Back Door to Heaven (1939) - full transcript

The life of a young slum kid, who starts out stealing small things in order to fit in with the "crowd", winds up in reform school, and eventually spends much of his life in prison. Upon his release, he finds that life on the outside can be just as hard as life on the inside. - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
[instrumental music]

[music continues]

[music continues]

[music continues]

[music continues]

[male #1]
'Don't be criticizing me,
not after what you've been.'

[female #1]
'It ain't what a person's been.
It's what they are.'

'You used to be a soldier once'

but what've you been
ever since?'

'Nothing but a souse.'

[male #1]
'That ain't nothing to what
you are.'

[female #1]
'Shut your mouth.'

'Don't you be throwing
that in my face.'

[male #1]
'Get on over with
that stew, will you?'

'You're not even a good cook.'

You like it, Frankie?

Where'd it come from, mom?

I got it for you
at Victor Brothers.

It almost fits.

- But why, mom?
- Graduation.

Oh, gee, thanks.

The old man's sauced again?

Worse than ever.

I get so worried sometimes
I don't know how I stand it.

- Supper's on.
- I ain't blind.

Shall we get down and eat, pa?

Where did you get that hat?

Mom bought it for me.
It's for graduation.

Yeah, that's why he got it.
I bought it for him.

He's don't have to graduate
in not hat.

We can't spare the money.

Seems like we have
money for liquor.

It's alright, it's alright!

I'll take it back,
right away, I will.


You alright, mom?

Yeah. I'm alright.

[instrumental music]

[indistinct chatter]

- Okay, goodnight.
- Goodnight.

Now, Frankie, I'm not gonna let
you go until you promise me

that you'll do something
tomorrow afternoon.

Well, after all you don't
graduate everyday of your life

you know, it's an event.

You'll do alright,
Ms. Williams. Without me.

Besides I can't do anything
like those others.

Well, I don't care if you just
stand up when I call on you.

The important thing is that you
must take your place with them.

You're going to have
to do it later

with a great many other people.

Goodnight, Ms. Williams.
Such a lovely time.

Goodnight, Carol.

Can you make Frankie promise

not to disappoint me?

- Alright.
- Goodnight.

Goodnight, Ms. Williams.

She's fine.

Which way are you going, Carol?

- Come on.
- Not till you promise.

Look here, I'm not going
to promise you

or anybody else anything.

when I can't do anything.

You're not mad at me?

Of course, not.

You like me?

Will you stop?

But I like you, Frankie.

I gotta go home.

Goodnight, Frankie.


[dramatic music]

# My country 'tis of thee #

# Sweet land of liberty #

# Of thee I sing #

# Land where my fathers died #

# Land of the pilgrims' pride #

# From every mountainside #

# Let freedom ring ##

Today, we are honored
in having with us

the president
of our board of education.

Mr. President.

[all applauding]

Ladies and gentlemen


If I may obtrude...

...the experience

and observations

'of some years'

'which I choose to call...'

...packing ones trunk...

...for the journey.

Packing ones trunk..

...for the journey.

What's he talkin' about?

'If, into ones trunk..' will put

enough self-discipline

'strength of character'

'respect for law and order'

'then I assure you'

that each one of you

shall find life

a glorious

and a happy adventure.

[all applauding]

Now, first according to the plan
we settled on last night

I should like
to call upon John Shelly.

Uh, it is John's plan
to enter high school

and subsequently to study law.

What're you going
to recite for us, John?

Portia's courtroom speech
from "The Merchant of Venice."

"The quality of mercy
is not strained.

"It droppeth as
the gentle rain from heaven.

"And earthly power

"doth then show, likest God's

when mercy seasons justice."

[all applaud]

And now, um, Wallace Kischler.

'Determined to take his place
in the world of art.'

[male #2]
'Well, isn't that fine?'

Looks like we might go... right
into the ones denied service

doesn't it?

[all applaud]

And now, oh, Robert Hale.

'Robert, after only brief study
has shown great promise'

'in his chosen field.'


[violin music]

[music continues]

[all applaud]

And now, Charles Smith.

'Charles has a definite flair
for mathematics.'

And, he is I believe, going
to, uh, use some questions.

How much is 11 times 12, John?

A hundred and thirty two.

Carol, how much is 11 times 14?

A hundred and fifty four.

How much is 11 times 18, Frankie?

A hundred and ninety eight.

Don't you see, it's this way.

It's just like my papa told me.

When you work in the bank,
you have to be quick at figures.

I work in a bank every Saturday.

Someday, I'm gonna run it.

When you multiply by 11

you add the two outside figures

and stick 'em in the middle.

[all applaud]

Uh, now we're going to hear
from one of our girls.

'You know in this modern world,
girls have careers too.'

Carol Evans.

# Nita #

# Juanita #

# Let me linger by thy side #

# Nita #

# Juanita #

# Be my own fair bride ##

[all applaud]

And now, Frankie Rogers.

'Have you thought
of something to do, Frankie?'



[harmonica music]

[all applaud]

And now, a brief recess

after which
there will be refreshments.

And you will receive
your report cards

'and your certificates
of graduation'

'from Grammar School.'


- Well, Sheriff Kramer.
- Hiya, Mr. Hersey.

You should've been here sooner.
Excellent entertainment.

Excellent. Glad you've
seen me, sheriff.

Aww. I do wish you
had seen the children.

Frankie was fine today.

You should have heard him
play his harmonica.

I didn't know you play
the harmonica, Frankie. Do you?

A little.

Well, why don't you take a seat?

No, thank you, Ms. Williams.

Well after school, would you
mind dropping into my office?

- I'd be glad to.
- And bring Frankie, will you?

Well, yes, of course.

Thank you, Ms. Williams.

Where were you
last night, Frankie?

I was home. That's where I was.
I was home, I was.

What time did you get home?

