Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962): Season 6, Episode 24 - A Woman's Help - full transcript

Arnold Burton hires a very attractive nurse, Miss Greco, to care for his bedridden and demanding wife, Elizabeth. Over a period of months, Arnold and Miss Greco fall in love and concoct a scheme to slowly poison Elizabeth. She catches them kissing one evening and demands that Miss Greco leave. Realizing that his wife controls all of the money, he reluctantly agrees. Arnold then arranges for his wife to interview three candidates to replaces the now departed nurse and she takes great delight in hiring the eldest, a grandmotherly type. Little does she know that she is the one who is in for the surprise.

Good evening.

Something must be done about
this, on this roof alone.

There are three reindeer and a
stalk caught in the antennae.

We certainly
can't have that.

It interferes with reception. The
picture becomes quite grotesque,

Allow me to

You see what I mean? It's rather like
home movies made by Picasso or someone.

But enough of this.

You tuned in to see a story.

And I?m certain you don't want to
spend the time looking at a negative.

But first one minute from a
man who is a positive thinker.


Ten seconds.

Five, four, three,

two, one, all right.

Exactly three minutes mr
Burton, just how she likes it.

Oh thank you Chester.

And be sure that
there's a clean napkin on the tray,

mrs Butron said
the last one was soiled.

Yes sir and how is mrs
Burton feeling this morning?

About the same as usual.

Oh yeah I better go up to her.

You certainly took your time how long does
it take to cook an egg for heaven's sake.

I?m sorry, dear.

I just hope this woman you hide looks
after me better than you do, Arnold.

Please give me my tray.

-What time does she ride anyway?
-Uh a train gets set at nine.

Perhaps I?d better send
Chester to the station now.

-Is he very anxious?
-I just don't want miss Greco to feel lost that's all.

All right tell Chester
to get started.

I suppose she'll be some frittery blonde
with 10 thumbs and a bad permanent.

I?m sure she'll be fine the nurse's registry
recommended her highly and you saw her,

references. Now you need a woman to look
after you Elizabeth you said so yourself.

Oh honest stop yammering and go.


as soon as miss Greco arrives

send her up here I want
to look at this creature.

Miss Greco is here sir.

How do you do mrs Greco?
I?m Arnold Burton.

Oh will you take ms Greco?s
luggage up to a room please.

-Yes sir thank.
-Thank you.

Well won't you uh sit down miss Greco
you must be tired after a long trip.

A little.

I hope you're going to be
happy with this ms Greco.

My wife needs a
woman to look after.

I?ve been doing everything
I can of course but uh,

well, as she herself suggested,

a practical nurse would
be so much more,


-You uh you know about her ailment?
-Yes I do.

Well it's, it's nothing dangerous
but it is rather unpleasant for her.

She's uh in bed most the time
she just hobbles about a bit.

She's practically never out of her
room except for walks in the garden.

And she's, she's very
fond of her little walks.

I see.

What uh...

-would you care for cigarette?
-No thank you.

Yes, it isn't uh this
nursing she needs as much,

as companionship you,
you know how women are.


Well I, I certainly hope you're going to,
be happy with this miss Greco.

Well that's, that's her bell I
expect she wants to see you now.

It's, uh it's right this way.

Here's miss
Greco, Elizabeth.

How do you do mrs Burton?

How do you do miss Greco?

I?ve just been telling miss Greco how
we've been looking forward to her arrival.

Yes, well, I expect
you want to change.

Your room is down the
corridor two doors from mine.

-If you'll excuse me.
-Of course.

Well, where did you get
her? From the folly berger?

Oh really Elizabeth...

Oh she didn't fool me for a minute
she's a chorus girl if ever I saw one.

I suppose you think you're
being very clever don't you.

Nothing of the sword.

You chose her yourself, remember?

The references sent by the nurse's
registry, never saw the woman before.

-But you admit that she's pretty.
-She's attractive yes.

-But not pretty no.
-Very well..

Well, she may stay it should be
interesting watching you two.

But make no mistake about
it Arnold I?ll be watching.

Already Elizabeth
you're talking nonsense.

I know you Arnold I
know you inside out,

I can hear your romantic
little heart beating.

I know the kind of man you are you're the
kind of man that's always dependingon women.

Oh, for one
thing or another.

Do we have to talk about this now?

