Francis Covers the Big Town (1953) Movie Script

Hey. So that's the big town.
Terrific, isn't it?
Sort of takes your breath away.
But not my appetite.
How can you look at that
wonderful sight and think of anything else?
Being hungry is not trivial.
You'll soon find that out
unless we start raising...
a little lettuce pretty pronto.
In New York City?
Raise lettuce. You mean money?
- Yeah.
- Don't worry. We'll get a job.
- We?
- Let me see. What would I be good at?
Getting into trouble.
I think I'd be best suited
for the newspaper business.
Yeah, I can see it now.
42nd and Broadway.
Extry! Read all about it! Extry!
I don't mean selling them.
I was an editor once, you know.
- What paper?
- The Weekly Informant.
- Weekly... Never heard of it.
- It was in high school.
Here we go again.
The Rover Boys in New York,
or From Pauper to Publisher.
- You don't have any confidence in me?
- Check.
I don't expect to be an editor
or a publisher right away.
- Modest boy.
- With my background and experience...
I'm sure to get an important position,
something I'm really fitted for.
- You'll see.
- Yes, yes.
Copyboy. Rewrite.
Miss Ames.
Hey, Pete. You see my pipe
around anywhere when you cleaned up?
I don't clean up anymore, Mr. Ross.
But I'll ask the new guy about it.
I'm a full-time copyboy now.
The way you're going,
I better keep an eye on my job.
Don't worry.
I'm not gonna be a sports writer.
I'll do yarns on murders and rackets.
Big important stories like Mr. Austin.
- Copyboy.
- Excuse me.
Yes, sir, Mr. Austin?
Stick this on the chief's desk.
I gotta go to the 8th Precinct.
You bet, Mr. Austin.
Thanks, kid.
Did you call this a gossip column?
Frankly, I think it's dull. Deadly dull!
Is it my fault high society's
turned over a new leaf this week?
Then why did young Van Cleve
get a black eye at the Cameo Club?
Where did the Arthur girl go on her
honeymoon with the crooning pugilist?
Polly Pry of The Clarion
seems to know!
She's also cost The Clarion
$50,000 in libel. Would you like that?
- Well?
- Mr. Austin's copy, sir.
May I get you a Coke
or something, Miss Ames?
No, thanks.
But if you could whip up some poison
for that one, I'd appreciate it.
Your column's swell. Never miss it.
I'm flattered, but there may not be
a column to miss...
unless I can dig up some wealthy
and prominent family skeletons.
Excuse me.
Say, is Mrs. Potterby what you call
society stuff?
Mrs. Henry Potterby? The banker's wife?
- Yeah.
- I'll say she is.
Do you know something?
Come on, give. What about Mrs. Potterby?
Nothing, really. It's mostly
about a chorus girl named Trixie Blue.
What does Trixie Blue
have to do with Mrs. Potterby?
Nothing. She doesn't know her.
But her husband...
- Whose husband? Trixie's?
- No, Mrs. Potterby's.
But he won't be for long.
Don't you believe it.
They're devoted to each other.
- Not since the raid.
- Raid! What raid?
The one at the Wilburton Arms.
What perfume do you use?
Five Roses. Look, about that raid.
Who did the raiding?
Mrs. Potterby. She found her husband
in an apartment.
- That's where Trixie Blue comes in?
- No.
She was there all the time.
It's her apartment.
Look, Stirling, are you...
That's my last name.
I wish you'd call me Peter. My friends do.
All right, Peter. But are you sure
about this Potterby yarn?
- Of course I'm sure.
- But where could you find out about it?
That's something I can't tell.
But if you don't trust me...
- Maybe you better wait and see.
- Copyboy.
This is Mrs. Potterby.
Who? Yes, Miss Ames.
The Daily Record understands...
you found your husband last night under...
shall we say,
most embarrassing circumstances?
You couldn't possibly know that!
The photographs haven't even
been developed yet.
You were right as rain, Peter darling.
I'll never doubt you again.
Can I take your copy?
I'm gonna take this one into his
nibs myself. But thanks a million.
Peter darling.
While the soft breezes sigh.
As in days long gone by.
Way down in Missouri.
Where I heard this melody.
Watch it, Harry.
When I was a pickaninny.
On my mammy's knee.
Hey, Pete, how about chow? Well.
You feel all right?
What's that I smell?
It's Five Roses.
Couldn't you just bathe in it?
Well, that'd be one way...
of becoming a mule of distinction.
- Yes, sir.
- To rewrite.
Yes, sir.
The mayor's chewing his fingers
off up to his elbow...
trying to figure out how I learned
about the new highway proposal.
- Thanks a million, kid.
- That's okay.
Mr. Vance, have you had a chance
to talk to Mr. Henderson about me yet?
Well, not
yet. But I won't forget it.
- Well, thanks a lot.
- Roger.
- Stirling, thanks for this tip.
- You're welcome, sir.
Don't forget to put in a good word
with the boss for me. When you get time.
A peach for a peach.
Pete, you got any stray sports items
laying around?
I don't know if it's important...
but the Cleveland Indians
are trading Phil Garris for Swartz.
You don't know if that's important?
- When did this happen?
- It hasn't happened yet.
They're meeting secretly tonight
to close the deal for a secret amount.
Boy, would I like to know how much that is.
The secret amount of money is $40,000.
I don't mean to bother you, Mr. Austin...
but would you do me a favour
when you have a minute to spare?
You've caught me in a very spare one.
Just name it.
Well, I rewrote that piece
like you suggested, sir.
I wondered if you'd mind
taking a look at it and see how I did.
You know, my one ambition is to be
an ace reporter like you, sir.
Of course, I know it takes a long time.
I wanna help expose crooks and stuff.
Stuff is right. As in turkey!
Which is what you can do...
with that double-talking rehash
on the 10th Avenue murder.
How can I get a yarn on it...
when the DA and the police
have clammed up even on City Hall?
But you're an ace reporter, lover boy.
A little thing like that
shouldn't stop you. Get a story!
"Get a story." The old buzzard!
No one even knows who the corpse is yet.
If it's any help, the murdered man
was identified as Joe Brang.
A small time New Jersey gambler.
He was shot twice through the head
with a .38.
Captain Cranston said
it was the same weapon...
used in that Westchester bank robbery.
They've got a dragnet out for
an ex-con named Eddie Frippert.
So they don't want anyone to know.
He and Brang worked together.
The police think after the robbery...
they got into an argument over the loot.
I hope that helps, sir.
But you left out Frippert's
middle name, Stirling.
- Max.
- Is this on the level?
You're not just playing reporter
and making this up?
- No. Honest.
- But when it's so hush-hush...
that a smart newshawk like me is stymied,
how in blazes did you get a line on this?
I can't tell you, sir.
You'll just have to take my word for it.
Okay, I'll do it.
After all, no smart reporter divulges
the source of his information, does he?
Thanks a million, kid.
Will you save me violets for tomorrow,
Mrs. Chekov? I have a movie date.
That's fine, Mr. Stirling.
With your nice little girl?
No, with a lady.
