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Madame X (1966) - full transcript

A woman married to a wealthy socialite, is compromised by the accidental death of a man who had been romantically pursuing her, and is forced by her mother-in-law to assume a new identity to save the reputation of her husband and infant son. She wanders the world, trying to forget her heartbreak with the aid of alcohol and unsavory men, eventually returning to the city of her downfall, where she murders a blackmailer who threatens to expose her past. Amazingly, she is represented at her murder trial by her now adult son, who is a public defender. Hoping to continue to protect her son, she refuses to give her real name and is known to the court as the defendant, "Madame X."


Good morning, sir.

Good morning, Cronyn.
Thank you.

It isn't exactly cozy,
darling, but it's home.

And I thought I was
living on a grand scale

when I moved into
a five-room apartment.

Hello, my darling!

Hello, Mother.

Mother,
this is Holly.

Welcome, Holly.
I hope you'll be very happy.

- Thank you.
- Eloping!

When you know how I
love to stage weddings.

That's exactly
why we did it.

This is your home now,
my dear.

It's magnificent.

There's not another house
to equal it

in all
Fairfield County.

My ancestors,
darling.

Were your ancestors
all men?

I've always had
a sneaking hunch

they drowned
the girls at birth.

Who'd have
the courage to face

one of these pirates
and say, "It's a girl"?

Holly, my dear, I'm sure you're
longing to unpack and relax.

Let me show you
your room.

You've changed
the colors in here.

I thought it should be
fresh for the new bride.

If ashes of roses
doesn't please you,

you must pick
something that does.

I won't be offended.

It's difficult to choose
for someone you've never met.

It was kind of you
to bother.

Not at all, I wanted
you to feel welcome.

Clay will want to show you
the house.

I'll acquaint you with
the inner workings later.

It's good
to have you back.

It's good
to be back, Mother.

Congratulations,
Mrs. Anderson.

I didn't think the woman lived

that could ever get
Clay to the altar again.

You know Phil Benton, of course.
Everyone knows Phil.

Well, I do now.
Hello, Mr. Benton.

My pleasure,
Mrs. Anderson.

Phil and I were in last
year's Bermuda Race.

Yes, in different boats.
Mine came in last.

We must have lunch sometime.
I'll call you.

Marvelous party, Estelle.

You're the host.
Start hosting.

You're consumed with jealousy,
aren't you?

Absolutely destroyed.
I am Phil Benton.

But, of course,
everyone knows Phil Benton.

How do you like
the bed of antiquity?

Fairacres?

Well,
I admire the antiques,

but I worry
about the plumbing.

In our neck of the woods,
it's the facade that counts.

It covers our corrosion.

Well, that's hardly unique
to Fairfield County.

It was spawned here.

This is the breeding ground
of the shallow set.

Holly,
time for the wedding pictures.

Will you excuse me?
Well, I have no choice.

Estelle has us all
under her iron thumb.

And don't you forget it.

You made it!
You made it! You made it!

Merry Christmas, darling.
Merry Christmas.

That Swiss angel could
go a little to the left.

Ah-ah-ah!
That's the German angel.

Well, how do you
tell the difference

between a Swiss angel
and a German angel?

Swiss angels are thin.

German angels are fat.

Mother, there aren't
enough icicles on your side,

and that finial
is still a little crooked.

Thank you, dear.

I can't imagine
how we ever trimmed this tree

- without your help.
- That's why I hurried home.

I always enjoy
decorating the tree.

And you do it
with such style.

You know it.

You're cold.

Someone's walking
across my grave.

That's an
old wives' tale.

Clay.

It's so good
to have you home.

It's so good
to be here.

It's midnight.

This is the happiest
Christmas in my life.

You say that
every Christmas.

I guess it's my time of year.

Next stop,
Virginia City!

Passengers change
for Central City,

Boulder,
and Denver, Colorado.

Denver?
This is Albany.

Can't you read what
it says on the depot?

Well,
not with my imagination.

Have I ever told you you have
the most beautiful imagination?

Well, it's about time
you noticed.

Make the train go,
Daddy.

Yes, sir!

I'll meet you in Denver
when he takes his nap.

I would love to.

I have a weakness
for railroad men.

Hello?
Yes, this is Mr. Anderson.

It's the Secretary of State.

Good afternoon, sir.
Merry Christmas!

That's quite all right.

Where?
North Africa?

Yes, yes, I know it is.

I understand.

Well, when would you
like me to leave?

Clay, I'm your wife.

At least I'd like to be.

Of course you're my wife.

Now, what kind of a thing
is that to say?

I don't share your life.

I exist in a cubbyhole
of it.

Half the time I don't
even know where you are.

Darling,
I am so close now

to...
to getting what I want.

What is it you want?

Well, you've heard
of the old family disease,

Washington fever.

But if you
want Washington,

why are you going
to North Africa?

Because reputations can be made
in places like North Africa,

and being a troubleshooter
is one way

of coming to the attention
of the right people.

Darling...

I have got to prove that I stand
for something on my own.

That I'm not just another

rich man's son
living on dividends.

One of these days,

you're going to be
a senator's wife,

and we'll settle down
in Washington,

and I'll be around so much
that you'll be sick of me.

Beep-beep!
Beep-beep!

I hesitated to tell you
until I was sure,

but the situation is much more
complicated than I thought.

It looks as though I'll
be here several more weeks.

Hello?

Darling, I've asked Phil Benton
to be extra man tonight.

He'll pick you up
around 7:30, okay?

Oh... well, I have
a dreadful headache.

I was just about to call
and beg off.

I won't hear of it.

I've already asked Phil
to take Clay's place.

