How to Murder Your Wife (1965) - full transcript

Stanley Ford leads an idyllic bachelor life. He is a nationally syndicated cartoonist whose Bash Brannigan series provides him with a luxury townhouse and a full-time valet, Charles. When he wakes up the morning after the night before - he had attended a friend's stag party - he finds that he is married to the very beautiful woman who popped out of the cake - and who doesn't speak a word of English. Despite his initial protestations, he comes to like married life and even changes his cartoon character from a super spy to a somewhat harried husband. When after several months he decides to kill off Bash's wife in the cartoon, his wife misinterprets his intentions and disappears. Which leads the police to charge him with murder.

Greetings, gentlemen.

I assume your wives are not with you,
as the very title of our piece...

is sufficient to strike terror
in their hearts...

and cause them to remain at home
in their kitchens, where they belong!

In any case, gentlemen,
you have come here tonight to learn...

and so you shall.

We will begin by considering
the case of Mr. Stanley Ford.

Unlike you poor souls,
Mr. Ford has had the wisdom never to marry.

He is, therefore, a completely happy man.

This is Mr. Ford's town.

This is Mr. Ford's townhouse.

This is the terrace of
Mr. Ford's townhouse.

Look at us!

The last stronghold of gracious living
in a world gone mad.

By the way, my name is
Charles, Mr. Ford's man.

I flatter myself
that I'm also his confidant and friend.

Like everybody else in New York...

Mr. Ford has a tiny bit
of construction going on next door.

Actually, it's not so bad, really.

We've almost come to like
the little cries of the workmen...

and the gloppitta-gloppitta noises
which emanate from the machine.

Over there.

In any case, the interior of the house...

is soundproof, and so life goes on.

This is Mr. Ford's living room.

Notice, if you will, the complete absence
of the so-called "woman's touch."

No gay little chintzes, no big gunky lamps.

In fact, everything is
masculine and perfect.

In fact, the sort of
place you could've had.

If only you'd had the
sense not to get married.

But you say, "Poor, lonely man,
how does he spend his evenings?"

I should imagine the young lady...

having danced all night...

literally left here walking on air.

And this is the nerve center
of the entire establishment.

My quarters.

If you were fortunate enough
to have a room such as this...

your wife would undoubtedly
have taken it over...

to house her aged and
disagreeable mother.

This is Mr. Ford's martini glass.

It should be properly chilled
by 7:00 p.m. this evening.

This is Mr. Ford's shower.

Thermostatically controlled
at Mr. Ford's body temperature.


Now, it is time to reveal Mr. Ford himself.


Mr. Ford.

It's 10:30 a.m. The sun is shining.

Please, never try to speak
until you've had your shower.


Very good.

160, right on the button.
I don't know how you do it!

I do know how you do it.
Your calories are counted very carefully.

Do you realize, sir...

it's six months since an ounce of
butter's been used in this house?

- Charles, do you know what day this is?
- I do, sir. indeed I do.

At exactly 12:22,
the Fabergé Diamond will be ours!

It's been an exciting adventure,
but I'll be glad when it's over...

so we can move on to the next caper.

Wait a minute.

Hold it!


Come in, Charles.

Pardon me, sir.

Mr. Lampson did indeed telephone.

The Port Authority is livid.

The freighter people are furious
and Mr. Lampson himself is terribly upset.

Of course he is. He's a lawyer.
He's paid to be upset.

At any rate, voilà!
In one dazzling burst of brilliance...

Bash Brannigan has successfully
concluded The Case of the Fabergé Navel.

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant!

I especially care for the "splunk."

- What is to be our next caper, sir?
- I've got it practically all worked out.

It's the story of a man
who gets murdered...

while staring at the top of
the Empire State Building.

I think I'll call it The
Skyscraper Gaper Caper.

Sounds really exciting, sir.

But you'll have to shoot most of it
from a helicopter.

And it will involve closing off 5th Avenue
from 34th to 59th street.

Wouldn't it be great if
we could find a way...

to blow up one of those
glass office buildings?

Tinkle, tinkle.

What's the matter? You don't like it?

I love it, sir!

But I was thinking of Mr. Lampson.

Poor Mr. Lampson.

Stanley! Can't you stop for just a minute?

I'm speaking to you now,
not as a lawyer but as a friend.

Stan, you're a grown man,
and grown men simply can't...

repeat, can't go spreading terror in New
York at the height of noon accompanied...

- Will you stop just a minute?
- naked women!

She wasn't naked!
She had a diamond in her navel.

All right, and those demented butlers
and criminals with knives.

You cannot continue comporting yourself
in the manner of an escaped lunatic!

Bash Brannigan, Secret Agent
is syndicated in 463 newspapers.

- You know why?
- Sure, I know.

Because of hardcore pornography...

softened slightly, ever so slightly,
by excessive violence and sadism!

Bash Brannigan is enjoyed by millions
because my readers know it's authentic.

I never asked Bash to do anything
I hadn't already done myself.


I wanna remind you, lad,
that you are now 37 years old.

And, quite frankly, it's
time that you settle down.

Edna and I were discussing you last night,
and Edna feels...

frankly, I agree with her,
that there's something almost immoral...

about a man of your
age who isn't married.

Doesn't go to an office, sits around
drawing an infantile comic strip...

that appeals only to morons.

Stanley, are you listening?

I happen to mention to the kids...

that I was gonna be meeting with you
this afternoon.

