4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

A sampling of the masterful Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Breakdown, Lamb to the Slaughter and Bang! You’re Dead!

Alfred Hitchcock Presents…Alfred Hitchcock!
Alfred Hitchcock Presents…Alfred Hitchcock!

Good evening! Here we have but a small sampling of the 17 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents personally directed by the Master. Find them all on Amazon.

— Scott Marks

Breakdown (1955)

Video:

Breakdown

The director reunites with Shadow of a Doubt’s “Merry Widow murderer” Joseph Cotten for this audaciously experimental adaptation of Louis Pollock’s short story. A Hollywood executive (Cotten) — the type who’s too coddled to fetch a smoke, so he orders a flunky to hand-deliver one — decides he has spent enough time (and long distance dollars) dabbing the tears of the employee he just canned, and quietly returns the handset to its cradle. A karmic drive home leaves him paralyzed, and the majority of the action plays out with an immobile Cotten providing a stream of consciousness narration filmed in tight, unblinking closeups. (It makes sense when one considers the size of the average TV screen in 1955 was no bigger than today’s laptop.) Suddenly, the man who had such little regard for the lives of others must convince passersby that there’s still breath in the lungs of the seemingly lifeless corpse before them. A morbid morality play, and one that Hitchcock takes great delight in relating.

Lamb to the Slaughter (1958)

Video:

Lamb to the Slaughter

Drollery reins supreme when Hitchcock’s legendary dread of lawmen comes to a head in what’s by far the most recognized episode of the anthology series. Barbara Bel Geddes (Vertigo’s terminally forlorn Midge) stars as Mary Maloney, the pregnant, soon-to-be widow whose inarticulate policeman hubby (Allan Lane) returns home from pounding a beat only to be beaten to death with three pounds of frozen leg of lamb. (That’s what he gets for announcing, on an empty stomach, his intentions of ditching the little woman for another gal.) There’s no mystery to be solved or secrets to unravel. We not only know whodunit, after one look at what Mary married, we know why. As fate (and Roald Dahl’s superb short story) would have it, murdering Maloney destroys the evidence by serving it to those sworn to serve and project. The concluding long, slow dolly-in on Mary’s face prefigures Hitchcock’s parting glance at Norman Bates by two years.

Bang! You’re Dead! (1961)

Video:

Bang! You're Dead!

A timely-to-this-day parable about the importance of keeping firearms out of the hands of children turned out to be the last Hitchcock-directed episode of the series. The afternoon Uncle Rick (Stephen Dunne) returns home from the war finds brother Fred (Biff Elliot) mixing cocktails, sister-in-law Amy (Lucy Prentis) fretting that her domestic won’t show up in time to work that evening’s party, and little nephew Jackie (Billy Mumy) chancing upon a gun and box of bullets in Rick’s suitcase. Made at a time when westerns dominated the small screen, the majority of the little boys in Bang! sport cowboy hats and cap gun holsters. Hitchcock didn’t have the temperament required to make a western, and this is probably as close as he came to the genre. “You get him off this western kick, I’ll be glad for a change”: dialogue delivered by Fred that could just as easily have been spoken by the Hitch. Whether you’ll be gripping the armrest because of the lamentable political incorrectness or the unstoppable suspense depends on the viewer.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

91 of 153 Del Mar fairgrounds employees laid off – some of them are talking

Covid only part of the problem
Next Article

Thrown-away fruit washes up in Imperial Beach

Visitors to Mexico, deep-sea fishermen, cruise ships?
Alfred Hitchcock Presents…Alfred Hitchcock!
Alfred Hitchcock Presents…Alfred Hitchcock!

Good evening! Here we have but a small sampling of the 17 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents personally directed by the Master. Find them all on Amazon.

— Scott Marks

Breakdown (1955)

Video:

Breakdown

The director reunites with Shadow of a Doubt’s “Merry Widow murderer” Joseph Cotten for this audaciously experimental adaptation of Louis Pollock’s short story. A Hollywood executive (Cotten) — the type who’s too coddled to fetch a smoke, so he orders a flunky to hand-deliver one — decides he has spent enough time (and long distance dollars) dabbing the tears of the employee he just canned, and quietly returns the handset to its cradle. A karmic drive home leaves him paralyzed, and the majority of the action plays out with an immobile Cotten providing a stream of consciousness narration filmed in tight, unblinking closeups. (It makes sense when one considers the size of the average TV screen in 1955 was no bigger than today’s laptop.) Suddenly, the man who had such little regard for the lives of others must convince passersby that there’s still breath in the lungs of the seemingly lifeless corpse before them. A morbid morality play, and one that Hitchcock takes great delight in relating.

