Two Men in Manhattan (1959) - full transcript

A French UN delegate has disappeared into thin air, sending reporter Moreau (Jean-Pierre Melville) and hard drinking photographer Delmas (Pierre Grasset) on an assignment to find him. Their only lead is a picture of three women.

Two Men in Manhattan

It was 3:32 PM on December 23rd...

...when the old 1912 gaslight...

...forgotten by urban planners...

...lit up for the kids on 43rd Street.

An Irish boy, an Italian, a Jew...

The trio neatly symbolized the
great glass building on First Avenue...

...known as the United Nations.

There was nothing special...

...about the General Assembly's
agenda that day...

...simply a vote in favor of a state
seeking membership in the organization.

That's all. And yet...

An empty seat indicated the absence...

...of the leader of a national delegation.

An unimportant fact duly
reported by press agencies...

...the world over.

Meanwhile, the new member
broadcast his state's gratitude... the world.

In a speech recorded
for posterity...

...on wax in lieu of marble.

Soon, news of the absent delegate
reached the French Press Agency... New York's Rockefeller Plaza.

NY AFP, how may I
direct your call?

Get me the Waldorf.

The absence of the French
delegate has been widely noted.

No explanation was offered
by the press office.

Was there a reason for
the delegate's absence?

No, I've heard nothing,
I was just asking.

Yes, I'm much obliged.

Sorry to have troubled you.

Do you understand?

If there's something new
I'll call you, even at night.

Have a second?

I know it's quitting time...

...but our UN delegate has disappeared.

A missing person?

He wasn't at the session today.

Try to find him.

You're a night owl
who knows Manhattan.

You spy on me?
That's nice.

McKimmie may know where
Fevre-Berthier is at.

Delmas is more likely.

The dreadful Delmas?

You have sleazy friends.

I choose my own informants.

That alcoholic photographer revolts me.

Suppose he finds Fevre-Berthier?

Give him a bottle of Bourbon.

He only drinks Scotch.

I'll call as soon as I hear anything.

What brings the great journalist here?

Our delegate has disappeared.

Disappeared? Let's not be
overly dramatic!

Was there a reason?

Who knows?

Maybe he was avoiding having to
explain a vote against.

Then, considering the voting by
the Western bloc...

...the Eastern bloc or the
Afro-Asian bloc... may have been politic
not to attend.

So it's routine?

No, Fevre-Berthier's family has
been wondering since midday...

...which proves his absence
wasn't premeditated.

What's the general view?

No one knows except the family...

and you.

What sort of man is he?

The classy type.

That pre-war vintage.


...when statesmen forgot
they were politicians.

Pining for 1925?

Who wouldn't regret
the "Roaring Twenties"?

It's only when such men are gone
that wars break out.

Where could I find him?

Try his secretary
in Greenwich Village.

Sorry to bother you.
I'm with the French Press Agency.

Were there political reasons for
Fevre-Berthier's absence today?

What political reasons?

An abstention perhaps.

The UN has its own
information services.

I know: McKimmie sent me.

He said you might
be able to help.

I don't see how.

He doesn't confide in me.

Could there be
a diplomatic reason?

It's curious the way Frenchmen
forget their own adage...

What's that?

Americans use it all the time...

Cherchez la femme

He'd skip out on the UN
just to chase women?

Not hitherto, but today maybe.

Who is she?

I don't care.

You mean you don't care...
any more?

The insoluble problem of male-female
relations is not in my line.

Good evening.

Hi, pal.

Sorry, I'm a bit out
of focus.

I need you to stick your head
under a tap.

Here you go.

Good morning.

Good evening.

Talking of morals,
like your landlady...

Who is Fevre-Berthier's mistress?

Excuse me...

Take your pick.

Which would you say?

I'm not invited.
I just take pictures.

We'll see all three.

To get their autographs?

You guessed it.

Why take that?

I hate to feel alone.

Without a glass or a camera
in hand, there's just me.

