Friday, January 11, 2013

TV Review: Alfred Hitchcock Presents S1Ep02: Premonition (1955)

Alfred Hitchcock Presents
ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS Episode 102: Premonition
Episode 102: Premonition
Original air date 10.09.55

Written by Harold Swanton
Directed by Robert Stevens

Kim Stanger...John Forsythe
Sue...Cloris Leachman
Perry...Warren Stevens

After four years abroad, a musician named Kim Stanger returns to his hometown of Sangerford, although he's really not quite sure why. He just suddenly felt homesick, a genuine longing to return, as if his heart knew that something important was happening that he wouldn't want to miss.

When he arrives, he finds that nothing much has changed. Except, of course, for the fact that his estranged father is dead and no one has bothered to tell him about it. Now if that isn't just the strangest thing...

Stranger still is that nobody's account of the incident seems to match up. Kim launches an investigation of his own to discover the hidden truth. Of course, in most cases, the truth is hidden for a reason.

Although Hitch invites us to attempt to deduce Kim's premonition, the twist ending here isn't necessarily anything new, and the modern viewer won't find it particularly shocking. But on the plus side, you probably won't see it coming either. It's a decent enough episode that relies too heavily on voice over narration to cram in a lot of exposition. It was probably better when it was still fresh, but modern viewers will find elements of Shutter Island on display here.

John Forsythe was most seen as Blake Carrington on the soap opera Dynasty, but he will forever be known as the voice of Charles Townsend in the Charlie's Angels TV series, as well as the two revival films. This was his only appearance on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, but he would appear in an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in 1962.

Cloris Leachman portrayed Christina Bailey in 1955's Kiss Me Deadly, which starred Ralph Meeker, the leading man from the previous episode of this series. This was one of three appearances she would make in the series, and she went on to portray Nurse Diesel in the Hitchcock spoof High Anxiety. She has appeared in literally hundreds of movies and television shows, and has lent her voice to many animated projects--everything from My Little Pony: The Movie to Beavis and Butthead Do America.

Warren Stevens' most memorable role was probably that of Doc Ostrow in 1956's Forbidden Planet. He gets hipster credibility for appearing in the uneven 1966 adaptation of Norman Mailer's An American Dream, alongside Hitch's Psycho starlet Janet Leigh. This was the first of two appearances he would make on the series.

Director Robert Stevens (not to be confused with Robert Stevenson, who also directed episodes of the series) directed 44 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, well more than any other director in the stable, and five additional episodes for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.  He also directed more than 100 episodes of the anthology show Suspense (for which he also occasionally wrote), and contributed to The Twilight Zone, Journey to the Unknown, and Amazing Stories.

Scripter Harold Swanton had previously worked on The Whistler series, both in its radio and television format.  This was the first of 10 episodes that he would write for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, plus another for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.


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