Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962): Season 5, Episode 18 - Backward, Turn Backward - full transcript

Matt Thompson is bludgeoned to death with a pipe wrench and suspicion immediately falls on 59 year-old Phil Canby. The wrench belonged to Canby and he was there that evening fixing a leaky ...

Good evening,
ladies and gentlemen.

I'm making a gift
for a dear friend.

It's a going-away present.

It's also in the
nature of a surprise,

since he isn't aware the trip
is being planned for him.

This is peculiar.

I'm cutting along
the dotted line.

Oh, well, I don't really
need anything fancy.

I'm only gonna
chain it to his feet.

And now, ladies and gentlemen,
we present our story,

"Backward, Turn Backward."

Hey, Sheriff,
when's the hanging?

Nice turnout.

Saul, you're a chemist.
Tell me something.

How is it people can
smell blood a mile away?

No, they can't. But they do.
Every time.

Look at them. Good,
honest, God-fearing


Don't be too hard on them, Andy.
All they want is...

All they want is Phil
Canby's head for dinner.

You going to give it to them?

I don't know. What'd you find?

Nothing. It's just about the
cleanest job I ever saw.

What about this?

Oh, it's the murder
weapon, all right.

But I can't tell you
much more than that.

Why not?

Well, see for yourself.
Pick it up.

Go on.

Now smell it.

Laundry soap?


He scrubbed it in the sink.

Then he washed out the sink.

You've got to hand it to old
Canby, he's a neat murderer.

Now you listen to me, Saul!

Phil Canby isn't a murderer
until a jury says so.

You understand? A jury!

I haven't even
arrested him yet.

You wanted to see me, Andy?


Now, Miss Lyons,
I know you mean well,

and I'm grateful for the
help you've been to us.

But I'm going to have to ask you
to hold your tongue about this,

until we make an arrest.

I'm sure I don't know
what you're talking about.

You've been telling people that you knew
something terrible was going to happen.

Well, it's the truth.

And the truth never
hurt anybody, did it?

I'm not so sure.

Anyway, something terrible
did happen, before all this.

And everybody knows it, too.

Phil Canby chasing after a girl

young enough to be
his granddaughter.

Do you know what I saw?

I saw Phil Canby take Sue
Thompson in his arms

and kiss her.

Right on the mouth!

Made me sick to my stomach!


"Why?" Oh, Andy, Phil
Canby's 60 years old!

He's 59!

Besides, the way I hear it, he offered
to marry her and she accepted.

But that makes it even worse.
The very idea!

A girl still in her teens

marrying an old fool like that!

Is that why you all
want to see him hang?

Because you think
he's an old fool?

Would you like your daughter
to marry a man of 59?

Were you in love
with Matt Thompson?

I certainly was not!

I liked Matt well enough,
and I felt sorry for him,

all alone in this
big old house.

Not exactly alone.
He had his daughter Sue.

A lot of good she was!

You'd think that girl could at
least keep this place clean.

Who took care of Sue when she was
a baby after her mother died?

Her father.

And when he was working?

Oh. I don't know.

From what I've heard, you were very good
to both Matt and Sue in those days.

I was only doing
my duty, helping out.

I've heard rumors that you
expected Matt to propose to you.

Is that true?

Whoever told you
such a silly thing?

Are you prepared to swear that you heard
the Murray baby crying last night?

I most certainly am. At 10:30?

That's right. You're sure?

It couldn't have been
some other child?

Hardly. There isn't another
baby in the whole block.

And I knew it was 10:30 because I
looked at my clock when I got home.

Why'd you do that? I always do.

That was when you heard
the baby crying?


You know, Phil Canby swears the
baby was asleep at that time.

And never cried once.

That's ridiculous!

I never heard him like that
before, rasping for breath.

He kept it up all the time I
was getting ready for bed.

All right, Miss Lyons.
You can go on home now.


Isn't there anything I can do?

No, I think you've done
just about enough.

We'll call you.

The ambulance is here, Andy.

Can we haul it away?


Hey, here comes the Sheriff!

You gonna arrest him now?

Oh, Sheriff, come in.

Is your father here?

Yes. He's upstairs, I think.

With Sue Thompson?

I'm sorry.

Philip, darling, I'm coming.

Yes, Mommy's here.

It's all right, darling.
Mommy's here now.

And I'll have your
lunch in just a moment.

He's at that certain age.

I know. I had the same trouble with mine.

Now, now, young fellow,
what's the matter?


You certainly have
a way with children.

