The Story of Esther Costello (1957) - full transcript
Eighteen-year-old Esther has been deaf and blind since the accident which killed her mother. Wealthy Margaret Landi, a native of Esther's village in Ireland, is talked into helping to educate and possibly heal Esther. Margaret grows to love Esther as a daughter, but finds Esther's innocence threatened by sleazy promoters and her own sleazy ex-husband. Radiant performance by Heather Sears. Based on a book that nearly had Helen Keller's co-workers suing for libel due to perceived parallels between Carlo Landi and the husband of Annie Sullivan.
- It's raining so hard.
- No, it's not.
No, come on!
Wait for me!
Hurry up, Michael.
It's just down here.
Come on! Come on!
I don't think there's anything
there at all.
Yes there is! It's a treasure,
a buried treasure!
Come on, hurry up!
Here it is, here it is.
It's in this house!
You see? A secret door!
The treasure's hidden down here.
Come on! Come on!
There now. What did I tell you?
There it is!
A buried treasure?
Ah, go on!
What would the likes of you know,
- What's that stuff?
- It's black gold, that's what it is!
Oh, go on with you, Esther Costello!
What's in here?
It's a ball, give it to me, it's mine!
- Come on, Esther!
- No, it's mine!
I got it, I got it!
Give it back to me.
- Esther! Esther Costello!
- 'Tis Mama!
- Shhh. Hide!
- Over here, come on!
Where are you, Esther?
Answer me, girl!
Are you there, Esther?
You devil, you!
I know you're there!
Did you see the way she drives
- Like a man!
- Aye, that's the woman.
Aye, that's the woman!
Thank you, Father.
It's me should be thanking you
for your generous contribution.
but I've always remembered this church
as being much larger than it really is.
Ah, yes, childhood memories
are always magnified.
Where is your friend you wanted
me to meet?
Just across the road here,
- Look, there's Mrs. Landi!
- Hi, kids.
Alright, alright, how many
are there today?
One, two, three, four, five,
six, seven, eight.
We almost lost one.
- Nine? Make it ten, Mrs. Landi.
- Why, Father!
- Oh, not for myself, for my friend!
- It's new white chocolate!
- Surely, there you are.
- Have fun, kids.
- Goodbye, Mrs. Landi!
Who is this friend, Father Devlin?
Are they all are as impatient as yourself
in your country, Mrs. Landi?
- Where is she from at all?
- And how would I know?
But she's a Catholic for sure.
Here it is!
God bless all here!
- Oh, it's yourself, Father.
- Where is Esther?
- In the privy, I suppose.
My goodness me, Jenny,
this place is like a pigsty
Ah, sure the girl is enough
to drive an old one to the grave.
Though she is me brother's child,
God rest him.
Yes, yes, I know, I know.
Every time I think of her,
I reach for the nearest prayer.
Though sometimes I'm tempted
to think, God forgive me,
that the saints are as blind and
as deaf as the poor child herself.
Blind and deaf?
Was she born like that?
No indeed, she was a normal,
healthy girl, full of mischief,
until a terrible accident happened
five years ago.
Stored gunpowder buried in a cellar since
the days of the troubles.
What did the doctors say?
A massive shock to the nervous
system, one surgeon from Dublin said.
- Another said it was psychological.
- Is that all?
Didn't they say whether or not
something could be done?
Take her to London was all
they could advise.
To the clever specialists who
understand such afflictions.
Perhaps, they said, with time
- There we are, love.
- Care? In this horrible place?
- Why, she's starved!
- Sure, sweets cost money.
Well at least you can feed the
child decently and keep her clean!
That you not drink that money,
That woman should be in jail!
Why did you bring me here,
It was a liberty I was taking,
Mrs. Landi, I'm sorry
Forgive me for saying it, but you don't
seem happy in yourself at all.
And I'm afraid that this is my rather
foolish way of telling you that...
...you have an awful lot to be
Of course, I didn't want to spoil
your visit here.
- When did you say you were leaving?
- This evening.
This evening? Oh, stay a while
longer, Mrs. Landi.
Do me the honor of dining
with me tonight.
I have a cook who can turn the toughest
old hen into a golden fest.
No thank you, Father, I think
I've seen enough of Cloncraig.
Where her husband is,
she hasn't said.
But my Peggy, who was out for
tea in her room,
observed a fine case for the paint
and the powder...
...and a lace night dress, begod,
that you could see a mile through.
# It is my grief on a sad morning #
# 'Twas not I that married her #
- Good evening, gentlemen
- Good evening, ma'am.
Mr. Lane, would you have my bags
brought down, please?
Bad news, ma'am. Billie couldn't
start the vehicle.
- Tell her, boy.
- 'Tis the battery, God help it.
'Tis as dead as the day before
We sent it to Greenhill garage.
That way they'll bring it up to date.
What you're trying to tell me, Mr. Lane,
is that I won't be leaving tonight.
With the help of God, you won't,
But there's some grand mutton
for dinner, ma'am.
