They Won't Believe Me (1947) Movie Script

I guess you folks all realize
this is mighty important matter
we're deciding here.
Whether or not a man
has committed murder.
The state's done a fine job
of presenting its case.
They put five men and women
in that chair, key witnesses.
And a person would have to go a
long ways to find five better ones.
Anybody could tell right off.
They weren't the kind of
people who'd make up things.
A prominent Los Angeles businessman.
A young professional woman.
A man who's run a country store...
for twenty years.
A writer on a national news magazine.
And the head of our
city's homicide bureau.
I reckon there's no doubt
among you folks on the jury...
that they've been telling the truth.
As the lawyers say, to the best
of their knowledge and belief.
May I proceed with the defense,
Your Honor?
You may proceed, Mr. Cahill.
Lawrence Ballantine,
will you take the stand?
Raise your right hand.
Do you solemnly swear that
the testimony you may give in this cause
now pending before this court
shall be the truth, the whole truth and
nothing but the truth, so help you God?
I do.
What is your name please?
Lawrence Ballantine.
Mr. Ballantine. You're the defendant
in this case, are you not?
I am.
Charged with the brutal murder
of Verna Carlson.
That's right.
Are you willing to
describe to the jury...
to describe truthfully, the events that
led to the placement of that charge?
I certainly am.
To the jury, please.
I guess I better start
with a Saturday afternoon.
June, in New York.
It was in one of those little basement
restaurants on 52nd Street. Nick's.
Specializing in hors d'oeuvres.
Chateaubriand. Crpe suzette.
And uh...
Tables in dark corners where couples
can sit for hours and hours.
No questions being asked.
It was hot for June.
People were already leaving town.
But it was cool in Nick's.
And quiet.
What do you think of it?
Oh I think she's beautiful.
You ought to.
Seeing as how she's 60% yours.
Do you think you'd
be comfortable on it?
Well I have to shrink a little.
No wisecracks, Skipper.
You're being well paid for your advice.
Luncheon every Saturday for...
Eleven Saturdays.
Golly, it seems like
only a couple nights ago
we got to talking at that dull party.
What were the names of those people?
Comstock. They were dull.
Do you think we're dull?
Did you ever hear of a fisherman
finding another fisherman doll?
Do you have a cigarette?
Yeah. I think so.
I thought you were going
to get that thing fixed.
It isn't worth it.
What is on the agenda for today?
Gas versus diesel. I've got
a lot of questions to ask.
- Golly, I've got to go.
- Oh, Larry...
Well, use you shouldn't
have been so late.
I should have thrown
that darn typewriter out the window.
I'll tell you what I'll do.
I'll phone you first thing Monday.
Will you?
With the first nickel I get my hands on.
I left the boat with Nick.
Diesels and other matters...
to be continued
in next Saturday's installment.
And walked along Fifth Avenue.
I couldn't have missed it
if I'd been blindfolded.
It was sitting in the center
of the jewelry store window.
Waiting there for me.
Bright and shiny.
A gold cigarette case.
It was expensive.
And for a little while,
turned out to be a lucky buy.
For a little while.
Coming home that evening,
I ran into the first of what
turned out to be a series
of unpleasant surprises.
I had guests.
Some of my favorite people.
If it ain't the Wolf of Wall Street!
Come in, Wolf.
And drink at the stream.
Hello, darling. You're late.
Flowers, champagne. What's the idea?
What's generally the idea
of flowers and champagne?
Either a funeral or a wedding.
Why, Aunt Martha.
You mean to tell me that these two
haven't been married all these years?
You see. I told you he'd forget.
Don't judge everybody by yourself.
- Forget what?
- Nothing important.
Just your fifth anniversary, old boy.
Never mind, darling.
I know how busy you've been.
That's for you.
It's a gold wrist watch!
You know, Speed. If you hadn't told me,
I'd never've guessed it.
Here. Let me put it on for you.
It's more than you deserve.
Forgetting your own anniversary.
What makes you think I forgot it?
I'd say it was an elementary deduction.
- For you, baby.
- Oh, Larry...
Oh, Larry. It's lovely.
Thank you.
Two Saturday specials.
- Monsieur.
- Thank you, Nick.
You've been acting funny all afternoon.
Is something bothering you?
Well, what?
Larry, I had lunch the other day...
with Greta.
She showed me the cigarette case.
Yeah, I got trapped into that.
I bought it for you but...
I know.
Look, Skipper.
I'll get you one twice as good.
Larry, it isn't the cigarette case.
It's what I felt when I saw that.
It hurt.
Well, I think that's nice.
I don't.
It hurt.
It showed me I was in love with you.
I'm fooling myself about
these Saturday afternoons.
We've both been fooling ourselves.
I'm no Saturday afternoon girl, Larry.
I'm an all or nothing girl.
As is Greta.
I wouldn't breakup her marriage
for anything in the world.
Hers or anybody's.
Aren't you being a little conservative?
I don't feel conservative.
I'm in love and it's wrong.
There's only one thing to do about it.
Not see you any more.