After I left
Ms. Williams' house.

- I was home all night.
- Hmm, I see.

Frankie, I talked
to your mother and she said

you didn't get home
until 10 o'clock.

What about that?

Well, I waited a little while,
that's all.

Sure you didn't wait around
Clair's hardware store?

Sure, you didn't break in
and steal that harmonica?

Did you, Frankie?

I'm your friend.
You can talk to me.

Yes, I did.


Well, they wanted me to do
something at school today

and that's about all I could do.

I didn't have the money to buy one

and I saw that in the window

on my way home, so I took it.

What else did you take?

You took some money out
of the cash drawer, didn't you?

- Yes.
- How much?

Seven dollars and eighty cents.

I'm glad you weren't
in court today, Ms. Williams.

You hear them lads talk,
you'd think Frankie

had committed murder or something.

Every kid steals somethin'.

Whether it's a watermelon

or cherries on the trees,
next door.

'He has to steal somethin',
before he knows it's wrong.'

'I'm sorry
about the whole thing.'

Couldn't you do anything
about it, sheriff?

No. I suppose you might say

Frankie's gonna have to pay for..

Well, you know.

Whoever is on the other
side of the tracks.

'Besides, he's been in trouble
before. On probation.'

And nothing can be done about it.

I got to be goin' now.

It's not far from 8:15.

May I go to the station
to see Frankie?

- Of course.
- Where is he now?

I sent him home to see his mother

but he'll be there alright.

That's what I think of the boy.

Thanks for giving me
the old man's suitcase, mom.

I wanted to say goodbye to him
but, well, he was asleep.

Will you tell him, mom?

Goodbye, Frankie.

Gee, I never noticed how pretty
these flowers looked before.

Well, except
that rose bush over there.

Kinda skinny ain't it, mom?

Do something about that,
will you, mom?

So long.

[keyboard clacking]

Where are you going, Frankie?

I don't know.

Say, now there's a job for me.

All I gotta do is make

a lot of dots and dashes.

- Do you understand it?
- No.

Well, A is a dot and a dash.

B is a dash and three dots.

And C is..

Gee, I don't remember what C is.

It's a cinch if you learn how to
make them dots and dashes.

You shouldn't have come down here.

[instrumental music]

Be a good boy, Frankie.

I'll write to you.

And we'll be waiting
to see you back here.

This is where you belong.

Oh, gee, thanks,
Ms. Williams.

But what're you gloomy about?

Do you know I've never
been on a train before?

Every night when I hear them
chugging, whistling

go around the bend down there
on the Smith's grove.

I always wanted to be on one,
going someplace.

And now, I am going someplace,
ain't I, sheriff?

And there'll be red,
plush cushions and everything.

Won't there, sheriff?

Yeah, Frankie,
plush cushions in there.

[train hooting]

Goodbye, Ms. Williams.

I haven't any tickets, sheriff.
Have you got them?

Yes, I got your ticket, Frankie.

Will you stop crying, Carol?

I'll be back soon
before you know it.

I'm not goin' any place.
Just to a farm.

I like to work on a farm.

Someday, I'll come back
and you can't tell.

Maybe someday I'll have a job
like that guy in there.

A cinch that all it is.

Just a lot of dots and dashes.

You'll get along alright in here

that's if you want to,
that's up to you.

It's up to me
to enforce the rules, I do.

You understand don't you, sheriff?

Yes, I understand.

You understand,
don't you, Frankie?

Yes, sir.

Alright, sheriff.

Is there anything I can do
for you back there, Frankie?

No, I don't think so, sheriff.

Gee, this is
a swell place, ain't it?

You a new guy?


Where are you from?

I said where are you from?

That's none of your business.

Oh. A wise guy, huh?

That's my business.

That's my business.

[people gasping]

[instrumental music]

[music continues]

[music continues]

Oh, why don't you quit?

I'm alright.

You look better in a hospital cot.

Thanks, it went swell.
What's your name?

Rogers, kid.

Frankie Rogers.

It don't make no difference
in this joint.

Listen, you're no better than
any of the rest of 'em prisoners

but I put you in charge
was to keep order up there.

[thumping on roof]

Listen to them
bums walking around?

- They're scrubbing.
- Alright, see that they scrub.

And see that they scrub
in their bare feet.

From now on, no one puts
their shoes until noon.

How do you think I'm gonna sleep?

- That'll be trouble.
- Yeah. Who's gonna make it?

Anyone tries it, you beat 'em
within an inch of their life.

You're big enough. Alright.

Alright, you mugs.
Get your shoes off.

Get 'em off.

And from now on, keep 'em
off till after 12 o'clock.

You get it?

And you?

Come on, snap the door.

Come on, come on, come on.

Alright, you guys.
Get 'em off.

Get your shoes off.
Now wake up.

'Get them shoes off
from there.'

Come on, stupid, wake up.
Get 'em off.

'Come on, get 'em off,
won't you?'

Who threw that shoe?

- Was it you?
- No.

Just in case it was.


[harmonica music]

Well, I don't think
we'll have to worry

much longer about you, Rogers.


- No one?
- No.

You can't steal
automobiles and start riots

and get away with it.

'You're a cinch to go up
for five years.'

We'll know where to send
your mail, alright.

State Penitentiary.

I hate to think how much
I'm gonna miss you.

[music continues]

And therefore,
I sentence you, Frank Rogers

to the State Penitentiary
for five years.

[instrumental music]

[crowd cheering]

We're a cinch.

I ain't so sure.

When Frankie pitches, why not?

He's a loser.

Ah, what do you mean?
He's got a fireball.

He'd be throwing fast
tomorrow all afternoon.

[crowd cheering]

- Safe.
- Oh, no.

Did you see that guy steal second?

I didn't see nothing.

I ain't no stool, I ain't.

What do you wanna steal things
for? That's how I got in here.