There isn't a lady living doesn't prefer
chicken to mutton, amn't I right, Mrs. Landi?
Yes, quite right, Father Devlin.
- Good night.
- Here's to a happy journey to you, ma'am.
And may you be taking a bit of Cloncraig
with you when you go home.
Give Father Devlin half the chance
and he'll do the trick.
But I'm thinking she's a hard
woman to butch.
A hard woman can be turned
into a soft woman.
Like the way you boil an egg
A bit more wine, Mrs. Landi?
More than two glasses, Father,
on holy ground?
Name one single apostle
who's a teetotaler.
How about the children, Mrs. Landi?
Do you never take them along
with you on your travels?
What gave you the idea
I had children, Father?
Even in America they tell me
it's the custom.
There was a time when I wanted a child,
but I couldn't persuade my husband.
And how does he feel about it now?
Since I haven't seen him in years,
I don't think it matters.
- You are divorced then?
- No, separated, permanently.
My husband couldn't play any game,
let alone the game of life without cheating.
He had a very touching faith
that he'd never be caught at it.
Unfortunately, in our case faith
And so, you travel, Mrs. Landi.
Yes, yes, I travel.
Even to the village where I was born.
But there are no answers here
either, I'm afraid.
I'm thinking it's a pity you've no child
to share your life, Mrs.Landi.
- It can be a lonely...
- You're wasting your time, Father.
There's nothing I could do
about the girl.
- The girl?
- You know the one I mean.
The blind one, Esther Costello.
Now I know why you took me there.
What you've been hinting at.
- That's out of the question.
- My dear Mrs. Landis...
If it's a matter of money, I'm happy
to help, but that's all I can do.
Yes, you're right.
Why should I expect an outsider to
help when I myself have failed?
Now you make me feel guilty, Father.
You've no right to.
Sure I have money, but that's
hardly a crime.
Why should I be responsible
for a child I don't even know?
A child who has no claim on me?
No, indeed, why should you?
And the new stained glass
window is a fine generous gift.
- Finish your wine, Mrs. Landi.
- No, thank you, it's getting late.
- I'd better be going.
- Just a bit.
No thank you, Father
- Don't think badly of me.
- No, no, indeed no!
It was a lovely dinner.
Yes... Oh, my goodness me!
I almost forgot!
Would you save me a trip and drop this into
the Costello house as you pass?
- The nights are getting damp.
- Yes, of course.
- Goodbye, Father Devlin.
We'll meet again with the
help of God.
- Good evening.
You poor kid.
Don't be afraid.
I won't hurt you!
Don't be afraid! Come on!
That's a girl.
There, that's right.
How can you leave her alone like this?
Mother of God,
can't an old woman try and forget the pain
and the sorrow for a small hour only?
Is it me you'd have buried in
the darkness, too?
Well, I can't promise you'll get
a seat in heaven,
but I'll raise the devil if you don't.
I'm afraid there'll be standing room
only for me, Father.
- God bless you.
Well, let's go now and drink
to the success of it.
It would be better for you to go up to the
chapel and pray for the success of it.
- Good luck to you, ma'am!
- God bless you, Mrs. Landi.
In my opinion its basis is psychological.
Shock of the explosion, the horror of
having her mother killed before her eyes.
The ensuing years of guilt and neglect.
Is that what you think, too,
I think it is that plus injury
to the nerve centers.
- Then it's utterly hopeless.
- No, no, not entirely hopeless.
She can be taught to
There are special schools
for the blind-deaf...
where she can be taught to communicate.
But not to see, hear, or speak.
One has to substitute touch.
A great deal to be done.
Nature is not unmerciful.
Other people have done it.
Like your own Helen Keller,
And that are excellent schools
- Thank you Dr. Stein, Dr. Blake.
- Mrs. Landi.
When you arrive at Dublin Airport you'll be
met by a car and driven directly to Cloncraig.
Yes, Mrs. Landi.
Deliver the child to Father Devlin
with this letter.
He isn't expecting you so you might
have to wait for him at his house.
- Is that clear?
- Quite clear, madam.
I'll see you in the morning at 9:30.
- Good night, Miss Evans.
- Good night, madam.
What else can I do?
How do I know that you'll ever be
anything more than a helpless nothing?
I can't talk to you!
I can't even reach you!
There must be some way you can signal me
when you have to go to the bathroom.
Stomp your foot, drop a book,
clap your hands.
Yes, clap hands.
Clap hands. Then I'll take you in.
There, now, here.
Clap hands clap hands.
Let's try it once more.
Clap hands, clap hands.
Here we go.
Now, like this. Like this.
Here we go once again.
Clap hands. clap...
Oh, I'm sorry.
Oh, that's wonderful!
- Goodbye, Mrs. Landi.
- Margaret, darling!
I thought you were never coming home!
Margaret, dear, you look absolutely
marvelous! Doesn't she, Liz?
- Liz! Oh, I'm so happy to
Well, here she is!