We kinda have...

a little family argument that we want
you to settle. The point is that...

Hal and Tommy both think
that the microfilm...

is hidden in the diamond
in the girl's navel.

I told them that they were crazy.

In fact, I went a little bit out on a limb.

I told them that I was your lawyer
and I knew damn well...

that the microfilm wasn't hidden
in the diamond in the girl's navel.

By the way, they were
really quite impressed.

I must say, I made quite a little
character there, being your lawyer.

You know, knowing how the strip
was coming out and all.

For a moment there, they were actually...

kinda proud of their old man.

The girl doesn't have the microfilm
in the diamond in her navel, does she?

Honest to God.

You ought to pull yourself together!
You've lost all touch with reality!

You know what you really should do...

and we were discussing
this the other night...

what you should really
do is settle down.

Find some nice girl and get married!

Then you'd know what it's all about.

- Charles, you seem upset.
- Not at all, sir.

I'm sorry, sir.

I seem to be overcome by
a sense of foreboding.


A feeling of... How can I put it?
Impending disaster.

- Disaster? What are you... I'll do that.
- Thank you.

I'm sure it's nothing. it's just...

my natural reaction to the unhappy
nature of the event you are attending.

I see.

To think of it.

A bachelor dinner for poor Mr. Rawlins.

- Is he really getting married tomorrow, sir?
- I'm afraid so.

Poor old Tobey.
You know, I never thought they'd nail him.

I feel guilty about it. I
introduced them, didn't I?

You mustn't blame yourself.
He's a fully-grown man.

That's true.

- And Miss James is, after all, a lovely lady.
- Yes, that's true.

Sir, do you think she might need her
gold shoes for the wedding journey?

I think not.

Would you be good enough to extend to
Mr. Rawlins my heartiest congratulations?

Of course.

Don't wait up. You know
how these things are.

I do, sir.

I do indeed.

Good evening, Judge Blackstone.

- I'm afraid this is a mournful occasion.
- Not at all, my boy.

Been married 38 years myself.

I don't regret one day of it.

The one day of it I don't regret was...

August 2, 1936.

She was off visiting her
ailing mother at the time.

Gentlemen, your attention please.

Miss Valerie James...

- Wonderful girl, by the way.
- Hear, hear!

Thank you.

Miss Valerie James...

has decided not to marry me, after all!

She gave me back the ring!

Your Honor...

You better...

You better sit down, Your Honor.
You're absolutely smashed.

Smashed? Nonsense, my boy.

I'm as sober as a judge.

Hence the origin of the phrase.

No! Don't do it, sir!

Good morning, Charles.

Good morning, sir.

Good morning.

Lady in the bedroom.

I don't know, frankly, how to...

break this to you.

I met her last night.

She came out of a cake.

I seem to be married to her.


You're awake. Now, that's fine, good.

Look, before anything else happens...

we have to have a little talk.

A serious talk.

A very serious talk.

First of all, I would like to apologize for last night.
Obviously, a mistake has been made.

On my part. it's nothing
that can't be rectified.

It certainly can be rectified,
if we'll all just keep our heads.


begin by very calmly
discussing the facts.

Last night, at old Tobey's
bachelor dinner...

you came out of a cake.
That's quite natural.

Young ladies frequently come out of cakes
at bachelor dinners.

So far, so good.

You and I were attracted to each other.
That's also perfectly natural.

We happen to be two extremely
attractive people.

At any rate, I followed you back
to your dressing room...

and, on some insane impulse,
I asked you to marry me.

I was intoxicated, that's quite obvious.

Apparently, you accepted...

at which point, we went back to the
dining room to announce our betrothal.

Which was greeted with some enthusiasm
by my friends.

Right away, the mayor gets on the phone.

He wakes up the license clerk,
and waives the blood tests...

Before I knew it, there's
Judge Blackstone...

two guys holdin' him up,
"now pronouncing you man and wife."

Anyway, that's where things stand,
my dear, at the moment.

As I say, it's nothing
that can't be rectified, quite simply.

You'll get a handsome settlement.
I happen to be very well off.

Six weeks in Las Vegas.

All there is to it.

By God, you're Italian!

Vous ne parlez... You don't...

No speak the English?



Oh, my God. Excuse me, I'll be right back.

You get dressed.

Me go talk butler.



You can't do this!

Sorry, sir, but I do not
work for married couples.

You knew that before
you entered into this curious alliance.

Oh, now, please. Would you look at me?

Good God, sir. How did it happen?

It wasn't my fault. I swear it wasn't!
You've got to believe me!

Of course I believe you, sir.

Poor sir.

Poor Charles.

Good heavens, what is to become of us now?

I don't know.

If you can keep your head...

when all around are losing theirs,
and blaming it on you...

As a matter of fact, you're right.
We have nothing to worry about.

I've explained the situation
to the young lady.

I told her I expect her to be on an
airplane to Las Vegas this afternoon!

That's absolutely marvelous, sir.
What was the young lady's reaction?

It's a little difficult to say.
She doesn't seem to...

speak English.

Good God.

Doesn't speak English?

On the other hand, if one will go around
marrying persons who pop out of cakes...

it's bound to be
rather catch-as-catch-can, isn't it, sir?

Surely, you can realize
how ridiculous this whole thing is.

I'll call Harold Lampson,
I'll run down to see him...

and it'll all be straightened
out in five minutes.

I promise you, by 3:00 p.m.,
she'll be on a plane to Las Vegas.

