Waterfront Women (1950) Movie Script

They've been part of my life, the ships...
...and the river and the tides.
As long as I can remember.
It's what you might call inevitable,
I suppose...
...because I was born and brought up
in this part of Liverpool.
Right on the waterfront.
Almost among the docks.
Some people would call it a slum.
Only I didn't think of it that way...
...when I was a little girl, in the year 1919.
It's just on the boil. How is she?
Is there anything else I can do?
You're a good girl and your mother
is going to be alright.
It's unnatural to hate your own father,
but I just couldn't help it.
I shall never forget the last
time I saw him.
He came along to my school.
Hello, Dad.
Yer took your time about it
little Nora, didn't ya?
You're off to sea again?
Now, look here - listen careful, Nora.
I want you to give a message to yer ma.
Tell her I've signed on a ship, only I...
I'm sailing right away.
We gotta catch the tide, see?
- Aren't you going home first?
- There's no time for that.
- When will you be back?
- It's a long trip.
But tell yer ma, if she doesn't hear
from me for a few months...
Have you made out your
allotment money for ma?
'Ere, you keep your place.
A kid like you talking about
allotment money.
We've got to have something to
live on while you're away.
Have you arranged for Ma to
get her money?
Tell yer ma I'll send her a postcard
and give her all the details.
Can't waste any more time now.
And, uh, give my love to yer ma
and to little Connie.
- You're not coming back!
- Ah, go on with yer!
Peter McCabe's not the sort to be
shipwrecked or washed overboard.
My old man's a fireman...
- Suppose you forget to write?
- So long, Laura.
You'll be a fine wench,
when you grows up.
He wears gawd blimey trousers and...
You're not coming back!
He wears no blasted collar...
Where's Ma to go to?
Where will she get the money?
Where will she get the money?!
He didn't send a postcard, he didn't even
send a sixpenny postal order.
And I wondered if he knew
when he went away...
...Ma was going to have a baby.
You've got a baby brother now.
What about Ma?
Oh, she's fine.
She wanted a boy.
Can I see her?
Not yet - she's going to sleep.
Here, when did you eat last?
Connie and me had some bread
and marge this morning...
...we're alright. Both of us.
We're not hungry.
You both go right away and get
yourselves something to eat.
Something hot, nourishing.
Understand what I mean?
And I'll see about you two girls...
...from tomorrow you'll
be looked after.
You're not going to take us
away from Ma?
Oh, no, she's a good mother,
but she needs help just now.
I help all I can, before I go to school
in the mornings and when I get back.
I'll look after the baby so
Ma can go to work.
She won't be able to do
that for a bit.
Now, away with you.
If Ma lost her job, I don't know
what'd happen to us.
- Has the baby come yet?
- It's a boy.
Connie! We've got a baby brother,
and we're going to eat.
That better, Ma? What are we
going to call him?
Peter, I suppose,
same as his father.
Oh, no, Ma, no!
I won't let you!
I know how you feel about him, love,
but... after all, he is your father.
And he always wanted a son.
Any other name you like?
Please, Ma, please!
All right love, we'll think
of something else.
I know. We'll call him
"George Alexander".
That's a funny sort of name.
I saw him once on the stage...
...The Royal Court, it was.
Sir George Alexander.
He was a wonderful actor.
And such a handsome man.
Handsome man! Handsome man!
Be quite, Connie, and get down.
You know Ma isn't well yet.
It was the first time your father ever
took me to the theatre.
He'd rather have gone to a music hall.
But he let me have my way.
He wasn't sure I was going
to marry him then.
I wasn't sure myself.
'Ello there, George Alexander.
When you grow up, you've got to
be good to your ma.
She must be proud of you...
...to make up for what
Father did to her.
It was a proud day for Mother and me,
twelve years later, when that letter arrived.
Nora, come quick!
Look what's come!
It's got a coat of arms on it.
We haven't been doing
anything wrong, have we?
How on earth did it get like that?
Well, I wasn't to know the postman
was coming, was I?
It isn't as if we get many letters.
There was I scrubbing the floor...
...and it came straight through the
letterbox, into the bucket.
Eee, I wonder what it could be?
You don't think the rent's
gone up, do yer?
If it had the collector would
tell you himself.
Why not open it?
I'm scared to. I've never
seen one like this.
"Corporation of Liverpool".
"Pleased to inform you that your son,
George Alexander McCabe"...
..."has been awarded a scholarship"...
..."tenable from September next"...
- ..."at the..."
- Eee, let me see!
There's no doubt about it - this is a step
up in the world for the McCabes.
Eeee! Fancy our George Alexander
wearing a college cap!
I wonder how much they cost?
It says here...
..."full maintenance grant in cases
of proved necessity".
Well that's us, isn't it?
It would happen on a Saturday afternoon,
when he's out playing football.
Eee, we must give him a treat
for his tea. Something tasty.
I tell you what...
George Alexander, what have
they done to yer?
Here, sit down.
Who did it?
A chap I know. He said, "there's some
who have fathers alive"...
..."and some who have fathers what's dead"...
..."but some don't have any fathers at all."
When a chap says things like that,
you've got to go for 'em.
I knocked one of his teeth loose.
That's right George Alexander,
you stick up for yourself.
If anyone hits you,
you hit back.
What are you saying, Nora?
Another beating like that
and the boy'll be dead.
Not him. Not our
George Alexander.
- Does it hurt love?
- A bit.
Look what's come.
- Nora?
- Yes, love?
Why does he stay away so long?
I know other chaps whose
dads go to sea...
...but they always come back
some time or other.
But only real sailors like your father
go on long voyages.
San Francisco... to Shanghai
and back.
And then on to South America.
Oh, it takes years and years.
Now you read this.
We'll celebrate this in style.
I've got a quid saved up,
and we'll blow it all tonight.
