Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Series 5, Episodes 32

   Arthur Hiller
   Eli Jerome (teleplay); Henry Sleasar (story)
   Neile Adams, Jeremy Slate
   22 May 1960
   26:04 (total) • 23:07 (film) • 1:40 (Hitchcock)

One Grave Too Many
Joe (Jeremy Slate) and Irene (Neile Adams) are a young married couple who are struggling to pay their bills because Joe cannot seem to find work. They argue over breakfast one morning before realising their electricity supply has been switched off on account of them not paying the bill in three months. Desperate, Irene suggests asking her brother David for help but Joe adamantly refuses to go along with it. Instead Joe goes along to a loan company to apply for a loan. The interview doesn't go well, especially as Joe has a sketchy employment record, and no collateral and so his application is rejected.
That evening whilst walking home Joe sees an elderly gentleman collapse and die in the street. Joe initially goes to help the man but when he discovers the poor guy has died he takes the man's wallet containing a considerable amount of money and flees the scene. When Joe returns home he lies to Irene and tells her he bumped into an old army pal of his who gave him the money for an old debt. The man without a conscience then promises to take Irene out for a steak dinner and goes into the bedroom to get changed. There he examines the dead man's wallet only to discover to his horror that there is a card inside which tells the finder that he (the man who owns the wallet) is not actually dead and instead is suffering from a cataleptic illness which makes one appear to look dead and that the finder of the wallet ought to call a doctor.
Joe quickly dashed back out to the spot where he robbed the man and sees an ambulance driving away from the scene. Joe consults with a police officer who tells him that a man had died in the street earlier in the evening. Joe does the decent thing and telephone the number on the card he found in the wallet but cannot get hold of the doctor named on the card and so he dumps the wallet in a bin before returning to the phone box to call the police to tell them that the man isn't really dead. The cop invites Joe over to the station to tell them the full story but Joe slams the phone down.
Joe drowns his sorrows in the bar before returning home. Finally Joe decides to go to the station and confess to the police that he took the dead man's wallet but pleads with them not to bury the guy because he isn't really dead. Joe is shown to the morgue to identify the dead man and confirms he is the same man he saw die in the street. However, the police reveal something rather interesting to Joe....

•The Friendship Loan Company is where Joe goes to ask for a loan. I mean, what kind of a name is that for a loan company?
•There is $275 in the dead man's wallet.
•Joe and Irene live in apartment 5A.
•The man who dies does so on the junction of 17 Street & 2nd Avenue.
[Hitch is standing on the back of a horse carried holding a golf club. There are four white horses in front of him and a caddie holding a bad of golf clubs and flag from the golf course] "Good evening. Did anyone see a golf ball go by? It couldn't have gone far. I just gave it a toss. I've been employing this means of getting around the golf course since the club voted to ban all motorised carts. It was a ban I heartily endorsed. By the way since the carts were always tipping over when they ran over laggards, this slowed up the game terribly. This system of travel also helps me comply with another rule which was made because of the crowded condition of the course. We are asked to play in foursomes. But I believe you tuned in for a story. I shall step aside and allow you to play through."

"I hear the shout of 'fore'. Apparently someone is counting my horses again. I shall have to move on. Suppose you join me at the next tee. [fade out; fade in. Hitch is now looking into the empty golf bag] I found this in the rough we just passed through. I wonder who it belongs to? [He pulls out an enormous brush followed by an enormous comb] Until next week, good night".

The man who died in the street was not Marvin Horne, but rather Sonny Boy Capper - a known pickpocket who obviously robbed Horne and stole his wallet.

A pretty decent episode, good story and a nice amount of suspense and delivered with a sprinkling of intrigue at the end. Neile Adams does her bit as Irene Helmer, the upset housewife who badgers her layabout lazy husband Joe (Jeremy Slate) into finding work and getting some money. Slate himself plays his part well and does the right thing at the end, even incriminating himself to save the poor man he has mugged in the street. A nice moral story being told and the consequences being aptly served in the conclusion. Good episode.
The first five minutes consisted of the sort of toxic domestic argument that most of us would try to avoid in real life, without choosing to watch a dramatised version of it. Those of us who have experienced sudden and unwelcome unemployment will have scant sympathy for the parasitic character portrayed here by Mr. Slate. This guy is a lazy bum too proud to take any work that he considers beneath his high standards. As a consequence the electricity has been cut off, he's heavily in debt but he still has enough money for cigarettes, which he smokes throughout the show. So we're not surprised when he robs a man who's been suddenly and conveniently taken dead in the street. Oddly enough it's the belated appearance of his conscience that causes his much-deserved downfall. The title promised more than the episode delivered : there were no graves, nothing spooky about it at all. There were no stars either, no actors that we've ever heard of (which isn't always such a bad thing). A good unexpected twist at the end saved it, by which time we were heartily sick of the weasely Mr. Slate - his character, not him, for he played the part well. There was no excitement and little of interest apart from the actor in the loan office who looked just like Charley Chase would have done if he'd lived longer. So this is a standard-issue Hitch, not bad but not memorable. Neile Adams was very cute though.

(click any image to enlarge)

Irene Helmer... NEILE ADAMS
Joe Helmer... JEREMY SLATE
Lieutenant Bates... BIFF ELLIOT
Mr. Pickett... HOWARD McNEAR
Patrolman... DAVID CARLILE
Sergeant Doogan... TYLER McVEY
The elderly gentleman... PAUL BRADLEY

(click any image to enlarge)

Acknowledgements: [IMDb]

This page was last updated on: 19 September 2020