Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962): Season 5, Episode 26 - Mother, May I Go Out to Swim? - full transcript

John Crane is attending a coroner's inquiry and remembers the events that brought him there. John lives with his mother Claire and they are obviously very close. While on holiday, he meets ...

Good evening.

I've been talked into making
a high dive for publicity.

I was told it would be
excellent for the show.

I'm not certain
what it will do for me.

I was promised that there would
be someone to demonstrate

how easy the dive is.

Actually, it's not the dive
I'm worried about.

It's the landing.

Jumping from the high-diving
board into a small tub of water

is exactly like presenting
a play on television.

You may have a big hit.
Then again, you may miss.

But in either event,
you make a big splash.

While we're waiting
for our friend to land,

let's put the time to good use.

All right, please.

This coroner's board of Kale
County is now in session.

The clerk will please
enter the opening data.

Convening board
is now in session

to determine death causes and
circumstances of the deceased.

If only suddenly I could feel
the wonderful relief of knowing

that this courtroom and everything
that's happened is a dream.

A hideous nightmare.

But it's not a dream.
I am here.

I am a murderer.

Even if I don't know how it
happened or where it all began.

Unless it was that day.

The first time
I'd gone away without her.

Ls this supposed to be packed?
Darling, you really are hopeless.

It's my artistic temperament. Remember how
mad that expression used to make Dad?

Humor was never one of your
father's strong points,

and I'm very much afraid your
sister Alice takes after him.

You're not much looking forward
to going to Alice's, are you?

Well, let's say I was looking forward
to going to Vermont with you,

but being a dutiful grandmamma, I go
instead to nurse my ailing grandchildren.

Or perhaps I should say, to
amuse the ones who aren't ill.

You and Dietrich are the
only two women in the world

who've managed to turn being
a grandmother into an asset.

It's an asset I could
cheerfully do without.

Go on, you love it.
You know you do.

I love everyone's reaction,
that's true, but...

Of course, you understand the first
time anyone accepts it without surprise

will be the last time
I announce it.

Of course. Have we time for a
farewell drink before you go?

There's always time
for a drink, Mother.

I even have some ice left
from last night.

You know, it was really
a very good idea of mine

to turn this part of the house
into a private apartment for you.

One of your best.

Now I have all the
privileges of living alone

with none of the drawbacks like
having to pay rent and eating out.

If truth were known, I think that's the
real reason you keep on living here

because Jane is
such a good cook.

Not at all. I'm a dutiful son.

And I don't want to leave you alone
in your old age. Oh, please!

You make me feel
like Whistler's Mother.

Except you'd be alone a quick
five minutes, and you know it.

Flattery will get you anything.

Cheers, darling. Have a lovely time. And
I'll get there just as soon as I can.

I think it was the second day I met
Lotte, or the third, it doesn't matter.

What matters is that
I did meet her.

And in a way, I guess that's the
answer as far as where it began.

It was right there.

That minute.

Good morning. May I help you?

Yes, I'd like some color film, if you have it.
Right over here.

How many would you like?
Oh, three or four.

Here you are.

Thank you.

What a beautiful camera.
Yes, it is, isn't it?

Are you a photographer? Oh, no.
No, I just fool around.

People who just fool around
don't have cameras like this.

It was a present from my mother.

Well, there are lovely places
around here to photograph.

We have some slides, too.

But you'd probably rather
take your own pictures.

Oh, no, no. May I see some
of your slides? Of course.

Oh. Here. This is my
favorite place.

Isn't it beautiful?

It certainly is.

Is it far from here? No.

It's quite near.

I'll be glad to show it to you sometime.
I go there often.

Why, that would
be very nice of you.

If I'd known that first
night we went to the waterfall

what was eventually
going to happen...

But how could I?

How could any average,
normal person think of murder

in connection with themselves?

It's not exactly what
I'd call a short walk.

But I knew you could do it,
and you see I was right.

Yes. Yes, I do

pamper this leg of mine
a little too much.

What happened? Does it
bother you to talk about it?

Oh, no. Not particularly.

I had polio when I was 18, and
it's been like this ever since.

My mother says I was lucky
I got off lightly.

