The Belfry
Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Pat Hitchcock and Jack Mullaney are the lead performers in a tale of murder at a rural county schoolhouse with a bell on the roof in an open covered belfry. The teacher has a suitor she rejects, he kills his rival and hides in the belfry over the weekend, enduring the school bell and the Sunday church bell. He wakes with a scream when the bell tolls for his victim’s funeral, then it’s rung as an alarm.

This is superbly directed by Daugherty, of course, with a great cast. The thing is a rare casting of the leads to give an unexpected tenor to the work. Hitchcock is sunny and sensitive and sad, Mullaney sucks his thumb and dozes or cannily revolves in his mind the alternative modes of action, killing the girl (he slips down to the classroom to write on the blackboard, “Ill git you to”) or romantically escaping with her to some home beyond the hills.


The Creeper
Alfred Hitchcock Presents

The husband works the night shift, didn’t get the raise. There’s a heat wave, “EAST SIDE KILLER STILL AT LARGE”. The wife is terrified, they argue over his dinner of scrambled eggs.

You have to wait your turn to get a chain lock installed on your door. Mr. Gibbons hasn’t a man to spare, in the emergency.

“You don’t get murdered without a reason,” says a neighbor lady, maybe it’s a woman killing her husband’s lovers.

The husband had a rival, a newspaperman. His sense of humor seems out of place, and he likes the heat. He’s waiting for her when she comes in from an errand. The husband sent him. “There’s something wrong with you,” she says, explaining their breakup. He replies, “I’ve had a grudge against you ever since you walked out on me.” He’s shown the door, observed by the neighbor lady, who caustically remarks, “women like you always get what they deserve.”

The phone rings, it’s her husband. He’s sorry about the fight. There’s a locksmith coming, she tells him, the door is open. The police are looking for a locksmith, hasn’t she heard the news? Hands throttle her, a blonde alone at night like the rest.


Fog Closing In
Alfred Hitchcock Presents

The invention of Polanski’s Repulsion in a bravura analysis of a sheer psychotic riddled with fear in her own home while her husband’s away.

Hitchcock’s bravura counterpoint is also remarkable.


Kill With Kindness
Alfred Hitchcock Presents

A Nabokovian framework out of Arsenic and Old Lace delivers Despair in a perfect reading.

Hitchcock at the stake.


The Better Bargain
Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Mobster hires private eye for divorce work, the plodder turns up a rendezvous at the zoo with a professorial type, young, later a café tête-à-tête, “Shelley expressed my feelings better than I could ever do, ‘The fountains mingle with the rivers and the rivers with the oceans,’” unquote, from his notebook.

The mobster wants the best for the job, “not those morons who work for me.” The hit man wants a certain price for both, more for a woman. Over the phone, the mobster buys that red sports car he denied her. She’s in his will, he can’t live without her.

“She walks in beauty like the night,” recites the hit man. “Only two things are worth living or dying for, a poem or a woman like Marian.” The mobster’s last of earth is Villon, “When death that cheat of cheats...”

The pen is mightier than the sword, and a goodly inheritance.


A Bottle of Wine
Alfred Hitchcock Presents

The drama begins after “an adaptation of a Japanese Nō play by an advertising yes man”. The extremely droll teleplay has a faint taste of Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” tantalizingly all the way through, until the lover supposedly given poisoned wine by the Judge and now locked inside the library uses the Judge’s pistol to shoot his way out, killing the Judge who is conversing with his nearly estranged young wife on the other side of the door.

Daugherty’s opening shot is very mysterious, a perpendicular down-angle through the blades of a revolving fan onto part of a round polished wooden table, asymmetrically disposed in the frame. The drawer is pulled out, a revolver is removed for inspection upside-down from the firing position in the camera’s view, then carried across the room to a rectangular table or desk and deposited in a drawer.

Aristotle on justice is cited by the Judge, and Sophocles’ last words. The wine is not poisoned, and did not come from a honeymoon in Spain.


My Brother, Richard
Alfred Hitchcock Presents

The District Attorney’s brother, the one in the construction business, sees to it that the D.A. has a clear road to the Governor’s Mansion, even the White House, why not?

