Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962): Season 5, Episode 16 - The Ikon of Elijah - full transcript

Carpius owns antique shop in Cyprus and is quite excited to hear that a local monastery may be in possession of a very valuable icon. Knowing that a client would pay a fortune for it, he arranges to visit the monastery to steal the icon. During the robbery, Carpius kills a praying monk but claims it was an accident. The Abbot says he will forgive him but as he has sinned, he must pray for forgiveness. Only then does Carpius understand what the Abbot has in mind.

Oh. Good evening. I enjoy
digging around in old tombs.

They can be
quite convenient, too.

If your assistants become
as difficult as mine are,

you can always manage
to leave them inside.

This one is typical.

Quiet, comfortable,
attractive and roomy.

Man has always provided better living
conditions for the dead than for the living.

But that's enough
persiflage and badinage.

Now, for tonight's story.

When was he here?

It isn't an hour,
Mr. Carpius, less than an hour ago.

Well, what did you tell him?

I told him you'd been away for the past
two days and that I expected you back

at any moment, sir.

He was a monk, you say?
From what monastery?

He didn't say, Mr. Carpius.

You should always ask.

And he had an ikon
to sell, you say?

Yes. But it was
just a copy, sir.

The paint was hardly dry.

Just a copy. Just a copy. Where there
is a copy there must be an original.

And the original may have
been worth a fortune.

He'll probably sell it
somewhere else.

Oh, I don't think so, sir. I told him that
you were very interested in such paintings.

He said he would try
to come back, sir.

Well, let's hope he does.

What else happened
while I was away?

Mr. Harari bought the
bronze camel bells, sir.

All of them? Yes, sir.

And he says he can
use many more.

Camel bells are very popular
now in America, he says.

They hang them on the walls.

Why would that be, sir?

Well, who cares why?

Let them hang them around their
necks, as long as they buy.

What else?

Also the parchment
Sanjek map, sir.

Good. Good.

And all six of the silver
coins of Tiberius.

Not bad.

Well, it's about time you
began earning your keep.

And you, Mr. Carpius? Did you have
good luck on your journey, sir?

Good luck! Do I have ever
anything but bad luck?

How I despise
this miserable island.

It's a filthy prison cell.

But someday I shall break free.

I shall travel
around the world.

I shall dine
on exquisite foods.

The wild pheasants from Papiya,

I shall taste the cream
cheeses of France.

And I shall sip the cool, bubbling wine
from the slopes of Mount Vesuvius.

Well, come and eat
your rice now.


Always cool. Cool and sweet
as an Egyptian pomegranate.

Your language is extravagant, Carpius,
but nothing else about you is.

You think so, do you, eh? Well,
look what I brought for you.

Aren't they lovely?

Yes. What are they?

Antique amber.

They don't sparkle.
Of course not.

But hold them up to the light.

They have a kind of inner glow.


Well, sit down and eat.

Lamb pilaf again
and stuffed grape leaves.

Well, it's the best
I can manage.

You bring me amber beads instead of
sapphires, because that's all you can afford.

I give you lamb and rice, because it's all
I can afford with the money you give me.

I'm sorry, my dear. But things
will change soon. They must.

When? Ha! When?

You sit there and dream day
after day and nothing happens.

It will happen,
my dear, you'll see.

Mr. Chiringirian is here, sir.

Ah, perhaps it already
has happened. Eh?

My dear, dear,
Mr. Chiringirian!

Hello, Carpius.

And Major...


Parslow. Parslow.

How do you do?

Major Parslow here
is looking for a gift.

His commanding officer is being retired
and we need a parting present.

Something heavy
and hideous, I think.

I'm sure you'll have exactly
what the Major wants.

Well, we'll try
to satisfy the Major.

Offer him a fifth
of what he asks, Major.

Oh. Quite.

You wouldn't happen to have
a nymph carrying an inkwell

in the shape of St. Paul's
Cathedral, would you?

That kind of rubbish.

Your kind of rubbish, Carpius.

Mr. Chiringirian's sense of humor
is quite famous, isn't it, Major?

Oh, quite, yes.


Examine it well, Major.

