Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962): Season 1, Episode 33 - The Belfry - full transcript

Clint is determined to marry Ellie, the county's schoolteacher, and he is building a house for them to live in. But Ellie is not interested, and she tells him that she has just become engaged to another man. Clint is enraged, and when he meets Ellie's fiancé, he kills him with an ax. He decides to hide in the bell tower of Ellie's schoolhouse, since he thinks no one will look for him there. He also likes the idea of being close to Ellie, so that he can have the chance to strike back at her too.

Good evening.

Perhaps I should explain this.

My wife had these posters
printed up as a joke.

Of course,
she doesn't really want me.

Anyway, there isn't a chance
I'll be recognized.

They're passport photographs.

This one
is for going abroad...

and this one, for coming back.

My excuse for making
these undignified remarks...

is that tonight's story,
"The Belfry,"
concerns a wanted man.

In fact, an entire town
is looking for him.

Such popularity
must be deserved...

and, in this case, it is.

But I shall allow you to learn
the details on your own.

First, however,
I want you to hear
this description...

of a much wanted product.

Listen closely.

It may be
in your neighborhood store.

If it is,
apprehend it at once.

The reward is high.

[bell ringing]

[children yelling]

I'm sure everyone's
heard it by now, Albert.

Yes, ma'am.
Hey, Luke, wait for me!

Why, hello, Clint.

You keeping anybody
after school today, Ellie?

No, I wanted to leave early.

I was kind of hoping
we could walk over,
have a look at the house.

I'm sorry, Clint, l--
You ain't seen it lately.

I'm just about ready
to put the roof on it.

It ought to be all finished
by summer vacation.

That's fine.

You must be anxious
to get moved in.

It's gonna be real nice,

Three rooms,
and we can add more to them,
if we need them.

You and me.

We can get married
as soon as school's out.

You mustn't talk
that way, Clint.

I like you a lot
and I surely appreciate
your asking me...

but I can't accept.

You can't change
your mind now.

All in your mind, Clint.

Just 'cause I let you
walk me home from school
couple of times...

didn't mean anything.

You got the wrong idea.
Why, I'm sorry.

You don't understand, Ellie.

I'm building the house
for you, if you'd just come
and look at it.

That wouldn't hardly
be proper,
since I just got engaged.

Walt Norton gave it to me
last night. We aim to get
married soon as school's out.

You can't marry nobody else,
Ellie. I ain't gonna stand
for it. Do you hear me?

I hear you, Clint Ringle--

All these months
I've been calling for you...

building a house,
and waiting for school
to let out.

I didn't make you
any promises.

You never gave me a chance
to ask you.
If you had, I'd have said no.

I'm marrying Walt Norton.
That's the end of it.

No, it ain't.

Howdy, Clint.

Did you hear about me
and Ella?
I was just telling him.

It don't make no difference
what she says.

She ain't marrying nobody,
unless it's me.

You just give back
the ring, Ellie,
'cause you ain't marrying him.

Give it back, you hear me?
What's the matter with you?

[EIlie screaming]


Don't you touch her,
Clint Ringle.

Clint Ringle hit Walt Norton
with an axe.

I fixed him,
fixed that Walt Norton good.

He had it coming.

He shouldn't have tried
to take Ellie away from me.

He ain't gonna marry
nobody now.

But don't you worry none,
It's gonna be all right.

We'll go someplace else,
and build another house.

Just like this one.

This is the kitchen, Ellie.

The stove goes right here,
with a place for a wood box.

I was gonna build
a big cupboard over here.
Women like big cupboards.

You would have liked
the parlor, too. I was gonna
make that real nice for you.

We could sit in there
after supper, and you could
read out of them books to me.

I'd have liked that, Ellie.

This was gonna be our bedroom.

And when we needed more,
I'd have built
as many as we needed.

It sure was gonna be nice,

But we'll build another one.

[dogs barking]

[thunder clapping]

My lantern's
running out of oil.
Mine, too.

Just wait till I get
a hand on him,
that's all I ask.

When we do,
we'll turn him over
to the sheriff.

We ain't gonna have
no lynching.

The sheriff ought to be here,
He'll come along.

Anybody know
what way the Blake boys went?

Took off down
the Possum's Walk.

They'd do better
to try North Fork.

Likely holed up
in a hollow log.


It's up to you, Elmer.
You is Walt's cousin.

What do you reckon
you ought to do?

We ain't gonna catch nothing
but pneumonia standing here.

Maybe we'd better go back
to the school
and get organized.

Somebody shine
a light over here.
My lantern just went out.

Never mind, I found it.
Let's go.

Fooled them.
I sure thought I was a goner.

Gotta hole up someplace.

Just for a couple of days.
They'll get tired.

And then Ellie and me
will go away.

Where ain't they gonna look?
I know a place.

Right near Ellie.

Real cozy.

Howdy, Sheriff.
Hello, Elmer.

Well, Sheriff,
what do you think?

Well, the way I see it,
there's only two directions
he can go.

Over the ridge
or west to the state line.

Might try the North Fork.
Wouldn't ever make it.

All this rain,
why she's swole up
till the banks won't hold her.

Elmer, do you want to
take your boys
and work over the ridge?

Sure do.

The rest of them
can come with me.

We're bound to flush him
out by morning.

Whoever finds him,
come back here
and ring the bell.

That'll draw everybody in.
All right.

Let's get moving.

Go ahead, you fools.

I'll be here when you
get tired and go home.

Ain't nobody around
these parts ever gonna see
me and Ellie again.

[birds chirping]

Let's go home
and get a bite to eat

and a little rest
before we start out again.