[crowd cheering]

- Alright, Frankie. That's all.
- Why are you taking me out for?

'Cause I'm gave him three hits
in five innings?

You don't think I'm as dumb
as that. You're swell.

Go wash-up in the office.


Yeah, don't give them any fat
ones or they'll start

crowding the play.
Throw right for the head.

Good luck, Slim.

That's right, Warden.

I've pitched five dinners,
and I've done..

...five years, so what?

I have little respect for them

who gets a chance and doesn't
know how to handle it.

'This is your chance now.'

'Don't blow it.'

Don't worry, Warden.

I won't.

- Did you get you assignment?
- Yeah.

With or without music?


Well, we're leaving here tomorrow.

We'll be long gone.

Three weeks in Cleveland
and we'll have a roll.

I'm gonna miss this joint.

See you later. I'll go down
and try on my suit.

We've got eyes all picked out.

And you always wanted
to fit in it better.

Yeah, since three well-dressed men

leaving stark.

That's not what's going out.

Just three suits of old clothes.

[instrumental music]

Well... here it is.

- Here what is?
- Outside.

- Look at it.
- At what?

What do you like to do?

I want a steak.

I'd like to see some gal.

What would you like, Frankie?

I just wanna get rid
of this bundle..

Some color buttons, old shirt..


And five years.

[intense music]

[organ music]

[organ music]

[male #3]
'Gentlemen, I shall speak
to you tonight'

'of success.'

'I have no patience with people'

who quarrel
with their lot in life.

I tell you, I have no patience

with people who quarrel
with their lot in life

'because success..'

'Success, after all'

'rests within yourself.'

Swell steak, ain't it?

Yeah. It's got meat
all around it.

[male #3]
'Take me for example.'

'When I was a little boy'

'I began by singing
in the choir.'

'And when the contribution
box was passed'

'I gave'

'I tell you, I gave!'

'I gave even of my pennies.'

What are we gonna do
with the dishes?

Say, if I had a gun

and you'd throw em' up in the air

I could knock em' off
like clay pigeons.

Well, you haven't got any

and you ain't gonna have one.

Well, I'm not gonna wash 'em.

Nobody asked you to.

- Say, I got an idea.
- Hm?

There's a joint down here
I used to sing in.

I'd like to make him a present.

They don't care
if they're washed or not.

Anyway, I'd like a drink.

Yeah, so do I.
Okay, Frankie?

Anything. I just gotta
keep moving.

[instrumental music]

[music continues]

Ladies and gentlemen!

I wanna introduce to you tonight

a fine little artist
who appeared here

many years ago!

He's been a guest star
for the last few years.

What I mean to say is

he's been a guest
to the government

but you wouldn't
understand about that.

Now I'm gonna ask him
to sing one of the old songs

that he used to sing for me

before he asked
for a raise in pay.

Ladies and gentlemen

I take great pride in introducing

that marvelous singer of old songs

accompanied by the
Silver Slipper singing waiters

and I want you to give him
a great, big hand

Mr. Bert Gatto!

Come on.

[instrumental music]

# I can see a bunch
of country folks #

# Sitting around a local store
all swapping jokes #

# In my hometown #

# Why did I ever ever roam? #

# I must be crazy #

# Though the city gals
are not so slow #

# Take me to those
country gals I used to know #

# For since I roamed away #

# I'm lonesome #

# Night and day #

# Hometown ## Hometown #

# Want to wander around
your back streets #

# See those tumbledown
old shack streets #

# I'd love to walk in
on those #

# Cozy country cousins of mine #

# Hometown where the doves
are softly cooin' #

# Where there's always
nothin' doin' #

# I'd get a welcome
from those #

# Cozy country cousins of mine #

# There's an old
schoolhouse door #

# We used to tumble
through at four #

# And that same candy store #

# Where I could eat
a dozen lollipops #

# And ask for more #

# Gee #

# What I'd give the world
to see #

# That old gang of mine #

# Mm mm #

# Say I can hear 'em
just as plain #

# Standing
on the street corner #

# Their heads bunched together #

# Harmonizing #

# Adeline #

# Sweet Adeline #

# Sweet Adeline #

# Where the garden trees
are shady #

# Where the lady waltzes.. #

# I'm going back #

# To that shack #

# To those country cousins
of mine ##

[crowd applauding]

What a night.
What a night.

What a night!

Well, I got enough dough

to get us out of these clothes.

A steak of sermon and dames.

- Swell, wasn't it, Frankie?
- Yeah.

- Steak was okay.
- Well, what do we do next?

I'm going home. You guys
wanna come along, it's okay.

If you don't, it's okay, too.

Well, what do we get
in a town like that?

Just a lot of fresh air..

...if you think
you can stand it.

Good morning, Ms. Williams.

Oh! Uh, good morning, Albert.

Lots of mail this morning.
What's the idea?

Ain't the first of the month,
is it?

Well, thank you.
Oh, that is a lot, isn't it?

Yeah, but that ain't all.

Will you hold that for me
a minute, please?

Oh, I am a bother this morning.

You must be all worn out.

You know, I'm just,
I've been doing it for 30 years

I'll be re-retiring soon.

And on a pension, too.

Then I can go fishing
whenever I like

and no more work, just fishing.

Why, Albert, this town
wouldn't be the same without you

bringing the mail around
every day.

I don't believe you'd be
happy if you couldn't.

I don't know what I'd do
if they stopped me

from teaching at school.

Well, how the way you look
at it, I suppose.

But I'm getting old.

Well, so am I.

You know why I got
so much mail today?

It's my birthday.

Well, I'll be darned.

I hope it's alright.

- Happy birthday, sweetie.
- Oh!



Albert, come on!

[Williams laughing]

And to think so many
of your friends remembered you!

- Why not? That's what I'd say.
- Oh!

I didn't mean that.

