Criminal Court (1946) - full transcript
A lawyer who is planning to run for District Attorney accidentally kills a gangster who owns the nightclub where the attorney's girlfriend is a singer. Although he manages to cover up his involvement in the crime, his girlfriend discovers the body and is subsequently charged with the murder.
- I am surprised at you.
You know. You are slipping, Luther.
I've suspected it for some time.
But on the last day of the trial?
Well, if I may say so you are going to
look like a richly-dressed undertaker.
If I wore that loud creation
you selected for me.
My client would need a
The knot is crooked.
- I want it crooked.
This tie, my good Luther is especially
for juror Number 3, Mr Otto Grumacher.
A solid citizen.
Married thirty years. Same wife.
Wears nightshirts and plain ties.
He is the tough man on the jury.
And in his eyes, Luther,
I am exactly like him.
And if I am exactly like him how could
I defend anyone but an innocent man?
But you don't wear nightshirts.
Nor have I been married thirty years.
And speaking of marriage
that reminds me.
- Miss Gale called.
She'd like you to give her a lift down
town on your way to the courthouse.
I can't imagine what business she has
downtown this early in the morning.
She seemed excited about something.
That she had a surprise for you.
If there is one thing I need this
morning it's a good surprise.
Hey, anybody home?
Coming right up.
Remember? Juror Number 3.
Hiya, boss. I must talk to you.
Not now, Bill. I must pick up Georgia
and be in court in half an hour.
In my many weeks as a campaign manager,
I've never had a problem child like you.
Don't get discouraged. You've been
doing a swell job without me so far.
The minute this Marsh trial
is over my time is all yours.
- Beginning tonight.
Just a minute, Steve.
Okay one thing for me, will you?
I want to send it over to the printers.
Let's not promise too much.
See you tonight.
Going my way?
- You're not the girl Luther mentioned?
The one that wanted a ride downtown.
You had better let me have
it in one piece before you burst.
I've got a new job.
But guess where?
A five and ten?
Nothing as good as that.
Just the featured singer in the
new revue at the Club Circle.
I've been rehearsing mornings.
I didn't want to tell you
until I was sure I was ..
Going to open.
What's the matter?
The Club Circle.
That is Vic Wright's place.
I know it's Vic Wright's place.
He gave me the job.
I wish you hadn't taken it, Georgia.
Vic Wright is a bad boy.
He runs a gang of bad boys in this town.
I don't want you mixed
up with men like that.
But I am not mixed up with them.
Believe it or not he
hired me for my voice.
He is paying me in American money.
That's good enough for me.
It's not that, honey. It is just that ..
You would land with Vic Wright of all
people in the Club Circle of all places.
Couldn't you pick a more dignified spot?
Look who is talking.
Steven Barnes. Famous for turning
the courtroom into a 3-ring circus.
Do I try to run your career?
Did I tell you it was undignified to win
cases with bathing beauties in bathtubs?
One-armed knife throwers?
Do I object to the
character of your clients?
No. You don't, beautiful.
And you win.
Take the job and try it for a while.
And all the luck in the world.
Well, just be careful.
Don't get into any trouble.
Don't worry. I won't.
Good morning, Charlie.
- It's about time.
Not very late, am I?
- You're late enough.
Okay, let's have it.
"I couldn't sleep a wink."
"Because we had that .. silly fight."
"I thought my heart would break."
"The whole night through."
"I knew that you would be sorry."
"And I am sorry too."
"I didn't have my favorite dream."
"The one in which .."
"I hold you tight."
"I had to call you up."
"To see if everything
was still alright."
"I had to call you up."
"Because I couldn't sleep a wink."
I've heard worse.
I'll do better than that, honey.
I've seldom heard better.
- Thanks, Mr Wright.
If you are that good tonight you've got
a date to talk with me about a contract.
In my office after the show.
See you later.
What's the matter?
- It's that guy Brown.
That guy can't even remember
what day of the week it is.
See? The boss likes
me even if you don't.
Yeah? How can you tell?
You heard him. I've got a date with
him after the show. To talk business.
Well, you had better wait until
after you have had that little ..
Did you say, 'business talk'?
Before you make up your mind
whether he likes you or not.
If you don't get this straight I'll put
you in court and say you killed Rossi.
But, boss. I can't do that.
I didn't even see Rossi for six
months before he was bumped off.
I ain't never seen this guy
Marsh they tagged for it.
Then pay more attention to what
we are trying to teach you.
Rossi got what he deserved.
But the D.A. won't drop this case
until he gets a conviction.
This is our chance to pin it on
Al Marsh and get him out of the way.
Run him through it again.
- Go on.
It all happened like this.
I was standing about six or
seven steps away from Mr Rossi.
When I see this guy pull a rod.
Oh yeah. A revolver.
I see this guy pull a revolver.
He starts blasting.
Well. It all happened like this.
I was standing about six
or seven steps away.
When I see this guy pull a revolver.
And starts shooting.
My friend, Rossi.
Got two bullets in the stomach.
And then another one in the
back as he turned when he fell.
Is that better, boss?
Yeah. That's okay.
Just see you don't forget it.
Now this is the most important part.
