Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Series 1, Episode 14


   Justus Addis
   Francis M. Cockrell, Eustance Cockrell (teleplay); Joseph Ruscoll (story)
   John Qualen, Sebastian Cabot
   01 January 1956
   24:25 (total) • --:-- (film) • -:-- (Hitchcock)
   7/10


A Bullet For Baldwin
Mr. Stepp (John Qualen) is an office worker who is fired by his boss Nathaniel Baldwin (Sebastian Cabot) late on Saturday night. Stepp then retaliates by doing some firing of his own and shoots Baldwin dead in his office. On Monday morning Stepp receives a telephone call from the secretary telling him Baldwin wants to speak with him. Confused, Stepp returns to the office and confesses to the incident with Mr. King (Phillip Reed). King dismisses the whole story and proves to Stepp that Baldwin is still alive, in his office. Not only that but King offers Stepp a raise in his salary and passes off his fantasy as an hallucination. But something doesn't quite fit?


TRIVIA
HITCH'S PROLOGUE (0 secs):
X

HITCH'S EPILOGUE (0 secs):
X



SPOILERS
Baldwin is dead, so let's get that one sorted now. The man whom Stepp sees after the shooting is a 'Mr. Davidson' who resembles Baldwin and has been brought in by Mr. King for a fee of $2,000 to impersonate him. King disposed of Baldwin's body shortly after he was murdered and kept quiet because he knew if others found out that Baldwin had died it would mean financial ruin, so he hired the look-a-like to fill in. Unfortunately for King, he has a nasty habit of making Stepp believe things that aren't quite real, which is ultimately his undoing.



IN MY HUMBLE OPINION...
I tell you, that Stepp needs to be locked up! This is one of those episodes that requires too much explaining in order to grasp the plot and the motive behind what happens. There is a whole long scene with King and Davidson which outlines everything but really slows the pace of the episode down.
GEOFF THINKS...
Once again, a character actor gets a star part and runs with it. Many of us will have seen John Qualen in old movies, a succession of meek, haunted, wide-eyed, desperate little men. He was outstanding as the Oklahoma farmer whose farm is bulldozed in The Grapes of Wrath, and his role in this episode is not unlike the confused, sad murderer he plays in His Girl Friday. As is often the case with this series, we're left wondering how things turned out after the action finishes. It's almost like Groundhog Day, or the cyclical finish to Dead of Night ; will Mr. Stepp continue to shoot a succession of bosses every Saturday night in the belief that he's just hallucinating it all ? No : they'll come and take him away, and quite rightly so. It's all very unlikely, and the explanation turned up a little too early and undermined the suspense, but the ending, with Stepp thinking he's trapped in a recurring hallucination, was a brilliant touch. The 1909 setting makes a pleasant change from the usual mid-50s look of these shows. We know the series was made on a tight budget - rehearsed and shot in three days - but this one really looks impressive.

THE CAST
(click any image to enlarge)



Mr. Stepp... JOHN QUALEN
Nathaniel Baldwin / Mr. Davidson... SEBASTIAN CABOT
Walter King... PHILIP REED
Neighbor... RUTH LEE
Miss Abigail Wilson, secretary... CHERYLL CLARKE
Janitor... JAMES ADAMSON
Albert... DON McART
Landlady... KATE DRAIN LAWSON
Detective... BOB PATTEN
Fireman...DAVID DWIGHT
Neighbor...ARTHUR GILMOUR
Fireman...BILL ERWIN

GALLERY
(click any image to enlarge)

Acknowledgements:
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0508104/ [IMDb]

This page was last updated on: 01 March 2021