Well, I'll save you a nice bunch for you.
Thank you very much. Bye.
Hello, Mr. Bruno.
- How is he? Your friend?
- Francis.
He's fine. Thank you. Just fine. Bye.
- Hello, Mr. Scola.
- Hello, Mr. Stirling.
- I'll have four bunches of carrots.
- I just sell the last bunch.
- I asked you to save some for Francis.
- Sorry. Tomorrow, maybe.
Salvatore, let me have
a few cucumbers, please.
Mr. Stirling.
We were running short,
so I saved these for you.
- Gee, thanks a lot, Miss Scola.
- You called me Maria yesterday.
All right, Maria.
I hope your father won't be angry.
He doesn't like Francis.
It's not that he doesn't like Francis.
He just thinks it's foolish of you
to keep an expensive pet.
But Francis isn't a pet. He's a friend.
I know and I've explained that
to Papa.
- So he doesn't think I'm foolish anymore?
- No. Now he thinks you're crazy.
Well, thanks a lot for these, Maria.
Looks like your little Maria
is crazy nuts about the guy next door.
- She's not crazy nuts. He's crazy nuts.
- Why did you say that?
You remember the old stable I keep
in the back when I used to be peddler?
This man, he pays me every month
to keep his pet there.
That's not so crazy.
Everybody like to keep pets.
- But this pet is a mule.
- A mule?
You don't mean to say una mula?
- Seconds?
- No, thanks.
Excuse you.
Here's your paper.
Thanks, Pete.
Hey, here's the story I gave you
on that Joe Brang killing.
- Sure. Made front page.
- How come it's under Dan Austin's name?
- I passed it along to him.
- Why?
He's our best reporter.
Why should any reporter
get his name on your story?
It'll be different after tomorrow.
I'm going in and demand
that Henderson make me a reporter.
Says you.
Hey, they're raising taxes again.
Remind me to write a
letter to the President.
Francis, I think the time has come
for me to settle down.
Lead a more normal life.
I wanna get married.
- Come again?
- I said I wanna get married.
- That's what I thought you said.
- I'm in love.
I thought you looked goofier than usual,
but on you, it's hard to tell.
It's a wonderful feeling, Francis.
You been watching the birds and the bees?
You know, when I look at her,
I get hot and cold, cold and hot.
When she looks at me,
it's like being struck by lightning.
My heart starts going pitter-patter,
patter-pitter, like the raindrops.
And my blood starts
roaring like a hurricane.
Is that love or a weather report?
That's not funny!
You don't realise this is one of the most
important moments in a man's life.
A man, he says.
She ain't a
bad dish as females go.
- Who isn't a bad dish?
- Maria.
Maria? Why, she's just a little girl.
I'm going to marry a woman.
A woman of the world.
Alberta Ames.
Well, kiss my Great Aunt Regret,
who won the derby.
Not that tomato that writes
all that grape juice in The Daily Record?
- Alberta is not a tomato.
- Be that as it may.
Have you set the date?
No, not exactly.
I haven't even proposed to her yet.
Then the dame hasn't lived yet.
I'm taking her to the
movies tomorrow night.
Gee, I wish you could see how sweet,
how wonderful, how lovely...
Love! It's worse than a bad case
of hoof-and-mouth disease.
You have no understanding.
Well, here we are.
Are we?
Yes, we are, aren't we?
I certainly enjoyed the movies, Miss Ames.
So did I. All three of them.
It's been a wonderful evening.
Thanks for bringing me home. Good night.
Peter. Aren't you going to ask me in?
In my apartment? Just you and me alone?
After all, Peter, I do
trust you completely.
Well, it's just that...
After all, I'm a man of the world.
Hey. He's biting off more than he can chew.
Well, it's not much, but it's cheap.
Thank you, Peter.
How about a drink?
You name it. Root beer.
No, a lemonade. An orange pink.
- Maybe we better skip it.
- No, I'll go...
I have to drive.
Why don't you sit over here?
Do you know Keats?
Well, I don't know him very well.
- Miss Ames.
- Alberta to you, Peter dear.
Alberta? Gee, thanks.
You know, I just love
the smell of that Five Roses on you.
I didn't know it was noticeable.
I'd know you by it,
even if I were blindfolded.
- Alberta, I have a confession to make.
- Yes, Peter?
You dropped this in the office
and I picked it up and kept it.
- I hope you don't mind.
- Mind? Why, I'm flattered.
I may even say I'm thrilled.
You know, there comes a time
in every man's life...
when he has to start
thinking of the future.
Peter, you're not going
to pop the question?
Alberta, tomorrow I'm gonna ask
Mr. Henderson to make me a reporter.
Well, I think you'd make
a good reporter, Peter.
- With all your connections.
- Connections?
You know, where you get all that
wonderful inside information.
Don't you think you ought to let
Alberta in on it?
Just to prove how much we trust each other.
- Please, don't ask me.
- See? You really don't trust me.
- I do.
- Then you mustn't keep secrets from me.
Please, Peter.
Tell Alberta.
- All right. It's Francis.
- Who's Francis?
He's a friend of mine. We met in the Army.
He saved my life.
He carried me seven miles
through enemy lines.
Seven miles. He must be quite a guy.
He's tops. The only mule in the world
with a purple heart.
Mule? Purple heart?
Peter, what are you talking about?
Francis. He won a decoration in Burma.
He's got it pinned up in his stall.
- Now, I'll tell one.
- It's the truth, Alberta.
I'll take you to the stable
so you can meet him.
- Meet him?
- Yes.
You can see for yourself.
It's through the kitchen. Come on. Please.
I've always wanted you
to meet Francis anyway.
You'll get a big kick out of him.
I hope he's still up.
The lights are on. He's probably reading.
- He reads?
- Sure.
He's been through
the Encyclopaedia Britannica seven times.
Hiya, Francis. You decent?
Well, look sharp, you lucky fellow.
I brought Miss Ames out to meet you.
Alberta, this is Francis.
Well, say hello to the lovely lady.
- He's waiting for you to say hello first.
- Really, Peter...
He's a little unusual
when it comes to things like this.
That's putting it mildly.
Well. Hello, Francis.
Now, come on. Let's go.
Wait. Francis, where are your manners?
Say hello.
Let's not play games, shall we, Peter?
You've had your little joke
and it's been grand fun...
but now if you'll both excuse me,
I've had enough.
Alberta, you must believe me.
Francis gives me my news tips.
He picks them over the fence.
Gossiping with neighbours?
A lot of traffic cops
keep horses in the stable next door.
Francis talks things over with them
every night.
- With the traffic cops?
- No, the horses.
- You must think I'm a complete idiot!
- Not complete, doll, but you'll do.
- Why, you little...
- Now, Alberta...
If you so much as ever
come near me again, I'll...
But, you don't...
There goes the bride.
Scratch one tomato.
- Now, you've done it!
- I've done you a favour.
She'll never speak to me again.
That dame is just playing you
for a sucker.
I will not tolerate such disrespect
for the future Mrs. Stirling.
You'd have a better chance
with Cleopatra.
- She's dead.
