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Why They Killed Nolan Recap

A PI, Thomas Nolan, is lurking outside a manor. He spots a woman, Clara Arnoldson, in the window and moves around to get a clear shot so he can take a photo of her. After attaching a better lens, Nolan moves back to take another shot and the chauffeur polishing the car spots him. He draws a silenced gun and moves around to flank Nolan. Nolan spots him and runs, and the chauffeur gives chase. The PI climbs over a wall and onto the road, and the chauffeur is forced to hide his gun until a jogger gets by. Nolan gets into his car and drives off before his pursuer can catch him.

In London, Nolan calls McGill to his newly-rented apartment. Nolan’s wife Mary finally answers the door and explains that they moved in three days ago and McGill is the first person they’ve seen. She takes McGill to the back room and explains that her husband is frightened for his life. Inside, Nolan says that he has to get out of the country that night. He says that he took a dangerous photo, and McGill finds the burnt scraps in the fireplace. Nolan says that he just wants McGill to hide him and get him to the plane, and offset to pay him 500 pounds.

Mary comes in with tea and tells McGill that her husband is depending on him. McGill says that they’ve worked together but not enough to go on blind faith, and Nolan insists that what McGill doesn’t know will keep him alive. He refuses to tell McGill what he knows for fear of getting him killed, and admits that he shouldn’t have asked McGill. He orders McGill out and tells him to forget he ever saw him, and McGill agrees to help and pours himself some tea.

McGill and Nolan go to Nolan’s car, unaware that the chauffeur is watching from across the street. Inside the car, Nolan tells McGill to keep his revolver handy just in case. They drive to McGill’s hotel and go to his room, and Nolan agrees to tell McGill everything if McGill cashes a check for him. He says that he didn’t do it on the way there because “they” might have seen him. Nolan makes out a check for 3,000 pounds and tells McGill to take his 500 out of it. The PI tells McGill to lock the door and keep the key.

Once McGill cashes the check, he goes back to his room and unlocks the door. The chauffeur knocks him out from behind and Nolan insists that McGill doesn’t know anything. The PI insists that he didn’t tell anyone and he’s leaving the country. The chauffeur takes McGill’s pistol and shoots Nolan with it.

The manageress hears the gunshots and knocks at the door. When there’s no answer, she lets herself in, she finds McGill unconscious on the floor and Nolan dead. While the manageress goes to get the police, McGill wakes up and goes to his friend. The dying man mutters a few words about “Tyler’s place” and “Marian” before passing away, and McGill confirms that his gun was the murder weapon. He goes to the front desk, takes the phone from the manageress and hangs it up, and tells her to tell the police that he’ll be in touch before going. The police pull up as McGill walks down the street.

The police are soon going through the room and find McGill’s belongings... including his shoulder holster. PC Martin comes in and informs the head inspector, George, that he went to the Nolan home but no one was there. The inspector then releases a description of McGill to the police. McGill is listening on the radio with a grief-stricken Mary, who blames McGill for getting Nolan killed. McGill insists that he’s innocent but admits that the police won’t believe him. Mary figures that McGill is just after the money, and he tosses the 3,000 pounds on the table. She doesn’t know anything about Tyler’s place, and says that Nolan looked up to McGill. Mary says that her full name is “Marian,” and McGill finds a newspaper photo of Clara hidden behind a photo of Mary on the bureau. The wife identifies the newspaper it came from, and McGill says that he has to go. He tells her to call the police and tell them everything she knows, including the fact that he’s innocent.

At the manor, Mr. Frank Arnoldson complains to Clara wife that she risked both their necks by bringing in Nolan. She points out that she’s stuck in the manor to rot while her husband is with his mistress for the last year. Clara explains that she hired Nolan anonymously by phone to find out who the woman was. Frank figures that Nolan got suspicious and trailed him back to the manor, and he’s sick of her face.

McGill goes to a reference library and tracks down the newspaper from the article on the back of the photo. It dates back to September 14, 1966, and the article with the photo refers to Frank and Clara as robbers who stole 1 million used banknotes in an airport theft.

The chauffeur tells Frank that he took care of things and the police believe that McGill killed Nolan. Frank says that he should have killed McGill, pointing out that an armed McGill will come after him. He says that they’re getting out of England that night with the stolen money.