The D.A. will say:
'Can you identify the man
you saw shoot Rossi'?
And I say: 'Yeah, I can'.
Then the D.A, will say:
'Is he here in this courtroom'?
What do you say?
I say: 'Yeah, he is'.
Alright. Go ahead. Identify him.
That is the guy. He done it.
No, you dope.
That's the district attorney.
This is Marsh.
Oh yeah. Now I remember.
I got to memorise his eyebrows.
And besides that.
You can't just point him out.
You've got to go over, put your
hand on his shoulder and say:
'This is the man'.
Now remember .. this is the guy.
Go ahead. Do it.
This is the man I saw fire the shots.
Order in the court.
Your witness, Mr Barnes.
If the court please I would like to
defer cross-examination of the witness.
And ask for a recess of half an hour.
- I object, Your Honor.
I see no reason for delaying
the progress of this trial.
Because defense counsel came into court
unprepared for an eyewitness testimony.
In our opinion, the witness
Brown is not an eyewitness.
The defendant has never
seen this man before.
And I'm of the opinion he's never
seen the defendant before.
May ask the court?
I see no reason for denying
the request of the defense.
Court will recess for thirty minutes.
Thank you, Your Honor.
- Morning, Mr Barnes.
Here are the papers you asked
for and the morning mail.
Let Gil take care of them.
Court is recessing for half an hour.
The boss looks worried.
Plenty of reason too.
Somebody just threw him a curve.
The court is reconvened.
Remain seated and come to order.
Clark J. Brown. Please come forward.
You may want to refer to these.
- They won't do me any good now.
I'll pick them up.
- Do it then.
Don't just sit there and say you will.
Hey. What gives with Barnes?
The iron man is cracking up.
Looks to me like he left his
famous bag of tricks at home.
Barnes without his tricks is
like Samson without his hair.
So you are Clark J. Brown?
Yeah, yeah. Clark J. Brown.
- Who are you working for?
Well, what do you mean?
- You know what I mean.
Who hired you to lie a man's
life away by saying ..
I object, Your Honor.
If counsel wishes to impeach the
state's witness let him do so properly.
I object to his making accusations
without first establishing foundations.
The state is right.
Mr Barnes you will kindly ..
Alright, alright. I am sorry.
You know that perjury is a crime
punishable by imprisonment?
If you don't know what perjury
means, it means lying under oath.
I am sure you know what
Hey, can he talk to me like this?
- Don't yell until you're hurt.
Don't you yell until you're hurt either.
- Mr Barnes.
The court does not care
for the tone of your voice.
You will conduct this cross-examination
in a proper manner.
I am sorry, Your Honor.
If the district attorney refrains from
snickering behind his hand I'll proceed.
You testified you stood six or seven
steps away from the defendant Marsh ..
When he shot and killed
the deceased Rossi.
Yeah. That's right.
You stood and watched my client
draw a revolver and start shooting?
Were there other people present?
Well. Yeah, quite a few.
I am not going to ask you why
they are not here and you are.
That is something only our esteemed
district attorney would know.
I guess because they're not citizens
anxious to do their duty as you are.
So you just stood there and watched?
Yes. That's right.
You kept your eyes open?
Otherwise I couldn't have seen it.
Why, that is right.
Why didn't I think of that?
And all these other people.
They just stood there too?
With their eyes open?
Well, I guess so.
You really mean to sit there and tell me
that a man with murder in his eyes ..
Pulled out a gun, waved it around and
you and everybody else just stood there?
Nobody scrambled for cover or moved
out of the way to keep from being shot?
Sure. That's the way it was.
Everybody was kinda petri ..
You are lying, aren't you? Aren't you?
Your Honor, I must insist that
counsel for the defense ..
Stop trying to belittle and
intimidate the state's witness.
I don't intend to warn
you again, Mr Barnes.
And I don't intend to take continuous
heckling from the district attorney.
He has produced here a witness
who obviously is lying.
Who says he stood and watched one
man slay another with a revolver ..
Without blinking an eye.
What is the matter with you
Mr Barnes? Are you ill?
No, I am not ill.
Or maybe I am. I don't know.
But if I am .. it's your fault.
You're not prosecuting this case.
You're persecuting me and my client.
Gordon doesn't want a fair trial for
the state or in the interest of justice.
He wants a conviction.
A conviction. That's all he wants.
There's an election coming up and he is
ready to buy it with my client's life.
That is why he has heckled
me and browbeaten the court.
This isn't a court of justice.
It is a court of mockery.
But justice is going to be served.
I am taking the law into my own hands.
He has gone crazy.
Alright, ladies and gentlemen.
If you get up quickly I'd like to call
your attention to the witness Brown.
There is the man who doesn't
jump at the sight of a gun.
Who stands with his eyes wide
open and watches a wilful murder.
I call your attention to the reaction
of a room of people when a gun is ..
Is suddenly produced in their midst by
a man who they believe intends use it.
I knew it was a gag all the time.
You just wanted to watch it
from under the table. I know.
The guy is sensational.
Thank you, Jim.
- Okay, Mr Barnes.
Your Honor. I wish to apologise
to the court, to the jurors ..