You can't become a recluse

just because your husband's
a traveling man.

Besides, I'm only having 10.
You'll throw my seating off.

Wait till you hear.
Elsa arranged the blind date.

And who do you suppose
it turned out to be?

- That phony prince!
- Oh, no!

I can't believe that
you didn't hear about it.

Well, I'm beginning
to feel like Rip van Winkle.

Oh, darling, you really
must keep in touch.

Only bears hibernate, you know.

If I were your husband,

I wouldn't leave you alone
so much.

Confirmed bachelors always
claim to have 20/20 vision.

Touché.

How about taking in the Rodgers
and Hammerstein opening

next Friday?

Can you escape
from the Ice Palace?

That's not the question.

Isn't it?
Aren't you an escapee tonight?

I don't find that amusing.

I'm sorry.
I hoped you would.

I'll try to think
of another gambit.

What is it,
Holly?

I think if Clay doesn't
come back soon,

I'll go out of my mind.

Well, it's your own fault.
You stay cooped up too much.

You turned down four parties
this week.

I don't like to go
without Clay.

Your social obligations don't
stop just because he's away.

I miss him so.

Anderson men are ambitious,
Holly.

They can't be changed,
and they won't be stopped.

Anderson wives must
learn to wait.

Anything from Daddy?

Maybe tomorrow.

Oh, Cronyn?

Will you take these up to
Mrs. Anderson's room, please?

Yes, madam.

- Good night, baby.
- Good night, Mommy.

Down you go.

Hello?

Hello, Phil?
It's Holly.

About the play
tomorrow night,

is the invitation
still open?

The rumba
was invented for you.

It suits you much better
than the minuet.

Well,
the minuet's all right,

but you can't
dance it alone.

You have to be the most
beautiful woman in the world.

Why, thank you,
kind sir.

You make me feel
like a woman again.

Darling, no one could possibly
miss the fact you're a woman.

Now, there's really
a subtle compliment.

- You know, I admire us.
- Oh?

No, seriously.
We have style.

We dance well.
We converse well.

We understand
the jokes.

- Even when they're on us?
- Especially when they're on us.

We are the greatest couple
in the world.

- If not the most modest.
- To life.

It's only a bore
when you take it seriously.

Well,
I'll drink to that!

To six perfect weeks.

To us.

Where've you been?

That's fair enough.

I want to kiss you,
but you seem so far away.

It's been such a long time.

Was your trip successful?

Yes, very.

I'm glad.

I've got wonderful news.

I've just been appointed
Deputy Undersecretary of State.

It could mean that I'll get
that nomination next election.

That's wonderful.

I have to be in Washington
in the morning,

and I want you
and little Clay there

just as fast
as you can get ready.

From now on,
we're going to be together.

You know that little house
you always wanted?

I'm going to start
hunting for it.

Red frame, wasn't it,
with pegged floors

- and brick fireplaces?
- Clay...

- while you were away...
- Darling, let's not look back.

Let's take it
from here, huh?

All right.

Oh, I've missed you so.

I've been so lost lately.

I needed to see you,

to be close to you again.

I guess I needed
to feel needed.

Don't you ever doubt
that you're needed.

I never will again.

Good luck,
Senator.

Not so fast,
Mother.

Let's not count our constituents
before they're hatched.

You've worked hard
for that office.

Don't let anything
stop you.

I'll do my best.
Well, be a good boy, Clay.

I will, Daddy.

A red-frame house in the
middle of a friendly block

with good neighbors
and lots of children.

I've got the picture.

I've been drowning my sorrows.
You're late.

I know.

You are beautiful.
All is forgiven.

Clay got back last night.

Oh?

I picked up the phone
a dozen times today

to call you...

and hung up again.

- Did you?
- Phil...

That's quite a dress, darling.
Wonderful for your figure.

It didn't seem fair
to say it on the phone.

Well, I hope you're not going to
say anything I might regret.

Here,
I'll fix you a drink.

No. No, thanks.

We don't seem to be
our old merry selves tonight.

Maybe a change of locale
would cheer us up, huh?

I'm not staying.

I only came
to talk to you.

I'm not going to
see you anymore.

Well,
that's putting it bluntly.

Don't tell me
you're afraid of your husband?

I'm in love
with my husband.

Are you sure?

You're a real,
live human being.

Clay's a blueprint
of the Anderson male.

There can never be
anyone else for me.

I realize that now.

Well, well, well,
what do you know?

We've got
a triangle going.

Phil, I don't want
to quarrel with you.

We're two adults.
We know when something's over.

What happened to the two adults
who knew life was for laughs?

I liked their style.

I guess I didn't know
as much as I thought I did.

Too bad, isn't it?

You're in love with Clay,
and I'm in love with you,

and no one's laughing.

You're not being honest, Phil.

- You don't fall in love.
- Who told you?

You did
on several occasions.

Did I?

Well,
I'm eating my words,

and there's a damn
bitter taste in my mouth!

- Please, Phil...
- I'm sorry, but this isn't my year

for bowing out gracefully.

Look, it's over.

It should never have started,
and it's over.

There's nothing more
to say.

The hell there isn't!

- I've never felt so unloved.
- Let me go.

- I am in love with you.
- If you don't let me go...

Please don't leave me!

I could never leave you.

I'm sorry.

The music plays for us,
and the champagne sparkles.

Don't write that off.

Phil... I'm going.

Why, you contemptible,
rotten...

Contemptible, rotten what?

Never end
on a dangling insult.

Please, let me go!

If you promise not to leave.

Holly!

Operator.

I want to make
a person-to-person call

to Washington, DC.

The party
you're trying to reach?

Mr. Clayton Anderson,

Lincoln 72791.

