Town on Trial

Synopsis: When an attractive young girl is murdered, suspicion falls on several members of the local tennis club. It falls to Police Inspector Halloran to sort out all the red herrings, and finally after a confrontation at the top of the local church spire, arrest the culprit. Another fascinating look at what life was like in Britain during the 50's,
96 min

All right, Sergeant, I've

got a full statement from him. Start typing.

Oakley Park Police Station,

35 am, prisoner's statement:

"You asked me about last Friday.

I will tell you.

"I got up early in the morning.

I hadn't been able to sleep.

"I walked along the high street.

It was deserted.

"Everything was quiet,

and I was all alone.

"For the first time,

I felt afraid of what I was going to do.

"I wandered about, until I

found myself at the station.

"I watched them going to work,

"but I kept out of sight,

because a lot of them knew me.

"I spent the rest of the time

just walking, avoiding people,

"waiting for the day to end.

"Down by the river, I followed a girl

who reminded me of Molly.

"I found myself hating her,

just as I hated Molly.

"That evening, I returned home.

I took the stocking from my drawer.

"Then I walked over to the club.

"And, all the time, I kept remembering

that passage from the Bible,

"but I didn't feel afraid any more.

"I knew Molly was there,

because they were all watching.

"And I was glad, because this

was going to be the last time.

"I watched her at play,

her body brown from the sun,

"and I hated her.

"And as I watched, everyone else

was watching her too.

"Especially the men, and she knew it,

and she loved it.

"And all the time, I kept remembering

those words from the Bible:

"'And Aholah played the harlot

when she was mine,

"'and she doted on her lovers,

and they discovered her wickedness,

"'and they slew her with the sword. '"

- Oh, good shot!

- Very good play.

- I'm afraid they were too good for us.

- Afraid so.

You were wonderful.

Close game, Molly.

We'll beat you next time.

That's what you said the last time.

It's hot!

Thanks, Mark.

Well, I'm off for a swim.

"Good shot, Molly." "Well played, Molly."

I've had enough.

- Hello, Peter.

- Hello.

- I thought you'd be playing tennis.

- It's too hot for tennis.

- You all right?

- Cigarette?

No thanks, Peter.

That Stevens girl.

I wish men would

look at me like that.


Is that the way

you bring up your daughter?

Now, can you remember all this, George?

Two gins and tonics, a lager, a Coke,

another Coke... what about you, Mary?

I think I'll be going home, Mark.

Excuse me.


What's the matter, darling?

Well, can't I give

my friends a drink?

I'd like to see how many friends

you have the day you're broke, Mark.

- Coming?

- I can't. I've got to...


Give Molly Stevens a lift home?

Is she the next one

on your list, Mark?

"She knew.

"She knew how

the men watched her,

"and how the women hated her.

"She knew the petty

squabbles she caused,

"and it amused her.

"But she didn't know

she was going to die."

Well, hello!

What on earth are you doing here?


What do you want?

Look, I'm not standing here

all night talking to myself.

Will the public please keep

moving along the road.

All right, keep back, keep back.

Come on, back. Right back.

Keep back!

Good morning! My name's Hughes.

Sergeant Rogers, local CID.

Morning. Sergeant Beale.

- Well, let's get on with it, shall we?

- This way, sir.

We found some prints. By the looks of them,

the killer was waiting for her.

Here we are.

Both prints pause here.

They might have stood round

talking for a bit,

then the girl moved on,

and the man followed her.

Could have been someone she knew, then?

That's very likely, sir.

The body was found here.

Know where she was going?

Home, probably. She lived

the other side of the common.

She was coming from the sports club.

Taken any cast

of these footprints, Sergeant?

- Not yet, sir.

- Why not?

Well, sir, I thought we might...

- Beale! Get a cast of these footprints right away.

- Yes, sir.

- Who found her?

- A couple of kids, early this morning.

- Death certificate?

- John Fenner, a local GP.

He estimated the time of death

at around 10 pm last night.

- Who's doing the post mortem?