Now, Ma - none of that.
We'll go to the Empire, all of us.
It'll be the best evening we've
had for years.
"Has anybody here seen Kelly? K.E.L.L.Y..."
"Anybody here seen Kelly?
Find him if you can."
"He's as bad as old Antonio
He's left me on my ownio."
"Anybody here seen Kelly?
Kelly from the Isle of Man."
Come on, boys,
all together, now!
I do declare, George Alexander, nobody'd
ever think you'd won the scholarship.
- Say you're sorry to the gentleman
- Oh, that's alright.
But say it, George Alexander.
I'm sorry. I'm thirsty as well.
Now, what can I get for you?
- We'll wait our turn, thanks.
- You'll have to wait a long time.
Oh, come on. I'm not just being fresh.
I'm serious. Honest, I am.
- Serious about what?
- About getting you a drink.
Somehow I don't think you'll
be able to get one for yourself.
Now, what's it to be?
Double scotch for the young man?
Large whiskey and soda please.
Hey, that's enough of that.
Don't you dare offer him whisky.
No luck, me lad.
It's lemonade for you.
We'll all have lemonade.
- That'll be...
- I know. Four and one - five. Miss!
Here you are, Ma.
Shameless little...
- Shameless little what, Ma?
- Never you mind.
- Connie.
- Oh, really, Ma. As if I was a child!
It's just what you are.
Well, I never!
And you telling me about making
eyes at those boys.
Well, fancy our Nora!
Well, whoever he is, I'm sure
he's very nice...
...or she wouldn't be
speaking to him.
Well, why shouldn't I
enjoy myself too?
Talking to one gentleman, like
Nora there, is one thing...
...but making eyes at a whole pack
of silly, empty headed young louts...
...is quite different.
You know that feeling when
something starts to happen...
...and you feel sure that you know
what you're going to do next...
...even what you're going to say next?
You mean, it all happened before?
Oh, I don't know about that.
But it's as if you know your destiny.
And you're glad.
Yes, I have felt that sometimes.
Not often.
Well, it's never happened
to me before. It is now.
It was a real bit of luck for me,
coming here tonight.
Oh, there's the bell.
I must go.
- Oh, but there's plenty of time.
- Oh no, there isn't.
- Goodbye, Mr Satterthwaite.
- I wish you'd call me "Ben".
Alright. Goodbye, Ben.
Well, when am I going to
see you again?
Don't suppose ever.
Oh, but please - I'll wait for you.
I'll see you after the show?
But, please, I shan't have a
chance of seeing you again...
...for three whole weeks.
My ship sails tomorrow.
- What's the matter?
- So you're on a ship?
Yes, a fine ship too.
I'm the fourth engineer.
Just come back from my
first long trip.
- Here today, gone tomorrow.
- What do you mean?
It's only that I have
no use for sailors.
I suppose some other sea-going
chap let you down?
You didn't get married to him,
did you? Or engaged?
You got it all back to front, mister.
Well, I'm different.
I'm not like this other chap,
whoever he is...
He was different.
And every time his ship docked...
...the minute he was off duty,
he'd rush to see me.
Well, I never!
Ben Satterthwaite!
- Well, you really come and go, don't you?
- Just docked.
I didn't expect you 'til next week.
That's what you said in your letter.
The minute the gang plank
was fixed...
...I pushed everyone aside,
including the captain...
...and came straight along here.
To see me?
Oh, no, just to see that
the old Mersey was...
...still flowing in and out.
Oh, well, I suppose I should
be flattered...
- ...the fourth engineer dashing ashore...
- Third engineer, now.
I've been promoted.
High tide.
Low tide.
And then high tide again.
- Nothing can stop it.
- Just as well.
Otherwise there wouldn't be
any docks, any ships, any Liverpool.
And you and me. Every ship's
got to catch the tide, you know?
That's what my father said.
What he meant was, he was going
away and never coming back.
You seem to take it out on me
because of what your father did.
It isn't fair, you know?
I know, Ben. I know.
Sometimes a thought comes
to my mind and...
...and I just can't help it.
Ma, can I finish the jelly?
Yes, love, 'course you can.
Anyway, you won't be getting
married for a bit yet.
It's not as if I was going to
lose Nora right away.
Well, um...
...as a matter of fact...
...I want us to get married the minute
I come back from my next trip.
I don't hold with long engagements.
He didn't know.
None of us knew then...
...that the slump was setting in.
And now, the docks are
at a standstill.
Ships are idle.
Thousands are out of work.
My Ben's amongst them.
It's been going on like this
for two years.
Hello, love.
I only saw one ship coming
in this morning.
Well, there were eight.
Tried them all.
Nothing doing.
Just think...
...two whole years, a ship's
engineer without a ship.
It's not going to last forever.
There's a timber boat coming
in tomorrow.
As old as the ark.
Diverted from Glasgow, so there's a chance
others may not have heard about her.
"Benediction", that's her name.
Ben... Benediction.
Ah, but don't you see? That's an omen.
A good omen.
Maybe we'll get married soon.
There's something I've got to say.
You remember when we
first got engaged?
Do you realise how long ago it was?
Of course I do.
All that time I've been out of a job.
It's a rotten bad bargain for you.
- Who says so?
- I'm using up your life.
Holding you, but can't marry you.
If you feel... if you want...
Ben Satterthwaite, what are
you getting at?
What I'm trying to say is this...
Well, I don't and I won't, so there!
I love you, and whatever happens
I'm going to stick to you.
Eee, that Mrs Gibson.
She's at it again.
Oh, well, she's only trying to
liven the place up.
It needs it.
If her husband had any idea the way
she carries on when he's at sea.
Has Ben got a ship yet?
- No.
- Hey, don't worry - he will.
And then you'll get married.
And off he'll go, like the
rest of 'em.