Hitchcock the Churchillian exerciser.


The Cream of the Jest
Alfred Hitchcock Presents

A playwright rids himself of an importunate actor by sending the old fellow in character as a blackmailer to audition for his backer, a mobster. The cream of the jest is that the playwright has been blackmailed by the actor for the part, but that’s skim milk when the mobster pulls the text of the scene from the dead actor’s pocket, typed on the playwright’s stationery.

Which is to say, don’t shoot the piano player. Claude Rains gives a performance as the down-and-out actor, a drunkard, which just includes a bare parody of Colman in A Double Life as part of the turn. “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,” he recites the speech sloshed at a bar, and falls to the floor.

“I’m only real when I’m acting,” he pleads. “You sound schizy,” says the playwright, who has an office and secretary, and puts off third-act revisions for a cocktail party.

The mobster’s hangout is The Blue Flamingo. “ROCK N’ ROLL B.O. DYNAMITE”, says Variety.


Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Her wealthy father is so intimately concerned with her welfare, after she marries a young good-for-nothing, that she buys a revolver and shoots the old son of a bitch.

Hitchcock on “coexistence” with teenagers.


Father And Son
Alfred Hitchcock Presents

“London 1912”.

Good-for-nothings, selfish, mercenary, human too much, and amid the wreckage carefully arranged by the teleplay what should come out of these Cockney scapegraces but a transcendental moment of pure regard, father for son, after a fall?

Hitchcock the archer, missing the boy and the apple, which he eats.


The Return of the Hero
Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Rimbaud in Marseilles, pictured as a French army sergeant en route from Algeria during the war.

Jacques Bergerac, with Marcel Dalio, Lilyan Chauvin, Vladimir Sokoloff, and Hitchcock’s refusal to make a joke.


Little White Frock
Alfred Hitchcock Presents

An ass of a playwright has trouble casting a role, it’s an old-age part about resignation and that sort of thing, a superannuated actor gives him an inspiration.

A lot of this is plainly based on Mankiewicz’ All About Eve, the playwright and his wife, the tragic narrative, “everything but the bloodhounds snappin’ at her rear end.”

Hitchcock’s brother introduces but doesn’t conclude.

The best recipe for vodka martinis is given by the playwright.


The Morning After
Alfred Hitchcock Presents

“A clean desk man,” Hitchcock. He keeps a waste basket in the top right drawer, a telephone in the bottom right drawer, a secretary in the bottom left drawer, against threats by his sponsor.

The story tells of a businessman (Robert Alda) with a young mistress (Dorothy Provine) whose mother (Jeanette Nolan) instigates tragedy by informing the wife (Fay Wray).

Certain affairs of the heart are inherently dangerous, Hitchcock’s fan mail informs him, asking for counsel.

After all, Mrs. Clinton had every ashtray removed from the White House, and the result was a foregone conclusion.


Total Loss
Alfred Hitchcock Presents

The real estate man (this is his latest venture, financed by a mistress who writes novels and TV shows) feels the ground solidifying under him and embarks upon marriage, using a ring given by his mistress to hock, with a girl she describes as a “Vassar-wrapped bonbon”. This won’t do, even if he and his associates have plans to “redesign the whole Pacific Coast”. She puts her foot down, her lover plans to murder her.

Immediately afterward, he finds two police detectives in his apartment, his “lady friend” is dead. This perplexes him greatly, until he’s made to understand his fiancée has been stabbed to death using his pocket knife, “badly cleaned with lighter fluid” and given back to him by his mistress just before their midnight swim at her beach house an hour ago.


The Dusty Drawer
Alfred Hitchcock Presents

The mysteries of banking.

There is no deposit, the teller did not receive it.

There is most certainly a deposit, the teller is having a nervous breakdown.

There is a very considerable deposit, the teller is deranged.

He confesses all and denies it, the bank dismisses him.

The customer is satisfied.


