Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962)

TV Series   |  TV-14   |    |  Crime, Drama, Mystery


Episode Guide
Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955) Poster

Series of unrelated short stories covering elements of crime, horror, drama, and comedy about people of different backgrounds committing murders, suicides, thefts, and other sorts of crime caused by certain motivations, perceived or not.

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8.5/10
13,118

Photos

  • Frances Bavier and Vera Miles in Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955)
  • Jessica Tandy and Robert H. Harris in Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955)
  • Alfred Hitchcock on the set of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." January 12, 1956 / CBS.
  • Alfred Hitchcock on the set of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." January 12, 1956/CBS.
  • Bill Mumy in Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955)
  • Alfred Hitchcock on the set of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." January 12, 1956/CBS.

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


16 June 2008 | Gunnar_Runar_Ingibjargarson
Hitchcock, the Greatest
When it premiered on CBS on October 2, 1955, Alfred Hitchcock Presents was an instant hit destined for long-term popularity. The series' original half-hour anthology format provided a perfect showcase for stories of mystery, suspense, and the macabre that reflected Hitchcock's established persona. Every Sunday at 9:30 p.m., the series began with the familiar theme of Gounod's "Funeral March of a Marionette" (which would thereafter be inextricably linked with Hitchcock), and as Hitchcock's trademark profile sketch was overshadowed by the familiar silhouette of Hitchcock himself, the weekly "play" opened and closed with the series' most popular feature: As a good-natured host whose inimitable presence made him a global celebrity, Hitchcock delivered droll, dryly sardonic introductions and epilogues to each week's episode, flawlessly written by James Allardyce and frequently taking polite pot-shots at CBS sponsors, or skirting around broadcast standards (which demanded that no crime could go unpunished) by humorously explaining how the show's killers and criminals were always brought to justice... though always with a nod and a wink to the viewer. This knowing complicity was Hitchcock's pact with his audience, and the secret to his (and the series') long-term success. It's also what attracted a stable of talented writers whose tele plays, both original and adapted, maintained a high standard of excellence. Hitchcock directed four of the first season's 39 episodes, including the premiere episode "Revenge" (a fan favorite, with future Psycho costar Vera Miles) and the season highlight "Breakdown," with Joseph Cotten as a car-accident victim, paralyzed and motionless, who's nearly left for dead; it's a perfect example of visual and narrative economy, executed with a master's touch. (The fourth episode, "Don't Come Back Alive," is also a popular favorite, with the kind of sinister twist that became a series trademark.) Robert Stevenson directed the majority of the remaining episodes with similar skill, serving tightly plotted tales (selected by associate producers Joan Harrison and Norman Lloyd) by such literary greats as Ray Bradbury, Robert Bloch, Cornell Woolrich, Dorothy L. Sayers, and John Collier. Adding to the series' prestige was a weekly roster of new and seasoned stars, with first-season appearances by Cloris Leachman, Darren McGavin, Everett Sloane, Peter Lawford, Charles Bronson, Barry Fitzgerald, John Cassavetes, Joanne Woodward, Thelma Ritter, and a host of Hollywood's best-known character players. With such stellar talent on weekly display, Alfred Hitchcock Presents paved the way for Thriller, The Twilight Zone, and other series that maximized the anthology format's storytelling potential.

Packed onto three double-sided DVDs, these 39 episodes hold up remarkably well, and while some prints show the wear and tear of syndication, they look and sound surprisingly good (although audio compression will cause many viewers to turn up the volume). The 15-minute bonus featurette, "Alfred Hitchcock Presents: A Look Back" is perfunctory at best, but it's nice to see new anecdotal interviews with Norman Lloyd, assistant director Hilton Green, and Hitchcock's daughter Pat (a frequent performer on these episodes), who survived to see their popular series benefit from the archival convenience of DVD.

Starring: Alred Hitchcock (Host) Director: Robert Stevens.

Critic Reviews



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Did You Know?

Trivia

On August 11, 2009 the U.S. Postal Service issued a pane of twenty 44-cent commemorative postage stamps honoring early U.S. television programs. A booklet with twenty picture postcards was also issued. The stamp honoring "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" pictured host Sir Alfred Hitchcock. Other shows honored in the Early TV Memories issue were: The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1952), The Dinah Shore Show (1951), Dragnet (1951), "The Ed Sullivan Show" (originally titled The Ed Sullivan Show (1948)), The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show (1950), Hopalong Cassidy (1952), The Honeymooners (1955), "The Howdy Doody Show" (original title: The Howdy Doody Show (1947)), I Love Lucy (1951), Kukla, Fran and Ollie (1947), Lassie (1954), The Lone Ranger (1949), Perry Mason (1957), The Phil Silvers Show (1955), The Red Skelton Hour (1951), "Texaco Star Theater" (titled The Milton Berle Show (1948), 1954-1956), The Tonight Show (which began as Tonight! (1953)), The Twilight Zone (1959), and You Bet Your Life (1950).


Quotes

Alfred Hitchcock - Host: I hope you have enjoyed our program. Seeing a murder on television can help to work off one's antagonisms. And if you haven't any antagonisms, these commercials will give you some.


Alternate Versions

Alfred Hitchcock was famous for his highly amusing opening and closing narratives. However, for each episode more than one opening and closing were filmed, as Hitchcock's famous jibes at the sponsors were unappreciated in the European markets. So for each episode, Hitchcock filmed two openings and two closings: one would be for American viewings (jokes about sponsors) and the second would be for European showings (jokes about Americans and not about sponsors). For most of the third season, Hitchcock even did the opening and closings in French and German, as he spoke both languages fluently.

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Crime | Drama | Mystery | Thriller

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