Look, baby.
Walking out at Nick's
isn't going to break anything off.
I'm doing more than walking
out at Nick's, Larry.
I'm leaving town tonight,
for Montreal.
I had the office transfer me.
- Goodbye, Larry.
- Wait a minute.
Now it's my turn.
Suppose I told you I was in love too.
It would only make it worse.
Suppose I told you that
Greta and I were finished.
It would not be the truth.
That's where you're wrong.
We've been through for months.
- Larry, I want to believe you.
- You've got to.
Greta is as anxious to break
this thing up as I am.
There's nothing between us any more.
We're like two strangers
sharing somebody's apartment.
Oh, Skipper. How can I convince you?
You might try kissing me.
What a time to be going to Montreal.
- I'll go with you.
- Oh, it can't last.
No I suppose not.
But I can come up to see you.
After you arrange things.
- What time does the train leave?
- Eight o'clock.
That gives me just three hours.
For what?
By the time the train
of yours pulls out,
I'll be an eligible ex-married man,
living at his club.
And darling, we can make plans.
I'll meet you at the station
or at your apartment.
Is it a deal?
Oh darling, it's a deal.
Won't you need your socks, Larry?
Oh goodness.
I thought you had a
date with Aunt Martha?
I did but I broke it.
It's a good thing too. Look at these.
And these.
You'll freeze to death in Montreal.
Montreal? What makes you think...?
This came just as I was
leaving to meet Aunt Martha.
I paid for it. $87.40.
I guess I better tell you, Greta.
This is more than
just a trip to Montreal.
I know.
I'm leaving for good.
Did you remember to pack
your gold cufflinks?
Do you understand what I'm saying?
- Of course, darling.
- Then what are you doing?
Well I can't let it be said
that any husband of mine
left with his clothes in such a mess.
This is a marvelous act, Greta.
But I'm not enjoying it.
Why don't you say
what you're thinking?
I would.
Only I want to say so much.
Well let's have it.
Only skip laying the blame on me.
But I'm not blaming anybody.
I know you've been unhappy
for a long time.
I tried to fix you into an apartment.
Make you like my friends.
Do the things I wanted to do.
- It's just as much my fault.
- I made plans to change it all.
I rented a house in California
in Beverly Hills.
Just the kind of place
you've always wanted.
I bought you an interest
in a brokerage firm.
So you'd be a partner
instead of customer's men.
Why didn't you tell me all this?
It was supposed to be a surprise.
For tonight.
Of all nights.
It's going to be a lonely trip, darling.
I'll get it, darling.
- Put it there, please.
- Yes, ma'am.
- Come back in half an hour.
- Yes, ma'am.
Here. Drink this. This
will make you feel better.
- Greta.
- Yes?
I've been wondering.
How did you know my going to Montreal
wasn't just a business trip?
Janice telephoned me on Friday
to say goodbye.
That still doesn't prove...
She happened to mention
she was taking the 8 o'clock train
Saturday night for Montreal.
So you put two tickets together?
That wasn't difficult.
You see, darling. I've known about
your Saturdays for a long time.
Couldn't we just consider
the topic closed, Larry?
But they were all perfectly harmless.
- I don't you think Janice...
- I'm just thinking one thing.
We're trying to keep our marriage going.
That's what I want more than anything.
I understood all right.
It was a contract.
Just as if it had been typed.
Signed. And notarized.
No more Saturday afternoons.
No Wednesday nights.
No telephone calls.
No cocktails at back tables.
I was private property.
Covered with signs marked
" No Trespassing".
I admit I felt like a heel
for a couple of weeks.
When I married Greta, I kidded
myself that I was in love with her.
But this time I knew it was the money.
I tried to forget Janice.
My work helped.
Trenton and Ballantine,
investment brokers.
Stocks and bonds.
Direct wire to New York.
I kept busy for about six months.
Up at 5:30 to be on hand when
the market opened in New York.
Lunch at the Athletic Club.
Tennis or riding after work.
The model young businessman.
Right down to the
double-breasted blue suit.
Guess I fool nearly everyone.
Customers, Greta, even myself.
Only Trenton saw through
the fancy dress.
And maybe one other.
She looked like
a very special kind of dynamite.
Neatly wrapped in nylon and silk.
Only I wasn't having any.
I'd been too close
to one explosion already.
I was powder shy.
I hear you've had
the bloodhounds out for me.
I had a phone call
from Clark Boyd this morning.
He wanted to know what's
happened to the analysis
of his holdings we were
preparing for him.
Or perhaps I should say
that you were preparing.
Mr. Boyd has more than
$200,000 in the market.
An active account that would bring in
anywhere from 10 to $20,000 a year.
A well-prepared letter
with sound intelligent suggestions
would've thrown his business our way.
What is it, Verna?
Mr. Ballantine asked me to
bring you a copy of the letter
he sent Mr. Boyd yesterday.
He thought you might want to see it.
That's all you wanted,
wasn't it, Mr. Ballantine?
Yeah, that's all.
Why did you tell me about this?
I just like to hear you talk, Trenton.