McGill calls one of his contacts on the police, Inspector Glenn. Glenn demands to see him and secretly orders a trace on the phone. McGill asks if he ever found the Arnoldsons and then hangs up. The police pull up as McGill runs away from the phone booth and hails a taxi. McGill tells the driver to take him to Tyler’s Place. The driver has no idea where or what it is, and McGill tells him to keep driving until he finds it.

Mary is having tea and listening to the radio report about McGill. The police are also looking for Mary, and want her to get in touch with the police. After a moment, Mary makes a call.

The taxi driver says that he’s never heard of a Tyler’s Place, and McGill pays him to keep moving. A dispatcher calls in to say that Tyler’s Place is in Kensington... and was demolished in 1946. McGill tells the driver to go there so that he can see the remains.

Frank goes to Clara’s bedroom and apologizes for snapping at her earlier. He says that he didn’t want her to know about his affair, and says that he has to leave the country. However, Frank refuses to take Clara with him for fear that someone will recognize her because she refused the plastic surgery that he had. Clara refuses to let him go with his mistress, and Frank takes out a scarf to strangle her. She runs out the door and downstairs, but the chauffeur cuts off her escape and Frank finishes her off.

The taxi driver goes to the building built on the site of Tyler’s Place: a royal hunting lodge until 1648. A woman, Angela, answers the door and McGill notices that she has her luggage ready to go. He claims to be checking the travel arrangements for the company on the luggage tags, and Angela assumes that Frank sent him. She says that they’re leaving for Bermuda by the London airport. McGill quickly excuses himself and goes back to the taxi. The driver is listening to the radio, and as the news comes on, McGill has the man turn the station to some radio. He then settles back to wait for Angela’s man.

Frank pulls up and goes inside past the taxi. McGill watches as Frank enters his and Angela’s apartment. They kiss and Frank says that he wants to get going. Angela pours drinks and is surprised that Frank suggested that they leave on short notice. She admits that she’s curious about Frank’s background, and comments on his plastic surgery scars. Angela mentions McGill coming to check the travel arrangements 15 minutes ago, Frank snaps at her briefly and then tells her that they’re going for a drive before their flight. As they drive away, Frank notices the taxi following them and tells Angela that he’s baiting a hook. He tells her to stick with him and not any questions, or go her own way. Angela agrees to stay with him, and Frank tells her not to worry about him.

Frank pulls over and the taxi parks down the street. He tells Angela to go home and wait for him, and she does as she’s told. Frank then drives away and McGill has the driver follow him. That night, the thief drives back to his manor and McGill pays off the driver before climbing the wall. The driver pockets the money and turns on the radio, and hears the news describe Nolan’s murder... and McGill.

Inside the manor, Frank and the chauffeur wait in the study with guns drawn. Frank is sure that McGill will come in through the open patio window eventually, and tells the impatient chauffeur to wait. Outside, McGill hides and studies the house, gun drawn.

The chauffeur finally says he’s waited long enough. Frank tells him to go out and find McGill, and promises to cover him. The chauffeur goes out and McGill easily disarms him. He yells that he’s going to blow his head off for killing Nolan and then knocks him unconscious. Frank closes the patio window and goes to the doorway to wait. The patio door opens and Frank shoots... at the jacket that McGill tosses in.

McGill circles around the manor and enters through a kitchen window. He enters the main hall and goes to the study, and turns on the light. There’s no sign of Frank and McGill continues his search. Meanwhile, upstairs Frank props Carla’s corpse in a chair and shoves it out into the hallway. McGill hears him moving, and tells him that he’s coming. The ex-agent goes up the stairs and Frank hides behind a screen, gun ready.

After checking each room, McGill makes his way to Carla’s darkened bedroom. He comes in and turns on the lamp, and jumps back, startled, as he finds himself face-to-face with Carla’s corpse. Frank fires, just missing, and McGill kicks the chair into the screen. He has just enough time to shoot Frank and the killer dies next to his wife.

Glenn and his men arrive in response to the driver’s report, and McGill explains that the Arnoldsons are the thieves who pulled the airport job. He figures that Frank or the chauffeur killed Carla, and tells Glenn that the chauffeur is outside in the bushes. McGill explains why they killed Nolan, and asks how much his reward is. Glenn warns that if McGill’s story doesn’t hold up then he’ll be in jail for good. Unimpressed, McGill wonders why Carla never underwent plastic surgery as well. Amused, Glenn says that she was a woman. He wonders why Frank didn’t leave the country months ago.

At home, Angela sits and waits until she realizes that Frank isn’t coming.

Written by Gadfly on Dec 27, 2015

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