The Blessington Method
Alfred Hitchcock Presents

In the hygienic, long-lived future of twenty years hence, old folks are a terrible nuisance who pass a law against fishing on Sunday, you can’t get a moment’s peace from a mother-in-law who won’t quit, there’s a company that restores the natural balance.

Hitchcock with a stiff one for the nurses.


Graduating Class
Alfred Hitchcock Presents

“The American college girl.”

Her European Literature teacher becomes enlightened about her, but too late, the snare she espied for the girl is the very one she herself falls into, a case of blackmail.

Mary Shelley’s other book, The Last Man, is wrought into the perfect construction.

Hitchcock on Christians and lions.


Mother, May I Go Out To Swim?
Alfred Hitchcock Presents

The mistress of misfortune creates an impression, but mother gets to the bottom of it.

An impressive background plate or rear-projection of a waterfall is a prominent feature.

Hitchcock does not take the plunge (cp. “Sybilla”, dir. Ida Lupino).


Summer Shade
Alfred Hitchcock Presents

The truly radical poet, T.S. Eliot believed, should look and dress like a banker.

In other words, as Rimbaud says, “il faut être absolument moderne.”

A little Puritan girl in Salem is well advised to present a modern appearance, what with hangings and exorcism and whatnot.

After examining a ducking stool, Hitchcock “shoots a picture” in a photo booth.


The Door Without A Key
Alfred Hitchcock Presents

“Another program based on authentic stories taken from the files of America’s best television writers.”

Old amnesiac (Claude Rains) and misplaced boy (Billy Mumy) in the police station at night are rich and poor respectively, unloved both and shamming.

The very alert desk sergeant (John Larch) has city facilities for them, but they’re two of a kind and that’s that.

Young motorcyclists “passing through” and a drunken dame picked up by her sister complete the picture.


The Star Juror
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour

George dozes by his snoring wife, they’re on a picnic, he gets up for a walk, meets Lola by the lake. Her loud voice must be silenced, he throttles her.

He’s called to the jury in the case. The defendant is her lover, an ex-convict. Astute questioning reveals the testimony is worthless, there is an acquittal.

George confesses and is disbelieved. Mobs attack the accused, he’s suicidal. George wrestles the gun from him, fails, it goes off. The verdict is death by self-inflicted gunshot.

And so it ends, while Hitchcock bricks his sponsor up in a closet. The lazy Southern ambience is like a daydream louring into nightmare, Robbe-Grillet filmed by Lang.


A Home Away from Home
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour

Poe’s “The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether” is the basis of the work, though only its central form is maintained. The “soothing system” placed in counterposition to the one in the title probably suggested Dr. Fenwick’s Permissive Therapy, in which the counsel is proffered, “give the patient a role to play and he’ll accept the challenge.”

Not all of them do so well as others, but there’s no doubt this theory is sound in form and principle, as M. Maillard would concur beyond any doubt. The results are demonstrative in one respect, to say the least.

Poe’s tale happens in “the extreme southern provinces of France,” anticipating Van Gogh’s sojourn thereabouts by several decades.


Nothing Ever Happens in Linvale
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour

As in “Terror at Northfield”, there is a parody if not a satire of The Andy Griffith Show, with a deputy played by George Furth. There hasn’t been a murder in Linvale for years.

This is a very deep study of its model (as Hitchcock’s “I Saw the Whole Thing” shows a great admiration of Perry Mason). Within the setting of a town like Mayberry is laid the situation of Rear Window as a variant. The peeper is a widow, the man next door is digging in his yard. It ends quite differently, however, though with an accelerated cadence like the original, achieved by other means.

Fess Parker is a complete performer in the intimacy of small-town policing. Phyllis Thaxter has another invention as the concerned witness. Gary Merrill stops short of Robert Newton as the gruff suspect, a role no doubt conceived as a distant relation to Ernest T. Bass.

Daugherty’s direction, apart from the matters of style that are involved, is singularly good with respect to the finale.


The Confession
Mission: Impossible

The art department must fulfill the script’s requirements of a Sunday painter’s (“I’m no Winston Churchill”) portrait of Kent Smith, and a professional one (unfinished) of Pat Hingle, and does so authoritatively. Cinnamon acts the part of a journalist for Newsworld magazine to perfection.

