Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season Three – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Executive Producers:
Jim Parker & Arnold Margolin

Guest Stars:
Jessica Tandy
Claude Akins
Pat Hitchcock
Vincent Price
James Gregory
Peter Lorre
George Peppard
Joseph Cotten

Universal Home Entertainment presents Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Season Three. Thirty nine episodes on 5 DVDs. Episodes originally broadcasted from Oct. 6. 1957 to June 29, 1958. DVD released Oct. 9, 2007.

The Show

During the mid-’50s to the early ’60s, Alfred Hitchcock dominated cinema with Rear Window, North By Northwest, Psycho and The Birds. He also found time to drop by America’s living rooms with Alfred Hitchcock Presents every Sunday night on CBS. While he didn’t direct a majority of the small screen episodes, he acted as host to this anthology series. Hitchcock’s macabre humor made him the creepy version of Walt Disney.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season Three contains the most legendary episode of the series. “Lamb to the Slaughter” has a pregnant woman flip when her cheating husband demands a divorce. She beats him to death. The murder weapon is hidden in an ingenious way. Don’t expect me to give out any real spoilers. This is the episode my Mom always talks about when a certain item is being prepared for dinner. “Lamb to the Slaughter” isn’t merely TV. This is a masterpiece. Barbara Bel Geddes is pitch perfect in her emotions through out the episode. The twisted script is from Roald Dahl (author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). Hitchock sat in the director’s chair. The episode’s cinematographer was John L. Russell, who Hitchcock picked to film Psycho. Cinephiles should not snub this as a minor work. “Lamb to the Slaughter” is a vital part of Hitchcock’s amazing run of work during this period. There are other stellar episodes in season three, but after “Lamb,” they’re gravy.

“The Glass Eye” features Jessica Tandy and a really young William Shatner. She falls under the strange power of a ventriloquist and his dummy. She quits her job and follows the performer around the country. Was she the original Deadhead? Her devotion forces her to uncover the evil secret of the act. There will be no spoiling the identity of the surprise guest star.

“The Mail Order Prophet”? has Jack Klugman and E.G. Marshall playing stock brokers at a Manhattan office. Marshall gets weird mail from a client who claims he can predict the future. He falls under the power of the predictions. He makes a healthy profit betting on the future. Klugman fears his office mate is following for a scam. Marshall takes an amazing risk when the big vision of the tomorrow arrives in an envelope. Klugman and Marshal are golden as they master the acting and reacting moments.

“The Perfect Crime” is perfectly cast with Vincent Price and James Gregory discussing what Vincent thinks is the perfect crime. The twist comes when it turns out that one of the two will soon be the victim of the perfect crime. Hitchcock also directed this episode. He had a good vision of what to do with Vincent. Shame they didn’t team up for a feature film during this period.

“The Diplomatic Corpse” sends us South of the border with George Peppard and Peter Lorre. Peppard and his wife get into a major mess when her mother dies in the backseat during the drive to Mexico. This would normally be bad enough, but then their car’s stolen. When the car is recovered, the mother’s body was missing. Peppard hires Lorre to find the room temperature mother. “Listen, Listen…!” is a gem about an old man who wants to talk to the authorities about the recent deaths of three women. He thinks he has a clue about the stocking killer, but nobody wants to listen to him. Their deafness will lead to another body being found in coming days.

In the late ’50s, a family could spend Sunday nights watching Walt Disney Presents and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. These shows gave two countering perspectives of America. Uncle Walt comforted America with family entertainment filled with wholesome characters. Uncle Alfred reminded us that America is populated with people who are capable of doing very bad things even if they were good nearly every minute of their life. Wonder whose view is more accurate? The episodes of Alfred Htichcock Presents seem even more real than ever before. If you take a film studies course on Hitchcock and “Lamb to the Slaughter” isn’t in the syllabus, get your money back. The instructor is clueless when it comes to the director. Use that “educational” money you saved to purchase Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season Three.

The Episodes
“The Glass Eye,” “The Mail Order Prophet,” “The Perfect Crime,” “Heart of Gold,” “The Silent Witness,” “Reward to Finder,” “Enough Rope for Two,” “The Last Request,” “The Young One,” “The Diplomatic Corpse,” “The Deadly,” “Miss Paisley’s Cat,” “Night of the Execution,” “The Percentage,” “Together,” “Sylvia,” “The Motive,” “Miss Bracegirdle Does Her Duty,” “The Equalizer,” “On the Nose,” “Guest for Breakfast,” “The Return of the Hero,” “The Right Kind of House,” “Foghorn,” “Flight to the East,” “Bull in a China Shop,” “The Disappearing Trick,” “Lamb to the Slaughter,” “Fatal Figures,” “Death Sentence,” “Festive Season,” “Listen, Listen. . . !,” “Post Mortem,” “The Crocodile Case,” “A Dip in the Poole,” “The Safe Place,” “The Canary Sedan,” “Impromptu Murder” and “Little White Frock.”

The DVD

VIDEO:
The picture is 1.33:1. While the film has been cleaned up, there’s scratches on a few episodes. Since the series is in black and white, the scratches aren’t as annoying.

AUDIO:
The soundtrack is in Mono. The subtitles are in English.

EXTRAS:
None.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season Three
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE SHOW

9
THE VIDEO

7
THE AUDIO

8
THE EXTRAS

0
REPLAY VALUE

8
OVERALL
9
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

The Inside Pulse
If you’re curious about Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the third season is the best one for you to explore. “Lamb to the Slaughter” is better than any CSI episode.

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