It saves me from going to
Chamber of Commerce lunches.
Suppose you tell me what that
was all about, Miss Carlson?
Is something wrong, Mr. Ballantine?
I'm perfectly capable of
taking care of my own affairs.
I've been in the brokerage business
for a long time.
So have I.
It just so happens that you're
not one of the partners.
- Thanks. Do you have another copy?
- Sure.
How'd you happen to think of it?
I heard Mr. Trenton on the telephone.
You move like greased lightning.
What did you do with the original?
Special messenger to Mr. Boyd's office.
My recommendations I trust
were up to the usual standards.
They were even better.
What kind of perfume do you like?
That, Mr. Ballantine, was for free.
- Why?
- Because I wanted to.
Well if there's anything I can do.
Of course careful of toes I'm not.
I hate buses.
I thought Trenton had the franchise.
Sometimes it's busy.
Sometimes when he's busy.
Right over there, Mr. Ballantine.
- Hello.
- Hello.
I didn't know
Trenton was working tonight.
He isn't.
Where do you live?
Not far from where you live.
Where do you think that is?
838 Benedict Canyon.
A two-story Monterey house
with a swimming pool and a tennis court.
$500 a month rent. Two servants.
See if this doesn't beat
any bar in town.
Pretty fancy layout.
It's not bad.
Wondering how I handle it on my
struggling Ballantine's salary?
But now that you mention it.
How do you?
That might be an embarrassing question.
Suppose I withdraw it.
You don't have to.
I share expenses with another girl,
Susan Haines.
She's a dietitian.
Makes more money than I do.
Is she prettier than you too?
She looks exactly like a dietitian.
- Do you like it?
- Fine.
But where's the profit?
What do you mean? Profit?
You can't just be giving these away?
And after all that talk
about how much things cost.
How much rent people pay.
How much money they make.
Look. The only thing I'm interested
in is how much people spend.
There's a name
for that kind of interest.
Sure, gold digger.
I read a poem once in high school.
Something about
gathering rosebuds while you can.
Instead of rosebuds, I gather orchids.
Fair enough.
But that still doesn't
answer my question.
The cost of that will be included in
the nice dinner you're going to buy me.
Lady, you made a bad investment.
I eat my own orchids.
And I eat them at home.
That's where I should be right now.
May I use your phone?
Right over there.
Hello, Mary.
Is Mrs. Ballantine home yet?
She won't?
In that case,
I'll have dinner downtown.
Greta is out.
She had a meeting at the welfare league.
I must've forgotten
to give you the message.
I discovered that what
went with orchids
is a game of hide and seek with fate.
Played in offbeat nightclubs.
Out-of-the-way bars.
Remote restaurants.
A game I never had a chance of winning.
Just a moment, sir. Just a moment.
I'll be right back.
I've been meaning to look you up.
What for?
To talk with you...
Well, to say hello.
You could've said hello
when I called you.
I've been so darn busy, Janice.
You know talking on the phone
is no good.
You know you're acting just
as I imagined you would.
As though nothing had happened.
A few weeks ago, I might
not have understood.
You didn't come that night,
I tried to make excuses.
You could've taken a nail off. Called
away on business. Or had an accident.
When the magazine transferred
me to the West Coast,
I still hoped you'd explain it.
Last month I saw Greta.
She said she never even
considered breaking up.
It was a pretty shoddy lie of yours,
wasn't it?
I don't suppose you feel quite
as cheap about it is I do.
Who was that?
The girl I used to know in New York.
She's pretty.
An old flame of yours?
For the next week or so,
I got home later each night.
Or maybe I should say each morning.
Until one particular morning.
A rectangle of light
from the library door caught my eye.
That must be an interesting book.
I wanted to check with you
before you went to bed.
Sorry. I got mixed up
with some customers.
Sit down, Larry.
Why so serious?
I just couldn't get them to go home.
Larry, do you remember Janice?
Why, sure.
- I saw her a couple of weeks ago.
- So did I.
Do you realize how much she hates you?
Well, I have a faint idea.
You must've had a cozy talk with her.
How come?
I was silly enough to think
that you'd taken up with her again.
Of course that was before
I found out about Verna.
What are you talking about?
In away, I could understand
about Janice.
She's a nice girl. Attractive. Smart.
But, Larry. A little tramp.
Who's been giving you all this dope?
What difference does that make?
Not any, I guess.
What do you intend to do?
I bought a ranch near Owens Lake.
Up in the mountains.
Away from everything.
I'm going to live there for a while.
With or without me?
It's up to you.
You sort of run in a pattern, don't you?
One quick move after another.
Tell me something.
When you found what Janice...
Did you already have this
house and train reservations?
No, Larry. I didn't.
Oh, I will say one thing.
When you do move, you move fast.
Not fast enough to break the pattern.
I must've lost my self-respect
the day I married you.
I can make all the moves
but the one that has any reason.
I can't walk out, Larry.
You'll have to do the walking.
You can come to the ranch with me.
Or you can start off
on your own with your girlfriend.
