"Alfred Hitchcock Presents" Man from the South (TV Episode 1960) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Carlos (Peter Lorre) makes a bet with a gambler (Steve McQueen) that the gambler can't light his cigarette lighter ten times in a row. If he does, he wins Carlos' new car. if he doesn't, Carlos gets to chop off the gambler's little pinky.

  • In Las Vegas, Carlos bets a gambler that he can't light his lighter successfully 10 times in a row. Carlos bets his new car against the gambler's pinky finger on his left hand. The gambler, who is broke, accepts the proposition. He manages to light his lighter 7 times when Carlos' wife intervenes. It seems she is well aware of her husband's "games" and can prove it!

  • In a Las Vegas casino, an unpleasant little man hopes to use a young man's wish to impress the young woman he has just met to pressure the young fellow into accepting a macabre bet.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • The Host ('ALFRED HITCHCOCK (I)' (qv)) introduces the episode briefly.

    A Gambler ('STEVE MCQUEEN' (qv)) and a shapely Woman ('NEILE ADAMS' (qv), McQueen's real life wife and a professional dancer) accidentally bump into each other at an anonymous Las Vegas lounge in the early hours of the morning, and strike up a conversation. They're broke and desperate to leave town, but also getting it on together well. He shows off to her, as he is very willing to bet on anything, and how he is so proud of his new, infallible cigarette lighter. (Ronson or Zippo's lighter advertising was going big then, as well as cigarettes.)

    They are interrupted by a weird looking man from an unanamed South American country, Carlos ('PETER LORRE' (qv)), saying that he is a wealthy man, and who likes to make an occasional bet - but not for money. He proposes a nonsensical wager: his convertible car for the Gambler's little finger! The Gambler is both intrigued and hesitant. The car is the means of getting his objective, and to further impress his accidental date into a relationship. The trick is for the Gambler to light his cigarette lighter ten times without pause and without a miss, otherwise his pinky finger will be cut. The Gambler thinks that Lorre's bet is really a flight of unreality, but when he finally gets down to actually performing the action of lighting the lighter, he sees how serious the Southerner really is. The man has the Gambler's other arm tied down, and readied for it's finger to be cut off with a cleaver. The Gambler starts flicking the lighter on. One... two... three... four... five... six... seven...

    As The Gambler is about to light the lighter an eighth time, a woman comes in and confronts Carlos. She starts berating him about the bet, and reminding him that everything he owns is hers, not his. This kills the bet from continuing, as if the Gambler wins it, the man has no title to the car to give it away. The haughty man turns meekly all of a sudden. As Carlos' Wife ('KATHERINE SQUIRE' (qv)) picks up the keys and they leave, one sees that only two of her fingers remain on that hand.

    The relieved Gambler is lighting a cigarette with his infallible lighter - and to his amazement, it fails to light!

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