Away for months on end.
You won't like it, you know?
You'll be lonesome.
What do you mean, Mrs Duncan?
Mind you, I was just the same meself
before I got married.
Always thinking how nice it'd be...
...to have someone to cuddle
up against.
Don't know that I've learnt
better since.
I must fly now.
Goodnight, Mrs Duncan.
- Evening, Mrs Simon.
- Disgusting - that's what it is.
- And always with some man or other.
- Noise.
- We'll have to complain to landlord.
- No, no - I don't want to see t'landlord.
What's up?
You gone off your rocker, Ma?
There's a gentleman coming
to see Connie.
At least, he's going to take
her out tonight.
It's that Mr Bruno we've
heard so much about.
Oh, him.
Where is Connie, anyway?
Getting herself ready.
So we've all got to turn the
place upside down...
...just because Mr Morris Bruno is
honouring us with his company.
- You don't behave like this when Ben comes.
- Don't be so daft.
Ben's different.
He certainly is.
I mean, he's more like one
of the family.
It'll be the first time Mr Bruno's
been inside the place.
We must make a good impression.
Eee, do you know, Nora...
...he even sent a telegram to say
what time he was coming.
It's up there on the mantlepiece.
My heart nearly stopped beating
when I opened the door...
...and saw telegraph boy
staring at me.
I knew it was too early for the Irish sweep.
I thought somebody must be dead.
- I wondered if...
- If it might be Father.
Isn't it about time you gave up hope
of ever hearing from him again?
Eee, I've never dusted that mirror.
I'll do it.
Right love, well, I'll go and
tidy up a bit.
You know...
...I think Mr Bruno's serious
about Connie.
Otherwise he wouldn't call on her at
her home and send a telegram.
He's the sort who makes use
of mirrors.
You make me sick, Nora.
Jealous, that's what you are!
Just because my boyfriends are
smart and make money.
- Not like...
- Oh, give over.
Tell you what, Nora,
you've got no taste.
Got no savvy, either.
What do you want to hitch yourself
up to a ship's engineer for?
- With all this unemployment, too.
- You leave my Ben alone!
Oh, I wouldn't have him if he was
offered me on a plate.
Stop it, you two.
- Hello.
- Oh, none of that now!
- Oh, give over!
- What's biting you, eh?
Remember we're in my home now,
Morris Bruno.
This is my mother.
Delighted, I'm sure.
How do.
That's my other daughter, Nora.
Oh, hello.
We've already met.
Oh, that's the old man, isn't it?
Yes, that's my husband.
Perhaps Mr Bruno would like
a cup of tea?
No, thanks.
- It's just ready.
- All the more for you, then.
Connie told me about him.
Very sad for you, but...
...after all, a hero's death.
A captain must go down
with his ship.
That's the tradition of the sea,
as they say.
Time we got a move on,
isn't it?
That's right, you'd better be powdering
your nose, sweetheart.
I won't be a sec.
Nice bit of cloth, isn't it?
Smart cut, too.
You might almost say I designed
the suit myself.
Oh, you've got to dress well in
business, you know.
What business are you in,
Mr Bruno?
Marine insurance, that's my line.
Oh, fancy.
- Nora's young man, he's a ship's engineer.
- Oh.
Oh, I uh, I don't have anything to do
with that side of it.
Freight, that's what I deal in.
Got a nice little agency.
Seems to me the only people who get on
these days are loud-mouthed swankpots.
Are you trying to pass any nasty
insinuations, Nora McCabe?
'Course she isn't, Connie.
What an idea!
Nora never meant anything at all.
You see, Ben's one of the unemployed...
...and all this time Nora and Ben
have been waiting...
...to get married. Well it gets on
the nerves, you know?
"Other people's troubles are no
concern of Morris Bruno."
That's my motto.
Here, I've got something for you.
Present for a good little girl.
Couple of tickets for the Empire,
tomorrow night.
Best seats in the house, these are.
- Oh, I thought you and me was going?
- I changed me mind.
I'll take you for a real drive
instead, eh?
Take your fiance - give him a treat.
- No, thank you.
- Nora.
- It's very kind of Mr Bruno.
- I don't want them.
Take 'em or leave 'em,
it's all the same to me.
Right, Connie?
Then it's time we stepped
on the gas.
So long, folks.
And that is good shuttance
to bad rubbish.
Well, since he's not staying to tea,
we'll take the best cloth off.
Our George Alexander's
very late tonight.
Hey, clear off! Come on, get out of it!
Come on, push off!
Eee, what a wreck.
What's it supposed to be?
Bet it don't go!
An old boneshaker.
Making a mess of my car!
Go on, clear off.
Clear off yerself.
You call that a car?
- Hello, Ma.
- Whatever's kept you so late?
Oh, nothing.
Well, hurry up and get your supper.
I've got some swotting to do,
this evening.
It's Latin first period tomorrow.
And if I don't know these
irregular verbs...
...I shall be kept in.
And I shan't be able to play
for second team.
And, so I suppose they'd
lose the match?
Women make me wild!
Calm down, calm down.
Don't come that on me.
I know you're no iceberg.
I'm not your property, either.
I bring you out and I give
you a good time...
...and what do I get in return?
The pleasure of my company.
And that's more than
you deserve.
Oh, for the love of Mike -
shut that blasted window!
Come on, up with you. You'll be getting the
sack if you're late again at the shop.
Oh, shut up.
Get out of it. You're bone lazy -
that what's you are.
Who said I wasn't?
Well, I'm not half so lazy as I'm going
to be when I'm married.
I shall lie in bed every morning.
The ladies' maid to bring me
a cup of tea.
And breakfast in bed.
No scrubbing floors and looking
after dirty kids for me.
Not when I marry Morris.
Well, why not?
He's not the marrying sort.