- Hi, Bash.
- Hi. How are you?

- Really, sir?
- Really.

Now, look. Why don't you
just go back to your room?

Your beautiful room, where you've been
so happy with your books and music.

Unpack, Charles.
Nothing has changed, I promise you.

Dinner at the usual time?

- Dinner for one?
- Please.

There you are and you're all dressed. Good.

You wait outside while I get dressed.

You know, and then you,
me, we go talking...

lawyer, cinque minuti.

All right?

Harold. I'm in trouble.

I don't think it's
anything you can't handle.

I'm in terrible trouble.

Worse than that Harold, I'm...

- I'm married.
- Married?

That's right, I'm married.




Not now.

There's lots to do.
Gotta go to the lawyer's office. Come on.

Work out a separation agreement,
get you a lawyer in Las Vegas...

hotel reservations or
maybe a little apartment.

Good morning, Mr. Ford! Congratulations!

And buongiorno, Mrs. Ford.

Mrs. Lampson will be here
from the country club any minute.

Mr. Lampson. They're here.

I want to see the little lady
that finally nailed old Stan.

You don't mind if I kiss the bride, do you?

Congratulations, Mrs. Ford.

My God, you're right! She is Italian.

You mean that she doesn't speak...

A-N-Y E-N-G-I-I-S-H?

Not one word!

Not a word? You lucky devil!

Harold, will you please!

Now, we've got one million things to do.
Get her an airplane ticket.

- You've got to make out a new will.
- Then get her a lawyer in Las Vegas.

You've got to get your physical.

- My what?
- Your physical.

I'm gonna have a doctor come here
and check you out right here in the office.

It'll only take a moment.

What the hell are you talking about?

I am talking to you about insurance.

Insurance, Stan.

That'll be enough, thank you.
You may go now.

You're a married man now,
with responsibilities.

- What if you were to get hit by a truck?
- Not gonna get hit by a truck!

The point is this.

No matter what happens to you...

you are going to want
to know that Mrs. Ford...

Mrs. Ford.

I love the way that sounds.

Is being cared for.

All I want to know is that Mrs. Ford...

is on an airplane to
Las Vegas this afternoon!

- That's all that I want to...
- Stanley! Caro.

No, please. Will you, please?

An affectionate little thing
you've got there, lad.

Look at them! Aren't
they adorable together?

Never thought I'd live to
see the day, but Edna...

this is Stan's wife.


Doesn't speak a W-O-R-D of English.

This my wife...

but she speak mucho good Italian.
Go Berlitz. Take lessons.

Learn Italian. $300 worth.

$300 is many lira.

Shut up, Harold.
You sound like a feeble-minded Indian.

It's very simple. I want an annulment.
I do not like being married.

How do you know you don't like it
if you haven't tried it?

I tried it.

If you've tried it,
then it's too late to get an annulment.

Your wife has the cutest sense of humor.
You know what she just said?

She said she met you last night
when she came out of a cake.

That's right, she did!

Sue her for divorce!


Reason with her.

- How?
- You do sound like a feeble-minded Indian.

Ask her what she was doing
coming out of that cake.

What did she say?

What'd she say?

She said that was the
only job she could get...

because all her clothes were stolen.

- The good doctor.
- Harold.

You know Dr. Bentley here.
He's here to give you your physical.

One minute. Let me get this straight.

Who stole her... Who stole your clothes?

Miss Lapland.

What'd she say?

That her clothes were stolen by
Miss Lapland, whoever that is.

Stanley, if you'll just slip off your jacket,
start walking up and down these steps.

Forty times each way
should be enough for a man your age.

What is your age, anyway?

How old do you have to be to get a divorce?

Walk down, Stanley...

I'm not interested in his insurance.
I'm getting a divorce!

- Divorce?
- Yes!

Divorce? No. In Italia no divorce.

Will you please cut it out? Come on.
Ask her where did all this happen?


What did she say?

"Miss Galaxy contest."
I think that's what she said.

Miss Galaxy contest?

What did she say?

She said, she would've won the contest
except for one thing.

That was the talent part.

And her talent was cooking. She made a...

Lasagna soufflé.

Lasagna soufflé.
My God, I've got to go back to Berlitz.

When she bent down
to take the soufflé out of the oven...

all the men in the audience
started jumping, you know.

And yelling and screaming and...
Down went the soufflé!

Bravo! Bravissimo!

I'll have to ask you a few questions now.

I suppose you've had all
the children's diseases?

No, and I haven't been hit
by a truck yet either.

How about the measles, mumps,
chickenpox, whooping cough?


Roll up your left sleeve, please.

Why can't you get me a divorce? You can't?

Other clients get divorces
from their lawyers!

Other clients give their attorneys
grounds to work on that get the divorce.

Think about that a little bit, lad.

Ever have dizziness, fainting spells,
headaches, asthma?


- What grounds?
- Grounds like...

adultery, mental cruelty,
desertion, insanity.

How would you evaluate
your drinking habits? None at all?

Occasional social cocktail?
Heavily? To excess?

Just once.

Just one. You're gonna need one now, boy!

Melancholia? Backaches?
Liver, kidney or intestinal ailments?

Crying spells?

Poor creature. You know
what she just told me?

All she has left is what she's wearing,
a bathing suit and a raincoat.

I'm going to borrow your darling wife
for the next few hours...

and we're going to buy her everything
from lingerie to a mink coat.

