Period drama series. Father Brown investigates the murder of a B-movie director when the production of Demon Brides comes to Kembleford.
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HE CHANTS IN LATIN
The new librarian, miss.
Henry Cavendish. How do you do?
I'm Virginia Lewthwaite, Lord Hellion's fiancee.
He's been called away to London
so I'm afraid I must suffice in his absence.
I shall try not to keep you from your occupations.
On the contrary,
I'd welcome the company.
We're very isolated here, Mr Cavendish.
I fear you'll be bored.
I welcome the seclusion.
It gives me time to write.
You're an author?
I only claim to be budding.
there will be plenty here to inspire me.
Is the wedding imminent?
The 6th of June.
A very small affair, as my fiance lost his first two wives.
'In tragic circumstances.'
If Ms Fontaine would deign to learn her lines
before coming on set,
it would save us all a lot of time,
which, as you know, means money.
Something that is in painfully short supply.
And do try and inject some ingenuousness.
You're meant to be a virgin bride.
I've seen more innocence on a ten bob tart.
You would know, darling.
may I borrow you for a moment, please?
Could you demonstrate to Ms Fontaine
what innocence sounds like?
I'm Virginia Lewthwaite,
Lord Hellion's fiancee.
He's been called to London, so I'm afraid I must suffice...
I'd murder the little tart before taking acting lessons from her.
Let's try again.
They were forced to move out of their last place
because of complaints about noise.
And this film,
The Demon Brides.
In the name of all that's unholy...
And you such a movie buff, Mrs M.
I like a proper one,
like, oh, Casablanca or The Prisoner Of Zenda,
but this rubbish is just an excuse for blasphemy and...
..and scantily-clad women.
Isn't that right, Father?
We rather enjoyed Virgin Vampires at the Odeon last month.
Isn't that right, Father?
It raised some interesting theological questions.
Well, I do hope you'll sign the petition
on behalf of the parish council.
Not so fast, Mrs McCarthy.
One of the actors is a chum, and I've asked him round
to answer any parochial concerns you may have.
-KNOCK ON DOOR
-There he is now.
If she thinks I'm going to let my opinion be swayed
by some B-list actor...
Hello. I'm Rex Bishop.
Hello. Father Brown.
And this is our Parish Secretary.
Mrs McCarthy is one of your greatest fans.
That was wonderful, darling.
Care to explain, Billy?
Vivian wanted cuts.
I'll have no lines left at this rate.
He might as well have hired a cleavage.
This is her.
The old hag would stop at nothing to sabotage my career.
Get me a martini.
I need some lubrication for all that screaming.
-I hate this place.
There's only one thing for it.
We'll have to run away together.
But then we'd have to live in a garret and I don't want that.
I want what she's got.
That girl will break your heart.
So I said, "Madam, I am sorely tempted,
"but your husband
"is the middleweight boxing champion of the world
"and my face is my fortune."
You're a long way from Hollywood, Mr Bishop.
Los Angeles is hot and sticky.
And you can't get a proper cup of tea.
Oh, and another scone, Mr Bishop?
I thought you'd never ask, and call me Rex.
If I may call you...
Bridget, the Celtic goddess of fire and wisdom, and...
creator of the finest strawberry scone I've ever tasted.
Do tell us what the film is about, Rex.
Well, it's about a demon lord
who sacrifices his wives to the devil on their wedding night
and reincarnates them as demon brides.
Hardly Chekhov, I'm afraid.
Sounds jolly good fun.
Although I'm not sure Mrs McCarthy would approve.
-Why don't you see for yourselves?
As my guests tomorrow. The full tour.
Pull back. Pull back.
And if Ms Fontaine could try and look like she's in a drugged stupor.
It shouldn't be too much of a stretch.
And cue, darling.
-Exta invero Hellion.
DOOR BANGS Oh, cut! Cut! Cut!
For the last time, this is a closed set!
These are the representatives of the Parish Council.
I don't care if it's the Pope and his entourage.
What are they doing here?
You invited them.
Told Rex to do his bit for PR,
or, to use your words, schmooze the local yokels.
I do apologise for my oaf of a husband.
Welcome to hell.
And now the local lunatic fringe are getting up a petition.
And, to cap it all, I've been receiving death threats.
Some maniac calling himself Arulus.
Seems to think I'm the devil reincarnated.
Can't think what gave him that idea.
Interesting choice of objets d'art.
Now, that is the death mask of the demon lord.
Must be a non-speaking part.
Hasn't got a mouth.
His face has been melted with holy water.
Will that work, Father?
Don't think so, no.
Billy Neville. Author of this masterpiece.
Put a priest into the castle.