90199

and tell them
Mrs. Anderson is calling.

Well, when do they
expect him in?

Operator...

Operator, tell them to have
him call the moment he comes in.

It's terribly important.

Thank you.

Estelle, a terrible thing
has happened!

So you killed your lover,
my girl?

Oh, no! No, no, no!
It was an accident!

I knew what you were
the moment I laid eyes on you.

Please, listen to me...

Your scarf was brought back
by a detective.

- Fortunately, he worked for me.
- Worked?

I had you followed to protect
my son against just this moment.

You don't mean that.
You can't mean that.

Let me tell you
how it happened.

- I don't care how it happened.
- Estelle!

Oh, there's no further need
for pretense.

I blame myself.

You've been an embarrassment

from the day you entered
this house!

- But how? Tell me how.
- To what purpose?

You can't help what you are
any more than you can help

what you aren't.

You've always been
in over your head.

You couldn't cope,
just as you can't cope now.

You're still a little
shopgirl from San Francisco.

You should've stayed on
the other side of the counter.

- Where are you going?
- To call the police.

My detective has already
called the police.

It was careless of you
to leave this.

It could so easily
turn into a noose.

In the name of God,
Estelle!

It'll be an unsavory trial.

Philip Benton
had quite a reputation

among the...
bedroom set.

But I was never going to see
Phil again.

I only went to his
apartment to tell him.

I swear it's the truth.
Please believe me!

The prosecution
will say you quarreled

- and pushed him to his death.
- No!

Even if a clever attorney
gets you off,

the mud will cling.

You will never be free of it,

nor will your husband
or your son!

I could help you.

Yes.

I have the means at hand.

Why would you
want to help me?

To be rid of you.

You'll have to give up my son
and grandson for all time.

Do you think I'd do that?

Then stay.
Face trial!

I will before I'll leave
my husband and child.

If you do, I'll go to court
and fight for that boy,

and I'll get him!

You're an unfit mother,
guilty of adultery!

No!

No, I'll fight you
with every breath in my body

before I'll let you
take my child!

You have no child!

You forfeited him
when you became involved

with Phil Benton.

Estelle, please.

Please,
I'll get on my knees to you.

I'll do anything you ask.

But don't try
to take my baby.

You'd rob him
of his birthright?

Well, if you won't protect him,
I must!

Clay!
I have to talk to Clay.

Is he to be sacrificed,
too?

Are you bent on dragging both
father and son

to destruction with you?

What do you think
Clay's future will be

if this scandal ever
becomes public?

And even if he chose
to sacrifice himself,

do you actually believe
there can ever be any happiness

between you two again?

Estelle...

could you really
do this terrible thing?

I'm fighting to protect
my son and yours.

Time is growing short.

I won't be able to help you
once the police get in this.

What do you want?

The death
of Holly Anderson.

Hello.
Hello, Holly?

Hello, Clay, darling.

I called to tell you we'll
be on the yacht all weekend.

We decided to
get an early start.

Well,
that sounds wonderful.

Clay...
you and little Clay

mean more to me
than anything in the world.

That's what I wanted to hear
from Party Headquarters.

Listen, I was going
to phone you anyway.

I've got a surprise.
I think I've found the house.

It's red frame, all right,
with three brick fireplaces,

and there's a bonus...
a secret panel

where they swear Dolley Madison
hid the Constitution.

I put a deposit on it
this afternoon,

and if you like it,
it's yours.

Darling,
are you crying?

I know it's silly.
It's just that I'm so happy.

But I've waited so long
to be with you.

The house sounds heavenly.

Are there neighbors
with children?

Children?
Why, they run in packs.

Perfect.

If anything should happen,

if I should get carried away
by Indians

or trampled on
by wild elephants,

if anything should happen
that I didn't get to Washington,

please take Clay to live
in that little house...

to grow up on that lovely
street with other children.

Well, don't get in the way
of any wild elephants.

Remember,
you've got a very lonely husband

waiting in Washington.

Darling...

I've never been wise enough
or good enough...

but I've never loved
anyone else.

I never will.

Here's your mother.
Clay's found a house.

Hello, dear.

Hello, Mother.
How are you feeling?

I'm fine, thank you,

but let's not waste time
on the telephone.

Captain McCauley
is waiting for us.

Hey, wait till you hear
about the house I found.

You can tell us all about
the house when we get back.

Put her back on,
will you, Mother?

All right,
but don't go on and on, now.

Don't worry, Mother,
I'll make it short.

Holly?

Hello?

Honey, this time next week,
you'll be here,

and it'll all
be behind us.

Yes...

it will all be behind us.

Goodbye, dear.

Goodbye, Clay.

Goodbye, my darling.

Your passport.

Elizabeth Miller,
citizen of Switzerland.

Country of birth,
United States of America.

I've listed you on all papers
as unmarried.

I thought it would make things
less complicated for you.

Did you?

Your birth certificate,
and enough money to carry you

through till you get
to Switzerland.

An account has been opened
in the name of Elizabeth Miller

at the International Bank
of Geneva.

As soon as you're ashore,
go there

and get your signature
on record.

The sum on deposit will be
duplicated every January.

In the event of my death,
my executors

have been instructed
to continue the deposit annually

as long as you live.

Have you any questions?

You will be well provided for
with the necessities of life.

What do you consider the
necessities of life, Estelle?

Hi, Mommy.

Bedtime, Clay.

Tomorrow,
I'm gonna catch a fish.

Oh?
What kind of fish?

A big fish!

Captain McCauley's
going to help me.

How about your prayers?

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord
my soul to keep, amen.

If I should die
before I wake...

