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The title sounds a little lightweight, but the story is not. Sweetly
wholesome Helen (Bel Geddes) tells in flashback about her long,
frustrating engagement to rich boy Philip (Dubbins). It's one excuse
after another that puts off their wedding day, yet all appear to
revolve around Philip's imperious mom. Helen keeps trying to meet mom,
but there too, it's one excuse after another. So what's going on, since
Philip seems such a nice sincere boy.
With the many conversations, an entry like this depends greatly on effective acting. Fortunately, Bel Geddes, a series favorite, excels at this type role, while newcomer Dubbins is also excellent. Together, they keep interest on high, even though the entry's basically a one-note plot just what is going on with mom. Then too, any resemblance here to a well-known Hitchcock movie is not, I suspect, strictly a coincidence.
There's a mother out there. Where is she exactly? Barbara Bel Geddes is the long suffering fiancée who has just married a man substantially her junior. He is a man of mystery. He seems kind and loving, but still lives with his mother. There is always an excuse whenever they talk about her. Supposedly, she is an invalid, so time passes and there's always a reason, mostly physical, that she can't meet the proposed bride. It's that Psycho/Rebecca thing where there is a mysterious person out there, but we don't get to see them. Things, of course, have to come to a head. Bel Geddes lays down an ultimatum: "Marry me or I'm out the door!" The story is told in flashbacks. The young man leaves then returns from Korea. She is faithful to him for four years. If you know Hitchcock, you will really enjoy this episode.
When this one begins, Hitch is standing with a ball and chain clamped on one of his legs and holding a mallet on his other side saying, "Good evening, this is one of the most difficult and frustrating game of croquet I've ever played." The actual story begins as Helen Brewster Pryor (Barbara Bel Geddes) flashes back to when she was just dating her now-husband Philip (Don Dubbins) as he was just going to Korea. They've just known each other for four months and she has yet to meet his invalid mother. Unfortunately, this would go on for years even after Philip goes on to a job in a publishing house. But she's finally going to meet her now that she's living in her mansion...Another fine performance of Ms. Bel Geddes with Dubbins matching her. The ending may or not surprise you if you know about some of Hitch's work. By the way, he's not the director of this one, instead it's Arthur Hiller who would eventually do his own Hitchcock tribute when he made Silver Streak some 17 years later. So on that note, "The Morning of the Bride" ep of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" is well worth a look. P.S. The role of Helen's housekeeper was played by Hitch's daughter Pat Hitchcock.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Although the general plots are dissimilar, this 1959 entry into the Hitchcock series somewhat resembles the film "Psycho" especially with the main character's "Mother" complex. Told in flashbacks on the morning after her wedding (Don Dubbins is her new husband), Barbara Bel Geddes is a young woman who literally had to wait years to get married, mainly because of her boyfriend's invalid mother. He also has the excuse of being in the army and is sent to Korea for a tour. Upon his return from the war, Mr. Dubbins continues to be so attached to his mother that he never lets Ms. Bel Geddes see the old lady, even after years pass by. Meanwhle, their wedding date is pushed back and back. Finally, Barbara puts her foot down and demands that Donny Boy marry her or she's out the door. He finally relents and agrees to a quickie wedding. Everything points to a happy ending until Ms. Bel Geddes finds out the awful truth about "mother." But that's not the half of it; her new husband is apparently missing a few major screws in his head. Call it a marriage made in hell. This episode was directed with maximum skill by the great Arthur Hiller. Ms. Bel Geddes and Mr. Dubbins play their parts superbly and there's no question that there's a lot of "Psycho" that creeps into the proceedings. Alfred Hitchcock's daughter Pat also makes an appearance as a housekeeper for Ms. Bel Geddes. She gives her usual competent and professional performance. The ending to this tale is one of the better "shockers" of the entire "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" catalog. You'll feel a tingle down your spine.
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