Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962): Season 7, Episode 27 - Act of Faith - full transcript

Ralston Temple is a successful novelist who receives a letter from struggling writer Alan Chatterton asking him for comments on the first three chapters of his book. Temple invites him to his apartment and Chatterton asks him for a loan of $40 per week for six months to allow him to finish his novel. Over time, the loans grow larger and Temple has yet to see anything of the novel. At a restaurant one evening, Temple sees Chatterton entertaining a group of friends and learns that he is a regular patron. Thinking he has been swindled, Temple throws him out. Only later does he realize that he may have been hasty.

Good evening,

as a public service we thought it might
be wise to take our remote cameras,

and show you how those alert never
tiring public servants,

the farm and go about their work,

we have been on the road only 10
seconds and already I see the fire,

I understand this is the fastest fire
truck in the world,

we seem to have taken a wrong turn

and a very wide turn at that,

ah as I was saying these men have been
on the road less than a minute,

and yet here we are,

in Arabia,

perhaps you better get back to the show,

I doubt if you thought to bring your

here then is our show for tonight,

for this one minute full 'salam'.


My dear mr James,

many thanks for your
letter about my new novel,

I’m so glad you enjoyed it,

yours is the 2000th letter I’ve received,

mentioning the typographical error on
page 90,

it's always gratifying to learn etc etc,

end with formula B anymore.

That's the last of the eager

-there are four oddments.
-Only four? we must be slipping,

no, I will not guarantee the loading
question, in pertinent blockhead,

my dear mr George,

thank you for your letter,

but I’m afraid the world of,

patents and inventions is,

is an unfamiliar one to me,

I am not therefore,

prepared to back your project for the
recovery of soap from domestic bath water,

no matter what benefits it may confer,

on the underdeveloped
nations of the world,

sincerely yours Ralston Temple.

I thought you'd like that one.

You said there were four.

Dear sir,

-I am writing a novel and
starving at the same time... -Enough,

-I know it is a good job,

but unless I can get some money I
don't think I will be able to finish it.

Now Alice...

First they will take the typewriter
away and then they will take me away,

I am sending you the first three chapters
if you like them, will you help me?

yours truly, Alan Chatterton.

No, I will not help him and now will you
please allow me to go on with my word.

Well I’ve read what he said, it's called
the Loch Stable.

-The horse I presume has gone.
-No still there.

-But feeling very sick I’II be bound.
-He can write,

-I think it's good.

then he should get himself a job
and work at it in his spare time.

Is that what you did?

Now you know very well that with me writing
always had to be a full-time occupation.

Oh you mean people were kind and helped you,
you had friends.

You know what I dislike even more than
your hectoring manner?

is the blatant way in which you attempt
to manage to to manipulate me.

Well it's too bad,

he's modeled this style a lot on yours,

I think you'd like it.

-He's here.

Mr Chatterton.

-I told you Wednesday.
-This is Wednesday,

he's waiting in there.

That's Burton’s Anatomy of

mr Chatterton?

good afternoon.

Yeah good afternoon,

It's very good of you to see
me mr Temple.

Would you sit down?

well I was interested in your letter
and the beginning of your book,

tell me about yourself.

Me or the usual

go East young man, go East,

flunk out of college,

go to work in a gas station,

-needs therapy starts to write?
-Well why not?

-everyone else does.
-Well I’m not everyone else,

if I was I wouldn't be here.

That's true,

but as I said I,

I like the beginning of
your book,

-and I think...
-Well I’m going to rewrite all that.

Well I I did think that perhaps
some measure of revision was called for,

the central character was shifting his
point of view too suddenly and too quickly,

I don't say that they shouldn't,
but in my experience,

it's wiser to give the
reader time as it were to uh...

You have a decorator this way?

Do you
decorated all this?

Well yes as a matter of fact I did.

-Yeah that's the best way I suppose,

an eh, an effect of studied negligence isn't
that what they call it?

I really don't know,

but speaking of cat phrases mr Chatterton,

what effect are you trying for?

what is known as
'angry young man'.

I’m not angry,

just envious,

well this would be a great place to

how many copies your last
book sell?

-English-speaking world?

half a million,

-Man if I could hit it lucky like that.

Oh well luck doesn't
necessarily play a part,

I spent 20 years learning how to write.

How long it take you to finish that
last one? a jackpot one I mean.

-A year, 18 months.
-You see that's what I mean,

I need six more months,

-I got to finish it.
-My dear mr Chatterton,

even if you do finish the book there's
no guarantee that it'll be accepted.

