Cast & Crew
Lewis D. Collins
Soon after the bullet-riddled body of New York newspaper correspondent Floyd Cooper is found, three men--Howard Trude, Robert McCaigh and Sergei Krenwicz--confess to the crime. Unable to determine which of the three bullet wounds was the fatal one, all of the accused are sentenced to be executed at Sing Sing Prison. On the eve of their execution, however, forensics expert Professor Varney convinces Governor Duane that his new lie detector machine will be capable of ascertaining the actual killer, and the three convicts are assembled for a final interrogation. To persuade the men to tell their stories, Varney shows them pardons issued by the governor, which he claims will be given to the two men who pass the lie detector's test. The first man to talk is Englishman McCaigh, who relates the following story: When he and his wife Anne were coffee growers in South America, they sheltered Floyd after he had been shot during a local military skirmish. A recuperated Floyd tricked McCaigh into delivering a secret dispatch to the government's enemies, an act for which McCaigh was temporarily jailed, then eloped with Anne. McCaigh eventually tracked Floyd to New York, where he confronted him and, after Floyd had aimed his gun at him, shot him. Next Krenwicz tells a similar story: As a military attache in Manchuria, he and his Western-educated lover, Li Sung, saved Floyd from being executed by the local warlord. Floyd then used Li to deliver a secret military message to the warlord's enemies, and Li was captured and executed. Like McCaigh, Krenwicz located Floyd in New York and attacked him. After Krenwicz completes his tale, reporter Trude relates the final story: As secretary to politician Kurt Nordon, Trude's girl friend, Ellen Croft, was persuaded by Floyd to arrange for an interview. After Floyd met with the reclusive Nordon at his Maryland estate and blackmailed him with damning information from Manchuria, he seduced Ellen and convinced her to break with Trude and become his secretary. A jealous Trude confronted Floyd in his study and shot him after he had aimed a pistol at him. Armed with these three sets of testimony, Varney declares that Krenwicz's story was false and that he murdered Floyd because he had run off with Krenwicz's share of money from a Manchurian arms deal. After shooting Floyd, Varney states, Krenwicz began searching his study for the money. When McCaigh and Trude each came in, he propped up Floyd's body, placed a gun in his hand and made them think he was threatening them. Thus cleared, McCaigh and Trude are given the pardons, while Krenwicz faces death.