I can't get a reading
under these conditions!

Isn't that darling? You know what she said?

She said she has a coat
and she doesn't wear underwear.

Come with me, I'll take care of everything.

You're a member of the club now.

A full-fledged member!

- Yes?
- Delivery.

- Is this the Ford residence?
- Yes. Who are you? What do you want?

Mrs. Ford told me to put
this stuff in the kitchen.

- Yes?
- Delivery.

Pardon me. is this the Ford residence?

Yes, but...

Mrs. Ford suggested we place these things
directly in her bedroom.

There must be some mistake.


Signora Ford.

One at a time!
What the hell is going on, Charles?

I'm sorry, sir, but I'm afraid
this new arrangement isn't going to work.

Yes, well I...

This woman is mad. Stark, raving mad.

She is not only preparing
a lasagna soufflé...

- A what?
- Lasagna soufflé.

But look at the spaghetti sauce.

Green onions browning
in at least a pound of butter.

Eggplant swimming in oil!

Smells good, though, doesn't it?

Sir, I am not given to issuing ultimata...

but it's simple, you'll have to choose.

Either she goes or I go!

I've been trying to settle it,
if you won't be so arbitrary.

It's the kid's first day.
She doesn't know the ropes yet.

Say no more. I quite understand.

In fact, I thought it might come to this.

Therefore, I took the precaution
of re-packing my bags.

Wait just a minute. Will you stop this?

Where do you think you're gonna go?
What would you do?

Actually, sir, Mr. Rawlins
phoned this afternoon.

What? Old Tobey?

Yes, sir. As he has decided not to marry,
and you have decided the reverse...

it was his feeling that perhaps
I might feel happier working for him.

And I could not agree with him more, sir!


- Charlie. That is a goodbye, no?
- What?

- Charles is a goodbye, no?
- Is a goodbye, yes! if I don't...

- Your mother is coming?
- Yes!

Oh, my God!

No cocktail. Edna teach
me say "no cocktail."


I'll get rid of her, I promise you.

You won't like working for Tobey.
He drinks!

Dames up there all the time.

He's a lumpy.

He leaves wet towels
lying all around the bathroom!



There's no sense getting hysterical
and everything. Are you all right in there?

Are you...

Look, please.

Hello! Will you please...

if there's one thing I can't stand,
it's a woman crying.

I just go all...

You want a Kleenex?

Thank you.

No, please. Look, I'm sorry.

Please. Look. I'm sorry.




Stanley. I again have forget.

The ones with the white hats...

are they the good guys or the bad guys?

White hats, good guys.
Black hats, bad guys. Okay?

Okay. Thank you very much.

What's the matter with you, boy?
You look just awful.

I'm exhausted, that's what's the matter.

I haven't had two hours
sleep in three weeks.


It isn't that at all.

Not entirely that.

The damned TV. She's got
it going all night long.

I'll bet!

She does.

Claims it helps her with her English.

Oh, brother!


I'm a delicate and highly
complex mechanism...

and I'm being over wound.

Over wound!

Poor darling!

Work, pressure. The tension mounts.

Before you know it, headache strikes.


They talk always about this on TV.

Darling, I have a three-way formula.

- What?
- How they say?

"Fast, fast, fast..."


- Good morning, Signora Ford. Ciao.
- Ciao.

Good morning.

- Hi, Mrs. Ford.
- Ciao!

Anybody home?


The breakfast is almost ready.

My darling, good morning.

Look. Please, all I want
is some dry toast and black coffee.

I weigh 182 pounds
and my clothes don't fit anymore and...

is very good.

Is good?

Stanley, look,
the light bulb is a goed out in the pantry.

I'll get an electrician to fix.

No. I have light bulbs here. Just a moment.

- Why can't we get an electrician?
- No.

Look, they got a very strong union.
I don't want to...

The other husbands change
the light bulbs every day.

Is very good for you. is
work with your hands.

It make you relax.

Okay, all right.

You can get a shock from electricity...

if you don't know what you're doing.
I don't.

When I was 22, I thought you had
to cover all the outlets...

in the room, or the
electricity would leak out.

Cover up all the...

I'll do it. I know what'll happen.
I'll screw it in...

Mamma mia!

Poor darling.

- It's funny. it's very funny!
- Very funny.

I have a good idea.

The Brannigans have the
first guests for dinner.

Everything goes wrong. it's funny, no?

I invite Edna and Harold. I go call them.

In a little while.

Well? Open it!

- Hi, everybody!
- Hi!

Hello, Stan. Hello, Mrs. Ford.

I'm sorry we're late,
but it's all Harold's fault, really.

He's dressed
an hour before we're supposed to leave.

Then he paces in front of my room
looking at his watch.

Makes me so nervous,
it's a wonder I'm dressed at all.

You're looking mighty good in there, lad.

Don't you love those pajamas?
I picked them out for her myself.

Green. Putting on a little weight, too.

Must be the home cooking.

It is necessary you speak English...

with me...


no learn!

- You're right. You're absolutely right.
- Thank you.

You've married yourself a treasure,
you lucky man.

Look at transformation!

- Is beautiful?
- I love it.

I love it.

I checked with Tiffany's and your
real present will be ready next week.

This is nothing I bought at Lord
& Taylor's, but it's so cute.

- We got one for our bar at home, too.
- Thank you.

Stanley, I love the place now, I really do.

It used to be attractive, in a way.

