Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season 4, Episode 29

Banquo's Chair (3 May 1959)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 138 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

John Bedford is suspected of being the murderer of his wealthy aunt, Miss Ferguson, but the police are unable to break his alibi. Now, exactly two years after the crime, a retired Scotland ... See full summary »

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Episode cast overview:
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Himself - Host
...
Inspector Brent
Kenneth Haigh ...
John Bedford
Reginald Gardiner ...
Major Cook-Finch
Max Adrian ...
Tom Dillon ...
Sergeant Balton (as Thomas P. Dillon)
Hilda Plowright ...
Mae Thorpe
George Pelling ...
Lane
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Storyline

John Bedford is suspected of being the murderer of his wealthy aunt, Miss Ferguson, but the police are unable to break his alibi. Now, exactly two years after the crime, a retired Scotland Yard investigator named William Brent, puts together a plan that he hopes will make the nephew confess. Brent invites the young man to a dinner in the home that once belonged to the late aunt, and secretly hires an actress to pretend to be the ghost of the dead woman. Everyone at the dinner is in on the scheme, and when the apparition appears, no one claims to see anything - but Bedford, that is. Written by alfiehitchie

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3 May 1959 (USA)  »

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Season 4, Episode 29
13 August 2009 | by (Cincinnati, OH, United States) – See all my reviews

I was going to say that the mindset behind this featherweight bathroom break-long Hitchcock TV episode was, "Ha! I'm so clever because I churned this one out real fast and efficient like!" But that would not be fair. Hitchcock, who himself directed this particular episode, has not only done vastly superior work, to say the least, he has also done better episodes, including the very first one, Revenge, which is deeply implicit within its seemingly simplistic story, but Banquo's Chair could easily have been a mere exercise, like the determined Solitaire game the office manager plays in his free time, having gone so impressively far already that he can afford to take such part in such frivolities.

It's a, well, fast and efficient storyline weaved by Rupert Croft-Cooke and adapted by workhorse Alfred Hitchcock Presents telewriter Francis M. Cockrell, and while it has that fun campfire ghost story kind of feel in the world of Victorian-era British detectives, it is a little disappointing once you find that the hand that fashioned such showpieces of allusion, aurally and visually figurative inferences, plays on cinematic language like Shadow of a Doubt, Rope, Lifeboat, Psycho and Vertigo is letting the wheel spin while he's off in the corner looking at blue pictures.


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