Oh, add some colour. Bells and smells.
He can turn wine into blood,
bread into flesh.
Why would a demon lord
have a Catholic priest living under his roof?
You're the writer, think of something,
and I want it by four.
What's she doing here?
She, my darling, is entertaining our guests,
which is more than can be said for you.
May I introduce Miss Paulette Swain,
one of our fastest rising stars?
And what part do you play?
A foul demoness in thrall to a devil.
I'm something of a writer myself.
You must tell me where you get your inspiration from.
From everything around me.
Ars vitam imitator.
Art imitates life.
This isn't art.
You must leave, Virginia.
Are you mad?
I'm due to be married tomorrow.
Yes, I'm mad. I can't be sane when I'm with you.
My father is deeply indebted to Lord Hellion.
If this marriage doesn't take place tomorrow,
he'll be ruined
and my family dishonoured.
Is it too much to ask for you people to learn your damn lines
before stepping onto my set? You're costing me a fortune!
Principles to their dressing rooms now!
I want you word perfect by five.
We're in detention, I'm afraid.
I don't have trouble remembering my lines.
You don't have any lines.
-Feel free to stay and we'll reconvene later.
They've offered me a movie starting in the spring.
Escape the garret, Billy. Clever boy.
Nicholas Ray's directing and Robert Mitchum's lined up for the lead.
You seem to forget that you're contracted to me
for your next two movies.
In your own words, any typewriter monkey could churn out this dross.
I don't want any monkey.
I want the monkey I've got.
So you can just get back to Universal
and tell them that you're not available.
And I want those amendments by four.
Till then, I'm watching rushes.
Do not disturb...
under pain of death!
Oh! Jesus, Mary and J...
-And now he's got X-ray eyes. How did you know it was me?
Brylcreem, Gold Flake and engine oil.
And what exactly do you think you're doing, Sidney Carter?
I'm earning ten bob a day as an extra, Mrs M.
but someone's got to do it. Ta-ta.
'Foul demoness! You're nothing...
'You're nothing but a foul... You're nothing but a foul demoness.
'If divorce were an option, I'd have done it years ago.
Yes. No. No, it's not still a possibility.
He's got a ten-year option on my contract
and you can bet your boots
I'll never work in this or any other town again.
No, trust me, darling, the only way I'll escape my caro marito
is with one of us in a box.
KNOCK ON DOOR
Are you going to tell us what happens?
And spoil the ending for when we see it at the cinema?
Oh, somebody's changed their tune.
This is a morality tale
where the godly triumph over the forces of evil.
Nothing blasphemous in that now is there, Father?
-Shall we say our goodbyes?
Vivian, open up.
I got here at four as ordered and the door was locked.
And apparently he hasn't left the wing.
-Perhaps he's had a heart attack.
-I'll break it down. Vivian!
A good secretary always keeps a spare.
What a woman!
Oh, Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
I'll call the police.
What happened? Is he dead?
Per istam sanctam unctionem et suam...
If you're praying for his soul then you're wasting your time.
KNOCK ON DOOR
Did no-one tell them it's a day of rest?
To Vivian. May he rot in hell.
Shut up, Bebe.
Medicinal. For the shock.
Thank you, Billy.
Oh, please. You'd think you were grieving.
We all know you loathed him as much as the rest of us.
Try to keep it together, old girl.
So, what happens now?
I suppose the show must go on.
I'd rather be on a yacht in the south of France.
Wouldn't we all? But have you forgotten
that you are the new owner of Cardinal?
Hardly. The first person she telephoned was Vivian's lawyer.
What am I supposed to do?
Appointing a new director would be a start.
Fine. Rex is new director.
There, now. Wasn't that easy?
At least the killer was good enough to leave a signature.
Any idea on this Arulus?
The victim's been receiving death threats.
"Your fate approaches. Apocalypse 20:10."
How's your Bible knowledge, sir?
-Hazard a guess.
Apocalypse 20:10: "And the false prophet
"shall be tormented by day and by night for ever and ever."
It's like I said a prayer and there you were.
Thank you, Padre.
And now my sergeant here will escort you from my crime scene.
It's just that I was here when the body was discovered and I think
I may have inadvertently removed a significant piece of evidence.
A piece of wax.
From a gothic horror film set? What next?
A coal from Newcastle?
But it's an unusual shape, don't you think?
Leave it with one of my men
and I'll see it gets the attention it's due.
-KNOCK AT DOOR
In you come, Constable. The padre was just leaving.
Inspector Mallory. Kembleford Police.
I'm sorry for your loss, Mrs Wolsey.
Well, that makes one of us. I prefer Ms Fontaine.