You certainly were right, this is a beautiful spot.
I'm glad you like it.

I sometimes wonder
why I love it so much.

I suppose because it's such a contrast to
so many things I've known for so long.

I'm not sure I understand
what you mean.

Well, here it's so beautiful.

And there was very little beauty in
Germany during the war or even after it.

You were there during the war?

Yes, and for a long time after trying
to save up enough money to get here.

What about your family?
Couldn't they help?

My mother died
when I was very young.

And my father was killed
during a bombing.

Oh. I'm sorry.

He was glad to die.

When the war started,
we lost everything.

My father always had money and position.
He just couldn't cope without them.

Yes, I can imagine
it's pretty hard to accept.

I don't know, I suppose it is.

But it can be rewarding, too.

Every time you pull yourself up a step,
you can say I did this by myself,

with no help from anyone.
It's satisfying.


You must have been quite young
when all this happened.

I was 15 and very childish
in spite of everything.

I thought it was going
to be better afterwards.

Instead it was worse,
much worse.

I'm sorry, I didn't mean
to talk so much about myself.

I think it must be this place.

Yes, it does have a kind of
enchantment, doesn't it?

Even for you?

I would have thought beautiful places
were not unusual in your life.

Well, I've been pretty lucky.

When my father died,
he left us fairly well off.

That must be a very
comforting feeling.

Yes, it is.

Say, speaking of family, my mother's
coming down here to join me soon.

I want you to meet her. You'll like her.
I'm sure I will.

Everyone does. She's very
young and gay and pretty.

Say, I'd better be going.
But why? It's still early.

I know, but I'm expecting
a call about 9:00.

A long-distance call? Yes, my mother.
She always calls at 9:00.

Maybe it was because we saw so much
of each other that it happened so quickly.

Or maybe it was something in Lotte.
She was so sure.

Sure enough for both of us.

I just don't dance, Lotte.
But you can try.

I haven't danced since I was 17.
It makes no difference.

Dancing is something you don't
forget no matter how long it is.

Well, I've forgotten. Then I'll show you.
It's very easy.

Not for me, not with this leg.
Forget your leg.

You think too much about it.

Lotte, the dining room's closed. They're
not going to like our being in here.

But we are doing no harm.
Come on, please.

Well, don't say
I didn't warn you.

You see?
I knew you could do it.

John, what were you trying to
say to me a few minutes ago?


Were you trying to ask me
to marry you?

Yes, I guess I was. You guess?

I mean I was.

I just didn't do it very well.
I haven't had much practice.

It's the first time I ever
proposed to anyone. Is it?

But surely you must have
been in love before.


I don't think I ever was.
Not like this.

I guess I was too satisfied

and comfortable with my life
to ever fall in love.

Johnny, will your mother
be pleased?

Of course.

Why of course?
Many mothers wouldn't.

Claire's different.
I told her about...

Good heavens! We've got to get back.
But why?

It's past 11:00. I've
missed Claire's call again.

Oh, but Johnny... l mean,
she'll worry, you know.

Hello, darling!

Claire! Claire, darling!

The children were so much better,
I thought I'd surprise you.

You have, and what a
wonderful surprise!

Oh, my dear, it's
so good to see you.

I want to hear about
everything you've been doing.

Oh, darling!

And I'm so looking forward to
meeting your friend, Lotte.

Darling, I can't tell you how wonderful
it is to be here with you at last.

Wonderful to have you, Mother.

The only thing is you're
looking a bit tired.

I hope you've been
getting some rest.

Well, I don't know how I look, but I feel great.
I've been having a wonderful time.

I'm so glad.

I'll have to thank Miss Rank personally
for keeping you amused until I got here.

She's done more than that, Mother.
She's an extraordinary girl.

I'm sure she is.

She even got me over that
phobia I had about dancing.

But, darling, that's wonderful.

It's years since
I've danced myself.

I was always afraid if I did, it
would remind you that you couldn't.

That's so typical of you. Have you ever
put yourself first in your whole life?

Oh, don't be silly, dear.
I always do.

I'm a selfish old woman, and you know it.
Of course I do.

Still, I'm very anxious
for you to meet her.

