Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Series 1, Episodes 24

   Robert Stevens
   Victor Wolfson (teleplay); Stanley Aumonier (story)
   Hurd Hatfield, Mildred Natwick
   11 March 1956
   24:35 (total) • --:-- (film) • -:-- (Hitchcock)

The Perfect Murder
At the reading of a will, two brothers Paul and Henri Tallendier (Hurd Hatfield and Philip Coolidge) find that they are to inherit some money from their dead aunt's estate, much to the chagrin of their living aunt Rosalie (Mildred Natwick), who is the main beneficiary of the inheritance. Eager to spend his money before he has received it, Paul makes a play on Rosalie's heartstrings and pretends to be ill, gaining her sympathy. After she allows him to move in with her to keep her company, the two get on just fine, though she is mindful of his interest in her dying in order for him to collect. Paul even teases her in showing how easy it would be for him to kill her if he wanted to. Henri is just as scheming and is desperate to have money, showing up at Rosalie's house in the middle of the night to steal silver picture frames so that he can pawn them. Paul catches him and they discuss how much easier and financially better their lives would be if Aunt Rosalie was killed. The next day the brothers meet at a cafe and discuss how they are going to do it and Paul tells Henri to ground some glass into a fine powder so that they can put it into her food. However, the plan backfires spectacularly!

[Hitch appears with his back to the camera with a knife sticking in his back before turning around to face the camera] "Oh good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Hollywood. I think everyone enjoys a nice murder... provided he's not the victim. Well, tonight's little comedy of bad manners is concerned with that dream of all of us who harbor homicidal tendencies. The perfect murder. Of course to be serious for a moment there is no such thing as a nice murder or a perfect murder. It is always a sordid, despicable business... especially if you don't have a good lawyer."

"As for the eventual outcome of tonight's crime the case was later re-opened and Henri arrested and convicted of violating the pure food and drug act. He had used an inferior grade of glass. We shall have our next performance of another play one week from tonight. Oh yes, normally I detest sentimentality, but I must leave you with this little thought for the day: never turn your back on a friend. Good night."

After getting her drunk, Paul puts the glass into his aunt's souffle and then goes out, expecting her to eat it and later die. Unfortunately for him, he was unaware that the aunt refused the food and opted for fish instead. But fear not, the eggs didn't go to waste - Paul ate them when he came home. Oops. This promotes Henri to being her sole heir!


(click any image to enlarge)

Paul Tallendier... HURD HATFIELD
Madame Aunt Rosalie... MILDRED NATWICK
Henri Tallendier... PHILIP COOLIDHE
Ernestine the cook... GLADYS HURLBUT
Waiter... JACK CHEFE

(click any image to enlarge)

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

This page was last updated on: 15 February 2022