Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962): Season 7, Episode 12 - A Jury of Her Peers - full transcript

Jim Hale stops in to see the Wrights and ask if they would like to share a party line telephone. He finds that Millie Wright is acting strangely and her husband strangled in their bed. Millie claims she found her husband like that when she came in from feeding the chickens but the local district attorney is convinced she killed her husband. Sarah Hale is quite sympathetic and feels sorry for Millie who lived a hard, lonely life with a less than ideal husband and takes steps to do something about it.

Good evening devotees of television,

recognizing the popularity
of medical drama on tv,

we are preparing one
of our own,

in this series,

I play the part of
a wise fatherly head,

of the largest dog and cat
hospital in Los Angeles,

this lad plays the part of young dr

a very promising and
dedicated young veterinarian,

here you see him as he will appear
during the most of our first story,

in this story he wrestled with the problem,

of whether he should remain with me,

treating the pets of motion
picture styles and millionaires,

and the animals who themselves may be stars,

or whether he should go back to a small town,

where he can treat the ordinary
unpedigreed poodles,

fortunately I convinced him that
integrity isn't everything,

now for an episode
from another series,

Alfred Hitchcock Presents,

after this one minute special.



Mrs Wright?

cold out tonight,

it's cold in here too,

need some fuel in that fire,

I just dropped by on my
way home to see if John,

had changed his mind about
going into my party line.

-Party line? -Yeah it'd be a big savings for
me and you'd have a telephone too,

it wouldn't cost much,

well I haven't seen
anything to laugh at,

not funny,
telephone's a real good thing to have,

especially when you're so far out from town.


Well in case you get sick or something,

need help.

I see,


who would I call?

Now, you've got neighbors ain't?

you even though they are
I might purr away,

you've got neighbors, they're yours.

I suppose they are,

keep forgetting,

so long since I’ve seen any of them.

Yeah well maybe I best come back
and talk to John when he's home.

Oh he's home,
he's upstairs.

Oh maybe he's sleeping.

He's not sleeping.

-I can see him then?
-Sure go on up. -Thanks.

what happened?

I don't know.

you don't know?

but he's dead,

appears like he's been strangled.

Yes I saw the head on,

I don't know what happened.

But you must
know you were here.


I found him like that when I came back
from feeding the chickens this morning.

You've been sitting here all day?

while he's been
lying up there?

Didn't seem like there was
anything else for me to do,

saying he was dead.

Well I better get the sheriff,

I’II telephone him for my place,

but it doesn't seem right
to leave you here all alone,

why don't you come
home with me?

Sara I’II be glad to see you.

Oh that would be nice,

it's been so long
since I visited anyone.

Yeah come on.

No that's all right sheriff
I can meet you there,

dear, the sheriff wants me to
meet him over at the Wright place,

how do you mind if she stays here with you?

Oh don't talk nonsense

I’ve known Millie since we
were children together.

of course I don't mind, you go right there,

I’II be right
over there Sheriff.

It won't take long.

You must be half frozen,

trust a man to drive you all
this way and never think of that,

I’II go put on some

Please don't bother,
I don't want any.

Oh Millie I,

I wish I could think of
something to say.

But to say that would
make anything different?

will they take him away tonight?

Well I I should think so.

He won't like that,

going away from the

the only thing he ever really cared

Millie, why did you marry him?

I don't know,

I guess I thought I
was in love with him.

But you could have had your pick of anyone
you were such a pretty little thing,

oh my was I ever jealous
of you in those days.

I’II bet you haven't
been jealous of me since.

I tell you she's putting on an act,

working up to an insanity plea.

Oh now what would
she know about plea,

well she hasn't been off that farm more
than a couple of times in the past 20 years.

So it's an act just the same.

Well you always know more about
these things than I do,

but doesn't seem like
it to me.

I mean why would she do it now after
putting up with him for all these years.

That's what
we've got to find out.


You just let me worry about that

by the time I stand before
a jury I promise you,

I’II have everything I
need for a conviction,

Maybe, but I’d still
like to know how.

There must be something of that
farmhouse something that'll tell us.

Mr Henderson I searched
that farm last night and,

I didn't even find one little
thing out of the ordinary.

