Reviews & Ratings for
"Alfred Hitchcock Presents" Man from the South (1960)

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16 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Who Needs This One When I've Got Nine More!

7/10
Author: dougdoepke from Claremont, USA
23 June 2007

This is the second entry featuring McQueen in the series. Both rely on superior scripts, probably an enticement for the then fast rising young actor. Also featured is McQueen's real life wife, Neile Adams, who quickly shows why she was a professional dancer and not a professional actress.

Anyway the two "meet cute" in an anonymous Las Vegas lounge when interrupted by the one-and-only Peter Lorre looking a bit like a human version of Pacman. Naturally, you suspect something weird from such a weird looking guy, and he doesn't disappoint. He proposes a cockamamie wager to McQueen: his convertible car for McQueen's little finger!-- (Thank you writer Roald Dahl for this one.) McQueen's intrigued; it's just strange enough to be interesting. Then too, maybe that will impress the shapely Miss Adams. The trick is for McQueen to light his cigarette lighter ten times without a miss, otherwise his fingers only count up to nine.

Thanks to the inbuilt suspense, we sweat a bucket-load, hanging with Steve as he flicks once, twice, three times, his other hand splayed across a table top with Lorre poised hatchet in hand. Frankly, in my view, the ending doesn't quite match the lead-up in pay-off. Still, the 30 minutes amounts to a fascinating premise with a lot of white-knuckle interest for fans beyond those of early McQueen.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

"Man From the South" showcases early McQueen

9/10
Author: (chuck-reilly) from Los Angeles
17 March 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In the 1960 "Man From the South", a young up-and-coming Steve McQueen isn't even given a name; he's merely "the gambler" and his real-life wife, Neile Adams is cast as "the girl." They accidentally bump into each other at a Las Vegas lounge in the early hours of the morning and strike up a conversation. It's obvious that they're both broke and looking for a fast way out of town. Their chance meeting may be one of desperation, but the two seem to hit it off extremely well. Soon they might even be potential lovers until they're interrupted by an obnoxious stranger. Enter Peter Lorre as "Carlos" who offers McQueen and his new girlfriend a quick exit in the form of a strange and very macabre wager. After over-hearing how impressed McQueen is with his new cigarette lighter, Lorre offers to wager his brand new convertible if Steve can get the lighter to strike successfully ten times in a row. If the lighter fails just once, Lorre gets to whack off the little finger on McQueen's left hand with a meat cleaver. At first, McQueen declines the wager---until he re-evaluates his current and dire financial situation. After some brief soul-searching, he decides to take the bet.

There's a nice punch line to all of this and it has nothing to do with the evils of gambling. Lorre keeps the plot moving with his excellent performance and McQueen does his best to hold his own when the two are on screen together. McQueen also does some major sweating while he flicks his lighter once, twice, three times, etc. With a bored and forlorn expression, Lorre stands over him with his meat cleaver firmly in hand. Then another "gambler" enters the picture...

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The BEST Alfred Hitchcock episode ever (IMHO)

10/10
Author: james-e-clark-880-251394 from United States
11 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I just watched this (my favorite) episode again so it is all fresh on my mind. Optimum cast combination for this suspenseful little play. Despite the negative review given previously concerning Neile Adams acting, personally I thought she was just fine. You have to bear in mind the style of acting back then tended to be melodramatic. Perhaps she was just too gorgeous (not "odd looking") for me to notice any flaws. The chemistry between she and McQueen is real. Contrary to what another reviewer felt, I thought the ending was very tight. Spoiler in response to the previous reviewer: McQueen lights the lighter successfully seven times before being interrupted; then when trying to light the girl's cigarette (what would have been the eighth try) the lighter fails.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A convertible for a little finger...

7/10
Author: binapiraeus from Greece
10 September 2014

Well, this one surely is a QUEER entry in the great TV series "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" - but nonetheless, it's certainly VERY much in the way of the great master's suspense, and humor! (The story is from Roald Dahl, so that should give keen mystery readers an idea about what's expecting us...)

In Las Vegas one morning, a sympathetic but all too cocksure young guy (Steve McQueen) meets a young girl and starts flirting with her, using his lighter that 'never misses', as he assures her, as the first thing that comes to his mind to attract her attention - but it also attracts the attention of a VERY strange man in every way (played by none other than the great Peter Lorre), who invites the lad to a bet: if his 'lighter that never misses' will light ten times in a row, he's going to win the stranger's brand new convertible - BUT if it doesn't, he'll chop off the little finger of the youngster's left hand... And what does the young fellow do to show his courage and self-assurance (especially to the girl, of course...)? He accepts the bet. And so they all go up to the strange man's room, where the boy has got his lighter ready - and the stranger a butcher's knife...

We certainly can't deny that Hitch has got us sweating and biting our nails once again, and the minutes, even the seconds seem like hours - but you SURE need a good sense of humor to take in all the twists and turns of this crazy episode! Anyway, for real fans of suspense and irony, this will be a REAL treat...