Should I shake hands or something?
Certainly, and stop whispering,
she can't hear you.
Isn't it terrible?
- She's lovely.
- Yes, isn't she?
Let's see about the luggage, shall we?
Thanks a lot, honey, excuse me.
Pardon me, Mrs. Landi,
I'm Harry Grant of General Press.
How do you do?
This is Mr. Marshall.
- Glad to know you.
- How do you do?
The stewardess told me about
you and the girl.
- Do you mind if I ask a couple of questions?
- Not at all.
Forgive my curiosity,
but what impelled you take on such
a tremendous responsibility?
One look at the girl
should be your answer, Mr. Grant.
Yes, of course.
Well, what are your plans now?
I plan to take her to a school in
Long Island and stay with her for a while.
I see. It's a wonderful thing
you're doing, Mrs. Landi.
If you'll excuse us, sir.
Darling, we really must get going.
- All right. Goodbye
- Goodbye, thanks a lot.
Margaret, it's ridiculous! You must slip the
idea of staying at the school with Esther.
You'd only be in the way and you have
to make a break sometime.
The children are divided into classes
according to the degree of their disability.
This is one of the intermediate
groups of deaf-blind.
We'll decide which school Esther will join
after we learn more about her.
But I want her to have a private
teacher, Mr. Wilson.
- The best available.
- I wish it were possible, Mrs. Landi.
No, if it's a matter of extra
There aren't enough trained
I don't think you realize what
a tough heartbreaking job it is...
...getting through to these children.
I've seen mothers tackle it with
all the devotion in the world...
...and give up in despair in a week.
Excuse me, it is time for
the game, Mr. Wilson.
You'll have to excuse me.
I promised him one of our
ball games for the deaf.
Miss Moore, will you take care
of Esther's things, please?
- Oh, yes, Mr. Wilson.
- One more thing, Mrs. Landi.
I wouldn't advise visiting Esther
for a month or two...
...until she grows accustomed
to the school here.
And don't linger over the goodbyes.
Say goodbye quickly,
it's better that way.
- Goodbye, Mr. Marshall.
- Goodbye Mr. Wilson.
- I'll take her, Mrs. Landi.
- Come on, darling.
Don't reproach yourself Margaret,
you've done everything humanly possible.
And I'm sure she's in good hands.
Mrs. Landi! Mrs. Landi!
I'm terribly sorry, Mrs. Landi.
I just left her alone for a second.
- I'll take her back.
- Yes, Mrs. Landi.
It's no use, Paul, I must stay
- You know how strongly I feel about this.
You still insist on going ahead.
I'm sorry, Paul.
In a case of this kind we first have to find
a way of communicating with the child.
Now, we'll start by having her touch
a familiar object.
And then I'll trace the spelling
of glass in capital letters in her hand.
If she can recall her spelling from
before her accident,
it'll be a tremendous advantage.
If there's no response, do it again.
She may have an unconscious
...to anything in her childhood
from before her accident.
You try, Mrs. Landi, and keep trying...
if it takes weeks.
Esther, stop it!
I had to hit her or she would
have hurt herself.
I didn't mean to slap her,
but I had to.
That's the best news I've had yet.
- All normal children throw fits.
It's a healthy sign.
Relax, Mrs. Landi.
Don't push it too fast.
- Good night.
- Good night, Mr. Wilson, and thank you.
Wonderful! You got every one
of them right! It's wonder...
Now, we put the little finger
on the throat,
right here, so she can feel the
movement of the vocal cords.
These three fingers pick up
the vibration from the cheek.
The thumb takes care of the movement
of the lips and the expulsion of the breath.
Now in the beginning, we use
And after a time, only one hand
Start with the word "book".
- Slowly. Enunciate.
Print "book" in her hand so she'll
know what word you're saying.
Now may I have the giraffe?
No, I said the...
Now may I have the giraffe?
Your hair is brown like the earth.
Someday maybe you will see again.
Your mother and father are in heaven.
I am your...
- Goodbye, Mrs. Landi.
- Goodbye, David.
You know that story I wanted
to do last week?
- The one at Harvard?
- Yeah, well the editor says I can do it.
- You know if I do a good job on that,
- I'll probably get it on a New York paper.
Go ahead, Bob, I'll see you later.
- Pardon me, aren't you Mrs. Landi?
Remember me? Harry Grant,
of General Press.
- I interviewed you once
- Oh yes, the reporter at the airport.
- That's right. May I?
Say, what ever became of the girl,
She's still in the city.
- Oh, so she hasn't gone back to Ireland.
Would you like to see her?
- Come along.
- This is...?
- Yes, this is Esther.
She's very pretty!
There's a Mr. Grant here, dear.
He saw you the day we arrived in America.
- She understands!
- She does much more than that.
She reads, writes and studies.
She's been racing through Dickens
until her fingers are wrought.
She wants to know what you
What are you going to tell her?
She wants to find out for herself.
I warn you, she's still innocent enough to
be absolutely truthful.
