A mystery writer named Michael Barnes is accused of causing a fatal motorcycle accident with his car. The eyewitnesses prove less than reliable, however, when he defends himself in court ... See full summary »

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(short story), (teleplay)
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
Himself - Host
...
Michael Barnes
...
Jerry O'Hara
Evans Evans ...
Penny Sanford
...
Malcolm Stuart
...
Colonel Hoey
John Zaremba ...
Richard Anderson
...
Lt. Sweet
William Newell ...
Sam Peterson
...
Judge Neilson
Rusty Lane ...
Judge Martin
Billy Wells ...
George Peabody
Robert Karnes ...
The Police Sergeant
Maurice Manson ...
The Doctor
Kenneth Harp ...
The Bailiff (as Ken Harp)
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Storyline

A mystery writer named Michael Barnes is accused of causing a fatal motorcycle accident with his car. The eyewitnesses prove less than reliable, however, when he defends himself in court and shreds their testimony by demonstrating that in each case the witnesses saw only what they wanted to see rather than the actual truth. Finally, George Peabody is called in as a witness. He was the only one who really saw the whole thing. This episode marked Alfred Hitchcock's last directorial effort for television. Written by alfiehitchie

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TV-PG
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11 October 1962 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Static, but with an Important Subtext
13 June 2015 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

If you enjoy taking an hour to find out if a guy ran a stop sign, then you might enjoy this episode. Actually, things are more serious than this. Mystery writer Barnes (Forsythe) is involved in a traffic accident that caused a motorcyclist's death. Now he's up on charges that he caused the accident by not stopping at the stop sign soon enough and then driving off. A number of eye-witnesses claim he's at fault, while he denies it. So now we get an hour's courtroom procedure to determine who's right. At least with Perry Mason, there was the fun of a whodunit. Here, unfortunately, the courtroom generates little Hitchcock suspense.

The main interest lies in the eye-witnesses testifying, especially scatter-brained blonde, Penny (Evans), who seems more interested in boys and "creeps" than testimony. (With a name like Evans Evans the actress specialized in loopy roles. But then she couldn't have been too ditzy, being married to heavyweight director John Frankenheimer, e.g. Seconds {1966}.) The ending, unfortunately, comes out of left field and is not very believable. Good thing the cast is full of familiar faces making that part worthwhile.

Whatever the entry lacks, it does contain a serious subtext: namely, just how reliable is eye-witness testimony. The narrative shows how what we think we see is often colored by our state-of-mind at the time. That's an interesting and substantive topic to dramatize for an audience, though its treatment here is less dramatic than expected for a dark series. Nonetheless, the question is one to consider.

Anyway, I wish Hitch's last TV directing turn had featured a less static and more memorable 60-minutes than this episode turns out to be.


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