Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season 2, Episode 18

The Manacled (27 Jan. 1957)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
8.0
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Shackled prisoner Stephen Fontaine tries to tries to negotiate an escape from Sergeant Rockwell while en route to San Quentin.

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Title: The Manacled (27 Jan 1957)

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
...
Himself - Host
...
Sgt. Rockwell
William Redfield ...
Stephen Fontaine
Rusty Lane ...
Train Conductor
Betty Harford ...
Waitress
Edith Evanson ...
Lady with suitcase
Gary Hunley ...
Billy - Boy on Train
Kay Stewart ...
Billy's Mother
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Storyline

Sgt. Rockwell is an honest cop, but $50,000 is enough to tempt even someone like him. He's transporting a prisoner on a passenger train. The man is Stephen Fontaine, a thief with the silver tongue of a devil. As the sergeant leafs through a magazine about sports cars, Fontaine tells Rockwell that a pickpocket on the train has put an envelope in Rockwell's jacket pocket. Rockwell checks, and sure enough it's there. Inside the envelope is a key. Fontaine tells the sergeant what it opens, where to get in and what's inside. $50,000. All the sergeant has to do is let his prisoner escape. Written by J. Spurlin

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27 January 1957 (USA)  »

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(RCA Sound Recording)

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1.33 : 1
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[first lines]
Train Station Announcer: [off screen] Announcing the departure of northbound train 146 for Bakersfield, Tulare, Fresno, Merced, Martinez, Richmond, Berkley and Oakland. Now boarding on track number three.
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All Aboard for San Quentin!
10 July 2009 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

Stephen Fontaine (Redfield) is a very smooth-talking, rather obnoxious con-man being transported by train to a prison in northern California. Guarding him is tough, no- nonsense Sgt. Rockwell (Merrill), a veteran cop. Fontaine has stolen a bunch of money some of which he's smuggled aboard the train in an effort to bribe the cop. The sergeant refuses, but Fontaine's insistent and very good at tempting offers. The conflict thus boils down to a contest of wills—can the cop continue to refuse the $50,000 bribe and keep the prisoner in manacles.

Much of the series success comes from first-rate acting, unusual for series TV of the day. Here the suspense depends upon bringing to life the opposing personalities and keeping us guessing who will prevail. Redfield and Merrill carry off the challenge beautifully, especially the young Redfield who's the last word in cocky self-assurance. Notice how smugly he establishes his superiority to the astonished waitress (Betty Harford in a fine non-speaking bit) who has noticed his manacles. Under-rated director Stevens comes up with a number of nice touches (the obnoxious kid) that overcome the tight train compartment. Note too that the teleplay is by Stirling Silliphant, soon to become one of TV's top, award-winning writers. All in all, it's a solid entry with an appropriately ironical ending.


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