alfred hitchcock presents seasons 1 - 4
REVIEWER: lyall carter
Join the legendary ‘Master of Suspense,’ Alfred Hitchcock, in every original episode from Seasons 1–4 of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the Emmy Award-winning murder-mystery series that, in the words of Hitchcock himself, “brought murder back into the home – where it belongs.” Loaded with twists, turns and things that go bump in the night, these classic tales of menace and mayhem are brought together in this 20-disc set.
Alfred Hitchcock Presents was ahead of its time when it first broadcast in 1955. By this stage Hitchcock had released Rope, Dial M for Murder and Rear Window, making him a household name. At that time TV was seen as a ‘lesser’ medium and for a director of Hitchcock’s calibre not only creating but hosting a TV series was unheard of.
Not only is Alfred Hitchcock Presents brilliant television story wise, visually and thematically but it's utterly iconic. From its opening sequence of a simple line caricature of Hitchcock accompanied by Gounod’s Funeral March of Marionette to Hitchcocks droll, monotone perfectly crafted monologue openings this is classic stuff.
Two stand out episodes from series one to four are The Case of Mr. Pelham and The Diamond Necklace. The Case of Mr. Pelham was directed by Hitchcock himself (even though he was the creator he only directed less than twenty episodes spanning seven seasons) follows Mr. Pelham who, after a series of troubling incidents, is led to believe that he has a double who is deliberately impersonating him. It’s Hitchcock at his subtle best, perhaps restricted by tighter censorship since he was on TV, but it’s an exquisite display of ratcheting up tension without any gore to speak off.
The Diamond Necklace is the tale of a jewelry firm who has cast out the last of a family who've been employees for 117 years, and the company won't hire the last of the line because she's a woman. Faithful service goes unrewarded when her father is given a week to finish up, but he'll show how much he'll be missed by selling the firm's most expensive gem by his last day of 37 years service. Made even more outstanding by Claude Raines in the lead role, The Diamond Necklace is another apt display of Hitchcock playing with the audience through what is shown and not shown with a wonderful twist that you won’t see coming.
Classic and revolutionary television, Alfred Hitchcock Presents Seasons 1 - 4 is a treasure trove of cracking stories in the indelible style of Mr. Alfred Hitchcock.