Berserk (1967) - full transcript

Monica Rivers is the owner and ringmaster of a traveling circus, and she'll stop at nothing to draw bigger audiences. When a series of mysterious murders begins to occur and some of her performers die gruesomely, her profits soar. She hires high-wire walker Frank Hawkins, impressed by the handsome and muscular young man. They begin an affair which arouses her previous lover Durando's jealousy. When Durando is found dead shortly afterward, the other performers begin to take alarm, as a mysterious killer is obviously loose in their midst. Many suspect Monica herself of the killings, especially Matilda, who has set her sights on Monica's new lover. At this point, Monica's unruly, sixteen-year-old daughter Angela is expelled from school for being incorrigible, and Monica is forced to take her into the circus, allowing her to become the partner of knife-thrower Gustavo. Meanwhile, the dead bodies continue to pile up...

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Ladies and gentlemen!

And now the only act of its kind
performing without a net.

The most death defying
tight wire act,

Gaspar the Great!




Hand me tonight's receipts, Dorando.

Your hands are trembling.

Monica, how can you
sit there so calmly

and check box office receipts
after that horrible catastrophe?

How can you be so cold-blooded?

Realistic is the word.

It's a good thing I took control
when it happened.

If I depended on you, we would have
had a panic on our hands.

Yes, it's a good thing you're inhuman.

We're running a circus,
not a charm school.

And most important,
people have to be entertained.

- Yes, yes. "The show must go on."
- Always.

No matter what the cost?

Mmm. Like in a war.

Troops are expendable.

Privates and generals alike.

Are you aiming that at me?

You think you can do without me?

Not yet.

What if I insist?

I'm fed up.
All you have to do is buy me out.

I'm not ready for you to leave.

You know very well I can't afford
to buy you out.

You'll just have to wait.

I want out now.

I'm leaving.

Oh, you miserable,
gutless adding machine!

What are you trying to do?
Ruin my circus?

- And you have the nerve to want to...

Come in!

- Miss Rivers?
- Yes.

I'm Detective Sergeant Hutchins.

This is Detective Constable Bradford.

How can I help you, gentlemen?

Well, first I must tell you that
none of Gaspar's equipment

must be moved or touched until
it's been checked by our experts.

Of course.

Now just a few questions.

Who built the apparatus that was
used in the high-wire act?

Gaspar himself
had the units hand-constructed.

- Did anyone else handle it?
- Yes, our labour crew.

He always checked it
personally, though.

If you like, I can give you
the names of the helpers.

Well, we shall need more than that.

Please have all your performers
and workers assembled

at ten o'clock tomorrow morning
for routine questioning.

Yes, yes, of course.

You understand this investigation
might take a few days?

And until then,
nobody is to leave the circus.


Good night.

- Good night.


Well, Dorando, you heard the law.

Nobody leaves.

That'll keep you from deserting me
while I still need you.

You always win, don't you, Monica?

If you had a brain in your head,
you'd see that you win, too.

What do you mean?

Well, so far we've had a bad season.

And now with the accident,
the splash publicity,

it's going to be great
for the box office.

People have a
morbid curiosity about death.

Especially a violent one.

That's why I'm sure that we'll
be jam-packed tomorrow night,

with people hoping they'll see
a repeat performance of death.

It really excites you.

I haven't seen you in such high spirits
since we started the tour.

Poor Dorando.

Why are you always so depressed?

What can I do to cheer you up?

You know what?
I just may let you tuck me in tonight.

But first, there are a few things
you have to attend to.

I want you to get
photographs of Gaspar

and send them to all the newspapers.
It'll dress up the story.

Then I want you to wire all the agents
in London, Paris and Berlin.

Get a top act to replace him.

But that will take me
most of the night.

So what's the difference?
I'm a light sleeper.

I've got a great equestrian act
for you, Miss Rivers: The Gorraras.

The last time they performed,

two of their horses dropped dead
in the ring of old age.

What about the Fabulous Glen?

He's still the best
trick cyclist in the business.

When he's sober, which isn't often.

Look, don't waste my time
with these broken down has-beens.

Some of them are as old as
my elephants and twice as wrinkled.

I want something fresh.
A new face with an exciting act.

I'd like to talk to you, Miss Rivers.

- What about?
- My act.

- Frank Hawkins is the name.
- I never heard of you.

Well, I'm new in this
part of the world.

But I overheard you tell them

that you wanted something
fresh and exciting.

- And you, of course, fill the bill?
- I certainly do.

Don't you have an agent?

I do better handling myself.

You see, Bruno,
we have a double daredevil.

Agent and artist all rolled into one.

After you've seen my act,
you'll agree with me.

I must say you certainly are
the shy type. What do you do?

- High wire act.
- That's a bit of luck.

You know, of course, what happened
to our last one, Gaspar the Great.

I caught his act last night.
Saw him hanging around.

Leave the comedy to Bruno
and the rest of the clowns.

I haven't time for your grisly jokes.

Just give me the details of your act.

- High-wire. Sixty feet up over a...
- I know, over a safety net.

No, not quite.

Why don't you see
the act for yourself?

One performance.
You can make up your mind.

And if I like it? How much?

I'll leave the money up to you.

See my act tonight, and if
I'm not worth top money,

well, this place is loaded with exits.

On those terms, you got a deal.

Mr Hawkins!

You're a bit jumpy,
aren't you, Mr Hawkins?

I don't like being touched.
Especially by a stranger.

Well, we won't be strangers for long.
My name is Harrison Liston.

I specialise in the representation
of circus acts and novelties.