With this one, I do.

Couldn't rightly say
about any others.

Have you got anything
more to tell me, Phil?

Nothing more to tell.

They're all blaming him
for it, aren't they?

Why? What's wrong?

He worked for those people.
He loved them.

He was their friend.

Why are they all suddenly
turning on him like this?

Don't you know?

Yes, I suppose I do.

But it's not right, Sheriff.

You can't condemn
a man for murder

just because you don't
approve of what he's doing!

I'm not condemning
your father, Betty.

I'm only trying to get at the truth.
You've gotta believe that.

I've told you all I know, Andy. What's
the point in going on about it?

It's not a matter of point, Phil.
It's routine.

You don't mind if I ask Sue a
few questions, do you, Phil?

Not if she don't.

Sue, Sheriff here
wants to talk with you.

Yes, sir?

Sue, I'm going to speak
straight out to you.

A lot of people think that Phil Canby
is responsible for your father's death.

That's silly!

Maybe so, but that's
the way it is.

Do you think he's responsible?

Doesn't make any
difference what I think.

Now, Sue, I'm going to
ask you a few questions.

I want you to tell me
what happened last night,

just the way you remember it.

And don't leave anything out.

Go ahead, tell him.
It's all right.

We got nothing to be afraid of.

I don't know what to say.

Last night you asked Phil over
to your house to fix the drain.

Is that right? Yes, sir.

What happened?

Phil was fixing the drain.

We were talking
about our plans.

Daddy came in and then he started to
yell and say awful, terrible things.

What things?

He said he'd have me
put in an institution

before he'd see his daughter
married to an old man.

Let her tell it, Phil.

Then what, Sue?

Phil yelled something back
at him, it scared me.

I hid in the pantry and put
my fingers in my ears.

When did you come
out of the pantry?

When Daddy told me to.

He said it was all over
and I could go to bed now.

Phil was gone? Yes, sir.

I went upstairs
and went to sleep.

All right.

Phil, I've got to
talk to you now.


Go upstairs, honey. This won't take long.
You rest some.

Nice girl.

Ain't a girl. She's a woman.

The best I've seen
in a long time.

Phil, there's no sense pretending.
You're in trouble.

Miss Lyons says she heard little
Philip crying at 10:30 last night.

Your daughter admits you
didn't change the baby.

Now, that isn't like you,
Phil, neglecting him.

He was asleep.

I didn't want to wake him up.

Matt Thompson was killed
between 10:00 and 11:00.

You say you were here at
that time, babysitting,

while Betty and her
husband went to the show.

You had the radio turned on.

That's right.

I came home right after
the quarrel at 9:00.

Everybody knows that when
you're here, that baby's quiet.

Yet Miss Lyons heard
him crying at 10:30.

Don't you see what that means?

I never touched Matt!

All right,
you never touched him!

Who did?

Don't know.

And I don't rightly care.

State's Attorney's going to
say that baby was crying

because you weren't
here to keep him quiet.

He's going to say that you got to
thinking about Matt Thompson's threats.

You couldn't stand it anymore.

So, you went back
and killed him.

You even left
the wrench behind.

I was using that to fix the drain.
I forgot it.

Forgot it!

Why'd you wash it
with laundry soap?

I didn't.

Phil, you've got to give me
something more to go on!

I'd go all the way for you,

if you'd just give me some proof
that you didn't kill Matt.




You think I did it, don't you?

What else can I think?

Phil, this whole
town's against you.

You don't give me something more
to go on, you're going to hang.

Phil, when did you first fall
in love with Sue Thompson?

Fall in love?

Sounds funny, saying that about
somebody my age, don't it, Andy?

I don't rightly know.

Whatever it was,
it happened last spring.

I was working in the yard

and kinda keeping an eye on
little Philip at the same time.

Sue come over to watch,
like she always did.

She wasn't no different,
I guess.

All big-eyed
and sad like a doe.

Like a big-eyed,
sad little doe,

ready to run if you
made a wrong move.

But she was different, somehow.

I'd been seeing her ever
since she was a child,

but now it was like I was
seeing her for the first time.

I never seen such an
expression on her face before.

Like she wasn't
a little girl no more,

but a woman.

And she wasn't just
outside the yard,

but outside the world,

looking in.

I'd tried to fool
myself into thinking

that I just felt
protective towards her.

But it weren't so.

I was in love with her.

I am in love with her.

She makes me feel young.

And I haven't felt
that way for 20 years.

Disgusted, Andy?