You're not in love with him.
Depends what you mean by
being in love.
You'd know - if it ever
happened to you.
Well I hope it never does if it means
hitching myself up...
...to an out-of-work sailor.
Oh, shut up. I'm sick of
your beastly remarks.
Oh, well. You'll always be
poor, Nora.
And as for him not being the marrying
sort - you just leave that to me.
I know how to handle him.
Ooh, cold as ice!
When you've got money you can
afford thick carpets on the floor.
Soft and warm.
You know, the kind your
feet sink into.
Like they have in big hotels.
I wouldn't know. I don't go
to big hotels.
No, of course you don't.
You don't get asked out,
do you?
Hey, mister!
- What do you want?
- A job!
- Nothing doing.
- Any sort of a job!
Hey, you!
The Captain wants to see you.
Hey, McCabe.
Look slippy about it.
- Peter McCabe?
- Yes, sir.
The Second Engineer is pressing the case,
so I had to bring it up to you.
Cappadocio. Skiros. Well, that must have
been when Ned Rimmell was the master.
Alice Hayes. Balkans.
Been on the China run, too.
Bangalore. Maid of Orleans.
The man's got a good, long record.
A few drunks.
Well, hang it all, Chief...
...if the poor devils don't have a booze now
and again they'd never stick the life.
I think we ought to give him
another chance.
Put him back on firing the
boilers for a bit.
He won't like it, but it'll sweat some
of the rebelly Irish out of him.
- What do you say?
- It's an idea, sir.
I hate to part with a man when
he's getting a bit...
...too old to find another ship easily.
Come in, McCabe.
There you are, McCabe.
There's your pay for the trip.
Sign your name.
Now listen to me, McCabe -
we sail again tonight.
That's okay by me, sir.
But, er, I'd like to go
ashore though.
But I'll be back on board in
good time - fit and sober.
Come back and listen to me.
I've had some bad reports
about you, McCabe.
You're insubordinate.
You make trouble with
the other men.
You're a thoroughgoing "sea lawyer",
that's what you are.
I knows my job.
I'll give you one more chance.
Only one - understand?
'Ere, what are you getting at?
When we sail tonight, you're
no longer a greaser.
You work in the stoke hold.
It'll teach you a lesson.
You behave sensibly this trip,
I'll consider it again.
Back to the furnaces, me?
With my record!
- I'll see...
- Steady. There are plenty of younger men.
Younger men? I've shot 'em.
'Ere, sign me book an' I'll get off your
blasted hook as fast as ever I can.
Trimming furnaces!
Not that I've got nothing against
you, Chief - or you, sir.
I know you've only said what
you're duty-bound to say.
But I know who's got
this in for me...
...yeah, 'an he'd better watch out
for himself.
My own special little pet.
Finished. Worn out.
Only fit for the scrap heap.
- We'll have supper in Chester.
- Oh! So we're going over the water?
I'll take you the best place I know.
I'm not asking you in.
You don't mind?
- No.
- It's only that I'm tired.
You don't have to explain anything.
Why, I'd hardly have known yer.
You go away an' leave a bit of a girl...
...an' yer come back and find
a grown woman, eh?
What's the matter?
- Have you forgotten yer dad?
- No. I haven't forgotten.
If you're looking for yer ma,
she's not here.
I found the door open,
so I just walked in.
How is the old girl?
- She's alright.
- And er, and little Connie?
You both working?
Well, that's fine, isn't it?
Why did you have to come back,
after all this time?
Well, you don't think I'd desert
my wife and children, do yer?
Of course not.
You just forgot to write and
send us your address.
You just forgot to send any
money to Ma.
You just forgot, for fourteen years.
Honest, I never thought it was
as long as that.
I know I've done you wrong,
but I never meant to.
Do you know, time and
time again I...
...I saved up a bit of money to
send to your ma but...
...oooh, I've had cruel bad luck,
I have.
I've been robbed, too.
They put me in prison once.
In Chile, that was.
No fault of mine, either.
I suppose you think it's
been easy for Ma?
Bringing up your kids on
memories and promises.
You're 'ard, Nora -
that's what you are.
But I didn't come home here
to make a row.
All I'm trying to tell you is...
...that I... I was born under
a wandering star.
I can't seem to settle nowhere.
But now that you and little Connie
are grown up...
...and earning your own living.
Well, maybe you won't be needing
me quite so much.
But that's alright, don't worry.
This is just a little, friendly visit.
Well aren't yer going to give
me a cup of tea?
There's no place like home!
I'm glad you kept this old armchair.
Uh, this is the one my Aunt Kate gave
your ma an' me when we was married.
She was a funny old hag,
she was.
Do you know, I don't think she
ever liked me much.
I can't think why.
Well, I never. 'Ere, you've collected
quite a lot of new furniture.
Well, I never did.
My old razor case.
And me razor in it, too.
And not a speck of rust on it, either.
Your old mum. Sentimental old girl,
your ma is.
Fancy her a-keeping this for
me all them years.
When do you expect her home?
Not before you've gone, I hope.
You won't get round her this time.
I still remember the way you used to come
home drunk and make Ma cry.
'Ere - you shut your trap!
You may think yer grown up...
...but I'm still your dad and I'll have
you treat me respectful.
Too much lip, altogether.
That was a terrible thing to say
to yer own father.
What?! I haven't had a
drink all day.
'Ere, smell my breath.
A reformed character.
Ah, c'mon.
Why not let bygones be bygones and
let's enjoy ourselves while we can?
I tell you what.
I'm feeling a bit tired, so...
...I'll pop in there an' have a lie down
on your mum's bed, an'...
...when the old girl comes home...
...then we'll all pop down to the pub and
have one before we turns in. Heh, heh!
You don't think you're going to
sleep in there!
'Ere! What's that got to
do with you?
