go and finish my gardening,
so that I could start to get ready.

I've still millions of
things to do out here.


Oh, Mr Byrne. It's you.

You frightened me.

Did I?

I thought you were
still in the garden.

Did you?

I left everything
nice and tidy for.

Mrs Byrne.

Did you?

Mr Byrne, please let me by.

Of course.

Nice perfume you use, Emily.

No Mr Byrne. You're hurting me!
- Emily!

You've been drinking.

Let me go! -Did you happen to tell my wife
that you've been digging into her perfume?

I don't care! Let me go! Let me go!
- Emily.

Let me go! Let
me go! Let me go!

Shut up! Stop it. Do you want the
whole neighborhood to hear you?

Pull yourself together
and I'll let you go.

That's better.

All we needed was that
old gossip to hear us.



Emily! Emily!

Merciful God!

Hello, Stephen. I tried
the front door but... -John!

Thank heaven it's you.

Well, what's happened?

There's been an accident.


No, the new maid
Emily. She fell.

Let me look at her.
- No! I.

Stephen, what's
the matter with you?

Have you sent for a doctor?
- No. There's nothing anybody could do.

She fell down the stairs, she
hit her head. They'll blame me!

Why should anybody blame you?

Well because I was playing a fool,
pretending I was going to kiss her.

She got frightened
and something happened.

I don't know what exactly but of course
they'll blame me! -Stephen, stop it!

Let me look at her.

This girl didn't fall.
- She did. I saw her.

She was strangled!
- It was an accident I tell you!

I scarcely touched her. I hardly put my
hands to her to prevent her screaming.

You don't know how quickly it
happened, John. You don't know!

Where are you going?

For the police.
- You can't. You're my brother!

I've gotten you out of a lot
of nasty scrapes, Stephen.

But this is murder.

John don't let me down.

You've always helped me. You
can't do that to your own brother.

Please, you have to help
me. Please, John! Please!



I can't go through with this.

You promised to stay up there!

Listen to me.

The only thing to do
is to go to the police.

Tell them exactly how it
happened. It was an accident.

But they'll never believe me.

Even you don't believe me.

Do you?

I don't know what to believe.

I only know that I'm
not going to help you.

For once you're going to get
out of this thing by yourself.

John if you won't do this for me,
do it for Marjorie. For her sake.

Did you know that Marjorie went
into town today, to see the doctor?

Is she ill?

She's going to have a baby.

Now can you understand why I must
get out of this, why you must help me?


I suppose I must.

Good. Now go back and
warn me if anyone comes.


Wait a minute!

It'll soon be over, John.

She'll soon be in the river
and it'll all be forgotten.

- Yes. Yes. I mean for the time being.

We weight it, and take it
way out, were it'll stay sunk.



Marjorie, is that
you out there?

No, it's me, Mrs Ambrose.
- Oh, it's you Stephen.

Stay down. I'll
get rid of her.

Is Marjorie back yet?
- No. Not yet, Mrs Ambrose.

I wanted to ask her what
she's going to wear tonight.

I thought of my best black.

But still, no, it's never
very dressy at the Whittaker's.

Well, she'll be home
before long, Mrs Ambrose.

My, she stayed
late, didn't she?

Well, of course the Lawlers are
always hard to get away from.

Maybe she missed her train?

I'm not worried,
she'll be here soon.

Well, ask her to drop in for a moment
if she has time, will you Stephen?

Yes I'll do that. I must go in
now. I have to get ready myself.

I'll see you at the
party then. Until later

I thought the old
hag would never leave.

I thought you said Marjorie went
to the doctor's today? -She did.

Mrs Ambrose said she
went to the Lawler's.

She went both places.
- The Lawlers live in the country

If she went there that means she spent
the day -I think she went to the doctor's!

Now stop quibbling and help.
A scandal would ruin all of us.

We have more people to consider
than this dead servant girl.

You used to refer
to her as Emily.

Don't be like that. Don't
you understand how I feel?

If I could undo what's happend.
If I could go back but I can't.

I've got to think of
Marjorie and my child.

This has been a lesson to me.

I know I've been foolish but
I'll change. I swear I will.

John! Marjorie will
be back any minute!

All right, Stephen.

All right.

You talked me into this too, as
you have a thousand times before.

That filthy moon.

Don't you think we ought to tie
the anchor to the sack? -Yes.

Well, this should do it.

Hoist the anchor.

All right. Lift up.

Did you see that?

- Something bright.

Something flashed out
there in the water.

