Archive for Poison

…how it got in my pyjamas I’ll never know

Posted in FILM, Television with tags , , , , , , , on December 11, 2009 by dcairns

I’ve now watched the one Hitchcock-directed episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents that was left, and pleasingly, it’s a minor classic, confirming my theory that the best episodes revolve around a single, clear suspense situation affording opportunity for character development en route. This one being a Roald Dahl story, the character development is elementary, but it all hangs together nicely.

In Poison, James “Madness! Madness!” Donald is discovered in dire straits, having discovered a highly poisonous snake curling up to sleep on his belly while he’s reading. The arrival of Wendell Corey doesn’t exactly put his mind at rest (and why would it? This is Wendell Corey, not Harrison Ford we’re talking about) since Corey is a romantic rival, one apt to enjoy Donald’s discomfort more than is strictly necessary. I should say no more. No overt Hitchcockian flourishes in this one, just the steady drip-drip of tension, mainly maintained by impassioned performances, and expert and sparing use of “extremes” like the above angle.

Now, it might be nice to get some suggestions from you all for non-Hitchcock directed episodes, since the famous The Man from the South (Dahl again, directed by Norman Lloyd) convinces me there must be plenty of good episodes helmed by other filmmakers…