I know what you mean.

But tonight: No camera,
no reporting.

She's like me...
hates to feel alone.

Who is she?

Judith Nelson, an actress
with the Mercury Theater.

We'll start there.

What's this?

One of my spare wheels.

In short...

I can park here.

American women are very direct.

She must be of English descent...
from the Trafalgar Nelson.

- Did you pass her well mister?
- Reasonably.

Who's next?

Virginia Graham.

She's recording tonight at Capitol.

We'll go and see her
at Capitol.

I didn't tell you: Fevre-Berthier
has disappeared.

Keep it quiet. They think he's
with his mistress.


That's why I got you
out of bed.

What's all this about Fevre-Berthier

That's what I must find out.

Such things can blow up into
diplomatic incidents.

Maybe there's money in it.

For both, clearly.

He's a womanizer?

For the moment.

I know a girl who
specializes in diplomats.

Should we visit her?

I doubt she knows anything.

Who knows? Perhaps she
can give us a lead.

We'll have to call first.

Forms of prostitution are
a measure of civilization.

Who said that?


Who is this charmer?

Burlesque dancer.


In "darkest Brooklyn."

Cheap bags.

Poor girls.

I can see you banging
a Salvation Army drum.

And you'd rush in
to pass the hat.

Delmas... Five years from now.

It takes a yogi 40 years
to reach that state...

...and a monk years of prayer.

He and I?

We can reach beatitude
in a few hours.

Stay here and keep watch.

She was Fevre-Berthier's mistress.


He's dead.

Dead! How? Where?

She won't say.

Don't let anyone in.

Careful. She's very weak.

Quick, I have the keys
to her apartment.

Careful. No accidents now.

Did you notice which floor?

The eighth.

Oh, shit!

No news, sir...

Hold on.

The boss is on the other line.
He wants to see you.

Give me your number.


I found Fevre-Berthier...

...and the reason for
his absence.

But he's not talking...

...about anything.

It'd like to tell you and
the boss in person.

It's serious.

No, nothing political.

Stay there, I'll call you back.

Are you crazy?
You can't do that.

Be quiet.

Hello, Moreau?
No, no details.

You found him?



Where are you?

On the left or right?

It's the only door.

I'll stop there.

Is nothing sacred?



My boss is coming.

I should have stopped you.

A shot on the sofa might
bring in twenty dollars.

But, rumpled up on the bed...

...half undressed, next to
his cutie's picture.

Do you know what that means?

I'm stunned.

Me too, for different reasons.

Ah, Mister Scruples...

You're nearly 40.
Don't you want to get somewhere?

This is your chance
to make a fortune.

I can't do it.

Why not? You started it,
not me.

You're the Sorcerer's Apprentice.

You can't stop it now.

It's easy.

Did I come looking for you?

You turned up and
hauled me out of bed.

Now we're going to
see it through.

To the very end, understand?

Get out of here
before my boss comes.

Your boss! To hell with him.

I put everything
back just as it was.

Too late.

What happened?

A coronary, or something like it.

What is this place?

His girlfriend's.

We traced him through her.

His? Where is he?

You're not alone in this?

A French photographer helped me.

Which paper?

French Match.

I know your editor well.

Is that right?

I met this man when he left France
for London in 1942.

The General sent him back on a mission.

He parachuted in without preparation.

"Blind," as we used to say.

He broke a leg
and was thrown into prison.

Interrogated, tortured,

His leg, finally in plaster...

...sentenced to death,
under an assumed name...

...he contrived to escape.

Two months later, in London...

He joked about it, like
someone else's adventure.

He parachuted into France again.

His exploits were cited
by Winston Churchill... the true bedrock
of the Resistance.

He worked on opposing fractions... the Communist Party...

...or the Secret Army...

...establishing contacts between them
and persuading them to cooperate.

It took more than diplomacy,
believe me.

It took faith, too.
That rare faith...

...that makes self-sacrifice easy.

