Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Series 3, Episode 16

   Herschel Daugherty
   James P. Cavanagh (teleplay); Ira Levin (story)
   Ann Todd, John McIntire, Philip Reed
   19 January 1958
   24:30 (total) • 22:46 (film) • 1:29 (Hitchcock)

Mr. Leeds (JOHN MCINTIRE) is a middle-aged father whose wife has left him to raise their only daughter, Sylvia (ANN TODD). One evening Mr. Leeds finds Sylvia in her bedroom holding a gun and asks her what she is doing with it? She tells him that she bought it to feel safe in the house whilst he is away. Mr. Leeds is about to leave for a vacation to Europe and begs Sylvia to join him but she stubbornly refuses. Mr. Leeds sympathises with his daughter when he tells her that he knows how she feels, especially after his wife left him. As Mr. Leeds plans to return to his office to tie up some loose ends the housekeeper quietly informs him that Sylvia has given her a three week vacation, which alarms him as Mr. Leeds is worried about Sylvia being left on her alone for the fear of her committing suicide.
Mr. Leeds visits the family psychiatrist Dr. Jason (RAYMOND BAILEY) with his concerns for his daughter. Mr. Leeds recalls how Sylvia met a man on a boat and married him very quickly after. But it was Mr. Leeds to supported his daughter throughout whilst the new husband, Peter Kent (PHILIP REED) continued to be a financial burden to them both. It all came to a head when Kent forged a check with Leeds' name on it. Mr. Leeds threatens to turn his son-in-law in but Kent calls his bluff and makes him a counter-offer. Kent offers to divorce Sylvia without any problems and will leave town in exchange for Leeds destroying the check. They agree.
Sylvia telephones Kent and asks him to come over to the house later that night when her father leaves for his trip. Kent agrees. But unbeknownst to them both Mr. Leeds cancels his trip and is heading for home himself. Kent shows up again at the office and tells Leeds that he intends to see Sylvia again but Leeds reminds him of the agreement they made whereby Leeds would stay away. Once again Leeds makes a deal with Kent and pays him off. That night Leeds returns home and tells Sylvia he has cancelled his trip. She tells her father that she had hoped Kent would come back to her whilst he was away on the trip so they could maybe rekindle their relationship but that is now all gone.
Leeds presses Sylvia again on why she bought the gun and she breaks down, begging her father to take her away with him. He agrees to do so before Sylvia retires to her room. Leeds makes a telephone call to the psychiatrist to tell him Sylvia is willing to start seeing him again but whilst he is on the phone Leeds suddenly remembers the gun Sylvia has. When he goes to her room to ask her for the gun for safe keeping.... she gives it to him.

•Ann Todd, who plays the title character, was Hitchcock's leading lady in The Paradine Case.
•The house servants are George and Bertha, according to Sylvia. We don't get to see George.
•The office used by Mr. Leeds is the exact same layout as the one used by the boss in the previous episode, "Together". It has the main door with the window with the bars on it right next to it. Also, a letter opener (maybe the same one?) is seen being held by Peter as he sits in the chair.
•Strangeley, Ann Todd was actually 5 months OLDER than John MIntire, the actor who plays her father!!
•Sylvia hold the gun in her left hand.
"Good evening, parents, children, babysitters and settees. Tonight's discussion is concerned with that thorny problem that all parents face as they survey their children. Is co-existence really possible? The problems of the teenager are well discussed but I would like to say a word for his father, the middle-ager. The middle-ager is truly an outcast from society. Youth pays no attention to him, except to steal his hub-caps. Those traditional symbols of virility. He can only drive down the dusty road towards senility in a cooled-off hot rod. Forever doomed to be a mere spectator in the great drag-race of life. Of course, any connection between this treacle and tonight's story, is pure coincidence. [close-up] I might add that any connection between what follows immediately and the rest of the show is not mere coincidence, but is a very practical business arrangement."

"Well, I'm not sure the psychiatrist straightened out Sylvia's mind but he certainly improved her aim. You'll be pleased to know that Mr. Melton stopped interfering with Sylvia's life and her interference with his life was limited to this one culminating stroke. If you found this story amusing you'll be pleased to hear that we've prepared another for our next presentation. So until then, good - hyphen - night!"

We spend pretty much the entire episode wondering what Sylvia is going to do with that gun and we finally get our answer at the end. She is fed up with not being able to have anything of her own. Everything she has in life has been gifted to her from her father, who has sought to protect her against a manipulative husband. When the father confronts her in her bedroom she tells him how upset this has made her before shooting him dead.

Not a particularly great episode to be honest. Ann Todd plays the grown-up but slightly disturbed daughter who has found life difficult to cope with after her mother abandoned her and then her husband divorced her. John McIntire is good as the over-protective father but the story lacks suspense and interest. Twenty minutes drag past with the viewer wondering what Sylvia's intentions are with that gun of hers and the ending doesn't really come as too much of a surprise. Average.

(click any image to enlarge)

Sylvia... ANN TODD
John Leeds... JOHN McINTIRE
Peter Kent... PHILIP REED
Bertha, house servant... EDIT ANGOLD

(click any image to enlarge)

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

This page was last updated on: 05 June 2021