And to my admired colleague the district
attorney for resorting to histrionics.
But I know that you will agree
that no action is too desperate ..
If it can be the means of saving
an innocent man's life.
Yeah. Marsh is acquitted.
On the first ballot.
Wait until you hear the gag Barnes made
this time. It scared the pants off them.
That's twenty straight for Barnes.
And what a liar he made out
of Gordon's star witness.
They are going to indict
Brown for perjury.
What do you want me to do about it?
- Forget it. The dope did it himself.
On second thoughts, tell him to
plead guilty. Then we'll forget it.
I hand it to that guy Barnes. I don't
like him but I got to hand it to him.
But he is not against me.
Well, don't be too glad too soon.
You or Frankie. Either one.
What now? What you got there?
Barnes campaign manager got hold
of some very interesting pictures.
He's running them tonight.
They were made by
a special investigator.
And he plans to use them to
get himself elected D.A.
You think my boys are in them?
Your brother Frankie
here plays the lead.
You are crazy.
Nobody took any pictures of me.
Here. Take a look at these.
That's Wilson of the vice squad.
That is Wilson formerly
of the vice squad.
He was suspended this morning.
Is this the guy you've been paying off?
- Sure, Vic. I paid him plenty of times.
If anyone was taking pictures
I didn't know about it.
Didn't you have the sense
to get inside someplace?
Did you have to stand right
out in the open like that?
Does Marquette know of this?
The tip to check it came from Marquette.
He don't know anything of the pictures.
Or that they're running them tonight.
Get me a line.
About those pictures, boss.
West tells me Barnes will run
them tonight for a few friends.
And they're loaded
with shots of our boys.
Now you listen to me.
It's your job to see he doesn't show
those pictures. Tonight or any night.
And don't delegate that responsibility
to any of your blundering stooges.
No. I cannot tell you how.
Nor will I accept any excuses.
If those pictures are shown I
cannot help you. Understand that.
Get me Steve Barnes on the phone.
Gee. I am sorry, Vic.
Do you think I'm in a jam?
- Yes. I think you are in a jam.
If they run those pictures
tonight I'm out of business.
How are you, old boy?
I just called to compliment you on your
fine effort in court this afternoon.
Coming from you that
is a real compliment.
Get this on the extension.
Just a moment, Vic.
Tell him to wait. I'm going to
be busy for a few minutes.
What else is on your mind?
I think you will make
a great district attorney.
And I want you know that you
can count on me for my support.
You are welcome.
Only I don't just say it with words.
I thought of something more substantial.
Say, fifty thousand.
Say, that is a pretty
The campaign fund could stand it.
What's the catch?
I understand you're running
some pictures tonight.
I want you to forget about them.
Don't run them.
It's no particular difference
to me you understand, but ..
There is a couple of shots in there that
would be embarrassing to my kid brother.
I'll be they will be
embarrassing to Frankie.
Sorry. I can't oblige you, Vic.
I wish I could invite you to the party.
But you know how it is.
Just some old friends. School chums.
A few boys from the police department.
I'll let you know how
good an actor Frankie is.
What are you going to do now, Vic?
Something I should have
done a long time ago.
This is going to be a floor show this
town remembers for a long, long time.
Maybe you should have
invited the district attorney.
Confidentially, a couple of his
boys are among you guests.
I'm not supposed to know it of course.
Wait until they report back to him.
You think it will upset him? After all,
he's had one pretty bad licking today.
After these pictures?
All the king's horses
and all the king's men ..
Won't be able to put
Humpty Gordon in office again.
Telephone, Mr Barnes.
- Thank you.
Excuse me. I'm trying to get
Georgia to wish her luck.
She's opening at the
Club Circle tonight.
What do you want?
I am sorry. I cannot make it.
Don't say you've got in trouble again.
You are the one that's in trouble.
You had better get over
here and find out.
You know I don't bluff, Steve.
You get over here in ..
Twenty minutes. Or I give the newspapers
a story so hot it gets you disbarred.
And don't run those movies.
Not until you talk to me.
Listen. If I came over there
it would be just to ..
Is he coming?
He had better.
"This is a lovely way."
"To spend an evening."
"And think of anything."
"I would rather do."
"This is a lovely way."
"To spend an evening."
"And think of anyone."
"As lovely as you."
"A casual stroll through a garden."
"A kiss by a lazy lagoon."
"Catch your breath .. of moonlight."
"Humming our favorite tune."
"This is a lovely way."
"To spend an evening."
"I want to save all my nights."
"And spend them .."
You got a visitor in your office.
Well, it's about time you
showed up around here.
What do you think I pay you for? To sit
over there with cotton in your ears?
I invested a lot of money in
you just to get information.
And now it turns out that I get less
information than anybody else in town.
Suppose you tell me what you are sore
about before you jump all over me.
Alright. I'll tell you.
Barnes has had private dicks
taking pictures of my boys.
And did you give me a tip? Not a word.
I didn't know a thing about the pictures
until you called this afternoon.
Barnes had me take down
Well. See that your notes on that get
lost, if it's not asking too much.
How did he set up those pictures
without you knowing of them?
I don't know.