- You'd still have a better chance.
Grow up, will you?
I'm old enough
to decide things for myself, you know.
So that's how it is.
Lucky for you
that I'm a mule of principle.
What do you mean, principle?
I promised to make a reporter
out of you, and I'll keep my word...
but after that, you're on your own!
Well, Francis, I...
Snap off the lights
on your way out.
All right.
- If that's the way you want it.
- Check.
- I'll show you.
- Roger.
I'll get to be a reporter
without your help!
I'll talk to Mr. Henderson in the morning.
I'll show you.
Good night, lover boy.
Mr. Henderson, sir.
I've been here quite a while now.
I think it's high time I became a reporter.
Ed, did you tell Mr. Henderson
I'm waiting?
Yeah, he knows.
Well, beautiful,
how'd you make out last night?
Terrific. I met the informer in person.
Tell me more.
- His name is Francis.
- Francis?
And he is the stupidest,
rattiest-looking mule I ever laid eyes on.
- He really has a mule?
- A mule.
- You're kidding.
- I am not kidding.
He took me out to the barn
and he introduced me to the filthy beast.
But it wasn't in the mood for chitchat.
I knew the kid was punchy,
but I didn't think he was that bad.
- He's either punchy or awfully smart.
- What do you mean?
It's a pretty good way of telling people
to shut up when they get too curious.
Mr. Henderson, I've been here
quite a while now, and I think it's time...
- Did you tell him?
- Yeah, he knows.
Dan, Boss wants to see you,
and he's running a temperature.
What's eating the old buzzard
this time?
The Chief of Police
and the DA are in his office.
This is the sort of thing we can't have!
Makes our job twice as tough.
Come in. Shut the door.
Good morning, gentlemen.
Crime must be taking a holiday.
Never mind the wisecracks.
It seems you've upset the authorities
no end.
Where did you get the lowdown
on the Joe Brang killing?
- So that's it.
- Was it somebody in my office?
- Someone in the police department?
- Just a moment, gentlemen.
A newspaperman can't tell you
where he gets his information.
- I've been saying that for an hour.
- It's the ethics.
Ethics be hanged. If it's someone
in the department, I'll make them...
Come in.
- If you please, may I speak with you?
- Can't you see I'm busy?
- This can't wait, sir.
- What is it?
I've been here for quite a while now...
and I think it's high time
I became a reporter.
- For the love of...
- You pick a moment like this?
Get out!
We've had a dragnet out
for Eddie Frippert...
and because of your premature story,
he's given us the slip.
He's probably in Mexico
or on his way to Europe by this time.
- Excuse me, sir.
- You've asked for it.
See the cashier. You're through!
All I want to tell you about
is this Mr. Frippert.
I don't care anything about...
- What about Eddie Frippert?
- I know where he is.
- You know where he is?
- Yes.
Where is he?
I don't think I should tell you now
that I don't work here anymore.
- Better call him back.
- What do you mean?
- He is where I got the story.
- What? Get him!
- You! Come in here!
- You want me, sir?
Get in here.
- Well, let's have it.
- Come on, where is he?
- Where's who?
- Eddie Frippert. Where is he?
- You said you knew.
- I do.
- Speak up, boy.
- Well, he's...
- I don't work here anymore.
- For heaven's sake, you work here.
- Are you sure?
- You work here.
- Put it on paper?
- You work here!
- I do? Thanks.
- Now where's Eddie Frippert?
He's at 318 DeLacey Street, apartment 3-B.
Police headquarters, quick.
He's under the name of Eddie Phillips.
Who is it?
The janitor.
There ain't no janitor, copper.
Hello? It's your call.
Hansen speaking.
You were right, boy.
I'll be right over.
Well, Frippert was there.
He's in custody.
Stirling, you'd better start talking.
Give it to us straight.
Who do you know in my office?
- Your office? Who are you?
- The District Attorney.
How do you do? DA?
I didn't even know you had an office.
How do you make your connections
with police headquarters?
- I take the transit to 42nd Street...
- Don't be funny.
Who tipped you off
to Eddie Frippert?
Oh, that.
- Yes, that!
- Well, I can't tell you.
- Why not?
- I can't tell you.
- Go ahead. Tell them about your mule.
- What mule?
What about a mule?
Stirling has an educated mule
that tells him things.
What sort of nonsense is this?
He doesn't mean Mule Johnson,
who was with the Tracy Mob?
- No. This mule's name is Francis.
- Stop beating about the bush.
- Where do you get your information?
- I can't tell you!
Good boy, Stirling. Lesson number one:
A good reporter never divulges
the source of his information.
But, really, Mr. Henderson, if I...
If you'd only... A reporter?
Me? Well, I...
Stop the presses!
Stop the presses!
Tear out the front page. Copyboy.
- Stop the presses!
- Stop the nonsense.
Yeah. Stop the...
What are you supposed to be?
I'm just practicing how to be a reporter.
After all, with all the scoops
you're gonna give me.
I should've stood in bed.
What's wrong?
Making you a reporter
was one thing.
Fixing it so you can keep the job,
well, that's another.
Wait till I'm a top
reporter on The Record.
Alberta will come crawling,
begging me to forgive her.
Bushwa with ketchup.
Stop dreaming. Let's get to work.
For this I got the Purple Heart
with four palms.
Hey, you.
Yes, sir?
What's the idea of the mule?
I happen to be a member of the press, sir.
We were roaming around
to pick up some news.
Do you have to take the mule along
and block traffic?
- He's the one who gets the stories.
- A wise guy, huh?
No, sir, I'm not a wise guy.
Look, he's getting a story right now.
- He's what?
- From your horse.
There's nothing wrong with me.
The square pegs in the square holes.
And the round pegs in the round...
In the round holes.
Dr. Foster, about his psychotic obsession
concerning a talking mule.
It's not an obsession!
Dr. Goodrich, I'm convinced this obsession
is definitely an image symbol.
Tell me, young man, when you were a child,
why did you hate your father?
- I didn't hate my father.
- Why did you hate your mother?
- I didn't hate my mother.
- You certainly hated somebody.
I didn't hate anybody.
Doctor, what do you think?
You suppose we ought to...
Twenty seconds longer
than the last time.
Come in.
Yes, Officer, what is it?
Okay, Doc, I'll take
him off your hands now.
Come along, kid. The man's waiting for you.
The man?
Mr. Austin, am I glad to see you.
I was afraid...
Cheer up. The release took some doing,
but you're all in the clear now.
That's wonderful.
Does Mr. Henderson know?
- I covered up for you.
- You're swell. Thanks a lot.
Look, kid, there's no point
in antagonising the police unnecessarily.
Forget this nonsense about the mule.
Yes, sir.
But do you know where he is?
- Where who is?
- Francis.
I said forget it.
But if he doesn't hear
from me, he'll worry.
Worry? A mule?
- Yes. He's very high-strung.
- High-strung?
Yeah. I've been in that room now
for three hours.
I've been pushing square...
I am not going to move another peg
until Mr. Austin arrives to get me out.
Get you out? He's the one who put you in.
