Drugs, Sex, and Murder in 1920s Tinseltown
This case anticipates film noir by nearly a quarter of a century. If it had been made into a silent film at the time, it would have been sensational. In many ways, it is a script.
Shooting script. Scene One. Long shot pans a tall distinguished man walking with a very pretty, curly-haired young woman down a walk towards a parked limousine. They reach the car and the man opens the door for the young woman, whose eyes appear glazed, as if she were slightly drunk or drugged.
She gets in. He closes the door. She rolls down the window. They exchange pleasantries. Close up on girl. Subtitle: "Goodbye, Dear Billie. I'll see you soon." Close up on man. The man's lips move. Subtitle: "Goodbye, my little Mabel. Take care."
The car pulls away as the man waves and the woman blows kisses at him through the open car window. He turns and walks back to his house, the end unit in a set of apartments in a U-shaped complex. He is carefree, and he walks with a certain zest.
He reaches the front door of his bungalow, pauses because he had closed the door, and it is now open. He looks puzzled. He shrugs and enters. He walks toward his desk at one end of the living room, intent on returning to the work he had left. He is completely unaware that anything is amiss.
He hears a noise, and before he can turn to confront its source, we see the smoke from a gunshot. He is hit in the back, and falls to the floor. An unidentifiable hand drags him by his left foot a short distance from where he fell. We cannot tell if it is the hand of a woman or a man. The camera moves in for a close-up on the fallen victim. He is lying face-down. He is clearly dead.