I'll have to know tomorrow.
- Hi, darling.
- Hello, baby.
I missed you this morning.
Where were you?
At home.
Too lazy to come to work?
No work to come to.
I'm no longer the Ballantine
of the celebrated brokerage house
of Trenton and Ballantine.
You've quit?
You might put it that way.
Tell me about it. What happened?
She sold my interest back to Trenton.
She found out about us.
That certainly takes
a load off my mind.
Let's have another round to celebrate.
Celebrate what? My being out of a job?
That we don't have
to hide things any more.
Oh, that.
Don't worry, Larry. We'll make out.
Maybe you haven't heard.
The dough goes with Greta.
I've heard. Trenton thought
about a long time ago.
That's why I think we ought to go slow.
What do you mean? Go slow?
Well, I want to be sure
the job is right.
No bitters this time, George.
I don't get this.
I don't get where you'd be living while
you're looking for this right job.
Well, that's what I'm trying to explain.
You know I love you, Verna.
But we've got to figure this carefully.
Larry, I'm asking you a question.
Which one of those are you
going to be seeing? Her or me?
Well I guess her for now, Verna. But...
Know what, Larry?
You've just witnessed
a memorable occasion.
The one time in my life
when I was on the level.
It didn't last long, did it?
That drink is yours, George.
The rat on my left will pay.
He's got a rich wife.
I don't remember much
about the drive to the ranch.
I was in kind of an emotional blackout.
I'd sold out again.
But what I felt was the feeling
of a prisoner towards his jailer.
In a way, she was a jailer.
For both of us.
He wanted us to be alone. To
wall off the outside world.
Lot just behind a door
marked " Do Not Disturb. "
She'd found a place all right.
In the center of the rise of foothills.
Hidden from everything but sky.
A cold clear stream with trout in it.
Quail and dove in the fields.
A snug Mexican ranch house
with adobe and stone.
Set in a grove of fine old trees
for summer shade.
Built 100 years ago by a Miguel Domecq.
On land given him by the king of Spain.
A San Francisco banker had
made it into a summer home.
Had put in electricity and hot water.
Fireplaces and a walk-in refrigerator.
Comfortable furniture.
All we had to do was move in.
What do you think of it, Larry?
I'll have to buy a sombrero.
And some spurs.
- How many peons go with the place?
- None.
Who's gonna take care of things?
Just the two of us.
That'll be cozy.
What about the mail? Groceries?
There's a general store
about 3 miles down the road.
They leave the mail on
a box on the highway.
And the telephone?
I had the telephone taken out, Larry.
In the days that followed,
Greta seemed happy.
She found a friend.
A Palomino stallion with
a weakness for sugar.
And she found a brand-new world
over the shoulder of rock
that cut the ranch off
from the mountains beyond.
Trails that hadn't
changed since the Indians
used them to raid the
settlers along the coast.
Quartz formations
with fool's gold glittering in the sun.
Desert plants with spines
that tore our riding boots.
All kinds of wildflowers.
But her happiest discovery was a
few hundred yards from the ranch.
A hidden valley at the
base of the waterfall.
Sometimes we'd go there together.
Down a path so steep and rocky
the Palomino couldn't follow.
He'd stand above,
waiting patiently for Greta's return.
There was a pool in the valley,
dark and mysterious.
Constantly in motion.
She liked it there.
I can't tell you why.
Maybe something told her the pool had
a solution for everything for her.
And for me too.
But all the time,
unrest was growing inside me.
I had to get to Los Angeles.
I tried to think how
without arousing suspicion.
But I couldn't.
And then, one afternoon,
the solution came.
Supplied by Greta.
Larry, I just had a wonderful idea.
What do you think about
building a guesthouse?
I thought you passed a law about guests.
Oh. Not a permanent law.
And besides, you could hardly
call Aunt Martha a guest.
- Aunt Martha?
- Yes, She is thinking of coming out.
And it would be fun to build anyway.
You could drop the specifications.
I don't know the first thing
about specifications.
Then will get an architect.
- Where?
- In Los Angeles of course.
We can get the name of one.
I know one named Harwell.
Good. What you run up to the store and
called for an interview right now.
- Hmm?
- Okay.
And will you make an appointment
for me at the salon?
My hair needs doing.
And we need groceries too.
You want me to go with you?
No, that's all right.
I'll be right back.
I called Harwell.
And made a date for Thursday.
And then the hairdresser.
Then made the important call.
Verna Carlson please.
It's for you, Verna.
Verna? It's Larry Ballantine.
I'm coming into town on Thursday.
I'll be at our usual place at 2 o'clock.
Can you meet me there?
There's something I want
to talk to you about.
Did you get cut off?
The operator's got a real knack
for breaking things off
just when things getting interesting.
All the groceries in the car?
Everything except the lump sugar.
Not much call for de-jawers like that.
That's okay.
I'll pick some up in town on Thursday.
Can't afford to disappoint the horses.
What time is it now?
Six minutes later than
the last time you asked me that.
It's 2:25.
Do you want another drink?
No, I guess not.