- He's strong, he smokes a pipe...
He drank whiskey today.
He needs a haircut...
...and he's a good man.
You've done a wonderful job,
All I did was bring out the
intelligence she's always had.
Look, Mrs. Landi, This is a terrific story.
I'd like to write it if you wouldn't mind.
- Not if you think it's worth it.
- I'll say it's worth it.
Look would it be alright if we came over to
your place tonight and got a few pictures?
- If you like.
- Goodbye Est..
Print the word goodbye
in the palm of her hand.
- Yeah, I know.
What does she want?
She says to tell your wife to sew a
button on your coat sleeve.
Tell her I would, if I had a wife.
- I'll see you later.
Of course dear,
you're very pretty!
Yes, darling, I'm sure some man
will love you.
Perhaps a person can stop loving,
it isn't very easy.
"Margaret Landi has resurrected
this child from death to life.
With a tireless sacrifice, she has
transformed a lump of clay...
...into a human being."
- How corny can you get, kid?
- But it's true, Mr. Ryan.
She's an amazing woman!
If anyone is a saint, if anyone is
a savior, it's Margaret Landi.
The trouble with you is you feel
things instead of reporting them.
It's as if you want to get
involved in the world's troubles.
If anyone is a savior!
Alright Mr. Ryan, kill the story
if you don't like it.
I hate it, which means that people
will lop it up.
- Run this in the evening edition.
- You mean you're going to run it?
- It'll sell papers.
Thanks, Mr. Ryan!
While most of you have read this truly
amazing story in the papers this past week,
we count ourselves fortunate indeed...
...that Mrs. Landi and Esther have accepted
our invitation to be with us this afternoon.
Let us thank Mrs. Landi...
for giving us a living example of
patience, faith and devotion.
Now, Mrs. Landi.
Ladies and gentlemen,
children of St. Luke's school,
I have never spoken in
public before and I'll be very brief.
However discouraging the struggle was,
I have been amply rewarded...
...by the joy of seeing her part
of the living world again.
I will tell Esther how you feel
I will tell her that you love her
and that you are all praying for her.
Esther wants me to tell you that she
is very happy and grateful to be here.
Even though Mother Superior
has asked me to present the prizes,
I think they should be presented
by Esther herself.
Call it a thank offering, I know
you'll find use for it.
- For Esther, for all the blind.
- No, really, I...
You could do a lot of good with it,
Maybe you could start a fund
of some kind.
I hadn't thought of it.
You should tell more people your
Just think what you and
Esther could accomplish together!
Now, Esther wants me to tell you...
how deeply grateful she is for
...and your generosity to those like her
whose only hope is you.
Esther joins me in tendering our heartfelt
thanks for their generous contributions.
And, regarding your invitation
to address your junior group,
we will not be free to do so
until the 28th.
Oh, you'd better make it the 30th,
Mrs. Landi. We're booked solid.
Write for details, etc.
- Another proposal of marriage!
- For you or Esther?
She gets ten to my one.
A whopper arrived from somebody
who's maybe a relative of yours.
- Look, same name!
- I don't have any relatives.
- Where was this mailed from?
- Right here, in the city.
Continental Art Galleries,
New York, Boston, and Philadelphia.
He doesn't know anything about art!
May I help you, madam?
Oh, no thank you.
I'm afraid I don't like it very much.
If you'll be so kind to step back.
I see what you mean.
I still think it has too many
- There is one. Please, will you...
You know, paintings do
something to me.
Look at his one, please.
Oh... No, I'm afraid I don't like
Let the painting speak to you,
There's plenty to say.
Of a certain emotional tension,
- And you think he'd be a good investment?
- Excelent, madam.
A little erratic, perhaps. Eccentric...
- You know so much about art, Mr. Landi.
- Thank you, madam.
Strange! I was thinking the same
Oh well, I think I'll go have
another look around.
How are you. Margherita?
What are you doing in an art gallery?
Didn't I hear you were somewhere in Cairo,
doing something strange like...
...buying mummies, or was it selling
orchids on the Amazon?
How are you, Margherita?
How long have pictures
been speaking to you, Carlo?
About two years.
It's astonishing what they say
to you at times.
Yes, I can imagine. And did they tell you
to send me the check for 250 dollars?
That sort of money wouldn't
mean much to you, Margherita.
I sent it to your charity.
I read a report of your speech last night,
I was most touched.
You haven't changed, Margherita.
With your high principles and your strict
rules of how people should behave.
Can the money do less good
because it comes from me?
Mr. Landi, I'm simply mad about that little
pink nude in the corner.
But I just don't know how it'll go
against my terracotta wall.
Oh. it wouldn't.
You must have it repainted.
- What, the nude?
- No, madam, the wall.
Now don't be a child, Margherita,
keep the money.
Surely we have more important things
to say to each other after so many years.
- It's all been said.
- I thought so too, but...
Then one night in a hotel room
...I found myself writing a long
letter to you.
