The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: Season 2, Episode 27

The Sign of Satan (8 May 1964)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 122 users  
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A group of studio executives and a leading lady (Gia Scala) view a screening of a black mass, and are impressed by the performance of Karl Jorla. They want him for the lead in their next ... See full summary »

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
Himself - Host
...
Gia Scala ...
Kitty Frazier
Gilbert Green ...
Max Rubini
...
Ed Walsh
Myron Healey ...
Dave Connor
Byron Keith ...
Capt. Hartzell
Nicki Brick ...
The Script Girl
Sol Gorss ...
The Studio Policeman (as Saul Gorss)
Horst Ebersberg ...
The 1st Acolyte (as Horst Ebers)
Dieter Jacoby ...
The 2nd Acolyte
Eric Forst ...
The 3rd Acolyte
Walter Friedel ...
The 4th Acolyte
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Storyline

A group of studio executives and a leading lady (Gia Scala) view a screening of a black mass, and are impressed by the performance of Karl Jorla. They want him for the lead in their next horror picture, so they fly him into Hollywood from France. They need to arrange for publicity but Jorla refuses, saying that the film they observed was of him as the real-life arch-priest of a group of devil worshipers who will track him down and kill him. The studio tries to protect him, but he trusts no one. He disappears, then suddenly emerges three days later in a scene with the leading lady, cryptically mumbling the address in Topanga Canyon where he may be located. The police find his murdered corpse, but an autopsy reveals that he has been dead for at least three days. Written by Lew Amack

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8 May 1964 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

During Hitchcock's closing remarks at the end of the show, he's advanced on by a slender figure, in tights, with a very strange head. The head is an unused design for the aliens in "It Came from Outer Space." This seems to be its only appearance on screen. See more »

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User Reviews

Eerie Idea, Pedestrian Treatment
8 May 2015 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

A European horror star is hired by Hollywood studio to star for them. Trouble is he's mixed up with a real satanic cult or at least thinks he is.

Film freaks like me always enjoy behind-the-scenes studio plots, and we get lots of that here, where real life evil is blended with Hollywood's make-believe kind. Sounds promising but results don't really come off, despite Christopher Lee in a bushy hairpiece and raccoon eyebrows. As others point out, it's interesting seeing him as the frightened one instead of an imposing figure scaring the devil out of the rest of us. Trouble is the suspense and fright never gels, maybe because scenes too often switch to the mundane studio head and his staff. Menace is not played up beyond Jorla's words, while that overextended opening sequence smacks of padding. Then too, the one attack scene is filmed like a cowboy barroom brawl with no spooky atmosphere at all. The end result is more like an eerie idea filmed too much like an ordinary narrative.

On the plus side, is Myron Healy showing he can play a high-powered exec instead of his usual baddie. Also are the interior and exterior glimpses of the Universal lot where these Hitch's were filmed. At the same time, it's a Lee showcase at a time when his Hammer Films career was flourishing, which may be why he gets so much screen time here. But pity poor ravishing Gia Scala who doesn't get to do much except tag after the boys in ravishing fashion—not that I'm complaining.

All in all, the hour's a promising idea that unfortunately gets treated in rather pedestrian fashion.


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