Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season 1, Episode 7

Breakdown (13 Nov. 1955)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 769 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 1 critic

William Callew is involved in a bad traffic accident on a rural road, that leaves him so paralyzed he appears lifeless, and when help arrives they think he's really dead.

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(teleplay) (as Francis Cockrell) , (teleplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Breakdown (13 Nov 1955)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
William Callew
...
Himself - Host
...
Ed Johnson
Forrest Stanley ...
Hubka
Harry Shannon ...
Dr. Harner
Lane Chandler ...
Sheriff
James Edwards ...
Convict
Marvin Press ...
Chessy
Murray Alper ...
Lloyd
Mike Ragan ...
Escaped Convict
Jimmy Weldon ...
Guard (as Jim Weldon)
Richard Newton ...
Ambulance Driver
...
Road Worker
Harry Landers ...
Coroner
Elzie Emanuel ...
Black Escaped Convict
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Storyline

Mr. Callew, a demanding businessman, is resting by the beach when he receives a telephone call from a recently discharged employee. The man is in tears, but the unyielding Callew shows no sympathy, and hangs up on him. Later, when Callew starts to drive home, his car runs off the road at a construction site. When he comes to, Callew is paralyzed. Several persons come by, but he is unable to communicate with them, so they think he is dead. Fully aware of his predicament, he becomes increasingly terrified. Written by Snow Leopard

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Release Date:

13 November 1955 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Edward W. Williams won the 1956 Primetime Emmy for Best Editing of a Television Film for this episode. See more »

Quotes

[afterword]
Alfred Hitchcock: Well, that was a bit of a near thing. He reminded me of my own situation. Imagine, if you can, the terror of being inside a television set, knowing that any moment, the viewer may shut you off, and being powerless to prevent it. And I go through this every week. My only consolation is that some portions of our program are so fascinating, that they hold the viewer spellbound. Such an episode follows immediately, and then I'll be back again.
[commercial break]
Alfred Hitchcock: There, now. That really ...
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Connections

Referenced in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Even ruthless businessmen break down...
10 September 2014 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

In one of the first episodes of the "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" TV series, we once again get to see - and feel - all of his irony and mastery at keeping us in an almost painful state of suspense for thirty (in this case LONG) minutes - but he also gives us a VERY unusual lesson in morals; and in the most unusual way, too...

The beginning of the whole story has got a special meaning: a heartless businessman on holiday has just given one of his oldest employees the sack without any warning, and the desperate man calls him on the phone, begging him and crying - and yet, all he does is make fun of his 'childish' behavior, remarking that there was no need for him to cry like a baby... BUT a little while later, he finds himself in a VERY desperate situation as well: after an accident, he's stuck behind the wheel of his luxury limousine, looking like he was dead - and he can't move, he can't talk, he can't give a sign of life; and so they take him to the morgue...

This has DEFINITELY got a touch of Edgar Allan Poe, and it's REALLY chilling to 'live' those dreadful hours (even 'crammed' into a 30-minute TV episode); but it also contains a PRETTY clear social and moral lesson... Joseph Cotten is simply EXCELLENT in a quite unusual role; and Hitch's directing is, to say the least, more breathtaking than in many of his most famous movies!


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