Later, he was arrested under
his own name, and deported.

He returned from the camps...

...broken in body
but not in heart or spirit...

Yours is an honorable profession,
Monsieur Delmas.

History is no long written,
but photographed.

But some pictures can not...
must not be...

I never leave film
in my camera.

Monsieur Delmas...

the man did not die here.

Do you understand?

There can be no photographs
showing him here.

How interesting.

What do you suggest?

I'm asking for those pictures.

Though I've never worked for you,
I know your reputation.

You are well-versed in
journalistic tradition.

When did a press officer ever
surrender documentary evidence?

There is more to journalism
than such traditions.

Reporting is not just saying
and showing everything.

Not telling, sometimes, might
be more honest.

You're against freedom
of the press?

It has occasioned many excesses.

Do you remember the scurrilous campaign
against a Third Republic minister?

And how it ended?

Too late for suicide this time!

Are you truly as
cynical as you seem?

Much more so.

Very well Mr. Moreau,
they've gone.

Tell me, what happens if an
employee disagrees with you?

We argue, decide who is right.

The perfect democratic organization!

I'll use what influence I have... stop the publication
of those pictures.

We want them, Pierre.

How much are they worth?

The minority yields.

That's democracy too, isn't it?

I wish that you
saw it our way.

Don't ask too much.

I need you.

You too, Monsieur Delmas.

We can't leave him here.

We'll put him in my car.

The police will find him here.
Dead from heart failure.

To avoid questions about
his time of death...

...I'll see that
there's no autopsy.

Goodbye Monsieur Delmas, please
forget our little differences.

See me at the office tomorrow, Moreau,
to settle the details.

Can I drop you somewhere?

I'll get a taxi, thanks.

I'll buy you a drink.

Wait. No one's going to
get near this car.


At least I'll scoop his picture.

Let's go.
I've got work to do.

You behaved like an absolute prick.

You messed up your once big chance... get rich.

Suit yourself, but I
intend to do my job.

I'm going to recoup my losses
the best way I know how... taking pictures of the widow.

She doesn't know she's a widow, yet.

So, I'll tell her
and get a picture of her crying.

You made me miss out on
thousands of dollars.

At least let me earn
my living.

Where does she live?

No idea.

What a help.

Let's have that drink.
I'll call for the address.

If you're squeamish, you can
opt out now.

And have you say...

"Are you the Widow Fevre-Berthier?"

"I'm not a widow, Sir."

"Want to bet?"

Cut the gutter talk, Pierre.

Pardon the interruption, Madame.

Have you heard from your husband?

No, I haven't.

May we come in?

Have a seat please.

Don't do that, please!
It's ridiculous.

Momma, leave me alone with
these gentlemen.

I'll explain later.

Should I thank you for
what you did...

...or worry?

How did you find out?

I followed you two all night.

When I saw you at McKimmie's office...

...I knew you were on
my father's trail.

I followed them...

Where can I get a taxi?

Use my car.
Where's he going?

I wish I knew.

Tell me about it.

It's complicated.

First, let's check the all-night
photo lab on 97th Street.

Tell me about it?

I was conned.

How could I ever imagine
he'd give us those photos?

What pictures?

He took them in the apartment...

Judith Nelson's apartment?

You knew about that?


But the main this is that
mother doesn't. What happened?

He's probably developing
them at home.

Let's try the papers.

There must be plenty of
other labs in New York.

But how do we catch
up with the bastard?

He has a two hour lead.

He'll have sold the pictures...

Probably got the editor of
"Life" out of bed.

If he's really on the ball...

...he'll wait for the early editions... give the "official version"...

...then come out with pictures
and the true story.

He was right.

It's a goldmine.

You're having regrets?

I think I know where he'll be...

...gloating over a whisky
at the Pike Slip Inn.

You kept the real film
and sold it!

You wouldn't hit a guy
with glasses, would you?

Let's get out of here, Anne.