Oh, if I should die
before I wake,

I pray the Lord
my soul to take, amen.

Are you gonna stay in here?

For a while.

Mommy,
what's die?

To die is...
to go away.

To go away where?

To another life.

Would you be there?

Someday.

I don't want to die before
I wake unless you're there.

But you won't.

What your prayer means is,

"Dear Lord, keep me safe
till morning."

I want it to be
morning now.

I don't like the night!
I'm scared!

No, darling, no.

I miss you.

But I'm here.

I miss you!
I miss you!

I'm right here.
I'll stay with you.

Until I wake?

Until you sleep.

Oh, my baby.

Mommy, what's die?

To die is to go away.

- To go away where?
- To another life.

I've got a surprise.
I think I've found the house.

I've never been
wise enough or good enough.

A red-frame house in
the middle of a friendly block

with good neighbors
and lots of children.

Mommy, I miss you.

You've got a very lonely
husband waiting in Washington.

I've never loved
anyone else, I never will.

You've got a very lonely
husband waiting in Washington.

Clay!

Oh, my baby!
My baby!

Clay Jr. Mommy!
Where are you, Mommy?

Mommy, Mommy,
don't leave me, Mommy.

Please, I'm scared.

Mommy, where are you?
I miss you!

Herr Torben, come in.
Come in.

You have been very ill.

My name is Christian Torben.

And this is Nurse Riborg.

Herr Torben carried you
from the road

by the canal
on Christmas Eve.

I don't thank you
for it.

I don't ask you to.

All to be faced again.

Nothing changed.

Your family
must be very anxious.

Where can I reach them?

I have no one.
No one at all.

You have now.

There is an old Chinese adage.

When you save a life,
it belongs to you.

I'm a very
Oriental Dane.

The doctor says absolute rest.

If you get up too soon
after pneumonia,

you will only make yourself
sick again.

You are welcome here.
Rest and grow strong.

You're in kind hands.

Herr Torben, our patient thinks
she's ready to go home.

Dr. Valdimar says
not for a long time yet.

There,
what did I tell you?

Not another word
about leaving.

You've been
so kind already.

It's my pleasure.

The garden becomes you.

A garden becomes everyone.

This time last year,
I didn't even know you existed.

And now I can't even imagine
my garden without you.

There's such peace
and serenity here.

I feel renewed.

It's so beautiful.

It's never been
so beautiful before.

My father used to say to me,

"This is my kingdom,
and now it is yours.

The North Sea, the forests,
the islands of Denmark.

This is where you will
always return.

This is home."

This is home.

What a wonderful kingdom
he gave you.

And someday,
all this will be for my son.

Of course,

first I must find a wife.

But I'm never in one place
long enough.

I'm on tour most of the time.

I must marry a woman
with the heart of a gypsy.

She's not easily found.

Love is not easily found.

But I'm sure you'll find it.

I hope you're right.

When Dr. Valdimar phoned me
at rehearsal,

I didn't believe it,
but it's true?

Dr. Valdimar
pronounced me cured.

Dr. Valdimar is a quack.
Pay no attention to him.

Come on, unpack.

He says
I'm as good as new.

Did you ever hear
such nonsense?

You've barely begun
to convalesce.

Unpack, I say,
unpack!

I'm well, Christian.
It's time I left.

More than time.
You know that as well as I.

No, I don't.

Why do you say these
things on rehearsal day?

I'm not supposed to be upset.
It makes my hands shake.

You want to make
my hands shake?

How will I ever find
the words to thank you?

Stop saying goodbye!

I won't let you
go from me.

But I have to.

Help me.
Please, help me.

Help you leave me?
Never.

If you go, I'll throw
myself into the canal.

Live with that
on your conscience.

Please be serious.

All right, I will.
I've longed for you.

I've searched for you.
I've dreamed of you.

- Don't, Christian, don't!
- You've asked me to be serious.

I honor that request.
I welcome it!

You don't know
where I came from

or why I wanted to die.

You never once asked.

I never will.

My concert tour starts
next Monday.

Come with me.
Please, come with me.

I couldn't bring you happiness
as much as I would want to,

as much as I owe you.

You owe me nothing.

Kaereste...
don't go from me.

Do you think I want to?

Christian...

I'm known
as Christian the Determined.

You shall not leave me.

In an hour, I must be onstage.
Will I be tied by then?

I'm not sure.

If a man has trouble tying it
frontwards,

how can a woman be expected
to tie it backwards?

Don't move your neck!

I adore you!

- A likely story.
- I'm mad about you!

Talk, just talk.

Anything in the world
I'd do for you!

Will you tie
your own tie?

Put on that basis,
I can hardly refuse.

How did the concert
go tonight?

I didn't listen.
I was thinking of you.

Kaereste, I made myself a vow
never to question you.

There is something
I must ask.

I'll tell you anything I can.

Whom do I ask for the honor
of your hand in marriage?

Kaereste...

what is it?

Oh, Christian, forgive me.

I couldn't face the emptiness.

I was so terribly alone.

But I never meant to hurt you.

Darling, I don't ask
that you love me.

I ask to love you
and care for you.

All these weeks
I've been trying to believe

what I wanted to believe...

that I could live with you

as though none
of the past had happened.

I don't give a damn
about the past!

The world begins
with you and me!

Nothing begins
with you and me.

I can't marry you, Christian.
I can't marry anyone.

All right.

You've turned me down tonight.
We'll drink to tomorrow.

Didn't I tell you?

I'm known
as Christian the Determined.

Kaereste?
Shall I order breakfast?

Kaereste?

Christian, my beloved,

you are a man
of warmth and kindness

with a great capacity
for love.

