The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: Season 1, Episode 10

Day of Reckoning (22 Nov. 1962)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 97 users  
Reviews: 3 user

An unfaithful wife taunts her husband that she's ditching him for a real man. As the drunken couple argue on the stern of a yacht, the normally-timid husband shoves her overboard to drown. ... See full summary »



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Title: Day of Reckoning (22 Nov 1962)

Day of Reckoning (22 Nov 1962) on IMDb 7.4/10

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Himself - Host
Paul Sampson
Judge David Wilcox
Dee Hartford ...
Felicity Sampson
Sheriff Jordan
Katharine Bard ...
Caroline Sampson
Jeremy Slate ...
Trent Parker - Golf Pro
K.T. Stevens ...
Dr. Felix Ryder
Robert Cornthwaite ...
The District Attorney
Alexander Lockwood ...
Dr. Campbell - Psychiatrist
James Flavin ...
The Coroner
The Court Clerk
Officer Frazier


An unfaithful wife taunts her husband that she's ditching him for a real man. As the drunken couple argue on the stern of a yacht, the normally-timid husband shoves her overboard to drown. The society party-goers on the boat support his tale that the wife accidentally fell over the side that night, & the police believe the husband too. At first, he's relieved, then gradually guilt takes him over, but friends feel his panicky behavior is grief. The widower blurts the murder to his friends, but his story was so convincing they downplay his confession, not wanting to be involved in an embarrassing murder inquiry. As his internal pressure mounts, the killer desperately seeks a way out. Written by David Stevens

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Plot Keywords:

boat | judge | sheriff | golf pro | drowning | See All (5) »





Release Date:

22 November 1962 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode aired exactly one year to the day before John F. Kennedy was assassinated. See more »

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User Reviews

The Guilty Party
12 November 2013 | by (brighton, ma) – See all my reviews

Day Of Reckoning is an at times confusing first season entry of the Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and while not dreadful it doesn't live up to its intriguing premise, which is what's a man to do his beautiful young wife, who has just told him that she's leaving him for (an unnamed)other man impulsively pushes her off his yacht and she drowns? As he is rather an "accidental perp", and none of his bridge playing friends down below saw anything, the man can get off scot free if he behaves himself (he's not really under suspicion) and plays his cards right.

Lawman Claude Akins asks an awful lot of questions, which makes the perp feel guiltier than he actually is and paranoid that he's being singled out. He isn't. The cop's just doing his job. The man's friends, professional country club types, rally round the troubled, grieving widower, but to no avail. A ghastly looking Barry Sullivan plays the accidental murderer, and his unsympathetic performance, while in keeping with his character's self-absorbed nature, make him seem more evil than he is. There was always a seedy dandy quality to Sullivan, even when he was young, which made him a hard sell as a hero. He was best when cast as ambiguous characters: urbane, good seeming bad guys or shady types who turn out to be decent sorts after all. Sullivan should have been good casting for the lead but his near catatonic performance is alienating and, quite frankly, boring.

The supporting cast is, marginally, more lively, if only because they're not Barry Sullivan; and especially not in the predicament Sullivan's character is in. Akins, K.T. Stevens and Hugh Marlowe seem well at ease in their roles, as does an ashen but still game Louis Hayward, erstwhile costume picture star who appeared in all kinds of movies but, like Sullivan, fell short of major stardom that seemed, for a brief period, within his grasp. Hayward's casting as a judge reminds me of his role as one of the many suspects in the 1945 Rene Clair film And Then There Were None, from an Agatha Christie story, in which a judge featured more prominently in the film than one might have initially expected. It's the same in Day Of Reckoning, but with a very different outcome. Hayward gives a charming performance, seems to enjoy playing his role.

The ending, which I gather was intended to be shockingly ironic, was easy to see coming by the half-way point. Still, the episode featured some good acting, was well written, yet I rank it as just barely above average due to its trying to do too many things at once. It's as if the writers and director couldn't settle for a tone, an attitude. A little dark humor might have helped. Also, more things for the secondary characters to do.

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