Alfred Hitchcock Presents s03e17 Episode Script

The Motive

Good evening.
I always sew on my own buttons.
It's out of sentiment.
You see, an ancestor of mine was the inventor of the buttonhole.
It happened during a duel, although his opponent never knew it was a duel.
Unfortunately, this resulted in the false notion that the buttonhole should be in the back of the coat.
Actually, the invention of the buttonhole brought a great sigh of relief from the whole world.
You see, the button had been invented long before.
And for over a hundred years, the world hadn't known what to do with it.
That's what I said.
Man and boy, we've been pals since knee-high.
Not high to a grasshopper, but knee-high.
Tommy! You're a real pal.
Boy, you sure have a glow on.
I haven't glowed in years, but I'm gonna keep on glowing.
The whole point of life is to glow and Oh.
Another dead soldier.
I shall go across the hall to my room to get reinforcements.
Oh, forget it.
Sandra! Sandra, come on down here with us, you beautiful creature.
We're all going to glow.
Is this it? Hmm? Is this what you were talking about? Uh-huh.
Richard said you'd explain it to us.
Tommy, Tommy, rise and shine my boy.
Go on, impress her.
Asking me to explain my chart is like offering a politician a microphone.
Now, as Richard probably told you, murder is my hobby.
Oh, other people's murders, of course.
Now, all the murders that you read about get charted right here.
Now, when a murder breaks, I extend this top line one unit.
So this line then indicates the number of murders that have been committed since the beginning of the year.
And the second line? This stands for solved murders, and this one, unsolved.
I follow every case right to the bitter end.
And if the police fail to solve it, it becomes a unit on the third line.
Now, here are murders where the motive was known.
And this is the important one.
It indicates the number of murders where the motive was not found.
In other words, motiveless killing.
Now, you notice how nearly parallel motiveless killings runs with the unsolved murders.
And it's from this No, no.
Now, Tommy, you're not giving it to her big.
This is important.
You've got to do this justice, Tommy.
This is no trifling matter.
You've got to give it real significance.
Sandra, this little old chart tells a secret.
This chart is going to prove that a motiveless killing is a 100-to-1 shot.
Isn't that right, Tommy? Now, what did you do that for? You know my theory is sound.
What are you laughing at it for? I laugh Did I laugh? It's ten to seven.
I've got to go.
I hate to rush off like this.
Oh, that's perfectly all right, darling.
I wouldn't have missed your chart for the world, Mr.
Thanks for the drink.
You started me off on this hobby.
What are you making fun of it for? Now, now, Tommy, I didn't start you on this hobby.
I just wanted you to start on any hobby.
Look, you know as well as I do, it's motive, motive that counts.
Because, given a motive, the police will run you to the ground any time.
All right.
You've said it.
What do you mean, I said it? It's a scientific fact, and my chart proves it.
Now, look, if a murder just happens because a crackpot goes on a killing spree, or a stick-up artist holding up a stranger pulls the trigger, if they get away unseen, what can the police do without clues? Good clues.
But, given a motive, they can put a killer in the chair.
Motive, that's the thing that counts.
A perfect murder is a cinch if you If you have no reason for committing it! What are you making fun of it for? Because you're out of focus, my boy.
Your whole theory is out of focus.
You've gone overboard, Tommy, like you always do.
You've become hipped on it.
Of course! Of course I wanted you to start on a hobby.
"Start on a hommy, Tobby," I said.
"Start on a hobby, Tommy," I said.
Get Marian out of your hair.
You leave Marian out of this.
But you went overboard, Tommy, like always.
Like that time you airmailed two orchids to Marian, two, mind you, every day.
Until she had to beg you to stop.
I said leave Marian out of this.
But that's you, Tommy.
You went overboard when you courted her, you went overboard when you married her, and you went overboard when she left you.
Are you going to leave her out of this? Of course, Tommy.
Of course.
I'm gonna leave her out of it.
Naturally, I can leave her out of it, Tommy.
But can you? Even in going overboard, Tommy.
For instance, these pictures.
Either throw them away or put them up on the wall like anybody else would do.
That goes for these dresses.
And that album of records she gave you that you never play.
Remember what you told me the night she chose you instead of me? "I took it like a man," you said.
All right.
Now you've lost her.
So, you take it like a man instead of a crybaby! If you weren't so loaded, I'd kick you right in the teeth.
Well, since you're not going to kick me right in the teeth, what I could do to your little old theory.
"A motiveless killing is a 100-to-1 shot.
" What do you mean, what you could do to my theory? I could just ask one little question, just one little old question, and poof.
All your months of work down the drain.
Ah, what's the difference? Let's go eat.
I want to hear that question.
Well? That last line on your chart, Tommy, the nice black one that represents motiveless killings? Well, how do you know they're motiveless? What do you mean, how do I know? The only person who knows if a killing is motiveless is the killer.
All you know, Tommy, is that the police didn't find a motive.
Not that there wasn't one.
There is no getting around it, my boy.
There is only one thing to do.
Yes, only one thing.
Prove your own theory, my boy.
Commit Commit a motiveless murder.
Then you'll know that the killing was motiveless.
So now you see, Tommy, what my little old question can do to your little old theory.
Good evening, madam.
Theory and practice, Tommy.
Two different things.
Pardon me.
Oh, I beg your pardon, sir.
Excuse me.
Tommy, there's no two ways about it.
That's just what you'll have to do.
Commit a motiveless murder, and then maybe your little old chart might mean something again.
Barkeep, may I have two dry martinis, please? First, we'll have to find you a victim, old boy.