How much do I owe you?
Maybe she's been held up.
It's been known to happen.
- The rest is yours.
- Thanks.
Do me a favor, will you?
Tell me why I'm here.
The same reason I am, Verna.
You couldn't stay away.
You've got quite a an opinion of
your drawing power, haven't you?
All right. Why did you come?
It isn't me, Verna. It's something else.
We can't help it.
Will you go away with me?
For how long?
For as long as you can put up with me.
I'll get a divorce in Reno. Then we can
go way anywhere. Make a fresh start.
Look. That was my line.
Then you decided
I couldn't support you properly.
Yeah I know, but...
If I go anywhere now,
there will be orchids involved.
I can get orchids.
That's the best offer
I've had since lunch.
But it's not good enough.
Maybe I should've said a lot of orchids.
Greta has $30,000 in a checking account.
And she's going to give it to us
with her blessing, I suppose.
You don't understand.
It's a joint checking account
I can draw it too.
How without letting her know?
You're going to do it.
Oh. I'm going to do it.
Listen, I've got it all figured out.
I write the check.
You cash it through the firm.
That way, there won't be
any questions asked.
The bank will just think
I'm buying securities for her.
Then what?
You cash the check on Monday.
So it'll be on next month's statement.
Then catch the 10 o'clock Reno bus
to Thomason's Crossroads.
It gets there at 2.30. I'll meet you.
- What do you think?
- I think you're crazy.
I'll show you how crazy.
- George, you got a pen?
- Sure.
One of them new ones.
I do my writing with it underwater.
Make that 25,000.
You're the one who should be scared.
How do you know I'll show up on Monday?
I'm betting you will, baby.
On Monday, the bus was late.
But I didn't care.
It was warm in the sunshine.
I walked up and down for a while,
watching the cars pass on the highway.
I wondered how long it would
take us to reach Reno.
I had no way of knowing then
but roads don't always go
where you expect them to.
I got to the bus.
One passenger climbed out.
A man. That was a jolt.
No Verna. And no $25,000.
Suddenly I began to wonder
if I'd been double-crossed.
I had to find out quick.
I was plenty scared.
I want to talk to Los Angeles.
Tucker 5387.
All right.
That's 85.
- What the devil happened to you?
- Why nothing.
Why weren't you on that bus?
I was on the bus. They ran two today.
What did you expect me to do?
Be on both of them?
Let's get going.
How about a swim?
I thought we were supposed
to be going to Reno.
We are. But I'm hot.
Will never get there tonight
with half a dozen stops.
All right. We'll get there tomorrow.
Better try it.
It might improve your temper.
I should've known it'd be like this.
You're about as dependable
as a four-year-old child.
You can turn back if you like.
Maybe you'd like it better with Trenton.
He probably doesn't swim at all.
Okay. You can go back.
But first, you're going swimming,
if I have to throw you in.
You're hurting me.
I'm sorry, baby.
Why don't you just say
that you don't love me?
But I do, Verna.
You can't. You've been so strange.
So have you.
But you haven't said anything.
You didn't even seem glad to see me.
I was scared to show you
how really glad I was.
- Honest, Larry?
- Honest, honey.
Let's get going.
No. I think a swim would be nice.
What was that talk about Reno?
That was just talk.
- Bet I beat you in.
- Okay.
It's swell after the first shock.
- Happy?
- Mmmmm.
Larry! You'll drown me!
- Time to go ashore.
- Now?
Yeah, now.
- Cigarette?
- That'd be lovely.
What did Trenton have to say?
Nothing. I didn't give him a chance.
Just left word I was leaving.
I bet the old boss is
hot on your trail right now.
He's in for an awful shock if he is.
You probably notified your folks.
I haven't any.
What did you do?
The same deal.
I wrote a letter asking for a divorce.
- Think you'll get it?
- Sure.
And then will get married, baby.
I thought it might come in handy.
Where did you get it?
At the dime store.
Dime store?
And you know you could buy a ring
with real diamonds with 25 grand?
Yes, I know.
Were you afraid I'd get sore?
No. I wasn't afraid.
What's the matter?
Haven't you got the money?
Well, not exactly.
Look. Either you have it or you...
My dowry.
What happened? Did you lose your nerve?
What do you want me to do with it?
That's up to you.
I thought you might do that.
I guess that's what we both
intended to all along.
Your left hand.
There you are, dear.
It looks nice.
As if it belongs there.
It does belong there.
From now on.
From now on.
You don't? I've always dreamed of
getting married in something white.
Late in the afternoon,
shadows from the mountains
fell across the lake and it got cold.
We decided to push on to Reno.
It wasn't too far.
Well under 300 miles.
I figured we could make it
before midnight.
Any regrets?
About what?
About the check.
No regrets, darling.
No regrets at all.
What do you think Greta will do?
Find another guy.
I wonder.
Why not?
Even if she weren't attractive,
there's always that lovely money.
Maybe she wouldn't want another guy.
I wouldn't.
Don't shed any tears over Greta.
She's quite capable
of looking after herself.
All right darling.