- County pathologist, over at the hospital now.

Here are some shots of the body.

Would you like to take a look at her?

Why? She's dead, isn't she?

I'd like to see where she lived.

- Attractive.

- Very popular with the men.

Hmm, not with the women, eh?

Tidy little girl.

- What school's that?

- Harrow.

The Morgue.

All good stuff.

Poems by Rupert Brooke.

Well, this one's a little out of place.

"With love from Peter Crowley."

Crowley? He's a member of the sports club.

He probably met her there.

What about this sports club?

Usual thing, dance every Monday,

a raffle at Christmas.

- Respectable?

- Very.

"And Aholah played the harlot

when she was mine,

"and she doted on her lovers,

and they discovered her wickedness,

"and slew her with the sword,

"And she became

famous among women

"for judgment had been

executed upon her."


- Who's the other girl?

- Looks like the Dixon girl.

- The men?

- I wouldn't know.

Dixon's a big noise in this town.

He's on the town council,

he'll probably be mayor next year.

Uh-huh. Know who he is?

That's Peter Crowley, sir.


- Peter, this gentleman's...

- I'm a police officer.

I'd like to ask you

a few questions.

- I hope you're not going to upset him.

- All right, Mrs Crowley.

- You see...

- Thank you.

- He's not himself today.

- Oh, Mother, please.

- What's this, a 350?

- Yes, that's right.

- What happened to the Triumph?

- I sold it.

Were you in love with Molly Stevens?

No point in beating

about the bush, is there?

Yes, I was.

- What happened? A row?

- Sort of.

- Were you at the club last night?

- Yes.

- Well, what time did you leave?

- I don't know. Oh, about nine.

- Where'd you go?

- I came home.

- Peter...

- Yes?

- You forgot the washer.

- Thanks.

- What sort of school do you go to?

- Oakley Grammar.

Do they give you a Rupert Brooke

at grammar school?

I shouldn't have thought Molly Stevens was

the kind of a girl who appreciated poetry.

No, she didn't.

Excuse me, I'll go and wash.

Why did you and Molly Stevens

break up, Peter?

Someone else?

- Who said we'd broken up?

- Her landlady.

Who did she go around with

after she dropped you?

- She didn't drop me.

- You had a row, didn't you?

- Yes, but...

- Why don't you tell him, Peter?

- Please keep out of this.

- He's too decent to tell you.

Because he knew she was

running about with a married man.

- Who was he?

- Mark Roper.

I'm asking the boy!

Who's Mark Roper, Peter?

The way she carried on,

it's no surprise what happened.

Don't talk like that.

All she cared about was having

a good time, fast cars and boyfriends.

- Stop it!

- It's the truth, and you know it.

And the sooner you forget

about her, the better!

What time did he get in

last night, Mrs Crowley?

About a quarter to ten.

I see. Thank you.

That's him all right.

He's going in to change.

See you back at the station.

Right, driver.

Hey, what do you say?

- Thank you.

- That's better.

- Come on, hurry up.

- Coming!

Come along!

Hello! I haven't seen you around before.

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Robert Westerby

Robert Westerby (born 3 July 1909 in Hackney, England, died 16 November 1968 in Los Angeles County, California, United States), was an author of novels (published by Arthur Barker of London) and screenwriter for films and television. An amateur boxer in his youth, he wrote many early magazine articles and stories centred around that sport. As a writer of screenplays, he was employed at Disney's Burbank studio from 1961 until his death in 1968.Westerby's 1937 novel Wide Boys Never Work, a story of the criminal underworld before the Second World War, was the earliest published use of the word "wide boy". In 1956 the book was made into the British film Soho Incident (released in the United States as Spin a Dark Web). In 2008 London Books republished Wide Boys Never Work as part of their London Books classics series. His account of his early life was entitled A Magnum for my Mother (1946). To the British public, a magnum just meant a large bottle of champagne. However, in the USA it could suggest a type of handgun, so it was retitled Champagne for Mother (1947). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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