I don't care what you do.

We haven't met,
but I know you, Mr Hawkins.

- What the hell do you want?
- I want to help you.

I listened to you
selling yourself just now.

Wonderful, quite wonderful.
Up to a point.

And then you kill your case by leaving
the money up to Monica Rivers.

I handle my own affairs. Now, why
don't you mind your own business?

You need me in other ways.

After all, you're a
foreigner in this country.

I can, er... smooth over
some bothersome details for you.

Look, I don't want anything from you,

so why don't you leave me alone?

As I said, I can smooth over
some bothersome details

Like, er...
getting you a labour permit.

After all, you wouldn't want
the authorities to know

about what happened in Canada,
would you, Mr Hawkins?

It might make getting that
labour permit a bit difficult.


All right. All right!

Don't ever come near me again.



And now, it is my special privilege

to give you that daredevil
of the high wire,

The Magnificent Hawkins!

Ladies and gentlemen,

you are about to see
the only act of its kind

in the entire world.

The Magnificent Hawkins
performs without a net

sixty feet above the steel bayonets

and wearing a blindfold.

He defies death with every step.

I now call your attention to the arena
directly under the wire.

Ladies and gentlemen,

in his walk of death,

The Magnificent Hawkins!


Here's your contract.

Thank you, Mr Dorando.

You'll find everything in
that agreement to your satisfaction.

You should, with that salary.

It's the biggest bite any performer
has ever taken out of this circus.

You're older than I am, Mr Dorando,

but I'm sure you'll agree in this world
you only get what you deserve.

No more, no less.

You can keep your little
gems of wisdom to yourself.

What about my private caravan?

- Miss Rivers promised me that I...
- I don't care what Miss Rivers promised.

On business deals,
my decision is final.

Besides, we don't happen
to have an extra caravan.

Unless of course you'd like me
to give up mine.

No, thanks.
It's not nearly comfortable enough.

Thank you for letting me keep it.

Next season, if you're still with us,
and continue to draw,

we'll think about your private caravan.

Maybe I won't have to wait that long.

That's, er, Hawkins.
I-N-S. Frank Hawkins.

Looks pretty good, doesn't it?

Don't get carried away, son.

I've painted many names
on these caravans,

and I've painted many out.

And I've yet to come across a name
that could outlive the paint.

And now, ladies and gentlemen,

we give you
the world's greatest elephant act.





MONICA: And now, Jody,
the wonder elephant,

weighing over five tons,

will walk over six girls
lying on the floor of the arena.



Sure beats eating in the canteen.

We ought to do it more often.

I'm crazy about you, Monica.

- I'm fond of you, Frank.
- No more?

Why should there be more?

You're still a stranger to me.

Actually, I know very little about you.

well, you don't talk about your past.

That's because I'm only
interested in the future.

Our future.

Ha-ha. Not so fast, Frank.

I like you, but I don't want
this to mushroom.

Why not?
What are you scared of?

Long ago...

One day I'll give you all the chapters.

Long ago, I lost the capacity to love.

Let's enjoy what we have.

It makes this crazy circus life
more bearable.

You sure know how to put out a fire.

If you want me to
spell it out for you, I will.

To me, what we have is no more
important than a greeting card.

Sometimes maybe not as friendly.

I'll make you change your mind.

- You'll try, and you'll fail.
- Why?

- Too many obstacles.
- Like Dorando?

He's just my business partner.

Well, I hate the old lecher!

The way he drools over you.
The way he watches me all the time.

- He stinks of jealousy.
- Stop it!

That's just what I mean.

You get all worked up
and spoil everything.

Now look, Frank.

What I do with my life is
strictly my own affair.

I'll remember that.

And now...

I need my sleep.

Good night, Monica.



Miss Rivers! Miss Rivers!

Just a minute.


Miss Rivers, please come quick.
Something terrible has happened.

It's Mr Dorando.


Listen everybody, I know how
terribly shocked we all are.

There's no point in you
staying up any longer.

Please go back to sleep.


"Go to sleep"!

That's her remedy for everything,
as if we were children.

If you listen to me,
we do not go to sleep.

Not yet.


It is clear to me
there is a killer loose,

and none of us is safe
until the murderer is caught.

I'm really frightened.

After what I just saw, I'm so scared
I can hear me bones rattle.

Even I admit it.

For the first time in my life,
my nerves bother me.

I am stronger than two horses,

you all know that when I
bend an iron bar with my teeth,

it is for real.

But even I cannot fight
what I cannot see.


That is why we must find out
who is behind these killings.

These killings?

You don't think Gaspar
was an accident, do you?

Only a fool would swallow that.

Who are you?
The Chief of Police?

Well, how do you know
what's what?

That's right! I say we do
what Miss Rivers told us.

Go to bed.
Leave police work to the police.

And entertaining to us.

You! You wouldn't stick
your neck out to save your mother.

Oh, why don't you shut up?

Look at her. She can't wait
to get back to the caravan

and her bottle of booze.

Who do you think you are?

Why don't you two go and fight
in your own caravan?

Well, I'm not afraid to
come right out and say it.

We all know that Miss Rivers
has lost no sleep over these murders.

With my own ears I heard her say
that murder is good for business.

Doesn't that tell you
who's behind them?

I ask you, when did we ever
play to such capacity crowds?

The circus has never done
such good business.

I tell you, she's behind
the whole thing.

Matilda, you're crazy!
You're a hothead. A lunatic!

That's what I say.

We all know it can't be Miss Rivers.

You speak for yourself.
We all know you're her slave.