Don't reckon
there'll be no school today.

Ellie took to her bed.
She was all busted up
about Walt.

She'll be back
on the job tomorrow.

She's gonna need
that $60 a month
more than ever now.

You ask me,
she gave the Sheriff
a mighty sensible suggestion.

"Keep a watch
on that house of his,"
she said.

"That's where he'll go,
back to that old shack
he's building."

You shouldn't have
called it that, Ellie.

You shouldn't have called it
an old shack.

It was gonna be our house.

I guess I was wrong
about you, Ellie.

You ain't a nice girl
like I thought.

You're no better than
that Walt Norton,
and I took care of him.

If I had known
I'd have finished you, too,
while I was at it.

And it ain't too late.

All right, children,
now we're gonna have some
problems in long division.

Who wrote that on the board?

That was a mean,
horrible thing to do.

Which one of you
is responsible?

One of you boys did it,
and I want him
to be man enough to admit it.

I'm waiting.

No, ma'am, I never wrote it.

No, Miss Marsh,
honest I didn't.

Please, ma'am, it was there
when I came, and I was
the first one in the room.

[children chattering]

Andy, Andy, Over.

I could have had it,
but you got in my way.

Just throw the ball!

Andy, Andy, Over!

Now look
what you went and done.

You gotta go up there
and get it.

Stop your yelling.
I'll get it.

Give me a boost.

[children chattering]

[bell ringing]

[children yelling]

All right, children,
you may all go home now.

Put your books away
and leave quietly.

No loitering around
the schoolyard...

and no shouting
till you get past
the side road.

Have a nice weekend.

See you on Monday, Miss Marsh.

Thank you, Miss Marsh.
See you Monday.

[bell ringing]

[children chattering]

That's enough, Albert.
Yes, ma'am.

Hey, Luke,
wait for me!


[Sheriff whistling]

[door closing]

Miss Ellie.

Hello, Sheriff.

I reckon it might be
a good idea
if I walked home with you.

Just a moment.

It's real nice of you,
Sheriff, but I'm all right.

No need to take no chances,
as long as Clint Ringle's
in these parts.

He's likely three counties
away by now.
Never can tell.

You know, Sam Leggett said
somebody slept in his haystack
last night.

Why, I was told
by Walt's cousin, Elmer...

that Ab Harlin swears
he saw him over Pottersville.

That's always the way.

People see 'em
10 different places at once.

He wouldn't dare
show his face around here.

I don't know.

Young Albert Grinstead
told me...

there was some writing
on the blackboard
this morning.

Was there, Miss Ellie?

Some silly scrawl.
I'm sure one of the children
put it there.

I'd like to look at it
all the same.
I rubbed it off.

It was just a prank,
one of the boys.

If you say so.


[door closing]

You wait, Ellie, I'll get you.
You just wait.

Next week, nobody will come
to walk you home.

Working out real nice,
ain't it?

I got two days
to catch up on my sleep.
Then it'll be Monday.

You won't be so pretty
by then.

By the time they find you,
I'll be long gone
and hard to find.

[birds chirping]

[footsteps pattering]

I still think we ought to
go fishing, Albert.

I said
I'd get that ball and I will.

I got another ball at home.

You fall off that roof
and you're gonna
kill yourself.

I ain't scared of slipping.

Hey! Get down from there.

What do you want to do,
fall and break your neck?

We lost a ball up there.

It's gonna stay there.
Now, come on, son,
get down from there.

Sure wish Ella hadn't
rubbed that writing off.

I'd know that scrawl
of Clint Ringle's anywhere.

Yeah, he was probably
looking for food.

If he was here,
he's gone now.

He's had three nights
to travel.

He's probably clean out
of the state by now.

Yeah. Sure hate to see
that skunk get away...

but sure looks like
he's gone for good.

You look around.
I'll get the place ready
for church tomorrow.

Yeah, go ahead.

~~[congregation singing]

Go ahead,
sing all the hymns you want.

It ain't gonna bring
Walt Norton back.

I have taken my text
from Numbers...

Chapter 35, Verse 16.

"And if he smite him
with an instrument of iron...

"so that he die...

"then he is a murderer:

"the murderer must surely
be put to death."

We have all been saddened
by the untimely passing...

of our good friend
and neighbor, Walter Norton.

How many of us
have asked ourselves:

"Why did this happen?

"Why does a good man die
in the prime of life...

"and a murderer go free?"

But is the murderer free?

"Thou shalt not kill.

"He that killeth
by the sword...

"must be killed by the sword."

You gotta catch me first,
and you ain't gonna.


~ Abide with me ~

~ fast falls the eventide ~

~ The darkness deepens ~

~ Lord, with me abide ~

~ When other helpers ~

~ fail, and comforts flee ~

~ Help of the helpless ~

~ O abide ~

~ with me ~~

Brothers and sisters...

at 3:00 this afternoon
there will be a service
for Walter Norton.

[man coughing]

I want you all
to try and be there.

Nothing to worry about now.

No more meetings,
no more ringing the bell.

No more kids.

Tomorrow, I'll get Ellie
and then I'll light out
of here.


I gotta get some sleep.

I gotta get ready to move.

"Till thou return
unto the ground...

"for out of it
thou wast taken...

"for dust thou art...

"and unto dust
shalt thou return."

As Walter Norton lived...

so let us remember him.

"Our Father
which art in heaven."

[birds chirping]


[bell ringing]

That was satisfying,
wasn't it?

It couldn't have happened
to a nicer person.

And speaking of nice people...

before I return...

we will have a few quips...

from television's
most tolerant sponsor.

Surprised you, didn't I?

Good night.