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

Tuesday, October 30, 2018


"The Creeper." Alfred Hitchcock Presents, 1956. Season 1, episode 38. Written by James B. Cavanagh from the story by Joseph Ruscoll. Directed by Herschel Daugherty.

Ellen Grant (Constance Ford of Claudelle Inglish) a housewife married to the loving if grumpy, Steve (Steve Brodie), is constantly on edge because two women -- also blonds, also left alone at night when their husbands are working -- have been murdered by an unknown maniac known as the "Creeper." Ellen is suspicious of everyone: her old boyfriend, Ed (Harry Townes), who comes to keep an eye on her but reveals that he's carried a grudge since she left him; the weaselly, always-smiling new super, George (Percy Helton); the old shoemaker (Alfred Linder) down the block who wants her address; even her neighbor, Martha (Reta Shaw), who says "decent women don't get themselves murdered" and thinks Ellen is carrying on with Ed. The episode builds suspense with each character who appears, all of whom are expertly portrayed by the excellent cast. 

Constance Ford
Topping the cast list, of course, is Constance Ford, one of the very best actresses of the period who appeared in a great many shows and movies but never quite made it to the front rank of stardom but deserved to. She gives a very strong and sympathetic performance in this, and the episode -- while chilling -- is ultimately heartbreaking. I have never forgotten Ford's sad, life-weary, regretful and horrified final words. The poignancy of the ending isn't even washed away by Hitchcock's flippant closing remarks, which are somewhat at odds with the tone of the story. While one can't quite call "The Creeper" any kind of feminist tract, it does illustrate how women can be horribly mistreated by others even when they aren't being murdered.

Verdict: A strong episode of an excellent program. ***. 


angelman66 said...

I do remember this one. Constance Ford is indeed unsung and needs to be remembered...I guess her greatest role was as the prudish, sexually repressed mother of Troy Donahue in A Summer Place...

William said...

Yes, she'll always particularly be remembered for "A Summer Place" -- not a bad picture, if I recall.