If that isn't the perfect place to find a victim.
New York, New York No, no.
Not New York.
Los Angeles.
Pittsburgh? Philly Chicago! I never did like Chicago.
Let's take Chicago.
All right, here we go.
One, two, three.
Tommy, here's your victim.
Jerome Stanton, Jerome Stanton, the sacrificial lamb, picked by the finger of fate to be your victim.
Oh, mister, do you mind if I use the telephone book? Certainly, madam.
You don't even have to worry about fingerprints, old boy.
Just clout him on the old cervical vertebra.
Just one clout on the old cervical vertebra, Tommy, and poof.
No blood.
Just poof.
Here's to you, my boy.
Stanton, Jerome.
What are you daydreaming about? There he is, 1,000 miles away, doing all the normal things, never dreaming that just one small detail separates him from death.
Who? Stanton, the guy you picked for my victim.
Stanton Oh, him.
Boy, was I stoned last night.
My problem is how to get him in a position to clout him on his cervical vertebra.
His what? That's where you told me to clout him.
What are you talking about? Only it's not the cervical vertebra.
That's the fatal spot between the cervical vertebra and the skull.
You were right.
A small blow will do it.
You know, it's a funny thing.
Sober, I couldn't have remembered the cervical vertebra if my life depended on it.
Are you still going to the convention? Yeah, I'm leaving this afternoon.
I'll be back in a couple of days.
Let me get some coffee.
Come in.
Here's the map you asked me for.
This your first time in Chicago? Yeah.
Well, thank you, sir.
Stanton residence.
Hello? Hello? Is Mr.
Stanton there? No, this is the maid.
Nobody is home.
Well now, it's about time some of you got around to calling us.
No, I'm not watching that particular program.
Well, does Mr.
Stanton have a favorite program? Well, he sure does.
There's one program he never misses, and that's the fights.
Oh, he'll be home for them tomorrow evening, all right.
Tomorrow? Well, thank you.
Thank you very much.
No, that's all we're supposed to ask.
This card is self-explanatory, Mr.
What we're doing is of a rather unusual nature, as you can see by the card.
You must have been the young man who called this afternoon.
Well, just to make sure you'd be home.
Sounds imposing, very impressive.
Come on in.
Oh, so I'm to become a sampling at last, huh? You know, I'd begun to think these polls were a myth.
Well, I'm game.
Will this do? Very nicely.
But before we begin, Mr.
Stanton, I must be certain that we can have I'm all yours.
It's now 7:35.
You'll be finished in exactly 20 minutes.
Of course, if that can't be arranged, I'd rather not begin Oh, don't worry.
Fight night is Mrs.
Stanton's night at the movies.
Now, what can I do for science? We're doing a research project, Mr.
Stanton, which we think is highly significant.
We're attempting to determine if there actually are emotional traits that can be specifically designated.
Now, for instance, we think of tenderness as feminine, yet many men are capable of tenderness.
We think of logic as masculine, yet Well, women can be logical.
Now, of course, I'm not Oh, may I sit down? Oh, please do.
Thank you.
I'm not going to ask you.
"Are you logical?" or "Do you feel tenderness?" That would make you the judge of your own emotions.
Now, my questions are going to be indirect like, "Have you cried since you've grown up?" Oh, yes, I see the The needles, the thread, the buttons, feminine.
The hammer and so forth, masculine.
But they involve the second stage of the test.
I'm now going to note down my personal observations, Mr.
Your appearance, the decor of the room, things like that.
Oh, Mr.
Stanton, in order to save time, while I go ahead with the questioning, would you be kind enough to sew that button on the handkerchief? Oh, sure.
Now, Mr.
Stanton, what's your occupation? I'm a chemical engineer.
Your age? Any children? No.
Do you find it difficult to give someone else the last word in an argument? I swear, I always give Mrs.
Stanton the last word.
We're doing very well.
You're being extremely cooperative.
I'm enjoying it immensely.
Now, when you and your wife are out, how do you feel about rising when another man comes to the table? The spirit rebels, but I get up.
And now the last question, the one I asked in the beginning.
"Have you cried since you were a grown man?" I certainly have.
Now we're ready for the objective phase.
Stanton, if you'll take this tape measure Aren't you forgetting my button? I hadn't better, not if I value my assignment.
I sew a pretty mean button, don't you think? Well, we'll let that speak for itself.
Now, Mr.
Stanton, if you'll take this tape measure All right.
And if you don't mind getting down on all fours and just open it up here, near my foot.
All right.
Come in.
The morning paper, sir.
Is that the final edition? Yes, sir.
Thank you.
Good morning.
Good morning.
Well, good morning, Tommy.
Greetings and salutations.
You going somewhere, Tommy? Have been.
Yes, my dear boy, I have been.
You're being pretty cagey with an old pal.
Well, you can read all about it in the morning paper.
"Dateline, Chicago.
"Jerome Stanton, chemical engineer, "was found murdered in his home last night.
"The police have already staked out a suspect on a clue furnished by Mrs.
"When asked if she knew who might have had a motive for the crime, "she replied that her former husband, Tommy Greer, "must have found out it was for Stanton that she left him.
" Marian? Marian and Stanton.
That's impossible.
I could always outguess you, Tommy.
It was just like drawing up a blueprint.
You knew.
You knew all the time.
That name wasn't picked by chance.
You weren't even drunk that night.
You took her away from me, Tommy.
So did he.
Did you really think I wouldn't do anything about it? You meant for me to kill him.
To get rid of both of us! All right, break it up.
Which one of you is Greer? That's him, that's Greer.
A 100-to-1 shot, Tommy.
That's what I told you.
All right, come on, Greer, let's go.
Well, that only goes to prove that you can't be too careful about whom you murder.
He might turn out to be someone you don't like.
Next time we should be back with another story.
Until then, good night.

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