That's why we're
gonna search again my friend,

right now.

Suit yourself.

Can I go home now?

Well I’m afraid not
right this minute.

You just relax and sit here and uh,

wait for a few
minutes mrs Wright.

Mary, I’d like you to come
out the Wright place with us,

and bring back whatever mrs Wright needs,

-you'd uh better ask her.
-All right,

wish I didn't have
to go out there after what's happened.

Mary would you like me to go with you?

Yes I would,

I know it's silly of me
but I would like company.

You see how we write?
don't you sheriff?

my wife thinks going out there with us
the same as going alone.

-It's not that. -I know, I know, ladies
like to be together.

Oh here, it is I’m sure,

-do you think she did it?
-No I don't,

if she had, it suppose
she'd be worrying about,

silly little things like an apron
and a shawl.

Looks awful bad for her,

mr Henderson said all
he needed was a motive,

a motive to show that she hated him.

I wonder if they're
finding anything up there?

oh it's, it's wrong for
them to come here like this,

and try to get this own
house to turn against,

Mary you better
loosen your things,

you don't feel good
of them when you go out.


but she was piecing the quilt?

Yes I was just looking
at it,

this must be the piece she was working on,

oh Mary,

look at that sew-in,

all the rest is so
nice and even,

and this is all over the
place where it looks,

as if she didn't know what she was doing.

Sarah what are you doing?

Nothing, I’m just pulling
out a stitch or two,

that isn't sold very good.

You have no right to do
that, not right at all.

Sarah I'll have to tell the
sheriff I’II just have to.

Nothing to tell him Mary,
about someone that isn't there.

You shouldn't touch that.

Why not?

doesn't mean anything.

Meant she was awful nervous
when she was doing that end part,

there must have
been a reason why.

Oh nonsense,

I sometimes saw all wrong
when I’m just tired,

hadn't you better get
those things wrapped up.

Yes I,

suppose I’d better,

need some paper and string.

I expect you'd find some in
that cupboard there.

What's the matter?

Nothing, just as a bird cage here,
did she have a bird?

Well I don't know,

have been out here
for so long,

there was a man around last
year selling canary cheap,

I don't know if she got
one but maybe she did,

she used to sing
real pretty herself.

Seems funny to think of a
bird in this gloomy place,

I wonder what happened
to it.

And then maybe it got out,

-door's broken.
-So this is right off his hinge,

somebody must have been real rough with it.

Oh I do wish they'd hurry,

imagine what it must have
been like for her out here,

all alone with a man like like John Wright.

I’II tell you what Sarah,
why don't we take her quilt to her,

-might take up her mind.
-Oh now that's a good idea,

they can't object to that,

here's a box, probably got sewing
things in it,

she has something wrapped
up in a piece of silk,

-oh there it.

her canary?

But look at it,

it's neck,

look at this,

poor little neck.


broke it's neck.

Now see,

once she had this around his neck,

all she had to do was,

no no no wait a minute,
that's no good,

why wouldn't he wake up when she
was slipping it over his head?

Oh it comes to that Henderson,
he slept like the bed,

I mean he slept very heavy.

Wait a minute, that explains it then,

-sure, sure.

When she was slipping
over his head he was all,

just a little pull and he'd lose

-and all she had to do was tighten it, huh?

You'd also wonder she'd have the
strength a little woman like that.

Anger can make a person a lot
stronger than they really are.

Yes we haven't found any
signs of anger around here.

But we will.

It's almost as if she was
trying to give it a burial,

must have meant so much to her she
couldn't bear it apart with it,

it's a real pretty pattern,
don't you think so Mary?

I wonder was she going to
quilt it or just knot it.

They wonder if she's going
to quilt it or knoted.

Let's go out to the barns and see
if we can find anything out there.

-Sarah, I’ve got to tell him. -No,

you know what they say, don't you?

I know,

he killed her bird,

that's what made
her angry.

hat's the motive they're looking for.

-And you're going to give it to them.
-What else can we do?

We can hide it, I’II just put it in my bag,

and I need never know a thing about it.

Sarah, that's wrong,
it's terribly wrong.

Was it right for
him to kill her bird,

just because it gave her a little pleasure?