Give the others a chance to talk.

You! You advertise yourself as
a clairvoyant. You tell fortunes.

Who do you say is responsible?

About murder?
Leave me out. I know nothing.

All you're interested in
is having your palm crossed.

- Why don't you speak up?
- Yes, this is most urgent.

So, tell us. What do the stars
and your tea leaves

and your crystal ball tell you?

They tell me
to mind my own business.

You're not only a fake but a coward!

You see! We have to take things
into our own hands

and stop these killings before
we're all murdered one by one.

And I say once again,
it's the boss!


You hear the lions?
They smell blood.

They're very sensitive.

Last night, they were restless.

Ahh! Before you get carried away,
let me ask some questions.

- You, Emil.
- What about me?

I refresh your memory.

Last year in West Berlin, you told me
that Dorando promised you a raise.

So what?

But he never gave it to you.
So you held a grudge against him.

I wouldn't kill over money!

- No?
- I wouldn't!

You always walk alone at night.

Yeah, that's right.
I myself have seen you.

Then it could be you.

What are you doing walking alone
in the middle of the night?

Me, I walk for fresh air.

Fresh air? Who believes that?

You told me you hated Dorando.

And you once told me you hated Gaspar
because he made fun of your whiskers.

Maybe you did it.

You fool! How could I ever
get away with murder?

I'm the easiest one in
the whole circus to identify.

You see my beard
before you see me.

But you! I heard you tell Gaspar
to keep away from your wife.

That's true.
I warned him to stay away.

Look, I may be all bones,
but I can still use a gun.

Anyway, she still left me.
She couldn't take the bruises.


Hold it! Hold it, everyone!

We'll never get anywhere
fighting among ourselves.

Take my word for it.
It's the boss!

MONICA: You're right.
You'll never get anywhere, period.

You slut! You miserable ingrate!

When I picked you and your lover
Lazlo up, you were starving.

I advanced you money for your act,
gave you billing.

And how do you repay me?
By stirring up trouble behind my back!

- You can't frighten us. I still say...
- Cut your tongue out first.

I can still get
a dozen acts like yours.

And you! If it weren't for me,
you'd all starve to death.

- We're frightened.
- We're nervous.

I know what you are.

Look, let me do the worrying.

Now get back to your caravans.

We're sold out for tomorrow's matinee,
and I want a great show.


I'll give you
the benefit of the doubt.

Let's say that
you just got carried away.

But that loud-mouthed Matilda,

you'd better control her,
shut her up,

or I'll cancel your act
and toss you both out of here.

Ah! You sent for me, Commissioner?

Brooks, I hate to mar the picture,

but you'll have to remove
that boutonnière.

- You know how allergic I am to pollen.
- Oh, I'm very sorry, sir.

Tell me, Superintendent,
when you were a little boy,

did you ever want to
run away and join a circus?

No, sir. Not at all.

No, I had a very happy life,
with love on both sides,

plus a liberal allowance
and two doting aunts.

Well, spare me the details,
because you've just joined a circus.

I have?
May I ask in what capacity?

Well, certainly not as a performer.
I want you to go to Liverpool.

- The Rivers Circus?
- Exactly.

And I'm glad to see you read something
besides the society page.

Well, I guess I'm
like most people, sir.

Reading about murder
gives me a thrill.

Yes, well your job is to stop it.

It's a little bit late
for that, isn't it?

At least for Mr Dorando,
with a spike through his head.

I saw some pretty gruesome
pictures downstairs.

Sir, I understood, that, er...
you were bringing your suspects here.

What suspects? The murderer
didn't leave a single clue.

Anyway, Brooks, you hunt
a wild animal in its native habitat.

You don't bring a tiger
up from the jungles of Asia

- to shoot it in Hyde Park.
- I quite agree, sir.

Did the local police
come up with anything?

Nothing. From the report, the killer
must have worn skin-tight gloves,

and the ground around
had been trampled on

by too many people
to get any footprints.

This circus is rather
accident-prone, isn't it?

I recall there was
another gruesome death.

That's item two on the agenda.

Three weeks ago in Leeds,
their star performer,

a high wire virtuoso
called Gaspar the Great,

was hung to death by his own wire
when it broke beneath his feet.

Was that an accident?

Well, the death of the second man
makes it look like murder, doesn't it?

I'll be ready to leave
in an hour, sir.

Before you go, Superintendent,
just a piece of fatherly advice.

- Always ready to receive that, sir.
- That suit you have on,

it looks new and expensive.

- Savile Row?
- Of course.

And hand-made shoes.
Dressing smartly is a fetish of yours.

- Well, sir, I don't drink, or gamble.
- I know, your only passion,

apart from your work,
is your wardrobe.

- Yes, sir. Your advice?
- Just this:

Leave your expensive feathers
in their moth-proof containers.

You'll find this circus
a rather untidy place.

Brooks, concentrate on the job.
I know you're the man for it.

That's why I'm letting you
handle it alone.

There's one more city on their itinerary
before they arrive here in London.

Stay with them.

Very nice!

You've got knuckles on your hands.

Use 'em next time
you enter my caravan.

Sorry, but as you can see,
my hands are full.

Why don't you make yourself at home?

Thanks. I thought you might like
a little company,

so I brought round a bottle.

I don't drink.

In that case, you can watch me.

- Do you make a habit of this?
- Drinking?

Coming to men's caravans
at twelve o'clock at night.

Only if I like them.

I'm flattered, but you could
have waited for an invitation.

Well, I realise you're
the elusive type, Frank.