Brannegan, his campaign manager
was handling it, I guess.
All I know is the pictures were
never mentioned around the office.
I've got to get hold of those negatives.
I don't suppose I can depend on
you to find out where they are?
Well, I'll try.
But I think it's too late to
stop them running them tonight.
You leave that to me.
Now please pay particular
attention to this next scene.
It is a shot we're especially proud of.
It took 3 weeks preparation to get our
unsuspecting subjects to pose for us.
That driver who seems to be lost on the
back street in the industrial district.
Isn't just another motorist.
If you look closely you'll
see that he is Frankie.
Vic Wright's little brother.
A stranger approaches.
That is Wilson.
Formerly of the vice squad.
Now, watch this.
Nothing subtle about Frankie.
Or Wilson either for that matter.
Frankie isn't just asking
him to mail a letter.
Wait until brother Vic sees you
taking a little cut for yourself.
Of course, some of the boys are a
little more careful than Frankie.
Here is a pay-off to Roberts
on 3rd Street a few days later.
That is alright pal. Keep them.
What is a book of matches
Ah .. but these are a very
special kind of match.
There's only four film
labs in this town.
The negative must be in one of them.
- What do you want me to do?
First thing in the morning
you call them all.
Say you're his secretary and
you want to order more prints.
You locate them. We'll do the rest.
You'd better get going. Your boss
is on his way over here I think.
I don't want you running into him.
I'll call you.
[ Door knocks ]
I thought you were going to
be dumb and not show up.
You know me better than that, Vic.
Your slightest wish, and so forth.
Did you run those pictures yet?
After you told me not to?
You are smart.
Now suppose you tell me what you
have got that will get me disbarred.
What I have got could send
you up for ten years.
I never knew there was anything
like that in my background.
Of course, there was the little
blond when I was in college.
Oh. And the redhead.
I'll bet it was the redhead.
I am not kidding, Barnes.
Maybe you don't remember bribing a
juror named Novak in the Burton case.
Or maybe you do?
You know I've never bribed a juror in my
life or ever been accused of it either.
So before I flatten that nose yours
you had better get to the point.
The last line is especially interesting.
This is a nice piece of forgery, Vic.
It looks like some of Tommy Mack's work.
There isn't a handwriting expert in the
world that could call that a forgery.
Do you think this juror Novak is
going to admit he signed this thing?
Well, unfortunately poor Novak died
about six weeks ago of pneumonia.
Right after he signed that confession.
Now, have I come to the point?
But you weren't so bright in
letting me get my hands on this.
There's plenty more
where that came from.
I might have known.
You don't even pretend to be subtle.
You don't care how you
frame a guy, do you.
Not if I need him enough.
Or if I don't need him at all.
You just sit tight, Barnes.
You have nothing to worry about.
As a matter of fact I
always kinda liked you.
I even gave your girlfriend
Georgia Gale a job.
Didn't she tell you?
She told me.
Now, I am going to tell you
why I came here tonight.
Those pictures of you and Frankie and
your boys are being run this minute.
And they're going to put the whole
crowd of you right where you belong.
And one thing more.
Each time I see your face in front of me
I'm going to give it the same treatment.
So, keep out of my way.
Just a minute, Barnes.
We haven't finished our business yet.
If you put it that way ..
Well, I have no choice.
- That is better.
You are just the girl I was looking for.
I have got big news for you.
I am taking you out for
a bite between shows.
You are lucky.
Most of the help has to eat here.
Wouldn't you know it? A break like that
comes to me just when I was tied up.
Excuse me, won't you?
I am on my way to see your big brother.
Look, if you get tired of Vic
chasing your round the office.
Let me know and I'll take over.
I'm younger and I can run faster.
All I want to do here Frankie is sing.
Anyone who chases me will be
awfully sorry if he catches me.
What's the matter?
You shot him.
I shot him?
He is dead.
Why, you ..
- This is Frankie.
You had better get up here quick.
Vic is dead. He has been shot.
Hiya, Miss Gale.
Going home kinda early, huh?
I thought there was another show.
There is, but I am not feeling well.
I think I need a little air. I am not
going home. Just drive around.
Gee, I'm sorry to hear you're not well.
- It's nothing. Please hurry.
We'd never have found
this hideout of Wright's ..
If it hadn't been for those
two boys, Martin and Adams.
Army deserters and two of
Wright's junior muscle men.
The same day this picture was taken
there was an item in the paper ..
About them being overseas
with the army of occupation.
A neat trick if you can do it.
Give me a match, will you.
Right now, the government
boys are talking to them.
They're sure great pictures, Mr Barnes.
It's about time somebody
got the Wright bunch.
Now, this next shot is the last
and provides a fitting climax.
I call your attention to the
gentleman on the park bench.
It's Joe West, Vic Wright's head fixer.
And that, in case you
don't recognise him.
Is councilman Hankinson.
He is famous for two things.
And always carrying that
umbrella rain or shine.
There's an old superstition that it is
bad luck to open an umbrella indoors.
But open or closed, that umbrella
spells plenty of bad luck for its owner.
Great stuff, Steve.
- Thank you.
That was a real service to the city.
- I hope so.
Just the kind of district
attorney we need.