Well, you won't!
She's forgotten you!
You're nothing to her now!
You're not even to touch her!
You beastly swine!
Call your father a swine,
would yer?
That's gratitude for the good
home I've given yer.
Swine, am I?!
I'd rather die than stay in this
cold-hearted hole!
Swine, am I?
If there's any justice, my curse'll blast
the light out of your eyes.
Oh, it isn't right - is it now?
For a lady to be drinking -
all on her lonesome?
That's soon put right.
I see yer got, er,
two glasses there.
I must have known you were coming.
Them's the first kind words I've
had said to me today.
Your very good health, ma'am.
And to you, sailor.
Oh, that's a lovely drop
of scotch.
- "A Broken Doll".
- Would you like me to play it for you?
Many's the time I've heard Karen Smain
take the roof off with that one at the Empire.
"You called me 'baby doll' a year ago."
"You told me I was very nice to know."
"I soon learnt what love meant, I thought"...
Well thanks, Mrs Duncan!
- It was nice of you to ask me in.
- You're welcome.
I do enjoy a cup of tea.
I daresay Nora will be home by now.
"...'Cos when you go away"
"You'll be sorry some day..."
"You left behind a broken doll."
..."after all. 'Cos when she's gone away"...
..."you'll be sorry some day."
"You left behind a broken heart."
You know my dear, you've got a
remarkably fine voice.
Have I, love? Have I?
To turn your own father out.
Nora, how could you?
It's no use, Ma.
I can't pretend.
As soon as I saw him
standing there, I...
All the same, blood's
thicker than water.
Look, Ma. You've got to be
firm about this.
As like as not he's in
the pub by now.
But he might land back
here any minute.
And if you're soft with him,
if you let him get round you.
Well, I'm scared for you.
He never really had a chance,
poor Peter.
Taken away from school,
and sent to sea...
...before he was George
Alexander's age.
But you wouldn't understand
about that.
Now, don't you go changing
your mind again.
Come on, Ma.
But where'll we go?
We'll find somewhere.
Oh, I wish Ben wasn't down
at the docks.
Looks as if we'll have to use
these tickets, after all.
First house. We'll be in time if
we get a move on.
It's a blessing George Alexander's
out at that school debate tonight.
We'll collect him on
the way back.
You know, I knew you was a good sort
the second I set eyes on yer.
Yer did? Oh!
And handsome, too.
You know, you don't often see a
figure like that these days.
Skin and bone, most of 'em.
Like hairpins.
Oh, well, here's to my figure, then.
This drop of whisky's doing me
a power of good.
You know, if I'd had just a
couple of minutes...
...with that stuck-up stink of
a second engineer...
...I'd have made a proper
mess of him.
He had it in for me
from the start.
Chucks me on the shore...
...just when every man in the dockyards
is looking for a ship.
Mind you, I'm just as good
a man as ever I was.
You don't see muscles like that
every day of the week.
'Ere, you feel them biceps.
Don't you giggle, woman.
Them muscles means hard work.
I bet you're a terrible man
when your temper's up.
But never with a lady, I've never raised
me hand to a woman in me life.
Not that I haven't had
provocation, mind you.
Now take my daughter, Nora.
Oh, never mind.
You know your onions, don't you?
I bet you don't get kisses like that...
...from a pen-pushing landlubber.
- Fond of me, sailor?
- 'Course I'm fond of yer.
I tell you what the trouble
is with Nora.
She's a bit above herself.
Never gave me a chance to
make friends, she didn't.
I'm a rough diamond, but...
...I've got a soft heart underneath.
Do you know I was almost in tears
when you started to sing that song.
Were you, love? Were you?
It might all have been different if
the old girl had been at home.
Or Connie, instead of Nora.
Connie was just a nipper
when I went away.
But I could see then that she
took after her dad.
We'd get along together fine.
Well, what about your son?
You haven't said anything
about him yet.
Don't you try to be funny or I'll
fetch you a fourpenny one!
I've got no son.
Hoo! I must be off my
head then.
Why, all day long I see him running
up and down the stairs out there.
Only this afternoon he was going off
to play in a football match, he was.
'Ere, what are you getting at?
My name's Peter McCabe 'an...
...that's my wife and daughters
what live upstairs.
I know nothing about no boy.
'Ere. How old would he be..?
Fourteen, or thereabouts.
What's his name?
George Alexander.
By the livin' hokey, it's true, then!
George Alexander.
I remember she always said that
if she had a boy...
...she'd call him after
that actor chap.
I've got a son.
It's funny that Nora didn't tell
you herself, isn't it?
I've got a son.
Maybe she had a reason!
What reason?
Well... you know how long
you've been away.
I only gave you the boy's
age approximate.
Maybe he isn't fourteen?
I'll have you know my wife's
a respectable woman.
I wouldn't have her mentioned,
not in the same breath as you!
Bilker! Dirty, rotten bilker!
Let me in!
Let me in, will yer?
I... I only want to see my boy.
I don't mean no harm
to no one.
If you're there, son,
let me in.
It's only yer dad,
home from sea.
Only yer old dad.
Let me in!
A double whisky, quick.
Haven't you had enough, mate?
Enough? I don't know the
meaning of the word.
Come on!
Get a move on, will yer?
I'm not asking for credit.
There you are.
Help yerself.
This is to drink the health
of my son.
Hmm. You'd be wiser to go home,
cool off and see your wife.
'E's got no wife!
I've seen his papers.
He makes no family allotment
out of his pay.
What do you say to that,
my own special little pet, eh?
Hey! It's his son's birthday. He must
have a missus somewhere?
Sure he has.
One in every port.
What'll yer have?
'Ere, 'ere! Come outside.
You think I'd fight a worn-out old
runabout like you?
Boozed up to the eyes
into the bargain?
I'm gonna give you a bashin'.