Women have to chase you,
so here I am.

And now that you've caught me?

Isn't this a little dangerous?

Doesn't it worry you
that Lazlo might find out?

At this moment,
Lazlo is snoring away in bed.

That's all he ever does do in bed.

As much as I would like to, honey,

I'm afraid I have to
show you the door,

and bid you good night.

What's the matter, Frank?
Don't you like me?

I find you very attractive.

It's just that you're peddling
your merchandise at the wrong booth.

You wouldn't say that
to Monica Rivers.

What the hell does
she have to do with you?

No need to be so rough, Frank.

I was just trying to be friendly.

Well, I hope your timing in your act
is better than it is here.

My timing is very good.

You knock me out, Matilda.
You really do.

I get it. You're not worried about
Lazlo finding out, are you?

What do you mean?

It's Monica you're afraid of.

You've got to be kidding.
Why should Monica worry me?

I know all about you and her.

- Who cares?
- I do, for your sake.

Well, that's nice of you.

She's dangerous, Frank.
Very dangerous.

You may think you'll last forever,
but you're wrong.

- Just remember Dorando.
- What are you getting at?

He thought he was
the only one in her life, too,

and when she had no more use
for him, she got rid of him.

You'd better watch your mouth, Matilda.
It could get you into trouble.

I don't care. I'm not afraid
of Monica, and she knows it.

I say she killed Dorando,
and one day I'm going to prove it.

- You're crazy!
- Am I? Just you remember what I said.

And the next time she
puts her arms around you,

make sure those loving hands
aren't carrying a knife.

You loud-mouthed broad.
Get out of here!


Matilda, darling, you must be
more careful of leaving like that.

You'll damage your brain.

You cow!
I'll teach you to laugh at me.

- Oh! Oh!
- Oh, you...





You cow!

And you!
You'll get yours, too!

All you do is make trouble.

Wait till I get you to the caravan.

RADIO: And now we play the new
record from the Kenny Glen Group.

Quite a party.
Did you enjoy it?

What are you talking about, Monica?
Don't get any wrong ideas.

Wrong ideas?

Just because you've been
entertaining a woman in your caravan

in the middle of the night,
dressed like that?

Now use your head. You don't think
I invited her in here, do you?

- Yes!
- Well, you're wrong.

Matilda came in here unasked
and uninvited, and I threw her out.

After two hours!

Right away. That's what
the ruckus was all about.

- Why?
- Why what?

Well, you're certainly no saint,

and, er... she's attractive,
in a common sort of way.

Why did you throw her out?

She started shooting her mouth off.

About me?

She's crazy.

She thinks you murdered Dorando.

And you?
What do you think?

You can trust me, Monica.



- BRUNO: It's supposed to be lucky.
- I hope you're right.

All the same, I shall watch
where I walk in future.

This your first time at a circus?

Backstage, so to speak, yes it is.

Thought so.
You don't look like a circus man.

And a circus man would never
have trodden in elephant's...

Yes, quite, quite.
I'll try not to do it again.

Are you looking for something?

Yes, I am, as a matter of fact.
Perhaps you can help me.

- I want Miss Monica Rivers.
- What for?

- I beg your pardon?
- You're not another reporter, are you?

No, no, I'm not a reporter.

We've been told to chase them
off the lot if we see any.

- I'll take you to Miss Rivers.
- Thank you.

Surprised, eh?

Can't tell the difference
when I'm behind that door.

Do it all the time.
Come on.


What's your name?
Well, I have to introduce you, don't I?

Can't just shove you through the door.

No, of course you can't.
I'm Detective Superintendent Brooks.

- You're a detective?
- Uh-huh.

But we've had detectives here.
I thought they'd finished.

I'm from Scotland Yard.

- MONICA: Come in.

Miss Rivers, there's a man to see you.
Detective Superintendent Brooks.

Well, show him in, Bruno.

He's from Scotland Yard!

- Good morning, Miss Rivers.
- Good morning.

- Bruno?
- Yes?

- Who's that?
- You'd like to know, wouldn't you?

- That's why I asked you.
- Well, I'm not going to tell you.

It's confidential.

Don't give me that.

You don't know who he is.
You're just a messenger boy.

Me, a messenger boy?

I don't know, don't I!

Well, I do, see?

He's a detective
from Scotland Yard, see!

A Detective Superintendent.

Sorry, Bruno,
you did know, didn't you?

But is all this
questioning necessary?

I've told the local police
everything I know.

And they've called in Scotland Yard,
Miss Rivers.

You'll agree there is still some areas
that can stand clearing up.

Like who the murderer is,
for instance.

Yes, yes, of course.

Well, anything I can tell you.

How long was Albert Dorando
an associate of yours?

- Seven years.
- In what capacity?

- Business manager.
- Just business manager?

What do you mean?

Well, it sometimes happens that

when two people work together
for seven years,

something more than a
business friendship develops.

Well, naturally, as you say,
we did become good friends.

Intimate friends?

If what you are trying to find out is
whether or not I slept with Dorando,

the answer is no.

BROOKS: I'm sorry I had to
press the point, Miss Rivers.

You'll understand that we cannot
rule out a sex motive for the murder.

Did Mr Dorando have any
financial interest in the circus?

None whatsoever.

I own the circus,
lock, stock and barrel.

It's belonged to my family
for fifty years.

Has it always been successful?

No, no.

No, no, there's nothing
certain in show business.

We've eaten caviar,
and we've eaten sawdust.

But I understand that since the death
of Gaspar, business has been brisk.

