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Agatha Christie's Poirot (1989–2013): Season 1, Episode 9 - The King of Clubs - full transcript

After a visit to Parade film studios with his friend Captain Hastings, Poirot finds himself investigating the murder of Henry Reedburn, the head of the studio. Reedburn was something of a tyrant who had fired a veteran actor, taken over a major film from a young director and had recently blackmailed actress Valerie Saintclair into signing a new contract. Upon finding the body, Saintclair ran to a neighboring house to seek help, interrupting the Oglander family's bridge game in the process. However, the lack of a king of clubs on the card table provides Poirot with only clue he needs to solve the crime.


I'm not sure we should expect
to see each other again.

I couldn't bear that.

I have to see you again.

Please.

God, you're so beautiful.

Ahmed.

I'm married.

No! No! No!

All right, everybody.
Cut.

Cut.

Will someone please tell me

what these actors
are meant to be doing?

I'm wrong!
I must be wrong!

I thought this was a love scene!

My dear Valerie,

you are not discussing
the weather with this man.

You are about to commit adultery
with him!

Make a big pause before you say,
"I'm married."

"Ahmed."
Count to five.

You turn, then say your line.

Okay?
Let's see it.

Ahmed.

-I'm married.
-No, darling.

Can you count to five?

I did.

Count to 10, then.

This is no hide-and-seek
counting, my dear.

One... two... three...
four... five...

six... seven... eight...
nine... ten!

You got it?!

Good morning.

Captain Hastings and M. Poirot,
guests of Bunny Saunders.

Ah, yes.

Very young, of course, to be
directing his first picture.

But what a break, getting
Valerie Saintclair to star.

Yes.
Films are very boring, Hastings.

But the actors
who are paid to deceive us,

now, they are interesting, huh?

Quiet on the set!

Red-line bell.

Roll camera.

-218, take 11.

Action.

What was that Ahmed doing here?

He's come to see to the horses.

Oh, that's his excuse, is it?

Is that not Ralph Walton?

He was a big star
before the talkies.

-Shh.
-...with the horses.

Spends too much --

Spends too much time
hanging around --

hanging around here,
if you ask me.

Oh, Bernard, he doesn't!

I'm sorry, dear boy.
I'm dry.

-The old brain buzz is gone.
-Cut. Cut.

All right, everyone,
let's take a short break.

Going. Going.

I don't want to hear
anything more.

-Mr. Reedburn --
-And now, you understand?

Bunny.

Arthur, old love,
glad you could make it.

Wonderful to see you.

May I introduce my good friend
M. Hercule Poirot?

Enchant, monsieur.

Miss Deloy,
I want to see Miss Saintclair

in my office immediately.

Yes, Mr. Reedburn.

Poirot, I must apologize
for Reedburn.

He's the head of the studio.

No matter.

He is obviously a busy man.

Yes. He's just instructed me
to sack Ralph Walton.

Good God.

The truth is,
old Ralph is past his best.

But get him on a good day,

and you won't find
a better actor anywhere.

I suppose I've got to do it.

Reedburn really hates him.

Please forgive me
for just one...

What a terrible thing.

Ah, M. Poirot.

Good morning, Your Highness.

Oh, Paul, please,
after all you did for my family.

Oh, not at all.

And what brings you
to Parade Studios?

Sheer good fortune, eh.

My associate,
Captain Hastings...

How do you do?

...and your director
are very old friends.

Oh, excellent.
Well, welcome.

Thank you.

You treat me like a child!

I'm the biggest box-office draw
this studio has.

True.

But without the studio,
you would be nothing.

Without me, you wouldn't
even be in pictures.

Perhaps I would have
been better off.

Perhaps, but I doubt it.

You're too ambitious for that.

You know, you are even more
beautiful when you're angry.

Have you thought any more about
my little proposition, my dear?

Hmm?

You swine!

Mr. Walton, please.
This is highly irregular.

What's the matter,
my dear Ralph?

You're the matter, you skunk!

What?

You haven't even got the guts
to sack me to my face!