Well, I always thought
it was rather cold and austere.

Now, it's just marvelous, that's all.

"Danger. Men drinking." it's very droll.

I know just where it should go, too!

"Danger. Men drinking." it's cute, Stan.

It's pretty cute.
Reminds me of a fellow at the office.

He has one of them up there that reads:

- "Think or..."
- "Or swim."

How'd you know?

I'm getting to be an expert
on prefabricated American humor.

Live dangerously.

Yeah, that's the way it goes.

It's wonderful to see Stanley so happy.

I can't tell you how grateful I am
that somebody finally nailed him.


When one of them
is running around loose, nobody's safe.

Even old Harold used to come home...

have three drinks
and start talking about his freedom.


They're like children, you know?

But I think...

they are...

very sweet.

- Sweet?
- I like very much.

Of course they are,
but you see with us it's different.

A woman is never really
free until she is married.

Now she's free to enjoy the good
things in life, she can spend money.

You know, money.

Have little affairs and
still be taken care of.

That's why men have to be controlled.

Right, right!

For the good of the home,
the casa. Understand?

Actually, it's just a matter
of keeping them off balance, you know?

Look, I'll show you something.

The door is closed?

They can't hear us,
and we can't hear them, right?

Okay, watch.


That's right. Yes, dear?

I heard that!

Heard what, dear?

You know very well what!

No, I don't, but if you wanted...

Look, let's not discuss
it in front of strangers.

But you were...

We'll talk about it when we get home.

You see? They're always guilty as hell
about something.


Very good!

So he says, "Sam, you can't..."

"...but I, Sam, I can do it."

"Sam, you got, you know..."

That's the funny part of it.


Bring the soup, please.

But you must have help because...

I know a marvelous woman.
She's Dutch and expensive!

- Good.
- She's expensive but...

You had another drink
when we were in the kitchen.

I can tell by that funny look in your eye.

What's the point of her cooking all day
if you're too drunk to enjoy it?

She's right.

Harold, this is your place.

Over there?

He... He... He...

Hey, Bash! Very funny! What a boob!

My wife loved it!

Hi, this is Mr. Ford. Would you put Harold,
Mr. Lampson, on the phone, please?


You do?

You think it's cute?

And it's so typical?

You just loved it when I,
when he, spilled the...

Look, could I remind you of something?

You're a secretary, and
a very inefficient one!

Not only that, you're a woman!

As such, your opinions mean nothing to me!

Now put Mr. Lampson on the phone!

Harold, it's Stan.

There's gonna be some changes around here.

I want a full-scale meeting this morning.

You, me, the guys from the syndicate,
the accountants and everybody.


What? No, not here. I hate here!

I hate your office! At the club!

You hear me? At the club!


- Hello?
- Hi, dear.

Listen, I'm sorry to wake you,
but I think this is an emergency.


I just called Harold's office,
and they told me he's in a meeting...

with Stanley at the club.

I still not see. What
is wrong with the club?

You can't keep track of them
when they're in the club.

That's what's wrong with it.
You can't even be sure they're there!

Of course he is there.
I will call him on the telephone.

Oh, sure, go ahead.
Call him, I'll tell you what you'll get.

You'll get, "I'm very sorry..."

"...but Mr. Ford
cannot be reached at the moment."

"He's in the gymnasium."


He's probably off handholding
with some movie starlet.

I think maybe I call him.

I think maybe I call him right now.

Good luck.

Thank you.



Mr. Stanley Ford, please.

I'm sorry, I can't reach Mr. Ford
just at the moment.

He's in the gymnasium.

Thank you very much.

I'll admit it, Stan.

At first, down at the shop,
we all thought you were crazy.

Marry Bash Brannigan off?
It just didn't seem right.

- It wasn't. That's the whole idea.
- But, Stan-boy, I was wrong!

We were all wrong.

Sure, America has taken
the Brannigans to its heart.

For the first time, women
are reading the strip.

Why, my wife just loves it now.

This morning, when he spilled the soup?

She says it reminds her of me.

Anyway, Stan-boy, the thing is,
we were all wrong.

No, you weren't all wrong.
It was a mistake, a tragic mistake.

- That's why I called the meeting.
- I still don't understand.

Why did we have to have the meeting here?

Edna must've called me
at least 15 times at the office by now.

You see, Edna doesn't like it
when I'm someplace...

where she can't reach me by phone.

That's the beautiful part about the club.
They can't reach us here.

It's the one place left that's safe.

Thank you.

Just a moment.

I'm sorry, but no ladies
allowed inside the club.

Well, thank you.

I'm sorry, I can't reach
Mr. Edwards just now.

He's in the gymnasium.

And, Stan, the big thing
to remember now is...

the Brannigans are a natural for TV.

Sure, all we need is some beautiful,
intelligent girl to play the wife.

And some drooling,
feeble-minded idiot to play Bash.

You've got yourself
a built-in audience of 80 million.

And not only that, but merchandise.

I think they've come up with
some sensational tie-ins.

Get this.

Official Bash Brannigan...

his-and-hers matching cooking aprons.

"The family that sautés
together, stays together."

I think that's the slogan.

Good morning.

Good morning.

Stay, stay!

It's all right.


All that, day and night, Stan.

Stanley, darling!

Forgive me for doubting
you even one moment.

Mr. Ford!

In the 123 proud years of
this club's existence...

not once...

has a female of any description
set foot on these premises.

