Alfred Hitchcock Presents s03e18 Episode Script

Miss Bracegirdle Does Her Duty

Good evening.
That sound you just heard was made by a guillotine.
I brought it home from a recent trip to France.
We just can't make them the way the French do.
A motion picture company borrowed it to use on the adjoining sound stage.
They are shooting a picture about the tragedy of a rich middle-aged roué who falls hopelessly in love with a woman old enough to be his wife.
Of course they are not using the guillotine in the picture.
They just happen to have a leading man who's very vain and exceedingly short.
Every one of the actresses who reported this morning was about a head too tall.
We have no such problem.
The leading character in our picture is an English spinster.
You shall meet her in a moment.
Many of our finest motion pictures are made from bestsellers.
Here is one made about a bestseller.
Have your tea before you go, Millicent.
Yes, do.
Yes, I'm going to.
Oh, let me do it for you, dear.
On your last day and everything.
You just relax and calm your nerves.
You sound as though she were going to her doom.
Oh, I never meant such a thing.
You weren't under the impression, were you, Dean, that I meant No, no.
I'm quite sure that Mrs.
Crump was only making a joke.
I didn't say she meant that Millicent is going to her doom.
I only said that was the way she sounded.
I would never say such a thing as that.
Please, Maude, I should like it very much if you would pour it for me.
I am a little nervous, and I shouldn't like to spill anything on myself.
Millicent, if you're really nervous, perhaps it would be better if I went along with you.
Oh, but my dear Dean Bracegirdle, think of your parishioners.
How they would miss you.
With such extensive claims on your time, I don't really see how you could possibly manage it.
It's only for a few days, and I'm sure we could manage quite nicely.
It only wants someone to organize the thing.
It's sweet of you dear people to worry about me, but I shall be quite all right.
There is nothing alarming about a simple journey.
And I do speak French, you know.
I think you are very brave, Millicent.
How fortunate you are to have such a lovely sister.
Well, someone has to meet Clara.
Why? If she can get to Bordeaux by herself, why can't she come the rest of the way? But she's been ill, Mrs.
That's why she has to come back to England.
Paraguay didn't agree with her at all.
Millicent, I think you are intrepid, completely intrepid.
London to Dover, then across the Channel to Calais.
Have you got that bottle of pills I gave you for seasickness? Yes, right here, Maude.
Oh, I do think I should be going.
The boat train leaves London at 8:00, you know.
And then the train to Paris and then an hour in Paris.
Oh, I could never do it.
And then to arrive in Bordeaux at midnight How fortunate it is that you are not the one who is going, Maude.
I do not approve of foreigners.
They are not trustworthy.
I'm sure some of them are all right.
Now, you have your tickets all together.
That shouldn't give you any trouble.
And you must ask questions from no one but the police, or some other proper official.
And please, Millicent, don't practice your French on strangers.
Of course I shan't.
You know I never address strangers in a public place.
You know, France is really no country for a woman to travel about in alone.
I really think perhaps I shouldn't let you go.
It's much too late to change, Septimus.
I shall be quite all right.
I shall enjoy it.
Goodbye, Mrs.
Goodbye, Maude.
Take care.
Yes, I shall.
Bye, Millicent.
Is the room satisfactory to madame? Oh, you speak English.
Oh, yes, it's quite satisfactory.
I'm dreadfully sorry to have kept you up so late, but our train was two hours late.
I comprehend perfectly, madame.
Does madame require anything further? If it isn't too late, may I have a hot bath? I will go and prepare it.
Where is the bath? Go out the door, turn right, down the hall to the little stairs, turn right, and the bath is on the left.
Do you understand? Perfectly.
There is one thing more.
I've had a long journey.
I am very tired.
Would you see that I am not disturbed in the morning until I ring? Certainement, madame.
I'm glad you told me, because we always bring café complet at 7:30.
Oh, tea for me please, when I ring.
How depressing these foreign hotel rooms are! Nothing like home, nothing at all.
That bed is probably much too soft.
Oh, well, really, I suppose these people are just like us.
If they had been born in England and brought up there, and spoke English instead of French, why, we probably wouldn't notice anything different about them.
Oh, dear, I do feel out of place here.
Doesn't seem possible that in just a few hours I should have traveled in such a strange world.
Thank heaven this trip is half over.
I believe I'm a little homesick.
How silly of me.
What did I expect? Perhaps Clara and I could see a little of bit of Paris on our way back, instead of spending four hours sitting in the station.
I shouldn't let myself be depressed.
It's merely nerves.
After all, this is rather an adventure for someone who has lived 45 years without ever having gone out of England.
Though why anyone would want to go out of England I can't imagine.
How unsettling it must be.
Suppose I had married Stephen and gone to live in Africa.
That would have been frightfully unsettling.
I would have been happy to be engaged forever.
Of course, it was only an understanding, but after three years, he could have told me he was going away.
I suppose he couldn't bear to.
Oh, well, that's all in the past.
There is always work and living for others and doing one's duty.
Oh, I'll have so much to tell Septimus about the amusing American child on the train and nearly losing my spectacles and meeting the two English ladies in the station.
And the French people have really been very nice.
Bother! Oh, bother! I've pushed the pin farther back.
How very foolish! I shall have to ring for the chambermaid and I'm sure the poor girl has gone to sleep.
I mustn't scream.
I must get out, get out! I can't get out! I'll ring for the I'm in the wrong room! I'm locked in.
Alone in a strange hotel with a man! A foreigner.
A Frenchman.