I wish for you all
the good things

you could never find with me,

the wife with the heart
of a gypsy,

a son to carry on your name.

Look to the living for love.
I am not alive.

I only exist.

Goodbye, Christian.

Thank you for the memories
I take with me.

♪ Be it ever so humble ♪

♪ There's no place
like home ♪

Trouble?

You wouldn't happen to have
a couple of aspirin, would you?

Ma'am, I always keep my
aspirin close to my hangover.

Thanks, friend.

Look, maybe you
do not understand me.

I'm a poor man.
I have many expenses.

I have a big family
to support.

Appreciate it very much.

What's the date,
Don Quixote?

The date is December 24th,

and this bill
is two months old!

Look,
I'll be in funds January 1st,

and the bill will
be paid in full.

Okay, January 1st,

but if I do not get my money
January 1st, I go to the police.

You can go anyplace you
want with my compliments.

Merry Christmas!

What you need
is a hair of the dog.

Come on,
I got a bottle.

Friend,
you are a friend.

♪ Deck the halls
with boughs of holly ♪

♪ Fa la la la la,
la la la la ♪

♪ 'Tis the season to be jolly ♪

Hey!
Let's get a Christmas tree.

Oh... I had
a beautiful tree once.

Do you know the difference
between a Swiss angel

and a German angel?

I'm afraid my acquaintanceship
with angels is very limited.

This is one hell of a place
to spend Christmas.

Most places are.

This is the worst.

This is the cesspool
of the world.

Say, that's a real bon mot.

You're Suzy Somebody,
ain't you?

You bet your brass
I'm Suzy Somebody.

I've come a long way down.

From princess
or duchess, maybe?

I lived in a house
as big as Buckingham Palace.

Oh, it's been in my
husband's family for years.

Where was this wigwam?

Fairfield County,
Connecticut.

Oh!

You worked Fairfield County,
did you?

Worked nothing.
I was lady of the house.

Sure, you were.

I had the golden spoon
on a silver platter.

A butler to open the door,
a maid to draw the bath,

a chef, chauffeur...

Thousand apologies,
there, Duchess.

You know,
you're disguised so perfect,

I didn't realize you were
just down here slumming.

"Would you prefer the Rolls

or the Mercedes this morning,
Mrs. Anderson?"

"Shall I lay out the sable
or the ermine?"

"Will you be using the yacht
this weekend, Mrs. Anderson?"

My baby.

My little boy.

My darling,
darling, darling...

Now, wait a minute.

Don't... don't start
on a crying jag.

Sorry.

You had a kid, did you?

- Legitimate?
- Not a kid.

A prince.

A squab to be
raised under glass.

I wonder if the old lady
ever made him to her liking.

How do you get 100% Anderson
out of...

50% Parker?

Were you the 50% Parker?

What's it to you?

Just friendly curiosity.

I, my friend, am very drunk.

With any luck at all,
very soon,

I'm gonna be a lot drunker.

Now then, girl.

Take this over to the
Western Union office right away,

and I'll give you
a half a peso.

Not so fast,señor.

You'll be paid after you bring
me back the receipt.

Half a peso on delivery
of the receipt.

You have said it yourself,
señor.

Morning, Duchess.

It isn't morning,
it's afternoon.

And it wouldn't be a good
morning if it were morning.

So the less said about it,
the better.

How about some ham and eggs?

Are you deliberately
trying to be offensive?

No, of course not, Duchess.

I, um...

I hope I didn't
talk your ear off last night.

I wouldn't know,
I was stoned myself.

Well, with a few drinks,
I get a lot of fancy ideas.

I wouldn't want you to take them
seriously and be disappointed.

Duchess, all my life I've been
reaching for the brass ring,

hoping it's gold,

and I do mean gold.

Well, no matter what I say
when I'm drinking,

this is all I am.

It's not much,
as you can damn well see.

It happens I like what I see.

What the hell
are you doing here?

Just a social visit.

These are not visiting hours.

All right, in that case,

I'm going to leave
my present and go.

Merry Christmas.

♪ Deck the halls
with boughs of holly ♪

♪ Fa da da da dee
da dum da dum ♪

Absinthe.

That's what you
really go for, isn't it?

Absinthe is hard to get
and expensive.

What are the hidden costs?

I just want you to listen to
a little business proposition.

I could use a woman like you
in my line of work.

What line of work
is that, Mr. Sullivan?

Investments, business counsel,
that sort of thing.

Here's to my new partner.

To the mud in your eye.

I'm not such bad company.

And you've been going it alone
for a long time.

You could use a friend.

God knows I could.

I'll buy you some new clothes,

fix that hair
a believable color.

You'll be respectable.

The road between me
and respectability

is strewn with broken bottles.

Respectable enough
for my purposes.

A shill?

A front.

A spade's a spade.

We can get a plane
out of here tomorrow.

Well, I can't leave
until my funds come.

Have them forward them
to you in New York.

New York?

Yes, I have good
connections there,

and it's a good place
to pick up a wardrobe.

New York.

I've already paid
your hotel bill here.

You take a lot for granted.

I just don't take no
for an answer.

All right,
I'll go a few rounds with you.

But I warn you,
if you're thinking

of playing against me,
think again.

What makes you
so suspicious?

Experience, friend.

Everything's fine, fine.
I like your hair.

I'm beat.

I haven't worked
so hard on myself for years.

I couldn't locate
any absinthe.

You'll have to settle
for a whiskey.

I'd settle for
denatured alcohol.

Take it easy, honey,
I've got a friend coming up.

Weren't there any
New York papers today?

I thought you might want
to see some Connecticut ones.

Why?

Auld lang syne.

I've never been
to Connecticut.

