The Visit (1964) - full transcript

Carla Zachanassian had a child by Serge Miller as a teenager. When Serge refused to marry her, she was driven out of town. By her own wit and cunning, she has returned as a multi-millionaire for a visit. The town lays out the red carpet expecting big things from Carla, only to learn that her sole purpose is to see Serge Miller killed...

Attention! Hello! Hello!
Citizens of Guellen!

Hello! You have all now
heard the great news.

We are asking all people of Guellen to
prepare themselves for this great event.

It is our duty to ensure a royal
welcome to Madame Zachanassian,

who will arrive in a few hours!
Citizens of Guellen!

I therefore ask all citizens to assemble.

It is up to you to prove that our
Guellen never forgets its own!

Good morning, Mr. Mayor! - Be careful.
I want everything organized and arranged.

Come inside, your honor!
Come along, Anya.

Good. Very good!
Alright. Hurry up!

Yes, that's gonna look fine!
- Anya! Here, take this.

Good. Now it works.

Oh, hope this is finished in time.
- Yes. It certainly is.

Cover that up with something!
- Oh yes, Sir.

Oh, have that fixed. I want every detail
worked out. - I understand. No slip-ups.

Is she really that rich?
- Rich? Madame Zachanassian?

Known in the world as Madame Petroleum.
A title she inherited from her late husband.

Mr. Zachanassian,
better known as Mr. Petroleum.

He owned 5% of the whole world.
Then he died. Now she owns it.

And just think...
She was born here the way I was.

Why is she coming back?
- I wish we only knew.

Good. You are doing
a fine job, Anya. - Thank you.

Members of the sporting club of Guellen,
fellow athletes,

we may have been hit by misfortune,
but we have not been defeated!

We have not lost our pride in ourselves!

Each man must wear
a clean pressed shirt!

Now is the time for everyone of us
to look his best.

And let's try to keep in step.

How are you? Hello.
It's going to be a great reception!

I don't want to put patches on. it's
difficult when it's almost worn through.

We mustn't underestimate the importance
of appearance, especially his!

Ah, Serge! Or am I saying
something I shouldn't?

Am I supposed to be jealous at my age?
- I knew her better than anybody else,

but if you ask me... I'd say our best
approach is not to try to fool her.

You know... Karla's...
She's too sharp.

No, I'd say honestly and openly:

Our mine is shut down, our factories are
closed, our entire population is on relief.

Let's face it: we are bankrupt.

And I'd say: now that you've become
one of the riches women in the world...

Help us.

You are our only hope.

Well, you'd certainly convince me.
- And me too.

Mrs. Miller, we were wondering, if you...

At the beginning, if you could...
just sort of stay in the background?

Oh, I do understand.
- You're very understanding, Mrs. Miller.

I try. - Serge, come on,
we need you. - Here, take this!

Mrs. Miller... Could you wait on me now?
- Yes, right away. - I'm in a big hurry.

Oh, thank you, Dobrik. - What was
she really like, Mr. Miller? - Karla?

Well, Karla was my youth!
You know, now as I think of her,

she seems to me the most
beautiful girl that ever was.

She was graceful as a willow with
flaming red hair that fell below her hips.

Then why didn't you marry her?
What happened?

Well... Life tore us apart.

I wasn't here 20 years ago.
What did he mean?

Exactly that: Life tore them apart.
- What are you doing?

What is that? "Welcome Karla"?
- A welcome for little Karla Wechsler,

the redhead that used
to swim nude in the river.

Does that give you the right to call her
by her first name? - No harm done. Anyway:

I painted "Welcome Zachanassian"
on the other side.

If she shows herself very friendly,
we can always turn the sign around.

Oh, Mayor? - Yes? - You wanna make a point
about Karla's generosity in your speech?

She was generous to a fault. - Right. I'll
emphasize that. Any other suggestions?

Say something about her sense of justice.
It was deep... it was very deep.

Oh Miller, you're so respected, there's
no question you'll be our next Mayor.

Oh no. - Yes, you will.
- Absolutely. - No doubt, Miller.

Well, that would be the
greatest moment of my life!

Hey, what's that?
- It's alright. That's not her train.

It's the Diplomat Express. it doesn't
stop here anymore. - Oh yeah, I forgot!

What's happened?


Believe me, dear Lady, when I say
that you caught us unaware.

Forgive our appearance. We had
planned a more fitting reception.

Little Karla... Little Karla.

As Mayor of Guellen I'd like to
say a few words of welcome...

I demand... Who's in charge here?
Who pulled that cord?

I'm in charge. Now look...
- I repeat. Who pulled that cord?

Why... I pulled that cord.

You? - Me. - You have stopped
the Diplomat Express.

You have disrupted international
schedules. Now tell me why?

You could hardly expect me
to jump off the moving train.

And since I wanted to stop here at Guellen...
- Madame, once a week, every week,

one whole train comes to a
complete and full stop at Guellen.

As a matter of fact, this very day
in a few hours... - I couldn't wait.

Here... This is for you.

But, Madame... It's a thousand.

And this is for the
railway's widows fund.

Good Heavens... Five thousand!

Madame, no such fund exists.
- It does now.

The lady is Madame Zachanassian.

Madame Zachanassian...
I had no idea...

Please don't disrupt your international
schedule any longer. - Madame.

So good to have you back, little Karla.
- Like one of the family.

But I must have been
such a trouble to you...

Or don't you remember
how you had to beat me every day?