We're an understanding bunch
here at the club, Mr. Ford.

A fellow has one too many at the bar...

we see to it that he gets
to his train all right.

A fellow has a little hokey-pokey
going in the afternoon...

his wife calls...

we say he's in the gym.

But this, Mr. Ford, is too much!

As Chairman of the Rules Committee...

I suggest you spare yourself
the embarrassment of an open hearing...

and submit your resignation at once.

Darling, I do something bad?

I may take this lying down, like the
drooling, feeble-minded idiot that I am.

But Bash Brannigan will not!
I promise you that!

Charles, she's in love,
so she's never going to agree to a divorce.

So we're left with only one choice.




I say, good show, sir.

Absolutely bang on!

Exactly six weeks from today...

Mrs. Brannigan is gone.

Bash can get back to being a secret agent.

What's the matter?

Let me understand, sir.

It is Mrs. Brannigan you're going to murder
in the comic strip?

Yes. Why?

I see.

What is it?

Nothing, sir.

Only, just for one moment...

one mad, glorious moment...

I thought...

However, if Bash Brannigan...

can murder his wife
and get away with it...

Who knows, sir?

Who knows?


The same again, please...

and this time,
see that the glasses are decently chilled.

Mr. Ford, this is the
most powerful single...

remote-control device
created by the Western World.

An excellent tranquilizer, Mr. Ford.

Gentle, fast-acting, eliminates tension,
removes excessive inhibitions...

and is almost completely without
harmful side effects.

- Almost?
- Almost.


as your doctor calls it...

in this case, as I happen to be
your doctor, that's what I call it...

is dangerous only when taken
in conjunction with alcohol.

Even a sip of alcohol
after taking one of these pills and...


- Right up the wall.
- As you doctors call it.

- And then...
- And then?

Right down again.

- Thank you, Dr. Bentley.
- You're welcome.


Thank you.

Mrs. Ford, may I have the
pleasure of this dance?



- Stanley, I'm really expert at handling...
- Can I be of any assistance?

- Don't be silly, Your Honor, you're smashed.
- I'm as sober as a judge.

I had to do this for Harold
last New Year's Eve...

so I know exactly...

Poor baby! She looks so pale!

I think maybe put some cold water on
her head and I'll make some coffee.

Okay, I'll call you in a few minutes.

- Yes, but...
- Bye, Edna.

Hi, Stan. I've been looking
all over for these.

Mrs. Ford, Miss James.

Come on, you silly, drunken old bat!

It's wonderful. She won't remember a thing.

I can say anything I want, actually.

Come on, you silly,
drunken, meddlesome old bat!

Yes, "old bat" is what I said,
and "old bat" is what I meant!

You old bat!



Anybody home?

How could she have disappeared?

Stan, wives don't just suddenly
up and disappear like that!

What I mean is, it's not that easy, boy.

I mean, it's not that easy!

You and I both know what
women are, Mr. Ford.

They're sensitive little creatures.

They're masters, or should I say
mistresses, of the fancied slight.

Some little, teeny thing goes wrong, and...

off they go, home to mother.

And that's probably where your wife is now.
With her mother.

Somewhere in Italy!

Thank you.

Which concludes our
report from Washington.

In a lighter vein, readers
of 463 newspapers...

from Bangor, Maine, to Honolulu
are asking this question:

"Will Bash Brannigan,
hero of America's favorite comic strip..."

"...The Brannigans,
really murder his wife?"

If the answer is yes,
is this, then, the beginning of a trend?

Will Dagwood murder Blondie?
Will Li'I Abner knock off Daisy Mae?

The answer remains the secret
of cartoonist Stanley Ford.

And Mrs. Ford, said to be the real-life
prototype of Mrs. Brannigan...

is unavailable for comment.

On the weather picture,
in New York tonight...

it's perfectly clear what happened.

She saw the drawings of the murder...

and in a typically idiotic female way...

she took it as some kind of personal
insult or something, I don't know.

Anyway, to make...

if we're pacing, let's work
out a traffic pattern.

You go this way, I'll
go that way, all right?

Anyway, she just picked up her raincoat
and her bathing suit...

and our dog and she left!

Look, I'm sure that's exactly
the way it happened.

But there is an awful lot of evidence,
circumstantial I'll admit...

a lot of evidence, lad.

You can't try anybody for murder
unless you produce a body!

Normally, that would be
true, but in this case...

You see, you and I and Edna...

and the police...

and 80 million readers
of 463 newspapers...

from Maine to Honolulu, know it.

Even my kids all know
that you murdered her...

and buried her in the goop
from the gloppitta-gloppitta machine!

What I mean is...

I'm going to be doing
my very best for you.

But it's only fair to warn you that...

it doesn't look good.

It does not look good.

Murdered his wife...

fiendishly and in cold blood.

But even beyond this...

I ask you to consider
the arrogance of the man.

Not content with his crime,
he then proceeded to publish...

in 463 newspapers...

from Bangor, Maine, to Honolulu...

each shocking detail of his murder plan.

It doesn't look good.

He regretted his marriage
from the very beginning...

and made every effort
to worm his way out of it.

I object, Your Honor!

Harold, how many times have I told you
not to interrupt me when I'm talking?

But, dear, you said you...

Shut up! You know he killed her!

But, dear!

And let me tell you something else,
Harold Lampson.

If you go on defending known murderers,
you're going to wake up one morning...

and find yourself disbarred!