Governor Clayton Anderson
is in New York,

and so's your kid.

I have no kid.

You told me you did.
Well, I was drunk.

Keep drinking, honey.

I like you better drunk
than sober.

I like the world better drunk
than sober.

I can forget
that it's filled with vermin.

Harry,
only one witness actually

saw her fall overboard,
the mother-in-law.

And she could have had
her own reasons for saying so.

The crew searched
the waters for 48 hours,

so did the Coast Guard.

That's right.
They never found the body.

If she didn't drown,
where was she?

Someone must
have picked her up.

Holly Anderson
was front-page news.

It would have been reported.

No, no, not if her
disappearance was planned.

Harry, those clippings
you dug up nailed her.

Everything ties in.

Governor Anderson's
all but got

the presidential nomination
in his hip pocket.

He can't afford a scandal.

I told you I'd struck oil.

It'll take careful handling.

The governor
won't be easy to get to.

That's why I came to you.
Here's the duchess.

Duchess, I want you
to meet my friend, Mr. Carter.

How do you do?

It's nice to meet you.

Danny,
I'm all fuddled tonight.

I forgot what I'm supposed to
say about falling overboard.

Did you fall overboard?

Well, how did you
tell me to say it happened?

I didn't tell you
to say it happened.

But you did, Danny.
Don't you remember?

I didn't tell you
to say anything.

Don't you try
to get cute with me.

Well, shouldn't I have asked
it in front of Mr. Carter?

You wouldn't try to con
an old pal, would you, Danny?

Don't pay any attention to her.
She's tanked.

But I'm trying, Danny.

I need a little time
to get it down pat.

- Rotten, lying...
- Now, wait a minute.

Are you Holly Parker Anderson?

What do you want
me to say, Danny?

The truth.
Tell him who you are.

Betty Miller.
You drunken rip!

Listen, scavenger.

I crawl in the same gutter,
but I'm not a beast of prey.

Look at me.
Look at me!

Do you think I could get in
the back door of a decent house?

He thought he could put me
in respectable clothes

and I'd pull it off,
but I couldn't even fool you!

You liar!

Grave-picker!

Danny, I think I'll pass.

Listen, I'm cutting you
in on a good thing, Harry.

Thanks for the thought.

You know,
you're buying a snow job.

No, just not buying.
See you, Danny.

I got a winner!
I got a winner this time!

You slut!
You're Holly Anderson!

Shut up.

Shut up!

The brass ring again,
eh, Danny?

How could you possibly think

I was anything
but the brass ring?

You're Holly Anderson.

Why, you poor,
pathetic garbage collector.

You're a bigger loser
than I am.

Maybe Governor Anderson
won't agree with you.

You won't get near
Governor Anderson.

All right,
then I'll have a little talk

with Junior Anderson.

He's not hard to get to.

Would you want me
to go with you?

You wouldn't go.

You can't make a sale without
showing your merchandise.

And this merchandise
wants a 50/50 cut.

Just you and me,
no outsiders.

So that's it.

That's it, Danny.
Half the pie.

All right.

Get your coat.

Yes, Danny.

When I walked in,
there she was with the stiff.

"Get the police," she said.
"I killed a man."

Okay, son, okay.
Thank you. Thank you very much.

We'll let you know
when we need you.

My guess is
he's been dead two hours.

We'll know better
when the coroner gets here.

You gonna
tell us your name, lady?

Come on, lady.
Now let's have that name, huh?

You find anything
might tell us who she is?

Nothing, best I can turn up
is an empty picture frame.

Something was burned
in this basket.

Looks like a passport folder.

Blood pressure, low.
No reaction to pain.

Doesn't respond
to oral command.

Give her 10 milligrams
of Nalline.

If she doesn't come around in 15
minutes, we'll try another five.

Well?

I think I'll send her over
to Psycho for observation.

No.

I killed him.

I'll sign a confession.

I want to sign a confession.

Dr. Evans, will you witness
this signature, please?

Good morning.

I've been appointed
by the court to defend you.

I can understand that you'd
like someone older...

more experienced.

It isn't over.

There has to be a trial
in the interests of justice.

I'm here to help you.

No one's heard
your side of it yet.

Your life is at stake.

Please,
let me do something for you.

Please...

tell me how it happened.

Please, let me help you.

I guess
that'll be all for today.

You might as well have
stayed in New York this weekend

for all the company
you've been.

I've never been so conscious of
my monumental lack of knowledge.

Criminal law.

Whatever possessed an Anderson
to take up criminal law?

Probably his 50% Parker,
Grandma.

Probably.

You two
night owls still at it?

How did the meeting go, Dad?
Very promising.

Joe thinks we have enough
pledges

- to swing the nomination.
- That's great!

I knew I would dance
at my son's inauguration ball.

Now, now, it's all just straws
in the wind

until the convention.

Many come,
but two are chosen.

Don't be negative.

I'm ordering my inaugural gown
in the morning.

Well, did you meet
the mysterious Madame X?

Yeah.

Dad,
she breaks your heart.

She's just completely
withdrawn, waiting to die.

She doesn't even
want a defense.

Clay, I realize how
important your first case is,

but no one expects
you to win it, you know?

Maybe not,
but I've got to try.

You're the best lawyer I know.
What would you do?

How would you defend her?

Well, I'm only
a corporation lawyer,

but it seems to me I remember
an old professor of mine

at Harvard,
he used to say

that a best defense
is a good offense.

Now, Sullivan's got a record
a mile long, hasn't he?

He sure has, grand larceny,
procuring, blackmail.

Try him on that record.

Ladies and gentlemen
of the jury,

this poor woman did not sin.