Thanks a lot.
- You're sure to be elected too.
Okay, Stan. Set them up for the boys.
Give me a double bourbon and water.
Boy, I'll bet Vic Wright's ears
are burning right now.
Yes, I'll bet they are.
Bill, I have a heavy day ahead of me
tomorrow. I think I'll run along now.
What? Run along?
You can't do that.
These boys want you to stick around for
a while and have some drinks with them.
After all, it is your party.
Okay. I will stick around for a while.
Did you get one, Luther?
The Star has an extra out.
You didn't eat your supper.
Where is the paper?
Don't worry, Miss Georgia.
Mr Barnes will be here soon.
He will know what to do.
I wish he would come.
Is there anything else I can
do for you, Miss Georgia?
No. You go to bed.
Goodnight, Miss Georgia.
What's the matter, darling?
What are you doing here?
It is awful. I am so sorry.
Vic Wright? Oh yes. I heard about it.
I should have listened to you.
I had no business taking
a job you told me not to.
There is no reason for
you to be so upset.
Wright is dead and you
worked for him. That is all.
It really doesn't affect you in any way.
Come on now. We'll have a nightcap
and I will drive you home.
Then you don't know.
What do you mean, about you?
The police want me for killing him.
I didn't do it, Steve.
I had nothing to do with it.
The police want you for killing Wright?
But they are crazy.
I found the body and ..
Frankie surprised me.
I was so stupid, Steve.
I know I shouldn't have, but ..
It looked like a frame-up but I could
only think of getting here to you.
That was the right idea, darling.
But this is the first place the police
will look for you. Knowing about us.
What should I do?
We go downtown and I'll surrender you
before they get a chance to pick you up.
That will take the edge
off you running away.
Come on, honey.
You're not in as much trouble
as you think you are.
[ Buzzer ]
You stay here. I will see who it is.
Steve. Sorry to bother you but it
won't keep. Have you heard?
Vic Wright was killed.
They're looking for Georgia.
Yes. I heard. Georgia is here.
- She is?
You boys lost no time, did you.
Hello, Mr Barnes.
This is my friend Officer Doyle
of the homicide bureau.
You are the very man
I wanted to see, Doyle.
I was just on my way
to surrender my client.
We figured we'd find her here.
I'm sorry, Miss Gale. We'll have to
take you downtown and book you.
We'll all go.
Call the inspector.
Say we're bringing her in.
He'll want to get the D.A over.
I should go along too, Steve.
I wish you would, Bill.
You might be able to help.
- Good evening.
Mr Marquette, this is Joan Mason.
She is the girl Vic had under ..
- Yes, I know.
Sit down please, Miss Mason.
What went on up there?
Well, Vic sent for me
about the pictures.
As I left by the back way, Mr Barnes
come in the office by the other door.
Well, the little panel on the
door wasn't shut tight so I ..
Frankie told me all that over the phone.
What happened after Barnes got there?
After Vic threatened to have
Steve - Mr Barnes - disbarred.
Mr Barnes hit him and knocked him down.
And then he started to leave the office.
Vic crawled over to a place.
A kind-of panel in the wall.
And got a gun.
When Mr Barnes saw the gun he hit Vic
and knocked the gun out of his hand.
It went off when it hit the desk.
I saw Vic sort-of fold up and
I knew he had been shot.
I couldn't think of anything except
getting out of there. So I ran.
And then I got in touch with Frankie.
Don't you see Mr Marquette
where it puts Barnes?
If Joan here tells what she saw ..
He'll go to the Pen for at least a year
and he's dead as far as ever being D.A.
We got him where we want him.
I don't want to the cause of
anybody going to the penitentiary.
Anyhow, it looked more
like an accident to me.
I didn't mind working for your brother.
Keeping him posted.
But I never expected to get
mixed up in anything like this.
Too late to cry over it. You are.
You let me do the talking.
Both of you.
Frankie is right, Miss Mason.
You are involved.
There is no use you wasting
your time regretting it.
Besides, I think I have a better idea.
Than sending Barnes to the penitentiary.
But it all depends upon you
keeping your mouth shut.
For the time being you go on working for
Barnes as though nothing had happened.
And let me impress upon you once again.
Do not talk about this.
Come in, Miss Gale. Steve. Brannegan.
This is Inspector Carson.
How do you do. Please sit down.
Mr Brannegan is Mr Barnes manager in
his campaign for district attorney.
Do you have any objection if he sits in?
- Not at all.
Sorry to see you mixed up
in this thing, Miss Gale.
She is not mixed up in it, Gordon.
Well, I hope you are right.
But perhaps I have been misinformed.
I see she was found stood over Wright's
body with the murder weapon in her hand.
We grant that.
We admit also that she
very foolishly ran away ..
When Frankie accused
her of killing his brother.
Yes. That was very foolish
if she didn't do it.
So foolish that I now have no recourse
but to hold her on a murder complaint.
You'll have to be booked I am afraid.
Perhaps we can postpone the questioning
until tomorrow if you are tired.
It won't be necessary
to book her at all.
I don't want to be dramatic
about it, gentlemen.
But I happen to know
Miss Gale is innocent.
