Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Series 2, Episode 38

   Paul Henreid
   Robert C. Dennis (teleplay); Joe Grenzeback (story)
   Barbara Cook, Vic Morrow
   16 June 1957
   24:15 (total) • 21:59 (film) • 1:00 (Hitchcock)

A Little Sleep
Barbie Hallem (Barbara Cook) is dancing for a small audience of guests who are gathered one evening for a party. She gets off with Chris, one of the guests, but when he goes to the bar to fetch her a drink he finds her in the arms of another man out on the balcony. Chris expresses his frustrations to Barbie before they leave in her car as she heads to a cabin in the mountains.
She arrives at Ed Mungo's cabin and buys a black coffee. Five of the sheriff's men armed with rifles who are dining there get up and leave, as they resume their search for a young man named Benny whom they are looking for in the vicinity. A young man (Jack Mullaney - from the episode "The Belfry") fills Barbie in with the details of Benny and an incident involving him killing a young woman and her dog up at the cabin, which is looked after by Ed, his brother. Barbie tells the man that she owns the cabin and is heading off to it at that very moment, without any fear.
When Barbie arrives at the cabin she finds Benny inside. She puts on some music and drinks a beer as he sits eating from a tin of food. They begin dancing and he introduces himself to her. Barbie suddenly gets scared and tries to leave but Benny tells her the full story to relax her. Just then Ed walks in and asks Benny to step outside so that he can talk to Barbie. Ed tells her that he needs to get Benny to the next county and orders Barbie to drive them, but she refuses. She begins flirting with him but he rejects her immediately. When Barbie tries to shout to warn Benny Ed grabs her and covers her mouth. Benny walks back into the cabin and Barbie spills the beans.
The two brothers get into a fist fight which Benny wins. He and Barbie are about to leave when Benny reveals a plot twist...

•Based on the story "Lullaby" by Joe Grenzeback, originally published in the February 1957 issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.
[Hitch is upside down and wearing ear muffs] "Good evening. This is Alfred Hitchcock speaking to you from the bottom of the world. I mention this so that if snow should appear on your screen you won't waste time adjusting your set. [A St. Bernard dog walks into the frame] Ah! A man's best friend, and a dog too! Even though I have all the comforts of home. I'm afraid it is time for our play and I wouldn't want everyone to watch this standing on his head. [Hitch flips the screen the right way around] Well we seem to have lost the dog but it's nice to feel the blood rushing to my feet again. Ladies and gentlemen, here proper side up, is our story, 'A Little Sleep'. But first, someone wishes to deliver a message and I assure you that neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night can stay this courier. We have tried everything."

"And he did too. Naturally Benny was properly punished. As is always the case on this program. Next time we will be back with more crime and punishment. Pax vobiscum."

Benny killed Ed's girlfriend. He "put her to sleep", just as he is about to do to Barbie when the episode ends.

Well first of all, I couldn't even get past the opening couple of seconds with Hitch's introduction without laughing out loud! Unfortunately, sometimes you can just tell from the opening scene of the story whether or not the episode is going to be interesting and this one failed miserably. After the first three minutes I was totally bored. It didn't improve. In fact I found the whole story completely confusing and utterly uninteresting. I would even go as far to say that this is probably the worst episode I have seen in the entire series. The characters were stale, the story was rubbish and the ending sucked. A stinker.
Barbara Cook was essentially a Broadway baby, and she missed out on the movie of The Music Man, so it's fascinating to see her here, young and lovely, although the rich, spoiled, disdainful man-teaser "Barbie" is a long way from sweet Marian the Librarian. Oh dear, we'e back in the world of psychotic hillbillies. Ho hum. "A Little Sleep" is what I nearly had while watching it. Vic Morrow's seemingly innocent "Benny" brings to mind murdering-by-accident Lennie from "Of Mice and Men" and there's a wee hint of Psycho-to-come, with the girl alone in an isolated place with a maniac, but here we don't know which one he is. Jack Mullaney, creepy star of "The Belfry", puts in a brief appearance. He's not the killer in this case but you just know he'll have body parts buried all over the woods. The problem here is that Barbie has no redeeming features of any kind : her Trumpish self-absorption is established right at the outset as she shimmies in front of a roomful of barely-interested goons, so there's no audience sympathy for her. And is she insane ? Aside from hurling herself at the nearest available man, regardless of how obviously unsavoury he is, she stays in the cabin, knowing that at least one of the thugs nearby is deranged. Run ! Get in the car ! At least she has enough judgment to avoid Jack Mullaney : she'd have been chopped up before she even got to the cabin. To be fair, there was an element of suspense here : we knew Barbie was doomed, but we were never quite sure how it would occur because the rest of the cast seemed to be queueing up to do her in. It couldn't have happened to a nicer girl. A pity it wasn't a nicer episode. The whole thing was unpleasant, full of unpleasant people, and at the end, way too graphic. Not nice at all.

(click any image to enlarge)

Barbie Hallem... BARBARA COOK
Bennie Mungo... VIC MORROW
Young man at the cafe... JACK MULLANEY
Chris Kymer... JOHN CARLYLE
Champagne drinker... GEORGE CHANDLER

(click any image to enlarge)

The Alfred Hitchcock Presents Companion by Martin Grams Jr & Patrik Wikstrom (book) [IMDb]

This page was last updated on: 22 November 2020