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9 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

A Piece of Dahlist Macabre

7/10
Author: theowinthrop from United States
11 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To most movie fans, Roald Dahl is best recalled for the children's classic CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, which was made into two films. But in the 1950s on ALFRED HITCHCOCK and on other television shows Dahl's cynical and ironical style of humor came up again and again on the air to widespread popular acclaim. While CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY was something about what makes a young child a good child, with the rivals of Charlie self-destructing due to their bad behavior or characters, the other stories tended to be more grown-up and (in their twisted way) fun.

Steve McQueen (in an early part) is a gambler in a Latin American country, who is very willing to bet on anything. He is also very proud of his handsome new, infallible cigarette lighter (this was made in the period when getting a new Ronson or Zippo lighter was a nice gift with little consideration about cancer causing cigarettes - an ironic point considering the premature death of McQueen at the height of his career). He is constantly boasting about his never fail lighter, when a mysterious man approaches him for a proposed wager. The man (Peter Lorre - the only time he and McQueen both appeared together in any film or show) says he is a wealthy man who likes to make an occasional bet - not for money. He will give McQueen his limousine (which McQueen was admiring earlier) if McQueen's lighter will properly light ten times in a row without pause. But if it does fail to light up properly, Lorre wins. He will cut off one of McQueen's fingers.

The suspense of the episode is that McQueen thinks that Lorre's bet is really a flight of unreality, but he is sure his great little lighter will work ten times straight in a row. Lorre is very matter-of-fact about the wager, even if the goal is a trifle ghoulish on his part. It is only when McQueen finally gets down to actually performing the action of the lighting of the lighter that he sees how serious Lorre really is. Lorre has McQueen's other arm tied down, and readied for it's thumb to be cut off with a cleaver. But McQueen starts flicking the lighter on. One...two...three...four...five...six...seven....

SPOILER COMING UP.

As McQueen is about to light the lighter an eighth time, a woman comes in and confronts Lorre. She starts berating him about the bet - reminding him that everything he owns is hers, not his. Actually this kills the bet from continuing, as if McQueen wins it Lorre has no title to the car to give it to McQueen. Lorre, like a sullen little boy gives his keys to his wife (the woman who came in - Katherine Squire), and we see only two of her fingers remain on one hand as she picks up the keys. As for McQueen, as he sees that the bet has blown up, he is lighting a cigarette with his infallible lighter, and much to his amazement it fails to light!

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Man From The South

8/10
Author: a_baron from United Kingdom
2 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Having just watched the remake with John Huston as the evil one, how could I not watch the original? Until last night I had no idea either that it was a remake or that it was based on a Roald Dahl short story from 1948. Peter Lorre was a naturally sinister individual - in the nicest possible way. When this was made, four years before his death, he had put on a little weight. I can't quite make up my mind if he was more or less sinister than in his youth, but he was certainly less menacing here than Huston because of the distance of the character; you could imagine Huston's character running a Sunday school or even a kid's party, not so Lorre's. Nevertheless, he turns in a convincing performance. Likewise, King of Cool Steve McQueen doesn't look quite so cool under pressure here.

The ending is distinctly inferior to the remake, primarily because of the way the real owner of the car holds her left hand; this is kind of a giveaway even to a slow-witted individual like Yours Truly, and would have been even if I hadn't known what was coming.

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2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Gripping

8/10
Author: ctomvelu1 from United States
6 January 2013

Steve McQueen and Peter Lorre star in this subversive little horror tale from the pen of Roald Dahl. Lorre and McQueen meet in a casino restaurant., and a casual boast by McQueen about his cigarette lighter leads to a grim be: If McQueen can make his lighter work 10 times in row, Lorre will hand him the keys to his car. If he fails, Lorre gets to chop off McQueen's pinky. Veteran director Norman Lloyd milks this baby for all the suspense it was worth. Lorre is suitably creepy, and McQueen demonstrates the casual charm that would stand him in good stead in the years ahead. The only sour note is struck by the actress who plays McQueen's new gal pal. She is rather odd-looking and can barely handle her lines. Surprise! She was McQueen's wife at the time.

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0 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

One of the better episodes

9/10
Author: lou345 from United States
4 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I just bought the fifth season really for this episode. However, my memory of how this ends was much different then I remember. I originally thought that Steve McQueen got to the ninth try OK, but on the tenth light of the cigarette lighter just as he is about to strike the lighter, the hotel door opens and he's not able to light the lighter. In the end, the woman who is married to Peter Lorre shows her arm having 11 fingers for the amount of the 11 cars lost. In the show you only see two fingers and Steve only gets to seven tries with the lighter. The build up somehow drops off as the ending comes into play. Maybe I thought of a remake of this show somewhere over time but I can't quite remember because it hasn't shown on TV for many many years. Maybe someone can help me out with what I remember?

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