I just wish the two things
could be separated.

You and Sue
and Matt Thompson's murder.

They can't be separated.

If they hang me,
it won't be for murder.

It'll be because I fell in
love with a 19-year-old girl.

What's that about?

Nothing. How's it going?

It isn't.

What about the drain?

Well, there are
wrench marks on it,

but I don't know
what that proves.

Harris is here.

Where? Upstairs.

Miss Thompson, your father
was murdered last night.

Now I'm going to find out
who did it and why!

So you'd better
tell me the truth.

I am telling you the truth.

Do you mean to tell me that
you didn't expect your father

to interfere with your marriage
to an old man like Phil Canby?

He never interfered
with anything I did.

And don't you know
that he told Betty Murray

that he would chain you up
rather than see you marry Canby?

He never said that to me!

Oh, what did he say
when you told him?

I think he said something like,

"Well, doesn't that
beat everything!"

And he laughed.

Are you taking over
my job, Mr. Harris?

It's not a bad idea, Andy.

Seeing that sheriffs
do have all the fun.

First on the scene,
first to make an arrest.

Sue, Mr. Harris and I
have some talking to do.

Why don't you run on back?

I told you I'd let you
know when I was ready.

And aren't you?

Look, Andy, I've been
getting a lot of calls.

Now I understand your feelings in this
matter, and I sympathize in a way.

But the press is
getting impatient.

What they want is an arrest.

And if you can't
give them that...

And personally,
I can't understand why not.

At least tell them you have a
suspect under surveillance.

Or would you rather have that mob out
there take things into its own hands?

I'll take care of it.


What's worrying you, Andy?

There's enough in here to
nail Canby to the ground.

I know.

You ought to. You put
it together for me.

So, why are you stalling?

Look, Thompson threatens Canby,
makes things unpleasant.

Canby flies into a rage and beats out
Thompson's brains with a wrench.

Later, he cleans up
and goes home.

Opportunity, motive, no alibi.

It all seems so obvious, Andy.

I know! I know!

And what's his defense?
He was home babysitting.

Now who's gonna believe that
after Miss Lyons testifies

she heard the baby
screaming its head off?

All right!

I'll make the arrest,
after the funeral.

Is that soon enough for you?

Andy, do me a favor.

Don't mix me up with
those wolves outside.

I'm after Canby because
I think he's guilty.

And I think that because of
this evidence you've given me.

And to Thy charge,
Beloved Lord,

we dispatch the immortal soul
of Matthew Wallace Thompson.

In his life upon this earth,
Matthew was a gardener,

tending for the loveliest
of Thy creations,

the flowers.

So, in a way, it is fitting

that he should at last return to the soil
from whence his beloved roses sprang.

He was a good man.

He never missed
a Sunday at church

from the age of seven to the time
of his cruel and hasty death.

But he has not truly died,

as Thou dost well know.

He has but gone from
this world to another,

and as we think of him now,

reunited at last with his
loved ones, for all eternity,

we lift our hearts
in joyous anticipation

of that dark, mysterious
journey which awaits us all.

Hello, John. Sheriff.

The old man, huh?

Better take your
wife upstairs, John.

You, too, Sue.

I'm not leaving.
This is my father's house.

And I don't have to leave
if I don't want to.

All right.

Phil Canby, I'm arresting you for the
willful murder of Matt Thompson.

Oh, you're crazy!

My father never killed anybody.

My father would
never kill anybody.

Honey, it isn't gonna help.

There's nothing we can do.

Let's go, Phil.

You can't take him away!

He'll be given a fair trial.

Don't lie to her, Andy.

If I can be arrested for
something I didn't do,

I can be hung for it.
Let's get it done with.

You can take some
things if you want.

Oh, I've no things.

And how do you feel now?

That's right.
You, Sue Thompson.

It's all your fault.
Every single bit of it.

If you hadn't led
my father on like this,

he never would have gotten
into all this trouble!

You're just a...
Betty! Leave her alone!

I won't! I won't!

She did this to you. She made
you lose all your friends,

all your self-respect.

Now she's sending you to jail!
She doesn't care!

That's what Miss Lyons heard.

What will they do with her?

What they do with all
sick people, I expect.

Put her in a hospital.

Do you think she knows
she killed her father?

No, I don't think she has
any idea she killed him.

We have run out
of entertainment.

Until next week, that is.

I have a new piece of stone and have
decided to give sculpturing one more try.

Oh, well, what can you
expect from a beginner?

Good night.