[SPOILER:] Iggy Kovacs, a Brooklyn hoodlum is gunned down and his childhood friend remembers the day, 35 years before, that had a profound impact on Iggy and set his future course in life. Iggy and his pal see the local gangster, Mr. Rose, beat up someone. They try to report it to the police but no one, including Iggy's father, seems to have the courage to take on the local gangster. Written by
The skill and bravery of Alfred Hitchcock Presents astonishes again
A fine display of what range Alfred Hitchcock Presents (AHP) has. Operating from the go-anywhere nature of anthology series, it knows how to apply its basic suspense format to a medley of genres -- and still handle each one with quality filmmaking. Black comedy, tense nailbiter...and, as "The Day of the Bullet" shows, tragic drama.
This one's centered on two strong child performances by an interesting cast: Glenn Walken (brother to Christopher), and Barry Gordon, future Donatello. Yet the story is no bit of childish fun. Given the primary use of child characters, AHP tackles disturbing subject matter here, both bravely and sensitively. The boys, Clete and Iggy, witness an ugly act of violence, what proves to be the catalyst to their own wrenching personal drama.
The boys are well-drawn and well-played characters. They're loyal friends, but sometimes conflicting in their outlooks, and convincingly childlike, despite a height difference in the actors that sometimes distracts. They wince at the beating they witness, and we flinch at their exposure to such a thing, but it's charming when this reveals what a worldly, yet childish code of honor they've already developed in reaction to the horrors of NYC. They shake their heads at what cowards adults are, what "yellow skunks," willing to beat up a guy 2-against-1.
Their code of honor and childish traits continue to power the dramatic conflict, coming up as they do against the complexities and tragic ironies of the world.
The spark plug Gordon leads the way with a commanding dramatic performance, and the episode is sealed by Norman Lloyd's exquisite direction. What at first seems to be a Brooklyn street empty for budget reasons proves to be a haunting setpiece for this admirable drama.
The distinctive, uncredited voice of Lloyd himself serves as one of the kids narrating from adulthood. His recitation caps off the story nicely, and it's worth forgiving how his transatlantic accent doesn't match the kid's Brooklyn one.
Hitchcock's jokey hosting scenes as a shady lot attendant are more out of place for such an episode, clever as the gimmick is. Check out when he carefully combs his bald head. I can definitely see a shady lot attendant doing that.
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