Let's get away from here.

I'll drop you off at Weeds Point
so Marjorie doesn't see you.




Is that you, Stephen?

Yes Marjorie.

You frightened me.

Sorry dear. I couldn't
seem to find the light.

Where have you been dear?
- I uh took the boat out.

Well, do you know
where Emily is?


Yes. She's not in the house and she
promised to help me dress for the party.

Oh, she said something
about going for a walk.

That's not like her. She knows
it's Cook's and I'm alone.

She probably went off with a young
man someplace and forgot the time.

I can help you if you like?

I could say that you're all
promise today but I won't.

I thought I'd be doing my best but I'm
enjoying it. -Oh, you're very sweet.

Did you do much writing today?


Why not?

Oh, another script came back.

I'm sorry, darling.

Is that why you went boiating?

Yes, I suppose so.

I should of been with you.

Did you miss me?

Very much.


Wish you hadn't
gone out today.

Come on.

Darling, what is
it? What's happened?

Well, what is it? What is it?
- It's.

It's nothing. I have a
terrible headache, that's all.

Then we better
stay home tonight.

No. No. I'll be all
right. Don't worry.

Oh, darling.

Grab the lady by the hand!
Round the lady over there!

And to the sound of 1, 2,
3! And round that gent from.

Oh I can't anymore,
Stephen! I'm exhausted!

Hell of a party,
Sir Whittaker!

At last my favorite dance! -How many
times have you said that this evening?

Four. First time
I've meant it.

Stephen, you're wonderful!
- You inspire me!

First your right
and then your left!

Meet your partner and give her a swing
and throw them all around the ring!

Oh, that brother of yours is
a real devil! A real devil!

Oh, Stephen! Do you know what'll
happen to me if I drink that?

Why do you think
I'm giving it to you?

Stephen! You're the limits.

Well, John. Aren't you
gonna try the punch?

No. I don't feel
like drinking tonight.

What's the matter with him?

He seems depressed.

Have you ever seen him when he wasn't?
- That's not nice, Stephen.

It must be very hard to love music
very much and not be able to dance

and to be a part of things.

He could've been a
part of things tonight.

Why didn't he call the
dances? I suggested.

He's just naturally a
wet blanket, that's all.

That's very cruel, Stephen. You wouldn't
have said such a thing if you hadn't had.

If you hadn't had say,
about four too many.

Don't start with me, Marjorie.

I'm sorry.

I'll go see what's
wrong with him.


Why are you leaving?

Just what is the purpose of
all this dancing, this drinking?

Don't you understand?

Can't you see what I'm trying to do?
- No!

Well, if anything
should ever come out

everyone will remember that we were here
at the party acting in a normal manner.

Well, I think it's repulsive!

Do you think I'm enjoying myself?
- Frankly I do.

Unaware of the fact that I'm
protecting both of us. -Us? -Yes! Us.

You helped me get
rid of her didn't you?

Whatever I've done,
you're in it with me.

So I advise you to
keep your mouth shut.

Sorry I had to
remind you of that.

Come? Come and join the party.

Is that you, Mrs Byrne?

Yes, Mrs Beach.

You shouldn't have
bothered to stay up for us.

Oh, Mrs Byrne.

What is it?

It's Emily.

She's not home yet.
- She's not? -No.

When I first got here I thought maybe
you'd sent her on an errand or something.

She still isn't home. I'm
afraid something's happened.

She's probably
with her parents.

No Mr Byrne. She
don't get on with them.

She would've told us if she was
going to spend the night with them.

The thing that puzzles me is that
none of her dresses are missing.

How do you know
that, Mrs Beach?

She showed me her things when
she first came to us, Mr Byrne.

She didn't have very much.

If none of her dresses are missing she
can't have gone far naked. -Stephen!

I'm not going to sit up and worry about Miss Good
Servant Girl who wants to make a night of it someplace.

I'm going to bed.

Wouldn't waste my time reading
such trash if I were you, Mr Byrne.

Since when is the
disppearance of a human being

considered trash, in your
estimation, Ms Bantam?

Since I found out what a
bad name that Emily Gaunt

has given young women
like myself in service.

Bad name?
- Yes.

That Emily was a proper hussy.

Scatting about,
night after night.

Young men followers and
heaven knows what all.

There's no doubt that she was out
with one of her many sweethearts

the night she disappeared. And
she went further than she meant.


You make your own bed

you must lie on it.

Would you like your eggs now?

No, I I don't care
for any this morning.

