Recap and React: Alfred Hitchcock Presents… episodes 25 – 29

p4SEASON 1, EPISODE 25: “THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN”
DIR. ROBERT STEVENSON
STARRING ESTELLE WINWOOD AND CHARLES BRONSON
ORIGINALLY AIRED MARCH 18, 1956
Recap: Monica Laughton is an elderly, wealthy and eccentric woman who lives in a large mansion and seems to always be holding wakes for deceased relatives. One day, a milkman is discussing Monica’s odd behavior with a man at a lunch counter. The conversation is overheard by Frank Bramwell, who along with his wife decides to visit Miss Laughton’s house and rob her.
Reaction: Love Hitchcock’s intro about deciding against “etching the entire picture in black” rather than in black and white, for the sake of viewers with narrow imaginations. As for the meat of the episode, the story is somewhat typical — a rich old woman with lots of money is targeted by a young swindler — but it’s still a great watch. There is a bit of a twist to it that I don’t want to give away. The episode is equal parts comical and suspenseful. Estelle Winwood’s performance is fantastic and very fun to watch. All of the performances in the episode are extremely entertaining, but Winwood steals the show!

SEASON 1, EPISODE 26: “WHODUNIT”
DIR. FRANCIS COCKRELL
STARRING JOHN WILLIAMS
ORIGINALLY AIRED MARCH 25, 1956
Recap: Alexander Penn Arlington is a writer who has been killed. An angel gives him permission to relive his final day so he can figure out who killed him.
Reaction: I love the flashy, Romanesque depiction of Heaven in the episode’s opening (and the fact that it’s FULL OF PACKED BOOKSHELVES). I also love John Williams. He worked with Hitch a lot (including in To Catch a Thief, which is one of my favorite films if you couldn’t tell from the photo up there on TMP’s header) and appeared in 10 episodes of this series. Here, he is perfectly cast as a grumpy mystery writer, with the tables turned on him when he must solve the mystery of his own death. Philip Coolidge from The Tingler also appears in a small role. The cast and the use of dry humor are enough to make me love this episode, and there’s the added bonus of really not being able to guess who the culprit will be until the end. When John Williams sits there making a list of suspects and their motives, the audience is just as confused as he is as to what the outcome will be!

SEASON 1, EPISODE 27: “HELP WANTED”
DIR. JAMES NEILSON
STARRING JOHN QUALEN AND LORNE GREEN
ORIGINALLY AIRED APRIL 1, 1956
Recap: Mr. Crabtree is out of work, and his wife is in poor health. He was let go from his last job because his boss thought he was too old for the work. He’s able to find a new job working in an office… but his boss has a very unexpected assignment for him.
Reaction: Fun opening on this one — Hitch pretends to read a “Help Wanted” ad asking for applicants for a new AHP host. Unfortunately, the episode doesn’t quite live up to that opening. It’s a decent watch and it gets better in the second half, but there’s some slowness in the beginning.

SEASON 1, EPISODE 28: “PORTRAIT OF JOCELYN”
DIR. ROBERT STEVENS
STARRING PHILIP ABBOTT, NANCY GATES AND JOHN BARAGREY
ORIGINALLY AIRED APRIL 8, 1956
Recap: Mark Halliday and his wife are visiting an art gallery to pick up a painting he’s purchased for their anniversary… but when they arrive at the gallery, what they find is a painting of Mark’s ex-wife Jocelyn, who has been missing for five years. Mark sets out to track down the artist who created the painting, unraveling a series of odd clues about his first wife’s disappearance.
Reaction: I was really excited to watch this episode based on the synopsis. It definitely delivers the drama. There’s the new wife’s jealously over the missing wife on top of the mystery of what really happened to Jocelyn. I love the buildup of little clues as the episode progresses, and the fact that Mark’s new wife never quite trusts him throughout their entire process of searching for the truth. It makes for a very intriguing episode.

SEASON 1, EPISODE 29: “THE ORDERLY WORLD OF MR. APPLEBY”
DIR. JAMES NEILSON
STARRING ROBERT H. HARRIS AND MEG MUNDY
ORIGINALLY AIRED APRIL 15, 1956
Recap: Mr. Appleby is a struggling antiques dealer who decides to kill his wife in order to receive her endowment and save his business. He thinks he’s gotten away with it and even remarries a wealthy woman who he meets in his shop, but this second wife has a few secrets up her sleeve.
Reaction: Another great Hitch intro, warning the ladies of the audience that their husbands may be planning to kill them. “The Orderly World of Mr. Appleby” is another episode that’s a bit of a slow-starter, but it starts to pick up when the idea of murder occurs to Mr. Appleby for the first time, and I love the conclusion.

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2 thoughts on “Recap and React: Alfred Hitchcock Presents… episodes 25 – 29

  1. I think i would enjoy “The Portrait of Jocelyn” too. All these episodes sound intriguing but, judging by your reaction, it isn’t possible to hit a home run every time. Do you know approx. how many writers worked on this show?

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