Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Series 3, Episode 25

   Arthur Hiller
   Joel Murcott (teleplay); Bevil Charles (story)
   Gary Merrill, Patricia Cutts
   23 March 1958
   23:52 (total) • 20:14 (film) • 1:42 (Hitchcock)

Flight To The East
Nairobi, 1958. Barbara Denham (PATRICIA CUTTS) is a young blonde woman who boards an airplane and sits down next to two gentlemen. The man she sits next to is Ted Franklin (GARY MERRILL) who, after bumming a cigarette from her tells her that he was a correspondant during the war. With his introduction she tells him she is familiar with an article he wrote regarding 'Sasha the Terrible', an Algerian man who was sentenced to death for the trafficking of illegal weapons in Kenya as well as charges of murder.
Ted recalls the court case where he was assigned to cover the trial, and was convinced of Sasha's guilt based on the evidence provided. After the court adjourns, the suspect's elderly father tries to convince him that his son is not guilty and pleades with Ted to interview him. Ted talks to Sasha in his cell and Sasha explains the truth about what happened and continues to protest his innocence, claiming that some of his testimony was deliberately not recorded by the police. With this new information coming to light Ted decides to use it to his advantage and changes his stories.
Back on the plane Ted bums a second cigarette from Barbara who has taken an interest in listening to his story. Ted claims that he received an expensive diamond as a payment for his article and that more diamonds would be paid to him up until Sasha's execution, so long as he writes his story the way he is told to. Ted tells Barbara that he couldn't be bribed and after receiving a stern telling off from the police chief Ted is deported - and a month later Sasha was executed.
Ted takes an third cigarette from Barbara and continues his story. He was in Cairo in the search of a fellow named Arthur Smith, as named in ther testimony of Sasha before his death. When there he finds Sasha's father in his store but he doesn't take kindly to Ted's appearance and tries to kill him by throwing a knife at him. It misses and when the father then tries shooting Ted, Ted throws the knife at him and kills the man instead, before fleeing.
Ted reveals to Barbara on the plane that he may have fabricated his story a little bit before showing her that he is infact handcuffed to the passenger next to him and is actually under arrest. Ted also confesses that the 'Arthur Smith' is actually the police inspector back in Cairo. A fourth cigarette is given to Ted. At this point Barbara also confesses that she is working for Sir Robert Walton - the prosecutor in the Sasha case.
Back in the story, Ted is seen trying to bargain with the condemned Sasha by offering him a deal during their interview by tellling him he could save Sasha from hanging if he agrees to pay Ted some of the diamonds he has. It is here Ted collaborates with the character of Arthur Smith, the man who supposedly hired Sasha on the streets of Nairoba and who is the real killer. But it's all a ruse for Ted to get his hands on the diamonds whilst Sasha takes the blame for the crimes.
Barbara is one step ahead of Ted and tells him that Ted's chance meeting with Adbul was not accidental and was motivated by Ted's desire to kill Adbul and take the diamonds. The cheeky Ted asks for yet ANOTHER cigarette. This prompts Barbara into explaining how she came by the cigarettes in the first place...

•The flight takes place on Trans World Airlines. The journey is from Nairobi to Cairo.
•During the course of the short twenty minutes Ted ponces 6 cigarettes from Barbara. Now that is just rude!
•If you watch carefully during the scene when Abdul throws the dagger at Ted in his store you can see the string attached to it which proves the shot was filmed in reverse.
[Hitch is sitting on a flying carpet, held up by cables and trying to speak over the noise of the wind] "Good evening, earthlings. Now you housewives know what to do with your rugs when the moths get in them. Put the moths to work. After all, if you can't lick them, join them. This could be the transportation of the future. I'm certain that the day is not far off, when the two-carpet family will be quite common. No special launching platform is needed. The well waxed hallway of your home will do. 10,000 feet up and yet I could swear I saw a billboard. Over there."

"I shall certainly never try that again. I learned too late that it was a three-stage carpet and I was the first stage. I did manage to take some pictures which I shall show you now. Here is how the Earth people look to a Martian. [commercial break] As you can see, the Martians have a rather distorted picture of our world. [the carpet falls down in front of Hitch] It looks as though our flying carpet is falling earth-ward and disitergrating into throw rugs. This concludes tonight's space adventure. Next week we shall be back with more fiction, scientific or otherwise. Until then good night and a happy international geophysical year to all of you".

The cigarettes are the key into exposing Ted as the killer because he traded them for the weapons used in the killing. Or something like that. It's a bloody ridiculously complicated ending.

Sometimes you can just tell from the title whether or not the episode is going to be any good. This one proved to be every bit as dull and complicated as I expected it to be. For one thing, I thought the ending was too confusing. I guess when watching the episode for the second time you will be paying particular attention to the two men on the plane who are handcuffed to one another.

(click any image to enlarge)

Ted Franklin... GARY MERRILL
Barbara Denham... PATRICIA CUTTS
Abdul Ismael, Sasha's father... KONSTANTIN SHAYNE
Sasha Ismael... ANTHONY GEORGE
Police Inspector Kafir... MEL WELLES
European Bureau manager... HARVEY STEPHENS
Sir Robert Walton, the prosecutor... RALPH CLANTON

(click any image to enlarge)

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

This page was last updated on: 12 February 2022