I killed Vic Wright.
It was partly self-defense
and partly accidental.
But I was the only one who
had anything to do with it.
Miss Gale didn't know I was
in the Club Circle at that time.
Look, Barnes. Save that monkey
business for the courtroom.
It's late. We are all sleepy.
This isn't monkey business.
This is something you've got to believe.
I went to Wright's office and
had an argument with him.
He tried to keep me from
running some motion pictures.
I know about the pictures.
- Alright then.
In his office, Vic calmly told
me he was going to frame me.
And get me disbarred if I
showed those pictures.
I slugged him.
Then he pulled a gun on
me and I hit him again.
The gun flew out of his hand and
went off when it hit the desk.
Well, why didn't you call
the police immediately?
I should have, but ..
I had no sense of guilt.
Wright brought it on himself.
And quite frankly, I did consider
my election campaign.
I wanted time to think.
What a gag.
I cannot imagine why you are
not saving it for the trial.
You client didn't commit the murder
because you did it yourself.
Only in self-defense.
Will you quit trying
to top yourself, Steve?
This is no gag, Gordon. I am telling
you the absolute truth so help me.
Don't make me laugh.
I don't try to make you laugh.
I'm desperately serious.
You can't charge this girl with
something she had nothing to do with.
That's why I said you need not worry.
I knew you couldn't have done it.
No. I didn't do it.
But, you don't believe I did it either.
How about you, Bill?
Do you believe I am telling the truth?
I don't know what to say. Steve.
- Say what you think.
Gee, Steve. You were at the party.
You saw the pictures.
I was there.
I didn't watch you every second but ..
I don't see how ..
- I'll tell you how.
After the pictures started I slipped
out without saying anything.
I didn't want to disturb the show.
Yet I felt I should see what
Vic Wright was up to.
I got back before the pictures
were over and nobody missed me.
I might never have told you all this if
Georgia hadn't walked into that office.
That is going to be your
defense of Miss Gale in court?
She's not going to court.
What's the matter with you, Gordon?
I confess to the crime you charge her
with yet you want to take her to court.
I don't accept your confession.
The phoniest business I ever heard of.
Believe me, Steve.
It's not up to your standard.
A couple of my men were at your party.
Anything is fair in love and politics.
They would have reported to me
had you left that showing.
No. If you killed Vic Wright.
A lot of people must
have seen you leaving.
Or driving across town or
entering the Club Circle.
You produce a couple of witnesses
and we'll talk about this again.
In the meantime I trust you're going to
represent your client at the inquest?
All I can do is tell you.
I guess if I were in your position
I wouldn't believe it either.
This is the first time I ever bungled a
case before I was even called in on it.
How does the defendant plead?
How did you get in here?
Someone left a screen open?
No. Somebody let me in.
A janitor or someone. I don't know.
I wanted to talk to you
when nobody was around.
You are here.
Let's have it. What's on your mind?
I've been thinking about
this case you are handing.
This trial that is coming up.
Thinking what about it?
You know, Steve.
It looks like a pretty tough rap
against Miss Gale, doesn't it?
You know, from what I hear ..
You are not going to win this time.
You can get to the point a
lot faster than that, Joe.
I also heard the story you told the D.A.
Which the D.A. didn't believe.
I heard that too.
I know some people who think
you were telling the truth.
What makes them think that?
Couldn't there have been an eyewitness
to the business between you and Vic?
There could have been.
How do you know?
- Never mind. I know.
And you can take my word for it.
This individual's story
checks with yours.
West, I must have that witness.
That's okay. The witness is all yours.
What's the proposition?
Those friends of mine.
The ones that asked me to contact you.
Want all those prints and negatives
of those pictures your shot.
They also want you to forget
to run for district attorney.
No deal, Joe.
You had better think it over.
It isn't so much to trade
for your girlfriend's life.
It's no deal because I'm going to drag
you down to the D.A.'s office ..
And let you repeat what you just said.
It wouldn't do any good, Mr Barnes.
I wouldn't repeat it.
You think not?
And don't make a hasty
decision, Mr Barnes.
I'll contact you in a day or two.
By the way, I forgot to tell you.
I am allergic to these home recordings.
Like I said.
Don't make a hasty decision.
- What's the matter, Steve?
Sorry to call you at this time of night.
- I wasn't asleep anyway.
I have got news that won't keep.
I am going to have you out
of here in two or three days.
It appears there was an eyewitness to
Wright's death and he doesn't name you.
Steve, that is wonderful.
Where did you find him?
I didn't exactly find him.
Joe West dug him up.
Why did he do that for you?
- Why not?
He's one of Vic Wright's men.
Didn't you know?
Sure. But I guess ..
West and Frankie and
the rest of that crowd ..
Are as interested in clearing
up the case as anyone else.
Steve. I am so relieved.
I guess I worried a little
more than I told you.
Now you can get back to your
campaign and really work.
Would it upset you very much if ..
Called off the campaign?
Call it off?
I am doing alright with
my private practice.
Twenty straight acquittals isn't bad
you know. I want to stick with it.
I don't know why I let them talk me into
running for D.A. in the first place.
Joe West, huh?