Listen, you want

I tell you what, you stake me for six

40 bucks a week,

and if the book doesn't sell
and I can't pay you back that way,

then I’II go to
work in a gas station again and pay you,

I’m not asking for a handout,

all I want is a loan
interest at six percent,

-will you want me to put it in writing?
-I do not want any interest,

and I do not want anything in writing.

Oh well what do you want?


Stay clear, stay clear,

oh dear I should be in Jamaica,

as soon as I finish my new book I,

I shall go to Jamaica,

or possibly around the world
by a slow luxury liner.

If you finish signing those checks I’II
get you some hot lemon.

I detest hot lemon,

why is it one one is
already feeling suicidal,

these extra little torture
must be applied to...

-what's this? -Oh a hundred dollars for
Alan Chatterton,

to buy a top coat,

he's been going about in this
blizzard in a thin rain slicker.

But he had an extra
hundred dollars last week.

Well that was to pay the dentist.

But what's his allowance for?

Have you tried to live
in new York on 40 a week?

I lived at 20.

I hate to remind you how
many years ago that was.

Why does he have to live in new York,

why did it
take some small place in the country?

-Why don't you?
-Because I dislike the noise,

birds twittering, bees, having I can't work.

That's just what he says in fact he's
like you in quite a number of ways,

I’d say when you were his age.

My youth was nasty brutish and luckily

but even in my worst moments I managed to,

preserve something of the fitness of things,

yes and respect due to wiser people,

yes and a lively sense of gratitude as

That's not what you said in your

That's still unpublished and you
have no right to coat it at me,

what I dislike is is the underhanded manner,

in which he approaches
you for these subsidies.

You told him all you were
interested in was his work,

naturally he comes to me there's nothing
underhand about it.

I said what about his work?

six months he said,
it's been five months now and,

for all I know he may not
have written another word.

It's taking him longer than he expected,

he says it's difficult to concentrate when
he's worrying about money all the time,

in my opinion it needs a vacation.

A vacation? oh my god...

I’II get you hot lemon.

Mr Temple's apartment,

oh mr Chatterton,

how are you today?

yes he's here working rather hard on the
last chapter,

I see, well perhaps there's something I
can do?

well he is very busy unless you're
bringing in your manuscript for him to read,

no, of course you don't,

what sort of emergency mr Chatterton?

I have to get married.


but you can't get married,
you haven't assent,

besides you shouldn't get married,

I’ve been married several times and I know,

marriage in a writing career are
basically incompatible.

I didn't say I wanted to get married,
I said I have to.

Oh good grief, young men are so

-do I know the wretched woman?
-She's not wretched, she's a poet.

-good too.
-Then she should remain single.

-Well that's the trouble, she won't,

it's all this psychology jazz,

she says if the kid doesn't
have two parents who conform,

to the moralize of the society
into which it is born,

barbaric though those morals may be,

it'll grow up insecure and neurotic,

if I don't marry her she's going to
marry some other guy.

I’ve never heard anything
so immoral in all my life.

Oh he knows about the baby and me,

but you see, how it is I don't want her
marrying him,

it's been bugging me for weeks now,

I don't think I can finish the novel if
I don't get married,

hey I read that article you wrote,

for Manhattan Monthly,
I thought it was pretty good.

-Thank you.
-It was full of uh insight, vital.


what do you propose?

Oh well I worked out a kind of a letter,

it gives you half interest in the book,

sort of a contract, I figured that was
the least I could do.

Thank you,

how much do you need?

I don't know, say uh five thousand.


but most first novels
don't earn half that much,

I should have thought you'd have known.

Oh money doesn't mean that much to me.

So I’ve noticed.

So let's say one thousand and a good
long prayer.

You don't like me, do you?

No, not much,

Alice give me that checkbook,

but I still think you may have talent,

with me, I suppose you might call this,

an act of faith.

Good evening mr Temple this
is an unexpected pleasure.

Ah good evening Luigi,

-you have a table for me?
-Always mr Temple,

-but we do not often see you at this time,
just once. -Yes please,

you see, my my cook sister chose this
an opportune moment to to break a leg.

Ah mr Temple there's a party paying
the bill now if you will please,

wait just one little moment at the
bar I will have a booth for you.

Hey you better put a couple more bottles
on the ice,

now hey class dude Pendleton
I want you to talk,

about this story about the
man in the lion's skull...

the one I want you to tell
us a marvelous story,

is the one about the parent with asthma...

Mr Temple, your table is readt now.

Thank you.


that young man over there with a
bow tie,

-you have to know who he is?
-Oh yes sir,

that's mr Alan Chatterton,
you know, the writer,

he's a very good
customer here.

Thank you very much, huh,

I’II be over in a minute.

Thank you sir.