That's right.

So it would be correct to say,
Miss Rivers,

that the circus,
and therefore yourself,

have gained financially
from Gaspar's death.

What are you insinuating?

I'm not insinuating anything.

I'm simply trying
to establish a few facts.

Now, is it true or not?

Now, can you think of anybody...

Why don't you come inside?

I'm sure you'll find it warmer,
and much more comfortable.

Superintendent Brooks,
may I introduce Frank Hawkins?

Ah, yes, of course! You took over
the Great Gaspar's spot,

didn't you, Mr Hawkins?
How opportune,

as what I was about to
ask Miss Rivers was:

"could you think of anyone

"who benefited from
either of the two deaths?"

You don't pull any punches,
do you, Superintendent?

Well, for your information,

I wasn't even with the circus
when Gaspar was killed.

- Where were you, then?
- On a train.

- BROOKS: On a train.
- FRANK: Travelling up to Leeds

to see Miss Rivers,
to ask about a job.

That's rather strange, isn't it?
You came to see about a job

in a circus that already
had a high wire act.

Could anybody prove
you were on that train?

Then there's no proof that you
didn't travel up the day before?

Why should I lie?

Whoever interfered with
Gaspar's apparatus, Mr Hawkins,

knew all about the rig.

Knew just what to do,
and how to do it,

and he could climb up to the heights
of the tent to carry out his work.

Well, it wasn't me.
Anyone could have climbed up there.

That's right.

Every man, woman and child
in this circus

has been trained to climb
ropes and ladders.

When the Big Top is raised,
everybody helps.

I see.

Now if you've finished
with your questions

and decided not to
arrest me yet, I'll go.

I have a matinee to get ready for.

There is one more question,
Mr Hawkins.

On the night that Dorando
was killed, where were you?

In my caravan. Asleep.

I suppose there are no witnesses to that, either?

I was alone.

Where were you, Miss Rivers?

I... I was here.

I knew nothing about it until Bruno
pounded on the door and woke me up.

All right, Mr Hawkins,
that's all for now.

Don't plan any long trips away
from the circus, for the time being.

Will you want me any more?
I, too, have a matinee.

That's all, thank you, Miss Rivers.
For the moment.

Will you be here long?

Until I find the murderer,

and that brings me
to my final request.

Have you anywhere I could stay?
Here on the circus grounds?

Oh, no, there's very little
available space.

There is one place.
Dorando's caravan.

Do you have the keys?

Thank you, Miss Rivers.






And now, ladies and gentlemen,

presenting Phyllis Allen,
and her intelligent poodles.















- You're late.
- I'm sorry. Can I see you later?

- Too busy.
- I have to see you.

Look, I have
a million things to do.

Payroll has to be made up,
bills to be paid. Sorry, no time.

Then you've got to make time.
I've got to see you.

Smile. You're on!


Bruno, will you
come in now, please?

- MATILDA: What did you tell him?
- My lips are sealed.

"My lips are sealed"!
You stupid bag of bones!

Well, I'll tell you one thing:
mine aren't.

Tell me, Bruno, after you heard
the screams and the commotion,

what did you do?

I ran as fast as I could
and woke up Miss Rivers.

She was asleep, then?

Oh, yes. I mean, I think so,
'cause I knocked five or six times.

Where were you
when you heard the screams?

On the way back to my caravan
from the canteen.

I always have a late snack.

Did you see or hear anything
of a suspicious nature

- before you heard the screams?
- No, sir.

Bruno, you must circulate
a good deal round here.

Can you think of any reason

why anyone would
want to murder Dorando?

No. No.
He really was a very nice manager.

I could always get a little advance
from him when I was short.


- I mean, when I was short of money.
- Yes, of course.

Now you called Dorando the manager.

Wasn't he also one of the owners?

No, don't think so.

Well, thank you very much, Bruno.
That's all for now.

Now, don't forget,
if you see or hear anything

that might help solve this crime,

- you'll let me know, huh?
- Oh, yes, Superintendent.

Will you come in now please,
er... madam?


And what did you tell him?
Or are your lips sealed, too?

When you deal with the law,
you should be careful and dignified,

both of which you will find
beyond your capabilities.

I told you I was busy.

I don't have time for eavesdroppers.

I'll say one thing for you, Monica,

you sure put on a clever
performance for that detective.

I put on a performance?
What about you?

You told him you were on a train
the night of Gaspar's death.

That's right. I was.

Well, then, why did you tell me
the first time we met

that you saw Gaspar killed?

I was only kidding.

Don't you remember, you told me
not to make any grisly jokes?

But what about you?

Didn't you tell me that
Dorando was your partner?

Yet I overheard you tell the Superintendent

you owned the circus,
lock, stock and barrel.

What the hell has that
got to do with you?

With you, a man never
knows where he stands.

First you give,
and then you hold back.

I know you like to
let men dangle.

Well, that might have worked with
Dorando, but it doesn't with me!

You've got Dorando on the brain.

He was my manager,
and nothing more.

- Oh, I know he was...
- You know nothing!

Monica, you're playing
a dangerous game.

Every lie is a trap.

When Dorando was killed,
I heard you say you were asleep.

Well, I was in bed.

Who should know that
better than you?

Well, after you eased me out,

that must have been your shadow
I saw run into Dorando's caravan.

You're crazy!

Don't deny it. I saw you.


Frank, what do you really want?

I want a share in your circus.

Let's say whatever Dorando owned,
I want.

Well, at last it's out in the open.

I want us to be partners, Monica.
Real partners.