It tells the time,
the day and the month,

the year and the
phases of the moon.

Really? Yeah.

Paul, help the Major.

Well, what have you
been doing for me?

Things are very bad
right now, very bad.

Have you that ikon for me?

Mr. Chiringirian, if I had found it,
I wouldn't wait for you to call.

Remember what I told you.

My client is not
an inquisitive person.

And he can afford
to pay very well.

A genuine ikon, pre-11th
century, if possible.

Well, he'll even settle
for something more recent.

Originals are very scarce.

But I haven't given up.
I'm looking.


I'll get it for you.
Just give me time.

I say, this is rather
jolly, isn't it?

Oh, delightful.

I'll take it.

Very good choice, Major.
An excellent choice.

And only £10. He'll pay five.

You see, Major, what a really exquisite
piece of workmanship this is?

24-karat gold and a
genuine Swiss movement.

I couldn't possibly
let it go for less.

Really, Carpius, you forget
whom you are dealing with.

You can buy the same
atrocity anywhere for £5.

Major Parslow won't pay more.

This antique happens to come
from the beautiful home

of a close
personal acquaintance.

I know its value.

I must insist on at least £8.
That's final.

And five is his offer. Not a penny more.
I mean it.

If the Major wasn't a friend of
yours, I wouldn't even consider it.

That will be £5 then, Major.

Thank you.

May I again congratulate
your exquisite taste?

Oh. Quite, quite.

And I'll be hearing
from you soon, Carpius?

Well, I'll do what I can.
Goodbye, Major Parslow.

And do give my regards
to the Colonel.

Of course, thank you.

Oh, you are so
beautiful, my dear.

You light up this miserable
room and turn it into a palace.

I am leaving this palace.

Oh, what do you mean?

I have cooked you
your last meal.

I am leaving you,
Carpius, for good.

Oh, be patient, Malvira.

I have been patient.

My luck must change
and then we'll go away.

Venice, Paris, the Orient,
wherever you wish.

My pockets will be
full of money,

and I shall spend it
all on you.

I have heard that tune before.

No, I am leaving
in the morning.

And where will you go,
you little fool?

Back to the market place
where I found you?

And your filthy stall
to sell pots and pans?

Have you forgotten so soon?

Your ragged dress, the
sandals split at the seams.

Look at you now, everything
you are you owe to me.

I took you in, I fed
you, I clothed you.

Don't misunderstand
me, my dear.

If you attempt to leave,
I shall kill you.

Kill me, my love. Do.

Who is it?
My name is Theodoras.

The clerk told me to come back.

Come in.

You are the monk with a
copy of an ikon to sell?

Yes, sir.

Well, you realize of course, that
copies fetch very little money.

Well, let me see.

Hmm. Early Byzantine
or late Hellenistic.

Was this painted
at your monastery?

By one of my brothers.

From an original
which is there?

Yes, sir.

As you see, it depicts the Prophet
Elijah in a fiery chariot,

raising his hand
in benediction.

Hmm. The original
must be very old,

and very holy.

There is no holier ikon
in all of Cyprus.

It is never left unguarded
for a moment.

How much do you want for this?

Would five piasters
be too much?


Four? There is a great deal of
work to making a good copy.

Well, all right, four.

Which is your monastery?

The monastery of
Sts. Barnabas and Basil.

I don't think I've
ever heard of it.

Where is it?

A day's journey by bus.

And then one must walk.

It is in the mountains
about eight miles northwest

from the end
of the Paphos line.

Oh. That's rugged
country, isn't it?

We see very few people, sir.

Why do you live in
such an isolated place?

There was a quarrel over Church
doctrine some years ago.

A group of monks who disagreed with the
parent order were put under a ban,

so they went away by themselves
to establish their own monastery.

Yeah, taking their treasures
with them, I suppose.

But I am keeping you.

Good night, sir. Good night.

Oh. Would you give me
your blessing?

Thank you.

Malvira, Malvira!

I can't believe it!

The lkon of Elijah!

And only a day's
journey away from here.

And you have someone who wishes
to buy the lkon of Elijah?

He will pay us a fortune.

When Paul comes in the morning,

tell him to get hold
of Mr. Chiringirian.