It's strange, I never got it.
- I never sent it
- You haven't changed either, Carlo.
Margherita, I have to go to New York,
but I'll be back in town on Friday.
- Please, Carlo.
- Life is too short.
I want to see you again.
- Listen to me, Margherita.
Can you really believe that five years of
separation has taught me nothing?
Let me see you again and talk to you.
There is so much to say.
- We've said it all.
- No more words, no more arguments.
Just a friendly meeting between two
people who used two love each other.
I'll call you when I return.
"To Margaret Landi and to Esther,
with love and gratitude...
...for your generous gift to the
Atlantic Institute, from its pupils."
Margaret, I could weep, it's so touching.
And worth every penny of the
$5,000 you gave.
And more than money is involved,
The encouragement the children get
knowing what Esther has accomplished.
And Mrs. Landi, dear!
When are you going to visit us again
in the Institute?
Oh soon, very soon.
Mrs. Landi, Mr. Landi calling.
Tell him I'm not in.
Aren't you going to answer
That was the doorman
telling me you were on your way up.
- Would you like a drink?
- Thank you.
I walked up and down here, alone.
I have lived our life together
a thousand times over.
The basic fault in it was me.
With every year of our
separation I saw that more clearly.
I don't like to see you humble, Carlo.
It doesn't suit you.
I thought it might make a change.
- Why did you come here?
- I couldn't stay away.
You must go, you know.
Yes, I know.
It's something to have seen you again.
It's not enough, it's something.
And I thought perhaps for you too.
If I said yes, I wouldn't be telling
It's terrible that you and I should
be trying to look like strangers.
Good morning, Esther.
Don't look so startled, darling.
It's only Esther, she won't bite you.
Tell her I've got nothing on!
You don't have to whisper,
she can't hear you.
Listen, and listen carefully.
Carlo has come back.
My husband Carlo.
He's going to live with us.
He's right here in this very room.
Of course I'm glad.
Very glad, and you will be too
when you get to know him.
She wants to touch your hand.
I don't know what to say.
Tell her she's charming.
Carlo says you're charming.
Poor child, such a terrible thing!
She's happier than you think.
And so am I, darling.
Wonderfully, ridiculously happy!
And I have to learn about this new
life of yours and how to fit into it.
Suddenly it seems so unimportant,
these meetings and this fund business.
I want to give it all up to just
live quietly with you.
No, darling, I wouldn't want that
on my conscience.
My work is trivial compared
Yours is great.
I could never let you
give it up just for me.
- We'll have to figure it out.
- You figure it out.
Esther says you can prove your love
by following your heart.
By helping others like herself. By giving
to the Esther Costello fund.
You were magnificent.
I've never been so proud of you!
And I've never been so tired.
Three meetings in one week.
You need more than one secretary
to help you.
You may be right.
I know a man who would be
just right if he's available.
You shouldn't have all these details
to worry over.
- Thank you, darling.
- To us!
That's not too bad for an
eye catcher, is it?
But it gives the wrong impression,
Mr. Wenzel. Esther is not helpless.
Let me ask you, Mrs. Landi.
Did you ever see a polio poster of a
child who didn't have crutches?
Or a Korean orphan who wasn't
Believe me, I know from long experience
what's most effective.
Let's leave it for now,
we'll decide on Tuesday.
Well now, the uniforms.
If we can dress beautiful
live dolls like this,
I predict a membership on the
Esther Costello Club...
...of half a million kids inside
- I think it's adorable!
- Thank you.
What do you say?
- I'd like to think about it.
- Don't think, Mrs. Landi. Multiply!
A half a million children paying
only 10 cents dues a month.
I said I'd like to think about it.
- Fine, Fine.
- Mr. Wenzel, it's NBC.
- Excuse me.
- It can be a talking doll.
- I told you he was a genius.
- Is he?
- I just don't know.
- Oh, he's got everything.
Vitality, ideas, imagination.
But it seems to be getting
out of hand.
I've just never seen it on
such a grand scale.
The grander the scale...
...the more money for the people
who live their lives in the dark.
Don't forget some of them are still begging,
rattling their cups in the street for pennies.
Well, we are going to do the
rattling for them.
The louder, the better!
Mrs. Landi, Mr. Grant is here.
- Hello, Mrs. Landi.
- Harry, I'm so glad you could come.
Nice of you to ask me. The city's
like a furnace today.
- How are you, Mr. Landi?
- Fine, thank you.
I'd like you to meet some friends who
have agreed to sponsor Mrs. Landi's fund.
The former Olympic champion,
- Glad to meet you.
- Reverend Binder.
- How do you do, son?
- Senator O'Shea.
How do you do, sir?
- Where's Esther?
- Oh, I'm sorry. Excuse me, please.
She's right down there on the
beach waiting for you.
- Didn't you bring your swimming shorts?
- I got them on.
Sure, I'll be ready in a couple
Sure is hot in the city today.
We did it.
A nationwide TV hook-up
all ready to go.
