Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Series 3, Episode 9

   Robert Altman
   Sarett Rudley (teleplay); Phillip S. Goodman, Sandy Sax (story)
   Carol Lynley, Vince Edwards
   01 December 1957
   25:03 (total) • 21:25 (film) • 2:17 (Hitchcock)

The Young One
Jan (CAROL LYNLEY) is drinking lemonade in a bar with her boyfriend Stan (STEPHEN JOYCE) when she gets up to dance. Stan protests and tries to urge her to behave herself and leave together but she stubbornly ignores him. A shady-looking guy at the bar shows an interest in Jan and introduces himself as 'Tex' (VINCE EDWARDS). The two strike up a conversation where Jan explains that she is tired of living with her aunt and asks him to take her away with him. Tex isn't keen so Jan leaves.
Jan returns home to her aunt's house with Stan and as he goes to leave she asks for him to kiss her. Wen he attempts to do so Jan grabs him and begs him to take her away. A call from Aunt May breaks up their embrace and Stan leaves. Jan goes to her aunt's bedroom and is lectured about her whereabouts that evening after her aunt discovered Jan was at a seedy road house. Jan defends herself and says she just wanted to have some fun and that her aunt's anger is misplaced.
Aunt May and Jan share verbal exchanges between them and Jan expresses how she hates living with her aunt and wants her old life back before throwing a fit. Jan storms out of the bedroom and heads off to the Wooly Bear but Aunt May stops her and reminds Jan that she still has a duty to look after her, as her niece. Jan screams at her aunt and leaves. She enters the bar to find Tex still sitting there, apparently waiting for her. But a police officer tells Jan to leave and go home, before advising Tex to do the same.
After Tex walks Jan home she once again pleads with him to take her away, just so that she can escape her aunt's clutches but the inevitable happens: Tex begins acting creepy and pushy and suddenly turns into a sexual predator (I mean, come on - just the first sight of him at the bar, and the fact his name is TEX should act as a strong clue!) He coerces Jan into letting him into the house, where he tries to turn off the lights and put his hands all over her. Eventually Tex does try to leave until Jan demands he come back and obey her. Tex becomes aggressive (yeah, didn't see that coming - much) but Jan goes one better, slapping Tex in the face and throwing milk over him when a car drives past the house. It's the cop from earlier. Jan runs screaming out of the house, knocking over the light in the process. When she and cop go into the house they find Aunt May dead at the foot of the stairs and Jan feeds the cop some bullshit about how Tex manipulated her. And then boyfriend Stan shows up at the house acting confused and we all think HE killed Aunt May? Well SOMEONE did!?!?!

•The barman refuses to sell liquor to Carol Lynley because she is not over 21. She was actually 15 at the time of filming. She later says to Stan, "I like being kissed." I wish I could have jumped into the screen and offered her one myself!
•Stephen Joyce claims to be 18 years old in the episode, but in reality he was in fact 26 at the time of filming.
•The name of the bar is The Wooly Bear.
•Okay so she was only fifteen, but there is a very revealing cleavage shot of Carol Lynley at around 12 and a half minutes into the episode. Wow.
•When Jan screams "just leave me alone" to her aunt at the top of the stairs, I reacted by opening my eyes really wide!
HITCH'S PROLOGUE (1 minute 36 secs):
"Good evening and thank you for being so prompt. I detest at being kept waiting. I thought you might be interested in this collection of gift selections. They range from conventional to rare. Here is the ever-popular revolver. It is an excellent means of establishing credit in a strange city. It is equally useful in the removal of unwanted or unsightly persons. Here is a jar of poison mushrooms for those smart alecks who know toadstools when they see them. Here we have a weapon that is primitive but effective. It is guaranteed to be fifty percent painless. You see, it takes two men to operate it and the one at this end doesn't feel a thing. And for the house frau whose aim with the family china is not what it used to be, here is a very handsome item... an exploding cream pitcher. Says on it 'God bless our happy home'. As for tonight's story, I won't tell you whether or not any of these weapons are used. You will have to watch and see. [close-up] I did think I had an example of a blunt instrument to show you, uh... Ah, yes. What could be more blunt than the following?"

"Well she had me fooled. After all, anyone who would bludgeon her elderly aunt can't be all bad. And now while I'm briefly away, I'd like to show you still another lethal weapon. If used in large quantities, one of these can bore a person to death. [commercial break] When the dosage is as limited as that, there's no danger. After all, a one minute commercial never hurt anyone. We have another play prepared to show you next week. I hope you'll join us then. Good night."

Oh, Jan killed her aunt.

Well, after what seemed an extraordinarily lengthy intro from Hitch, we finally get down to business and are witness to an equally extraordinary performance by a 15 year old actress by the name of Carol Lynley. Some may remember her as one of the final six who survived The Poseidon Adventure many years later. Now considering her young age here, she executes her part magnificently, with maturity and professionalism. I was rather impressed with her. I found myself being sympathetic towards her character and her frustrations and her obvious struggle with her life situation in the storyline. Taking into account all of this, I found Lynley's performance to be one of the strongest of all the characters I have seen in the series so far. Robert Altman directed the episode, which in itself is enough for the viewer to get excited about. A very good episode, a good ending and a brilliant, brilliant performance from the lead girl.
Superficially this has a resemblance to an earlier episode. "A Little Sleep" which had Barbara Cook being a pain in the neck in a similarly bleak setting. Here it's Carol Lynley right at the beginning of her career. Her adoring, deluded boyfriend Stan is eighteen, but how old is "Janice" supposed to be? Carol is fifteen, presumably playing a girl of around seventeen but acting and dressing like she's thirteen. This is far from "Happy Days". It shows the dark underside of our idea of vintage American popular culture - except that these young people have no culture. They're trapped in the middle of nowhere in a nightmare world of restrictions, the only outlet being a seedy roadhouse where the seriously damaged Janice can preen and pout in front of any low-lfe that passes through. It all takes place at night, mostly in interiors, which increases the sense of claustrophobia and approaching disaster. The actors are fine, the script is fine, but I found this episode to be unsettling and unpleasant. But they can't all be lighthearted. Life is far from that. Hitch provides some much-needed light relief with his comments, as he takes another scathing pop at the quality of the sponsor's commercial.

(click any image to enlarge)

Matt, police officer... RUSTY LANE
Bartender... FRANK MARLOWE

(click any image to enlarge)

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

This page was last updated on: 30 April 2021