Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Series 2, Episode 23

   Robert Stevens
   Robert C. Dennis (teleplay); Emily Neff (story)
   John Baragrey, Georgann Johnson, Louise Platt
   03 March 1957
   24:04 (total) • 21:45 (film) • 0:58 (Hitchcock)

One For The Road
Charles Hendricks (John Baragrey) is packed and ready to leave for a short road trip when his wife Marsha (Louise Platt) produces a cigarette lighter bearing the initials "B.A." and tells him he ought to return it to his lady friend. Her intuition is correct as Charles heads off to spend some time with Beryl Abbott (Georgann Johnson), a beautiful woman he is having an affair with.
In Beryl's company the topic of conversation turns to the likelihood of Charles divorcing Marsha but he tells Beryl that is not something he is considering, which frustrates Beryl considerably. Meanwhile an anniversary present arrives for Marsha but she finds the contents inside to be damaged. After making an enquiry Marsha is given a telephone contact where she can reach Charles but after dialling the number she finds Beryl Abbott on the other end of the line and quickly makes the connection to the cigarette lighter.
When Charles returns home Marsha confronts him over the woman he is sneaking around with but he denies it. Charles goes back to Beryl and tells her he managed to talk his way out of the sticky situation and suggests Beryl changes her telephone number. Beryl also brings up the subject of marriage again but once again Charles isn't interested.
After Charles returns home his wife continues to press him over his affair and he says he will try and work it out. Beryl, however seems to have a plan of her own and suggests Charles takes the bus to the office in the morning, leaving her the car which she used to drive into Lockton, the town where Beryl lives.
Marsha goes to Beryl's house posing as a welfare worker asking for old clothes. When Beryl tells her she has nothing to donate Marsha gets a bit pushy and boldly strolls into Beryl's kitchen when her back is turned to sabotage the sugar bowl. Marsha discovers Charles' photo in a frame on the table and quickly leaves with some clothes. That afternoon Marsha receives a telephone call advising her that her husband has been called out of town - to Lockton. Yeah that kind of doesn't go down too well....
Charles does indeed pay Beryl a visit but he tells her that he is sticking with his wife and breaking off the affair. A little later Marsha comes full steam to Beryl's and tells her she poisoned her sugar bowl with the intention of killing her. Beryl tells her that Charles used the 'sugar' with his coffee but left an hour ago. When Beryl leaves to find him Charles suddenly emerges from the bedroom. Beryl, now with the information needed to make a convenient killing of Charles and blame it on his wife asks him one last time to reconsider divorcing Marsha. He declines. Oh dear.

•Curious to know why Beryl doesn't react to finding Marsha in her kitchen? And how did Marsha know Beryl's address?
[Hitch is standing with his head and hands stuck in a pillory] "Good evening. Me thinks I should never have come to the colonies! Here I am, the producer's dream, a captive audience. Unfortunately knowing the producer I have already seen tonight's story several times. It is called 'One For The Road'. They say there are two sides to every question. But tonight's little problem has three sides. For it is that age-old bit of martial geometry, the eternal triangle."

"It's good to be free again, which is more than Beryl Abbott is. You see, she was arrested and paid for her crime. Next time we shall be back with another story. Good night."

A clever little twist at the end where Marsha tried to kill Charles with the poison and leaves thinking she is responsible for his death, but in fact it is Beryl who, armed with the knowledge given to her by Marsha, ends up doing the deed! Except..... it's Charles who pours the sugar into his own cup. Good luck clearing that lot up in a courtroom!

Strong episode with a solid storyline; dependable actors and good acting from veterans of the series (John Baragrey was in the episode "Portrait Of Jocelyn"; Georgann Johnson was in "Jonathan" and Louise Platt would later star in "Dip In The Pool"). Around the half-way mark it became apparent that Marsha was plotting some kind of scheme to put an end to her husband's naughty behaviour (asking to use the car couldn't have been more of a giveaway!!) and you felt sorry for her, with no sympathy whatsoever for the other two characters. One problem I found was there have been too many episodes which use the easy cop-out of using poison as a form of revenge killing. It is starting to feel predictable that every time you need to get rid of someone, just poison them. So when Marsha was emptying tons of salt (??) into the sugar bowl I thought oh come on, use some originality! One thing I did notice was the film transitions between the two women, a clever piece of editing throughout. A good episode, but enough with the POISON! It's just getting too predictable! Hitch's closing remarks were..... erm, brief!
"This place sure is dreary without you" says apron-clad suburban housewife Louise Platt to her husband, a love-rat so adept at dirty tricks that he lights a cigarette in the very first scene and it disappears completely. The place is pretty dreary WITH him. This is an ordinary episode about a philanderer and his inevitable come-uppance. The eyes have it though. Louise Platt was the fresh young star of Hal Roach's "Captain Caution". Seventeen years after exercising Caution her face has hardened and you don't want to be on the receiving end of those accusing hooded eyes. But what sort of a marriage is she in anyway ? She's just way too blindly devoted and he's so oily that he must slide out of that neat little separate bed of his. Separate beds were compulsory for married couples on 50s telly, but even so, this relationship seems false. Louise is a fine actress though : she gives "the other woman" a really thorough hairy-eyeball look-up-and-down for three seconds ("so THAT'S her") before launching into the sweetness-and-light routine about doing charity work. It's an excellent and disturbing performance, just cold-blooded enough to convince us but not the girl friend. John Baragrey has the thankless job of portraying a louse who's so confident of his skills as a smoothy-chops charmer that he just assumes his little dowdy wifey will tolerate an impossible situation until he decides to "sort it out". What's she even doing in the same room with him ? Georgann Johnson is memorable too as "Beryl Abbott", but the second half of this episode sees the unwelcome return of our old friend the wrong-person-gets-the-poison routine. Ho hum. But there are compensations, even after we've all had a groan about this : there's Georgann's bone-chilling smile when she knows she's going to kill Charles and not be blamed for it, and there are the final close-ups of the poison going into the coffee. Was poisoning really this easy ? If this series is to be believed, every other household harboured a poisoner. And where the hell is Michael Kuhn ? In one of several instances where an actor is listed but never appears, he's listed on the end credits but he's not in the show. Maybe they poisoned him too. I also got the feeling that "the other woman" was called Beryl Abbott because the props department could only find a cigarette lighter with the initials BA on it. Maybe they stole it from British Airways. And finally, a short word about Hitch's closing comments : short !

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Charles Hendricks... JOHN BARAGREY
Marsha Hendricks... LOUISE PLATT
Ellerbee... MICHAEL KUHN [unseen]

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Acknowledgements: [IMDb]

This page was last updated on: 06 August 2020