Synopsis for
"The Defenders" Along Came a Spider (1962)

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Sid Barber is a retired vaudevillian who returns to his daughter's home one night to discover that his son-in-law has been beaten to death with a trophy - one of Barber's prize possessions. His shock is compounded when Melissa, his granddaughter, accuses him of the murder. Although Barber spent the evening at a club for retired show people like himself, their failing memories or eyesight prevent them from supporting his alibi. His daughter and her husband had been quarreling lately because the husband wanted to put Barber in an old folks home. The elder Preston talks with Melissa who says that on the night of the murder she was awakened by the noise of people arguing downstairs. She heard her father cry out and then saw Barber leave the home hurriedly with his coat "all dirtied up". She did not go downstairs to investigate but stayed in her room with the lights on. When the elder Preston and Melissa's mother take her to a park, Melissa tells Preston she insists upon calling Barber "Sid" instead of "Grandpa" because she knows she is adopted. Melissa's mother is shocked when Preston tells her this. A psychiatrist consulted by Preston tells him that, as an adopted child, Melissa may be seeking to exclude Barber so that she can have her mother's love to herself. When the District Attorney puts Melissa on the witness stand, Preston is shocked. During his cross examination Preston explains to her what happens to people who don't tell the truth but Melissa insists she is telling the truth. When Preston calls Melissa to the stand as his witness the next day, the District Attorney thinks Preston has lost his mind. Preston has Melissa tell what happened on the night her father was murdered. Preston then reveals that he had the court reporter transcribe Melissa's testimony from the previous day and then asks him to compare it to the testimony Melissa just gave - it is exactly the same! Preston demands to know who helped Melissa prepare her testimony. Melissa denies anyone helped her. Preston then tells Melissa her testimony was too complicated for her to have made it up all by herself. Melissa says "That's not true. I made up the story all by myself." Caught in a lie, she admits that she made up parts of her story including the identification of Barber as the murderer. The case against Barber is dismissed. Barber tells Melissa he still loves her and tells her some funny stories in order to get her to smile.


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