And it is your opinion that this drug...

as your doctor calls it.

In this case, of course,
as I don't happen to be your doctor...

you can just call them "goof balls."

Thank you.

Anyway, Doctor, it is your opinion
that these "goof balls..."

can, under certain conditions,
be extremely dangerous?

Only if taken in conjunction with alcohol.
Otherwise, harmless, absolutely harmless.

You get a little high,
you have a few laughs...

an occasional burst into song...

Would you be good enough
to describe the effect of these things...

when taken with alcohol?


Right up the wall.


right down again.

And you contend, Mr. Burbank...

that Mr. Ford was simply
conducting a dry run?

Merely testing a murder
plan for his comic strip?

Precisely, sir!

You see, Mr. Ford would never ask
Bash Brannigan...

to do anything
that he hadn't already done himself.

Including murder his wife?


Has it occurred to you, Mr. Burbank...

that Mr. Ford perhaps wanted you
to think it was only a dry run?

The night was dark, was it not?

Yes, sir, but you...

And by your own admission, you observed
and photographed the entire operation...

from a hotel window
no closer than a block away?

Quite, sir, but...

Then for all you know, it
was Mrs. Ford's body...

he buried in the wet cement?

I say...

You don't...

You don't actually mean...

But of course! You're absolutely right!

What a silly ninny I was
not to have seen through him before!

Of course he did it!

Congratulations, sir!

Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant!

Do you know you had me completely fooled?

I thought it was a dummy! Even I!

That makes me a bit of a
dummy, doesn't it, sir?

I can't tell you how happy I am.

I'll give Mr. Rawlins my notice
and take up residence early next week.

The prosecution rests.

I don't think there's one chance in ten...

that they'll actually
send you to the chair.

Well, maybe one.

But, personally, I think it'll be somewhere
between, say, 20 years and life...

which isn't so terribly bad
when you come right down to think of it.

I mean, you always liked simple food...

and a regulated, well-ordered life.

And looking at it from my point of view...

if I had gotten you off...

Edna would've been just furious.

She wouldn't have spoken to me
for a couple of months.

You know how she is when she gets into a mood.
She makes my life an absolute, living hell.

No kidding, Stan.

Losing this case tomorrow
may be a little tough on you.

But it's one of the best things
that's happened to my home life in years.

Hear ye, hear ye.

The Court of General
Sessions is now in session.

If it please the Court, may I call...

Your Honor, from this point forward...

I would like to dispense with counsel
and conduct my own defense.

For my first and only witness...

I would like to call my friend
and former attorney, Mr. Harold Lampson.

You must be...

Will you approach the bench, gentlemen?

Hey, wait a minute! Stan, you...

Now, let me understand this, Mr. Ford.

You wish to be your own counsel...

and call him as a
witness for the defense?

I do, Your Honor.

I really don't know what to say.

How about, "This is most irregular,
but he may take the stand"?

Thank you.

This is most irregular, but
he may take the stand.

Now, wait a minute, Stan.

This is ridiculous!

You don't even know how to conduct a...

I could have got you off
from 20 years to life.

But this way you're gonna wind up
in the electric chair!

Raise your right hand, please.

Do you swear to tell the whole truth
and nothing but, so help you God?

- I do.
- Be seated.

State your full name, please.

- Harold Lampson.
- Are you married, Harold?

You know damn well that I've been...


- How many years you been married?
- Let's see.

Hal Jr. is 10.

We were living on West
11th Street at the time.

So that would make it in
the neighborhood of...

Eleven years, you idiot!

Eleven glorious, wonderful years.

That's right.

Eleven glorious, wonderful years.

Your Honor, I fail to see what...

I'm merely trying to establish
the witness's qualifications.

As what?

As a typical example of a happily married,
American male.

That's what you are, isn't it?
A happily married, American male?

Yes, I suppose so.

Stan, look, you're doing this all wrong.

- You have two lovely children?
- Yes.

A house in Scarsdale, a late-model
station wagon, a Great Dane, right?

Yes, that's right.

Therefore, I submit
that the witness is eminently qualified.

Now, I'm going to ask you a question.

I want you to think it
over very carefully...

and then answer me
as honestly as you possibly can, okay?


- Do you believe in marriage?
- What?

Do you believe in marriage as an institution?
Do you believe in it?

Hell, yes, sure, of course I believe in it!

What kind of a question is that anyway?

From where I sit, which you said
may well be an electric chair...

it's rather a central one, I'd say.

However, let me put it to you
a slightly different way.

Let us assume for a moment...

that this dot I have
just drawn is a button.

A button?

A button.

All right, it's a button.

Let's further assume
that if you were to push that button...

your wife, Edna, to whom you've
been married for 11 wonderful years...

would suddenly and magically disappear.

- Disappear?
- Yes, as in vanish.

Not be here.

No longer exist.

I object!


That's right, overruled!

And will you please shut up?
This is beginning to get interesting.

Thank you, Your Honor.

Let me add two important things.

Her disappearance
would be completely harmless.

But what's more important,
no one, repeat, no one...

would ever know
that it was you who pushed that button.

- No one would ever know?
- No one would ever know.

- No one would ever know?
- No one would ever know.

How old are you?


I don't believe it! You don't look over 40.

You wouldn't look over 40
if you lost weight, sat up straight.

There you are.
Here you are, in the prime of life...

a handsome man,
successful in business...

adored by one and all.

In fact, it could be said
that you had it made, except for one thing.