If he does wake up, what shall I do? How could I possibly explain? He wouldn't understand a word I said.
No one would believe me.
They're all foreigners.
Oh, merciful heavens, what shall I do? No, I can't.
It's too far down.
I must get out! Should I wake him? Oh, no! Maybe I should call out? Oh, no.
The people rushing in and finding me in a strange man's room after midnight? Millicent Bracegirdle, the sister of the Dean of Easingstoke.
Easingstoke! They'd be certain to hear about it.
Now, I must keep calm.
Perhaps he's quite a harmless commercial traveler.
The maid will wake him up with the coffee at 7:30, and he'll probably get up and go right out.
If I were in that wardrobe chest, I should be quite safe till morning.
And I could slip into my room and no one would ever know.
I shall certainly have something to tell dear Septimus when I get home.
In Easingstoke they couldn't possibly imagine such a thing happening.
Oh, dear.
Suppose he gets up before the maid comes in.
He'll want his clothes.
Oh, dear, this won't do.
No one would see me under there.
Safe! Safe for the moment.
But suppose he wakes up and finds me? My presence under the bed would be much harder to explain than my presence by the door.
Oh, dear.
I've lost my head.
Oh, if it had only not happened abroad.
This carpet is very dusty.
I don't think they ever sweep under here.
And this floor is so hard He'll wake up.
He's certain to wake up! Well, that's lucky.
I must be sure not to fall asleep myself.
I must lie here and endure it.
He must be drunk.
Oh, thank goodness.
He must be quite overcome.
Oh, dear, I oughtn't to be glad the poor man's intoxicated.
In Easingstoke, everyone has been asleep for hours.
Evening prayer at 9:30 and then cocoa.
And Septimus doesn't dream I haven't said my prayers tonight.
Why shouldn't I say my prayers? They will come from the heart, though I am not kneeling.
Dear God, I can't say them aloud.
Please accept my prayers this night, for all who are being tempted to sin.
May they find strength.
For those who are seriously ill, for those in peril of their lives, for those who are in trouble through their own folly.
Please, God, protect me from the perils of this night and don't let me cough.
I'm catching cold.
I hope I don't catch pneumonia.
How awful to be taken ill in a foreign hotel under a strange man's bed.
He's waiting now.
He's listening.
In a moment he'll get up and rush over and turn on the lights.
And he'll say, "Come out of there!" only in French, and he'll reach in and grab me.
Or he might put his hand over my mouth.
He might be waiting for me to come out.
Oh, this is intolerable.
I can't stand a whole night of it.
Anything would be better than this disgrace, imprisonment, even death.
Don't be melodramatic, Millicent Bracegirdle.
I shall crawl out, turn on the light and explain.
Explain as best as I can.
What on earth is French for I've made a mistake? What is the French for bed? You're dead.
Oh, this is terrible.
Bad enough to be found in a strange man's bedroom, but a dead man? They might accuse me of murder.
They'll hang me.
Oh, no, this is France.
The guillotine.
Oh, I mustn't let them catch me.
Who would meet Clara? And what about Septimus, how would he stand the disgrace? It's my duty to get away.
There's the doorknob pin.
If only I could pull it to me with something.
No, that won't do.
It's pushing it farther back.
No, I mustn't give way.
There must be something, something.
Sealing wax! Oh, if it only sticks! It's coming.
Oh, I think its coming! Oh, dear.
But it did come a little way.
Just a little.
I could feel it.
I wonder what time it is.
The maid will be in with his coffee in an hour.
It's hopeless.
Oh, thank heaven! It's over! I shall never be the same again, never.
But I'm safe, safe Oh! My towel! My things! I can't do it, I can't.
No one will know whose they are.
They'll think I don't care what they think.
Oh, no! My towel with my initials on it.
They'll know I didn't use the ones the maid put out for me.
I must I must.
Certainly you must, Millicent Bracegirdle.
This is a mere nothing, compared to what you already accomplished.
After all, burglars do it all the time.
All that evidence just left there for anyone to see! I must have been out of my mind! Madame rang? Yes.
Could I have some tea, please? Certainly, madame.
Oh, madame, I have promised not to tell but a terrible thing has happened.
A man, a dead man, has been found in room 115.
A guest.
Please not to say I tell you.
No, no.
Of course not.
When did they discover him? Early this morning.
They have all been there, the gendarmes, the doctor, the inspectors.
Oh, it's been terrible, terrible.
Oh, it is.
Indeed it is.
Do you know who he was, madame? No.
They say it is Boldou, the man wanted for the murder of Jeanne Carreton in the barn at Vincennes.
They say he strangle her and then cut her up in pieces and hid her in two barrels which he threw into the river.
A murderer! Oh, but he was a bad man, madame, a terrible bad man.
And he died in the room next door.
A heart attack.
Did you say café complet, madame? No, tea, please.
Strong tea.
Suppose I had been caught in the room with a murderer.
It would have been a sensation in all the papers.
And I should never have been able to go home.
There would have been pictures in the papers.
Of me, the woman who said she was accidentally locked in the room.
Oh, it's very difficult to judge people.
Perhaps that man was wrongly condemned, as I would have been if One learns and learns.
I have learned that one can pray just as effectively under the bed as kneeling beside it.
Foreigners! So indecorous! Sending a man into a lady's bedroom.
Why couldn't the girl have come back? Does madame require anything more? No, no.
No? That concludes the life and loves of the intrepid Miss Millicent Bracegirdle.
As for Monsieur Boldou, the corpse in the story, he was buried in accordance with his last request.
He was cut in pieces, placed in two barrels and thrown into the river.
There's been a development next door.
The extras have rebelled and overthrown the star.
There he goes now.
I'm afraid he's through being tall in the saddle.
And I'm through being wide on the screen.
So until next time, good night.

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