Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season 1, Episode 7

Breakdown (13 Nov. 1955)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 677 users  
Reviews: 13 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.



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

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


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

13 November 1955 (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?


[introduction - Hitchcock is reading a book when he notices the viewer]
Alfred Hitchcock: Oh. Good evening. I've been reading a mystery story. I find them very relaxing. They take my mind off my work. These little books are quite nice. Of course, they can never replace hardcover books. They're just as good for reading, but they make very poor doorstops. Tonight's story by Louis Pollock is one that appeared in this collection. I think you will find it properly terrifying, but like the other plays of our series, it...
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Referenced in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Unique and truly terrifying
7 January 2012 | by (Denmark) – See all my reviews

After firing an employee who gets choked up about it(practicing for his acceptance speech for the Academy, perhaps... or, more likely, his identity is closely tied to his job) and briely discussing the matter with Mr. Ed(not a horse, of course), William Callew goes for a drive. He is forced to take a detour, and crashes on a rural road, where not many come by. This leaves him paralyzed, and several of the few that come by mistake him for dead, and present a revealing look into how uncaring and callous some people can be. I'm not certain if this is meant to be a sort of Karmic retribution(since our lead is not established as a real jerk, just someone uncomfortable with others losing control of their emotions), though there is a kind of moral lesson. And even if you don't enjoy that aspect, this is incredible. The acting is phenomenal; Cotten, who portrays our protagonist, is literally limited to his voice in getting across every single feeling(and the lines are impeccably written, they hit the nail on the head for what one would be thinking, and make for some of the best monologing in this medium) he experiences for most of this(and yes, that's slightly less than half an hour, but it is still an accomplishment... and the pacing is spot-on, and kudos to them for adapting this to this length, it would have been excessive otherwise... rather than perfect). For the duration, this remains on his "lifeless" body, the camera not leaving his side(and only showing a minimal amount that he himself does not see or otherwise realize), forcing the desperation, isolation and absolute hopelessness of his situation to sink in completely. This is extremely creepy and builds suspense expertly. There is a bit of disturbing and violent content in this. I recommend this to anyone who can handle it. 10/10

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