Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season 1, Episode 23

Back for Christmas (4 Mar. 1956)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 422 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 3 critic

Herbert Carpenter plans to murder his wife Hermione, bury her body in the basement, and then leave on a long business trip.



(teleplay) (as Francis Cockrell) , (story)
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Episode complete credited cast:
Himself - Host
Isobel Elsom ...
Hermione Carpenter (as Isabel Elsom)
Arthur Gould-Porter ...
Major Sinclair (as A.E. Gould-Porter)
Lillian Kemble-Cooper ...
Mrs. Sinclair (as Lily Kemble-Cooper)
Gavin Muir ...
Mr. Wallingford
Katherine Warren ...
Mrs. Freda Wallingford
Gerald Hamer ...
Mr. Hewitt
Irene Tedrow ...
Mrs. Hewitt
Ross Ford ...
Theresa Harris ...
Elsie the Servant
Molly Glessing ...
Maid (as Mollie Glessing)


Herbert is digging in his basement when his wife Hermione calls him upstairs to eat. She thinks he is making a wine cellar, but he is really planning to kill her and bury her in the basement. At lunch, Hermione goes over all the arrangements she has made for a business trip to California that they are about to take together. Several friends then come over to visit, and after they leave, Herbert looks for the opportunity to put his plan into practice. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

4 March 1956 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Francis M. Cockrell (teleplay) and John Collier (story) were nominated by the Writer's Guild of America for a WGA(TV) Award for Best Anthology Drama, Thirty Minutes in Length in 1957. See more »


Version of Tales of the Unexpected: Back for Christmas (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

10, and probably slightly misunderstood
15 December 2008 | by (Longview, Washington) – See all my reviews

The first comment on this seems to miss the point. Its not that the woman is so overbearing that makes this episode so great - rather, the complexity of characters and the humorous delivery of the "final solution" that really makes this episode stand out.

Of course she's not fully overbearing, nor is he fully evil. He's rather ordinary, just like her. Hitchcock always succeeds most when making the trivial and boring very lurid and shocking. "Back for Christmas" is great. Best episode in the first season.

If you're looking for archetypal characters, there are plenty of areas of viewing with which to explore them. This director doesn't deal in archetypes but in eccentric individuals.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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