-First it was your mother.
-You've never even met my mother.

Your sister told me, your
mother did everything for you.

And then me. There's always
been a woman to help you.

-Now Arnold isn't that true?
-You're not being fair Elizabeth.

Go ahead. Tell your miss Greco,

she's hired.

In faith I do not love
thee with mine eyes,

but are they in thee a
thousand errors note,

just my heart that
loves what they despise,

who in despite of you
is pleased to dote.

Arnold if you must read poetry can't
you find something better than that?

Elizabeth this is Shakespeare.

It's a lot of romantic
glop If you ask me.

Why can't you read
me a good novel?

Well I thought you might like
a little poetry for a change.

I might but you read it so badly.

Well miss Greco,

you try.

Nor are mine ears with thy
tongue's tuned delighted,

nor tender feeling to
base touches prone,

nor taste nor smell desire to be invited
to an essential feast with thee alone,

but my five wits know
my five senses can,

dissuade one foolish
heart from serving thee,

Foolish is right, don't
you think so Arnold?

-I?m sorry I wasn't listening.
-Not listening? Oh what a pity.

-This Greco reads so beautifully.
-Shall I go on.

Please do, Arnold appreciates that
kind of thing. Don't you Arnold?

Don't you?

Very much.

-I?m cold I want to go in.
-Of course mrs Burton.

-Well come on, come on.
-Yes, dear.

Oh I didn't realize
anyone was here.

-It's quite all right. Look, please come in.
-I?ve been having trouble sleeping.

I often do that's why I come down
here I have a glass of hot milk.

So, it's the only
thing really.

-I?ll say can I fix your one?
-Please don't trouble.

No no, no there's no
trouble, not at all here.

Here, sit right down
here at the table.

It's high time if somebody
waited on you ms Greco.

-Thank you.
-All right.

Well they kept you hopping
these, uh past two months.

I haven't minded.

-You've been wonderfully patient with her.
-She isn't that much trouble.

Um you can be
honest with me.

I?ve been a nurse
for the past year.

Yeah, weren't you a
little brandy, miss.

No thank you.

It must be terrible for
you seeing her like this.

Especially if you you
love her a great deal.

Yes it would be awkward, but...

My milk is getting cold.

I?m sorry.

-I love you.
- I love you too.

But it's hopeless isn't?

It depends on what
you mean by hopeless.

I mean marriage of course.

That is what you
meant isn't it?

It would be ordinarily because
you know I?m a very married man.

There are
divorce courts.

Yeah, also poor houses.

I don't have any money on my
own you know I?m not used to,

-having no money.
-That's all there is to it?

-You can't admit that.
-What else can there be?

I won't be a backstreet wife.

That's a dreadful
novelettes phrase.

I prefer lover.

And I prefer wife.

There must be something we can do.

This isn't fair to any of us.

Except for Elizabeth.

She's not gonna get any better.

She is get more
miserable every day.

You, uh you know that medicine
that you give her every night...

-You mean the nine o'clock sedative?

Now when um when doctor I
have first prescribed it for,

he warned me that it was
very strong.

She's so uncomfortable
at night it helps a lot.

Yeah, you know, about the proper
dosage and all that don't you?

Yes, I know the drug
could be dangerous.

That an overdose could
affect the brain.

Possibly cause hemorrhaging.

Yes, naturally you wouldn't make
any mistake about overdosing.

Of course not.

gonna be foolish.

Very foolish.

So easily detectable.

However isn't it true,

that it wouldn't be detected
if it were administered,

a little bit at a time? That is,

three extra drops every night have
the same effect as an overdose.

-Only not immediately.
-Yes I believe that's true.

She become weaker every day.

-It's bound to be a symptom. -Yes
but not necessarily a scribal to the drug.

And the uh, the
amount in the bottle,

would hardly be noticeable,
don't you think?

I suppose so.

Um how, how long do you
think it'd take before...?

I really can't say.

Just this is a guess.

I would say,

about two months.

That'll be June.

Good morning darling, well how
are we feeling this morning?

-Arnold your cheerfulness is
depressing. -I?m sorry dear.

What are you dressed up for?

-Oh. I thought I might play a little tennis.
-No you can't.

-Why not?
-I want you to read to me this morning.

well can't miss
Greco do that?