No more than I.

You understood why I didn't want
to last night after the trip.

I was so exhausted and I looked so ghastly.
Of course I did.

I thought we might have
tea together this afternoon.

Tea's a lovely idea, but...

You know, I really would like to
know a little more about her.

You've hardly told me anything other than
that she's wonderful, extraordinary...

I'd rather not.

I'd rather you met her
and got to know her

without being influenced
by my opinion.

Good heavens. Don't tell me
she has a lurid past.

Oh, no. Just a sad one.

Oh, dear, what a pity.

It's always been my ambition to
meet someone with a lurid past.

More coffee, dear?
No, thank you.

I'll go down to the station and
pick up the rest of your luggage.

You're sure you don't mind? They said
they'd send someone for it this afternoon.

Don't be silly. I know how
much you want to get settled.

I'll be back in about an hour.

Darling, get someone at the station to
help you with that large one, will you?

It's frightfully heavy.
I'll manage.

Don't worry about it, Mother.

I never did find out how Claire
discovered Lotte worked in the gift shop,

but she did, and later, much
later, Lotte told me what happened

when she came into
the shop that morning.

Good morning. May I help you?

Well, I'm not
quite sure. I'm...

I'm looking for a rather
special gift for someone.

A man or a woman? A man.

Well, we have some
very lovely things here.

Maybe some cufflinks.

They're just a bit gaudy,
don't you think?

Possibly, but I...

Perhaps I'm too conservative,
but they are for me.

Maybe something else, then.

You have an interesting accent.

Have you been here long? In this
country, I mean? No, not very.

Oh, so, you're not a citizen?

Well, it takes a long time.

Oh, well, what does it matter?

A pretty girl like you
will get married,

and that will take care of
everything, won't it?

I believe that's the law. My
dear, I'm sure you know it is.

That's the way most European
girls manage it, don't they?

Possibly, but then
I'm not most European girls.

If you see anything you like, I'd
be very happy to show it to you.

No, I don't think so.

I can't imagine who does the
buying for these places.

They must have no
taste whatsoever.

Forgive me for
taking up your time.

Good morning. Good morning.

Darling, there's
no need to be nervous.

I know it's silly
of me, isn't it?

I'm just so anxious for
you to like each other.

Well, I can't speak for Miss Rank,
but as far as I'm concerned,

I'd like anyone
who was kind to you.

I know you would, Mother.

Oh, here she comes now.

Good heavens, why didn't you tell me?
Tell you what?

Well, she's the girl
from the gift shop.

Hello, Johnny. Hi, Lotte.

Lotte, this is my mother.

How do you do.

How do you do.

Do sit down, my dear.

Whatever must you think of me?

Why, I had no idea this morning

that you were the young lady
that I've heard so much about.

Oh, that's all right.

I don't know what either
of you is talking about.

I went into the gift
shop this morning.

Oh, just think,
if we'd only known

we could have had a lovely chat
without John interrupting.

Go ahead and chat.
I promise not to say a word.

Oh, darling, I'm only teasing.

Tea, Miss Rank, or perhaps
you'd prefer a drink?

Tea would be fine, thank you.

Plain. There you are.

I can't tell you, my dear,
how grateful I am

for all your kindness to John.

On the contrary, it was
he who was kind to me.

Well, whatever.

I know you've been
having a wonderful time,

and I don't want either of you
to think for one moment

that my being here is
going to change anything.

I want you both just
to pretend that I'm not here.

Mother what kind of nonsense is that?
I mean it, dear.

I'm perfectly capable of amusing myself.
But that's not the point.

Well, of course it is.

Why should you drag me around
with you everywhere you go?

Don't you agree, Miss Rank?

Will you excuse me?

Must you go so soon? Yes.

It was nice meeting you.

Thank you for the tea.
But, Lotte...

I really must go.

Did I say something
to offend her?

No. No, no, of course not.

I just don't understand.

Well, I expect it's only
natural for her to resent me.

Why on earth should she?

Women sometimes do resent
mothers of eligible young men.

But that's nonsense.

Ls it?

Oh, well. Don't worry, darling.