- Good boy, Frank!
All you got to do is say the word
and we're off.
- I suppose so.
I'll call right back and start
the wheels rolling.
I no longer seem to be my own boss.
Well, that means you have more
time for me.
She's all in Carlo.
There's been no letup for
a whole month.
The strain's too much for her.
She's got to have a rest.
- Poor baby.
- Me, too.
Wenzel's organizing us right
into our graves.
I told them their schedule was
Then he'll just have to
postpone the big meeting.
But he can't.
Darling, when that's over
we'll go for a vacation, the three of us.
There are thousands, hundreds of
thousands of people all over the country...
...waiting to give their help towards
what that we stand for.
I'm sure you here tonight
that a temple for the blind
and the afflicted...
a great chain of temples
should be built...
...to care for those who
cannot care for themselves,
to carry Esther's message
of hope and love.
With God's help and with yours,
we will see those temples built
and doing their blessed work.
God bless everyone of you!
# Lead, kindly Light, #
# amid the encircling gloom #
# Lead Thou me on #
# The night is dark #
# And I am far from home #
# Lead Thou me on #
# Keep Thou my feet #
# I do not ask to see #
# The distant scene #
# One step enough for me #
# Amen #
And now dear friends,
Esther herself has a message for you.
Dear friends, whom I cannot see,
I can feel your love coming
across to me like a great wave,
and I am made happy.
I know you will want to make
others like myself happy too.
So for their sake, please,
We're with you, Esther!
The biggest thing since Ben Hur.
All they need is 100 diving girls
Blindness, to quote Milton, knows no
Now, however great our mean are here, the
needs across the sea are even greater.
That's why we've decided to tour
England and the Continent.
- 50,000 dollars in one night!
I can't tell you how proud I was when I saw
you holding that great crowd by the mouth.
You know, darling, one more brandy and
you'll be putting a halo around my head.
I wish everybody would go.
Then we could be alone.
I'll miss you when you go away.
No, I cannot go with you.
But we can write to each other.
Sorry, say that again.
Sure I like girls.
But not the way I like you.
You're beautiful, Esther.
- It's a lovely party.
- Thank you.
- Why, Tammy, come in.
- No, thanks, Mrs. Landi.
- What's wrong?
- I just want to say goodbye to you.
What on earth are you
- Didn't Mr. Wenzel tell you?
- Tell me what?
Right after you and Esther left the meeting
he gave me a month's salary...
...and said I wouldn't be needed
Oh, Tammy, there must be some mistake.
You wait, I'll go talk to him right away.
No, wait, Mrs. Landi.
You see, when I asked him why
he was letting me go,
he said it was Mrs. Landi's orders.
Oh, I... I don't want to cause any
embarrassment. Esther's such a lovely girl.
The results were so gratifying.
Just to think that tonight alone
we collected over $70,000.
Did you say $70,000?
Yes, I totalled 60 before Mr. Wenzel
spoke to me.
And then there were at least
10 more in checks.
- Goodbye, Mrs. Landi.
- Tammy, you can't go.
Thank you, Tammy.
Is that the reason you let her go?
Isn't that reason enough?
Or was it because she couldn't
make $70,000 look like 50,000?
You mean because Wenzel deducted
20,000 from the total?
Oh, Margherita, surely you don't think...
But there were certain expenses
to be paid out in cash.
I knew about it, something to do
with saving taxes.
And there was an immediate outlay
to our advance agents in Europe.
All legal, darling.
All in good order.
You look as if you doubt me.
Ready as you have always been
to judge and condemn me.
Simply because of one foolish
I'm tired, I'm going to bed.
What are we doing?
What's happening to us?
Trust me, darling.
Everything is going to be alright.
Just trust me.
Benefit meet at Longchamps nets
over 10.000 dollars for Esther Costello Fund.
Do you want a tip, kid? Grab yourself
100 shares of the Esther Costello Inc.
- It's harder than General Motors.
- Mr. Ryan, if you're suggesting...
Don't be na?ve, this is big business!
- Where's all that cash going?
- You've seen the list of donations turnover!
- You printed them.
But how much of it gets lost
It must be pretty tempting over there
with nobody to check up on it.
Wait up, Mr. Ryan.
I don't like some things either, but I'll
be damned if I'll suspect the worst.
Because you don't want to.
How old are you, Harry, 25?
- That's five year less...
than the time I've spent on this sheet.
If there's one thing I've learned...
...it's the infinite variety of evil
the human mind can conceive.
Believe me, kid, I relish proof
Look, Mr. Ryan you're flying to Europe
next week. Take me with you.
I promise I'll dig up enough
facts to make you eat your words.
Naturally your interest in going has
nothing to do with seeing that nice girl.
Maybe it has.
Don't hold me to it,
I'll see what I can do.
Meanwhile, mamma mia, how they must be
milking those soft-hearted italians.
Your birthday cake is right
in front of you.
Make you wish and then blow
out the candles.
