Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Series 3, Episode 24

   Robert Stevens
   Frank Gabrielson (teleplay); Gertrude Atherton (story)
   Barbara Bel Geddes, Michael Rennie
   16 March 1958
   24:13 (total) • 21:12 (film) • 1:40 (Hitchcock)

The Foghorn
Lucia Clay (BARBARA BEL GEDDES) is having a nightmare, during which she recollects her honeymoon with her banker-husband John St. Rogers (BARTLETT ROBINSON). At her party she is introduced to a fellow banker Allen Bliss (MICHAEL RENNIE) with whom she dances. Afterwards Lucia and Allen walk out onto the balcony engulfed by fog. Allen tries to subtlety disuade her from running off with her new husband because of his short-term vision but their conversation is broken when a telephone call comes through from his wife. Allen returns inside to take the call whilst Lucia remains to reflect on what she has just heard.
In the present day Lucia's nightmare continues where she confesses she had fallen in love with this stranger but had lost him. She has a chance meeting with Allen in a downtown Chinatown street celebration for Chinese New Year. He takes her for lunch and she confesses that her marriage isn't working out the way she had expected. Allen reminds Lucia that he is married and can only ever want her friendship and proposes a toast that they drink to "the unexpected".
The friendship begins to blossom as Lucia finds they have a lot in common. After eight weeks Lucia and Allen meet up at the Cantonese restaurant to celebrate their "eight week anniversary" (is there really such a thing?) Each tells the other they have something they need to tell them. Lucia starts by saying she cannot see Allen any more because she fears falling in love with him and how complicated things may get. Allen is not prepared to let Lucia go so easily and tells her that he has filed for a divorce from his wife. He doesn't stop there. He asks Lucia to marry him. This guy doesn't like wasting any time, does he!
As Lucia's nightmare comes to an end she cries out and is attended to by a nun who informs her there has been an accident.
We go back in time to the night in question when Allen fails to show up at the restaurant as planned. As Lucia leaves she finds Allen outside in the thick fog and he tells her his wife will not grant him the divorce. The next day Allen and Lucia sail away on the ocean in their little boat where he tells her he has booked two tickets on the Orient Express and also gives her a Chinese wishing ring. Their happiness is short-lived however, when a fog rolls in and their boat is crushed by a passing ship.
Lucia learns that Allen died, but when she wakes from her nightmare there is something else she learns about herself....

•In the story Lucia is 26 years old. In reality, Barbara Bel Geddes - the actress who plays her was 36 at the time of filming.
•Barbara Bel Geddes also starred in Hitchcock's "Vertigo" the same year (1958).
•The story is set in San Francisco.
HITCH'S PROLOGUE (1 min 06 secs):
[Hitch is sitting in a canoe and using a tin cup to remove some water from it] "How! And a special word to all you ships at sea. [makes the sound of a foghorn] I've been examining this new, blue sew canoe for two. It is perfect for the brave who wants to take his wife out for a moonlight ride. It tips quite easily. Of course, this was used before the invention of sash weights, but I'm sure American Indian know-how triumphed. This is apparently a souped-up job, for I noticed it has a 1620 chassis, with 1750 paddles. It also has bucket seats and naturally, being an American vehicle, you steer it from the left. I shall now emulate the vanishing American, while we have tonight's story. After which, I shall paddle back."

"This is all of our first show of the evening. The second showing follows immediately and I trust you will leave promptly so that those waiting can get in. Thank you for allowing us to come into your teepees and until next time, good night. [long shot shows Hitch in the canoe, raising his right hand] How! And a special word to all you ships at sea. [Hitch makes a foghorn sound, before continuing...] I've been examining this new blue sew..." [camera pans to the left and cuts him off in mid-sentence as the show ends]

As we watch Lucia's flashback sequences we simply assume that her memories are recent. But in fact this all took place 50 years ago. Lucia has been in some sort of coma/trance ever since the accident and when she finally wakes up she realizes that she is now a very old lady. It's too much for her and she dies in the nursing home she has been living in after collapsing on the floor.

There are clues scattered throughout the episode to indicate the ending. It did strike me as odd that Lucia is always seen in shadows during her nightmare sequences. Even when we learn she has been involved in an accident we still don't get to see her face clearly. Something is off. As for the story, it is really dull. Lucia's husband is only seen fleetingly in the beginning and really didn't need to be in the story at all. Not one of the better episodes to be honest. A rather strange ending from Hitchcock as well.

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Wong, the waiter... WILLIAM YIP
Doctor... MARK HENRY

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

This page was last updated on: 07 February 2022