Something in the Woodwork
A divorcée moves into a house unoccupied since a bank robber was killed in the attic at the time of its construction, and said to be haunted. She drinks, tries to get her husband back, seeks out the ghost. “Leave me alone,” it says to her. She hounds the young mistress, and with a threat to burn down the house, gets the ghost to murder her husband by agitating the heart condition he now has.
And he does die, with a scream and a thud. She looks in the mirror and laughs, until he walks downstairs with a ghastly expression and says, in the ghost’s metallic voice, “Why couldn’t you leave me alone?” She screams, he throttles her.
“Short Fuse” means the alteration imposed on Hamlet, who here as Roger Stanford, Jr. is obliged by his stepuncle (James Gregory) to take immediate action or see his father’s company sold to a conglomerate. The gag, which ultimately does in Roger as well, is not the point envenomed nor in the cup an union, but the old exploding cigar trick.
The Elizabethan dichotomy permits the bravura of Roddy McDowall’s Hamlet as well as William Windom’s businesslike Fortinbras.
The spectacle of their confrontation occurs during an ascent of “the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which passes through five climate zones from desert to alpine.”
The Most Dangerous Match
The opening nightmare sequence effectively modulates to waking on a matched shot of Laurence Harvey “tumbling” out of bed.
The bizarrerie of the setup employs Oscar Beregi in a cameo as the restaurant proprietor. “Duddy Kravitz,” says Lloyd Bochner into the telephone, speaking the dialect of his nation. Jack Kruschen’s marvelous turn as a chess-playing mensch approaches the Nabokovian.
A consequence of all this abstraction is to render the piece descriptive and evocative of a state of mind in which a solipsistic ambition is undone by the constraints of nature.
The Adventure of the
TV makes its appearance, as Ellery Queen demonstrates in a free-moving impromptu live performance its preferability in certain circumstances to “impressions”.
The gag is an ad man who’s averse to broadcasting, done in by exploiting his fixed personal schedule.