She was sinned against.

Try Dan Sullivan
for his own murder?

Exactly.

The prosecution on behalf
of the People

of the State of New York
charges the defendant

with murder
in the first degree

and asks that
the penalty be fixed at death.

How does the defense plead?

The defense pleads
not guilty, Your Honor.

The defense will show
that the defendant

was not responsible
at the time of the crime

and that the so-called
confession

was obtained under duress.

Prosecution
may present its case.

Is this the gun?

It is.

Had the gun been discharged?

Yes, three bullets
had been fired.

No further questions.

Cross-examine.

Did you speak to the defendant
when you found her?

Yes, I asked her name.

What was her answer?

She didn't answer.

Now, according
to the report you filed,

you addressed
several questions to her.

Did she answer any of them?
No.

Did she look at you
when you spoke to her?

No, she just sat there
and stared out.

In other words,
the defendant appeared to be

in a state of shock.

Objection, defense counsel
is asking the witness

for a medical opinion.

Well, Your Honor,
I think we can presume

that a police officer
is experienced enough

- to recognize a state of shock.
- Objection overruled.

Did the defendant appear
to be in a state of shock?

Yes, she did.

Now, will you tell the court
the defendant's words

when you entered the room?

She said, "Get the police.
I've killed a man."

Did you see the gun?

Yes, she was holding it.

Mr. Lopez, did you see
the defendant kill Dan Sullivan?

Point the gun,
pull the trigger?

No, he was already dead.

Thank you.
No further questions.

Will you read the court
the criminal record

of Daniel M. Sullivan?

Objection!

The record of the deceased

is irrelevant and immaterial
to this case.

Your Honor, the defense
respectfully contends

that the character of the
deceased

had a direct bearing
on his death.

I'm going to allow
the witness the answer.

In 1954, Sullivan served
three months for petty larceny.

In 1955, he was convicted
of extortion

on charges
of a Mrs. Arthur Golden,

paid a $1,000 fine.

In 1957, Sullivan
was convicted of procuring

and served a year
in state prison.

In 1960,
three years for violation

of the Federal Narcotics Law.

In 1963, a bench warrant
was issued for his arrest

on another extortion charge

by a Miss Frances Elliott,
age 63.

But he got across the border
to Mexico

before he could be
apprehended.

Were there any other
blackmail charges

- brought against Sullivan?
- Yes, four times,

extortion charges
were brought and dropped

when the claimants
refused to sign.

Your Honor,
I must protest.

If the charges
weren't substantiated,

surely they're not
admissible as evidence.

Your Honor,
victims of blackmail

are rarely willing
to sign complaints.

Objection sustained,
the answer is stricken.

The jury is instructed
not to consider

the last question and answer
in their deliberations.

Sergeant Riley,
based solely on convictions,

Daniel M. Sullivan's crimes

were mainly directed
against women, weren't they?

Yes.

No further questions.

Doctor, would you describe
absinthe to the court?

Absinthe is a green
toxic liqueur,

between 70 and 80 proof,

distilled from
wormwood and aromatics.

Is absinthe procurable
in this country?

Not legally.

Well, is absinthe
legally procurable

- anyplace in the world?
- Not to my knowledge.

Why not?

Well, absinthe produces
a degenerative effect

upon the system.

It attacks the digestive
organs and nerve centers.

It can induce delirium and has
been known to destroy sanity.

Doctor, is the
defendant addicted to absinthe?

She is.

No further questions.

Cross-examine.

Dr. Evans,

did you examine the defendant
when she was arrested?

Yes.

Did you request
a psychiatric examination?

I considered it.
Did you request it?

No.

Then we must assume that you
considered the defendant

legally sane.

No further questions.

Dr. Evans, what does the term
"legally sane" mean?

Well, that the defendant
understands

the nature of his act
and its probable consequences.

Well, would it be possible
for an individual

to be legally sane,
but medically insane?

Tragically so.

Now, when you
allowed the defendant

to face trial, did you
consider her medically sane?

Objection!

The medical sanity
of the defendant

has no bearing on this case.

The Penal Code of the State
of New York plainly states...

Address your remarks
to the bench.

But, Your Honor,

the medical sanity
of the defendant

is not the consideration
of this court.

Overruled, Mr. Spalding.

Did you consider
the defendant medically sane?

- No.
- Thank you. No further questions.

Are you a doctor
of psychiatry?

No.

Would you feel yourself
qualified

to pass on the sanity
of the accused?

Objection!

The prosecution is attempting
to impeach its own witness.

You can't play both sides
of the street...

Stop it!

Stop it.
I can't bear anymore.

How long must I wait?

Order, or I will have
the court cleared!

How long must I wait?

Counselor,
please ask your client

to try to compose herself.

Take my life!

The sooner the better,
but take it!

Court will recess
until 2:00.

How is she?

Well, I've given her
an injection,

but it's like trying to hold
on to a wraith.

May I talk with her?

Only for a moment.

She's worn out in spirit
as well as body.

She can't endure much more.

There's only
a little time left.

We still have a chance,

but you've got to tell me
what happened.

You've got to give me
something to fight with.

Help me before it's too late.
Please, help me.

I'm sorry, sir, would you mind
using the main entrance?

Now, you've seen
the murder weapon,

and you've heard the
defendant's admission of guilt

to the hotel employee,
Manuel Lopez,

and to Detective Combs,

and you've seen the confession
signed by the defendant, "X."

I solemnly charge you,

do not be tricked
into sympathy for her.

She is a murderess.

She has broken the law
of God and man.

She must pay for her crime.

Now, the defense attorney
would persuade you

to convict Dan Sullivan
of his own murder.