Oh, my good God!

Well, well, well.

Hmm.

You seem to have lost your
manners, as well as your talent.

For shame.

You used to be
such civilized company.

To get level with a snake,
you have to crawl on the ground.

See that Mr. Walton is escorted
off the premises at once.

You haven't heard the last
of me, Reedburn.

Are you all right, Henry?

'Course I'm all right.

And don't call me Henry.

Go.

Mm.

Paul.

He's an animal.

There, there.

It's all right, my darling.

I tell you, I have a good mind

to withdraw my backing
from this picture.

As long as you're with me,
I can bear it.

Just promise me that you won't
see Reedburn on your own again.

Yes.

Yes, I promise.

Action.

It's a bad wound.

You're lucky it's in your arm.

And my people struggle.

One life counts for nothing.

I'll do my best.

But you ought to see
my husband.

I feel that I shall
be safe in your hands.

Cut! Super.

What is missing, Bunny,
is sex appeal!

Ugh!

The demure doctor's wife
is drawn irresistibly

towards this handsome
young fellow!

She knows
she will be unfaithful.

It's the way of women.
They cannot help themselves.

They are putty in the hands
of the wild demon

that lurks in all of them.

Why can't I
have another drink, eh?!

Why can't I have another drink?

Just because bloody Reedburn
owns the studio or something?

What if he does?

He doesn't own me!

And I can have a drink
if I like.

I'll show him.

Mr. Reedburn's house
just coming up, miss.

Stop just here.

Three bob, love, please.

Thank you.

No, Inspector, something
really terrible has happened.

Please send some men at once.

Thank you.

Hello?

Is that Hercule Poirot?

-Yes.
-It's Paul of Maurania.

Oh. Your Highness.

Please, Poirot -- Paul.

Pardon. Paul.

The most awful thing's
happened, Poirot.

I desperately need your help.

Yes.

Valerie is in trouble.
Serious trouble.

Mon Dieu.
Is she with you?

No, she's just telephoned.

I'll do anything I can
to help.

You see, Poirot, Valerie and I
are engaged to be married.

I had no idea.

No, no.
No, it's not generally known.

My family would never approve

if there was the slightest hint
of scandal.

Where is Mlle. Saintclair now?

She's at a house
near Reedburn's.

It's called The Willows.

How did she come there?

She just ran
to the nearest house.

Is she implicated
in a criminal matter?

I fear so.

Whatever your family
might think, my friend,

you must call the police.

That's already happened.

-They have been called?
-Yes.

Excellent.

Be straightforward with them,
and they will be discreet.

I was against it at first,

but the people at The Willows,
the Oglanders, insisted.

Yes.

But I'm worried
about the publicity.

I will do everything in my power
to protect your reputation.

But I must know
exactly what happened.

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

All right.

Police.
Chief Inspector Japp.

We've had a report
of a disturbance here.

Disturbance?

In the library.

And you are?

Frampton,
Mr. Reedburn's manservant, sir.

Where is it, then?

The library?
It's over here, sir.

One moment, sir.

Holy mother of God!

Don't touch, sir,
if you don't mind.

Well, it all happened

so quickly, Chief Inspector.

The four of us
were playing bridge

when suddenly there was
this commotion at the window.

We were astonished to see a
young lady beating at the panes.

Absolutely terrified,
she looked.

Did you happen to notice what
time this was, Mrs. Oglander?

It must have been around 10:00.

Yes, I remember
the clock in the hall

chiming the hour
a little before.

Please go on, madam.

Well, Ronnie got up
to let her in.

She was very out of breath.

It seems she'd run across
the gardens from Mon Dsire.

Did she say anything?

Yes.

"Murder.

He's been murdered."

"Murder.
He's been murdered."

You're sure of it?

I shall not forget those words

for as long as I live,
Chief Inspector.

Then she fainted, poor girl.

And, of course, we immediately
telephoned the police.

Hmm.

Did any of you recognize her?