I won't shed any tears.
Over here, Gus.
It must've bust the gas tank.
Do you think there's anybody in there?
How are you feeling, mate?
I don't know.
I don't won't do any good.
But I'm sorry.
I lost mine too.
My wife.
Passed away of TB.
We'd been married seven years.
I wondered what he meant.
"Mine's gone too. "
And then it hit me.
He was talking about Verna.
Verna was dead.
And somehow they'd
assumed she was my wife.
I lay there wishing they were right.
That it had been Greta.
Suddenly, a dim light went on
in the back of my head.
Vague sort of hundred-to-one shot idea.
How is he?
I would you be with your head busted?
That I'd like to see.
Mr. Ballantine?
Are you well enough to answer
a couple questions?
- I guess so.
- Fine.
This man will make out
the accident report.
Save you from going to the inquest.
We'll have to have
your name and address.
Lawrence Ballantine, box 43.
RFD 6, Tulare.
- Age?
- 34.
- Profession?
- Broker.
- What's next?
- His wife's name.
Greta Ballantine.
Tell us in your own way
just what happened.
I don't remember.
Just tell us what you know.
Well, we were traveling north.
And fast.
The truck swerved.
And tried to cut inside.
That jibes with the truck driver story.
He blew a tire.
Who was driving?
I was.
You sure it wasn't your wife driving?
Yes, I'm sure.
The way her body was, it looked
like she was at the wheel.
Of course we couldn't tell much.
Everything was burned.
She was burned?
This is about all that was left.
We found it wedged in the door.
Um. Where was I?
You sure your wife was driving?
Yes, I'm sure.
Greta was in the passenger seat.
Well that's that. Have him sign it.
Is that all?
As far as I know.
When can I leave?
Well, that's up to the doc. Good luck.
I cleared the first barrier easily.
Greta was on the record
as a brass wedding ring and
a handful of charred bones.
Now I had to keep her there
to get the money.
There was only one possible slip-up.
Greta could have left the ranch.
One person would know.
Gee whiz, I didn't expect
to see you, Mr. Ballantine.
Hey there. You look kind of shaky.
You been out to the ranch?
No. But I reckon
everything's been all right.
Even with her gone.
Gone? What you mean, gone?
- Now now. Take it easy.
- You saw her leave?
Look, I think you got her worse
than you know, Mr. Ballantine.
Why don't you sit down for a minute?
Not that I blame you for being upset.
She was a fine woman.
It seems untimely.
Her being killed like that.
So I guess it happened real quick.
Yeah... it did.
Real quick.
Is your truck here?
Why, sure. All fixed up. Ready to go.
- Come on. I'll drive you up.
- No. I want to go alone.
Naw naw. You'll need
somebody to fix some food.
And tie things up a bit.
- Just wait till I lock the store.
- I want to go now.
All right.
Nobody'll bother with the store.
Leave me alone!
There was one more possibility.
Her friend.
She might've gone to him for comfort.
But he was gone.
And then.
All at once, I knew where she was.
When I woke the next morning,
I didn't know where I was.
It was like waking up after a fever.
Everything was mixed up and unreal.
I called out for Greta.
When she didn't answer,
I got up to look for her.
Then I remembered.
Fate had dealt the ones
from the bottom of the deck.
But I'd evened things up.
I had the money.
The funniest thing was...
how well it turned out.
The ashes were shipped east
and buried there as Greta's.
The coroner's jury turned in a
verdict of accidental death.
And nobody bothered at all about Verna.
I got a loan against the estate.
And went to South America.
But the gayer the city,
the worse I felt.
Lima, Rio, Buenos Aires.
I kept looking for a quieter place.
Trinidad, Costa Rica. Finally, Jamaica.
I stayed almost a month in Kingston.
Eating alone, swimming
alone, walking alone.
Feeling like one of the
seabirds I used to see
flying over the beach at dusk, crying.
There is only one place I like.
By some rocks.
A sea pool of dark green water.
I'd watch it for hours,
remembering another pool.
Gradually, I began to feel
that it might be for me
what the other had been for Greta.
Then one day, at lunch in the hotel,
fate opened a brand-new deck of cards.
Attention, please. Attention.
Our automobile will leave the hotel
in 15 minutes. 15 minutes.
I must request you not to be late.
As some of you, especially you younger
folks seem to have a habit of doing.
Uh. Oh. Not that I blame you.
Hello, Larry.
What are you doing here?
Seeing the Caribbean.
16 days for $270.
I just wanted to say
I was sorry to hear about Greta.
If there's anything I can do to...
There isn't.
Well... All right.
- Charlie?
- Yes, sir.
What does a guy do around
here when he's bored?
Have you tried horseback riding, sir?
I'm sick of horses.
What about deep-sea fishing?
I've been.
There's golf or tennis.
A pineapple juice, please.
- Alone?
- Temporarily.
I guess I was pretty rude this noon.
I'm sorry.
It's all right. I think I understand.
You have a date for dinner?
I'm meeting with some friends.
Well, that's too bad.
