Feature Drama | 1920 | Silent | B/W
Sexton Blake mystery 1920's
"Mysterious Happenings at a West End mansion" In a drawing room, a man fumbles with and turns off the table light. The powder of a shot from a gun is seen in the gloom. A girl opens the door in the light and runs away.
"For exactly three hours Sexton Blake had had no case on hand," SB sits at his desk smoking with his feet up on the desk, as he reads. A young man (YM) with a dog on a lead rushes in, SB yawns and stretches. SB strokes the dog. The housekeeper announces a visitor Stormcroft Junior (SJ). Young man pulls up a chair, the vista sits.
"Mr Blake, My father has been murdered". SB looks serious. Flashback to the drawing room, fashionable gay young things, including Valerie, dance and chat, they suddenly stop and run. They run into the library where father (MS) is lying on the floor. Close up of bullet hole in chest. Bright young things express shock and horror.
"There lay my father dead" says SJ in SB's office.
"The house was searched but neither gun nor revolver where found" SB shuts his book, pats the SJ and they all leave the room together.
"Blake lost no time getting back to work" SB, YM and SJ are in the library minutely examining the room and contents. YM spots a tear in the upholstery of a chair. He calls SB over. The tear is in fact a piece of cloth SB carefully puts it in his pocket book. He walks over to a chair and places his head on his hand on the back of the chair…Mmmm. The butler comes in and hands him the bullet. SB produces a hand held magnifying glass. The bullet is examined under the glass, we see the bullet in close up. SB questions the butler.
"I want to speak to any maids who were on duty last evening" The butler bows and leaves.
"Did any of you notices anything strange about the ladies that evening?" SB asks two maids in uniform. Close up of two maids. They bow and leave. SB goes back to the desk, he notices scratches on the surface. Mrs. Stormcroft, dressed in black then comes in and nervously sits in a high backed chair. SB asks
"Were any of your guests other than old friends?" she takes SJ's hand.
"Some days later" SB emerges from a porticoed front entrance. He walks across the lawn, he turns suddenly and hides.SB emerges from the greenery, he climbs a bench and slides open a window, he's a burglar, he breaks into the house. He opens a wardrobe and examines all the clothes hanging. He is at another wardrobe he examines more ladies dresses. It is not a burglar at all, its SB trying the match the torn piece of material he found in the library, he finds the match. Close up of piece fitting a tear in a skirt. He replaces the piece in his pocket book and smiles.
"Later that night" SB quietly comes though a door and sort of hides behind a curtain. The back of a fashionably dressed woman in satin and cloche hat, Valerie, who is rifling thought contents of the desk. She leaves. SB emerges and also looks at the desk. YM enters a room and telephones. SB shows him a letter. SB phones SJ and tells him
"I believe the clue is in the writing desk"
end of part one
"Blake has penetrated the secret of the writing cabinet" There is a secret drawer full of papers. Close up of a woman's eyes watching. SB, YM and SJ watch while SB opens one of the sealed letters. Very good CU of woman's eyes. CU of paper drawn out of an envelope. SB gasps.
"Your father was one of His majesty's secret agents" YM andSJ watch SB re-seal the letter with its wax seal. SB then takes the letter. SJ is left to tidy up while YM and SB leave. YM and SB go to the stick stand, SB takes out a stick and demonstrates the fact that it is a gun, he looks down the barrel, he takes off the end cap and shows the trigger. CU of loading the rifle stick. CO of the trigger action. He replaces the cap and puts the gun stick back on the stick stand.
"Give me the police station please " SB is on the telephone. CU of Policeman who lifts candlestick type phone to his ear and talks. As SB speaks on the phone, a woman, Valerie, creeps up behind him. She hits him violently over the head with a something, he falls to the ground. The policeman still on the phone looks surprised. She leans over SB to find the letter in his jacket pocket. The policeman replaces the handset. Bending over SB she finds the letter and puts it inside her dress and smiles. She retrieves the phone and replaces the hand set. She leaves the room. YM and SJ return. They pick SB off the floor but he is unconscinceous. The police arrive outside the house, they ring the bell. The butler walks past YM and SJ and SB on the floor with only a small gesture to answer the door. SB is coming round, YM and SJ give him brandy. The butler bring in the police, SB still on the floor.
"Someone from here started to talk to me on the phone" says the policemen " heard and smack and nothing further so I came to investigate" SB holds his head, everyone looks down At him.
" arrest Valerie Simpson before she has time to get away" YM wrestles with her as she is leaving. She gets away, she's a good fighter that girl. He gets her again. CU of the two struggling, YM calls out and is heard. SB pats his head with a handkerchief. SJ arrives, police arrive the game's up for Valerie. As they move in, she uncorks a vial of poison, but YM dashes it away. CU of Valerie's terrified face. The three men arrest her. SB walks into the room and picks up the vial. YM holds his jaw in his handkerchief and winces. SB recalls his examination of the wardrobe to Mrs. Stormcroft, the piece of cloth and he opens a handbag into eh cupboard, he puts it on his knee, tries one pick from his jacket which doesn’t work so he tries another ( he has an arsenal in there) and successfully picks the lock and reads the letters hidden inside.
Close up of letter and picture of Valerie who isn't Valerie at all but a wicked Russian Soviet spy Nadia Petroskaya ( lucky the letter was in English !) SB reads the letter shocked. He replaces the letter back in the handbag and puts it back in the wardrobe where he found it. SB then turn to Valeria and says
"This is Nadia Petoskey, the murderess of Mr Stormcroft"
Mrs. Stormcroft says "But she came to me as the daughter of my old friend"
SB looks severe then smiles and shakes his head
" Mr Stormcroft had in his possession a document highly coveted by the Sovian (sic) government, whose emissionery she was"
MS sitting at his desk attending to his rifle stick. Valerie watches behind in the dark. She grabs the rifle. MS shuts the secret door in the desk. CU of her face being angry
"Open that door or you’re a dead man" CU of MS. MS rises from the desk. He falls she fires and runs from the room. SB wipes his brow.
"There were minute scratches on the table and the marks in the carpet told of a chair being overturned" Valerie/Nadia growls in anger. She struggles as the police take her away, biting a policeman's hand. She drops something, YM picks it up
"Her government has disowned her they have no time for failures". SB lights the letter and burns it. Nadia looks horrified.
"Take her away" Nadia slumps in defeat.
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