No trouble at all.
None. Really. A delight.


Karla. - Serge...

You've changed. But not too much.

A dash of grey. But he's still handsome.

Don't tell me, I haven't changed.
- Yes, you have.

You've become more beautiful.

It was good of you, to come back to us.
- I've been planning it for years.

In fact, ever since I left.

It's almost... 20 years.

Have you thought about me, Serge?

Always, Karla. - We had our
good moments together, didn't we?


Do you remember
what you used to call me?

Call me that!

My little witch.

Go on...

My little wildcat.

And I used to call you:
My panther. My wild panther.

Oh, look... Oh no.

It's still standing. - Your late
father built well, gracious lady.

Remember Serge, how I used
to sit on the roof, spitting?

Only on men, of course.
- Of course. Of course, I remember.

And then, that day when you didn't
meet me, I threw tiles. And the police...

Oh, where's the police?
- Captain... Captain! Quick!

You've lasted well, Dobrik.
- We keep physically fit, Madame.

And have you learned how to
wink an eye at things by now?

Would I today be Captain of the
Guellen constabulary, if I hadn't?

I'll remember that.
I've thought of you often, Pastor.

In the town jail, when my mother
lay dying, how you consoled her.

Only part of my humble task, Madame.

I can still see your white head murmuring
to the condemned man in the next cell.

You will be pleased to know the death
penalty has been abolished... - Yes,

and I personally am proud to think
it was my newspaper, the Guellen Tribune,

which led the campaign against
this medieval punishment.

I suppose it could always
be restored, if necessary.

Isn't there some sort of provision
in the constitution? - Yes, there is.

In case of an emergency
we can always change the constitution.

Come, we're wasting a lovely day!
- Dobrik! The car. Hurry up!

We've arranged a little tour.
The old palace... - No, no, no.

First I want to go with Serge to the
places we knew so well. Remember?

Hm? Oh, yes.

Oh, what a pretty girl.
What are you doing in Guellen?

I... I work at the Golden Apostle.

I used to work at the
Golden Apostle myself.

Then, one day, I lost my job.

Haven't I seen you gentlemen
somewhere before? - It's possible.

We've been to many places. - Ah.

I know, I've seen them somewhere before.

Waiter? Four glasses.

I'm a conservative man, gentlemen.
But I'd say, our troubles are over.

First thing we do is restore
the church and get a new bell.

Look at those bags. Look at that staff.
She's come for a nice long stay.

Yes, but I still want to know why.

She was born here.
She spent her youth here.

Two good reasons not to come back.

Doctors... They cut up corpses and
they think they know about people.

The human heart, my dear doctor...
That's where you must look.

I have.

And I hate to tell you what I found.

Our heart, Serge.

It's grown...
The tree has gotten older.

No, it's still young.

Young and strong.

And the hut hasn't changed, either.
But it was already old,

the first time we came here.
- The first time.

Gypsies! No, but that's not possible.

Oh, they're always around here.

But it's almost exactly like...

like the first time.

Or don't you remember? - Yes.

Yes, I remember. - I didn't have
much of a chance, did I Serge?

I mean the day... like today...
Oh, so warm and lovely.

So soft.

With a gentle wind...

We'd been swimming.
And then your kisses, like butterflies,

playing around my cheeks...
my lips...

And then, of course, when
those gypsies decided to play...

Oh, you know, girls are so funny.

You know, what I thought
when I was in your arms?

In a man's arms for
the first time in my life?

I thought, I'd better pretend
not to enjoy this so much,

or he'll never believe he's the first.

It was important for me
that you knew you were the first.

We were both... both so young.

I don't know whether
you believed me or not.

It was hard for me to pretend.

I was too much in love with you.

I think I screamed.

I remember how surprised I was that
those damn gypsies were still playing.

And then you married Mathilda Kovach.

Her father owned the general store.
- Lucky for you I did, Karla.

You would have been stuck in Guellen,
living a miserable life with me.

Instead I went to Trieste,
where I met Mr. Zachanassian.

In a whorehouse! Oh...

it was my hair he loved.
Oh, Mr. Zachanassian was very strange

about women's hair.

So Mathilda hasn't made you happy?
- Happy?

I've hardly been out of Guellen.
Five days at the lake.

Our honeymoon.
It rained four days.

Well... The world's the same everywhere.

At least you have seen it.
- Seen it? I own it!

It was better you went away, Karla.

What am I?
A small shopkeeper in a dying town.

Look at it.
The mine closed down, like...

like everything else.
- Maybe things will get better now?

You mean...

You mean, you'll help us?

Karla! Karla.

If only you knew
how it is with us here...

A few hundred thousand...
- A few hundred thousand? That's nothing.

I knew you wouldn't forget us.

I'd like to wipe out the years...
go back.

Is that what you would really want?

Yes... Yes, I would.

Maybe we can.
In our own way. Who knows?

She once worked here as a maid.
Did you know?

Did you know her when she was a girl?

They say, she used to swim naked
in the river. Did you ever see her?

- She must have been beautiful.

She was.

Were you ever with her? Like this...

with me?

No... No, never.

How did she get away from Guellen?

Did somebody help her?

Where did she get the money? - Anya,
I must leave soon. I can't stay too long.

You always have to leave!
When will you take me away?

Don't say soon.
I want to know when?

When? - Soon. Soon, Anya. Soon.

Soon. - Soon...

Anya, I'll take you away. I swear it.

Men... Men.

