Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 14, 2011



This season of AHP might as well been rechristened "The Henry Slesar" show, as the writer's work was seemingly featured in half of the episodes or more. Fortunately, some of Slesar's scripts were quite good. Among the more memorable episodes [contributed by various writers] were: the very amusing "Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat" starring Audrey Meadows of The Honeymooners; "Pen Pal," with Katherine Squire and Clu Culager in a twisted love story; the sad "Man with Two Faces" in which Spring Byington plays a concerned mother-in-law; "Baby Blue Expression," in which a woman and her lover plot to kill her husband with comically disastrous results; "Incident in a Small Jail" [directed by actor and associate producer Norman Lloyd] with John Fielder mistaken for a deranged murderer; and "Coming, Mama" with Eileen Heckart superb in a study of a woman with a supposedly sick and definitely demanding mother. The three best episodes came late in the season: George Nader gives a superb performance [proving beyond a doubt that he was no mere "pretty boy"] in the intriguing "Self-defense," in which he squares off with the excellent Audrey Totter as the mother of a boy he shot; "Final Arrangements" with Martin Balsam stellar as a hen-pecked man who plans a funeral down to the smallest detail (Vivian Nathan is equally good as his wife) ; and "Coming Home," a fascinating psychological study about a man returning to his wife at age 50 after years in prison, with superb performances from Jeanette Nolan and Crahan Denton. Other outstanding performances in lesser episodes came from Claire Trevor, Phyllis Thaxter, Robert Loggia, Will Kuluva, Les Tremayne and Peter Falk. Despite a couple of clunker episodes and a few with good ideas but flat endings, this remains a notable series. NOTE: You can also read reviews of season one, season two, season three, season four, and season five, as well as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour season one, season two, and season three.

Verdict: Still a fine program. ***.


Bryan Cain-Jackson said...

I am a huge Alfred Hitchcock fan, thought I never really followed his anthology as I've preferred The Twilight Zone. After reading your blog it seems that I have been missing out!

William said...

Yes, it's worth checking out the series as it has some very clever stories and a lot of fine acting. I like the Twilight Zone, too.

Thanks for your comment.