I thought there was something
vaguely familiar about her,

but it was Geraldine who guessed
that it was Valerie Saintclair.

She's a tremendous fan of hers.

Aren't you, darling?

Now, remember, mon ami,
it is important

that we keep a discreet silence
about our connection

with Prince Paul
and Mlle. Saintclair.

Oh, yes. Right.

The police took away the body
early this morning, sir.

Otherwise,
the room is untouched.

And the curtains were drawn
last night?

Yes, sir, I draw
all the curtains every evening.

So, who has drawn back this one?

I couldn't say, sir.
Possibly Mr. Reedburn did.

What is this house?

That's The Willows, sir,

neighbors of Mr. Reedburn,
name of Oglander, I believe.

Ah, yes.

The Oglanders.

Excuse me, please.

Thank you.

And this window
overlooks the drive, no?

That's right, sir.

Tell me,

was M. Reedburn expecting
any visitors late last night?

He didn't say so, sir.

But after Mr. Saunders
had left --

-Bunny Saunders?
-That's right, sir.

He and Mr. Reedburn
were viewing rushes

in the projection theater.

Mr. Saunders left at about 9:30,
I think it was.

And later?

Well, sir, Mr. Reedburn
gave instructions

he was not to be disturbed --
in the library, that is.

And you saw nobody arrive?

No, sir, but, of course,
they may have come in

by the side door
without my knowing.

May I?

Thank you.

Was M. Reedburn in the habit

of admitting visitors
late at night by this door?

I believe so, sir.

And you heard nothing
from the library

after M. Reedburn
had retired there?

Well, I can't be sure,

but I thought I heard
a woman's voice.

-A woman's voice?
-Yes, sir.

I may have imagined it,
of course,

because that's what
I would have expected to hear,

if you see what I mean, sir.

Quite so.

We're looking for
a blunt instrument, quite wide,

not like a poker, but heavy.

You start upstairs.

Dear, oh, dear.

Here we go again.

My dear Chief Inspector Japp.

You have cracked this case
already, perhaps, no?

It won't be long, Poirot.

Have you ever heard
of a Valerie Saintclair?

Saintclair.

The film star.

I've just been talking to her,
as a matter of fact.

Very intelligent girl.

It was her discovered the body.

-Film star.
-Oh, yes.

She was frightened, of course,

so she ran off to that house
over there, The Willows.

Hmm.

But what was she doing here,
Inspector?

I understand it was very late.

Business.

Mr. Reedburn
was a film producer.

They don't keep office hours,
you know, Poirot.

Valerie -- uh, Miss Saintclair,
that is -- spotted an intruder,

which makes my life
a lot easier.

There's a lot of Gypsies
around here, apparently.

Mr. Reedburn wasn't exactly
a favorite of theirs.

He tried to have them moved on
several times.

What was the cause of death,
would you say?

A blow to the back of the head.

There was also bruising
between the eyes,

but the fatal injury
was to the head.

You can still see the blood.

So, he was lying on his back?

Correct.

Perhaps he fell back
against this.

Well, there would be
blood traces on that arm.

Unless they were washed away.

Why would anyone want to make
an accident look like murder?

True enough.
True enough.

But one thing still puzzles me.

Why does Mlle. Saintclair
run to The Willows

instead of the house at
the front, which is much nearer?

Oh, that's simple.

As the body was here
and this curtain was drawn back,

the lights from that house would
be the first you'd see at night.

But of course.

You are several steps ahead
of me, my dear Chief Inspector.

You mustn't get discouraged,
Poirot.

When you've been around
as long as I have,

you develop a nose
for this sort of thing.

Hmm.

Mon coeur.

Poor Valerie Saintclair had to
come this way in the dark.

Do you reckon Japp's
onto something?

This Gypsy business, I mean.

A man like Reedburn
had enemies, huh?

Too many.

Ah.

Would you mind waiting in here
for a moment, sirs?

Merci.

Ah.

La famille, Hastings.

No bond is so strong.

Yes.

Good morning, gentlemen.

Bonjour, mademoiselle.

