Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season 5, Episode 2

The Crystal Trench (4 Oct. 1959)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 144 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 1 critic

An obsessed young woman waits decades for her husband's body to emerge from the ice, after he fell from a mountain.



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Title: The Crystal Trench (04 Oct 1959)

The Crystal Trench (04 Oct 1959) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Episode cast overview:
Himself - Host
Mark Cavendish
Patricia Owens ...
Stella Ballister
Mr. Ranks
Ben Astar ...
Swiss Innkeeper
Professor Kersley
Harold Dyrenforth ...
Frederic Blauer (as Harald O. Dyrenforth)
Frank Holms
Eileen Anderson
Otto Reichow


Stella Ballister (Patricia Owens) receives the horrifying news that her husband met with an untimely demise while mountain climbing. Newly married, Stella asks for the retrieval of her husband's body - but the task proves impossible when the corpse accidentally falls into a deep crevasse, where no human eyes or hands can reach him. Mark (James Donald), having feelings for Stella, stays by her side, a close friend and nothing more. Forty years later, still trying to get over the news of the accident, Stella learns that the glacier has moved. Hiring a crew to help prospect her husband out of the ice, they find the body preserved and untouched. Stella views the body of her husband one last time. Written by alfiehitchie

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Release Date:

4 October 1959 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Not Your Typical Ice Cube
25 June 2007 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

Odd little drama, directed by Hitchcock himself. The story develops slowly and without much suspense, but we can't be sure where it's leading. Patricia Owns' husband is killed in a mountain-climbing accident. Stranger James Donald is delegated to break the news, except that he's immediately attracted to her. Unfortunately, her husband's body is unrecoverable, having slipped into a glacier's trench. After a decent interval, Donald makes his feelings known, but she refuses his marriage proposal, preferring to live in the past. She's also determined to wait the 40 years it will take for the ice flow to eject the body. Foolishly, the love-struck Donald decides to wait with her. The ending is both ironic and tragic.

For a modestly-budgeted series like Hitchcock's, outdoor mountain scenes require some charitable viewing since the stage sets are pretty obvious. The script too borders the mediocre-- especially the first few minutes where it's hard to keep up with the confusion of characters. Considering that up-and-coming writer Stirling Silliphant adapted the story, that's surprising. Unfortunately, the 30 minutes lacks many of the series strengths, but may appeal to the romantics among us.

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