It's her! Madame Zachanassian.

The young look for tonight, George.
- As you wish, Madame.

Anya! That's your name, isn't it?

I see you've done your hair differently.
- Yes, Madame.

What does your father do, Anya?
- He used to work in the mine. But he died.

My mother too. - Then you're alone?

No, I have a brother,
but he left Guellen.

The minute someone's over 18 he leaves.
- You're over 18. You didn't leave.

Try this one, George.
- Yes, Madame. - Who is he?

He... We are so wonderful together.

You'd never think it to look at him,
but when we're alone...

Just to let you know I have arrived,
if you should need me. - Tonight.

Everything is ready. I am ready.

It only lasts a moment, Anya.

I don't know who he is, but don't
waste it on him. You can go now.

Thank you, Madame.

Mayor... I have in mind
a public works program.

You know... Aid to small business,
encouragement of tourism...

Did she actually say she'd give us the money?
- And if so, what are the exact figures?

Well, doctor... Now, maybe I haven't
been to university like some people...

True, I began as a humble factory worker,
but I can confidently say,

the size of the loan will be
adjusted to our needs. - Loan?

Did she actually use the word 'loan'?
- Well, of course it's a loan.

What are we asking for? Charity?

Mathilda Kovach. - Miller. Mathilda Miller.
- I always think of you as Kovach.

Well, life hasn't been so bad for you.
But I see what you mean.

My wife.

My wife.

My wife. - My wife.

If you intend to make a speech, Mr. Mayor,
now is as good a time as any.

Dear lady... Fellow Guelleners...

A long time has passed,
since you left our little town.

Almost two decades. A long time.

It has gone sadly with the world...
it has gone sadly with us.

And yet, the roots
of Guellen are so deep,

that never have we forgotten our Karla.

Our gracious lady.

Will it surprise you, if we
remember so much about you?

Your father, the well-known
architect and builder.

Your mother...

who, with any imagination did not know,

you were destined for higher things.

Even today your schoolroom achievements
are held up as an example

by our wise professor here.

And... your generosity...

Do we not know, dear lady,
that you, although a mere child,

brought a sack of potatoes
to a starving widow?

And so let us say, gracious Karla:

Welcome, dear Karla Zachanassian!
God bless dear Karla Zachanassian!

Your honor... Distinguished guests!

Fellow Guellenites!

How beautifully our mayor
spoke about me.

And yet, there was not one
word of truth in all he said.

Everybody knows that my father was
not an architect. He was a bricklayer.

And always so drunk that he refused to
work on any building too high to fall from.

And I was not really the kind of
child our mayor described.

There was hardly a day that our poor
overworked professor didn't have to beat me.

I remember always being surprised
that a man, who looked so weak,

could have so strong a right arm.

As for my generosity: it is true that
I once brought a bag of potatoes

to old widow Bolaz. I'd stolen them.

But it was so that she would let
Serge and me use her bedroom.

The barn was romantic,
but the bed was much more comfortable.

More comfortable it was.
Much, much more comfortable.

But let us go from
gracious lies to brutal truth.

Guellen is in trouble,
Guellen needs money.

I have money
and I'm ready to help Guellen.

I am ready to give
two million to Guellen.

Did you say two million, dear lady?

One million for the township, and one million
to be divided equally among the citizens.

On one condition!
- an incredible woman!

There's one condition,
there's one condition!

What? - There's one condition.
- One condition. Quiet! Quiet everybody!

There's one condition!

Tell us your one condition, Karla.

I want justice.

Does anyone here
recognize this gentleman?

Why, it's Bardrick! Justice Bardrick!

Chief Magistrate Bardrick.
When Madame Zachanassian was a girl,

I was presiding judge of
the criminal court of Guellen.

I'm of course now in the private
employ of Madame Zachanassian.

Legal counselor.
- Get to the point, Bardrick.

Madame Zachanassian will pay two million,
when you, the people of Guellen,

have undone the injustice
she suffered here as a girl.

Serge Miller, please.

Me? - Would you mind
standing up? - If you wish.

Some 20 years ago... - 20 years,
three months and two days ago.

A paternity case was being heard
here in Guellen. I was the judge.

Karla Zachanassian,
at that time Karla Wechsler,

claimed that you, Serge Miller, were the
father of the child she was then carrying.

At that time, Mr. Miller, you denied
that you were the father of the child.

You alleged in fact that the aforesaid Karla
Wechsler was of such low moral character...

That was a long time ago.
We were practically children.

Who remembers what happened
or did not happen?

Who remembers the truth?
- They remember the truth, Mr. Miller!

State your names, please.
- Joseph Cadek. - Ludwig Darvis.

I knew I'd seen them before.
- Do you recognize that man?

Yes, I do. - He is Serge Miller.

Do you remember the trial? - Yes.

Case of a girl who claimed Serge Miller
had gotten her in a family way.

Pregnant, that is.

You remember it clearly then?
- We were witnesses.

Please tell us what you
testified on that occasion.

We said we had slept with Karla.

Both of us, many times. - And had you
slept with Karla Wechsler many times?

No. - Had you slept
with her at all? - Never.

Hardly knew her. - And what was
the purpose of this false testimony?

To show that Karla had been promiscuous.

So you couldn't really tell
who the father was.

And also to prove she was no good.

That she would let
anybody sleep with her.

And why did you do this?
Why did you swear false oath?

Why did you destroy the
character of a young girl? - Miller...

promised us each
a bottle of brandy, if we did.