Do they want you to give
them the pictures too?
Yes. That was part of the deal.
You didn't agree to a thing
like that. You couldn't.
Georgia, we don't have much choice.
No-one believes my story of
Wright's death. Including you.
And with all the
circumstantial evidence ..
Gordon's case against you is ..
I am innocent. We both know it.
A lot of innocent people have
seen the inside of penitentiaries.
I can't take that chance with you.
You can't bargain with crooks either.
Why, you can't even be sure
they have an eyewitness.
I won't have it that way.
Jail isn't exactly the Savoy Ritz.
But I am going to stay in it until you
get me out of here legitimately.
You never let me down, do you.
Well, what did he say?
- He said no dice.
That doesn't mean a thing.
- You don't know Barnes.
I know any guy when he's in
the squeeze Barnes is in.
He'll change his mind.
I don't see what it gets us anyhow.
What's the use of getting the pictures
if fifty guys already saw them?
That means nothing in court.
The pictures themselves must
be produced as evidence.
Yeah? And suppose the Mason
dame decides to open her mouth?
Well, she may open her mouth.
But she'll never get any words out.
You know what I mean.
Bumping her off won't do any good.
You wouldn't have your eyewitness.
Neither would Barnes.
If he loses this case he doesn't stand
any chance of getting the D.A.'s seat.
I've got a pretty smart boss, Frankie.
He's got us in a spot
where we can't lose.
No, sir. We just can't lose.
Morning, Mr Barnes.
Good morning, Mr Barnes.
Joan, would you come in a minute please?
I've always had the feeling you believed
my story about the Vic Wright business.
I saw no reason to doubt
your word, Mr Barnes.
Come now. You can be
more positive than that.
You see. I have just learned that ..
One person besides myself
knows I killed Wright.
It's an eyewitness in fact.
I don't know what to say.
So here is what I want you to do.
Get hold of Mr Lambert.
Tell him to put the best investigator
he can get onto West's trail.
I want to know the names
of everyone he talks to.
And what about, if possible.
West knows how that witness is.
And I have got to know. And fast.
There is no time to lose.
- Yes, Mr Barnes.
What's the matter? Do you feel ill?
No, sir. I feel fine.
The state will prove ..
Beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt ..
That the defendant.
Georgia Gale did wilfully and
with malice aforethought.
Shoot and kill Victor Wright.
I caution you as fair-minded citizens
not to let the district attorney ..
Plant in your minds a conviction
of the defendant's guilt ..
Before you hear the evidence.
I asked her why she was leaving early.
Reminding her there is another show.
And she says: 'I don't feel very well'.
So I say, will you like
me to take you home?
And she says: 'No. Just drive around
for a while. And please hurry'.
On the way back to the station I asked
her why she ran off if she didn't do it.
She said she didn't know why.
After that, she wouldn't
talk anymore about it.
She said: 'See. The boss
likes me even if you don't'.
Then I said: 'How can you tell'?
She said because she had a date with
him after the show to talk business.
When I ran into the room she was
standing there with a gun in her hand.
Did she say anything?
I said, what's with the gun?
She still didn't say anything.
Do you remember saying anything
more to the defendant?
Yeah. I remember yelling ..
'You shot him'.
And what did the defendant say?
She said: 'I shot him'.
You testified a moment ago that
Miss Gale said 'I shot him'.
Isn't it a fact that what
she really said was ..
'I shot him? No'.
Who can say a question mark?
She said: 'I shot him'. Period.
Hey, what's happened to Barnes?
He used to get applause.
Now he's getting belly laughs.
That gal is a goner.
Yes. But if she is convicted ..
And it comes out that I was an
eyewitness where does it leave me?
It leaves you better off than opening
your mouth right now. I tell you that.
When Mr Marquette says
don't talk he means it.
When are you going to see Barnes again?
At lunch. I'm taking some papers to him.
Alright. I will tell him.
So West called again, huh?
Yes. He said he expected
to hear from you.
But it would have to be soon.
Let him to keep on expecting.
I don't think he really
has an eyewitness.
I've had him tailed
every minute for days.
He hasn't spoken to anyone who hasn't an
alibi or wasn't checked by the police.
Are you going to bring it up in court?
About your fight with Vic Wright
and how he was killed.
And the missing witness.
Do you think the jury is
going to believe that?
Would you believe it if you weren't
prejudiced in favor of your boss?
If I were on the jury I could believe
you beat the daylights out of him ..
Because he was trying
to stop your pictures.
But I would find it hard to believe
that you would be foolish enough ..
To turn your back on him.
And let him get a gun out
of a panel in the wall.
Yes, yes. Well, maybe.
I think there's nothing here
that you can't answer for me.
Bring them over to court for me to sign.
- Yes, Mr Barnes.
Go ahead, Miss Gale.
Tell the jury in your own words what
happened when you went into the room.
I looked around for Mr Wright and ..
When I didn't see him
I started to leave.
Then I kicked the gun with my foot
and just instinctively picked it up.
Just as you'd have picked
up any other object?
An ashtray or anything else that
might have fallen to the floor.
You picked it up, accounting for your
fingerprints on it. But did not fire it.