- So you want a share in my circus, huh?
- That's right.

All right, Frank, you've got it.

- Come in!

- Angela!
- Hello.

Miss Burrows?

Regrettably, Miss Rivers, I've had
to bring back your daughter

and deliver her right to your door.

Oh, please don't be angry.
I can explain.

Excuse me, darling.
Mr Hawkins, as you can see,

an unexpected visit from my daughter
and the head of her school.

Of course. We can settle
our business any time.

And now, Miss Burrows,
what exactly happened?

- Please Mother, listen to me first.
- Be quiet.

You've always had a knack
for causing trouble.

Yes, Miss Rivers. You've just
summed it up: trouble.

Angela resists
all discipline and supervision,

and this is something
we simply cannot tolerate.

As you know, the
Fenmore School for Young Ladies

stands for character building,
education and good breeding.

Our reputation goes back
seventy-five years.

I'm well aware of your school
and its reputation, Miss Burrows.

That's why I enrolled Angela.
Now, what exactly did she do?

Broke all the rules.
Refused to study.

No obedience whatsoever.

I myself have caught her
smoking cigarettes,

imitating her teachers
in a most unflattering manner.

Besides smoking cigarettes
and a few harmless pranks,

what else did she do?

She upset the morale
of other students.

- Quite, quite distressing.
- What do you mean?

On one occasion, she stuffed
pillows into her bed,

rumpled up the blankets so that it
looked as if she were asleep.

And where was she?

Later, she was found in a closet,
giggling away.

It was only a joke.

You had the whole school
in an uproar looking for you.

If you had these problems with Angela,
why didn't you contact me sooner?

Miss Rivers, you're rather difficult
to pin down.

Your circus is constantly on the move.

What is the position now?

Your daughter has been expelled
by the disciplinary board of the school.

I'm sorry, Miss Rivers.

We tried, but we failed.

Angela is now your responsibility.

I hope you have better luck.
Good afternoon.

Good day.


Angela, what am I
to do with you?

Just let me stay here.

I simply couldn't stand being away
from you and the circus.

I wanted you to have
a fine education,

meet people outside
the world of the circus,

make other friendships.

It didn't work.
I just don't belong with that group.

Coming from the circus,
I'm different from other girls.

They made me feel like an outcast.
Nobody really wanted to be my friend.

You're just as good as they are.

I was different.

And on holidays when the other
girls' parents came to visit them,

- where were you?
- I'm sorry, Angela.

- I did try to get away, but I...
- I know. You were too busy.

I was lonely and miserable.

I just wanted to die.

I had no-one.

I know.

Please don't make me
go away again.

Let me stay here with you.
With the circus. It's where I belong.

After all, it's in my blood
like it's in yours.

Oh, darling, you certainly
picked a bad time.

You read, of course,

about all the terrible things
that have been happening here.

I know. It's awful.

I had nightmares thinking
something might happen to you.

Can I stay?

All right, we'll try it for a while.

I'll find somewhere
for you to sleep and then,

tomorrow, we'll look for
something for you to do.

And I mean work.

Hard work.

Thank you.

You'll see, I'll work hard.

- And a tomato, please.
- Certainly.

It's Angela!

Bruno! Mmm. Hello.
Romy! Mmm.

How nice to see you.
How well your beard looks.

It's a new shampoo I use.
Very successful.

- When did you get back, Angela?
- Today.

- And how long are you staying?
- Oh, for ever, I hope.

- But what about your schooling?
- I've left school.

- Angela, darling.
- Oh, hello Matilda.

Did I hear you say you'd left school?

Yes. Mother's giving me
a job in the circus.

What a shame you had to return
at a time like this,

when we have a homicidal killer
amongst us.

Matilda, darling,
it's time we went.

Good night, Angela.
Try not to worry too much.

After all, you have no cause
to be afraid.

What did she mean by that?

Don't pay any attention
to what Matilda has to say.

I don't, but she's always
been a troublemaker.

I don't understand
why you keep her here.

They have a good act,

but I may have to get rid of them if
Matilda keeps on causing trouble.

Coffee for me.

I'm sure you'll be all right
in the girls' quarters.

Oh, of course I will.
Good night.


I'm sorry.

Good night.

Good night, darling.


I hope I didn't frighten you,
Miss Rivers.

Why you fool,
you scared me half to death.

- I didn't mean to.
- You didn't mean to.

I was on the way back to my caravan
after seeing Miss Romy home,

- and I saw you come out of the canteen.
- So you followed me.

Flitting from shadow to shadow
like Jack the Ripper.

I didn't mean to scare you.

I wanted to talk to you
about something.

Don't be ridiculous at this
time of night. Go to sleep!


Ladies and gentlemen, I now give you
Ingemar the Fearless.






I left instructions for you

to report to me in my caravan
before you went on.

- I was resting.
- Not all of you.

Your poisonous tongue,
as usual, was very busy.

And I know that you've been talking
out of turn to the Superintendent.

He asked me if I knew anything
or saw anything,

so I came right out
and told him I suspect you.

My mother has enough on her hands
running this circus

without you causing trouble for her.

Angela, you're a very sweet child,
but really, this is none of your business.

Miss Rivers, my job makes it necessary

for me to interrogate everyone
who might be involved.

Of course, I questioned Matilda,
as I did you and many others.

I'm not complaining about that,

but I just won't have
anybody in my circus

filling you with a pack of lies.


You ready, Matilda darling?

Ladies and gentlemen,
you are about to witness

one of the most dangerous
and mystifying acts

ever performed anywhere.