Nothing more? - No.

Does the defendant have anything to add?
- What good could it do to bring this up now?


There was a child born,
Madame Zachanassian? - Yes.

It was taken away from me.

It lived less than a year.
- And what happened to you?

I went to Trieste,
where I became a whore.

And why did you enter a life of prostitution?
- I didn't have much choice.

The record of the trial
was stamped on my papers.

Besides, after that I didn't care
what happened to me.

And now you desire justice,
Madame Zachanassian? - I do.

What is the nature of the justice you desire?
- I want Serge Miller put to death!

Killed? You want Serge Miller killed?

Yes. I want his life.

Serge! Serge, serge"-

it's alright. My life...
it's just her sense of humor.

That all happened a long time ago.
It's dead and buried! It's forgotten!

No Serge, you're wrong!
Only our child is dead and buried.

Nothing is forgotten!

Madame Zachanassian,
you forget we're not in a jungle!

We are in Europe!

In the name of everyone of us in Guellen!

In the name of every citizen of this
township I reject this outrageous offer!

Would you like to think it over, Mr. Mayor?
- Never in a million years!

Never! No, never!

Two million! Two million!
One for the township,

and one to be equally divided
among the citizens of Guellen.

We may be poor, we may be bankrupt,

but Madame, we prefer misery to blood!

Never, Madame! Never!

I can wait.

Something must happen to people
when they get too much money.

It makes you think you can get away
with anything, even with...

Who does she think she is?

What does she take us for?

Oh, Serge... Serge.

Mathilda. Whatever I did, I...

I did only so that I could marry you.

I know... I know.

Yes, I know...

Imagine! To think she can get
decent people to agree to...

Let's say it! Murder!

You've already washed your face, dear.
- I just thought I'd wash it again.

Just once in my life
I'd like to sit in such a car.

Even to go around the corner.
- That's like asking for a million.

What do you mean?

What are you talking about?

It's only a joke. - A bad joke.

I still would like to take a ride
just once in such a car.

Good morning, Mr. Miller.

Dobrik, any idea why this
meeting's been called?

Not at all. You? - Not the slightest.

It's a long time since we've been
hunting together. - Too long.

Hello Miller. - Hello.

Hey, doctor. - Hello Serge. - Hi.


Hear ye! Hear ye! Town Council meeting.

Oh mayor, before we're called
to order I'd like to know. Are we...

Are we meeting because
of last night? - Of course.

Then I like to say something. -You're out of
order, Miller. - No, I'm perfectly in order.

How can you be, when the meeting's
not yet been officially called to order?

Let him speak unofficially. - I happen
to think this meeting must not be called!

The fact that we're meeting can only mean
we're considering that offer seriously.

There should be no meeting.
- But Serge, there is a meeting.

And it's that we're about to discuss.
- But there must be no discussion.

The minute you discuss it
it means that there's something in it.

Miller! Open discussion is the
heart and soul of democracy.

I think we should ignore this whole
disgraceful affair in dignified silence.

If you'll forgive an old warhorse...
That dignified silence business

never works with the people.
- He knows what he's talking about, Serge.

I think we've had enough discussion on
this point. I move we put this to a vote.

Fellow counselors, there must be no vote.
- The right to vote is basic, Miller.

But this is not fair to me. The minute
you vote, even against, you're voting!

Then I take it, you vote against, Miller?
- I'm not voting, I'm just opposing!

You're not being very logical, Miller.
How can you oppose without voting?

All in favor? - Mr. Mayor,
this is a little high-handed!

High-handed? You were the one
who tried to refuse us a vote.


I vote for.

The church remains neutral.

Motion carries, four to three.

I propose that we go on record as
supporting our old friend Serge Miller.

Thank you... I'd rather
you do not go on record.

Whether you like it or not, Miller,
you have our unqualified support!

Let me, Serge. - Thanks.

You know, I'm almost glad this happened.

Yes, yes. - The way people have been
flocking to my support... - Of course.

Does a man good to know
he has got friends... Thank you.

Thank you, Valli. Well?
What can I do for you?

Oh, not too much.
Pipe tobacco, the import brand.

Import? - Hm. - Sure.

Hello, dear. - Here you are.

Made from the finest selected
leaves of Virginia and Turkish.

A can of Amphor Tobacco. Anything else?
- A little brandy, please.

Coming up. - The French.

Three stars.

Three stars?

Think the way she'd held her purse.
- It's a disgrace!

She must think she owns the world!
- She should know better.

Let her have her fun. What harm can she do?
I've sowed a few wild oats in my time.

I admit it. - Yes.

It was a dirty trick you played on her.

But then... Everybody has played
a dirty trick or two in his lifetime.

Charge it. - Yeah... Of course.

The professor would like
to see you, Madame.

Send him in. - Yes, Madame.

What do you want?
- Karla, forgive me.


Yes? - It's hard for me
not to call you Karla.

After all... - You feel close to someone
you've beaten day in and day out for years.

I came as teacher of this town.

As your old teacher...

This is a joke, isn't it?

I hope I haven't been wasting my time.
I hope the others realize how serious I am.

Look, Karla... Many of us
could have left Guellen long ago.

I was offered a professorship at Agrad.

The doctor to head a hospital
in the capital. We stayed.

We don't want Guellen to die.

You will never succeed.
Not here in Guellen.

Why not in Guellen? Why should it be better
than any other place in the whole world?

