Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Series 1, Episode 2

   Robert Stevens
   Harold Swanton (teleplay)
   John Forsythe, Warren Stevens, Cloris Leachman
   09 October 1955
   25:01 (total) • 22:12 (film) • 1:49 (Hitchcock)

Kim Stanger (John Forsythe) returns home to his town of Stangerford after being away for more than four years. When he gets out of the taxi he bumps into Doug Irwin, an elderly attorney whom Kim recognises. Doug seems surprised and a little concerned to see Kim, especially when Kim asks him if his father still hates him and complains that he never answers his letters. Kim goes on to say he is in town to pay a visit to his family but Doug seems to want to try and talk Kim out of doing so. Kim firmly tells him he is going home and then leaves.
Kim arrives at the ridiculously-sized house and is overcome with a premonition and a sense of dread before going inside. A large painting of his father hangs over the fire place which Kim looks at and reflects on happier times with him. He then goes over to a casing which houses some rifles and then plays the piano when his sister-in-law Susan comes in. She looks pleased but puzzled to see Kim in the house. Kim continues to voice his frustration as to why his father has not answered any of his letter in four years and demands to know the truth. Just at that moment Kim's brother Perry (Susan's husband) enters the house and gives Kim the bad news: their father is dead, from a heart attack on the tennis court four years ago. Kim says he was in Rome at the time and doesn't understand why he wasn't informed.
When Kim hears that his father's will was changed so that Perry inherits everything he smells a conspiracy. Kim pays Doug (the attorney) a late night visit and finds him uncharacteristically drinking scotch. Doug tells Kim that Greg died from acute coronary thrombosis and disputes the date which was previously offered by Kim's brother Perry. Kim is still unconvinced and leaves to find out who killed Greg. He visits the undertaker Mr. Eaton (Percy Helton) who runs the cemetery to ask him about his father's death but the two men end up in a scuffle when Kim demands the keys to the family crypt. Eaton tells Kim that there was no body in the coffin and was instructed by the family to send the body to Sheridan Falls, Maine. Perry walks into the office and tries to talk Kim out of pursuing the matter but Kim doesn't want to listen.
Kim travels to Maine and threatens the coroner there when he refuses to disclose any information relating to Greg. The coroner tells Greg that three men - Greg, Doug and Greg's son - went into Greg's private plane but only two of them came out. Kim heads for Greg's hunting lodge to find more information he soon learns a disturbing truth about his father's killer.

•Much of the story told from Kim's perspective is done with him in voice over.
•Kim arrives home from Paris* (*we later discover this is not the case) after being away for over four years. When he gets out of the taxi he remembers Brian's drug store, Charlie the barber and the Wilson real estate office.
•Kim tells Doug that he has been working in advanced composition with doing a bit of conducting on the side for the past two years.
When Kim looks at the painting of his father, who is dressed in a sailors uniform he is reminded of white sails in blue water, tennis games, reeling in 750lb of Novia Scotia bluefin, skiing, polo and deer hunts in Maine.
•Susan is the daughter of Doug Irwin, the attorney.
•Kim refers to his father as 'Greg' on several occasions.
•Greg died from a heart attack whilst playing tennis, four years ago on October 10th. He was 64 years old. But later when we see the carving in the hunting lodge it says his datyes were 1884 - 1950. That would make him 66. Also, when Kim discovers his father's hunting license he notices that it was filled out on October 11th. When he confronts Doug about this Doug tells him his father actually died on October 12th and that Perry got his dates wrong.
•Perry has his initials on his shirt "PS" - Perry Stanger.
•Susan goes upstairs to try and talk Kim into leaving his father's bedroom. Here's how she does it: "Kim, it's 7 o'clock, would you like some fruit?"
•Kim visits Ravenwood Memorial Park where he believes his father is buried.
•Greg's hunting lodge is on Tamarac Lake, Maine.
"Good evening. Have you ever had a premonition? A feeling that something dreadful was about to happen? I mention that obviously because tonight's play is about a young man named Kim Stanger; about his strange homecoming and of the mystery he found when he arrived. Follow him if you will, as he attempts to unravel this mystery. Hindered at every step by his friends and haunted always by a vague sense of foreboding. This story is appropriately entitled 'Premonition'. I defy you to guess the nature of Kim Stanger's premonition although we shall give you numerous clues in the prologue which we now present immediately."

"And as the cold New England sun slowly sinks behind the coroner's office we take leave of mysterious far off Sheridan Falls, land of enchantement. And as the night breeze carries our little craft away from these beautiful wooded shores we slowly turn our eyes back to the charms of television advertising. And the lyrical chant of our sponsors' message. After which I'll float back. [fade out; fade in] I see it's time for our intermission. You may leave your seats if you wish. And er, have some light refreshment, chat with your friends, but please hurry back for our next play. That will be in just er... [checks for watch] week. Good night."

Kim tracks down his father's hunting lodge, deep in the mountains of Maine and is confronted by his sister-in-law, who tells him the truth: Kim killed his father with a loaded hunting rifle during an argument and was later committed to an asylum for it and had been suffering from amnesia ever since the incident.

Quite a slow-paced episode which builds to a fairly obvious climax. Second episode in the series maintains the suspense and outcome guessing game throughout, though the predictable ending does feel a bit of a cheap conclusion.
I've watched several of these episodes now, and this time I thought I'd watch the show BEFORE I checked out the review, to see if I could guess the outcome. Nope. Nowhere near. It says a lot for Mr. Forsythe's acting - or my naive outlook - that I thought his relatives were covering up some dirty deed. Hitch wasn't able to turn his good-looking leading men - Cary Grant, Ivor Novello - into baddies because he knew the filmgoing public wouldn't take it ; but this is different. This is a telly episode, designed to be enjoyed for 25 minutes and forgotten. (They couldn't predict DVD box sets!) Hitchcock's closing remarks cracked me up. He's sending up those boring MGM shorts, the Fitzpatrick TravelTalks ("and as the sun sink s slowly in the west, we bid farewell to beautiful Hawaii....."). Peter Sellers also did a lovely parody of these, and you may have heard of it: "Balham, Gateway to the South"!

(click any image to enlarge)

Kim Stanger... JOHN FORSYTHE
Susan Stanger... CLORIS LEACHMAN
Perry Stanger... WARREN STEVENS
Douglas B. Irwin, attorney... GEORGE MACREADY
Gerald Eaton, undertaker... PERCY HELTON
Isaiah Dobbs, coroner... HARRY TYLER
Mason, cab driver... PAUL BRINEGAR

(click any image to enlarge)

Acknowledgements: [IMDb]

This page was last updated on: 16 April 2020