The breadwinner.
- Hiya, Francis.
- It's about time you got home.
Where you been?
That's a nice welcome
after what I've been through today.
- They had me under observation, twice.
- So?
- They thought I was crazy.
- They let you go?
- That's not very funny.
- I told you a thousand times...
if you so much as mention me,
you'll wind up in trouble.
Everyone keeps asking me
how I find out things!
You don't have to tell them.
Just wink and act mysterious. Like this.
Get it?
- Well, I'll try it.
- All right.
What about some news?
We haven't picked up any today.
What do you mean, "we"?
I didn't take Florabel to lunch
for nothing.
- Florabel? Who's Florabel?
- Sharpen your pencil, kid.
- Are you ready?
- Okay, go ahead.
Huge gem robbery.
The swank jewellery store
of Van Cartel and Company...
was robbed in broad daylight this morning
by three armed men.
Mr. Van Cartel said...
"Mr. Roger Van Cartel, the owner,
was on the telephone when Duke Treswell..."
"Acey-Deucey Davis and Red Crispy,
three Sing-Sing parolees, entered."
"Duke Treswell immediately pulled a gun."
In my 30 years of newspaper work...
that's the neatest piece
of reporting I've come across.
Thank you, sir.
Not a word on the police radio.
Nothing on the teletype.
And you scooped every sheet in town.
Even to identifying the robbers.
- I don't see how you did it.
- Connections.
Yes? Henderson speaking. Yes, Chief.
Are you sure?
Yes, sir?
- That was Hansen on the phone.
- Really?
He told me why there were
no police calls about the robbery.
They didn't want to
frighten off the robbers?
Because there was no robbery.
No robbery?
- No robbery? There must've been.
- Why must there have been?
- He told me everything.
- Who?
The mule?
Yes, sir.
A madman who carries on
conversations with a talking mule...
- and I had to believe him!
- But Mr. Henderson...
Young man, do you realise
what you've done?
We'll be sued by these three men
and the jewellery store.
We'll lose half of our circulation!
Thirty years in the business
and you ruin me...
and The Daily Record in one fell swoop.
Young man, which one of my
competitors put you up to this?
- Speak up! Which one did it?
- It was my own idea.
- No one did.
- As soon as I get...
Yes. Henderson speaking.
This is Roger Van Cartel
of Van Cartel and Company.
How dare you, Mr. Henderson?
How dare you?
This establishment prides itself
on being absolutely impregnable.
Mr. Van Cartel, I assure you
the entire thing's a mistake.
A horrible mistake!
And an expensive mistake.
Our clients may hesitate about
storing their valuables with us.
We're therefore going
to sue your paper for thousands.
We'll sue for millions...
Mr. Van Cartel,
we'll print a retraction.
You've got nothing to worry about.
Absolutely nothing to worry about.
Stirling, I demand to know
where you got this story.
- Well, you know how it is, Chief.
- I don't know!
Where did you get it?
A smart reporter never divulges
the source of his information.
Smart reporter? I'll
get it out of him, Chief.
I'll handle it, Mulvaney!
Now, look, son, you knew all about
the crime before it was committed.
You knew the participants,
you knew the details.
- You must've been in on it.
- No, sir.
Unless you explain to me
how you knew so much...
I'll have to arrest you
as an accessory before the fact.
- It was through Toodles.
- Who's Toodles?
- Is he Duke Creswell's girl?
- Take it easy. Tell me.
Who is Toodles, and what's her last name?
She doesn't have a
last name. She's a horse.
- You mean she's a big, fat broad?
- No, she's a horse.
Another one of your jokes?
- It's no joke, sir. I think I'd better explain.
- I think you'd better.
You see, Duke Creswell
goes around with a waitress named Annie.
Annie has a sister who
works in the laundry.
She goes around with one of the drivers.
His horse is named...
- Toodles.
- Yes.
- Yes, his horse.
- That's right.
When Toodles heard about
the proposed robbery, she told Florabel.
- And who is Florabel?
- She's on the police force.
We don't have any Florabels
on the police force.
- Yes, you do. She's a traffic horse.
- A traffic horse?
Yes, up in Harlem.
When Toodles told Florabel,
Florabel told Francis, and Francis...
Splendid, young man.
A new record for this board.
Does that mean I can leave?
Leave? Are you crazy?
That's what we're
trying to find out, Doctor.
Yes, of course.
Now, gentlemen,
about these schizophrenic hallucinations...
They're not... They're not hallucinations!
Francis does talk!
Tell me, young man,
do you ever hear strange noises?
- Unusual sounds? Peculiar vibrations?
- What do you mean, sir?
- Whistles, bells, horns?
- Yes, sir.
- Regularly?
- Yes, sir.
How do you explain that?
I live down by the East River.
No, young man. You don't understand.
Do you ever smell unusual smells?
Yes. Smells that you can't identify.
Yes, sir.
- How do you explain that?
- I live down by the river.
Is it one particular mule,
or do all mules talk to you?
Just one, sir. Francis.
But did you ever hear things talk to you?
Tables, chairs, airplanes, toothbrushes?
No, sir. Of course not.
How about chickens?
- Can chickens talk?
- No, sir.
- Can parrots talk?
- No, sir!
- But parrots can talk.
- I know they can!
- But you said they can't.
- You're looking at me like I'm crazy!
I'm not gonna answer one more question
till I can talk to Francis!
What do you think, gentlemen?
- I say let him talk with the animal.
- It might be most interesting.
You mean the mule will come here?
No, I'll go along with Stirling
and observe his behaviour...
during an actual period of hallucination.
Young man, we've decided
to let you converse with this mule.
Well, it's about time. May I use the phone?
- Phone? Telephone a mule?
- Yeah.
No. We want you to speak to him in person.
- And Dr. Goodrich will go with you.
- But...
Good afternoon, Francis.
- So this is Francis?
- Yes, sir.
There couldn't be any mistake,
could there, Stirling?
No, sir.
Francis, this is Dr. Goodrich,
a psychiatrist from the hospital.
Will you please tell
him that I'm not crazy?
- Is the mule talking to you now?
- No, sir.
Now, Francis, I know we've been
through this before...
but please, you can't let me down now!
- Easy, now. Easy.
- He's just being stubborn, that's all!
Is that what it is? Come here, my boy.
I understand. You're worried because
your animal friend won't speak to you.
- Yes, sir.
- But you needn't be.
You realise there's nothing
unusual in what has happened to you.
I've seen hundreds of cases
and they recovered.
- But there's nothing wrong with me.
- I know.
In your mind, there is a void.
Well, like a vacuum in nature,
it demanded filling. You see?
Not exactly.
Almost always, we find such cases
seek some person...
or animal who is in trouble.
Hurt, suffering, miserable.
Like this silly creature.
Just look at him.
Undersized, dull-eyed,
spiritless, decrepit, stupid.
As sad and broken-down a beast
as ever heaven created.
But I still got my own teeth.
Can you tell?
- Who said that?
- I did.
- Who is I?
- I is me.
But who is me?
Well, don't you know
who you are, Doc?