Maybe we could have lunch
tomorrow if you're free.
- I think it can be arranged.
- Well.
After lunch the next day, things
seem to arrange themselves.
Janice left her tour.
Each day, we cruised offshore
from daybreak to dusk.
We trolled for sailfish in the
clear green waters off Kingston.
I think it was a sort of compensation
for what we'd lost in New York.
I didn't know then, relaxed
and happy in the sun,
that I wasn't the fisherman.
I was the bait.
When her vacation ended, we flew
back to Los Angeles together.
We arrived in the morning.
I expected to be upset
coming home again.
But I wasn't.
I felt warming grateful,
walking arm in arm with Janice.
She had to report to her office
in Hollywood.
I had a room in my club downtown.
But we'd arranged to meet
that evening at her hotel.
At seven.
I got there early, feeling like a
high school boy on his first date.
- That'll be 45 cents.
- That'll be fine.
- Need anything else?
- No Thanks.
- Miss Janice Bell, please.
- 127.
- Shall I announce you?
- No. She's expecting me.
Straight down the corridor
and to your right.
Can I help you?
Never mind.
Come in.
Sorry to bother you.
But it couldn't wait.
It's all right. I'm not busy till seven.
Did you find him in Kingston?
Wondering about the big hotel
like a lost soul.
Did he suspect anything?
I pretended I was on one of those
Caribbean tours that stop overnight.
I'm surprised I could
persuade him to come back.
It was touch and go
until the last minute.
I don't wonder.
In fact, I'm surprised you got
them to leave Verna at all.
Verna wasn't with him.
Not with him? Where was she?
I don't know. And I don't think he does.
That's incredible.
I'd have bet $100,000
she went with him.
Who confirmed Greta's death?
A detective went up from Los Angeles.
He examined the station wagon.
Talked to the truck driver.
Double checked the police record.
And reported
it was definitely an accident.
In an odd way, I'm almost glad.
You're not
falling in love with him again?
Would it be so wrong
if he hadn't done anything?
My dear, I can assure
you he's done something.
Two women don't vanish
on the same day just accidentally.
We've eliminated Mrs. Ballantine.
But there is still Verna.
She probably just left town.
I don't think so.
He had $72 coming. Almost 2 weeks pay.
I know Verna.
She had never let it go.
That was one below the belt.
And for a minute,
it had me on the ropes.
Hanging on in a kind of groggy panic.
Then I began to think.
No danger from Greta.
Accidental death, the police had said.
And Trenton was at a dead end on Verna.
I was safe enough.
I have something to take up with you.
You have?
It's pretty serious.
You're five minutes late.
That is serious.
What's the fine, Your Honor?
One martini to be consumed at once.
Glad I wasn't in a half-hour late.
Out late again, Mr. Ballantine?
I ran a dead heat with the milkman.
Only what he was carrying was certified?
You got a point there, Gus.
A definite point.
Yes, he is.
A lady to see Mr. Ballantine.
- A lady? Doesn't she have a name?
- Verna Carlson.
Shall I tell her you're busy?
Yeah.. No...
Have her...
Come around to the swimming pool, Nick.
Mr. Ballantine?
What's the idea
of saying you're Verna Carlson?
I didn't. I'm Susan Haines.
Verna's roommate, remember?
He said it was Verna.
Oh no. I said it was about Verna.
About her? What about her?
Well, the little rat owes me
a month and a half's rent.
84 dollars.
Well that's too bad.
But why come to me?
Well, I thought maybe you
could tell me where she is.
- What gave you that idea?
- Verna.
She sort of hinted just
before she left that
she was going to get
some money from you.
Well, that's the first
I've heard about it.
I thought it might be a gag.
Actually, I haven't seen her
since I left the office.
Well, it was worth a try.
Now, I go to the police.
Wait a minute.
- How much did you say it was?
- 84 dollars.
Well, I'll write you a check.
Oh no, look. I want to collect from her.
I'll be bumping into her. And it will
give me something to kid her about.
- You don't mind?
- Of course I don't mind.
I-I'll be right back.
After all, it was only 84 dollars.
Your explanation, it seems
to me, hardly fits the facts.
Why doesn't it?
I simply wrote the check
to keep Verna out of trouble.
Are you sure it wasn't to keep
Miss Haines from going to the police?
That would be trouble
for Verna, wouldn't it?
Or for you, if you'd been
paying her blackmail.
Look. Accusing me of
paying Verna blackmail
isn't going to find her for you.
The there is a trick like the one you
just cooked up with the Haines woman.
No need to lose her temper.
I'm not losing my temper.
I'm simply telling you that
I don't know where Verna is.
And I don't expect to know.
But if I ever do, I won't tell you.
Is that clear?
You've never seen her
since your wife died?
Nor even just before?
Nor even just before.
I want you to meet a friend of yours.
Howdy there, Mr. Ballantine.
Long time, no see.
You mixed up in this thing too?
He isn't mixed up in anything.
I simply want him to tell you
what he told me.
What's that?
Well, it's about this girl.
The one they showed me the picture up.