Did my husband suffer, Inspector?
I do hope so.
I'd like you all to account for your movements
between two and four this afternoon.
Shouldn't you be looking for this Arulus fellow?
I could, but I'd be wasting my time, as it wasn't him.
Because of the death threats,
Mr Wolsey stationed extra security guards on the wing
who are adamant that nobody entered or left the building
between two, when his secretary went home,
and 4:15, when the body was discovered.
Are you saying it was one of us?
I'm saying that as the only people in this part of the building
at the time in question,
I'd like you all to account for your movements.
I was in my office doing amendments for Vivian.
-I was learning lines in my dressing room.
Me three. On Vivian's orders, I hasten.
During this time, did anyone see or speak to Mr Wolsey?
I think somebody is lying.
When you're ready, Ms Fontaine.
I opened my dressing room door to put my shoes out for wardrobe
and somebody was going into my husband's office.
Isn't that right, Miss Swain?
Is this true?
And you lied because...?
Because it was confidential.
I was signing a contract for my part in his next movie.
Oh, you little tramp!
What time was this?
Vivian thought it required someone...youthful.
Yet not someone who can act.
And what time did you leave?
About ten minutes later, when I can assure you he was alive and kicking.
You can't sack me. I've got a contract.
In that case, I'll just have to content myself
with making your life a misery.
I mean, talk about a catfight.
Half the crew heard it.
Anyway, Mallory's convinced it was an inside job.
Mrs McCarthy's our resident movie expert -
what do you know about Bebe Fontaine?
What I know is that she was born Ursula Donnell
and educated by the Sacred Heart Sisters in Dublin.
So, a good Catholic Irish girl.
Oh, not so you'd notice now.
She was married at 17 to Vivian Wolsey
and he old enough to be her father.
And they didn't live happily ever after.
Rumour has it, she wanted a divorce,
but that would have been the end of her career.
See, she was contracted to the Cardinal Studios,
so none of the other studios would have touched her.
Oh, motive aplenty, I'd say.
I doubt it was Paulette Swain.
How do you figure that, milady?
She'd just landed her first leading role.
She's hardly going to kill the golden goose.
That young writer looked pretty murderous
when Vivian refused to release him from his contract.
What do you think, Father?
I think that the problem with three actors
and a writer is that they all lie for a living.
Well, I'm certain it isn't Rex Bishop.
Mmm, he is hiding something.
Like why is he starring in a Cardinal B-movie in Kembleford?
In sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish...
..till death do us part.
THEY COUGH AND SPLUTTER
And cut. Thank you, everybody.
Let's go again with a little less smoke this time.
Ms Fontaine, may I have a word.
I was wondering if you could be a little more bereft.
Hardly an emotion I'm familiar with.
Just try to bear in mind that you're being bound in matrimony
to a man you don't love while the man that you do love
-has gone inexplicably AWOL.
Can I prevail on you to accompany me to the cutting room?
Demon Bride. Scene 25.
Closer on the cleavage.
Can we get some arousal in here?
Which means try and look like you're enjoying it!
All right, that's enough! Please stop that now.
I'd like a word in private, please.
If you don't mind, ladies.
You might get a better performance
if you refrained from bawling me out in front of the cast and crew.
It's putting me off my stride, old chap.
You're not in Hollywood now, old chap.
Clearly, but manners costeth nothing, as my nanny used to say.
Did Nanny tell you that photographs do?
Which means for the duration of our arrangement
you will do things my way.
Reset. We'll go again.
Not if I kill you first.
It was a trifle. An artistic disagreement.
And these photographs?
Publicity shots. They were shocking.
I demanded new ones.
This is an unusual project for Rex Bishop to attach himself to.
I was homesick for Blighty,
fancied a change of scene amidst the glories of the Cotswolds.
You've gone on record describing Cardinal Productions as...
..boils on the backside of the movie industry.
Have I really? I say, that's rather good.
This isn't a joke, Mr Bishop.
Clearly not, Inspector,
which is why I would appreciate you getting to the point.
I think Vivian Wolsey was blackmailing you.
-You've no proof of that.
But I've applied for a warrant to search Mr Wolsey's personal files
and when I find something incriminating,
that gives you the hat-trick -
means, motive and opportunity.
So until then, Mr Bishop, don't go anywhere.
Lady Felicia. Looking delectable as ever.
If only I could return the compliment, Inspector.
What's going on, Rex?
Vivian was blackmailing you?
I don't think anyone believes I'm here of my own volition.
Because you're homosexual.
How did you know?
Despite certain encouragements,
you've never tried to get me into bed.
The only other explanation is I'm losing my allure...