I told you he could talk, didn't I?
I told you.
Sure I can talk. But none of
this drivel I've been listening to.
It is not drivel!
Here is a clear case of
hyper-imaginative reaction...
induced by emotional starvation.
Acute symptoms
of urban claustrophobia.
Don't you believe him, young man!
I've had many years of successful practice.
- Doctor, you know what I think?
- No, and I don't care!
- I think you're off your rocker.
- Impossible!
- Why is it impossible?
- I'm the psychiatrist!
Common medical reaction.
We use the garden term
to describe it.
The God complex. Very common.
- Now, that'll do!
- Calm yourself, Doc.
Now, just a few questions
I'd like to ask.
- Tell me, are you married?
- I am not.
At your age? Do you go out with girls?
- I have no time for women.
- Clinically correct.
- Good income, Doc?
- Largest in the hospital.
That fits together nicely.
Quite a build you got there, Doc.
Remnants of an athlete?
What do you mean, remnants?
Well, Doc, we ain't as young
as we once were, are we?
Just that my hair's thinning.
- Tell me, how do you sleep?
- Perfectly!
- No dreams?
- Of course I dream!
About being Chief of Staff
at the hospital?
Well, yes, as a matter of...
My dreams are my own affair!
- I'm being insulted!
- Yes.
- Get me out of here!
- Of course. Get him out.
- Let's leave.
- Take him out.
I'm being insulted! Get me out!
Unhappy case. Next patient.
Thanks, Sam.
Is this on the level, girls?
Direct from the stork.
Wall Street!
A lot of my cousins got their assets
frozen here in the year 1929.
Pete, a fellow tried to sell me
that Brooklyn Bridge once.
- You know something?
- What?
I should've bought it.
Thanks, Jake. You're
sure on the ball today.
Hey. Yeah. This is news.
- Come on, Francis.
- Check.
The Duchess of Jersey
is eloping with her chauffeur.
Mother should see me now.
Pretty, ain't it?
You know, if them fellows
could get together in there...
they could help a heap of folks
over a high hurdle of human understanding.
Yes, sir.
You mean you can't find out
who's the head of this protection racket?
Nix on the writing, Pete.
You better lay low for a while.
- Good evening, Mr. Stirling.
- Hello.
- Hello, Mr. Francis.
- Good evening, Mrs. Seidler.
Good evening, Mr. Scola.
My good friend, Mr. Stirling.
Here, have a nice apple.
Here, Maria, look who's here.
Thank you.
Hello, you nice mule.
You really make a nice pet.
I like you very much.
Hello, Peter, I saved these turnips
for Francis.
I thought he'd like them for a change.
That's certainly nice of you, Maria.
Thank you very much.
Go on, run along.
They make a nice couple.
- Maria with that lunatic?
- Lunatic? What do you mean, lunatic?
You know who that is?
That is Peter Stirling.
The number one newspaper reporter.
He's a big shot.
- You told me he was a coconut.
- Coconut?
You know, we haven't seen
very much of you these days.
A newspaperman
has a pretty busy life, Maria.
I know. I see your name in the paper
every day, and I'm so proud.
- Are you really?
- Yes. And so is Papa.
Then he doesn't think I'm crazy anymore?
Now he says, "That Pietro,
he's got plenty of brains upstairs."
- You've got an awfully pretty laugh, Maria.
- Do you think so?
Yeah. It bubbles. It kind of
makes you wanna laugh some more.
What did you say?
I said I'm a pretty good judge.
Peter, you always think of me
as a little girl, don't you?
- Well, you are, aren't you?
- I'm gonna be 18 tomorrow.
Eighteen? Tomorrow?
You certainly don't look it.
I suppose it's the way Papa dresses me.
He still wants to think
I'm his little bambina.
Bambina. That's cute.
Well, it's... That's not too bad after all.
Why don't we go out tomorrow night
and celebrate your birthday?
Peter, I'd love to.
That would be a real birthday.
I'll tell you what we'll
do. We'll go out...
That's the second time. That's too much.
Take it easy. You'll be all right.
Get an ambulance.
Let me help you.
Do you know who those men were?
Come on, Giuseppe, tell us.
I think they were the insurance people.
The insurance people? What do you mean?
No. Don't ask me. I don't know nothing.
Please, don't ask me.
All right, break it up.
Give him some air.
Get moving. Come on, get along
with you! You know better than that.
Move along here. Come on, break it up.
I'm gonna take a chance, Pete.
If that horse was right,
the yarn I'm gonna give you...
will bust this town wide open.
You mean that old peddler getting beat up?
Is that important?
He's just one of hundreds of little guys
that's being gypped...
by one of the biggest rackets in this town.
- From now on, you're a crusader.
- A crusader?
You're not a top reporter until
you've started a couple of crusades.
- Start writing.
- Shoot.
Racketeers terrorizing small merchants...
- Racketeers?
- Don't interrupt.
That peddler's horse
was tough enough to understand.
- How come?
- He talked with an accent.
"Racketeers Terrorizing
Small Merchants, by Peter Stirling."
Under the guise of selling
insurance, a group of racketeers...
"Headed by a supposedly
reputable businessman..."
"Has been exacting tribute
from small merchants, peddlers..."
"And street vendors
in various parts of the city."
I don't like it, Brad. Not one bit.
Looks like one of our clients
did a little talking, Mr. Garnet.
"Headed by a supposedly
reputable businessman?"
The newspaper didn't get that
from any client.
Nobody knows about me except
you and a few of your boys.
You know you can swear by me
and the boys.
I don't swear by anyone.
It might have been a lucky guess.
Some reporter fishing in the dark.
I can't take any chances.
I've worked too hard
keeping myself in the background.
Get me Alberta Ames at The Daily Record.
I've got to find out what this fellow
Peter Stirling knows.
Miss Ames and I used to be rather chummy.
- I'm sure she'd be glad to cooperate.
- Miss Alberta Ames, please.
Why, certainly!
Jeff, darling, how very nice.
It's been such a long time.
Yes, too long.
Alberta, you can do me a slight service...
and you'll find me most grateful.
Yes, I know him quite well.
I'm sure he'll be delighted.
"The cosine of
light over infinity..."
"Calculates out to X."
That figures.
- Well, how do I look?
- Oh, no!
You didn't have to rent that
monkey suit just to have a date with Maria.
It's not Maria.
Something else came up.
Something very important.
You've made up with that tomato.
- She's not a... How did you know?
- By the look on your puss.
I told you she'd change her mind
about me.
She apologised
for the way she's been acting.
So you still think
that night-blooming cabbage goes for you?
It would never occur to you
that she might love me.
Pardon my hairy legs.
- Anyway, you gotta skip the date.
- Skip it? What for?
Pete, I got some real hot news for you.
- Hot news? Can't it wait?
- Listen.
I just found out who the head man is
in the protection racket.
- Can't it wait till I get back?
- You want the story?
I do. But you don't understand.
It's just not Alberta.
I have a dinner date
with some important people...
at Mr. Jefferson Garnet's home.
Garnet? That's the guy!
He's the head of the racket.
