The Spiral Staircase

Synopsis: In 1916, beautiful young mute Helen is a domestic worker for elderly, ailing Mrs. Warren. Mrs. Warren's two adult sons, Albert (a professor) and womanizing impudent Steven, also live in the Warren mansion. Mrs. Warren becomes concerned for Helen's safety when a rash of murders involving 'women with afflictions' hits the neighborhood. She implores her physician, Dr. Parry, to take Helen away for her own safety. When another murder occurs inside the Warren mansion, it becomes obvious that Helen is in danger.
Director(s): Robert Siodmak
Production: RKO Pictures
Rotten Tomatoes:
83 min

-It's in there. Number nine.


Don't stand around.

Go on home, all of you.

-What happened, constable?


-...there's been another murder.

-A murder.

There's nothing you can do.

I told you to go home. Go on.

Oh, just a minute, miss.

Are you alone?

You work out at the Warren home,

don't you?

That's nearly two miles from here.

You'd better hurry if you're

gonna get there before dark.

-Got any ideas who did it, constable?


Same fella did the first one.

Same fella did the second one.

But who he is, I don't know.

Somebody in this town.

Somebody we all know.

Somebody we see every day.

Might be me. Might be you.

Why, how could--? I mean...

-...I was here at my desk, anyway.

-Oh, be quiet.

Didn't know you was called,

Dr. Parry.

I wasn't. As I was leaving the office,

I heard about the murder.

Thought I'd see if there's

anything I could do.

Well, there ain't.

Unless, of course...'re good enough

to uncork a miracle...

...and bring the dead back to life.

I don't think I'm that good.

There's no sense in you going up.

She's dead, all right.

Dr. Harvey's up there,

and that's what he says. She's dead.

Well, in that event, constable,

I certainly can't do her any harm.

-Hello, Parry.

-Dr. Harvey.

There's nothing for you to do, unless

you're sightseeing.

-How was she killed?


-She was dead when we got here.

-Who was she?

That lame girl that

worked over at Nelson's.

How awful.

She was just in my office last week.

Did she pay her bill or was this

her way of getting out of it?

I haven't enough experience

to make that sort of joke.

Perhaps not, Dr. Parry.

-I'll run along.

-Oh, just a minute.

I hear you were over

to see Mr. Stover last night.

-Yes, I was.

-Don't you know he's my patient?

I only went because they called me.

They told me that you'd

refused to go until morning.

-I thought it might be serious.

-You've got a lot to learn, young fella.

You've only been here a short time.

I've been here for a good many years.

If I answered all the calls as they

came, I wouldn't get any sleep at all.

Well, that's why I think there's room

for two doctors in this town.

Reckon so, but let the competition

be on an open plane. Ethics.

You get what I mean, Parry?

If ever I'm called on an emergency,

and you're sleeping...

...I intend to go.

That's very noble and ambitious.

Don't let anything discourage you.

Nothing will.

Oh, by the way... might like to see

what the Stovers did... that prescription

you wrote last night.

I'm gonna make some calls, Helen.

I'll take you to the crossroads.

Were you at the hotel?

Wasn't a very nice thing

to have happen on your afternoon off.

I've been pretty busy lately.

I haven't had much of a chance

to drop in and see you.

But I've been thinking

about you a great deal.

You haven't any family, Helen.

No one else to worry about you.

And I got to wondering just

how long you were going on like this.

I mean, doing the work

you're doing at the Warrens'.

You wanted to be

a nurse or a teacher.

You mean, you're going

to give up that...

...without making an effort

to get your voice back again?

Yes, I know, Helen,

you did see a doctor once.

That was a long time ago.

They might have discovered

a lot since then.

There are specialists in Boston now.

I don't want to build

your hopes up, Helen...

...but it seems such a shame

to give up so easily.

You'd rather I wouldn't talk

about it, wouldn't you?

All right, I won't.

You know the words to that tune?

Dr. Parry.

Dr. Parry.

-Hello, Freddy.

-Pa's sick, Dr. Parry, bad.

They didn't send you for me?

Ma sent me for Dr. Harvey,

but Pa wants you to come.

I'm afraid I can't help you out

this time, Freddy.

You don't understand.

Your father's Dr. Harvey's patient.

We'll have to try and find him for you.

I'll call him as soon as I get home.

Oh, please, Dr. Parry, you come.

I want you to come.

All right, come on, get in.

We'll go up and have a look.

I'll run you home afterwards.

Afraid you'll be late?

Are you sure you'll be all right?

You'll go straight home,

won't you, Helen?

Oh, it's you. Thank heavens.

They phoned us about the murder.

For a while I thought

it might have been you.

It's terrible. That's what it is.


As if it isn't bad enough

murdering people...

...but all these defenseless women.

First there was the girl

with a scar on her face.

Then that poor

simple-minded creature...

...and now this cripple.

It seems like....

I guess you've had enough

for one afternoon.

Now-- Now, get your wet shoes off

before you catch your death.

And you'd better get up

to Mrs. Warren straightaway.

She's raising a rumpus

with that nurse of hers again.

Won't even allow her

in the room now.

She sent down word for you

to go up the moment you came in.

Is that someone at the front door?

Who's there?

I don't understand.

I closed that window

when the storm started.

I'll get a hammer

and fix that shutter.

It was him!

Carleton, bad dog!

Out all day and only home in time

to get under my feet and break my--

You're a no-good loafer,

that's what you are.

Criminals and murderers loose...

...and you're out courting

the neighbor's dog.

Oh, Carleton, Carleton,

you deserve a good beating.

Guess I better dry you first.

You'll catch your death of cold,

that's what you will.

Rate this script:5.0 / 1 vote

Mel Dinelli

Mel Dinelli (born 6 October 1912, Albuquerque, New Mexico - d. 28 November 1991, Los Angeles, California) was an American writer for theatre, radio, film and magazines, usually in the suspense genre. He attended the University of Washington. more…

All Mel Dinelli scripts | Mel Dinelli Scripts

0 fans

Submitted on August 05, 2018

Discuss this script with the community:



    Translate and read this script in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this screenplay to your bibliography:


    "The Spiral Staircase" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 16 Jun 2024. <>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest writers community and scripts collection on the web!

    Watch the movie trailer

    The Spiral Staircase


    The Studio:

    ScreenWriting Tool

    Write your screenplay and focus on the story with many helpful features.