In France in 1875, a team of workers led by Monsieur de Paris prepare the guillotine for execution. The executioner confirms that it easily drops with the touch of a foot to the lever. Next they test its sharpness on a cabbage, cutting it clean through...Read the full recap
Host: The early dawn. The gleaming knife. A man seized in his cell by armed guards in their stocking feet. Snatched from a dream to freedom to be thrust into the waiting embrace of Madame Guillotine. All together an unenviable experience. Not, however, inevitable. It is related that there have been certain criminals, cutthroats and murderers all, who have by one means or another evaded this chilly thing. Well, the efforts of one such fellow to alter his ordained destiny form the substance of tonight's story. The location: France. The year: 1875. And the theme... well, you might call it togetherness. The normal association of the body and the head it comes with. You're about to meet three people who enjoy seriously conflicting viewpoints on the subject. Here is the condemned man, Robert Lamont, who desires to keep his head while others about him are losing theirs. Enacted for us by Alejandro Rey. His good wife and the chief source from which his present dilemma obtains, Babette, played by Danielle de Metz. And the third figure in this grisly triangle, the estimable and much-maligned Monsieur de Paris, public servant par excellence. Portrayed by Robert Middleton. This drama may be considered not only as a tribute to the inexorable march of civilization, but also to the unconquerable spirit of convicted murders. Of course, such practices may soon become things of the past with modern methods of scientific liquidation. Instant death is now available to the masses without fuss and, in most cases, without undue delay. Pity. The old traditional ways were always so much more... quaint.
Monsieur de Paris: And now, mademoiselle, if you will excuse me, I must not be late for dinner.
Babette Lamont: Your wife?
Monsieur de Paris: Oh much worse, mademoiselle: my housekeeper.
Babette Lamont: Oh, what a delicious smell.
Monsieur de Paris: How thoughtless of me. Please mademoiselle, do us the honor of remaining for dinner.
Babette Lamont: Are you sure it will please Madame de Clerc?
Monsieur de Paris: Madame de Clerc has not been pleased since the day she attended her husband's funeral.
Prison Director: Robert Lamont, it is my duty to inform you that your appeal has been refused. Be brave.
Robert Lamont: Why not? It costs no more.
The Barber: Bonjour, monsieur. Shave?
Robert Lamont: Go to blazes!
The Barber: Yes, I will, someday. But you, you will be there to have things all nice and cozy for me.
Host: Here is the condemned man, Robert Lamont, who desires to keep his head while others about him are losing theirs.
Karloff quotes from Rudyard Kipoling's poem "If--" (1895).