They all went out.
I do hope your wish come true.
May I have the first dance?
What do you say, signora? Let's show these
Romans how we do it in Chicago, huh?
The way I see it, every
locality is different.
Now, Milan and Rome it was the ordinary
citizen who opened up his heart.
In Venice it's gonna be the cream,
the descendents of the old dogs.
Wenzel, the name is "dogi".
These long, dull train trips.
Why didn't we drive?
Because we've got a schedule to meet,
- You got that new list of patrons, Carlo?
In order of social rank.
Venetians are a sensitive people.
Here it is.
Isn't that a letter in Braille for Esther?
Oh, how careless of me.
I got the mail this morning,
I forgot to give it to her.
Esther, you have a letter from
Harry from Paris.
It's becoming quite a habit with you
forgetting, isn't it, Carlo?
Maybe it's time you did something
Maybe it would help your memory
if you would cut down on your drinking.
Think of the electricity bills we'd save
if we could all do that, huh?
Well, I guess I'll, uh...
I'll buy me a lemonade.
You know, a guy named Aesop once wrote a
story about a goose that laid a golden egg.
Till the owner one day went
off his rocker and killed the bird.
Never mind that look, signore.
Don't forget I got a stake in this too.
You little fool!
Don't you know better than to
go round like that? Don't you?
- Hello Carlo.
- Hello, darling.
- Fix me a drink, will you?
What time are we due for dinner?
Nine-thirty, you'd better start
Yes, I know.
Where were you this beautiful afternoon?
Buying something beautiful for you.
Where were you this afternoon?
Oh, darling, they are wonderful...
- What's the occasion?
- We're in Venice and we're together.
- Isn't that enough?
You know there must be
something in the air of this city.
Something very special for
people in love.
You can't imagine what Esther's
like since that last letter from Harry.
What a pity you don't read Braille.
The tender sentiments that come
from those tiny dots.
All she can dream of is the day he'll
come like a knight on a white horse...
...and carry her away.
- Could I have another one?
Not that I blame her, poor child.
She hates this way of living.
Constantly on exhibition, people
pawing over her as if she were a freak,
strange places to get used to
It's too much for her, Carlo,
she can't stand it.
Why should I lie, I'm the one
who can't stand it!
The whole filthy swindle and
Please, Carlo, let's cancel the tour
and go back to America now.
I know money is important
to you, but I have enough.
I'll even sell everything back home...
...and we can come to Europe
and live quietly just the two of us.
The two of us?
Yes, I'll get a companion for Esther,
someone to take my place.
I'll send her to school, to college.
Others like her have done it,
and she'll be so much happier for it.
You talk as if you wanted to
get rid of her!
What of it? Maybe I'm thinking
of myself too.
Carlo, I've closed my eyes
to many things.
I've never asked any favors.
I'm asking a favor now.
- Stop the tour.
- We can't, it's too sudden.
Stop the tour!
After London we'll quit.
- And be done with it.
- Oh, thank you!
It's only three days ago that
And this was Esther Costello's
A most charming family.
- You have heard of them, of course.
- Yes, I've heard them.
How much rent are you asking,
60,000 lire per day
including the servants, of course.
Considering that this Palace was
...by the Duke Fabrizzi, it's quite
Sorry, there isn't a ticket available.
We're even trying to put extra
seats on the stage.
Call us back in a couple of hours,
- I want those things by noon tomorrow.
- Yes, sir.
- Even if you are to stay up all night!
- Yes, Mr. Wenzel.
Is there any truth in the report
that Esther is ill, Mrs. Landi?
No, not really ill, just exhausted
from the strain of the last few months.
Where is Mr. Landi?
As a matter of fact he's
on his way to Glasgow now...
...to explain the situation and
cancel next week's engagement.
But he'll return tomorrow.
Where are you going when
you leave London, Mrs.Landi?
Back to America for a long rest,
and to put Esther in college.
You mean you're giving up
the work for the fund?
- Do you mind if we break it up, fellas?
- No, no...
- We've got a very big day tomorrow.
- Yes, indeed.
Thank you very much for
Thank you, fellows, goodbye now.
I don't know whether I heard you
right, about your plans for Esther.
Didn't Carlo tell you?
He told me we were cutting
short here, nothing else.
- Nothing about canceling out back home.
- Those are the plans.
This is Mrs. Landi speaking.
Is Esther alright?
Be sure she gets to bed early.
And if you want me you can reach me
at the Federation for the blind in Brighton.
No, no, I won't be home until
Let's get something straight.
I've laid out a "Welcome Home Esther"
campaign that's good for a million dollars.
- I've also lined up...
- I'm sorry Wenzel, it's over.
Hold it, Margaret.
I've put a lot of sweat into this
operation and I'm not gonna see it sunk.
Just because your husband can't keep his
eyes where they belong...
Get me London airport.
British European Airways has announced
...of their Viscount flight 908 to Glasgow.