Lamb to the Slaughter (1958)

Video:

Lamb to the Slaughter

Drollery reins supreme when Hitchcock’s legendary dread of lawmen comes to a head in what’s by far the most recognized episode of the anthology series. Barbara Bel Geddes (Vertigo’s terminally forlorn Midge) stars as Mary Maloney, the pregnant, soon-to-be widow whose inarticulate policeman hubby (Allan Lane) returns home from pounding a beat only to be beaten to death with three pounds of frozen leg of lamb. (That’s what he gets for announcing, on an empty stomach, his intentions of ditching the little woman for another gal.) There’s no mystery to be solved or secrets to unravel. We not only know whodunit, after one look at what Mary married, we know why. As fate (and Roald Dahl’s superb short story) would have it, murdering Maloney destroys the evidence by serving it to those sworn to serve and project. The concluding long, slow dolly-in on Mary’s face prefigures Hitchcock’s parting glance at Norman Bates by two years.

Bang! You’re Dead! (1961)

Video:

Bang! You're Dead!

A timely-to-this-day parable about the importance of keeping firearms out of the hands of children turned out to be the last Hitchcock-directed episode of the series. The afternoon Uncle Rick (Stephen Dunne) returns home from the war finds brother Fred (Biff Elliot) mixing cocktails, sister-in-law Amy (Lucy Prentis) fretting that her domestic won’t show up in time to work that evening’s party, and little nephew Jackie (Billy Mumy) chancing upon a gun and box of bullets in Rick’s suitcase. Made at a time when westerns dominated the small screen, the majority of the little boys in Bang! sport cowboy hats and cap gun holsters. Hitchcock didn’t have the temperament required to make a western, and this is probably as close as he came to the genre. “You get him off this western kick, I’ll be glad for a change”: dialogue delivered by Fred that could just as easily have been spoken by the Hitch. Whether you’ll be gripping the armrest because of the lamentable political incorrectness or the unstoppable suspense depends on the viewer.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

The USS Midway’s stalwarts

It’s impossible not to think of Tom Brokaw’s phrase “Greatest generation” when you listen to the man talk.
Next Article

Wanna hear complaints about the San Diego Zoo?

Animal rights have taken out the fun
Comments
4

A somewhat darker version of the same basic premise was done a year earlier on Boris Karloff's Thriller, "Child's Play," with little Tommy Nolan playing a genuinely disturbed Western-obsessed kid that nobody realizes is going around with a real loaded gun. Written by Robert "Batman" Dozier and directed by Arthur Hiller, Hitch was no doubt well aware of "Child's Play" before "Bang! You're Dead" went into production, since Hitch was already annoyed with Universal for producing another suspense show, on the same Universal lot no less and using the same locations from Hitch's shows (including the Psycho mansion). Then Karloff's show also started using Robert Bloch and others from Hitch's posse, even his makeup artist - there are several accounts that indicate Hitchcock was instrumental in eventually getting Thriller axed. I kind of like Mumy's performance better than Nolan's, tho the Thriller story has more genuine (albeit drawn out) suspense and creepiness. If the Thriller episode had been pared down to a half hour, it'd be at least as good or better than the Hitchcock show! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GKWzUZZDzg

Sept. 21, 2018

I would love to spend my Saturday morning watching this, but doody calls and I'm off to examine "Smallfoot." I'll check it out later tonight and report back. Thanks for the expert sleuthing, although Hiller is to Hitchcock what aerosol Cheese Whiz is to Pule!

Sept. 22, 2018

Hey, leave that aerosol Cheez Whiz alone, Scott (sometimes "Groucho") Marks! They feed that to newborn babies in Kentucky!

Sept. 22, 2018

Fresh from their mother's breast!

Sept. 22, 2018

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close