A Soviet-bloc agent has blown up a United States Senator, but the Secretary doesn’t think so, and neither does Willy, the poor trade delegate had too much money on him. The Senator’s backed by a businessman who wants war, the Impossible Missions Force secrete a television camera in the Newsworld portraitist’s paintbox for a live network broadcast as the plot is revealed, the Senator himself putting in an armed appearance.

The Sunday painter asks for criticism and gets it. He does indeed “lean to the yellows,” his background is a fiery foliage. Briggs’ painting is laid down by Barney and covered to look like primed canvas, any color applied reveals it. When the amateur seeks to apply his touch, a green brushstroke appears. Briggs explains a blue undercoat has combined with the dauber’s yellow to make green.


The B Negative Raid
The Rat Patrol

Dietrich surprises the patrol with a heavy machine gun in the back of a truck, Moffitt is hit, a transfusion is necessary, the nearest hospital is two days away.

Sgt. Troy lights Dietrich’s cigarette, rifles through the captain’s portable personnel files. Dietrich, under the gun, has just the man, an American deserter, who doesn’t want the “second chance” he’s offered by Troy. He’s whisked away in a German truck, Dietrich pursues.

It comes to a showdown in the desert. Dietrich is faced down by the coward holding a grenade, and calls the bluff. The GI pulls the pin. “You fool,” Dietrich shouts, “it’s alive!” A quick lob of the grenade, a scurrying mêlée.

Moffitt gets his transfusion, the GI gets his second chance, “not the first guy to get separated from his unit.”


The Bring ‘Em Back Alive Raid
The Rat Patrol

Dr. Schneidermann is captured in a costly raid that nets the Germans three prisoners. Hauptmann Dietrich lets them slip away, and follows with a radio direction finder.

They have been informed that Schneidermann has a lethal quantity of radium in his possession. Sgt. Troy is in immediate peril.

He views the pursuit of Moffitt, Pettigrew and Hitchcock by Dietrich and his men. A coded message sets up a counterstrike.

The patrol now have their man handcuffed in a jeep. He is secretly exultant because the radium has been in Troy’s shirt pocket for hours. Not so, a suspicious glance alerted the sergeant, the stuff has been in the glove compartment directly in front of the doctor.

Both men are declared healthy. “The members of the master race,” says Sgt. Moffitt, “they make a lot of mistakes, don’t they?”


The Hour Glass Raid
The Rat Patrol

A false surgeon, a dead spy on his operating table in a USAAC tent, the wind picking up.

Dietrich stages a curious raid, his men fire out of range, puzzling the patrol. He needs the doctor, “one of our most important physicians”.

Their car overturns, Dietrich is trapped beneath it. He is to test the character of his operative. An injection is offered, the doctor is bidden to take it first, he drives away in a jeep.

It runs out of gas between German half-tracks and the patrol, he’s killed, the jeep destroyed, his information was secreted in bandages. Battle is not joined, “it’s been a long day,” says Sgt. Troy, “let’s get outta here.”

The head nurse exhorts her staff to keep the high standard set by the late surgeon. Better that way, Troy observes.


The David and Goliath Raid
The Rat Patrol

Dietrich’s column looms over the patrol to retrieve old Arab charts indicating waterholes and oases, tank rounds blast the jeeps, leave Pettigrew dazed and wounded.

He toys with a scrap of rubber, babbles of his prowess with a slingshot as a child. They slip away and march across the desert to a poisoned well.

On the rise above them, Dietrich again, awaiting their surrender. A parley, white flag, he didn’t poison the well. He can’t rush them, he needs the charts. There is “no possible way,” Moffitt concludes, “no way out.”

Troy makes a slingshot with that rubber scrap, Pettigrew comes around, they smite a guard, seize a vehicle, lob German grenades at pursuers and speed away, guzzling water from a German canteen.


The Love Thine Enemy Raid
The Rat Patrol

Supplies are continually brought to the unit “that’s got our Fifth boxed in”, one convoy is knocked out by the patrol, a single truck veers off, Troy shoots the figure opening the flaps at the back of the truck, a woman in khaki tumbles down to the sand.

