Synopsis: Homicide Capt. Finlay finds evidence that one or more of a group of demobilized soldiers is involved in the death of Joseph Samuels. In flashbacks, we see the night's events from different viewpoints as Sergeant Keeley investigates on his own, trying to clear his friend Mitchell, to whom circumstantial evidence points. Then the real, ugly motive for the killing begins to dawn on both Finlay and Keeley...
Director(s): Edward Dmytryk
  Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
86 min

Was Samuels drunk

when you left him in this bar?


- Had he been drinking?

- Yes, but he was all right.

At the bar, what was he arguing

with the soldier about?

They weren't arguing,

they were just talking.

I sent Sammy over to talk

to the soldier myself.

I saw he was upset about something.

What was the soldier? I mean, what rank?

I didn't notice. I left them.

- Where did you go?

- Up to my room.

It was the bar in my hotel.

I had to change, so I told Sammy

I'd meet him here.

We had a date for dinner.

I rested a while, and I fell asleep.

I called to say that I'd be a little late.

There wasn't any answer.

I came over just as soon

as I could find a cab.

Then I called you.

- Do I have to stay here?

- No.

I'll get somebody to drive you home.

Could he have hit his head

on the table when he fell?

He could have,

but with the beating he took... wouldn't have made

much difference.

- Take Miss Lewis home.

- Right.

Check at the bar while you're there. They

won't know anything, but check anyway.

There were three soldiers.

She left Samuels talking to one.

Make a report for the Army and have the

provost marshal's office locate this man.

All right, Miss Lewis.

What do you want?

- I'm sorry. I must have the wrong place.

- What place are you looking for?

I thought it was this apartment.

I was looking for a buddy.

You cops?

- Has something happened?

- Tell us about this buddy of yours.

Yes, sir. Well, we was here.

He left before we did. Wasn't feeling

good. Said he'd be right back...

Who's "we"?

- Me and another buddy of mine.

- Who'd you come here with?

With these two buddies of mine

and this fella.

What fella?

This fella we met in a bar.

Was this young lady with him?

- Was she with him?

- Yes, sir.

- Is this the one who was with Samuels?

- No. It was another one.

What happened?

Somebody killed this fella

you met in the bar.

Same fella?

What's your name?

Montgomery, sir.

Were you drunk tonight?

Well, I had a couple,

but I can handle that.

How long you been out of the service?

- Two weeks, about.

- You live here?

- No, sir.

- What are you doing in Washington?

I came back to see

a couple of my buddies.

- Where are you staying?

- Stewart Hotel.

I used to be stationed at the Stewart.

- I'm sponging a bunk from a buddy.

- What's his name, this one who was sick...

...who was coming back?

Mitchell. Mitch, we called him.

Corporal Arthur Mitchell?

- Where did you find it?

- In the sofa.

- Must have dropped out of his pocket.

- What's his outfit?

- Same as mine was.

- What were you in?

Signal Corps Detachment, Stewart Hotel.

Okay, clean it up.

- Let's go.

- Yes, sir.

Closing up at 12.

- Since when?

- Since tonight.

- Tonight we close early.

- Why tonight?

- Mitchell's coming back.

- So what? Deal him in.

- No, we're going crawling.

- What are you, his father or something?

Come on in.

- Everybody in here belong on this floor?

- Yep.

- Whose room is this?

- Mitchell and Keeley.

- Which one of you is Mitchell?

- He's not here.

- Where is he?

- I don't know.

- When will he be back?

- I don't know.

- All right, who's Keeley?

- That's me.

- Cops wanna talk to you, soldier.

- What about?

About Mitchell.

- What about Mitchell?

- About Mitchell killing a guy.

Okay, deal.

Sergeant Keeley.

Sorry to break up your little

Saturday-night game, sergeant.

Where's Mitchell?

- Who's he supposed to have killed?

- Sit down, sergeant. We'll talk about it.

- When did you see Mitchell last?

- This afternoon, 2:00.

- Where was he going?

- Crawling.

- Where?

- Nowhere.

Soldiers don't have anywhere to go

unless you tell them.

When they're off duty, they go crawling,

or they go crazy.

- What did you do before the Army?

- What's that got to do with it?

It might help me understand

your answers.

I worked on newspapers.

- What kind of a job you got now?

- Ink job.

Purple ink. Instead of the Purple Heart,

we get purple ink.

- Mitchell too?

- Signs.

He's an artist. He used to do

cows eating grass.

He's branched out now. He does signs.

"Keep This Washroom Clean."

- You think he killed anybody, you're crazy.

- Why?

- He's not the type.

- Everybody's the type.

- He couldn't kill anybody.

- Could you?

- I have.

- Where?

Where you get medals for it.

I see.

And this Mitchell boy

couldn't do that either?


Tell me about this afternoon

when he left.

- Nothing to tell. He left.

- What did you talk to Mrs. Mitchell about?

According to the hotel, you called Chicago

this afternoon at 2:30...

...and talked to a Mrs. Mitchell.

His mother?

His wife.

- Well?

- It was personal. It wouldn't interest you.

Nothing interests me anymore.

Used to, but not anymore.

I've been at this job too long.

I go about it the only way I know how.

I collect all the facts possible.

Most of them are useless.

What did you call Mrs. Mitchell about?

She called me first. Last week. She was

worried about him. He hadn't written.

- Why?

- I don't know.

- Well, then guess.

- He's homesick. He's wife-sick.

Maybe something in her letters made him

suspicious of her love life. I don't know.

Anyway, he's got snakes. He's been nuts.

- But not nuts enough to kill somebody.

- How was he this afternoon?

He was trying to act like a soldier.

I think he went out to look for a girl.

What's your name, anyway?


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John Paxton

John Paxton (May 21, 1911, Kansas City, Missouri - January 5, 1985, Santa Monica, California) was an American screenwriter. He was married to Sarah Jane, who worked in public relations for 20th Century Fox.Some of his films include Murder, My Sweet in 1944, Cornered in 1945, Crossfire in 1947 (an adaptation of the controversial novel The Brick Foxhole that earned him his only Oscar nomination). He helped adapt the screenplay for the controversial movie The Wild One in 1953 starring Marlon Brando. Paxton's work twice received the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay, for Murder, My Sweet and Crossfire. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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