Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Series 2, Episode 11

   Herschel Daugherty
   Robert Middleton, Henry Silva
   09 December 1956
   24m 21s

The Better Bargain
Businessman Louis Koster is convinced his wife is cheating on him and has hired a private detective by the name of Cutter to keep tabs on her. He reports to Koster's office and begins to read his notes to him of how he trailed the wife to the zoo where she met up with another man. Koster accepts that it could be perfectly innocent of his wife, who at twenty-five years old is half his age, to have a completely innocent friendship with another man but all the same he has suspicions and asks the detective to stay on the case. As Cutter leaves, Koster's beautiful wife Marian walks into the office and tells Louis that she is going to be away for a couple of days visiting a friend of hers. Louis forcibly kisses her goodbye and applies a little aggression with her as they embrace. After Marian leaves Louis calls in his assistant Baldy and tells him to get in touch with Harry Silver, a notorious killer.
That evening Koster and Silver discuss the proposition in the office but when Silver announces that his fee may be more than what Koster is willing to pay for the job Koster begins to have second thoughts. Louis explains how much his wife means to him and how he has left her millions in his will but if he finds out she is seeing another man then he wants her - and her lover to be killed. Silver agrees to the job for $20k.
A few days pass and Cutter reports back to Koster with an update. He confirms that the wife did not go to Cleveland as she had originally stated, and proceeds in telling Koster the entire story of how his wife met up with the strange man again and goes into details about their converstaion. Koster has heard enough and tells the detective he is no longer required and is paid off because now Koster is going to take matters into his own hands. That night he telephones Silver and tells him to go ahead with the double-murders.
In the morning Silver shows up at the office when Marian walks in. She is introduced to Silver, rather conveniently by Koster, with the intention that by doing so Silver will know exactly whom it is he is employed to knock off. Marian tells Louis that she has seen an expensive sports car she wants to buy but he tells her politely she cannot have it (I'm guessing he has other plans for that money!) After she leaves the office Louis confesses to Silver that he can't go through with having her killed but does agree to have the lover killed instead. Silver leaves and after having a change of heart Louis makes a call to buy the car for Marian after all. Just then Silver re-enters the office and tells Louis he too has changed his mind, and is not going to kill the lover and starts to explain why....
[Hitch is holding a violin case] "Good evening ladies and gentlemen. A special word to those of you who have been arrested while speeding home to see this show. I can do nothing to bail you out. And I'm afraid the magistrate is only slightly in my debt. I shall however do everything I can to make you forget your troubles. Tonight's narrative is about gangsters and I thought I best test some of the props. [He opens the case and pulls out a machine gun and fires it. Each time he fires the gun a meldoy chimes out] I would like to play the 'Flight Of The Bumble Bee'. But we must get on with the show."

"To summarise the next reel Harry did as he threatened and Marian lived happily ever after. She had a rich, full life. It was too bad Harry was not there to share it with her but of course crime does not pay, murder [??] out etcetera, etcetera and now good night until we again bring you a saga of suspense and/or mystery. Good night."

It's hard not to like Robert Middleton as an actor, though his character here, much like it was in the recent episode "Crack Of Doom" has a sinister side to him. This was a return to form for the suspense aspect of these episodes as well with the ending not being so obvious this time around. Except, it was. Still, a decent episode and although the plot twist did become a little obvious towards the end it didn't take away the quality of the episode.
The secret lover turns out to be the man who is hired to kill him.

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Harry Silver... HENRY SILVA
Cutter, detective... DON HAMNER
Marian Koster... KATHLEEN HUGHES

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Acknowledgements: [IMDb]

This page was last updated on: 08 April 2020