She is a nurse, the truck is re-supplying a German field hospital. They take her there for treatment. En route she hears intelligence of armor on its way to the Fifth. No-one wants the job of killing her.

She’s brought in to a hospital tent and has to be left there while Troy and Moffitt fight their way out.

Either she died or she said nothing, the tanks arrive unexpected.


The Touch and Go Raid
The Rat Patrol

Hauptmann Dietrich engineers a mock battle to draw in the patrol. Three of his men in GI uniforms join Dietrich himself as Sgt. Troy, happy to “tear a page from your manual of surprise-and-destroy.”

Sgt. Moffitt is relieved of an order to Supply Depot 83, where the Major in command has an envelope on his desk marked “Operation Diamond”, it contains a plan for “inter-company baseball games”.

Dietrich’s threefold humiliation follows on the failure of his primary mission, to blow up the depot. Thinking he has valuable plans, he trades the major for an escape with his men, who depart under the eyes of the patrol. He discovers he’s been “finessed” and reports this to his own Col. Bauer, who insists on having “every available man” in cryptology decipher Operation Diamond.


Hawaii Five-O

A mob chief’s “box man” breaks into Iolani Palace on a Sunday afternoon, rifles a safe full of evidence and kills an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney just checking in on a drive with his pregnant wife.

This is a major defeat, but that’s not all. The box man is nearly caught when assassins gun him down. The mobster’s right-hand man just misses being blown up in his car and loses a mistress instead, simply on the chance he might testify.

The right-hand man is shocked, and goes to McGarrett. He’s given police protection in a hotel suite, “Boy Scout stuff,” he calls it. There’s an assassin waiting in the room when McGarrett opens the door, cyanide in the water, allergens in the food to which the witness has a very bad reaction.

McGarrett’s countermove is bold. The Honolulu paper prints a banner headline announcing the death of a mob witness, but McGarrett means the box man. The grinning mobster sees his right-hand man drive up in an ambulance and enter the courthouse on a stretcher, eager to testify.


The Big Kahuna
Hawaii Five-O

The last of the “anointed ones” is beset by the fire goddess Pele full of wrath. The epiphanies drive him to madness and despair. He returns to his childhood haunts, the shrine where he was taught in the hills. He is commanded to die and contemplates the leap, but the goddess is startled by McGarrett and plummets into the view.

She is the kahuna’s niece, in cahoots with his nephew and a developer to secure his land, so valuable the latter will pay “a dollar a weed”. An underground filmmaker shot the visitations for a projector outside the house.

This “acid head” has a spray-painted signboard, “Alastair Kemp World Wide Studios”. His production is called Theater of Madness, he speaks of “Hawaii, blinded by its own legend.”

He is charged with, at the very least, “using public property for commercial purposes without a license”.


Horse of a Slightly Different Color

The inspiration might have come from Frost’s poem, “The Cow in Apple Time”, and just as well the piece is a companion or pendant to “Let’s Hear It for a Living Legend”, disappearing man, disappearing woman, only here she transforms into a horse surrealistically tromping a man, after being painted up to resemble another horse entirely—“a circus horse”, as Banacek says.

This all takes place at or around a racetrack, where Daugherty is peculiarly good at giving an insider’s (i.e., an owner’s) view.

“There’s an old Polish proverb that says, ‘Only someone with nothing to be sorry about, smiles back at the rear of an elephant.’”

Here, as always, Banacek’s chauffeur Jay provides an incorrect solution but a reflection of the theme. He imagines that Appian Way has learned Oxford Don’s trick in no time, because Italians are so smart. Banacek points out that a Schnauzer couldn’t learn it that fast, and Schnauzers are smarter than horses, to which Jay replies, “show me a Schnauzer that ever won the Triple Crown.”

Even if that seems refined to a point of elegance unwonted in even a thoroughbred (a rare and perhaps unique example of Jay getting the better of his boss), the script is by Jimmy Sangster, from a story by Harold Livingston.