Now Mr Byrne, you haven't
eaten proper all week.

Miss Bantam, did
you know Emily Gaunt?


But I know them that did.

Seems to me you speak with great
authority about a person you never knew.

Well, Mrs Beach
knew her, didn't she?

I happened to be present the day after
Emily, when the cook was questioned.

She didn't give the impression she
believed Emily wasn't a decent girl.

Yes, but Mrs Beach just
happened to overhear Mr Stephen.

And Emily's parents came
worrying around the other day.

Wouldn't you
like just one egg?

Emily's parents came
to see my brother?

Yes, and he let
them have it, he did.

Said they never should have let her work
in an honest house in the first place.

That she was a thief and
a good for nothing trollop.

That's a lie!

Good gracious, Mr
Byrne! Don't shout at me!

It wasn't me that said it.

It was your brother.

It's the truth, John. At first
I didn't believe it either

but Stephen kept after me
to go through my things.

It was Stephen then who
was first suspicious? -Yes.

A whole outfit was missing.

Hat, dress, shoes, everything.

And only yesterday I discovered
that the Oldport earrings

that Stephen had given me for
my birthday were missing too.

Oh, but let's not talk
about Emily anymore.

It's Stephen that
I'm concerned about.

I don't know exactly
how to say it.

There's such a.

such a peculiar look that comes over
his face when he's talking about Emily.

It almost seems as though
he were actually enjoying it.

As though he delighted
in her disappearance.

Well, he goes on and on about her.
- Well Marjorie I.

I wouldn't worry about him if
I were you. After all he's a.

he's a writer. The.

The mystery of her disappearance
probably intrigues him.

Oh, probably you're right and

he fancies the whole thing
as a great big melodrama

with himself in
the leading role.

He'd like that.

Like the article in
this morning's paper?

I didn't see it. Stephen took it
with him. He left early this morning.

Hadn't they promised to
keep our name out of it?

Well, you can't blame them,
it makes a better story.

I don't understand why they kept
their promise for a whole week and.

then suddenly today even
a picture of Stephen.

I wonder how they
got hold of it?

I don't know.



There's only one print of
that picture that I know of!

Now, isn't he like a child?

He wanted his
picture in the paper.

How do you do, Mr Byrne?
- Mr Miller.

What do you think
of the display?

Very attractive.

But, it wasn't up when
I passed yesterday.

No, your brother
called me last night

and told me of the publicity
he was expecting in the papers.

And he wanted me
to cash in on it.

Thank you, dear boy.
- Oh gee, I'd love to be a writer too.

Well, why don't you try Effie?

Your mother says you're very
good at making things up.

Some of your excuse are
masterpieces of imagination.

Don't you listen
to this scoundrel.

Imagination's not enough.

Just the other day
I read in a magazine

that a writer must write
only about things he knows.

If he puts down truthfully the
things he's actually experienced,

if they're exciting enough,
he's bound to be very successful.

That's very
interesting, Mrs Ambrose.

Don't touch that!

Did you read it?

No, I only picked it up.

What's the matter, Stephen?

Nothing it's it's not ready
to be read, that's all.

You never minded my
reading your things before.

I've changed my ideas
about a lot of things.

I know.

Just the other night when you
went out by yourself -Don't nag!

A writer needs to be alone to gather
experiences. Can't you understand that?

I wasn't nagging, Stephen.

What I started out saying was simply
that when I was alone the other night

and John dropped in
- What did he want?

Nothing special.

Seemed so forlorn lately.

We reminisced about those evenings when
you used to read your stuff aloud to us

I wish you and John wouldn't
discuss me behind my back.

I'm not interested in
what my brother has to say.

He's a bookeeper and
will always be one.

He'll never understand
the problems of an artist.

I was a fool to let you pick
on me and criticize my writings.

No one picked on you, Stephen.

You asked us for our honest
opinion and we gave it to you.

Never mind. I didn't need anyone
then and I don't need anyone now.

I'm doing very well on my own.

You mean since Emily?

Go on.

Go on, you can say it.

I didn't mean it
that way, Stephen.

The success of my books
since this Emily thing

proves that they were
good in the first place.

All I needed was
a little publicity.

In the future they'll not only
be good but they'll be great,

because they'll be
about things I know.

Like what you're
writing now? -Yes!

Well, what's it about?
- Will you stop prying!

Let's have our tea.

I wasn't prying, Stephen.
I was only interested.

I don't care for
any tea, thank you.

