Synopsis: This dramatization of a factual incident opens in a quiet Connecticut town where a kindly priest is murdered while waiting at a street corner. The citizens are horrified and demand action from the police. All of the witnesses identify John Waldron, a nervous out-of-towner, as the killer. Although Waldron vehemently denies the crime, no one will believe him. District Attorney Henry Harvey is then put on the case and faces political opposition in his attempt to prove Waldron's innocence.
Director(s): Elia Kazan
Production: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
88 min

Some wag

once remarked that after New York...

it's all Connecticut.

The intent was humorous, but like many

sarcasms, it contained the germ of truth...

for the small cities which make up

the backbone of the nation...

are all in the same pattern.

That's why it doesn't

really make much difference...

that we have brought you

to this town in Connecticut.

The basic facts of our story

actually occurred...

in a Connecticut community

much like this one...

but they could've

happened anywhere-

in Oregon or Mississippi,

Georgia or Utah.

You may have other names

for your streets...

but whether you call them Center Street,

North Street or Main Street...

they're not much different

from these.

And the people, well,

maybe they dress a little differently...

or talk a little

differently here...

but underneath they're the same as your next-door

neighbor, and you probably know them all-

the cop on the beat,

the kid selling papers...

shopkeepers, lawyers,

good people, bad people.

And if your town is lucky,

you may have a minister...

who is as familiar to you

as Father Lambert was to this town-

a man known

and loved by all.

You might find him almost

any evening on Main Street...

taking his constitutional

after supper.

A cheerful, kindly figure

with a friendly word for everyone.

- Good evening, Father.

- Give me a match, will you?

- Sure. There you are. Good night.

- Thanks.

- Hello, Father.

- Hello, my dear.

Stop that man!

Hey, stop that man! Stop him!

Grab him! Grab him!

Is he dead?

- It's poor old Father Lambert.

- Somebody'd better do something!

Look out, look out.

I seen the whole thing.

- I was standing over there.

- So did I.

- I seen the whole thing.

- We'd better get the cops.

- Where's the nearest phone?

- There's one over at the drugstore.

- Well, go, somebody!

- I'll go.

Put down that pipe.

Don't touch a thing.

- That's right.

- Nobody touch anything until the cops come.

It seems incredible,

but in your town and my town...

these things actually happen.

Life is pleasant and a little dull...

and night after night, we yawn,

flick off the radio and go to bed.

Then one morning,

black headlines stare at us.

A war is declared,

the stock market crashes...

or a kindly old man

is shot down on the street...

and the quiet pool of community life

is suddenly stirred up.

Its waters boil, and its quiet currents

twist in new and devious ways.

- I can't believe it.

- No one in town can.

That's right. No one does.

Extra! Paper!

You better do this, George.

We took a vote, lady,

and, well, here.

- He did us favors from time to time.

- Put it up close, will you?

Thank you, boys.

Thank you.

More than any man I have ever known.

He gave his life completely to the service

and to the welfare of others.

He was simple and unassuming...

yet we who knew him

felt he wore the mantle of greatness.

We will miss him.

Yes, the death

of a man like Father Lambert...

leaves a gap in any community...

for unfortunately,

there are too few like him.

The old minister spent

most of his life here...

quietly building up

his parish...

sharing the simple life

of his neighborhood...

and, somehow,

imbuing his parishioners...

with some of his own

kindliness and humanity.

Maybe he was luckier

than most pastors...

for late in life a reform government

took over the city...

ousting the machine politicians

and bringing fresh impetus to city planning.

To such projects as parks,

playgrounds and recreational centers...

the old man gladly contributed

his own wisdom and experience...

and the dignity and weight

of his church.

Mr. Harris has kindly

pointed out this section.

I merely mentioned

its accessibility...

and the fact that the bank

may be able to arrange for its purchase.

- Father Lambert?

- Looks like an excellent site.

- I find bankers always seem

to know these things.

Of course, Mrs. Harvey,

as chairman, will have the final say.

I think it's just fine.

It's wonderful.

But his everyday work

was with the people of his parish...

and especially with those

who sought his advice and counsel.

Since he was a man of God,

his labors sometimes led him...

into the strange and secret places

of men's souls.

He was just and forgiving,

but he was also a man...

and a stern and uncompromising

judge of character.

Stop that.

Even if I had wanted

to forgive you, I- I couldn't.

It's out of my hands.

- Jim, you're a sick man.

- But, Father, I-

We've been through it

all before.

I can't help you.

A sanitarium, perhaps.

No, I won't.

If- If people would-

It's not people, son.

It's you.

I've told you that before.

This time, fortunately,

no great harm has been done.

But the next time-

No, I can't let you

go any longer.

It's got to be a sanitarium.

Have you spoken

to your mother about this?

You wouldn't tell her.

- I haven't spoken to anyone.

- What about Father Gardiner?

Oh, Jim, you're starting

all over again.

This is just between the two of us.

I prefer that you

make up your own mind, son...

but if you can't,

I won't wait long.

For your own sake,

I can't wait long.

Services will be held

Tuesday at 11:

The body will lie in state

in the church.

In the honorable office of priest...

grant, we beseech thee,

that he may also be joined with them...

in a perpetual fellowship

through Jesus Christ our Lord...

who, with thee

and the Holy Ghost livest...

ever a one-god world

without end.


Grant, we beseech thee,

O Lord, that the soul of thy servant...

the priest George, whom,

while dwelling in this world...

God has adorned

with holy gifts...

may ever rejoice with glory

in the heavenly mansions.

O God, who has bidden us to honor

our father and our mother...

of thy mercy and compassion

on the souls of my father and mother.

Forgive their sins.

- Well?

- For a moment, I thought it was him.

The man thought it was him,

but no luck.

- What'd you expect?

- It's a chance, Chief.

So is going over Niagara Falls

in a barrel.

Let's get out of here.

- Don't anybody know anything about this case?

- Quiet.

- Come on, Dugan. It's been five days-

- Four.

Okay, four days, and you mallet-heads

haven't even turned up as much as a footprint.

- People ain't gonna like that.

- Why don't you get lost?

And have you jokers trying to find me?

Are you kidding?

Police department.

Sergeant Dugan.

- No, lady. The city pawn takes care of that.

- Lost her husband, huh?

- Oh, quiet.

- Hi, Lieutenant. What's the story?

- This is a tough case.

- Don't tell me your troubles.

But I am telling you the chief

doesn't like those stories of yours.

He's gonna get a chance not to like

a lot more of them if you guys don't-

- Well?

- Nothing. Mr. Harvey called about four times.

He says for you to come over right away,

as soon as you get in.

- Got an angle, Chief?

- No.

Mr. Harvey seems awful anxious.

Maybe there's a break in the story.

Paper! Paper! Read all about it!

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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