But it is lovely, don't you think?

Oh, they've all been so sweet.

Now, isn't this one nice?
That's from John Shelley.

Remember Henry Shelley's son?

- Why, yes.
- Of course.

Jeez, I do.

Oh, he's done so well, I hear

but then, of course,
I knew he would.

Well, I think
his folks were right smart

to make him a lawyer.

- I do, too.
- Yes.

[female #2]
With the world being

like what it is today.

[Williams] Well, I do hope John is happy.

Oh, and Robert Hale and his music.

Remember how he used
to play the violin?

He had a fine talent, I thought.

I do hope he's doing well.

This one's from
"Wallace Kischler."

He says he painted that himself.

It's all in watercolors.

Sorta shows his early promise.

Yes, I suppose
Wallace is a big artist now.

My niece had a cousin
who was a painter, too.

But the last time she wrote me
she told me

that he was strictly
on the bottle!

Now, what do you suppose
she meant by that?

A man doesn't paint bottles
all the time, does he?

[telephone ringing]


Oh, hello, Charley.

I just wanted to wish you

many happy returns,
Ms. Williams.

Yes, I'm sorry,
I couldn't get over to see you

but you know, I just
can't help being sentimental

when it comes to birthdays

especially, concerning my teacher.

Oh, well, it was awfully nice
of you to remember.

Goodbye. Oh.

That was Charley Smith.

He's only one of that class

I believe, who's still in town.

Well, I don't blame him,
being in charge

of his father's bank and all.

"Carol Evans."

- Carol Evans. Who is she?
- Don't you remember?

Well, she used to live next door
to the Neelis on Elm Street.

I believe she's a big actress now.

[instrumental music]

# Birds have their nest #

# Stars have their sky #

# I'm just a wanderer #

# No friend have I #

# I need a friend #

# A wonderful friend #

# To hold my hand #

# And understand #

# I need someone #

# When the long day is done #

# To share with me #

# A setting sun #

# Everyone else in this
wide wide world #

# Has someone who cares #

# Nobody else
in this wide wide world #

# Men choose me
in their.. #

# If you are my friend #

# My whole life I'd spend #

# In your embrace #

# Any old place #

# I need #

# A friend ##

Well, I don't think we need
to worry about Carol.

She'll turn out alright.

Well, I think these have made me
happier than any of the others.

They're from Frankie Rogers.


He certainly didn't come
to a good end.

Well, I don't think
Frankie was really a bad boy.

He just didn't have the same
chance the others had.

He made those bookends himself,
he says.

According to this card,
he isn't in the reformatory.

He's travelling.

Well, I do hope Frankie's alright

'cause sometimes I worry about him

as much as though
he were my own son.

I used to live in
a little town once myself.

Yeah? Why did you leave?

Well, it was like this.

I stole a horse and took it home.

It was a white horse
and I started to paint it black.

Well, I just got
one side of it done

and then I'd run out of paint.

I've often thought
that a little more paint

would have changed
my whole career.

But that's the way it goes.

[train blowing horn]

Right, Frankie?

Yeah, that's the way it goes.

[instrumental music]

Where'd you pick up this rod?

In an honky-tonk.

I had to take something

and there was no
toothbrushes around.

And make sure you guys
are in front of the

the First National Bank
at 2:30.

2:30 in the morning?

No, 2:30 in the afternoon.

[instrumental music]

I know the old man died..

...but, but..

...what about my mother?

Ain't nothing more
to tell you, Mr. Frankie

except that she's just touched
in the head, that's all.

'And they taken her away to..' Toledo,
somebody said.

Ain't Toledo the place
where they care crazy people?

Yes. That's the place.

[female #2]
'Oh, I'm terribly sorry,
Mr. Frankie, but... '

Did you see my mother
when she left?

What did she say?
What did she do?

I didn't see her, I didn't

but they say
she just wasn't sad at all.

'Only one thing funny she did
was just before she left.'

'When she stood
out there at the gate'

'she said that the Germans
were comin' to fetch her.'

She said..

"What pretty roses, ain't it?"

Then they knew she was touched

'cause there wasn't
a single rose nowhere.

Anything else?

Then she said

"Please take care
of that scrawny one over there

'cause that's the one
Frankie liked."

'Then they took her away.
That's all.'

You've been here long?

About a year. Oh, yeah.

Even I can fix you up for the
night, there's a room upstairs.

'Suppose you'd want to stay
once more in your home'

'after being away so long.'

No, thanks, Mrs. Hamilton.

How much, how many children
you got in this family?

Oh, just these two.
Oh, yeah, another one, Roy.

Oh, I guess you don't
remember him, though.

He's a man now.

He's a porter on the B&O.

It's fine.

Ms. Williams, is she still a..

Still in town?

Ms. Williams, she here,
she here all the time.

Gotten old now,
but still just as pretty

'Still lives at the same place
over on Spruce Street.'

Thanks, Mrs. Hamilton.

Are you gonna be a porter,
too, when you grow up?

I don't know, sir.

I suppose you know
your father got to

join his lodge before he died.

No, I didn't.

But you think that helped?

Well, it made him powerful happy.

And they say he died

'with the most loveliest
smile on his face.'

Was he placid?

You mean to say,
Ms. Williams

after all them years
you worked for them

they give you the gate?

I don't understand you, Frankie.

I think you should say,
"After all those years

they gave you the gate."

But I still don't understand

because they didn't give me
any gate.

I'm sorry, Ms. Williams.

Emilio said
they put the slug on you.

What I'm trying to say is

you ain't got no job no more?

- 'Is that it?'
- That's right.

Only, don't you think
you ought to say

you no longer
have a position, hmm?

That's all I wanna know.

- Who's running the joint?
- I beg your pardon?

Who's the boss,
the big guy, the headman?

Well, you certainly
speak strangely, Frankie

but I think I'm beginning
to understand you.