We don't know that's why, you
don't even know that he did it.

No I don't, not any more than we
know that she did anything either,

so we don't need to
say a thing about it.

Well it's not for us to
judge how important it is.

Are they?

It's their job they know about these things.

I can tell you a lot of things they
don't know anything about,

how it must have
been for her here,

all alone with man like that.

I’m not saying it wasn't
a real cruel thing to do,

but it was a bird, not a human being.

Maybe it meant more than any
other human being to, Millie.

-It's so wrong, don't kill somebody for a bird.
-Oh that wasn't why,

if she did it,

it was because of all the things he's
been doing to her for the past 20 years,

you never knew her when she was a girl,

she was the sweetest prettiest little thing.

-But she didn't have to marry him.
-She was 17 years old,

-what did she know about anything.
-That's no excuse for...

Who said anything about an excuse?

I was just telling you about,

the way it was.

I’m sorry Sarah,

I can't be a part of
this I just can't,

my husband is a sheriff,

please try to understand Sarah.


I understand,

but I understand that
you're a woman too.

-Well what's that
got to do with? -Lots,

you weren't new here,
you'd understand that.

-I’ve been living in this
town long enough. -How long?

Five years.

Five years?

five years living right in
the heart of town,

surrounded by people, nothing to do
but keep a house neat,

what would you know about living
for 20 years out on a farm like this,

miles from anywhere,

never seen a living soul from
one month's end to the next,

getting into town maybe
four or five times a year if you're lucky,

and even then having to worry about how you,

get caught up with the
work when you came back,

and never
really catching up,

only thing that
makes it bearable,

is having a decent man like my Jim,

who loves you.

I never heard that,

mr Wright was really
a bad man?


depends upon what you call bad,

you never knew him, did you?

Not to say, no, I’ve seen him in town.

Well he didn't drink,
kept his word as well as most I guess,

paid his debts,

he was a cold
harsh man,

just passing the time of
day with him is like a,

a raw
wind cutting clean to the bone,

that's the only human being
Millie ever saw day in and day out.

But if she lived here all of her life she
must have had friends who came to visit.

Poor friends, all
tried in the beginning,

only he never made
any of them feel that they were welcome,

farm folk don't have much time for visiting,

maybe they were glad to
have some excuse not to come,

but I should have

because I knew,

there's a crime for
her, a real crime,

who's going to punish me?

I didn't mean to reproach Sarah.

You don't have to,

I do that myself.

I can't lie to mr Peters.

You don't have to

just have to keep quiet.

I’m sorry Sarah,

don't blame me too much.

I’m not blaming you,

you have to do...what you have to do,
I guess.

What are you looking

Oh I was just hoping that all the
jars hadn't burst,

no, here's one that didn't,

now don't you tell her her fruit was gone,

you tell her it was
all right,

and you take this one in to prove it to her.

Stop it stop doing this to me.

I wasn't even thinking
about you.

Well start thinking about me a little.

Oh there's nothing, couldn't find anything.

-I know what is it.
-I don't understand,

it I was so sure there'd
be something.

Well, we might as
well get back to town.

Oh Mary are you ready?


What do you mean 'well'?

well you haven't even got
those things packed yet?

you women, chatting along about nothing,
it's one you ever get anything done.

Oh, no no, sheriff, isn't that
any way to talk to the ladies,

after all they've been trying to make up,

their minds about a real important problem,

well ladies, what did
you decide?

she gonna quilt it or knot it?

We decided she was going to knot.

The story you have just seen,

was intended to be the beginning
of a series about mrs Wright,

I’m afraid we
blundered badly however,

for she was convicted along
with mrs Peters and mrs Hale,

and her adventures were
rather limited after that,

as for our series
about doctors,

this too was abandoned,

the young man managed
to hold up,

but being kind and fatherly
and folksy,

proved too much of a strain for

now for the last of a
series of three commercials,

after which I shall tell you
more of our producing plans,

during the coming months, I hope you
will look for our two newest projects,

our series about gangsters in
the clothing industry called:

The Unmentionables,

and another built around
the adventures of an,

itinerant strike breaker
in the old west entitled:

Frontier Think, until
next week, good night.