He'd have you believe
that the deed of Madame X

was justified
because Dan Sullivan

was a disreputable man.

Disreputable or not,

I would wish for Dan Sullivan

what can never be his...

a fair and honest trial
before a jury of his peers.

Madame "X" appointed herself
his judge

and his executioner.

Now the defense attorney
comes before us

on his first case,
young and eager,

the son of a brilliant
and famous father.

And I'm sure Governor Anderson
is proud

of the resourceful fight
that Clayton Anderson Jr.

has waged in this courtroom.

However,
admiration for the young man

or sympathy for his client
must not sway you.

I charge you
to uphold the law

and to punish its violators.

Madame "X" is a murderess.
She's taken a life.

And on behalf of the people,

I must demand her life
in return.

Mr. Anderson, are you ready to
make your concluding statement?

Wait.

There's something
I want to say.

You're out of order.

If you wish to make a statement,
you must be sworn in

- and take the stand.
- Yes.

No, Madame, n... Your Honor,
may I have a recess

to talk with my client?

It'll be all right.
Don't worry.

No, you're not prepared
as a witness.

I know exactly
what I want to say.

Raise your right hand.

Place your left hand
on the Bible.

Do you solemnly swear
that the testimony

you are about to give
before this court is the truth,

the whole truth and nothing
but the truth, so help you God?

- I do.
- Please be seated.

Madame, do you want
to tell us what happened?

Madame.

You're a child,

fighting alone
in a terrible darkness.

I would have left this earth
without explanation,

but you...

you alone
have made it impossible.

Over and over,

he begged me to tell
what happened,

and I never did.

I let him stand up here
in front of you

without a weapon
in his hand.

Life had long ceased
to have meaning for me.

And I didn't think...

or care
what I was doing to him.

Forgive me.

I'm not dead after all.

The dead don't weep...

or feel such pain.

Oh, child,
don't fight any longer.

I killed Dan Sullivan.

He fished me
out of the sewers of Mexico.

He bought me dirt cheap...

a couple of aspirin,
a few bottles of whiskey.

And I killed him.

Why did you kill him?

He found out
I once had a son,

a family...

a respectable family...

and a fine son.

They thought I was dead
more than 20 years.

And Sullivan was going
to tell my child

that I was alive
and what I'd become.

I don't have much
to leave my son.

Only a lie

that his mother
was clean and good.

Why did you leave your family?

I wasn't suitable.

I really wasn't.

I wonder why it took me
so long to see it.

I killed Dan Sullivan

to keep my son
from knowing about me.

I'm not sorry.

And if time
were turned back...

I'd kill him again.

That's the truth, child.

The truth.

These are the most important
words I may ever have to say.

And this is the most
important decision

you may ever have to make.

I stand between
a woman and death.

And you stand here with me.

There was a speech
I was going to make,

but I can't make it now,

not after those simple,
heartbreaking words of hers.

Mr. Spalding
has cautioned you not to try

Dan Sullivan
for his own murder.

Well, how can you
do otherwise?

He'd be alive if it weren't
for his own evil greed.

His sins finally caught up
with him,

and he reaped the whirlwind.

The prosecution accuses
my client

of breaking the law of God

or did
before he heard her story.

Perhaps he wouldn't charge
that now.

For does the lioness lose
favor with God

when she fights for her cubs?

Does the mother bear

who kills at the mouth
of the cave?

In all creation is there
the female of the species

who will not sacrifice
her own life

to protect the life
she has conceived?

Dark and terrible years lie
between this woman and her son,

but she protects him,
even now, with her life.

Her son...

will never know
how deeply he is loved.

She thinks
he would be ashamed of her.

I think he would kneel

and hold her to his heart.

The prosecution...

asks for justice.

I would remind him and you

of the towering words
of Sophocles.

"There is a point

at which even justice
is unjust."

Justice must be fair.

It must be merciful.

It must be understanding.

My client doesn't
ask for her life.

She's ready to die,
knowing her son to be safe.

I ask it.

I give this woman's life
into your hands.

And I beg you
to return it to her.

Ladies and gentlemen,
you have heard the evidence.

You will retire
to deliberate your verdict.

Matron!

I must see her.

I can't tell you
how important it is.

I'll see what I can do,
Governor.

I'm beyond reason.

Holly drowned.
How can she still be alive?

May we be alone?

We'll wait outside.

You must be very quiet.

I know.

We're going to win.
Don't worry.

Did you do well in school?

Middling well.

I haven't heard that
expression since my father died.

Where do you live?

In New York.

Alone?

In a one-room apartment.

Let your son know
that you're alive.

Give him a chance to love you.

Do you have a girl?

Yes. We're going
to be married soon.

You love her very much?

Very much.

The moments of love
are the only ones that matter.

The moments of love
illuminate...

and are gone.

Treasure them.

And when you're married,
live alone.

Oh, it's so important
to live alone.

And when you have a child...
get a little house.

A red-frame house...

on a friendly street

with good neighbors...

and lots of children.

Did you have a house
like that?

Almost.

I was once almost a rich...

rich woman.

Please let me call your son.

No.

But if I were your son,
I'd want to know.

Don't make decisions for him.

It's the only prerogative...

of motherhood
I still possess.

He is free...
of my sins.

Your son should be here.

You're here.

Yes.

Today, I've had a son.

And, oh...

what a joy.

Dr. Evans!
Dr. Evans!

The jury
is ready to come back.

You'll be needed in there.

You're going to win
this case, son.

I'm sure
you're going to win it.

It doesn't matter now.

Yes, it does.

More than you'll ever realize.

I don't know why,
but I loved her.

From the moment I saw her,
I loved her.

I know.