John Byrne's Accounting Office.
Walter Herbert, office boy speaking.

One moment please.

It's your housekeeper. She'd like a word
with you, Mr Byrne. -Thank you, Walter.

Check these over, Elmer.

What is it, Miss Bantam?
- Mr Byrne.

With the cold
weather coming on

I told the neighborhood boys
to gather some driftwood.

Save you catching
cold like last year.

But when I went to get the woodsack I
found that your brother hadn't returned it.

I wonder, would you mind stopping
there on your way home this evening?

When did my brother
borrow it, Ms Bantam?

Several weeks ago when he was doing
the gardening. He sent Emily for it.

All right I'II.

When did you say he borrowed it?
- Several weeks ago.

And even though that Emily isn't with him
anymore, you'd think they'd return the sack.

After all, your name's on it.
- My.

My name is on it?
- Yes.

I stencilled everything
you owned with India ink.

I'll go for it if you're busy.

No. No. I'll stop
by for it, Ms Bantam.

I hate this river.

We neighbors really should
gather a petition, Stephen.

What's the trouble
today, Mr Ambrose?

That horrible thing floated
by again. That dead animal!

It couldn't be,
must've sunk long ago.


No it isn't. Why, it's a sack.

Yes, that's what it
is, a sack of some kind.

Probably filled with rubbish.

Do you see it?

Well, I've other things to
do besides standing out here.

But I tell you, Stephen. You
should write up a petition for us.

Yes. Yes, Mrs Ambrose.

Really! The way some people
use this river is a disgrace.

A penny for your thoughts.

Hello John.
- Hello Marjorie.

Is Stephen in?
- No, he's on the river somewhere.

He seems to have found an
unusual interest there lately.

Won't you come in?

I'm glad you've come, John.

I need someone to
talk to very badly.

When I feel like this, there doesn't seem
to be anyone else in the world like you.

Do you mind?
- You know that I don't.

You're nice, John.
Very, very nice.

Yes, like mint tea
when you have a cold.

Oh no John, like a.

Like a friend.

More than that.


I think you know John that I tried
to make a success of my marriage.

It hasn't always been.

well, exactly perfect.

Maybe it was my fault.

Girls have foolish ideas.

And when they marry they think
they've snared Prince Charming himself.

And he is charming, John.

Very charming.

But a woman sees deeper.

I see things now in Stephen that
I never let myself see before.

Don't get bitter, Marjorie.

Oh, I know the countless
things you've done for him.

How we couldn't live like this

if you hadn't given up most of
your share of the inheritance.

So that he could continue writing
- You wanted a career for him, didn't you?


But I didn't want a big success like
this Emily's disappearance has brought on.

At first I thought it was simply
childish the way he capitalized on it.

but there's a limit and
he's become ghoulish.

You should have
heard him today.

Did you quarrel?

Yes. I hadn't wanted
to tell you that.

I'm beginning to wonder why
he ever married me at all.

Perhaps it was
because he need you?

He told me today that
he's never needed anyone.

That was just talk.
Everybody needs someone.

Believe me.

Are you lonely, John?

Pardon me, Mrs Byrne, but I
thought it was getting dark here.

Thank you, Mrs Beach.

Sorry I said so much, John.

It's unfair to talk about
Stephen behind his back.

But when you worry, darkness
does something to you.

I understand, Marjorie.

Perhaps you're not prepared to tell
me yet, since you are troubled I.

I'd like to tell you that I honestly think
things are going to be better for you.

Stephen's bound to change
when the baby comes.

The baby?

Stephen told me.

Stephen told you that I
was going to have a baby?


But it's not true.

I wish that it were.

Now what on earth would make him
want to tell you a thing like that?

Maybe I misunderstood.

Don't go protecting him again, John.
You must know why he lied to you.

I can't discuss it now, Marjorie. Tell
him to come to my place when he gets home.

I'll talk to him.

You didn't eat a bite?

You didn't touch the roast.

Of course it's
all dried up now.

That's what comes from warming it over and
over when you don't serve dinner on time.

Sorry, Ms Bantam.


Being sorry won't
help a spoiled dinner.

You'll be sorry when
you get stomach ulcers.

I know it's none of my business Mr Byrne,
but you've been drinking a good deal lately.

I apreciate your interest
in me Ms Bantam but

I must remind you that I'm quite old enough
to determine my own drinking capacity.

When a man's alone as you are he should be
grateful to have somebody look after him.

I'd be grateful to you if
you'd stop nagging at me!

