Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Season 1, Episode 28
Air date: April 8, 1956
Time: 24 mins 53 secs
Rating: 7/10

Director: Robert Stevens
Teleplay: Harold Swanton
Based on a story by Edgar Marvin
Director of photography: Reggie Lanning
Art director: Martin Obzina
Editorial supervisor: Richard G. Wray
Editor: Edward W. Williams
Music supervisor: Stanley Wilson

Mark and Debbie Halliday are a young married couple celebrating their first wedding anniversary when they pressure a clerk at the Harrison art gallery into letting them into the office after hours to buy a painting they have pre-paid for. Mrs. Halliday is excited to see what her husband has bought for her and cannot wait to get home and hang the painting over the mantlepiece. After a short wait the clerk brings out the numbered item, 128. Mrs. Halliday's growing excitement turns to shock horror when the painting is shown to her. Mark protests that it is a mistake and that he has never seen the painting before, though takes it with him when he leaves.
The painting is of his ex-wife Jocelyn. Mark discusses the painting with Jocelyn's brother Jeff who reveals that although Mark thinks she has been missing for a few years, that he has had recent contact with her and breaks the news that she never loved Mark.
At home Mark is astounded to see that his wife has indeed hung the painting on the mantle but he quickly removes it from view. After a heated discussion between them the phone rings. It's Jeff, who tells Mark that an artist named Arthur Clymer painted the portrait and he can be found in Shell Harbor.
Mark and Debbie travel down there to find him and check into a hotel. The manager only has one vacancy: the Willman cottage, the home Mark shared with Jocelyn five years ago before she mysteriously vanished. All the furniture is covered with sheets, apart from a fresh vase of flowers, which is remarked upon by Debbie, who then discovers a woman's jacket and scarf hanging in the closet before putting them on. Furthermore Mark uncovers a head sculpture underneath a sheet which resembles Jocelyn. Clymer, the artist who created it (and the painting) turns up at the cottage to collect some things he had left there, claiming that the sculpture was modelled for him by his wife.
That night Mark confronts a drunken Clymer at his cliff-top home and asks to see Jocelyn. The two men eventually fight until a gun pointed at Mark's head from a known acquaintance reveals the spoiler.

[he initially appears in distorted focus, examining his thumb whilst holding a painter's board].
"What an extraordinary thumb. It completely obscures the subject I am painting. I used to paint along the roadside but I had to quit: motorists insisted on giving me rides!" [holds right hand up to screen] "Hold that pose. Remain perfectly still for the next half hour. Care to see my handy work? I have several canvases ready. [holds up sign "Post No Bills", followed by "Kilroy Was Here"] Or if you like something more exotic... [holds up sign "Pas De Stationnement"] (translated means "No Parking") It's French. And of course.... [holds up sign "Please Stand By"]."

"And so Mark Halliday finally found the bluebird of happiness. It had been there all the time. In any theatrical presentation the next closing spot is deemed the most advantageous. That explains the placement of this number in tonight's variety show." [fade to black for advert] "Bravo, bravo. That was a real show-stopper in every sense of the word. Now I see there is just time enough for me to wish you pleasant dreams and a happy analysis. Good night."

Episode 28 of Season 1.
When the clerk brings out the painting there is a great deal of suspense for the viewer as the reveal of what it is is withheld from the camera view. A quick glimpse of the portrait as Mark leaves the office is seen through the glass door.
Personal opinion
" "
Geoff thinks....
"This episode seems to be trying hard to be "Rebecca", even providing a waves-pounding-the-cliffs shot, but what ultimately lets it down is that none of the characters are remotely appealing. With the exception of dear old Raymond Bailey - who later knocked out over 200 episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies as the tight-fisted banker Mr. Drysdale - the actors are nondescript 'fifties American telly types, efficient but unmemorable. Philip Abbott ? Nancy Gates ? Yes, we've seen her before in "Salvage", but even so, no star turns here. It passed the time. Yes, it did its job, twenty minutes of mildly exciting 'fifties telly. Maybe we've come to expect a very high standard from this series - which it usually provides. As it turns out, it doesn't matter WHAT the portrait looks like, as we never get to see Jocelyn, but I was pleased that she did have a beautiful-but-obviously-a-ratbag Vivien Leigh quality. Hopefully the painting is still hanging on someone's wall to this day, unnerving the occupants. Maybe the painting of Shell Harbor is with it !"
Mark confesses to Clymer that he killed Jocelyn though is baffled not only as to how Clymer already knew this, but how he knew the exact circumstances. When Jeff shows up with gun to break up their fight he reveals how he and Clymer (who is actually Detective Inspector Iverson) used psychology to trick Mark into a confession over the murder.

Philip Abbott
Mark Halliday
Nancy Gates
Debbie Halliday
John Baragrey
Arthur Clymer
Raymond Bailey
Jeff Harrison
Olan Soule
Art dealer
Harry Tyler
Motel manager


This page was last updated on: 15 January 2018