Well of course for the poor guy
gets back to his dressing room,

he can't wait to find out what bit him,

so he takes off the lion suit and then he,

takes off the lion's head and hey
Alan you gotta listen to this...

Excuse me.

I I thought you went to Europe.

My boat leaves tomorrow,

I’d like to see you before I go,

-tomorrow morning at 10.

Good night.

Well he's standing there holding
this lion's head in his hands,

and the door opens and
then comes this dame and,

she wants to know where
he's been all her life.

I gave you that thousand dollars to enable
you and your wife to get an apartment,

not to squander an
expensive restaurant.

-Well it was only the once.
-Oh no lies please,

Luigi tells me
you're often there.

You've been checking up on me?

No but perhaps I should have done,

was your wife in that party?

or do you have a wife?

-I told you...
-You told me a squally little story,

about an immoral poetic who had some
half-baked ideas on child psychology,

I didn't trouble to
find out if it were true,

-of course I could have...
-All right I made it up.

You mean you deliberately lie.

Oh well what's the difference it
was a good story wasn't it?

you weren't bored, were you?

what about all this righteous
indignation I’ve had to put up with?

'deliberately lied', what do you do when
you write a novel, you tell the truth?

what do you do when you go to a show?

and the guy says: I love you baby,
you stand up and say,

that's a 'deliberate lie'. I happen
to know he's a happily married man,

with three kids and a house
in white plains.

If I’d been tricked into paying a
thousand dollars for my seat,

I probably should have
said a great deal more.

I suppose if I’d come to you
and said I need the money,

for research on the book, that
would have been different.

It might have and while
around that subject I,

I want to see that book please,


Well you can't, it's not finished.

Finished or unfinished?

I gave you six
thousand four hundred dollars...

Six thousand six hundred.

I’II trust you to keep an accounting.

And I’m curious to know
what if anything it bought.

I told you it's not finished.

I see,

let me ask you a question,

now I know that a thousand
dollars doesn't go very far,

when you start picking
up big tabs at Luigi's,

am I the only subscriber to the lux table.

-Oh no.
-That's my business.

We could make it the business of the

Oh don't give me that jazz,

you had your kicks didn't you?

the great Ralston Temple
patronizing the young artist,

the well-turned phrase from the
well-heeled man of letters,

you had your fun,

'police' don't make me laugh,

you got half interest in a novel,

that's what you bought, wasn't it?
or don't you read contract?

of course if the novel
doesn't make any money,

or doesn't even get off
the ground that's too bad,

but the loss is always tax deductible so,
what are you griping about?

You shoddy little crook.


Here's your contract, take it.

Oh you'll be sorry,
your business manager will need that.

Get out. Alice if this creature
comes near my apartment,

again you have my full
authority to call the police.

Oh there's a streak of masochism there
makes you wonder doesn't it?

All I’m wondering is who you stole
those first three chapters from?

-or would you rather not say?
-Alice please that's enough,

please go.

Ah thank you.

Ah it's good to be home.

Uh there's a lot of mail I
didn't forward, don't you want to...?

Tomorrow dear, tomorrow...

ah how
good that gasoline smells,

well I’ve got the new book all planned,

as soon as I can rid myself of
this sense of robust well-being,

I shall make a start, thirsty possibly,

what's the matter?

I’m afraid I have some
rather upsetting news.


you're gonna get married?


it's Alan Chatterton.

Oh dear someone's pressed charges I


Oh not suicide?

I’d never forgive myself
if anything I’d said,

had driven another human
being however odious to...

what's the meaning of this?

I think you'd better see for yourself.


He sold the motion picture rights too.

I wrote him a note.

I hope you'll enjoy the book,

best wishes, Alan Chareton.

-Your name please?
-Mrs Kathy Carr,

and I want to tell you I
read it twice already,

in that chapter about the
lion's head three times,

out loud.

-Thank you mrs Carr.
-Thank you.

I’m glad you enjoyed it.

A name please.


Oh hello I sent you a check, did you get
it? -Yes thanks very much.

it was unnecessary to to add the

Is bank rate.

Well I’m, I’m glad I, I was of help.

-I’m afraid I awe you an unapologety.


but you never did believe in me, did you?

I usually write with best wishes but I
think maybe in your case uh,

something a little different,

what about 'kindest regards'.

I hope you enjoyed our play,

I had little time for
anything but holding on here,

darkness is an excellent condition for
viewing a commercial,

if you don't see me at its conclusion,

just wait a moment and I’II be by.

My only hope is that the driver will run
out of gas,

I know I have,

I should be back next week,

and the week after that
and the week after that,

until I finally fall off,

good night.