Why, I never heard
of such a thing!

Just because I take
an interest in you!

Well, I don't want you
to take an interest in me.

I'm quite capable of
running my own life.

All right!

Seems like I can't do
anything right anymore.

You didn't bring the woodsack.


But I told you the boys will be here
in the morning to gather driftwood.

What shall I tell them?

I don't care what
you tell them.

Now please leave me alone!

I know I'm only a
servant girl, Mr Byrne.

But I come from a
very gentile family.

And I don't have to take this
sort of treatment from anyone.

If you want to be left alone
perhaps I can leave you alone.


Just as you wish, Ms Bantam.

You mean.

You want me to go?

That's entirely up to you.

Well, I can
certainly take a hint!

Now look what you made me do!

Well, I'm leaving you, Mr
Byrne! I'm leaving tonight.

And you can get somebody
else to take your insults.

And I hope you get a seething
hussy like that Emily Gaunt.

That's what you deserved!
Not a decent girl like myself!

It's come up,
John! It's come up!

What are you talking about?
- Emily's come back!

What? -The woodsack, it's
come up out of the river!

I've been up all night.
I chased it for six miles.

But the tide was too fast
and I couldn't find it.

I almost had her
once but she got away.

It's your fault. Why didn't you tie
it securely? I was a fool to trust you.

Be quiet.

So it'll be passing up and down the river
until they find it. Up and down the river!

It'll go on for weeks!

The police will
find it soon enough.

Yes, but they won't
know we did it. I mean.

There are hundreds
of sacks like it.

They won't trace
it to us, will they?


Not to us.

They'll trace it to me.

To you?

My name is on it.

There's a gentleman
to see you, Mr Byrne.

You know I don't
wish to be disturbed.

He's from the police, sir.


Send him in.

Yes, sir.

- Just a moment please.

Sorry. I wanted to get my thoughts
down before they went away.

I'm Lt. Sarten, sir.
- How do you do? What can I do for you?


It's um.

It's about um.

This sack.

You ever seen it before?

I don't know.

Sacks look pretty much alike.

It looks like the woodsack that
was stolen from here. -Stolen?

Yes, it belonged
to my brother.

Oh yes, his name is
stencilled in there.

Is it? I didn't know that.

You say that it was
stolen from here?

Yes, we borrowed it from him and
when I went to return it, it was gone.

About how long ago was that?
- About three or four weeks ago.

But if you know it belongs to
him, why do you return it to me?

Well, we tried to contact him
all day but had no success.

You he.

This sack.

contained the body
of Emily Gaunt.

clad only in this
inexpensive dressing gown.

And according to the medical expert
who testified at this inquest.


and afterwords
thrown into the river.

Now, when did
you first discover

that this dressing
gown was missing?

It was uh.

when we were getting her things
together to send back to her parents.


when and how did you discover that
your own things were missing, Mrs Byrne?

The morning after
Emily failed to return.

It was my husband who suggested
that I go through my wardrobe.

He insisted that inasmuch as none
of Emily's dresses were missing

she might have gone out
with some of my own things.

And, then we discovered that
not only was my lace dress gone,

but some of my best lingerie,

an evening wrap, and a
pair of silver slippers.

Was there any other
thing of value gone?


Several days
later I found that.

that a pair of opal earrings

that my husband had given me
for my birthday were missing too.

Then you're under the impression that
it was Emily Gaunt who took these things?

It was hard for me to believe.

For in the short time that Emily worked
for us, I found her most dependable.

But I I was forced
to this conclusion.

What is your
occupation, Ms Bantam?

I was a housekeeper.

In the home of Mr
John Byrne, sir.

But, I'm unemployed
at present.

How long were you
employed there?

It woulda been five years
this coming Christmas.

Why are you no longer
employed by Mr Byrne?

Because he became too
impossible to get along with

from the time that
Emily Gaunt disappeared.

Please explain
yourself, Ms Bantam.

Well, Mr Byrne
became so irritable

I could scarcely speak to
him and get a civil answer.

In what manner would you
say that he had changed?

Well, Mr Coroner.

He was in the habit of
eating a very hearty breakfast

through all the years
I worked for him.

But after that Emily
Gaunt disappeared.

In fact, the very
morning the story

appeared in the newspaper
he scarcely touched a thing.

And several times

when I even indicated that the hussy
might have got what she deserved

he practically
snapped my head off.

Ms Bantam.

Tell us what you
know about this sack.

It's Mr John
Byrne's all right.