You're from the police?

No, no, no, no, not at all.

Pardon.

Voil.

We are acting
in a private capacity

for a dear friend
of Mlle. Saintclair.

I see.

How can I help you?

You must excuse the room,
by the way.

The police have instructed us

to leave things
exactly as they were.

No, no. Of course.
I understand.

You were playing bridge
last night.

Yes.

And you yourself were sitting...

There, facing the window.

Ah.

I was partnering my mother

and had just bid one no trump
when it happened,

when Miss Saintclair
appeared at the window, I mean.

You had been playing for long?

Perhaps an hour or so.

We'd played several rubbers.

Mlle. Saintclair is still here,
is she not?

Yes.

Thank you.

Come in.

M. Poirot, Captain Hastings.
Thank you for coming.

Mademoiselle.

Please.

Merci.

I saw you on the set yesterday.

Ah.

Paul insisted on calling you
last night.

Perhaps you could tell us
what happened.

It was dreadful.

Utterly dreadful.

You might as well know
Reedburn was blackmailing me.

I can't tell you why,
so please don't ask me,

but for Paul's sake,
for both our sakes,

I tried to come to terms
with him.

Dear God, I can't say
I'm sorry he's dead.

But believe me,
I didn't kill him.

I swear it.

Just tell me what happened,
my dear lady.

I agreed to meet him last night.

I was desperate, you understand.

Well, last week, he forced me

to sign another three-year
contract with the studio.

But he wanted still more.

More?

He said he was in love with me.

I don't need to tell you
what he was after.

I could see no way out.

He asked me to meet him
last night in the library

at a quarter to 10:00.

Courage, mademoiselle.

When I entered,
it appeared to be empty.

Then I saw it... by the window --
the body on the floor.

To my horror,
I realized it was Reedburn.

I could tell at once
he was dead.

I was about to call out when
something made me look 'round.

A curtain twitched
on the other side of the room,

and my heart stopped.

At the foot of the curtain,

I could clearly see
a pair of feet.

Someone was there.

My God, all I could think of
was getting away, M. Poirot.

I-I saw the lights of this house
in the darkness,

and I just kept on running
u-until I got here.

It must have been a great shock,
mademoiselle.

But tell me, the window
where you found the body,

it was at the back
of the library,

overlooking the garden, yes?

Yes.

How was the curtain
on this window?

Shut?

No.
It was drawn back.

And on the other windows?

I-I think all the other curtains
were closed.

And this pair of feet,

it was a man or a woman,
would you say?

Oh, a man, I'm sure.

Hmm?

Well, they were boots
rather than shoes.

Like hobnail boots,
only very worn and dirty.

I see.

Begging your pardon, sir.

Mrs. Oglander
would like a word with you,

if you wouldn't mind waiting
for a while in the drawing room.

No, no, no.
By all means.

Well, Mlle. Oglander
should have bid three spades,

not one no trump.

Dieu.

There are only 51 cards here.

There is one card missing.

Mon Dieu.
But of course.

Hastings,
this explains everything.

There is no king of clubs.

Thank you very much for waiting,
gentlemen.

Madame.

I wonder if I might ask a small
favor of you, Mr. Poirot.

I am at your service, madame.

Well, you see, my husband
is not a well man,

and I'm terrified
that if the newspapers

get hold of the fact that
Miss Saintclair is staying here,

we shall have no peace.

Can I therefore rely
on your discretion, Mr. Poirot?

I have not seen or heard
of Mlle. Saintclair.

You may rest assured, madame.

Thank you so much.
I'm so grateful.

May I please ask you something,
madame?

Which of you first noticed
Mlle. Saintclair at the window?

Well, it's difficult
to say, really.

The commotion distracted us all.

But you could see her clearly
from your seat.

Oh, yes, indeed.
I was facing the window.

I was probably engrossed
in the game.

I'm afraid I'm a bit of a dunce
when it comes to bridge.

You're onto something, Poirot.

I'm dashed if I know what.

Patience, my friend.

All right, get him in line.