I think we both know that isn't the case.
If the police find those photographs I'll end up in prison.
Nonsense, we'll think of something.
I need a miracle.
I can't promise you that,
but I might have the next best thing.
Ah, Mrs McCarthy, just the woman.
Dress suiting a saint, eight letters.
Two letters, requiring urgent reply -
Bishop Talbot and the bank manager.
If you're not too busy.
I'll give them my immediate attention.
Beg your pardon?
Dress suiting a saint. It's an anagram.
Of course it is. You're a genius, Mrs M!
Father! May we have a word, please?
Vivian got his hands on some negatives,
taken when I was younger and considerably less wise.
You can speak freely in front of Father Brown.
And which involved another man.
I thought you might like some tea and one of my scones.
How wonderful, Bridget.
Shall I be mother...?
I can manage.
Thank you, Mrs McCarthy.
So, you see what this means, Father.
Inspector Mallory's got the bit between his teeth,
and he won't rest until he finds the negatives.
Even if he can't make a murder charge stick, you face ruin...
I'll kill myself first.
That won't be necessary.
Because if Inspector Mallory finds the real killer,
he'll call off the hunt.
KNOCK AT DOOR
What can I do for you, Father?
I was wondering if you'd like prayers said for you husband's soul.
Vivian didn't have a soul and he wasn't a Catholic.
But you are.
And you of all people should know that he may have been seeking God
up to the moment of his death.
I assure you he'd have hated it.
In which case, you have my blessing.
He was your husband.
He broke every one of our wedding vows -
-except for "till death do us part".
-Did you kill him?
But you did send the death threats.
-Why would you say that?
It's an anagram. You couldn't resist using your real name.
-Well, to be sure, I wouldn't be lying
to a man of the cloth.
It was only me little joke
because I knew it would scare the bejesus out of him.
-And it worked.
Like all bullies he was a coward.
That much hatred will destroy your soul.
It's too late for that. I sold it to the devil.
And the irony is I did it for God.
Vivian had a fearsome reputation. King of the casting couch.
They said he used to have a hidden camera in his office
to film his conquests.
I was 17 years old and fresh out of convent school.
And I turned him down.
That must have taken a lot of courage.
It was my downfall.
No-one says no to Vivian.
Now conquest wasn't enough, he wanted ownership.
And a wedding ring proved both cheap currency and good publicity.
So you see, Father,
that's where being a good little Catholic girl got me.
I am lost.
God doesn't give up that easily.
I'm past penance, so what do you suggest?
..that you should love yourself, as much as He loves you.
Ms Fontaine, we're ready for you on set.
What's this. A deputation?
My Universal offer is still on the table.
We want to be released from our contracts
when The Demon Brides is finished.
-Both of you?
-I'm going with him.
You think I'd want to stay here after everything that's happened?
Consider yourself terminated.
But you, Billy, you're special.
Too damn good for Cardinal, but why should I let you go?
Because you're not your husband.
As for her, good riddance.
We're going to Hollywood.
We sure are, pardner!
What are you doing here, Father?
Don't answer that. Stupid question.
Virginia begins to undress, ready for her wedding night.
She's all alone, or so she thinks.
Pan off to the painting. That's it.
-Action, Cooper! Eyes.
Good, good. And...cut!
Sid. With me.
..what are we looking for?
Vivian Wolsey was a voyeur...
..and a leopard doesn't change his spots.
Sorry. You've lost me.
Why isn't the screen facing the projector?
Film is an illusion.
And he was a master of making the real look fake...
..and the fake look real.
Shut the door, please, Sid.
I assume you know someone who can develop this film.
A hidden camera? What on earth for?
Oh, dear God.
That was quick.
I called in a favour.
So, at three o'clock, Paulette Swain visits the boss
to sign for a starring role in his next movie.
And an hour later, he was dead.
The village hall projector's ready in the study.
Thank you, Mrs McCarthy.
Check the gate!
Thank you very much, Paulette, that was a thing of beauty.
I have a warrant to search your husband's personal files.
I take that to mean you are no closer to finding his killer.
I wouldn't say that, Madam.
Set up for scene 14!
To my leading lady.
I don't understand.
No-one's ever believed in me like this, Vivian.
I don't know how to thank you.
You're not that innocent.
Darling, the camera loves you.
And I'm going to make you a star.
No, no! I've changed my...
No! Get off!
Good! A little bit of resistance, I like that.
No, no, I won't!
Oh, no, you don't.
Nothing in this life is free.
I own you now!
Why haven't you taken this to the police?
Because it's not the whole story.
What happened afterwards -
the mask, the desecration of the body -
wasn't the act of a frightened young woman.