I stencilled his name in it.

The one that was borrowed
by Mr Stephen Byrne?

Yes. Mr Stephen was doing some
gardening and needed an extra sack.

Emily came for it.

And to your knowledge the
sack was never returned?

No sir.

But of course, it might have been
returned without my knowledge.

What do you mean
by that, Ms Bantam?

I mean simply that
it's peculiar to me

that Mr John Byrne would have allowed
the sack to remain at his brother's

for any length of time at all.

Please clarify that statement.

Well, it was his habit to go out
and collect firewood off the river

I should say it's what
might be called a hobby.

The only sort of hobby possible
for a man with his affliction.

Oh, I'm so sorry. I
shouldn't have said that.

Please continue, Ms Bantam.

Well, recently

I called in some of the
neighborhood boys to gather firewood.

But when I went for the sack I found
that Mr Stephen hadn;t returned it yet.

So I phoned Mr John and
he agreed to pick it up.

But when he got home and I reminded him
that he hadn't he was quite rude to me.

Said he was perfectly capable
of running his own household.

He raised his voice to such an extent
that I was quite nervous and upset.

Then he dismissed me.

And when did this seen
occur between you. Ms Bantam?

It was the night before Emily's
body was found in the river.

You've heard testimony that you borrowed
the sack some time ago from your brother.

Is that correct?
- It is.

And to your knowledge it was
never returned to your brother?

That is correct. Before I could return
it I found that someone had stolen it.

And has your brother
access to your home?


You mean, he has
a key to your home?

No, Mr Coroner.

The back door's always open.

Then there was nothing to prevent
his coming to your home at a

time when you were not there and
taking what was rightfully his.

No, nothing to prevent him but in
this case I don't think it probable.

By the way, Mr Byrne, it
may have helped this case

if you had reported that the sack
had been stolen from your home.

I didn't think the loss of an old
sack worth troubling the police about.

But why didn't you report the theft
of the more valuable things either?

The opal earrings,
for example?

Because I didn't wish
to cause Emily's parents.

further concern.

Besides my wife and I thought that
eventually, poor Emily would return

and the articles
would be recovered.

Now, tell me Mr Byrne.

When was the last time you used
this sack for gathering wood?

Some weeks ago.
It's hard to say.

Could it have been about.

three weeks ago?

What you mean is, about the time
that Emily Gaunt disappeared?

I must ask you not to
mind what I mean, Mr Byrne.

Would you say it
was four perhaps?

I couldn't be sure.

Then, would you say it was near the
time that Emily Gaunt disappeared?

I couldn't be sure!

The collection of firewood

unlike a marriage
or a birthday,

is not a festive
moment in my life.

I don't remember.

But you do remember the testimony that
the sack was stolen from your brother?

Will you kindly give an oral answer
to the questions asked at this inquest?

I do.

Does it not strike you
as being rather odd.

that a thief would bother
to take an object of such.

little value?

I wouldn't know.

Or, that a girl.

If we conced for a moment
that Emily Gaunt took it.

Do you think she would have taken
such a sack with her to some.

mysterious rendevous?

I am not here to
answer riddles.

No, I shouldn't
think you were.

Mr Byrne, I will
be more direct then.

Did you know the deceased

Emily Gaunt.


Mr Byrne, I asked you.
- She was employed by my brother!

I knew Emily Gaunt by sight.

Is it usual for you to zealously
defend persons whom you know by sight

to the extent that you

snap off the head of a woman who has
served you faithfully for five years?

I would defend anyone who was
being maliciously slandered.

Very admirable indeed.

Especially when they were being slandered
who's bitterness -That is all, Mr Byrne.

For one who is not here to answer
riddles I must say you've done very well.

Mr Coroner, Mr John Byrne was the
last of the witnesses for this inquest.

I have a few things I'd like
to say, if anyone will let me.

If they pertain to this inquest,
by all means, Mrs Ambrose.

Well, I can't sit here
any longer listening

to all these insinuations against a
boy who couldn't possibly harm a fly.

It's ridiculous. Preposterous!

It's downright silly, that's what it is.
- Mrs Ambrose.

Will you kindly
control your temper.

and give us a more coherent reason
for your impatience with this inquest?

No, Harry. I'm not trying to
take advantage of our friendship.

But I've known these Byrne
boys since they were lads.

And John's only fault is that he works
too hard and never thinks evil of anyone.

And as for this
silly old maid,

it's as plain as the nose on
your face she's in love with him

and imagined heaven
knows what about him!