I don't know about
other places, Karla, but...

it was here in Guellen that Brahms composed
a quartet. - We're listening to it now.

Or don't you recognize it?
- Oh yes. Yes, I do now.

It's been so long
since we've heard decent music.

It was here that Byron wrote a famous
ode to liberty, in this very room.

Shall I recite it to you?
I know it by heart.

It took you only six beatings
to teach it to me: 'Oh, Liberty...

No! Madame Zachanassian, no!

You will never succeed!
Not here in Guellen!

As a man who has spent a lifetime planting
a fleeting image of humanity in these hearts,

I say to you: you will never
succeed! Not here in Guellen!

It was in this same
music-loving community

that they ran a pregnant
17-year-old girl out of town...

and branded her as a whore!

Do you really think you could buy
Serge Millers life? - Yes, I do.

You can buy anything.
- No. That will never happen.

You wouldn't care to stake your life on that,
would you professor? - Yes, I would.

Good evening, Madame.

Will you really do it?
- Yes Anya, I will.

Then you never really loved him.
- Yes, I loved him very much. I still do.

Love... Just because you love someone
doesn't mean that he's good.

If you really love, you don't ask questions.
- After what happened to me, you do.

Naturally your friend is married. - Yes.
- How long have you been with him?

Three years. - Leave him.

Leave, before he becomes so deeply burned
inside of you that there can be no others.

I don't want there to be others!
- You're a fool!

Kick him out of your bed,
lock your door, break with him!

You'll be the one...
Otherwise he'll break with you!


What's wrong? What happened?

What have I done?

Tell me!
- You'll never leave your wife.

You'll never take me away. It's all lies!

Anya, my love...
- Men! You're all alike!

All alike? Ah, it's Miller.

It's that no-good Miller?
Listen to me, Anya.

I swear by all that's holy:
Miller will pay.

We'll teach him to do things like that to
a woman. Even though we're old friends,

when we get through with him...
- Who cares about Miller?

When will you leave your wife?
When will you marry me?

Here's your bottle of brandy. - Give me
some sweets. That one. - Here's yours.

Let me have a bottle of red wine.
The best. - Just a minute.

A box of tea cakes, please.
The big one. - Here.

You should get yourself some help,
Mrs. Miller. You can't handle this alone.

Isn't your husband working these days?
- Sorry, sorry.

I overslept. Excuse me.
- Extra super-fine peas, please.

We're out of super-fine peas. In fact:
we're out of everything super-fine.

Then order some. - Is that a new blouse,
you're wearing? - Yes, it is.

On credit... Excuse me.

That's a nice new dress...

Are those new shoes?
- Shoes wear off, Miller.

On credit, huh? On credit...

People like giving credit now. - Miller!

Haven't you got yellow shoes?
Chesco and me want yellow shoes.

Yellow shoes? You want yellow shoes?

How you gonna pay for them? How, huh?
- Why, on credit, of course!

Like everybody.
- But some day you'll have to pay for them.

Where will you get the money?
I dare you to tell me! Where?

Where will you get the money?

Serge! Don't!

Where will you all get the money?

Here, take it all!

Oh, Serge...! - Here's some more!

You'll bring terrible trouble on us, Serge!
Think of your son! - I know, how they'll pay!

And they know it, too: with my blood!

Ladies and Gentlemen of Guellen!

Citizens of Guellen.

May I have your attention, please.
Ladies and Gentlemen of Guellen!

The articles you see before you
may be bought by any citizen of Guellen.

I repeat: any citizen of Guellen!

On our credit plan.
All that is required,

is your signature. No money down,
no first payments required!

Only your signature.
You may buy as much as you like now.

Pay, when you can.
Ladies and Gentlemen!

There's no reason to wait any longer
for all the good things you need.

Do not hesitate!
All that is necessary is

that you step up and choose what you want.
You may buy as much as you like now.

Pay, when you can. Step right up!

Come on, come on.

I want that dress. - Just step in, Miss.

No down payment! Just your signature,
Ladies and Gentlemen!

Just your signature.
All articles are for sale on credit.

Hey, Serge. - Hello Valli.

Oh, Mr. Mayor!

Yes, what can I do for you? - The Tribune
is now calling for capital punishment.

Our office never interferes with the freedom
of the press. - But you are the press!

You own it!
- We of the Tribune do not attempt

to mold or influence public opinion.
It is our aim to reflect public opinion.

A little bit higher... There has
been a change of public opinion.

As you may have noticed. - But these
articles are an incitement to mass murder!

They are directed against me!
- You are being very subjective, Miller.

The restoration of the death penalty
would not be aimed at any one individual.

Show me once in the whole paper your name!
- Don't treat me like a fool!

There's two million on my head!
What's that? A coincidence?

What's that? A new suit...

That's a new desk...
and a new chair.

It's the latest executive type chair.
Very relaxing!

Helps a man do his best. - His best?

The Tribune is now a printed newspaper!
Where did the money come from?

Those people selling things on the square.
Who gave them licenses?

The Town Council. At a special meeting.
- Special meeting? What special meeting?

By the way Miller, we've accepted
your resignation from the Council.

I didn't resign. - And of course,
there's no question of the party

putting you up for mayor. That requires
certain guarantees of moral character,

which you can no longer give.

That is, unless the commission
investigating your past clears you.

Where shall we put the new typewriter?
- Put it over there.

Captain Dobrik, I'm being threatened.
I demand protection.