Don't be a jackass!
Look who's calling who who.
You're making that up because
you don't like Alberta.
- That figures.
- I got a right to pick my own friends!
So have I, fancy pants.
So button up your lip!
And don't slam the door.
- Well, you...
- Amscray.
Why, you didn't tell me
you were going formal.
We're not.
I mean, there's been a change in plans.
I was just coming over to tell you.
- A change?
- Yes.
Miss Ames has invited me out
to meet some important people.
You know how it is with
newspapermen. We need influential contacts.
Sure. I understand,
Peter. That's all right.
We'll go out tomorrow night, okay?
Maria, here. I want you to have these.
And happy birthday.
No, I couldn't, Peter.
You better keep them for your date.
- I brought these carrots for Francis.
- Well, thanks.
I was a little rude to Francis just now.
Perhaps I'd better go back and apologize.
Here, you give these to Francis.
- Good evening, Alberta.
- Petey boy. Don't you look sharp.
You look beautiful, too.
- Here.
- They're lovely, Petey.
I'm so miserable, Francis.
I'm so crazy about him...
and he doesn't even know I'm alive.
It's lucky for me
you don't know a word I'm saying.
How can you care for that guy?
- Francis!
- All right, all right!
- But you're talking.
- Well?
But mules can't talk!
Well, women can, unfortunately. Now, relax.
- I want you to give Pete a message.
- A message?
Tell him from now on he's on his own
and not to look for me.
- You're not leaving him.
- I'm finished, through.
And tell him that's 30 for tonight.
But you can't go. He'll miss you.
He needs you.
Who says I can't?
Him running out on his friends
for that Alberta Ames dame!
But she is beautiful. And glamorous.
I guess that's the reason Pete likes her.
- He thinks of me as a little girl.
- Then why don't you get glamorous?
Why not?
Hey, in a couple of hours...
I could give you enough zing
to land a fish like him.
- But how?
- Well, let me see.
First you gotta forget that
Pollyanna ooze in your voice...
and give out with some
low and throaty tones.
The stuff that makes boys act
like men and men act like boys.
Come on, say it.
There, now you're putting
a little schmaltz in it.
Let me hear you say,
"How now, brown cow?"
"How now, brown cow?"
Now real low and easy.
Again. Come on.
How now, brown cow?
Oh, yeah!
Now you're changing from
a sapling into a tree.
Throw it soft and throw it low
and you'll catch yourself that schmo.
Hey. What kind of perfume you using?
Sweet Summer Breeze.
"Sweet Summer Breeze."
That's strictly for the cradle trade.
For the long pants,
you want Moment of Madness.
- I'll get some in the morning.
- Okay.
Let me see you walk.
Take those skis off.
Put some bounce in it.
Try it. Go ahead.
No! Here. Get a load of this.
It don't mean a thing
if you ain't got that swing.
You got something to sell,
so you sell it!
Strictly from the nursery.
Hey, that would fracture them
in the kindergarten.
- No chic, no savoir faire.
- What's that?
I don't know,
but that dress ain't got it.
- What about the one I've got on?
- Yeah.
- Take it off.
- I beg your pardon.
- I got ideas. Take it off.
- Why?
I'm gonna make a few alterations.
- I can't take it off in front of you.
- Why not?
- 'Cause I just can't.
- Do you want Pete or don't you?
Turn your head the other way.
I'm old enough to be your mother,
your father.
I'm old enough!
- Don't peek!
- All right.
Hurry up and get that dress off.
I got a wonderful idea. Yeah.
- All right.
- If this works...
- Now rip out the sleeves.
- The sleeves?
- Lower the hem five inches.
- Five inches?
- The neckline down to the shoulders.
- Francis, that's so daring.
After I get you dressed up,
you know what Pete's gonna do?
He'll take you in his arms
and he's gonna say:
"Darling, to me you're the quintessence
of feminine loveliness."
Oh, slush!
Very nice, Mr. Garnet.
- How are you two getting along?
- Just fine.
- It's a lovely party, Mr. Garnet.
- It certainly is.
- I was pleased you could come.
- Thank you.
I've been watching your career
with a good deal of interest.
Have you really?
You've become such an important
newspaperman in such a short time...
it's miraculous. Really quite miraculous.
You're right, Mr. Garnet.
We're all proud of Peter
down at The Record.
- It's nothing, really.
- Nothing?
Your kind of news
is very important to our city.
Let's go into the library
where we can talk quietly.
- I'm sure Miss Ames will excuse us.
- You go right ahead.
- I can manage to amuse myself nicely.
- Thank you.
- I'm sorry.
- Please. Let me.
Thank you.
- Excuse us.
- Certainly.
- Make yourself comfortable.
- Thank you.
That was an interesting story
in today's Record.
I'm glad you enjoyed it.
There's one thing that puzzles me,
though, P.S.
"P.S."? What's that?
- They're your initials, aren't they?
- Yes, sir.
I'm known as J.G.
It's informal, and I like it
better than nicknames. Don't you?
Yes, J.G.
That business about a protection racket.
That's a horrible thing, terrorizing people.
Is your story based on actual fact
or just an imaginary bit of sensationalism?
It's actual fact, sir.
One never knows what goes on
under one's very nose, does one?
You were a clever young man to uncover
something like that even before the police.
It's all in a day's work, sir.
This reputable businessman you mention
as being head of the organization...
do you have any idea who he is?
No, not yet, but I expect to find out
later this evening.
Really? That's
interesting. Very interesting.
- Something funny, Mr. Stirling?
- I was just remembering.
Francis tried to tell me it was you.
- Me?
- Yeah. The head of the racket.
- I guess that's Francis's idea of a joke.
- And who is Francis?
One of my connections.
He must have rather
a strange sense of humour.
- I should like to meet the gentleman.
- No, you wouldn't.
I shouldn't have even mentioned him.
On the contrary, you should tell me
all about this Francis person.
If you don't mind, sir, I'd rather not.
Is he the one who told you
about the protection racket?
- Yes, sir.
- Then I insist on meeting him.
If I'm supposed to be mixed up in this...
he must tell me
where he gets his information.
- But Francis won't talk, sir.
- He'll have to, I'm afraid.
If you try to make him, you'll be sorry.
Are you threatening me?
Beg pardon, sir. May I serve
either of you gentlemen with a drink?
Not now, Mason.
I'm afraid you misunderstood me.
I wasn't threatening you.
It's just that Francis is very unusual.
He's very stubborn.
He won't talk to strangers.
How do you think I got where I am?
From knowing how to handle people.
But Francis is not "people."
You won't believe me, so I'll take you out
to meet him sometime.
Sometime? What's wrong with now?
He lives in a place like this?
No, sir, I live here.
Francis lives in back, in the stable.
- Did you say "stable?"
- Yes, sir.
- What sort of character is he?
- Well, he's...
Well, I'd rather you'd see for yourself.
I'll lead the way.
There's something strange about this boy.
- If I'm not out in three minutes...
- I understand, sir.
Lights are out. Must be asleep.
Wake up, Francis. I brought company.