And when an old maid's in love heaven
protect the object of her affections

if that love goes unrequited.

All the devils and all the...!

And if there's anyone else who
wants to know anything about himself,

just let me know.

Was there anything else
you wished to know, Harry?

That will be all, Mrs Ambrose.

And so, in all probability

Emily Gaunt

dressed in her
mistresses finery,

went off to some secret tryst.

Therefore, the conclusion
of this inquest is.

that the girl was murdered.

by person.

or persons unknown.

Inquest dismissed!

Here he comes now.

Oh, Mr Byrne.

Mr Byrne!


No, not you. Mr Stephen Byrne.

Me? -Yes, they'd like to
see you inside a moment.


You go on, I won't be long.

Sorry to trouble
you again, Mr Byrne,

but you probably realize the
case is far from being closed.


Are you certain you have nothing
more you'd like to say to us?


I can understand your feeling, Mr
Byrne. After all the man is your brother.

But if there's any further
light you can throw on this.

There's nothing
more I can say.

Excpet that I'm fully convinced
that my brother is innocent.

Is that all?

That was all.

It was foolish
to call him back.


- What is it? You know I'm working.

Stephen, why are
you so irritable?

What is it?

I'm rather worried. -Well, can't
you wait and tell me about it later?

All right, I'll be in my room.

It's about Lt Sarten.

I'm sorry I snapped at you.

I was trying to
finish a chapter.

What did you want to tell me?


It's in these last weeks.

since the inquest

I seem to run into that
detective all the time.

And just a little while
ago at the market too.

And he always looks
at me as though.

As though, he thinks I know
something I haven't told about Emily.

Has he.

Has he asked you
any questions?

No, but last night
after you had gone out

I decided to go
over to Mrs Ambrose's

and I saw someone
across the street.

It looked like him.

And I I almost ahd
the feeling that

That he'd been
watching the house.

How long was he there?
- I don't know.

When I got back he was gone.

Well, if he has
any snooping to do.

I should think he'd do it in John's
direction. -What do you mean, Stephen?

You were at the inquest.

You know what I mean.
- No, I don't

Well, if you ask me,
he acted so stupidly

that he forced everyone to believe that
he had something to do with it. -Stephen!

On top of everything else, he hasn't
acted normal since the inquest.

He shuns everybody.

He won't even talk to me.

And let's face it,
John's a cripple.

He knows he has no chance
with a girl of our class.

It's not hard to believe that he
carried on with a servant girl.

Stop it! Aside from
everything he's done for you

he's your brother.

There's a limit to this business
of being brothers, Marjorie.

Stephen, you're insane.

You're very fond
of him, aren't you?

You know that.

Are you in love with him?

How long has this
been going on?

Don't think I haven't
been aware of it.

You have a filthy mind.

This isn't going to be
very flattering, my dear.

I haven't the slightest pang of jealousy.
- No, I shouldn't think you would.

A husband who comes home drunk night
after night and reeking of cheap perfume,

isn't exactly in a
position to be jealous.

Sometimes cheap perfume
can be very exciting.

You are a swine, Stephen.

Marjorie. Hello, J.


Hello, Marjorie.

I met your office boy on his way over
here. I told him I'd bring these up for him.

Thank you.

I've been here so many times, John. To
the office too, but you were never in.

I know.

Why have you refused to see
me, or to answer my calls?

Haven't you found
a housekeeper yet?

There seems to be an extreme
shortage of domestic help at present.

Why, that's not true.

Only yesterday Mrs Beach was telling me
- It's true in the case of Mr John Byrne.

Even the children know
that I killed Emily Gaunt.

I know, John.

I've learned a lot about
people myself lately.

They can be very vicious.

And they think that because you've lived
with them for years they're fond of you.

But it's not true.

I'm going away, Marjorie.

Oh no, John!

Oh, don't run away from them.

I'm not running
away from them.

Is it that you think
it'll be better for.

for all of us if you go away?

I've got to be sensible.

Ever since the inquest my mail
consists chiefly of anonymous letters.

Not too flattering

Most of my clients are
closing out their accounts.

John, maybe it wasn't wise refusing
to see people and not going any place.

But you still have
friends in this town.

Let me give a party. We'll
ask everyone you like.

Our real friends.
We'll show this town.

It wouldn't do any good.

This town likes its nasty
little, backstairs gossip.

If I stay and.

you keep on seeing
me, defending me.

They'll think that we.

I wouldn't put
anything past them.