I shall leave at daybreak and return the
day after tomorrow, in the morning.

And I shall have with me the item
Mr. Chiringirian's client desires.

May I speak
to the Father Superior?

You wish to speak with me?

I'm very grateful that you have
received me, Archimandrite.

I'm Carpius, from Nicosia.


Yesterday, I bought an ikon
from the monk, Theodoras.

An ikon of the Prophet Elijah.

This is Brother Constantine.

He painted the copy you bought.

It's very beautiful.

He must not speak. He has
taken a vow of silence.

It is really a very good copy.

And it troubled me that I
paid so little for it.

In fact, I scarcely slept the
whole night after he left.

I kept thinking
of the Prophet Elijah,

how he fled into the wilderness
to escape from the wickedness

of the priests of his day.

I don't know how to express
my feelings, my emotions.

But, I feel a great
dissatisfaction with myself,

with my life.

I've not been as honest in my business
dealings as I should've been.

I found myself questioning
the meaning of life.

It tortures me, Archimandrite.

I would like to seek
the true religion.

That's why I came to you.

Can you help me?

My son, you are welcome
here, most welcome.

Please stay with us,
pray with us.

We will have plenty of time to talk
with you and to ask God for guidance.

I am happy that you found us.

Isn't it strange that it was this lkon
of Elijah that brought me to you?

The ikon is highly
venerated here.

You see, just as Elijah denounced
false worship, so did we.

And just as Elijah was forced to flee
into the wilderness, so were we.

Then you feel the Church
is in a state of heresy?

One night, in a dream,
or in a vision,

I stood in a dense white fog,
as cold and isolated

as the most desolate
of God's creatures.

And through those vapors, I
beheld a most marvelous light.

And Elijah appeared unto me,

holding out his mantle
and saying,

"Thou art cold. Cover thyself."

I might say the same
to you, my son.

Thou art cold. Cover thyself.

We will show you to a cell now,

and send food to refresh you.

Then tomorrow we will talk.

There is an abundance
of time here.

And the hours flow as swiftly and
brightly as wine into a goblet.

Archimandrite! Would
it be possible for me

to see the original
lkon of Elijah?

Oh, yes.

There will be plenty of
time for that.

Uh, uh...

I couldn't see it now?

It suddenly seems I've waited
my whole life for this.

Very well.

Come with me.

What a great honor he has!

The responsibility of
guarding such a treasure.

An honor not lightly earned.

Brother Damianos would
give his life for it.

Come now.

Come now.

Brother Constantine will show
you where you may sleep.

What do you want?

There is no need for you to
frighten me out of my wits.

I simply couldn't sleep
in this strange place,

and I thought I'd
walk about a little.

I'm sorry, Brother Constantine.

Help! Help! Help! Help!

It was an accident.

Don't you see?
It was an accident.

Carpius, why?

Why did you kill
Brother Damianos?

Kill him? I didn't
mean to kill him.

I reached for the ikon and he
thought I wanted to steal it.

I only wanted to
look at it, touch it.

But he grabbed me by the throat.
I got frightened.

And I hit him.

It was an accident.

I'm sorry, I'm truly sorry,
but it was an accident.

An accident.

Moses appointed cities of refuge
for the manslayer to flee to.

Sanctuaries for those
who kill accidentally.

You say you are sorry.

I shall choose to believe you.

Thank you. Thank you.

Nevertheless, my son, you have
sinned and you must pray.

Pray for divine forgiveness.
You must repent and pray.

Oh, I shall. I shall.

Then, begin now, my son.

Pray, pray without ceasing.

We shall bring you food and water
twice a day, and oil for the lamp.

What do you mean?

We shall feed you
as the ravens fed Elijah.

You shall remain in this cell
and we shall feed you.

As long as you live, this will
be your world and you will pray.

Pray for forgiveness.

So much for the Carpius Caper.

I'm sure it's very
comforting to know

where you are going to spend
the rest of your life.

These teenagers,
defacing property.

Does it seem dark to you?

I'll bet my assistant has
accidentally shut the tomb door.

I have a feeling it's time
for me to say goodnight.