Charley Smith is the president
of our board of education.

'He runs the bank. Now you know,
you remember him?'

Yeah, I remember him.

That fresh little..


That fresh little guy
that was so smart at figures?

That's it. Oh, he's done so
well. He's down at his bank now.

I'm sure he'd be very glad
to see you.

That's fine.

I'll be glad to see him, too.

He said he'd be here at 2:30.

What time is it now?

2:38 and a half,
if this thing's on a level.

Where'd you get that watch?

- Oh, I just picked it up.
- How?

One of the local boys
was eating a sack of popcorn.

But he won't miss it.

What does a guy want with
a watch in this town, anyway?

Wait here.

Some people say bankers
are hard, they have no sentiment

but I tell you here and now

I will not see that
little schoolhouse destroyed

not for all the money
in the world.

[telephone ringing]


[woman on phone]
'A Mr. Frankie Rogers'

'to see you, Mr. Smith.'

Well, what do you think of that?

Show him in.

Will you gentlemen
excuse me, please?

- Certainly, Charley.
- Of course, Charley.

'Well, well, Frankie.'

'How are you?'

[door shuts]

This is a funny one.
I was just talking about you.

- Why is it, Charley?
- Now, let's see how you look.

Hey, you haven't changed much.

I suppose you might say
that comes from living right

eh, Frankie?

Yes, you might say.

Nice place you got here.

Why, you haven't seen a thing.
Sit down, sit down.

No, thanks.
I don't wanna waste your time.

No, no, at least you'll let me
show you through the bank.

Now, here's a little idea
of my own.

Take a look at this burglar alarm.

If anybody just walks in front
of that at night, it goes off

sort of a radio beam arrangement.

Not a chance for anybody
to get away with a thing.

I see.

This safe is the very last word.

I can hardly get in there myself.

Are you insured, Charley?

Yes, yes, everything insured.

Everything in apple pie order.

What do you wanna do, Frankie?
You want a job?

I can't fix you up here

but I understand the chain works

is opening up soon.

Mr. Hamilton.

Yes, the town
certainly is booming.

- How about Ms. Williams?
- Oh, she's fine.

- What do you mean?
- Well.

Don't you think
it'd be a good idea

if you put her back to work?

Well, she has her pension,
after all.

She's done her service,
now she should have her rest.

This new school building
takes care of 500 kids.

What we need is you
within our teaching staff.

Don't you worry about
Ms. Williams, Frankie.

We'll take care of her alright.

Yeah, she'll sit
in that little, old house

and wither and die,
thinking about you and me

and the rest of the kids.

How about putting her
back to work, Charley?

I'll take it up with the next
board meeting, Frankie.

And I wanna thank you
for coming in.

You gonna be in town long?

- I don't think so.
- Do you need any money?

No, thanks.

Do what you can for her, will you?

I will, Frankie.
I certainly will.

And you've given me an idea.


When do we knock it over?

Oh, this looks like a cinch.

I've been standing here
for over an hour

I ain't seen a single copper.

We're not knocking it over.

This is my hometown.

- We're leaving.
- Where for?

- Cleveland.
- Pardon me.

Can you tell me where
the Chamber of Commerce is?

I don't know.
I'm a stranger here.

Well, you know, it's been
a long time, 15 years.

They say she's a big star.

I can't believe she's getting
along, alright?

Any chance for a touch?

If there was, I wouldn't make it.

I don't know whether
I'm gonna like this town or not.

You've been talking about
nothing all the way from..

What's on your mind?

Well, I hid some dough
and I got in a taxi.

The taxi driver was an old guy,
buckling at the knees

just doing the best he could,
I guess.

And a copper gave him a ticket

for going three feet
through a stop line.

So you socked the copper?

Oh, no, I didn't,
I tried to reason with him

then I socked him.

What did you say to him?

'I says to him, I says'

"A fine job you've got,
making people unhappy.

"Look at this old man here,
he's just trying

"and you come along
and gum it all up.

"What did he do?" I says

"What did he do
that would hurt anybody?"

You know what that
copper says to me?

He says, "If you don't shut up

I'll slug
and throw you in a can."

That's what he says.

So I seen, I couldn't
reason with him.

- What did you do?
- That's when I socked him.

- And what'd it cost you?
- Six months.

And I might say
that the jail here stinks.

You know, it's a funny thing
about coppers.

What's funny about em'?

Well, I knew a guy once,
a friend of mine.

He was an alright guy, too.

He got on the police force.

The minute
he got a load of himself

all dressed up
in those brass buttons

he-he was a different guy.

I don't like him, either.

And I guess they're just trying
to do the best they can.

I wish you wouldn't
use that word "Can."

Why not?
Can is a verb.

It may be a verb to you,
but to me it's a joint

where you do six months.

[instrumental music]

# I long for a chance #

# Will bring you romance #

# But my heart jumps
when you're near #

# Those hump and thump
and oh dear #

# Oh dear grab a telephone #

# Take me out along #

# I maybe a movie star #

# To tell you #

# The things in my #

# Heart ##

[all applaud]

Carol, you were swell.
You were a cinch.

Nothing can stop you.

[male #4]
'Hey, Carol.'

That was swell, but you gotta
get out of that dress

and get out of my way.

- You didn't like it?
- Sure, I liked it.

But the dame just come to.

Somebody hit her with
a cold towel or something.

Yeah, they should have
slipped her a mickey.

Some other time, Carol.

[indistinct chattering]

[instrumental music]


[music continues]


[indistinct chatter]

What do you think of this paper?

I don't think so much of it.


I get laughs out of it.

Did you laugh
when you read about my trouble?

I didn't mean that.

It should have been a big laugh.

Oh, I see old man Bunky's dead.

- Yes.
- That's good.

You know, I hated
that old buzzard.

Beat me up when I was a kid

because my dad licked his..