I don't care what they
say or think about me.

Marjorie, my darling.

I'd rather die than
cause you any suffering.

Oh, John. Don't
talk like that.

There must be
something I can do.


The only thing to do is to go away.
I've thought it out very clearly.


The promise me one thing?

Before you do anything.

Before you make any decisions.

let me know.

I promise.

Won't you come in, John?

I'd rather not, Marjorie.

Good night then, and
thanks for seeing me home.

Good night.

Stephen. Stephen, it's about John.
- I'm not interested.

Stephen please,
he's desperate!

I'm afraid he's going to
harm himself in some way.

Don't be dramatic.
- He as much as told me so tonight!

He said he'd rather be dead than go
on the way things have been going.

You mean.

- Yes, Stephen.

Please see him. Try to stay
with him as much as you can.

If you hurry you can
catch up with him now.

All right, Marjorie.

If you insist.

Thank you, Stephen.

Oh, I almost forgot.
Mrs Ambrose was over.

She said as long
it's Cook's day off

you should let her know if you
want to have supper with her.

I'm in no mood for her tonight.
I'll have something here.

Well, you better tell her now,
before she goes to any trouble.

You know how sensitive she is.

Yes, I guess you're right.


Yes, John.

What are you doing here?
- Marjorie was very worried.

She sent me to look for you.
Lucky I found you, isn't it?

What do you mean?

Oh, you might have um.


Suicide would only convince
everyone that they'd been right.

I'm glad you realize that.

What were you thinking
of as you stood there?

Of another night
on this river.

You know, John.

In spite of everything
that's happened

and everything that's
going to happen.

I want you to know that
I've gained something.

Gained something?

Yes, I was always afraid as a child.
I didn't have the courage to do things.

I was afraid of people.
What they might say or think.

Maybe that's why my
writing wasn't good.

You were right in that. But,
I'm not afraid anymore and.

I've written something good.

Because it's real.

It took a murder to do that.

Doesn't the end
justify the means?

You must be very,
very ill, Stephen.


Yeah, sick.

Otherwise, you couldn't
think as you do.

What's happened to you?

You know, John. I wish I
could really trust you again.

But I can't.

Am I right?

Suppose a policeman were to
come up to us here, right now.

Suppose he were to ask
which of us killed Emily.

What would you do?

I know what you would
do. You would point at me!

Would I?

You stepped right out of Emily's murder
as though you were shedding your skin.

You shifted the blame to me.

Did I?
- Yes.


Which one of us would
the world miss the most?

I mean, if there were
a choice of one of us.

Well, ask the world. I'm gonna
start thinking about myself.

You're very much in
love with Marjorie.

I know that.
You've always been.

And you've had the opportunity that night
of getting rid of me by going to the police.

Why didn't you take it?

There are things you would
never understand, Stephen.

You're right, John.

I can't understand my own brother
expecting to go on sharing my wife with me.

I'm going to the
police, Stephen.

I'm going to tell them the whole
story, including my part in it.

I should have a long time ago.

How many times have I told
you to keep away from my desk?


I hadn't expected that
bit read for some time.

Since you have read it, tell
me what you think about it.

How can you ask me that?

Well, don't you
think it's good?

Can't you appreciate its quality
quite apart from its content?

Not when it says that
my husband is a murderer.

I thought I disguised
it completely.

But you read between
the lines, didn't you?

John must love you very much
letting everyone think he did it.

Oh no, he loved you very much.

He was old fashioned.
He believed in chivalry.

That's why he kept
silent about it.

But you.

I don't think I can expect
you to keep silent about it.

Can I?

Do you intend to go on forever
letting people think he did it?

John disappeared tonight. If
something should have happened to him.

Let's say he drowned
himself in the river.

That would solve everything, wouldn't it?
- Stephen!

Everyone would know that he was
driven to commit suicide by his guilt.

Wouldn't they?
- You're forgetting about me.

Oh, no. I'm not
forgetting about you.

John commited suicide tonight

- I saw to it.

Before I'm through with you they'll know
that what John did once, he did again.

Stephen, you're insane.

Am I?

Now don't you
realize, Marjorie?

Your reading the manuscript
has solved everything.

But no, I met
Emily on the stairs.

She was coming
down from her bath.

She'd used your perfume.

She looked rather pretty
and I wanted to kiss her.

She got frightened and screamed.
I had to stop her screaming!

I didn't mean to kill her.
I hardly touched her. But.

I didn't realize
how easy it would be.

So very easy.