Hard sleeper.
He's not here.
You mean to say somebody lives here?
You'd better prepare yourself
for a surprise, J.G.
- A surprise?
- I was afraid to tell you before...
for fear you wouldn't believe me, but...
Well, Francis isn't a man.
- This is hardly a place for a woman.
- Francis isn't a woman, either.
Isn't a man, isn't a woman.
What in blazes are you talking about?
Francis is a mule.
- A mule?
- Yes, sir.
I didn't come down here to visit any mules.
What about this person
giving you those newspaper stories?
That's Francis, sir.
The mule?
What sort of juvenile prank is this?
It's not a prank. Wait till
Francis gets back. You'll find out.
- Gets back? Where is he?
- He's probably out getting stories.
- Are you talking about a mule?
- Yes, sir.
I know it sounds unusual,
but Francis is an unusual mule.
- Wait till you talk with him, you'll see.
- What?
Talk with him.
And you can pick any subject.
You've been having
a little joke at my expense.
- No, sir.
- Either that, or you're a mental case.
Certainly not.
I'm not in the habit of
being made a fool of.
But sir... J.G... Mr. Garnet, you don't...
You're bending me!
Listen, if you give me just...
Mr. Garnet! Speak to me!
Speak to me, Mr. Garnet.
I heard a shot. Mr. Garnet!
He's dead. The Killer's outside.
I've gotta get...
- No, you don't go away.
- What do you mean? I didn't kill him!
- We'll let the cops decide that.
- No, listen... Police? But...
But I didn't do it, I tell you!
- I didn't do it!
- Then who did?
I don't know!
Maybe Mr. Garnet had enemies!
- Jeff Garnet was a respected gentleman.
- A respected...
How can you say that?
He was head of the protection racket.
Where did you get that fantastic notion?
Francis tried to tell me.
I thought he was kidding.
- Who's Francis?
- I told you, gentlemen!
Don't start that mule talk again!
Building an insanity plea won't work!
If you send for Francis,
he'll clear this thing up. Please!
Me send for a mule? I should say not.
Then send for the girl
that lives next door to me.
- What's her name?
- Maria Scola.
Maria Scola?
What connection has she with this case?
Maria? None!
She's been outside in that waiting room
for two hours.
- Maria's been out...
- Sit down!
Would you come in here, please?
- Maria, am I glad you're here.
- I came as soon as I heard.
You gentlemen are all wrong.
Peter didn't kill Mr. Garnet,
I know he didn't.
That's what I've been trying to tell them.
I've been over here...
Gee, you look different. It's your hair.
And the dress. And your eyes.
You really think so, Peter? Honestly?
Yes. I never noticed before,
but you're so pretty.
I mean, you've grown up.
Thank you, Peter. You know, I...
I hate to disturb you two lovebirds...
but have you any evidence
on the killing, Miss Scola?
Do you know who killed Garnet?
Why, no. But I know Peter couldn't.
He couldn't kill anyone.
They won't believe I'm innocent...
but they'll change their minds
when Francis gets here.
Look, Maria, would you please
go home and get him?
I can't.
- Francis is gone.
- What?
He's gone.
Gone? What do you mean, gone?
He told me to tell you good-bye.
He says from now on, you're on your own.
My own what?
Oh, no. No, he can't be gone.
He can't get along without me.
And you're certain, Captain Cranston...
that the bullet
which killed Jefferson Garnet...
was fired from this gun, Exhibit A?
Absolutely certain, sir.
This is the same gun upon which were found
the fingerprints of the defendant?
- The same gun, sir.
- That will be all, Captain.
Your witness.
No questions.
When I reached the stable I saw Mr. Garnet
lying dead on the floor...
and Stirling, with the gun in his hand,
was trying to run away.
So I stopped him.
How long a period of time elapsed
between the firing of the shot...
- and your arrival at the stable?
- Less than a minute, sir.
That'll be all, Mr. Parker.
Your witness, Mr. Cavendish.
No questions.
I was serving the guests.
I went into the library for a moment.
What did you see and hear?
Mr. Garnet, may he rest in peace...
was facing this person.
He was asking this person.
"Are you threatening me, Mr. Stirling?"
- And that was all you heard?
- Yes, sir.
- I closed the door immediately.
- Very good.
Your witness.
No questions.
Aren't you gonna ask
anybody any questions?
What's the use?
Our only hope is to throw ourselves
on the mercy of the court.
Oh, right. What?
She don't look so good, Maria.
I been watching the jury two weeks.
The way they look at him,
I'm afraid it's no good.
Papa, look. "For rent" sign already.
You'd think he was never coming back.
His only chance
is to plead insanity upstairs.
Papa, you know he isn't crazy.
No? You wait until
the jury hears him talk about the mule.
Papa, I wanna tell you something
I've never told you before.
- I've talked to Francis.
- That's nothing.
When I used to be a peddler,
I used to talk to my horse.
- "Whoa. Giddyap. Back up."
- Papa, you don't understand.
I've talked to Francis,
and Francis has talked to me.
Sure, sure. I remember...
You mean Francis the mule?
He talked to you?
- Yes, Papa.
- Mamma mia, this is contagious.
You've got to believe me.
Francis really talks!
Please. Un momento. We not get excited.
When you say this mule talk,
you don't mean he talk.
- You mean he talk the mule-talk.
- No, Papa. Francis really talks!
Exactly the same I do, in English?
You don't call that
dialect English, do you, paisan?
- Who say that?
- You've come back!
You don't like the way I talk?
The mule!
- Mamma mia!
- Hey!
Papa, what's the matter?
After the shot was fired and you
picked up the gun, what did you do next?
I ran after the murderer,
but the chauffeur stopped me.
You admit you and Garnet
were scuffling just as the shot was fired?
Yes, sir.
And what was this scuffle about?
- He was worried about how much I knew.
- About what?
About him being
head of the protection racket.
- That's not true!
- It's a lie!
- Mr. Stirling.
- Yes, sir?
You've just made a serious charge
against a person...
who's unable to defend himself.
Do you have any evidence
to support your statement?
- No, sir. But I'm sure Francis does.
- Francis. Who is Francis?
Well, I...
I might as well tell you now as later.
Francis is a mule.
Young man, the acoustics
in this courtroom...
are not as good as they should be.
It sounded as though
you said "mule."
I did say "mule," Your Honour.
Mr. Evans, has this defendant
been examined by a psychiatrist?
Yes, by one of the top men
in the psychiatric field.
- Dr. Ernest Goodrich.
- Is Dr. Goodrich in the court?
No, Your Honour, he's in a sanatorium.
A complete nervous breakdown.
What were his conclusions
as to the defendant's mental condition?
That he was sane, Your Honour.
I knew you wouldn't believe me, Judge,
but Francis is a mule.
A regular mule with four legs
and big, wobbly ears, and he talks!
But he's got more brains
and a bigger heart than anyone I know.
And I should have listened to him,
'cause he's the best friend I ever had.
Young man, in view of the findings
regarding your sanity...
all this testimony about a talking mule
will have no effect.