He was just a punk,
how'd you like that?

You mustn't hate anybody, Frankie.

It's no good.

Okay, I won't if you say so.

He was no good when he was alive

and I don't see that dying

makes him any better.

What time is it?

- 12:30.
- Oh, I'm going.

It was swell seeing you.

When will I see you again?

I don't know.

What are you gonna do?

- I don't know.
- I do.

You're gonna stay here,
you gonna get a job.


I want you to.

On the level?

On the level.

Gee, I'm stuck.

I... don't know what to do.

Will you kiss me, Frankie?

Tomorrow night?

Tomorrow night.

Mouse, loan me that tie, will you?

- It matches the suit.
- Sure.

Hate to leave you, fellas
but this is my big night.

Yeah, so I see.

- Same dame?
- Not a dame.

Somebody else.

You are the luckiest guy
that ever lived.

If you fell in a lake, you'd
come up with a handful of fish.

I ain't lucky at all.

This is a game
of science and skill.

The trouble with you is
you don't concentrate.

Yeah, I'll concentrate
on knocking your head off

the next time you deal
one from the bottom.

- What do you mean?
- You know what I mean.

What do you got?

I got one, two

three, four aces.

May be you got four aces

but that ain't the hand
I dealt ya.

- What do you mean?
- You know what I mean.

I think you're being
very unethical.

Explain them words.

I think you're a crook.

And what are you?

I'm just a victim of society

that's what I am.

Yeah and you're a crook, too.

Then we are a couple
of crooks, is that it?

Yeah. That's it.

Oh, you wanna fight, huh?

Wait a minute, wait a minute.

What's going on?
Cut it out.Stopit.

You are so..

Why I'll break..

Ah, I'm sorry, Frankie.

I'm sorry, too.

It's okay.

Ah, you throw one at me

and you hit Frankie,
that's how good you are.

Cut it out, cut it out.

You ain't gonna get nowhere
fightin' like that.

When you lose,
we gotta stick together.

Come on, shake hands.

Boy, I wish they had
a hunk of beef steak.

- Good evening.
- Yeah.

I'm Mr. Hicks,
the manager.

I'd like to speak to you
about your bill.

We've only been here three days.

But you have no baggage.

Show the beat, will you, fellas?
See you later.

- Come in, Mr. Hicks.
- Yeah.

Yeah, come in.
Have a chair.

Some discussion about the bill?

- Yes, there is.
- Well, sit down there.

Hm, do you ever play, uh, cards?

Gee, this is swell.

I certainly fixed things up good.

It wasn't the doorknob, Carol.

I tried to stop two boys
who were punchin' each other

and I ran into one myself.

What's the idea to put that?

Let me fix up that eye.
Let's see how you...

Oh, wait a minute,
if you put that on

I won't be able to see at all.

That doesn't matter.
I'll be here.


Oh, I guess
I don't have to see you.

There were lots of times
when I couldn't.

But you know, Carol..

...I always had
a kind of a feeling

you was around in some ways.

You know what I mean?

Yes, Frankie.

Gee, this is cold.

Where'd you learn these things?

It's nothing.

I was gonna take you out tonight
and have some fun.

Here we are, just you and me
in a sliced potato.

But it's swell.

- Good evening.
- Good evening.

Did the boys pay the bill?

- I paid the bill.
- What do you mean?

They got me into a poker game.

- Did you lose?
- One week's rent.

That's fine.

Next time.

Don't worry, I'll give you
a chance to get it back.

- Goodnight.
- 'Goodnight.'

[dramatic music]



Come on, driver, step on it.
Get going. Hurry up.

Hurry, let's get there!

- You all set?
- Yeah.

I'd like a piece
of that lemon cream pie.

- Why?
- Just in case we lose.

Well, that's fair enough.

Let's go.

[tires screeching]


[people screaming]



What's happening?
What's happening?

What's happening?

What's happening?

Good news?

- Not bad.
- An offer?

- Kind of an offer.
- How many weeks?

No, it's an invitation
to a class reunion.

What's that?

Oh, a fellow in my little hometown

who made a lot of money
wants to get

all his old classmates together.

Says he'll pay all the expenses.

Oh, I know, it's one of those
things where everybody

gets together and lies to
each other about their success.

I wonder if he sent
one to Frankie.

- Frankie?
- Yeah.

The boy I was with last night.

What's his last name?
Frankie who?

Rogers. Frankie Rogers.

What does he look like?

Looks very nice.
At least I think so.

You saw him.

Well, does he look
anything like that?

[dramatic music]

That's what I did
and that's what happened.

I didn't kill the guy
and that's the truth.

And that's just what
they won't believe.

- But I'll tell 'em.
- You won't tell 'em anything.

I don't want you to.

I don't want you
to come to see me no more.

But why?

Because you can't help me

and you can hurt yourself.

Can't you see that?

Did you send a reunion
invitation to Frankie Rogers?

I've tried everything
I can think of, Mr. Smith

but I haven't been able
to find the address for him.

Yeah, you can find it now, alright

it's the Cleveland County Jail.

From the looks of this

it'll soon be
the Ohio State Penitentiary.

Take a look at that.

I knew that boy, Tim,
I went to school with him.

'He's sure in trouble now.'

Look, Tim, I've got $50.

Do you want me to pay you
what I owe you

or would you let me go there

and see him?

I'd like to help him if I can.

Forget about me, son.

I can wait.
You go help your friend.

See me when you get back.

Thanks, Tim.


What do you want?

- How'd you make out?
- Okay.

When does the jury get it?

This afternoon sometime maybe.

Good luck, Frankie.

Thanks, Mouse.

What do you think
is gonna happen, John?

Well, I don't know.

What are you gonna say
this afternoon?

I don't know, Carol.

Maybe I shouldn't have
taken this case.

After all, it's Frankie's life

I've got in my hands.