You're not simply drunk -
you're paralytic!
The ship's well rid of you!
You've asked for it.
Now you're gonna get it!
Pretty wasn't it,
that ballet dancing?
Mind you, I've seen better.
That foreign dancer. What's her name,
er, Pavlova - doing the swan dance.
You know, the one where
the swan dies.
And she flutters her arms.
And falls down all in a heap.
And the music gets quieter
and quieter.
And then her 'ead falls.
And you know she's dead.
Fairly used to make me cry,
that did.
I saw it at the old Empire,
with your father.
'E didn't care for it,
I remember.
'Eee! My goodness -
I've just remembered!
Connie! She doesn't even
know he's back.
She's too full of that greasy Morris Bruno
to bother about anything else.
Sometimes, Nora, I don't
understand you.
After all, it was Morris
gave us the tickets.
Ought to be ashamed
of yourself.
I didn't want to take them.
Nothing would have made me,
but for...
Champagne! I am having some
new experiences tonight, aren't I?
That's right, sweetheart -
you are.
Now, drink it up.
What's the hurry, anyway?
That's the only way to get
the taste of it.
I was... keeping it as
a special surprise.
We're going to look in on
some friends of mine.
They've got a nice, little house.
They know we're coming,
I suppose?
As a matter of fact,
they may be away.
They gave me the key. Told me to use
the place as if it was my own.
I'll, um... I'll mix you a
special kind of cocktail.
Perhaps not. It, um, might be
too strong for you.
Oh? I can drink any cocktail
that ever was made.
"Try anything once."
- That's my motto.
- Are you sure you're not scared?
Scared? I can keep you in
your place, Morris Bruno!
Well, perhaps you won't
always want to?
Night, Joe.
Night. And it's going to get
worse, I tell you.
Ah, what are you
grousing about?
You're cushy with your back stuck
up against yon boiler thing.
That patent tea urn cost
a lot of money, I tell yer.
Aye, but you've got a job.
Oh, aye! I'm making me
fortune, I am.
Dishin' out tea 'ere at
a penny a cup.
Can't even sell a rock cake
these days.
Well, what can you expect with
two million unemployed?
Well, there's one more
from this afternoon.
I signed on at the Exchange today.
Is that what put that smile
on your face?
And what's more, I'd do it again.
What's life without freedom?
Anything's better than serving under
the worst slave-driving...
...bucko of a shipmaster that ever
sailed the seven seas.
You wouldn't mean Hargest, would yer?
Old platter-faced Hargest?
You know him?
Know him! He had me out once
with the holy-stone...
...in the middle of a bay, in a gale that
would blow the teeth out of your head!
- Hargest, I've heard of him.
- Aye, he's a blackguard.
I cannae blame ye for getting
out of his clutches.
'Ere, come on, I've drawn me
back pay - I'll stand you.
- Tea and a slab of scoff, twice.
- Right.
- What about you, chum?
- Er, no, thanks.
Oh, I might have noticed you was
wearing a posh hat.
What might you be?
Ship's officer?
- Used to be.
- Well I used to be a deckhand, see!
- And now we're both on shore...
- What ship are you talking about?
- Why?
- I want that job.
Don't talk wet, mister! You heard me say
it was a deckhand's job.
Och, if you sign on with Hargest he'll
flay the skin off your back.
I'll take anything he can hand out.
Come on. Where is she?
Where's she docked?
- I've got to get work, I tell yer!
- She's not docked anywhere, mister.
She sailed this morning, for China.
- Accident?
- No, murder!
You're a bit late. They've just
taken the corpse away.
Look, you can see the
blood on the road.
Had his throat cut, poor devil.
With a razor.
Ship's engineer, he were.
Ship's engineer? How'd you know?
We had some of the officers here from
the ship, identifying the corpse.
That ship over there, it were.
Oh, thanks! Thanks very much!
Funny sort of chap. Doesn't seem to
be interested in murder.
I saw McCabe with my own eyes,
going off in a black maria.
He had handcuffs on him, too.
Chief Engineer anywhere about?
Or was he the one who, er...
- No, that was the Second.
- Well, it's the Chief I want to see.
- Down there.
- Right, thanks.
- Want me?
- I'm looking for a ship.
You need an engineer.
Your Second is...
Alright, you don't need to
tell me - I know.
- Horrible business.
- Yeah.
Were you there?
No, I saw the ambulance driving
away, that's all.
You're pretty smart on the job.
The chap hasn't been dead more
than fifteen minutes.
Well there it is - you need an engineer,
and I'm on the spot.
Can't be done.
I know nothing about you.
And I haven't got time to find out.
Ship's due to sail at midnight.
We don't, we may miss the tide.
Then the police may delay us
with all sorts of inquiries.
Here are my papers.
If I'm a dud, you can put me ashore
at the next port of call.
- But I'm not a dud.
- I don't believe you are.
Can you give me half an hour
to collect my kit?
You're mighty keen,
aren't you?
Keen... you don't know
how keen I am.
Nora, what can this be?
- It's from Ben.
- 'Eee. It gave me quite a turn.
Oh! Ben's got a ship!
He's just signed on. Third Engineer.
He'll be sailing tonight.
He'll be gone by now. And I wasn't
there to say goodbye to him.
Does he say how long
he'll be away?
No, but he says he'll write
as soon as he can.
That's the best bit of news we've had
for I don't know how long.
Ben'll have money now and
you'll be able to get married soon.
Goodnight, Ma. Goodnight Nora.
Goodnight, love.
Nora, see to the fire for me.
I'm going to make some cocoa.
I feel quite chilly,
all of a sudden.
It just shows you never know when
your luck's going to turn.
Ben... Benediction.
It was a good omen.
Go on - pour it out.
I'm taking only one, remember.
I daresay one will be enough.