This court takes judicial notice...
that there is no such thing
as a talking mule.
There never has been,
never will be, and...
- You can't bring him in here!
- But he's a witness!
You can't bring a mule
into the courthouse!
He's a witness and he wants to testify.
Come on, Francis.
- What's the meaning of this?
- Sir, this is Francis.
- He's come here to help Mr. Stirling.
- Help him?
Yes, sir. He wants to testify.
Don't you, Francis?
Young lady, this courtroom
is no place for facetiousness.
I'll have you held in contempt.
But she's not in contempt.
Francis did come to help me.
Go ahead and tell His Honour
all you know about Mr. Garnet.
Go ahead. Say something. Speak up!
Young man, are you trying
to convey the impression...
that this dumb animal
has the gift of speech?
I don't know if it's a gift,
but he speaks when he feels like it.
- Apparently he didn't feel like it.
- He wants to be sworn in first.
- Sworn in? This is ridiculous!
- No, sir. Excuse me.
Mr. Cavendish, would you ask Francis
to the witness stand?
Me, put a mule on the witness stand?
I should say not.
He'll testify about Garnet
and the protection racket.
Won't you, Francis?
I've taken all the interruptions
I intend to take.
Bailiff, clear this beast
from my courtroom!
But, Your Honour, you mustn't!
You can't!
You're supposed to be helping me!
Please put Francis on the witness stand!
I'd feel like a jackass talking to a mule.
And how'd you think I'd feel
talking to a lawyer?
There's no need for sarcasm...
That wasn't you. That was the mule!
I hope to kiss a duck it was the mule.
Clear the courtroom!
- Take the stand.
- All right, Francis.
Sit down, Judge.
Raise your right hand. Your right foot.
Well, raise your right hoof!
This is the best I can do. Yeah.
Do you hereby swear to give to the cause
now in hearing...
the truth, the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth, so help you?
I do!
- What's your name?
- Francis.
Is that Francis with an "I"
or Frances with an "E"?
What kind of a crack is that?
Well, are you a boy mule or a girl mule?
That should only interest
another mule.
We need the information for the records.
Are you a male or a female?
Do I sound like a soprano?
It's Francis with an.
He's waiting for you to question him.
Well, sir... Animal... Mule.
Mr. Francis, will you please
tell the court and the jury...
what, if anything, you know about
the alleged murder of Jefferson Garnet?
Any one of a thousand people
could have killed Garnet.
He was the head
of the protection racket.
How do you know?
Every peddler in town knows,
and they're all afraid to talk.
But not their horses.
- What do you mean, "not their horses"?
- Just what I said, Judge.
By tomorrow I could have
100 horses here to testify.
A hundred horses?
You mean all those horses talk, too?
Talking horses? Don't be fantastic, Judge.
I'd have to interpret
for those morons.
Your Honour, I object!
Stay out of this, Blackstone.
It's between me and the judge.
The witness...
This animal is testifying from hearsay.
The court of appeals
in the case of The People vs. Martin...
Interpreting Section 8256
of the Code of Criminal Procedure...
approved such testimony in cases
involving murder in the first degree.
Look it up, counsellor.
Volume 526 at Page 321
under Point 3...
three-quarters of the way down
on the left-hand side of the page.
Judge, come here.
If you'll adjourn until tomorrow
I'll have Garnet's real killer for you.
This mule's adjourned.
This court is dismuled...
10:00, tomorrow morning.
Thanks, Judge.
Oh, no. Maria.
- Did they catch the killer yet?
- No, not yet.
Francis, wake up!
Hey, what's the big idea?
You picked a fine time to sleep!
You got anything better to offer?
But nothing's happened yet!
You wake me up
just to tell me that?
You said the killer would be here tonight.
I did.
Now pipe down,
let me get the rest of my shuteye.
You don't seem to realize
I'm heading for the electric chair.
Well, when you gotta go, you gotta go.
Come on, let's get going.
Please. The killer still may show up.
Not a chance.
It'll be light in a few minutes. I'm sorry.
Well, you meant well, Francis.
My trial's as good as lost now.
Come on, Stirling.
Duck, Maria.
It's Scola.
A car just pull up.
It was running without lights.
- May be our man. Get set.
- All right.
Francis, wake up. Wake up, Francis!
I'm awake.
- The killer's here.
- Well, that figures.
You still haven't told us
why he's coming here.
- To kill me.
- To kill you? Oh, no!
Yeah. He's afraid
I'll put the finger on him.
Get your head down. Duck.
- Dan Austin!
- Mr. Austin, I don't understand.
- Start talking.
- I don't know what this is all about.
I came in to get a story about the mule,
and I got shot instead.
- You need a gun to get a story?
- I always carry a rod.
Have ever since
I was threatened by a hoodlum.
I came in, heard a noise, and
drew the gun. That's all there is to it.
- You're lying, Austin.
- Am I? Suppose you prove I am.
If you know anything,
we'll get it out of you.
Yeah? You're not scaring
some frightened kid.
Wait a minute! I'll handle this!
Come on. Start talking.
Stop him. He'll kill me.
Stirling, talk to him. He'll listen to you.
When he's like this,
he won't listen to anyone.
Come on. Start talking! Go on.
I'll listen to you, Mr. Austin.
- Tell us why you killed Jeff Garnet.
- I don't know what you're talking about.
Don't you? You've been sore
at Pete ever since he took your spot...
as the number one reporter
on The Record, right?
You're wrong.
I've always been Pete's friend.
When you found out
Garnet was the head of the racket...
you decided to try a little blackmail
on the gent.
You're crazy.
Then when Garnet refused
to be shaken down, you got cold feet.
That's the most ridiculous thing
I ever heard.
Is it?
You was afraid Garnet would get you...
so you got him first and tried to Kill
two birds by pinning it on Pete.
You're a disgrace
to the newspaper profession.
- You can't prove a thing.
- I don't have to prove it.
I'm giving you three seconds to admit it.
You'd better talk.
You gotta protect me, Chief.
It's your duty. This is illegal.
If he hurts you, sue him.
I'm getting on the target!
- The next one's coming at you!
- No! I'll admit it!
I'll admit it. I killed Garnet.
Just when I was gonna
have some fun, you gotta confess!
Shooting off your big mouth. Yeah!
- Are you ready to go home?
- Home?
With autograph hunters
and sightseers stampeding that joint?
- We gotta move.
- Yeah, I guess he's right.
With you so famous, it'll be hard
to find a place with any privacy.
- I guess you'll be leaving New York.
- I suppose so.
Who said anything about
leaving New York?
- Yeah, but I thought...
- I'll do the thinking around here.
You see, Pete...
something happened yesterday
on my way to the courthouse.
- What do you mean?
- Well...
- Gosh, I feel so good.
- Francis!
- Look me straight in the eye.
- Yeah.
Why, Francis, you're in love.
- He couldn't be.
- Why not? I'm only human.
I was just strolling through
the park yesterday and there she was.
A chick.
I always was partial to blondes.
Excuse me.
Francis, that's a zebra.
Don't let them pyjamas fool you.
Don't be impatient, sugar!