I'm sure when she realizes

that I don't intend to make a nuisance
of myself, she'll feel differently.

Now, you take her to some lovely
place for dinner tonight.

But I wanted the three of
us to have dinner tonight.

No. No, I'll have dinner
here by myself.

But I don't want you eating by yourself.
Especially not your first night here.

Darling, I've been alone
before and I shall be again.

I'm quite capable of
coping with the problem.

We can't avoid the subject
all evening, Lotte.

I don't suppose we can.

You don't like my mother, do you?

Why not? What did she do?
She was trying to be friendly.

Ls that what you think
she was trying to be?

How little you know about
women, Johnny.

Now, what's that
supposed to mean?

It means that now
I understand the situation.

Oh, I've wondered about
it from the beginning.

The telephone calls
every night.

The number of times her name
comes into your conversation.

The fact that she joined you here,
that you still live with her.

I wondered about
all these things,

but it wasn't until I met her
and saw you both together

that I knew there was
no chance for me.

But you're wrong.
You just don't understand.

Don't I? No.

Let me ask you
something, Johnny.

You spoke about family money.

Isn't it true that it's your mother's
money which she shares with you?

My father left it
to both of us.

So, it's in her name, but when
she dies, it'll all come to me.

When she dies, my dear, is when you'll
be free of her, and not before.

What kind of a thing is that to say?
It's the truth.

I've seen women like her before.
She'll never let you go.

Claire's different. Ls she?

Then what did she say when you told
her we were going to be married?


You didn't tell her, did you?

No. I thought you could get to
know and like each other first.

That's not possible. You may as
well tell her right away, tonight.

Are you able to
do that, Johnny?

Of course, I am.

Then there's no
problem. Tell her.

Oh, it's been such
a lovely, quiet evening.

After three children, being
alone has its compensations.

I'm sorry about that, Claire.

Oh, darling, don't be silly.
It's the way I wanted it.

And don't look so serious,
especially not tonight.

I need a little gaiety
after the past two weeks.

I'll bet you do. Was it awful?
Oh, no. Not really.

But I imagine your dear brother-in-law
was very happy to see the last of me.

What do you mean?

Scandal, my dear.
I had a gentleman caller.

As a matter of fact,
he practically moved in.

You don't mean that character
who lives next door to them?

I do indeed.

That's pretty funny.

I don't see what's
so funny about it.

He's not unattractive
and he's certainly dependable.

And dull. He'd bore you to
death in 10 minutes. Five.

It's all very well to laugh, but I
do have my old age to think about.

You'll be getting married one of these
days, and no one likes to be alone.

My getting married doesn't
mean you'll be left alone.

Oh, darling,

how little you know of women.

Wives don't share
their husbands.

Oh, they don't say anything
about it as a rule, but

gradually, they manage to see less
and less of their mother-in-law.

You can't blame them.
It's only natural.

Ls it?

But of course it is.

But we don't have to worry about that yet.
You're a long way from getting married.

Lotte, I don't know
what to do, I just don't.

Tell her. I can't.

Then you've already chosen. Her.

No. Yes.

John, I have some vacation
time coming to me,

I think I'm going to
take it and go away.

You can't do that. Yes, I can.

Unless you tell her.

Or better still, why
don't we both tell her?

I don't want any scenes, Lotte.
There's no need for any.

We can make it
all very friendly.

We can take a drive...

We can even take her
to see the waterfall.

I knew then what Lotte was planning,
even though she didn't actually say it.

There was no need
to go up there.

Unless she was thinking the problem
could be solved in another way.

Lotte was so sure that only
Claire's death would set me free.

All evidence and facts have been presented
with neither restraint nor malice,

and the ruling of this court
is accidental death.

Are you all right, darling?
Yes, Mother, I'm all right.

Can we go home now? Of course.

A word about our
story in a moment.

I've just been told that
our diver landed,

but I'm awaiting confirmation.

Well, I suppose it's nice
to know he arrived safely.

By the way, in tonight's story,

the police ultimately found the correct
answer to that age-old question,

"Was she pushed,
or did she jump?"

Now, for a jump of my own.

I don't mind jumping,

but not if they
keep moving things.

Until next time, good night.