I've never been a trial lawyer.

What does that mean, John?

Well, out there
you know, in a way I..

...just fuss around
trying to sell insurance

and do a little work on
mortgages and leases at times.

I'm scared stiff.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury.

Until a moment ago..

...I had no idea
what I could say to you.

The defendant himself
has suggested a plan

'and it's this very fact'

which allows me to

throw him so confidently
on your mercy.

'I've known the defendant
since we were children.'

I remember, one afternoon..

...Frankie helped me take a..

...a fish hook out of my finger.

I know that nothing ever happened

to help that boy

but I've never heard him complain.

'In fact, even now
when he sits before you'

'all but condemned, not by you'

'but by the forces which
inevitably brought him here'

he has no complaint to make.

It's not of himself

but of me that he's thinking.

He asks me to bring
glory on myself.

Not mercy for himself.

'I tell you there's much to be
honored in such a man.'

'If we could take that which'

'is so fine in him'

and build on it..

...we could well be proud.

Well, what are we
to achieve with destruction?

Would that make the world
a better place then?

'Why can't we begin
here and now the very process'

which would eliminate
these cruel moments from life?

Why can't we give him aid

rather than unfeeling censor?

Don't you see the, the defendant
himself has shown us the way?

John, you were swell.

Your Honor, Mr. Foreman

and ladies and gentlemen
of the jury.

In all of my experiences

as an attorney and as a prosecutor

I've never seen
a more straightforward case.

Let me sum it up for you
once more.

Three known criminals

went into a respectable
place of business

armed, prepared to commit murder

and with the intention of robbery.

'The proprietor '

'a law-abiding citizen
of this community'

attempted to save his property.

And he was mercilessly killed.

The defendant, Frankie Rogers

out of a state penitentiary,
but a short time

fired the shot in cold blood.

'I needn't call Rogers a fiend'

'or a foul blot on humanity'

'or use any other dramatic term'

'the truth is obvious.'

But Rogers is prepared

to commit murder again

and you are in duty bound
to prevent this

and that's why the state demands

the jury turn a verdict of guilty

and also demands..

...a death penalty.

[male #5]
'We, the jury'

'find the defendant..'

What are you talking about?

You had two strikes on you
before you started.

You were swell!

Gee, I never had anybody

say things like that
about me before.

Where'd you learn all them things?

Wasn't he swell, Carol?

Well, it wouldn't have been so bad

if there was
a recommendation for mercy

but... there wasn't any.

What does that mean, John?

Oh, why don't you two stop?

Why, gee, you'd think
this was a funeral.

I'm sorry, Frankie.

I just did the best I could.

Bye, John.

Bye, Carol.

What are we gonna do now, John?

I don't know, Carol.

I'd thought that
on my way back to Illinois

I might stop by
St. Mary's for that..

...that reunion,
but...not now.


Do you think if we
went back to the reunion

we might get Charley Smith
to help Frankie?

Always the artist, eh, Wallace,
admiring the pictures?

Well, I never went in much
for that art stuff myself.

Mrs. Smith selected all these.

Charles is clever.

Don't you think it was smart
of him to bring you all here?

No, I think it was
a very nice sentiment.

Thank you.

Of course, it is for publicity.

Bob, have you seen any
of your old friends?

Walked around this afternoon.

Saw Harry Truman.
Hardly knew him.

And I saw Tom.


He didn't look
any too good, either.

And I stopped at
the new pool room downtown

and there wasn't a soul
in the place that I knew.

I don't know.

Coming back to a little town
is not so good, I guess

after a long time.

Well, you just seem to see
the years sit down on 'em.

That's right, Bob.

The years sit down.

Ms. Williams.

[instrumental music]

Oh, I'm so sorry I'm late.

I thought I'd find you all here.

This party's a bust.

Yeah, Carol.
We're just talking about it.

What do you think is wrong?

We all know what's wrong.
It's Frankie.

What can we do, John, anything?

I don't think so.
They denied the appeal.

Well, do you think we could get
Charley to help him?

No. Carol and I talked to him.

I don't think he could help
anyway, it's too late.

Hey, how about some chow,
some supper, my friend?

This is your last meal, Rogers.
What do you want?

What do you mean?

A slug of booze

or anything you want.


Get me a big hucker of whiskey

and drink it yourself.


Hiya, Mouse.

Okay, Frankie.

Well, it took us
a long time to get here

but here we are.


Not far from heaven.

And we're a lot further
from heaven than you think.

[indistinct yelling]

[sirens wailing]

[whistle blowing]

[dramatic music]

- Where are you going?
- Back to my hometown.

That's where I started,
that's where I'll finish

if I make it.
Thanks, Joe.

Well, here we are, right back
where we started from.

Here's where I used to sit.

It's easy enough
for you to remember

you've got your initials
carved all over it.

That's my desk there.

And boy, did I
suffer in that seat.

Ms. Williams used to ask
the darndest questions.

But she was always sweet
about it, don't you think?

You bet, she was.

Don't say anything against her.

I was only kidding.

Where'd you sit, John?

Right over there.

No, you didn't.
Did you?

Yeah, that's where I sat, alright.

- That desk there was Carol's.
- Gee, what a memory!

Well, you're sure about that John?

Yes, I'm sure of it.

I know because I sat there

and Carol sat there and..

I guess we all know who sat here.


[dramatic music]

Well, hello, hello.
How's everybody today?

Hello, Carol,
hello, John, Wallace.

- Bob, have a good sleep?
- Fine, thanks.

Ah, that's fine.
Carol, I got something for you.

There you are.

Got one for each one of you.

Bob, Wallace and John.

Now, you are all
members of the committee.

You know, I'd have
been here sooner

but I had a little business
at the bank.

You know how those things go.

George, you needn't wait
any longer.

We can take care of ourselves.

Everything all set?
That's fine.

