SEASON 1, EPISODE 19: “THE DERELICTS”
DIR. ROBERT STEVENSON
STARRING ROBERT NEWTON AND PHILLIP REED
ORIGINALLY AIRED FEBRUARY 5, 1956
Recap: Ralph Cowell is an invenstor who is in dire financial straits due to his lady-friend’s penchant for spending all of his money on fancy things. When his investor and silent business partner comes looking for his 50% of the profits, Cowell can think of no other solution to his problems than to kill the man.
Reaction: Phillip Reed gives a pretty fantastic performance as Ralph Cowell, especially after the murder takes place. He pulls off the perfect mix of paranoia and optimism, chilling the audience with the prospect that Cowell just might get away with his crime somehow. Equally great is the performance of Robert Newton, whose character I won’t discuss in detail because I don’t want to spoil the episode for anyone who hasn’t seen it!
SEASON 1, EPISODE 20: “AND SO DIED RIABOUCHINSKA”
DIR. ROBERT STEVENSON
STARRING CLAUDE RAINS AND CHARLES BRONSON
ORIGINALLY AIRED FEBRUARY 12, 1956
Recap: When a dead man is found in a theater, Detective Krovitch is assigned to investigate the crime, but his investigation takes on an unusual twist when a ventriloquist’s dummy begins speaking to him.
Reaction: This is one of the few episodes of season 1 that I hadn’t seen before watching it for this series, and I was really excited to watch it because it stars Claude Rains, who I absolutely love. It’s also based on a story by Ray Bradbury, which is an added bonus. The story and Rains’ performance as the puppet master met my expectations exactly, and this episode as a whole is great — a new favorite! This episode is super campy (as is just about any story about a man obsessed with dolls), so I couldn’t help but love it.
SEASON 1, EPISODE 21: “SAFE CONDUCT”
DIR. JUSTUS ADDISS
STARRING CLAIRE TREVOR, JACQUES BERGERAC, WERNER KLEMPERER AND JOHN BANNER
ORIGINALLY AIRED FEBRUARY 19, 1956
Recap: An American journalist is framed as a smuggler while travelling back to America from behind the “Iron Curtain.”
Reaction: This episode is quite low on suspense and didn’t really grab me from the beginning. Things did get moving eventually, and cold war intrigue grows as the episode progresses. It is interesting to watch the journalist attempt to handle being framed by one of the local heroes of the country that’s accusing her.
SEASON 1, EPISODE 22: “PLACE OF SHADOWS”
DIR. ROBERT STEVENS
STARRING EVERETT SLOANE AND SEAN MCCLORY
ORIGINALLY AIRED FEBRUARY 26, 1956
Recap: A young man sneaks his way into a monastery to get revenge on a theif who wronged him.
Reaction: My favorite thing about this episode is the way it’s constructed. I love the set of the monastery and the use of shadow within it. On top of that there’s a really great couple of minutes that completely lack dialogue, instead using music being sung by the monks as the only sound, while one of the characters is clearly tackling an inner struggle. BRILLIANT. The episode as a whole is not a favorite of mine, but man I love that sequence.
SEASON 1, EPISODE 23: “BACK FOR CHRISTMAS”
DIR. ALFRED HITCHCOCK
STARRING JOHN WILLIAMS AND ISABEL ELSOM
ORIGINALLY AIRED MARCH 4, 1956
Recap: A man tells his wife that he’s digging a new wine cellar in the basement, but he’s actually planning to kill her and bury her there.
Reaction: Hitchcock’s intro on this one is hilarious. He has a shrunken head on the table and warns the audience not to fall asleep under the dryer. The episode itself is quite good as well and reminds me a bit of an early episode, “Guilty Witness.” Both episodes start off pleasant enough but soon become morbid when murderous suspicions arise. With direction provided by the Master of Suspense himself, very few faults can be found in this installment of the anthology series.
SEASON 1, EPISODE 24: “THE PERFECT MURDER”
DIR. ROBERT STEVENS
STARRING HURD HATFIELD, PHILIP COOLIDGE AND MILDRED NATWICK
ORIGINALLY AIRED MARCH 11, 1956
Recap: Two brothers plan to murder their aunt in hopes that they’ll receive a huge inheritance.
Reaction: Hitch calls this story a “comedy of bad manners.” I like this episode a lot because the aunt who is supposed to be the murder victim is very sneaky in her own right and outsmarts her two evil nephews.