Incident at a Corner (1960 TVM)

US / 49 minutes / color / Shamley, Alfred Hitchcock Productions, NBC Dir: Alfred Hitchcock Pr: Joan Harrison Scr: Charlotte Armstrong Story: Incident at a Corner (1957) by Charlotte Armstrong Cine: John L. Russell Cast: Vera Miles, George Peppard, Paul Hartman, Bob Sweeney, Leora Dana, Warren Berlinger, Philip Ober, Jerry Paris, Alice Backes, Charity Grace, Leslie Barrett, Alexander Lockwood, Jack Albertson, Eve McVeagh, Tyler McVey, Joe Flynn, Barbara Beaird, Mary Alan Hokanson, Wendell Holmes, Hollis Irving, Florence MacMichael.

Based on a Charlotte Armstrong novella, this minor piece of Hitchcockiana was aired as #27 (of 33 episodes) in the NBC TV series Startime (1959–60), one of the first TV shows to air in color. About half the episodes were variety presentations, the other half narrative pieces, usually dramas like this one. Hitchcock got involved because Lew Wasserman, then head of MCA, which had struck a package deal to supply star actors for the series, was also Hitch’s agent. It’s worth noting that Hitch wisely brought with him Joan Harrison as part of the enterprise.

We’re first shown three different versions of an altercation at a street corner next to a school. Mary Tawley (Dana), obnoxious wife of important local stuffed shirt Malcolm Tawley (Ober), owner of the Security First Bank, remonstrates with the elderly crossing guard whose STOP sign she drove past, James “Jim” Medwick (Hartman).

Vera Miles as Jane and George Peppard as Pat

In the third view we discover the scene was observed by two newcomers to the neighborhood, Harry (Albertson) and Georgia Crane (McVeagh). Georgia recognizes Jim and is terrified he’ll tell the neighborhood about her wild youth as Georgia Clooney (sic!) when they both lived in Continue reading

Annabel (1962 TVM)

US / 48 minutes / bw / Shamley, CBS Dir: Paul Henreid Pr: Joan Harrison Scr: Robert Bloch Story: This Sweet Sickness (1961) by Patricia Highsmith Cine: John L. Russell Cast: Dean Stockwell, Susan Oliver, Kathleen Nolan, Gary Cockrell, Henry Brandt, Bert Remsen, Bryan O’Byrne, Florence MacMichael, Alfred Hitchcock.

Annabel (1962) - 0 opener

Some years ago chemical engineer David H. Kelsey (Stockwell) went off in search of more lucrative work so that he could marry his girlfriend Annabel (Oliver). He never quite explained to her why he suddenly went away, and besides she wasn’t nearly as serious about their relationship as he was. In his absence she met, fell in love with and married Gerald DeLaney (Brandt).

Annabel (1962) - 2 Annabel & Gerald

Annabel (Susan Oliver) and husband Gerald (Henry Brandt) love each other, whatever David thinks.

To this day David continues to have difficulty accepting the status quo. Under the name of William Newmaster he’s bought himself a house in Ballard, seemingly somewhere in upstate New York, where he goes at weekends and deludes himself that Annabel is living there with him. He tells his colleagues Wes Carmichael (Cockrell)—who’s also his housemate—and Linda Brennan (Nolan) that his absences at the weekends are because of an obligation to visit his invalid father. To turn the Vicious Triangle into a Vicious Pentangle, Linda is in desperate if undeclared love with David while Wes yearns for Linda.

One day Linda’s office friend Daisy (MacMichael) Continue reading

Pris au Piège (1957 TVM)

vt Four O’Clock

US / 48 minutes / bw / Revue, Shamley, NBC Dir: Alfred Hitchcock Scr: Francis Cockrell Story: Cornell Woolrich Cine: John L. Russell Cast: Nancy Kelly, E.G. Marshall, Richard Long, Tom Pittman, Dean Stanton (i.e., Harry Dean Stanton).

Pris au Piège - 1 the series' evocative opening credits

Watchmaker Paul Steppe (Marshall) believes that his wife Fran (Kelly) has taken a lover, whom she’s entertaining at their home each afternoon while Paul’s working in his shop. Crazed with jealousy, he rigs a huge timebomb in the basement using an alarm clock and homemade explosives, and sets it for four o’clock, when he imagines the two lovers will be entwined. Just as he finishes, he’s assaulted by two young burglars (Pittman, Stanton), who Continue reading

Foreign Correspondent (1940)

US / 120 minutes / bw / Wanger, UA Dir: Alfred Hitchcock Pr: Walter Wanger Scr: Charles Bennett, Joan Harrison, James Hilton, Robert Benchley (plus several others uncredited) Story: Personal History (1935 memoir) by Vincent Sheean Cine: Rudolph Maté Special production effects: William Cameron Menzies Cast: Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall, George Sanders, Albert Basserman (i.e., Albert Bassermann), Robert Benchley, Edmund Gwenn, Eduardo Ciannelli, Harry Davenport, Martin Kosleck, Frances Carson, Edward Conrad, Ian Wolfe, Samuel Adams, Charles Wagenheim.

On the eve of war in Europe, Powers (Davenport), editor of the New York Morning Globe, is weary of the lackluster reports emanating from London and his correspondent there, Stebbins (Benchley). He demands that one of the paper’s crime reporters, Johnny Jones (McCrea), be sent to Europe to dig up dirt. First, though, he gives Johnny a posher moniker—”Huntley Haverstock”—and introduces him to one of the people he should interview once he’s in London, Stephen Fisher (Marshall), leader of the Universal Peace Party, which is seeking even at this late stage to avert the outbreak of hostilities.

Once in London, Johnny meets Stebbins and, on his way to a peace meeting at the Savoy Hotel that Powers has told him to cover, opportunistically shares a cab with Dutch diplomat Van Meer (Basserman), a key figure in the peace movement who’s scheduled to address the meeting. They arrive together but, when it comes to Van Meer’s turn to speak, Fisher, as the meeting’s chairman, announces that Van Meer has had to cancel his appearance because of urgent duties elsewhere. Though puzzled, Johnny soon forgets the matter because the substitute speaker is Fisher’s daughter Carol (Day), whom Johnny met in the foyer beforehand and for whom he has fallen hard.

His next assignment is to Amsterdam. As he waits outside the hall, he sees Van Meer approaching; however, the man is assassinated by a supposed press photographer (Wagenheim), who flees. Johnny gives chase, commandeering a car in which it proves that Carol’s a passenger, the driver being her friend, another journalist, Scott ffolliott (Sanders). They follow the getaway car out into the countryside, where it seems to disappear. Convinced the assassin and his accomplice have hidden in a nearby windmill, Johnny sends Carol and Scott for the cops, himself creeping into the structure and discovering that the plotters have secreted the heavily drugged Van Meer there; the man whom Johnny saw shot down was an impersonator (Adams). Johnny slips away from the windmill but, by the time he brings help, the bad guys have disappeared, taking Van Meer with them and leaving only a fake tramp (Kosleck), who claims the mill has been deserted all day.

Foreign Correspondent - 1 Johnny creeps into the windmill

Johnny (Joel McCrea) creeps into the windmill . . .

Foreign Correspondent - 2 He finds the drugged Van Meer there

. . . and finds the drugged Van Meer (Albert Bassermann) there.

Foreign Correspondent - 3 Johnny clings to the outside of the millJohnny (Joel McCrea) clings to the outside of the mill as he evades detection by the bad hats.

Back in Amsterdam, two men claiming to be cops call on Johnny in his room at the Hotel Europe. Smelling a rat, he climbs along Continue reading