Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season 05 (1959)

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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

The fifth season of the suspense anthology Alfred Hitchcock Presents gets off to a rousing start with another episode directed by Alfred Hitchcock himself, the humorously macabre "Arthur," starring Laurence Harvey as a taciturn chicken farmer who devises a unique method for divesting himself of his troublesome ex-wife. This episode is immediately followed by Hitch's only other season-five directorial effort, "The Crystal Trench," adapted by Stirling Silliphant from a story by A.E.W. Mason (The Four Feathers). Of the series' staff directors, Robert Stevens is well represented with a two-part adaptation of Ambrose Bierce's existential Civil War character study "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," starring an up-and-coming James Coburn. Likewise, director Norman Lloyd contributes a minor classic in the form of "Man from the South," an ironic Roald Dahl story featuring Peter Lorre and Steve McQueen. Added to the series' directorial roster this season is John Brahm, whose previous film credits include the 1944 remake of Hitchcock's 1926 silent thriller The Lodger. Brahm's inaugural Alfred Hitchcock Presents is "Dry Run," essentially a two-man tour de force for Robert Vaughn and Walter Matthau. A later Brahm effort, "Insomnia," represents one of the first non-Gunsmoke starring appearances by Dennis Weaver. Other interesting casting choices this season include Stella Stevens and Dick Van Dyke, playing inept would-be murderers (of a dog!) in the comic episode "Craig's Will." And "Road Hog" co-stars Raymond Massey and Richard Chamberlain as father and son, two years before the same actors would be teamed on the TV medical series Dr. Kildare. Ranking 25th in the overall ratings for the 1959-1960 season, Alfred Hitchcock Presents temporarily bade farewell to its Sunday-night CBS slot when it was picked up for a Tuesday-evening berth on NBC.