US / 25 minutes / bw / Four Star Productions, CBS Dir & Pr: Roy Kellino Scr: Willard Wiener, Herbert A. Spiro Story: A.E. Houghton Jr (i.e., Buck Houghton) Cine: George E. Diskant Cast: Ida Lupino, William Talman, Kathryn Card, Louis Jean Heydt, Glen Gordon.
This was episode #24 of the third season of Four Star Playhouse (1952–6); some while ago I wrote about another episode of this TV series, A String of Beads (1954 TVM) dir William Cameron Menzies and starring Angela Lansbury. That episode was an odd one out: the format of the series was that Charles Boyer, David Niven, Ida Lupino and Dick Powell would take turns starring in the playlets that made up the episodes. On March 10 1955 it was Lupino’s turn again.
Ellen (Lupino), having finished her sentence at a labor camp, The Farm, hitches a ride from Eddie Reeves (Talman). He gives her a job in the diner he owns, Eddie’s Place, whose other employee is Ma Green (Card), herself an alumna of The Farm. Regulars at Eddie’s place include cop Dan Parry (Heydt) and reputed psychopath Ollie Lightman (or Leitmann) (Gordon).
The local coast is being plagued by acts of piracy that Dan is investigating. Separately Eddie and Ollie try to persuade Ellen to give them an alibi for the latest heist, but she doesn’t want to tell a lie . . .
Not so very long before, Lupino had directed Talman in The HITCH-HIKER (1953); for that movie she drew out of Talman what’s arguably his best ever performance, as the psycho Emmett Myers. She also directed him in an episode of Screen Directors Playhouse called Checked Out (1956 TVM) and appeared alongside him in BEWARE, MY LOVELY (1952) and the John Frankenheimer-directed The Louella Parsons Story (1956 TVM).
Eddie’s Place offers a tightly told little tale about Ellen’s moral dilemma: should she lie to protect the benefactor whose generosity has allowed her to rebuild her life or should she betray the principles she has sworn to adhere to in that life? In the end, events do the deciding for her.