All right, all right,
none of your half looks.

Just get them off.

This is a serious inquiry.

Get their names on the labels,

then give your boots
to the constable.

What?

You'll get them back.
Don't worry.

They're going to be looked at
by a film star.

God help her.

You know, Poirot, there's
a bit more to this modern art

than you might think.

It isn't just that they
don't know what they're doing,

even if it might look like it.

This is most unpleasant,
Hastings.

A pal of mine was telling me
that what they're trying to do

is to show all the sides
at the same time

to save us the trouble
of walking 'round the back.

It's quite a clever idea,
in a way.

I mean, take this fellow,
for instance.

I mean, that bit might be
his front and his back, as well,

if you get my meaning.

It's all quite scientific,
really.

The trouble is,
most of the time,

they're half mad
with booze and drugs,

so what they see
isn't all that reliable.

It's the artistic temperament.
That's the problem.

What have you got there?

Oh, Bunny.
What are you doing here?

Looking for you and M. Poirot,
actually.

Prince Paul said you'd be here.

What's up?

Well, look,
it may be nothing important.

When I was driving back
from here last night,

I nearly ran straight
into Ralphie Walton

coming the other way.

Swerving around
like some mad dervish, he was.

So you think he was coming here
to see M. Reedburn,

intent on revenge?

I don't know.

He certainly didn't look like
a man paying a social visit.

He doesn't wear hobnail boots,
does he?

Walton, I mean.

Beg pardon, sir.

But there's a telephone call
for Mr. Saunders.

-For me?
-Yes, sir.

Who on earth
could be calling me here?

Excuse me.

So, did Ralph Walton
kill Reedburn?

Ah.

That is the big question,
mon ami.

What about
the missing bridge card?

It is in my pocket.

I don't understand.

Well, there is no great mystery.

The missing card was in the box
all the time.

It had simply not been taken out
with the others.

C'est tout.

Well, that was Prince Paul
to say that Ralph Walton

has been taken
to the local cottage hospital.

Crashed his car near here in
the early hours of the morning.

Good heavens.
Is he all right?

A broken collarbone
and a hangover.

But he's comfortable,
apparently.

Look, I think I'll trot over to
see the old boy now, all right?

Hastings, why don't you
accompany M. Saunders, eh?

I must return to The Willows,
and I --

Well, I think it best
if I go alone.

Oh. All right.
If you think so.

Besides, you can question
M. Ralph Walton

about last night, perhaps.

Right.

Hop in, then, Arthur.

Right.

Oh, this is nice.

I saw Freddie Dixon
driving one down at the track.

Thought that I'd get one myself.

Twin SU carb, isn't it?

Yeah, it's a bit thirsty
but quick.

Morning, sir.

Mr. Poirot.

I must apologize for
this unexpected return, madame.

I was anxious to fully
set your mind at rest.

You have a second daughter,
madame?

Had.

She died, I'm afraid.

I am sorry to hear you say that.

Hmm.

In my country,
we Belgians have great respect

for la mre de famille,
the mother.

She is all-important.

Do not worry.

I think it unlikely

that the police
will ever learn the truth.

You will permit me, madame,

to return the missing card
to the pack.

To play bridge for over one hour
with only 51 cards,

that is not very believable,
madame.

You make one other
small mistake.

You tell me that you're
sitting here facing the window

when Mlle. Saintclair appeared,

but your daughter tells me
she also is sitting here,

so perhaps you are both sitting
in the same chair, no?

Nothing has escaped you,
it seems, Mr. Poirot.

You are feeling better,
mademoiselle?

Yes.
Much better, thank you.

Mademoiselle?

I found these in the house
of M. Reedburn.

What have they to do with me?

You are a good actress and a
loyal daughter, Mlle. Oglander.

This is your father,
M. Oglander, no?

And this man, M. Hawtrey,
he is also your father.

You can't be serious.

Mr. Poirot
knows everything, dear.

Believe me, my dear lady, I make
no judgment in this matter.

M. Hawtrey tries
to save his business

with a little false accounting.

