Monday, June 27, 2016



After Brian Cameron (Joseph Cotten) converses with Mrs. Thwaites in Thornton Square, and observes the Anton house (Number 9), he leaves.


EXT.  Scotland Yard - Day

Before a three-lamp light pole, a horse and small carriage drive up and stop.  "Special edition, read all about it!  Extra!" calls out a newspaper seller on the sidewalk.

Brian Cameron gets out of the carriage, pays the driver, and strides toward the building's front steps.

He passes the paper-guy, goes lightly up the steps, and the CAMERA PANS to the left, to show us the square sign reading, "Scotland Yard."


CLOSE SHOT of an old-fashioned file box labeled, "No. 132, Alice Alquist."

INT.  General's office - Day

He's talking to (or at) Brian Cameron.

THE GENERAL (emphatically) -- I want you to put that file back where you got it.  I tell you, the case is dead.  I'm not going to have it all dug up again for nothing. 

Do you understand?  You had no right to go through that file.  Budge here had no right to let you get at it.

BUDGE:  I'm sorry, General.  Mr. Cameron is your assistant --

GENERAL (blustering) -- Then it's his job to assist me, not go digging into 10-year-old cases on wild suspicions of his own!  Now then, Budge, you get along.

~~  Very good, General.

Budge leaves.  The general closes the door firmly after him and turns to Cameron.

GENERAL:  What's your interest in this case, anyway?

CAMERON:  It was rather a famous case -- and it impressed me very much at the time.  Besides...

(his voice softens and his eyes look into the distance of a treasured memory)

...Well -- I once met Alice Alquist.

I was taken to hear her at a command performance when I was 12 years old, and afterwards to meet her in the artists' room. 

I know it sounds silly, but I still think she was the most beautiful woman I ever saw, and I've never forgotten her.  And now --

GENERAL:  You've seen someone who looks like her.

CAMERON:  Living in the same house!

GENERAL:  Why shouldn't she?  If she's the niece, the house probably belongs to her.  And if you're trying to make the acquaintance of a pretty woman --

(he slaps Cameron on the shoulder)'ve no right to use official business as an excuse.

CAMERON:  It's not that, sir.  But I tell you, sir, I have a feeling there's something peculiar going on there.  Perhaps even more than peculiar.

The General sits down at his desk, focuses on some papers there.

THE GENERAL:  Now look here, Brian, once and for all, the case was given up as hopeless.  As for the matter of the jewels,

(Cameron turns away from the window and looks back at the general, surprised, stunned...)

GENERAL (continued) -- ...that was dropped by order of -- well -- of a most important personage.

BRIAN CAMERON:  Jewels?  There's nothing here about jewels.

[The General, portrayed by Scottish actor Edmund Breon (1882 - 1951) gets this look on his face, nervously, realizing -- 'Oh crap, I let that slip'...]

GENERAL (reluctantly) -- Well -- there were some jewels.  They were given to her by somebody very highly placed.  Some of the crown jewels of his -- of another country, as a matter of fact.

CAMERON:  What happened to them?

GENERAL:  They disappeared.

CAMERON:  That's why she was murdered.

THE GENERAL:  That was the official theory.  Though what the murderer wanted the jewels for, I can't imagine.  They were much too famous for him to be able to sell them anywhere.

~~  Have they never shown up since?

~~  Not as far as I've been informed.

CAMERON:  Well then, where are they?

GENERAL:  I don't know.  The murder part of the case was pursued to the utmost -- as you can see for yourself from that file.  There was never any case against anyone, anywhere. 

There were the usual blind-alley suspects.  You've read all their names there in that stuff.  And there was never anything to prove against any of them.  Now run along, there's a good fellow.  I'm busy.

CAMERON:  Very well, sir.  (Picks up his hat and coat)  Good day, sir.

CAMERON exits the general's office.

INT.  Outer office

A few people are about, tending to business.  It's quiet.

A uniformed policeman passes Brian Cameron, going the other direction.

POLICEMAN (as he passes) -- Afternoon, Mr. Cameron.

Brian Cameron stops, thinking.  He turns back and addresses the beat officer -- "Williams."

OFFICER WILLIAMS:  Did you want me, sir?


The policeman turns back and joins Cameron. 

BRIAN CAMERON:  Tell me, you're not a married man, are you?

~~  No, sir.

~~  Where are you on duty now?

~~  Down in the East End, sir.

CAMERON:  How would you like a more fashionable locality?

~~  I'd like it very much, sir.

~~  We'll see what can be done about it.

(inclining his head toward Williams, just a little, and lowering his voice) --

Cameron (continued) -- Don't say anything to anybody for the moment.


{1944 - MGM - Cukor}


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