How does the old place look?
Not much change, eh?

Well, I want you all
to take a good look at it.

We're tearing it down next week.

'We just can't keep it
any longer.'

'Too much development,
real estate.'

Ms. Williams
hasn't shown up yet, eh?

No, Charley.
No, Ms. Williams isn't here yet.

Well, these are for her.
Well, she'd be along soon.

And I'll bet you I can tell you
the very first thing she does.

What she always used to do

Friday afternoon the first thing.

You see, I got you
stuck already.

- We sang, right?
- 'Yup, that's right.'

'You know, I think
we all have a little drink.'

What do you say we have one

while we're waiting
for Ms. Williams?

Yeah, it's just a few
refreshments I arranged.

Don't think
this is lemonade, either.

I had George put plenty
of my best stuff in this.

'Now, you see, out there
where the duck pond is now'

'we're gonna build
a swell golf course.'

Plan's all drawn up
and everything.

So the way things are turning out

there just isn't room for our
little schoolhouse anymore

but if you might say, that's life

right, Carol?

Yes, John. That's life, I guess.


- Thanks, Charley.
- Wallace?

- And John.
- Thank you, Charley.

Now, how about a little toast
befitting the occasion?

Carol, you seem very quiet.
Will you make it?

Here's to..


[intense music]

[music continues]

Thank you, Charley.

Of course, on such a happy
occasion it's very regrettable

that one of our classmates
is in trouble.

And I can understand exactly
how we all feel about him.

After all, what could we expect?
I tried to help him.

It's only been a short time

since he called on me at the bank.

I offered to help him
find him a job.

I even offered to lend him money.

You know, I might have got
killed or robbed or something.

I showed him all around the bank

told him just how
everything worked.

'I am deeply sorry, indeed'

'but this is an
occasion of gaiety.'

'It's a reunion.'

It's for fun.
It's for you.

And I want you all to enter
into the spirit of things.

Carol, you've been in the theater.

Won't you sing or dance for us
just like you used to?

I'm afraid, you'll have
to excuse me, Charley.

There's really nothing I can do.

But I would like
to ask you a question.

Sure, go right ahead.
Fire away, Carol.

Did you try to help Frankie?

Yes. Yes, I did.

Just what did you do?

Well, I think
that's beside the point.

I told you what I tried
to do for him.

After all, I think
he deserved just what he got.

'What did he do?
He-he stole.'

'He was in the reformatory,
he was in prison.'

'He was offered help
and he committed murder.'

And I don't see any point now

worrying about Frankie Rogers
any longer.



Hello, Carol.

'Ms. Williams.'

'Hiya, Charley.'

'And Bob, Kischler.'

Hello, John.
Nice seeing you all again.

Charley give you that job back,
Ms. Williams?

Why, it doesn't matter
about me, Frankie.

How did you manage to come here?

I guess you all know
I've been in a little trouble.

Them guys ain't a bad bunch.

I thought a lot about this..

...little party he was giving

that I'm gonna come down
for a little while.

'I gotta get right back.'

Can't stay very long.


How you guys all been doing?

Fine, Frankie, fine.

Great. Been doing great,


I guess I don't have to ask
how you been doing, Charley?

Yes, Frankie, yes.
Sorry you can't stay.

Before I go home, [indistinct]

come all the way from Illinois
just to help me beat a rep

but no, so.
Wasn't all John's fault.

And a small speech too.

Same speech you made here
one afternoon.

That was a long time ago.

Well, I guess there ain't
much more to say.

It was nice seeing all of you

and... I wish you all
a lot of luck.

Where are you going?

I don't know.

Thanks for coming along, Frankie.

We know you can't stay

so we won't keep you.

We know how it is.

Yes, we know how it is.

I know how it is
and you know how it is, too.

You just said that Frankie
was not a law-abiding citizen.

Did you ever think about yourself?

Did you ever think
about what caused

Frankie to get into trouble?

No, all you ever cared
about was money.

Money, position.

Your own wife told me last night
that getting us back here

was nothing but a publicity stunt.

Don't you think that's fun
bringing us all back here

'to parade yourself
in front of us?'

You know we never made a dime
and now we're all broke!

And that wouldn't be so bad,
but it's the way you look at it.

- Carol, you must...
- What did you ever do for him?

What did any of the rest of us
ever do for him?

I'll tell you
what we did, nothing!

And I'll tell you something else

I hate what you stand for
and I hate you!

No, no, no, Carol.
No, you are wrong.

You mustn't hate anybody.
That ain't right.

It ain't no good, remember?

I used to hate people, too

but that's easy,
but it ain't right.

I know the guy who used to beat me

over the head with a rubber hose

I hated him.

One day I saw him
going after a guy

who was makin' a break
that filled him full of lead.

He dropped right at my feet.

When I saw the look
in that guy's eyes

it took all the hate
out of me forever.

I went to get him
a tin cup full of water

but... he never lived
to drink it.

When I came back..

...he was dead.

Come on, Carol.
Charley's alright.

We're all alright.

I'm glad to see you all
doing so well.

I know you all done
the best you could.

Maybe I did, too.

I don't know.

I gotta go.

Come on, Carol,
tell Charley you're sorry.

If you don't, I ain't never
gonna be happy no more.

I'm sorry.

That's swell, Carol.

Ain't gonna need this.

Bye, John.

Bye, Charley. So long.

Goodbye, Ms. Williams.

I know Charley's gonna
get that job back for you.

So long, Bob, Kischler.

Bye, Carol, so long.

[indistinct yelling]

It was nice of Frankie
to come to see us, wasn't it?

Ms. Williams, we were just
saying before you came

that probably the first thing
you'd let us do...

I know, just what we all used
to do on Friday afternoon.

- Is that right, Charley?
- Yes, Ms. Williams.


[instrumental music]

[music continues]

[music continues]