Synopsis: A mousy drugstore manager turns killer after his conniving wife leaves him for another man. He devises a complex plan, which involves assuming a new identity, to make it look like someone else murdered her new boyfriend. Things take an unexpected turn when someone else commits the murder first and he becomes the prime suspect.
Director(s): John Berry
Production: MGM
95 min

I'm Collier Bonnabel.

I'm a cop.

I'm a lieutenant detective

in, uh, Homicide.

That's a fancy name for murder.

We get plenty of tough cases.

Solved most of them, sure. But how?

I only know one way, one thing

that breaks them wide open.


I work on people, on suspects.

Play up to them.

Play up to their strengths,

pour it on their weaknesses.

Romance them or ignore them.

Kiss them. Press them.

But whatever way...

...keep stretching them.


everybody's got a breaking point.

And when they get stretched so tight,

they can't take it any longer:

This is the corner of St. Anne's and 13th.

That's an all-night drug store.

Never closes.

You know, in a town as big as this,

there are only four or five of them.

Oh, that's Warren Quimby.

He's the night manager.

Lives in an apartment

right over the drug store.

You know, these stores have everything:

Raisins and radios,

paregoric and phonographs...

...vitamin capsules and cap pistols.

They'll serve you a cup of coffee...

...sell you a pack of cigarettes

or a postage stamp...

...and in a pinch,

they'll even fill a prescription for you.

It's kind of tough on Quimby,

working nights.

Twelve hours a night, five nights a week.

But it pays well.

That's why Quimby took it.

You see, he didn't mind

the temporary hardships...

...because he knew where he was going.

He was planning.

Planning for the day when he would be able

to do more and better...

...for himself...

...and his wife.

Hello. Uh, Mel-West Theatre?

Could you please tell me

what time the second feature's over?


- Want a cup of coffee or something?

- No.

- You sure?

- Sure.

Look, you can tell me

to mind my own business...

Okay, Freddie. Mind your own business.

I don't like to see anybody

get kicked around, especially a nice guy.

Thanks, Freddie.

Uh, why don't you

get back to the counter, huh?

- Is she worth it, Mr. Quimby?

- Ha-ha-ha.

Uh, go on back to the counter, will you?

But the way she treats you all the time,

and you take it...

She's here.

Claire, darling.

I was worried about you.

Nothing to worry about.

Did you enjoy the show?

- It was all right.

Somebody wants some pills.

- Could I buy you...?

- Drift.

Something else, Mrs. Quimby?

Still with that Mrs. Quimby business,

eh, junior?

Don't start that again, please.

Claire's my name. Call me Claire.

But you're the manager's wife,

Mrs. Quimby.

That makes me poison?

Look, I got a good job here with plenty

of golden hours, so don't stink me up.

- Ha, okay, junior. I'll have some dessert.

- What kind?

I'll leave that up to you.

- Something sweet.

- Pie?

Yeah, pie's all right.

- Seen Barney Deager lately?

- No, I haven't seen him.

Not that you would tell me.

Thank you.

Stunning, isn't it?

On her.

It'd look better on you.

- Think so, huh?

- Yeah.

- Thanks, that's nice.

- And I got something nice to talk about.

- So?

- Yeah.

Wanna hear more?

- Where you parked?

- Around the corner. Gray sedan.

- Junior.


Tell Mr. Quimby I've gone

to the apartment.

All right, Mrs. Quimby.

Thanks, junior.

Thank you for...

Mr. Quimby.

- Yes?

- We're short of coffee.

- She say where she was going?

She's gone up to the apartment.

I'm not kidding about that coffee,

Mr. Quimby.

Hey, hey, morning paper.

Get your morning paper.

Read all about it.

- Mr. Quimby.


I'll be a little late tonight

but Charlie will be here.

- Fine.

- Hold the light.

- Looks like a nice day.

- Yeah.

Yeah. It was a beautiful morning.

Most people look forward to the morning

as the beginning of the new day.

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Allen Rivkin

Allen Rivkin (1903-1990) was an American screenwriter. He was one of the co-founders of the Screenwriters Guild, later the Writers Guild of America. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Tension" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 14 Apr. 2021. <https://www.scripts.com/script/tension_19511>.

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