I did not fire it.
Just what was the relationship
between you and Mr Wright?
I worked for him. That's all.
There was no personal
feeling between you?
No romantic interest? Just ..
Singer and employer?
- That's right.
So why did you want him out the way?
I didn't want him out the way.
- You shot him just the same.
I didn't. I had no reason to shoot him.
Remember walking into
his office with Frankie?
Yes. Of course.
- Isn't it a fact you said to Frankie:
'I am sick and tired of
Vic Wright chasing me'.
'He'd better leave me
alone or he'll be sorry'.
No. I said something like ..
I don't want anyone chasing me
because if he catches me ..
He'll be sorry.
When he saw you facing him a moment
later with a gun in your hand ..
And read in your eyes
the intent to kill.
I guess he was sorry.
Time is running out.
If we don't spring something
Georgia is as good as convicted.
Everything I have tried runs up
against the same blank wall.
I guess nothing could save
her except that eyewitness.
I don't think there ever was one.
- Maybe not.
I should never have let you and Georgia
talk me out of making a deal with West.
I've got to do something.
It will have to be something
good to get by with this panel.
That is the toughest jury I ever saw.
That is it. Panel.
That is all.
I am sorry Your Honor, for my outburst.
I wish to recall Frankie
Wright to the stand.
Did your brother Vic always carry a gun?
He never carried a gun.
Didn't you testify that the
weapon I show you now ..
Labelled 'Exhibit B.' was
your brother's property?
Yeah. But he never carried it.
He kept it hidden
somewhere in the office.
That is all.
If the court please I would like to
ask for a recess of half an hour.
Let defense counsel state reasons for
the request before you start objecting.
I wish to produce an
eyewitness of Wright's death.
Court will recess for one hour.
I don't think.
He got up in court a minute ago and said
he was going to produce an eyewitness.
Yeah. An eyewitness.
As my secretary you are familiar
with the main facts in this case?
I don't know what I am doing here.
What have I got to do with it?
Just answer the questions, Miss Mason.
Now don't be nervous Miss Mason.
I will make this as brief as possible.
Did you have luncheon yesterday at
the Court Caf? around the corner?
- With you.
I object, Your Honor.
I don't think the court is interested in
defense counsel's luncheon engagements.
If it please the court ..
I'm establishing this luncheon and the
ensuing conversation for a purpose.
If it has a bearing on the
case then it is relevant.
Do you remember what we
discussed at lunchtime?
I am going to ask you to try and
remember more than just generally.
You asked me if I was going to
bring up certain facts in court.
To what did you refer?
You mean about you having told
the district attorney that ..
Miss Gale couldn't have
killed Vic Wright ..
Because you killed him yourself?
It looks like she's going to sing.
Yes. That's what I mean.
And what did I say when you asked me if
I would bring up my confession in court?
Why, I ..
I am not sure that I remember exactly.
I am afraid I must ask
you to try and remember.
You said the jury would
never believe you.
Did I ask you if you would believe me
if you were a member of the jury?
Come on, Miss Mason.
It was only yesterday.
You can remember that far back.
Yes. You asked me that.
And what was your reply?
I said that if I were on the jury ..
I would believe you would beat
the daylights out of Wright.
Because he was trying
to stop your pictures.
Go on, Miss Mason. What else?
I said ..
I guess I would find it ..
Hard to believe that ..
You would be foolish enough
to turn your back on him and ..
Let him get a gun out of
that panel in the wall.
Okay. But don't miss.
You are the missing
eyewitness of Wright's killing.
You saw it happen, didn't you?
- No, no. I wasn't even there.
I don't know anything about it.
Take him out.
Now, Joan. You can testify
without fear of being harmed.
There is nothing more to say.
I wasn't there.
I tell you I wasn't there.
Would you read the witness's
All of it?
- Just the last. About the gun.
'I said, I'd I guess I'd find it hard
to believe you were foolish enough ..'
'To turn your back on him and let him
get a gun out of the panel in the wall'.
'That's all I remember saying'.
Were those your words?
Yes. But ..
Then you were there, Joan.
You had to be.
Because Wright is dead and my back
was turned when he drew that gun.
No-one but an eyewitness could know
he took it from a panel in the wall.
You were there. Weren't you?
Yes. I was there.
I saw the whole thing.
Order in the court.
Order in the court.
The jury was out only five minutes.
Yes. She completely exonerated Steve.
But brother, she involved practically
everybody else in town.
They are out rounding up Marquette
and Frankie and the whole gang.
Steve. You are a cinch to be elected.
Treat him gently, Georgia.
We have a very valuable
piece of property there.
The next district attorney.
Why, the next governor.
And me? My ballot box runneth over
with votes for Steven Barnes.
Then why don't you runneth
along and counteth them?
Okay. I get it.
I just want to go someplace and sit.
To sit and feel free.
It is the most wonderful feeling in
the world. I have just discovered it.
Then you had better
enjoy it while you can.
I still have to see the presiding judge.
He may have something to
say about your freedom.
But I was acquitted. What could he say?
'Do you, Steven Barnes, take this very
unusual lady Georgia Gale to be your ..'
And what do you say?
Where is the judge?