I demand protection of the law.
Dobrik, I'm talking to you!

Threatened? Did you say
you were being threatened?

Who dares? Come with me.

Now, what's your problem, Miller?

Dobrik, I want to swear out a warrant
for the arrest of Karla Zachanassian.

Arrest? Let me put you straight
about something, Serge.

A common mistake civilians make: You
don't have the right to demand an arrest.

All you can do is, report to the police
what you want charged against a person.

The police decide, if an arrest
is justified. That's the law in Guellen

and most other civilized communities.
- But she's inciting people to kill me!

Let's talk sense, Serge! What is this
so-called incitement? - So-called?

She's offering two million for my life!
- You think, anybody takes that seriously?

Show me one person who doesn't!

Be reasonable, my friend.

This happens to be a field
I'm an expert in.

Now... Let's say, somebody seriously
wanted to get rid of somebody like you.

I don't want to offend you...
But you know what the going price would be

for a job on somebody like you?
- Hm. - A thousand, tops. Two thousand,

if you want to be generous.
Done by professional killers.

Quiet people. They do guaranteed work.

Why should she offer two million for
something she can have for two thousand?

Don't ask me to explain
that woman's psychology!

Dobrik, we're old friends.
Look around you.

Look how people are buying
from those busses. On credit!

How will they pay? How?
- I'm surprised at you.

The leading merchant of Guellen...
opposed to people buying?

Oh Serge, if the faintest suspicion
of a serious threat to you arises,

just the faintest,
from whatever source...

the entire police and constabulary
of Guellen are ready to protect you.

You have my guarantee, Serge.

In the name of the law...

Are those new boots? - Yes.


Sure. - Take my advice, Serge.

Take a sedative. You're haggard.

You haven't slept. Right now
you're your own worst enemy.

Come on everybody! Come on.

Quick! Hurry.

Captain, Madame Zachanassian's
panther is loose in the town!

All shops and public places
to be closed! All streets cleared!

All reliable citizens to be
armed at once! Chesco!

Where are you going? - I'm going home.

Some of our reliable citizens are very
poor shots. Especially in the dark.


It's alright. They're shooting at a panther.
- No, they're shooting at you!

We'll all be killed!
- It's dangerous for you, my being here.

Shall I go? - Yes, yes!

Perhaps it's better,
because of the child.

Serge... Serge!

I'm sorry. - It's alright.

I know a place where I'll be safe.

Listen you men down there!
Be careful! I don't want him to suffer!

Don't worry, Madame. We'll finish
him up quickly. You can count on us!

Try to get him between the eyes,
that's the quickest way!

Between the eyes! I can't stand
to think of my poor panther suffering.

Trust us, Madame! We'll do it properly!

Karla! Go back on the balcony!

Tell them you have no intention of giving
them the money. Tell them it's all a joke.

But it's not a joke, Serge.
- Karla, I don't want to,

but if you force me to,
I swear, I'll kill you!

What good would that do you? - If I killed
you they'd get no money, would they? - No.

If you kill me, they get nothing.

Do you remember how
it all began, Serge? I do.

I was on a balcony like that one.
It was a soft and warm night.

Like tonight. You stood down there
and stared at me without moving.

I wanted to go back into the room...

where it was safe, but then,
there you stood and stared at me...

Openly, almost angrily,
as if you wanted to hurt me.

Your eyes were lonely
and full of passion.

And then, I don't know why, but I left the
balcony, came down and stood beside you.

You didn't say a word.

Then we walked off together,
as if we talked it all out beforehand.

As if we both knew where we would go...

and what we would do.

Karla, I'm desperate!
I've got to think about my son.

You had another child, Serge.
We had a child.

A girl. Judith.


I never thought of the child having a name.
- All babies have names.

I only saw her once,
then she was taken away from me.

I never had a chance
to see the color of her eyes.

Her hair was black.
- Where did she die, Karla?

In some home where they took her.
I don't remember where.

Meningitis, they said. - Oh Karla!

Karla, if you hadn't forced me!
- How? How did I force you, Serge?

By taking me to court, demanding
that I marry you. I couldn't. - Why?

You told me you loved me.
- I wanted to be somebody.

Not like my father, a factory worker.
I wanted to be my own boss,

to have my own store.
- So you bribed two witnesses.

I would have sent you money.
- If only I had been reasonable.

Karla, life is like that!
- Yes. Life is like that.

You pay for your mistakes.

Wild panther! Wildcat!

Wild panther!

Mathilda Kovach!

I would never have suspected!

Well Serge... Will you kill me now?

I'm not a killer, Karla.


I would like to help you, Serge.
- But?

Well... Good luck, Serge.

Thanks... Thanks a lot!

Miller! Hey Miller...

Where are you off to?
- To the station. - To the station?

Just like that? - Just like that.

Can I help you with your bag?
- No, thank you. I said, no, thank you!

Taking a trip, Serge? How far? - Not far.
- A short trip? - I'm not sure yet.

We're seeing Miller off. - Where is
he going? - To Australia, maybe.

With such a small box? - With nothing!

No reason to disturb the peace, Serge.
Your friends have just come to see you off.

I didn't ask them. Listen, I wrote
to the Chief Constable at Agrad.

We know, Miller. I held the letter up.
We were hurt by that letter, Miller.

The things you said about your
old friends... - Good news, your honor.

The rail road has just announced
that beginning the first of next month

three stops will be made in Guellen per week.
- Good, things are definitely looking up.