Well, fathers have done worse
for the sake of their children.

But M. Hawtrey is caught,

and in his shame,
he changes his name to Oglander.

When your family
come to live here,

Mr. Reedburn
discovers these facts

and tries to blackmail you.

Is that not so?

I lived in dread, M. Poirot,

that he would
divulge everything.

Paul could never marry me then.

I think it is best if you
keep this, mademoiselle.

And have no fear.

My lips are sealed.

I say, Val,
what are you doing up?

Should be careful -- We just saw
that little French chap

snooping his way back up here.

Vive la famille.

Au revoir, madame.

Like a lift
back to town, Poirot?

Ah, well, that is
most kind of you, Inspector,

but I have to meet Captain
Hastings back at Mon Dsire.

Ah, yes.

By the by, how'd you get on
at The Willows?

Ah, they were nothing of
any interest, I have to admit.

What about your Gypsies?

Drawn a blank so far.

Difficult blighters
to deal with.

But we'll find him
sooner or later.

Don't you worry.

I admire your persistence,
my friend.

Little gray cells
are all very nice, Poirot,

but it's dogged as does it.

Yes, well, thank you very much,
Inspector.

I will try and remember that.
Au revoir.

Ah, Poirot.

How is M. Walton?

Seemed pretty cheerful,
all things considered.

Claims he intended
to give Reedburn a good hiding,

but by the time
he got his courage up,

he was in no fit state.

No, no, it does not matter,
Hastings.

The case is closed.

You mean you've caught
the murderer?

There is no murderer.

What?

There is no murderer
because there is no murder.

But Reedburn's body was found
in that window

with a hole in the back
of his head.

Wrong window, Hastings.

This was where the body
lay first.

Regard, mon ami.

You see this bloodstain?

Uh-huh?

Now, remember,
Chief Inspector Japp said

that there was bruising
on the face of M. Reedburn, huh?

The reason?

Because someone punches him
between the eyes.

M. Reedburn falls backwards,

hits his head against this arm,
and slips to the floor.

That is an accident.
It is not murder.

But if he fell here,
why did he end up over there?

Well, it is not impossible,
you know,

to drag the body
across the floor.

But why take it over there?

Because it was essential
for their plan.

Their plan?

Yes.

Valerie Saintclair
and Ronnie Oglander.

Well, the father is too ill,
so it had to be the son.

You see, mon ami,

Mlle. Saintclair visited
M. Reedburn last night,

accompanied by Ronnie.

There was a quarrel, no doubt,

and the young M. Oglander
punched M. Reedburn in the face.

He fell backwards
and hit his head.

Voil.

But how do you know all this?

Because of that window.

Now, remember,
this was the only window

with its curtains
drawn back, yes?

Why?

To give a view of The Willows,
the Oglanders' house.

In order to make it appear

that Valerie Saintclair
went to The Willows by chance,

it was necessary for the body
to be found over there.

I see.

But --

You have another question,
mon ami, no?

Well, yes.

I mean, what's the connection?

Between Valerie Saintclair
and the Oglanders?

Ah.

What was that Ahmed doing here?

He's come to see to the horses.

Oh.
That's his excuse, is it?

He spends too much time hanging
around here, if you ask me.

Oh, Bernard, he doesn't!

I'm still your husband,
Vivienne.

Just don't ever forget that.

Cut.

Excellent.
Bunny, excellent.

-Very good, Ralphie.
-Thanks.

Oh, darling.

Right, well,
we'll print that one.

Now, then, onwards and upwards.

We'll move on to scene 64
as long as that one's clear.

M. Poirot, have the police made
an arrest?

It seems not.

And from what I hear,
the trail has gone cold.

Well, the very idea that Val
could have been involved

was always preposterous.

Open up the doors
and get some air in here.

-But I thought --
-No, no, no, no, Hastings.

Look, it seems to me --

My friend, you are barking
up the wrong bush.

The case of M. Reedburn
will remain, I fear,

one of the great body
of unsolved cases.