Before your very eyes,
Lazlo the Nonpareil,

will saw a woman in half.


Ladies and gentlemen,

now that you've had
the pleasure of meeting me,

let me present my beautiful
and brave partner, Matilda.


Maybe she is too dumb
to be frightened.

Or maybe she trusts me completely.

Anyway, every time
she steps into this box,

she whispers in my ear,
"Lazlo, my life is in your hands."

And believe me, it is!

And now I need the assistance of
two gentlemen from the audience.

May I have some volunteers?

Thank you, gentlemen.
Er... you, sir and you, sir.

Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you.

Now may I ask you
to tell the audience truthfully,

- have I ever seen either of you before?
- No.

In other words,
you are complete strangers to me.

Yes, that's correct.

Would you be kind enough to open up
the doors on top, and in front?

Matilda, darling, would you be
reckless enough to step inside?

You will observe,
ladies and gentlemen,

that she occupies
the full length inside.

Now, in full view of the audience,

would you close
the doors of the box.

Thank you. Thank you.

Bring down the saw.


Would you examine
the teeth of the saw?




So, you see, sir, after the two men
from the audience had opened the box,

Matilda climbed inside.
The box was shut.

The rotating saw was brought on,
and applied to the centre of the box.

Now at this point Matilda should have
pressed this spring down here.

Oh, what does that do?

It operates this trap in the platform,

which allowed her to sink
her middle section so that,

although her head
and her feet were still exposed,

her body was out of the way
of the saw and free from danger.

Well, what went wrong?

The mechanism failed to work.

Two screws had been removed
from the hinges, here.

The trap wouldn't operate,
she couldn't sink her body,

and, before she could signal
to Lazlo, it was all over.

So it couldn't possibly
have been an accident.

Definitely not.

Have you questioned Lazlo?

Well, he's in a state of shock
and under heavy sedation.

The doctor would only allow me
three minutes with him.

But from what he says,
and from his record,

he's performed this trick
for eleven years without mishap.

It was his custom to inspect the box
personally before it was brought on.

- Did he do so last night?
- He swears he did.

- Do you suspect anybody?
- There's no lack of suspects, sir.

For a starter, Miss Rivers.

I heard her quarrelling
with Matilda last night

just before the wretched girl
crawled into this coffin.

They hated each other.

Enough to murder?

Your car's here to take you
to the airport, sir.

Thank you. I'll be right out.

What about this Rivers woman?

- Her husband was killed six years ago.
- Killed?

Yes, he was a trapeze artist
here in the circus.

There was an accident, and...

This circus has a
history of violent death.

I checked up with the local police
where the accident happened.

They say it was a clear case
of accidental death.

However, I don't think
Miss Rivers grieved for too long,

because soon afterwards
she cast off her widow's weeds

and took up with Dorando. Now,
she's involved with Frank Hawkins.


I don't think so.
She's a cool one.

I'm sure she can seal off her love life
if it gets in the way of her career.

Her main drive is
to run a successful circus.

There's no doubt these deaths
have given it a morbid glamour.

Recent box office returns
have been spectacular.

Fill me in on this man
you mentioned, Frank Hawkins.

He, too, is definitely worth watching.
I checked on his past.

Found out he'd killed a man
in Toronto, Canada two years ago.

- Oh?
- At the inquest the verdict was

justifiable homicide. Self defence.

Is there any evidence to connect him
with what happened last night?

- No, none at all.
- What about Lazlo?

Now that's a bit of a puzzle.

Although there was no formal marriage,
and Matilda was a bit of a flirt,

they seemed to be a happy couple.

And yet I found out that Lazlo had been
gambling away their joint earnings.

Maybe they quarrelled over that.

I've had no time to check on that yet.

Maybe one way to find out about
all of them is to close down the circus.

Er, if I may suggest... at this stage,
we'd gain nothing by doing that.

Shut the circus,
and all my suspects scatter.

This way, they all remain together,
under my eye.

All right, Brooks, I'll go along with you.
Do you need any help?

I'd rather work it alone.

Very well. It's only
a matter of two more days

before the circus opens in London.
Stay with it.


All right, driver.
See you in London.

Monica, have you decided
on my share yet?

After we open in London, I'll have
my lawyer draw up a contract.

But the way I feel at the moment,
you're only sharing trouble.

Frank, I have an urge
to get rid of the circus.

Leave it and get rid of it.

You can't do that.
And, no matter how difficult things are,

you've got to get a grip on yourself.

I can't help it.
I've got the jitters.

I'm not made of stone.

Look, all eyes are on you, Monica.

How you act affects everybody.

I always admired the cool,
sure way you ran things.

Well, it's getting to be
more than I can handle,

what with the police hounding me,
and the performers scared and griping,

and suspicious of each other.

If you crumble,

everything you've worked so hard
to achieve will fall apart.

You know, for the first time,
it isn't enough.

This circus is jinxed.

It's becoming a nightmare.

I keep wondering
and thinking "who's next?"


What's going on here?


Gustavo's taking me into his act.

I'm sorry my knife frightened you,
Miss Rivers.

Frightened? I'm furious!

Who gave you the right
to make decisions around here?

Where's Wanda, your regular partner?

She's been drinking again.
There is no stopping her.

More and more,
it is dangerous to work with her.

Without a reliable partner,
I shall have to cancel or...

Not so fast!

Then what should I do?
Angela volunteered.

I considered myself lucky.

- I wanted to surprise you.
- That you did.

I want to work.
You told me to.

Maybe that's not a bad idea.

