March 30, 2023

DVD Review – The Alfred Hitchcock Hour


alfred Hitchcock

This set presents the complete three seasons of Hitchcock’s iconic TV show, which brought episodes of suspense to the small screen from  1962 to 1965. It followed on from Alfred Hitchcock Presents which was one of the first successful anthology shows on TV. Anthology television has seen a bit of a revival with efforts like FargoTrue Detective and American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson. 

The series featured suspense stories with horror elements or just straight up crime stories. Hitchcock had a much more active role on Alfred Hitchcock Presents but he presents every episodes as he did on Presents. Hitchcock directed 17 episodes in Alfred Hitchcock Presents but only solitary episode here which is “I Saw The Whole Thing”. Hitchcock’s trademark masterfulness is on show and the episode considerably more flashy than many of the other episodes.

Much of the same cast and crew from Alfred Hitchcock Presents were carried over. Norman Lloyd who produced both series directs a few episodes as he did previously. The horror directed John Brahm was also carried over amongst others. Many of the other directors and writers also worked on Rod Sterling’s equally groundbreaking science fiction tinged anthology series The Twilight Zone. Robert Bloch who wrote Hitchcock’s Psycho again writes many episodes as he did on Presents and cult writers such as David Goodis and Harlan Ellison also contribute to the teleplays.

The cast and crew are an who’s who of Hollywood in the ’60s but like Alfred Hitchcock Presents it also gave young actors and filmmakers a chance to home their craft. The final episode was directed by William Friedkin who would of course become one of the premiere directors of New Hollywood as did Sydney Pollock who directs two episodes. The episodes’ cast includes a wide range of old stars such as James Mason, Jayne Mansfield, Ray Milland and Gloria Swanson. This is counterbalanced by upcoming actors like Robert Redford, Peter Fonda, Katherine Ross, John Carradine, Michael Parks, John Cassavetes and James Caan along with many more who would all make an undeniable dent in cinematic and television history for decades to come.

The Alfred Hitchcock Hour is very much a continuation of what Hitchcock did with Presents just this time he and his collaborators had 50 minutes to get the viewer on the edge of their seat unlike the previous 25 minute running time of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.. The late ’50s and early ’60s are often called the “golden era” of television and it’s not hard to see why when the anthology shows such as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and The Twilight Zone which had such extraordinary well written scripts and were expertly directed and casted. The discs are barebones but with such a wealth of episodes it doesn’t really matter.

Ian Schultz