Attention please! Will Mr. Carlo Landi
...to the British European Airways
Mr. Carlo Landi to report to the
British European Airways counter...
- Call for you, Mr. Landi.
- Thank you.
You'd better hurry.
- Hello, Carlo?
What's the big idea?
I just learned from Margaret that the
American tour is being canceled.
Calm down, Wenzel.
What was the point of telling you?
Once we get back to America
I'm sure I can change her mind.
You'd better. She's keeping Esther
out of site like she was poison.
Right now she's put her to bed and gone
off to Brighton alone, without her.
Carlo, did you hear me?
Mr. Landi, you'll miss
Carlo, are you there?
Oh, Mr. Landi.
Shall I book you a space
on the midnight flight?
Esther, what's wrong?
Oh, my God!
Esther, take this sleeping pill.
BEA, this is Mrs. Carlo Landi
Can you tell me if Mr. Landi
left on the evening plane for Glasgow?
The midnight plane.
No! No, you can't!
Esther... No, baby no!
No, baby. No.
Listen to me.
You haven't done anything wrong.
I'm the one to blame!
It's my fault... not yours.
You have so much to live for!
So many good things!
Hold me tightly.
You're the only one in the world
that matters to me.
Do you understand that?
You can speak.
Dear God, you can see!
But if it weren't important, I wouldn't
ask it of you. I need you here today.
It's 30 years since I've been
in that heathen country.
But if you need me Mrs. Landi,
I'll be there.
Fly? Yes, I suppose I shall
have to fly.
Thank you, Father.
BEA, could you tell me when the plane
gets in from Glasgow this afternoon?
"Donations to non-existent charitable
organizations for the blind...
"...complete this revolting record."
Nice job, kid.
Thanks. It's the dirtiest job
I've ever undertaken.
The uncovering of truth often is.
You haven't talked to them since you
got in last night, have you?
No, I haven't. They weren't in,
or they weren't taking calls.
You don't think they caught wind
of this, do you?
I don't know. But they're stalling
I got an urgent message from
She wants to see me at 3 o'clock
You're not in love with this girl,
- Careful boy, pity isn't love.
- Who said it was pity?
Sure, boy, sure.
Now, about this copy.
Let's see, the big shindig at the
Festival Hall starts 8:30.
If can make the late afternoon
- Mr. Ryan
- I want you to hold it.
As a personal favor to me,
just for a few hours.
Look, it doesn't matter how you slice it,
that poor kid's gonna be hurt.
Okay, at least I want to make it easier
for her when it does explode.
You got a great story here,
These sort of things don't come
together very often.
The devil with the timing!
Look, Mr. Ryan,
I gotta get Esther out of their way
before their lousy house falls in on her.
- I've uncovered some pretty ugly facts.
- That doesn't surprise me in the least.
- You don't deny them then?
- What's the use?
Facts are facts.
How low can people sink?
Much lower than you'd ever believe.
But using Esther that way.
Harry, how do you feel
I've come to take her away
You and your filthy racket.
- You really mean that?
- Try and stop me.
She's waiting for you in that room.
I'm here, Esther, and I'm not going
to leave you.
British European Airways has
announced the arrival...
...of their Viscount flight 907
Passengers will enter the building
through gate 4.
What a pleasant surprise, darling,
I didn't expect you.
It was a sudden idea.
How was the flight?
A little rough.
You look a bit edgy.
Let's have a drink before we go.
- Two Sherry's, please
- Very good, sir.
It's a pity you had to cancel
the Glasgow meeting.
- They were terribly disappointed.
- Yes, too bad.
- Did you see Wenzel today?
- No, I was busy with other matters.
- For one thing Harry arrived.
- That was unexpected, surely.
- How wonderful.
I think we should discuss our
The future seems very simple to me.
Good, good, darling. I too have a desire
for a more simple life.
Let's go, shall we?
Esther COSTELLO TRAGEDY
What should I tell them, Mr. Wenzel?
I couldn't care less!
I don't understand.
Mr. Wenzel, please!
The hall is packed, I've got to tell
those people something.
All right, tell them the truth
Tell them that Mr. and Mrs. Landi
were killed in an automobile accident.
Killed in an automobile accident?
Yeah, please omit flowers.
- What about Miss Costello?
- I don't know and I don't care!
I'm no longer associated with the fund.
I can't go in there.
I can't do it without her.
Yes, you can, child.
You can, you must.
For her. It's the least
of all you owe her.
When you were chained
in darkness, she spoke for you.
Now that you're free,
you must speak for her.
You can, and you shall.
What would she want me
to say, Father?
That you, that those that are
...must carry on the work she began.
But will they believe me?
What will they think when they
hear me speak?
Will they believe that I was truly
deaf and blind?
They'll believe you, because
they'd rather believe the truth.
Because the truth can never
And because you are the truth.
You have to release the story.
What good would it do now?
Now that it's no longer a shindig...
...it won't sell any papers.
Come on, let's go in.
Subtitles: Lu?s Filipe Bernardes.
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