Oh, that's nothing.
Not a bad cocktail at all.
Happy days!
"When evening lights were low,
when stars began to glow."
"I'd go around to see
my lovin' baby."
"He was my only thing.
He was my life, my dream."
Here, that's enough of that!
"...But he broke my heart..."
What's the matter?
N... n... nothing.
Nothing's the matter.
Everything's fine.
Oh, it's so close in here.
Oh. Why don't you go upstairs
and lie down a bit, eh?
Till you feel better.
You stay here.
You thought you'd been having
me on, smart boy.
But I knew what you
were up to.
I knew all the time.
"Hear my heart a callin'.
While my tears are fallin'."
"Won't you listen to my plea?"
"There's no if, no maybe."
"I'm your one and only baby.
Switch it on again. But not so loud.
Is that you, Connie?
Does Mrs Peter McCabe live here?
I'm sorry to disturb you, miss -
at this time of night.
Come in.
What is it, Nora?
What does he want?
Are you Mrs Peter McCabe,
Was your husband employed on a
ship called... The Benediction?
I've no idea what he was on.
- What did you say? What name?
- Benediction, miss.
I'm, er, afraid I shall have to ask you
a few questions, madam.
Your husband has been arrested.
On a charge of murder.
I never did speak ill of the dead...
...but that engineer...
...I hated his guts.
The same as everyone else did
on this old hooker.
Aye, maybe we ought to send a
vote of thanks to old McCabe?
Hey, what's the matter with him?
Looks as though he's going to heave
his stomach up any minute now.
Hey, mister - what's up?
What's biting yer?
You get on with your work.
There's no harm is there? Talkin' about
an old pal who's down on his luck?
He might have been a shipmate
of yours, once!
Never set eyes on him.
- Well, how're you getting on?
- Alright.
Isn't it time we got more speed on?
We must be out at sea by now.
Nah, we're heading
the other way.
What do you mean?
Up the river - towards Manchester.
Change of plan.
Waterfront murder! Waterfront murder!
And what's the good of hiding
from plain facts?
A drunken murderer.
Well, that's all he is.
A nice man to have for a father.
You think I don't know what all the girls
at the store will be saying about me?
I'll be lucky if I don't get the sack.
Mrs McCabe?
Good morning.
The Sunday Messenger will pay
fifty pounds for an article.
Er... We'll write it for you.
Fifty quid just for talking to a
man for half an hour?
Go on, Ma - you take it.
But Ma, you'll never get another
chance like this.
All you got to do, Mrs McCabe, is just
sign that form and leave the rest to us.
No, thank you.
Will you please go and
leave my mother alone?
Go, I tell you! Please go.
All right, all right. There's
no need to get upset.
In case you change your
mind, Mrs McCabe...
...that address will always find me.
Thank you, good luck.
See you later, Ma.
There y'are, what did I tell yer?
Lets the whole neighbourhood down.
Poor Mrs McCabe.
It's terrible hard on her.
Nora's the one who'll feel it most.
After all, who'd want to marry
the daughter of a murderer?
Always had a feeling something like
this was going to happen.
Well, all I say is...
...if they've got fifty quid to chuck away
we're as much entitled to it as anyone.
After all, all kinds of people write
about themselves in the papers.
Countesses and them baronets.
And no one thinks any the worse of
them for it. And it won't hurt him.
And he certainly owes us a bit.
The number of times I've thought
of throwing that 'orrible razor away.
- Or selling it for a few shillings.
- Bye, Ma.
I've got a date with Morris tonight so
I shan't be home till late.
Only I didn't like to part with
everything of his.
And he'd taken all the rest with him
when he'd cleared out.
Even his dirty shirts.
Bye, Ma.
It's about my husband.
I want to see him, please.
Been taken up has he?
What name?
- McCabe. Peter McCabe.
- Oh!
I've brought my marriage lines,
to show who I am.
And my son's birth certificate.
You won't need those, ma'am.
Well, you will let me see him?
It's out of our hands. The magistrate
put him on remand first thing this morning.
- What does that mean?
- He's at Walton Jail now.
He won't come up for trial till the
next assizes - plenty of time, yet.
No, there isn't. I must see him.
I've got to see him.
I can't help you about that, ma'am.
You've to go to Walton Jail
and apply there.
- But they will let me see him?
- Yes.
The sooner you get your application in,
ma'am, the sooner you're likely to.
Thank you
- Nora!
- Ben!
But I thought you were at sea.
Miles away.
You haven't lost your job, have you?
Not on your life. Ship was diverted upriver
to Manchester. We'll be there three days.
The minute I was off duty
I caught the first train.
And there's so much I've
got to tell yer.
Keeping me waiting all this time!
You're lucky I've turned up at all.
I hope you're not getting any
wrong ideas about me!
Oh, of course not.
But I've been reading the papers.
"Captain McCabe" seems to have made a
dramatic reappearance all of a sudden.
Where are we going?
Maybe we'll just drive round for a bit.
OK. Petrol's cheap enough,
I suppose.
I've got a certain position to
keep up, you know?
It might do me a lot of harm
if I was seen about with you.
Perhaps you'd like me to
wear a thick veil?
Ah, that's the girl -
always a snappy comeback.
I tell you what...
...there's one place we
can always go to.
Where we went last night?
You think you can do just
what you like with me?!
Now, have I ever done anything
you didn't want me to?
All I'm saying is...
...till it blows over, we've got
to be very discreet.
Very discreet.
All right, Morris Bruno.
Drive on.
I knew you'd come round.
The whole way up the river the crew
talked about your father.
And all I did was to keep
my mouth shut.
I wanted to tell every
man-jack of them...
...that I was going to marry his
daughter and I was proud of it.
But the words simply wouldn't come.
I just couldn't help it.
My job was not yet secure.
And... I was afraid.