Well, with Lazlo and Matilda out,

you certainly are going to
need Gustavo's act.

Oh, please let me do it.

You're not lying about Wanda?

Go see for yourself.
She'll barely make it today.

About the future,
I let you make the decision.

All right.

I'll check details with you later.

And I want to see this act
before we open in London.


Just one warning, darling.

The hazards of the act are nothing

compared to the dangers
built into Gustavo.

He thinks he's a throwback
to Casanova and Don Juan.

You flatter me, Miss Rivers.

But believe me, nothing is
further from my mind.

Keep it that way.

You look beautiful, Romy.

I always dress up for the big party.

I remember
how you looked last year.

You absolutely sparkled.

One thing I like
about coming to London

is the celebration
Miss Rivers gives us.

All you can eat
and all you can drink.

Yeah, we can
forget all our troubles

and concentrate on
having a good time.

Well, what are we waiting for?
Let's go.


Monica. Excuse me.

To you. Here's hoping
you banished the jinx.

I'll drink to that!

You were certainly right
not to cancel the party.

Everybody's enjoying themselves.

When people are troubled,
give them a celebration.

You know, the French Revolution
could have been avoided

if Louis XVI had done that.

Don't forget what happened
to Marie Antoinette.

But I have you to protect me.

And now, ladies and gentlemen,
a big surprise.

A number from our own group.


♪ Attend a masked ball

♪ Fall in love with your partner

♪ It might be me

♪ Bumps in the night

♪ Give you a fright

♪ And it might be me

♪ We're plain folk

♪ Ain't no joke

♪ Just look at your wife, boy

♪ It might as well be me

♪ Take a blind date

♪ Go and gamble with fate

♪ And it might be me

♪ Walk in the park

♪ Hear a voice in the dark

♪ And it might be me

♪ Take a chance

♪ Find romance

♪ In forty years' time, boy

♪ It might as well be me

♪ Beauty's a fleeting and wispy thing

♪ It fades like a moon in the sky

♪ Make up your mind

♪ Beauty's only the rind

♪ But it's bacon that you want to buy

♪ Walks up the aisle

♪ Give me a smile

♪ And it might be you

♪ Angels will sing

♪ As I slip on the ring

♪ And it might be you

♪ Keep your seat

♪ Don't retreat

♪ I want me a partner

♪ And it might as well be you

♪ I want me a partner

♪ And it might as well be...

♪ You? ♪



- Would you dance with me?
- I'd love to.

Monica, I don't want to
pressure you, darling, but...

did you talk to your lawyer?

It's all arranged.

You'll have 25% of the circus,
and 100% of me.

...and for the last part
of our vacation,

we'll visit
Copenhagen, Berlin and Madrid.

I'll help you choose the acts
for our next season.

It sounds wonderful.

They make a handsome couple.

I think she's too old for him.

Well, he doesn't think so,
and that's what matters.

Your mother will never grow old.

She has the gift of eternal youth.

I'm famished.

- Would you get us some food?
- Sure.

Angela, you're not dancing.

Aren't you enjoying yourself?

You seem to be doing it
for the whole family.

Ha. Anything wrong with that?

I heard what your plans are
with lover boy Frank.

I was hoping that we could go away
together when the season ends.

Just the two of us.

Angela, may I remind you that
you made the decision to stay here.

Yes, I wanted to stay, because
I still hoped I had a mother.

But it's funny, all my memories
of "mother" are of teachers

and other people
who brought me up.

I was shunted around
from place to place

like a piece of baggage
with the wrong address pasted on it.

But you certainly
never lacked anything.

No, except what I needed most.



May I join you?



I hope that you're aware
that we're all still jittery

and under tremendous tension.

I have an eerie feeling that the killer
will strike again any moment.

That's quite understandable,
particularly in a place like a circus

where everyone
has freedom of movement.

Two elements govern a killer:
motive and opportunity.

Here, there are all kinds
of opportunities.

What about motives?
You have to have a reason for killing.

Of course. Some are obvious, aren't they?
Like immediate gain or revenge.

Some are strange, subtle,
difficult to define.

What steps have you taken
for tomorrow night's opening?

I'll show you, Miss Rivers.

On special instructions
from Commissioner Dalby,

your opening night
will be covered like this.

We'll have Scotland Yard men

stationed all round the grounds
at strategic points.

At the animal pens,

the caravan lines,

the canteens,

all the exits and entrances.

And of course, we'll have men
mingling with the audience

and also backstage.

Believe me, Miss Rivers,
every precaution possible,

to prevent anyone or anything marring
the performance, will be taken.

But your men backstage, they won't...






You ready, Angela?

I can guarantee that.

Good luck to you.

To both of you.

Ladies and gentlemen!

It is my extreme pleasure
to introduce

the first appearance together
of Angela and Gustavo.

Two incomparable artists
with nerves of steel.












And now,
a spectacular act

that has been thrilling audiences
everywhere on our tour.

Ladies and gentlemen,
it is my special privilege

to give you that
death-defying daredevil,

the Magnificent Hawkins!







And now, ladies and gentlemen,

the Magnificent Hawkins will perform

one of the most incredible feats
ever seen in a circus arena.

He will stand on a chair
while balancing on the wires

sixty feet above the steel bayonets.





I had to kill him.

I had to kill them all.

I had to destroy your circus.

It murdered my father,
and now it's taking you away from me.

Kill! Kill! Kill!
That's all I feel inside me.

Mother, I gave you one last chance,

but now you've turned against me.

I've got to kill you!

Angela! Angela!


Get those cables out of the way.