I?m sick of the sound of miss
Greco?s voice and frankly, Arnold,

I?m sick of everything
about miss Greco.

Really Elizabeth you know
how helpful she's been.

Has she? Then why do
I feel so much worse?

Well you really can't
blame her for that.

Did I tell you that dr Ivey wants me
to enter the hospital for observation?

Well if he really
thinks it's necessary...

He says this loss of
appetite is serious.

Oh I?m sure there's
nothing too serious.

-How can you be so sure?

-I suppose the doctor should
know what he's talking about.

But you know how you
hate hospitals. Besides,

what would I
do without you?

I wonder.

And if you wait a few days? And if you don't
feel any better you go to the hospital.

But let's, let's not
talk about it anymore.

I?ve got to run, I?ll
be late for my game.

-Arnold? -Yes?
-I?ve already told dr Ivey.

That I?ll enter the hospital
the middle of next week.

Well if you really think
that's best Elizabeth.

You realize what
this means don't you?

They give her a thorough examination they're
bound to detect the overdose in her system.

What should we do?

Perhaps we stopped.

No, no, it's too late for that.

But, eh,

there is another way,
of course.

You mean increase the dose.

Just another couple drops.

Do you still love me?

Oh, what a pretty picture.

Go right on with it Arnold
don't let me interrupt you.

You forgot to give
me my sedative.

And I couldn't find the bell I had
to walk down here all by myself.

But I?m glad I did, I wouldn't
have missed this for the world.

Please mrs Burton
you mustn't think...

Quiet, you I?ve had enough
of you understand that?

-Quite enough.
-Eh, no you're mistaken, Elizabeth uh,

miss Greco Millie has
something in her eye.

I know she does.


But she's one woman you
won't lean on again Arnold.

-I want to out of this house tomorrow.
-Mrs Burton please, listen.

You're fired. And if Arnold was
my employee instead of my husband,

maybe I?d fire him too,
but he's my husband.

Understand? He's my husband.

Now you can help me
back upstairs Arnold.

Tomorrow you'll call the nurses registry
and arrange for a substitute for miss Greco.

Only this time I?ll interview
the candidates personally.

Yes Elizabeth.

Poor Arnold.

Elizabeth what are
you doing out of bed?

You'll overtire yourself I didn't
want to miss the great farewell scene.

Besides I?m feeling so
much better this morning.

I called dr Ivey and told him to
cancel the hospital appointment.

-I don't think I?m going to need it after all.
-That's fine dear.

-Right poor Arnold you look so upset.
-Stop it Elizabeth.

There's always been a woman's help,
hasn't? There only now she's gone.

You have to depend
on me again.

Poor little sick me.

Arnold, did you do what I told you
did you call the nurses registry?

Yeah yes there'll be uh three
candidates here this afternoon,

for you to choose from
starting at two o'clock.

-Good- I uh I was thinking of going out to
a movie if you don't think you'll need me.

Go ahead see a good romantic movie
full of passionate love scenes.

Get it out of your system.

-Did you enjoy your movie?
-Was all right.

Well our problems are solved
I?ve found the perfect woman.

-She's already started work.
-I?m glad that they all show up on time.

The first two are impossible
too young but the third, ideal.

She's in the kitchen why don't you
go down and have a look at her.

-We seem to find it amusing.

Why should I?

Go on downstairs and look at her.

Go on Arnold.

Does she want me, your missus?

I was just making a pot of coffee.

How do you like her?

How do you like your
new dream girl Arnold?

My wife gets her sedate at exactly nine
o'clock. You won't forget it, will you?

No of
course not.

-You're sure that you understand about the dosage?
-Oh yes I understand.

Just three more drops than
it calls from the bottle.

That's right. It shouldn't take
long to finish her off now.

Oh I, I certainly appreciate this,


Well that's the way
the bustle bounces.

Now we have some medicine
of our own we must take.

After which I shall
reappear. Courage now.

It may be bitter but you'll
feel better when it's over.

By the by, Arnold Burton's
attempt to achieve,

single blessedness was
frustrated by his mother.

At a crucial moment the poor
woman became completely adult,

due to an overdose
of cooking sherry.

Next week...

This is amazing I never
saw a stalk at work before.

I hope they have a lay ready.

They'll find that isn't Santa
coming down the chimney.

Good night.