Of course I seen her meet
you at the store that day.
Then her and you drive off
toward the ranch.
You remember that?
Of course I don't.
And what difference would
it make if I had met her?
Quite a difference.
You see, we think Verna was
there to blackmail you.
Same old tune again.
Not exactly.
We think you killed her and
hid her body on the ranch.
You drove off with your wife. And
unfortunately had the accident.
Which would have made it
unnecessary to murder Verna.
If I believed something like that,
Trenton, I'd take it to the police.
I have.
Lieutenant Carr
of the Los Angeles homicide bureau.
And Mr. Trenton's suggestion,
we had a warrant issued
by the Solari County authorities
to search your ranch.
I was wondering if you would like
to take a drive up there with me?
Are you the folks from L.A.?
I'm Lt. Carr and this is Mr. Rogers.
- Howdy.
- How are you making out?
We've been searching since daybreak.
Pounding and digging. Picks and axes.
We got the house plum gone up.
I reckon you won't mind, Mr. Ballantine.
Because we ain't found nothing.
How about the rest of the ranch?
Then over that too but.
Maybe you city fellers
is smarter than we are.
It looks like we had a
long drive for nothing.
Well, maybe we are to
walk around a little.
Just to please Mr. Trenton.
What do you think?
You're the boss.
You want me and the boys?
Not much unless you figure
you need some more exercise.
I'm getting too soft
for this kind of thing.
Would you mind
hiding your next victim in Griffin Park?
I would just as soon as stop all
talk about victims. Here or anywhere.
Yeah, I know. It's hard on the nerves.
Let's take a breather. My knees
feel like a couple of rusty hinges.
Every time somebody disappears,
somebody else hollers foul play.
And mostly,
the missing person just left town.
- Cigarette?
- No Thanks.
It seems like wives
cause the most trouble.
They never can believe
their man would leave on his own.
- I remember one case...
- Hey, Lieutenant!
There's a horse down.
What's so important about that?
He seems sick or something.
He's lying down.
Down there, by the waterfall.
What's he doing down there?
Maybe he thinks the pastor is better.
He's right too. It's fur clover.
I suggest we leave out the
botany and get moving.
It's a long ride back to town.
Horses don't eat lying down.
For my money, he's sick.
Or maybe he fell down there.
What do you think?
I'll phone a vet from the ranch house.
In the meantime, he's suffering.
I think we ought to go
down and take a look.
It happens to be Mr. Ballantine's horse.
What do you say Mr. Ballantine?
Do you figure he's right?
I suppose he is.
Ah, that's the ticket.
Anybody coming with me?
We ought to get our
expenses from the SPCA.
Are you coming, Mr. Ballantine?
Right behind you.
You better stay back.
You're liable to scare him.
Hello, fella.
The guy's broke both front legs.
That's tough.
What do you want to do?
There's only one thing you can do.
You think somebody should shoot him?
We can't let him suffer.
You want to do it, Mr. Ballantine?
No, not me. It was Greta's My wife...
I couldn't.
I don't think it'll be much fun
for either of us, sport.
Oh, Mr. Ballantine!
Would you come over here for a moment?
Care to identify her?
That's it.
The beginning.
The middle and the end.
The truth.
The whole truth, so help me.
You may have this witness.
Mr. Ballantine, is been testified
that the woman's corpse
found in the whirlpool was
battered beyond identification.
Do you consider this
fortunate or unfortunate?
Your Honor, I object. The question
calls for an expression of opinion.
Objection sustained.
Very well, Your Honor.
I hardly think there's any necessity
for cross examination.
You may stand down.
We will recess until two o'clock,
at which time, I will hear
the closing arguments.
You are now excused,
ladies and gentlemen.
You've got 5 minutes.
- Hello, Larry.
- Hello.
- Do you mind me coming here?
- No.
I have something to say.
I don't know quite how to say it.
I'm sorry.
- Why?
- I believe you.
I went up there because I was jealous.
Because I still wanted you.
When it's over,
if you need me for anything...
if I can do anything...
I'll be waiting.
There won't be any waiting.
But they believe you, Larry.
Some of them.
They wouldn't be out this long.
Maybe they like the free meal.
Do not say that.
Or else they're waiting for morning.
So everyone will be
on hand for the show.
Larry, if you can convince me...
The jury doesn't matter.
Nor the judge.
Nor the people in the orchestra seats.
Or even you, Skipper.
I listened to my story.
I brought in my own verdict.
You will please rise.
Department 14, Superior Court.
In the County of Los Angeles, State
of California, is now in session.
The Honorable Charles
Fletcher, judge presiding.
Please have the jury brought in.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,
have you agreed upon a verdict?
We have, Your Honor.
Please hand the verdict to the bailiff.
Mr. Clerk,
will you please read the verdict?
People of California
against Lawrence Ballantine.
We, the jury,
in the above entitled action...
The court will come to order.
The court will come to order.
To complete the record, the
clerk will return the verdict.
We, the jury,
in the above entitled action...
find the defendant, Lawrence Ballantine,
not guilty.