Becker sees a girl framed in the reflection of a diamond-shaped display of knives.
Cue in 'Peer Gynt' theme music, which Becker cannot help but whistle compulsively.
He's just stopped ... Did you see him, the guy
who was whistling?
HENRY (THE BEGGAR):
Yes, yes. I can still see him.
Sure. He's talking to a little girl as he walks
down the street with her.
After him, and don't let him go.
The day Elsie Beckmann was killed, someone
bought a balloon off me. He was with a little
girl and the guy whistled just like that!
To mark Becker, Henry draws a large letter M, heavy with chalk dust. As Becker is peeling his orange fro the girl, Henry walks by Becker and pretends to slip on the orange peels falling on him and slaming his left hand against Becker's back.
The girl picks up the knife, which Becker dropped, and hands the knife to Becker.
LITTLE GIRL: Uncle.
MURDERER: What is it?
LITTLE GIRL: You're all dirty.
LITTLE GIRL: There, on your shoulder.
LITTLE GIRL: Here, I'll clean it off... Whatever's the matter?
MURDERER: Come on ... let's go.
PICK-POCKET: In the attic ... he's in the attic. I heard him knocking. In the attic ... he's in the attic!
GROEBER THE ROBBERY INSPECTOR: Well, what have you got to say? Nothing stolen,
but a man was taken away. God knows where.
KARL LOHMANN THE HOMICIDE INSPECTOR (Otto Wernicke):Fantastic!
GROEBER: And Franz -- the burglar we arrested -- isn't
talking. Frightened evidently. Actually I know
him well ... he's one of those burglars who
would rather jump from the fifth floor than get
mixed up in a murder.
Becker is brought to the 'courthouse' of the underworld where he will face charges.
The camera pans to reveal a vast crowd of denizens of the underworld that has assembled -- crooks and their wives, whores, pimps, and beggars. There is absolute silence and no one moves.
BECKER: What do you want with me? Let me go ... let me go! I've done nothing to you ... Let me go, you swine. Let me go. Bastards! Bunch of bastards! What do you want with me? Bastards! What do you want?
. . .
BECKER: But gentlemen ... Please, I don't even know what you want me for. I beg you. Set me free. There must be some mistake ...
BLIND BEGGAR: No ... No ... No mistake ... Impossible. There's no mistake . . .
BECKER: But ... what do you mean?
BLIND BEGGAR: Do you recognize it? It is a balloon like the one you gave to little Elsie Beckmann. A balloon like that ...
BECKER: El ... El ... Elsie ... El ... Elsie.
BECKER: You have no right to hold me here.
A PROSTITUTE: Right? Someone like you doesn't have any rights! Kill him!
A MAN: Yes, kill him!
A PROSTITUTE: Crush him like a mad dog!
. . .
SCHRÄNKER: You talk of rights ... You will get your rights. We are all law experts here, from six weeks in Tegel, to fifteen years in Brandenburg... You will get your rights ... you will even have a lawyer. Everything will be done according to the rule of law.
BECKER: A lawyer? ... A lawyer! ... I don't need a lawyer ... Who is accusing me? You, maybe? You?
LAWYER: Eh ... just a moment ... If I were you, sir, I'd keep quiet. Your life's at stake ... in case you didn't know.
BECKER: And who are you?
LAWYER: I have the dubious honor of being your defense counsel. But I am afraid it won't be much use to you.
BECKER: But ... but... do you want to kill me then? Murder me, just like that?
SCHRÄNKER: We just want to render you harmless. That's what we want ... but you'll only be harmless when you're dead.
BECKER: But, if you kill me, it'll be cold-blooded murder!
The Crowd roars with derisive laughter. The lawyer sighs and shakes his head.
BECKER: I demand that you hand me over to the police. I demand to be handed over to the jurisdiction of the common law!
The laughter increases.
A VOICE: Quite a performance ... That's not bad, that, ha, ha, ha!
SCHRÄNKER: That would suit you, wouldn't it? So that you can invoke paragraph fifty-one... And spend the rest of your life in an institution at the state's expense ... And then you'd escape ... or else there'd be a pardon and there you are, free as air, with a pass, protected by the law because of mental illness. Off again chasing little girls. No, no. Very dry. We're not going to let that happen. We must make you powerless. You must disappear.
BECKER: But -- I can't help what I do! I can't help it ... I can't ... I can't ... I can't help it.
A CROOK: The old story! We never can help it in court.
BECKER: What do you know about it? What are you saying? If it comes to that, who are you? What right have you to speak?
Who are you? All of you... Criminals! Perhaps you're even proud of yourselves? Proud of being able to break safes, to climb into buildings or cheat at cards ... Things you could just as well keep your fingers off... You wouldn't need to do all that if you had learnt a proper trade... or if you worked. If you weren't a bunch of lazy bastards . . . But I... I can't help myself! I haven't any control over this evil thing that's inside me -- the fire, the voices, the torment!
SCHRÄNKER: You mean to say you have to murder?
BECKER: Always... always, there's this evil force inside me ... It's there all the time, driving me out to wander through the streets ... following me ... silently, but I can feel it there... it's me, pursuing myself, because ... I want to escape ... to escape from myself! ... but it's impossible. I can't. I can't escape. I have to obey it. I have to run ... run ... streets ... endless streets. I want to escape. I want to get away. And I am pursued by ghosts. Ghosts of mothers. And of those children ... They never leave me. They are there, there, always, always! Always ... except ... ! ... except when I do it ... when I ... Then I can't remember anything ... And afterwards I see those posters and I read what I've done ... I read ... and ... and read ... Did I do that? But I can't remember anything about it ... But who will believe me? Who knows what it feels like to be me? How I'm forced to act ... How I must ... Don't want to, but must ... Must ... Don't want to ... must. And then ... a voice screams ... I can't bear to hear it.
I can't ... I can't go on. Can't go on ... Can't go on ... Can't go on ...I can't go on ...
SCHRÄNKER: The accused has said that he cannot help himself. That is to say: he has to murder. As this is the case, he has pronounced his own death sentence. Someone who admits to being a compulsive murderer should be snuffed out. Like a candle. This man must be wiped out, eliminated.
LAWYER: I wish to speak.
SCHRÄNKER: The defense lawyer will speak.
LAWYER: Our very honorable President who is, I believe, wanted by the police for three murders ...
SCHRÄNKER: That's got nothing to do with it!
LAWYER: (continuing)... claims that because my client acts under an irresistible impulse, he is condemned to death. He is mistaken ... because it is that very fact that clears my client. It is this very fact of obsession which makes my client not responsible ... And nobody can be punished for something which he is not responsible for. I mean that this man is sick. And a sick man should be handed over, not to the executioner, but to the doctor.
. . .
Meanwhile, the kangaroo court is interrupted by the police.
In the name of the law ...