Leaving, Mr. Miller?
The train will be on perfect time.

Would you like to say a few
words of farewell, Miller?

My train only stops for a few seconds.
- There's plenty of time, Serge.

Don't crowd me. Let me through!

Fisch, Chesco, see to it that Miller
has room. - Make way for Miller!

That's my train. Please...
Please let me pass!


Give him room!

What's going on here?
- They won't let me pass.

Who won't let him pass?

Miller! - Guellen! Guellen!
One minute stop!

Let go of me... Let go of me!

Hurry, the train's about to leave!
- Local to Agrad. All aboard, please!

Get on Miller! The train is ready to go!

Let me go!

Miller, the station master's got the flag up.
- Quick! Hurry, it's your last chance!

Come on Miller,
you can still make it! Quick!

I'll take his bag.
- Give me his bag! - Run, Miller! Run!

Grab hold of a handle, as you jump!
- You fool!

It's the last train until next week.
Go, man! Go!

Ah... I'm looking for that thing...
What do you call it?

That thing you measure with...

Do you like my new dress?

Oh, here it is.
The new showcase is coming soon.

I'll have to decide where I can fit it in.
You can see through the glass.

It's electric. A new type of lighting.

Indirect. Cheaper.

Be it resolved that
from this date henceforth

in the independent township of Guellen
the crime of murder, rape, treason

and inciting a miscarriage of justice
shall be punishable by death.

The City Council shall
constitute itself a special court

and there shall be no appeal
from the decision of this court.


Well doctor, the motion is carried.
It is now a law.

But there is not one of us here
who wants it used.

If you think you know another way...

Forgive us. We would not have intruded
except on a matter of utmost importance.

You killed him?

Madame, please!

We still have our principles!
Serge Miller is alive.

We've come to you since this is our
last chance to stop this terrible thing.

You don't want the money?
- Yes, we want the money.

But not for Serge Miller's life.

My secretary handles
all requests for charity.

No, Madame. Not charity... We've come
to talk about straight investments.

Not one of us has ever been able
to understand why Guellen died.

There are untold possibilities here.

Look, this is a geologists report.

There's oil here... And a mine.
And a foundry.

Factories... man power.

And no one can understand,
why this property has been neglected

until it's practically ruined.

It could be bought for
a few hundred thousand!

Madame Zachanassian, buy the land!

Buy the factories. Buy the mine.

You want me to buy the mine?

The factory, the land? Me?
- It's a fabulous investment!

Why, gentlemen...
I can't buy the foundry,

or the mine, or the factory, or the land.

Well, gentlemen. Madame Zachanassian
cannot buy those properties.

She cannot, because...

because she already owns them.

Yes. The factory, the mine,
the foundry and all it's dependencies.

The river front, including the hut...
In fact, practically the entire township.

Street by street and house by house,
including the adjacent farmlands.

It was you then, who shut down
the factory and the mine?

Of course it was I.
- You destroyed a town.

You destroyed us.

It was a winter day
when you ran me out of town.

No one seemed to notice that I was so sick
with pregnancy that I could hardly walk.

And when I fell, it was Captain Dobrik,
who helped me up, with a kick.

Let us forgive those, who trespass
against us, as we... - Later!

After I've had justice.
- Can one injustice cure another?

Why force us into a crime?

Madame Zachanassian,
I have the honor to inform you

that the City Council reintroduced capital
punishment in Guellen this very day.

My dear professor,
why do you talk about a crime?

Now you can do it legally.

Good day, gentlemen.

It could not have been Captain Dobrik.
- What are you doing here?

I won't believe it. I won't.


Does he mean so much to you? - Yes.

Yes, he does. - Then leave!
Get out of Guellen while you can!

Get out! - Yes, I will.

I'll go to Trieste the way you did.

Trieste? - Yes.

Yes. - Well, then don't go
to Trieste looking like that.

Wash your face and dry those tears.

Tears are for fools.

Excuse me, gentlemen. This way, come on.

This way... Be careful.

That's very nice. - They say,
it encourages trade. - I'm sure it does.

I always dreamt of
having a shop like this.

Where could we talk?
- In the backroom. It's quiet there.

Well, leave it here. It's alright.

Serge, it's my duty to inform you

that you will be tried before the Town Council
in the open court which is now being erect.

There was talk about our
being underhanded, secret.

So we're holding the trial in the traditional
way of our ancestors outdoors in the open.

Will you also make public the fact
that Karla offered two million for my life?

Listen, if you intend to play that game,
you'd best... - Just a minute, Colonel.

Oh... We promoted
Dobrik to a full Colonel...

I don't think, Miller sees
the present picture clearly.

The Colonel and many others here
are strongly opposed to any trial,

as you must have realized
from that panther hunt.

In fact, it was all we could do

to restrain him and others
from taking action.

Immediate action, which would
eliminate the need for a trial.

I'm being honest with you, Miller.
- Thank you, Mayor.

If you do come to trial, would you
accept the judgment of the court?

Without question?

Yes, I would.

Then I'll see you tomorrow
Goodbye, Miller. And good luck.

Just a minute, Mr. Mayor.
We agreed to do this together.

Man to man, Miller...

Wouldn't it be better, if we didn't
have to call this trial tomorrow?

You've just shown
such community spirit, I...

We are sure...

we can count on you.

It's loaded.
All that's needed is to pull the trigger.

No... No, thank you.

Believe me, Serge.
It's better for you. For us all.