It was cool-headed, it was meditated.
It required strength,
..a flair for the dramatic.
In fact, it required a writer.
I don't deny it was me.
I killed him. Oh, God, what's going to happen to me?
Nothing. Go, clean yourself up.
Say nothing and trust me.
Trust me and no-one will know anything. Go!
Have we a key to this?
No, sir. But I can find the secretary and ask.
Seems our Mr Wolsey liked to eavesdrop.
'You arranged the body
'and then tried to put the blame on Arulus.'
-Isn't that Father...?
'So now you know the truth. What are you going to do?'
But this isn't the truth.
Not even half of it.
I expect you wondered where this had got to.
What the hell is that?
"At first," Dostoevsky said, "art imitates life.
"Then life imitates art.
"Then life takes its very existence from art."
I have no idea what you're talking about.
It's all in here, isn't it, Billy?
The beautiful young innocent in thrall to the devil.
The heroic young scribe who rescues her by killing the demon.
"Henry flung the holy water in Lord Hellion's face
"and it solidified like wax, suffocating his screams."
If you're praying for his soul then you're wasting your time.
'I suppose you removed its partner when you took off the mask.'
'I don't understand.'
You didn't kill Vivian.
He was alive when you left the room.
Oh, God, what's going to happen to me?
Nothing. Go, clean yourself up.
Say nothing and trust me.
Trust me and no-one will know anything. Go!
The impediment to all your hopes injured, but not fatally.
So you decided to finish the job.
Wax to suffocate a demon.
A simple matter of blocking up the air holes.
'And then you locked the door and waited while he suffocated to death.'
He's good, isn't he, sir?
I hope you're taking this down.
'If you ever leave the priesthood, I see a future for you as a writer.'
'But this isn't a work of imagination.
'I'm sure that if the police fit this to the mask
'they'll find an exact...'
THUD ON RECORDING
-'What are you doing!?'
-Let's go, Sergeant.
-Erm, where to, sir?
-Am I psychic?!
Get every available man and spread out till we find them.
Help! Somebody help me!
Oh, for God's sake!
Begging your pardon, Madam.
Celluloid. It'll go up like dynamite.
An unfortunate accident.
You're crazy. You made me think that I was a murderer.
Vivian had us both trapped. I saw a way of escape.
I did it for us.
There is no us, Billy.
We're going to Hollywood. You said you'd come with me.
Only to escape my crime.
I needed to get as far from here as possible.
Lies! You wanted to be with me.
I was grateful. That's all.
I killed that devil for you.
You killed him for yourself.
And now you are the demon.
It's all over, Billy.
But it's not too late to save your soul.
My soul doesn't belong to me any more.
You can change your mind.
Go to hell, Billy.
Then you go together.
I'll have that.
You're under arrest. You are not obliged to speak...
Get off me!
You're lucky I was here, Padre.
"Save me, Henry..."
Save me, Henry.
My hero, Henry.
Can you explain to me why I am spouting these inanities?
Because it's the end of the movie.
Well, I want a different ending.
Given the evidence on film, I doubt charges will be pressed.
You're no good to anyone frozen to death.
At least your photos are still undiscovered.
Until they fall into a different pair of wrong hands.
Well, in a manner of speaking, they already have.
Vivian's secret cubbyhole contained more than a camera.
So where are they now?
Well, I suppose you'd call it tampering with the evidence.
I burnt the negatives.
It seemed the prudent thing to do.
That is remarkable. I don't know how to thank you, Father.
Ah! Well, there is something.
"Directed by Bebe Fontaine."
Well, Rex was a liability, so someone had to.
Turns out it's much more fun than acting.
And if Muriel Box can do it...
A woman director. I say.
-Cardinal's next production will star Paulette Swain.
I'm glad to see you have put your past behind you.
Well, we had more in common than I realised.
Any girl that says no to Vivian has my respect.
Our leading ladies are required for their photo call
but I do hope the rest of you enjoy the movie.
Thank you so much for inviting us.
It was the least I could do, Father.
You have my eternal gratitude.
Eternal gratitude for what exactly?
Oh, Father, I know how you like to keep things to yourself
but I'm curious to know the secret
that is fit for everyone else's ears but mine.
Well, I shouldn't be surprised.
The truth is...
Father Brown helped Rex recover some...photographs.
And you couldn't tell me that because...?
Because we didn't want to disappoint you.
Cos the other party involved was,
I'm sorry to say...
Not Lana Turner. There have been rumours.
My lips are sealed.
And I know I can rely on you to be the soul of discretion, Mrs M -
after all, you're not one to gossip.
What kept you?
I had to wait for reinforcements.