- I'm a lousy lawyer?
- No, you're married.

Yeah, but being married is
the normal way to live!

- Isn't it?
- Who says so?


I think you've been brainwashed!

You're missing a very important point!

Marriage is not a basic fact of nature!
It's an invention!

It's like the infield fly rule.

It exists only because the women say so...

and like idiots, we just
go following right along.

No, Stan.

I don't know what I would do without Edna.


She plans the meals...

sends my shirts to the laundry...

You're making another basic,
common, masculine mistake...

- ...confusing love and laundry.
- Love and...

Let me tell you something.
For years now, a very nice gentleman...

who operates,
for reasons I'll never understand...

as "Madame Renée,"
has picked up my shirts every Monday...

and returned them,
beautifully done, on Thursday.

And not once, in all those years, have I
felt the slightest urge to marry him.

How much money do you make?

Between $70,000 and $80,000 a year.

How much of that $70,000 or $80,000
do you get to spend on yourself?

On that, you know, of course,
with Edna and the kids...

and the payments on the
house in Scarsdale...

And then of course...

I do carry a lot of life insurance.

Yeah, I understand.

Now, stop for one moment...

and think what life could
be like right now, if...

Men of the jury, this concerns you, too.

Stop and think what your life
could be like right now...

if you'd had the common sense
not to marry Josephine...

or Hilda or Mary or Peggy or Rochelle.

Or Edna?

Think what you could be doing
with all that money right now.


Could have a little Chris-Craft maybe.

Get rid of that broken-down,
money-pit of a house in Scarsdale.

It's very easy, Harold.
All you've got to do is poke the button.

- Could I grow a mustache?
- Of course.

- Put wax on the ends?
- Who could stop you?

- I used to wear one before I was married.
- I remember. You cut quite a dashing figure.

- You really think so?
- Absolutely. Push the button.

It was always a little
sparse on the left side.

A good barber could trim it
so you'd never notice.

Why don't you push the button?

I never could afford a
really good barber then.

But you could now.

But I could now.

When's the last time
you started thinking about girls?

- Girls?
- Think of a whole world full of girls.

Just think on that, a world
pulsating with girls.


- Actresses?
- You know it.

My insurance man's new secretary...

Tall girls, thin girls, small
girls, round girls...

Pinup girls.

They don't pin up anymore, they fold out,
but you're getting the idea.

Instead of that broken-down
money pit of a house in Scarsdale...

you get a townhouse all to yourself.

- With a butler?
- Push the button.

- Like Charles?
- Push the button.

To have the martini glasses chilling
when I come home?

That's right, exactly.

Come with me.
All you have to do is push the button.

Push, and she disappears.

Nobody will ever know, Harold.

Just one little push and she's gone.

Just push the button.

No one will ever know?


If you think I've made
your life a living hell...

you haven't begun to learn
the meaning of the word "suffer"!

Shut up, you old bat!

Besides, you won't feel a thing!

I'm free! I did it!


I did it!

Quiet, everybody.

Just calm down.

Bailiffs, better remove this woman here.

Good idea! Throw her out!
I mean, remove her.


What time will you be home for dinner?

I'll be home whatever time
it pleases me to be home.

Of course, I may stop off at the club...

to have a couple of quickies on the way.

That's all, woman, you may go.

Just take her out, put her
in the tank if necessary.

All right, then.


I address you not as judge and jury...

but as a fellow American male.

The crime that you have just seen
Harold Lampson commit in his imagination...

I have been accused of
committing in reality.

Too long has the American man...

allowed himself to be bullied...

coddled and mothered and tyrannized...

and made to feel like
a feeble-minded idiot...

by the female of the species!

Do you realize the power
that you have in your hand here today?

If one man, just one man...

can stick his wife in the goop
from the gloppitta-gloppitta machine...

and get away with it,
boy, we got it made!

We have got it made, all of us!

Gentlemen, I did it.

I killed her.

I murdered my wife!

Every single charge the district attorney
has leveled against me is true.

Indeed, I did slip her a mickey.

I cold-bloodedly then fed her
into a tomb of goop...

from the gloppitta-gloppitta machine.

I ask you to acquit me!

Acquit me on the grounds
of justifiable homicide!

And not for my sake.

For yours.

If we do let him off,
it'll scare the hell out of old Shirley.

I could go around the
world on a tramp steamer.

I could buy a motorcycle.

Gentlemen of the jury,
have you reached a verdict?

Not guilty!

There you are.

Congratulations, sir.

It's gonna be just like old times again.

Charles, I hope you don't get upset.

I have a confession to make.

I didn't do it.

You didn't do it, sir?

If you didn't murder her, where is she now?

I don't know.

Probably with her mother in Italy.
I don't know.

But, sir...

that means that some fine day,
she may come back here again.

I hope so.

It doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter!

Sir, under American law, you cannot
be tried for the same crime twice!

They've already acquitted
you of her murder.

So if she did come back,
you could quite legally kill her again!

It would be open season.
Just one peep out of her and...

Right between the eyes!

It's so good to be home again.

I'll have the whole place
back to normal in a matter of days.

Goodbye, big gunky lamps.

Farewell, gay little chintzes.

And I'll have you tipping the scale
at 160 pounds...

in no time.

She's in there.

Good God, sir, she's in there!

Here you are, sir. Here's your chance.

Go on in there and finish her off.

I suppose if he can put up with her, I can.