Dobrik, I said no! - What is it,
Miller? Are you afraid of dying?

Death. Let me tell you...
It's in my line, too.

I've seen it a hundred times. I've killed
a few myself in the course of duty.

There's nothing to it. Really.
People exaggerate so.

I've often wondered what all the fuzz
is about. Bang! You're dead. Simple.

You stop living.
Take my word for it, Miller,

it's the easiest thing in the world.
- Dobrik, I want you all to judge me.

I'll not protest or complain. I'll accept
your judgment, whatever it is.

Because for me it'll be
a kind of atonement.

God knows what it'll be for you.
Maybe justice.

But I will not spare you
the task of a trial.

I told those stupid idiots that when it
got down to it we couldn't count on you.

I knew it'd be too much for you!
We were going to throw you in jail.

Funny thing your lady friend,
Madame, didn't want it!

Havana? - The last.

Charge it. See you later, Serge.

When is it for? - Hm? Oh, tomorrow.

Might as well get it over with quickly.

Mathilda, I want you to know the truth.
Maybe it'll help you to forget.

I married you for your money.

That's as good a reason as another.

Anya? Anya! Let me in!

Anya, let me in... Anya...

Let me talk to you.

I've got to talk to you, Anya.
Everything's going to be wonderful now...

No. It's all over. Go home to your wife.

Please let me in, just for a minute.
Please, just a minute. Let me in!

Just for a minute...
That's what you've said for three years!

When we get the money we will go
away together. Just you and me.

And if we don't get the money?
- I'll find a way. I promise you.

Anya... Anya!

I was expecting you.

I guess, I knew, you'd be here.

It's for tomorrow. - Are you afraid?

Sure. Of course, I am.

I know how you feel.

Do you?

I've had 20 years of it. And you carry
only one corpse around in your heart.

Your own dead body... And it
will only be for a few short hours.

I've carried two corpses. The child's...

- And a 17-year-old girl you killed.

She was gay...
Full of life, love.

Everything was wonderful.
She died the day

the moment you brought
those two witnesses.

Everything in her died.

I just told my wife I've
always loved you. - Have you?

And because you couldn't have me,
did it stop your body from coming alive?

But you have a son,
so it couldn't be true.

It was true for me.

Maybe men are different,
or maybe it's just me.

But since then no man
has ever reached me.

I died when I was 17.

We'll be even tomorrow. - Even!

There'll be nothing left for me
to live for, tomorrow.

An empty life.






Always together. You and me together.
- Karla, I...

Karla, I love you.

Oh Serge...
Nothing else in the whole world...

You and me... you and me.

Oh Karla... - Oh, it's beautiful.

We'll have a wonderful life
together. Children...

Oh Serge...

I love your hair.

So black. So black...

So black... - Karla.

It's grey!

Your hair is grey!
Serge, your hair is grey!

We could have had a life of love.

Karla! - Such love...
- Karla! - No!

No! Why did you kill our love?

Die! Die, die...

Die! Die...

Learned judges of the
municipal court of Guellen,

you have now heard the legal side of
this case. Sworn and verified testimony

from Joseph Cadek and Ludwig Darvis,

the testimony of Madame Zachanassian,
the testimony of Colonel Dobrik,

and finally the confession
of the accused himself.

The law is clear, learned judges.

It is now for you to speak.

Are you ready for the verdict?
- Yes. - How do you find him?

Guilty. - Guilty.

Guilty. - Guilty.



What good would one vote have been?

Serge Miller, stand up!

You have been found guilty of
the charges brought against you.

Do you have anything to say
before we pronounce sentence?

I'm a human being.

Serge Miller,
it is the sentence of this court

that you be taken at once from
this place and be put to death.

Bardrick, the checks.

Paid to the independent
township of Guellen:

One million.
Signed: Karla Zachanassian.

Paid to the citizens of Guellen:
One million.

Signed: Karla Zachanassian.

Colonel Dobrik, remove the prisoner.

They are about to take
Serge Miller out and kill him.

Is there anyone here,
even one person

that feels that this is unjust?

Not one person?

Not anyone?

Not even one? One?

This is the moment
I've been waiting for. This.

I planned it for years,
but I could not believe

that it would happen
so beautifully so cleanly.

You were no better than he!
You, who stood by and let him destroy me,

without a word.
And now, for two million,

you, together, openly

have agreed to kill one of your old friends!
Look at the face of the creature next to you!

Killers! Murderers!

Ah... You're afraid I'll take
the money away from you?

There's no need to worry.
I want you to have the money.

I want you to be able to afford
the luxury of a conscience.

I bought you for 4,000 each,
and I could have gotten you cheaper!

Don't destroy Serge Miller,
or what's left of him.

If you killed him, in a few weeks
you might begin to forget.

I want Serge Miller alive!

Free, living among you!

I want you to see him.
Day in and day out!

I want you alive, Serge.

If they'd cut your head off, you might have
died a small hero. I don't even want that.

Live among these people,
who were ready to shed your blood.

Talk to them, play with them.

Are your bags among those? - Right there,
Madame. - Put them to one side. - At once.


We've moved our bags, Madame. - Good.

You're fired. All three of you.
I don't need you anymore.

You stay here in Guellen,
where you belong.

Judith would have been
about your age, if she'd lived.

This is for you. Get in the car behind.

They'll take you out of Guellen.
Go anywhere you want to.

But don't go to Trieste.

Get in the car.

The visit is over.