It was cowardly, that's
what it was, but...
...if I'd lost this job, I'd lost my
chance of marrying you.
I see your point.
Would be very convenient for you
to change your name...
...just now.
Well, that's not quite what I mean.
Oh, it isn't?
You haven't, by any chance, been
seeing yourself as "Mrs Morris Bruno"?
Well, why not?
After all, every girl wants to get
married - sooner or later.
Don't come that stuff on me.
You're not a homegirl!
I wasn't born yesterday, you know?
I never so much as dropped a
hint about marrying you.
Now, did I? Come on -
have another drink.
What do you take me for?
Never mind. One thing you
can be sure of...
...the girl I marry's got to be nice...
- Like you?!
That's the way to talk -
now you are grown up!
- Come on, the fun's only just started.
- Leave me alone!
Take your rotten hands off me!
Get out of here!
Get out, I tell yer!
And you can go back to your
slummy home on yer own two feet.
I hated it not being with you
when you needed me most.
I want us to get married -
right away.
I'll get a Special Licence.
We've waited so long, and this is our
chance, now that I'm working.
Oh, darling, with all this hanging
over us - how can I?
We must. We simply must.
If you want to know, I'm...
I'm scared.
Suppose something else crops up
to put it off again?
And from now on I shall be
away on long voyages.
I shan't be able to be with you
when things get even tougher.
It's knowing I've got you, Ben.
But that's not enough!
As soon as you're my wife...
...everyone will know that I'm
sticking by you.
For better or for worse.
Visitors for McCabe.
This is where those
awaiting trial are detained.
You'll find your husband
quite comfortable.
He'll be wearing his
ordinary clothes, too.
That's something.
This way.
There you are, madam. They'll give
you a knock when your time's up.
You wait 'ere, George Alexander.
I'll call you in a bit.
- He's very quiet.
- They most are, afterwards.
It's a funny thing.
I've had all sorts in my care.
Frauds, thieves and poisoners.
It's never the ones that get copped for murder
with violence that cause trouble.
Not by a long way.
They lose their heads -
that's what it is.
And ever afterwards they
get brooding over it.
Over and over again.
Makes you feel sorry for them.
I, uh... I suppose he'll get the rope?
Perhaps, perhaps not.
Strictly speaking, according to the law...
...there's no argument to say...
...that he was mad drunk and
didn't know what he was doing.
I expect he'll be a lifer.
This seems an awful cold
sort of place, Peter.
You'd better sit down.
Have you got some good,
warm underwear?
'Course I have.
I could do your washing for you?
Ah, they're cracked about
washing, 'ere.
They took away one lot and brought me
another before they was even dirty.
I'm not doing any work 'ere.
What do I want with clean
clothes every week?
Ah, but they won't see that.
I'll bring you some pies
next time I come.
You used to love my pies.
The best I ever tasted.
Eh, eh, now.
Steady, old girl.
It's this waiting and waiting and
nothing to do that I can't stand.
It's putting me off my sleep.
Imagine! Me not being able
to sleep!
Suffering from nerves like a...
like a white-faced clerk.
Peter, how could you?
How could you do a thing like that?
I don't know. I don't properly
remember what happened.
I saw him lying there and...
...I knew he'd said something
that'd made me wild.
But I... I didn't mean...
Ah, what's the use?
I've done it, that's what they say,
and... and now I've got to pay for it.
But you know the... there's just one
thing I'd like to find out.
Somebody said... but I expect they
were having me on...
What did they say?
It was... somethin' about...
about you an me havin'...
...havin' another child.
- A boy.
- So we have.
We have?
Born after you went away.
Then why didn't you tell me?
I didn't know where to write to.
You can't blame me for that?
- But before I went away?
- I didn't know then.
I wasn't sure.
He's a clever boy.
He won a scholarship.
- No!
- He did.
If... If I could just see him once?
I'd be satisfied.
You can, if you like?
I brought him along with me.
He's in the corridor now.
Come on in, George Alexander.
Hello... Dad.
It seems funny us... not knowing
each other and...
...yet bein'... father and son.
But that's my fault.
I've nothing... to be proud of, but...
...cor, I... I'm proud of you.
Peter McCabe, with a boy
going to college.
Here. Sit down, son.
Come on, sit down.
I got all night and day to rest there.
Show your father your college
cap, George Alexander.
Put it on.
That's smart, that is.
And a gold badge, too.
'Ere. There's a motto 'ere.
What does it say?
"Experientia docet".
French, eh?
I expect you know what
it means?
It's Latin. It means
"experience teaches".
Does it, now?
"Experience teaches".
Well, that's true enough.
Look 'ere, lad. Would you do
me a little favour?
Would you talk a bit of
Latin to me?
Oh, I know I'm ignorant and, I shan't
understand a word, but...
...I can say to myself... I've seen my son,
and I've heard him talk in Latin.
And then... somehow... I shouldn't feel
such a no-good, after all.
Would... would you do that for me?
You can't talk Latin much.
It's not like French.
I could recite some poetry,
if you like?
- Latin poetry?
- Yes.
Now look here... you put
on your cap and...
...and stand over there.
So as me an' your mother
can see yer.
I think the man wants us to go.
Go first, love.
Will yer shake hands
with me, son?
It was nice of yer to come
an' see me 'ere
Ere, you 'ave that.
That used to belong to my Dad.
And when you grow up...
...you can keep your baccy in it.
Thanks, Dad.
- In the meantime, what do you collect?
- Foreign stamps.
He's got all sorts, Peter.
You wouldn't believe.
He can keep his swaps in it.
And now you'd better be going, son.
And try and forget that you...
...you ever had an old man.
God bless yer.
I'll come in a minute.
Nora got married yesterday.
Good luck to 'er.
- It's got to be a quick goodbye.
- I know.