Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season 1, Episode 17

The Older Sister (22 Jan. 1956)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 348 users  
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One year after Mr. and Mrs. Borden were brutally murdered, reporter Nell Cutts tries to interview Lizzie Borden and her sister Emma about the killings.

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(teleplay), (story) (as Lillian de La Torre)
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Title: The Older Sister (22 Jan 1956)

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
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Himself - Host
...
...
Polly Rowles ...
Nell Cutts
...
Margaret (as Pat Hitchcock)
Wendy Winkelman ...
Little Child (as Wendy Winkleman)
Kay Stewart ...
Grace
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Storyline

One year ago, Mr. and Mrs. Borden were brutally murdered in their home, and it is widely believed that their daughter Lizzie committed the crimes, even though she was tried and acquitted. Lizzie and her sister Emma are still living in the same home, but Emma now plans to leave on a vacation to rest her nerves. The sisters' housemaid Margaret is also planning to leave, to avoid being alone with Lizzie. As Emma and Margaret discuss their plans, a woman arrives at the door, and introduces herself as a newspaper reporter. Emma desperately tries to get the visitor to leave, but the pushy reporter insists on questioning Emma about all of the details of the murders, bringing Emma to a state of near hysteria. In the midst of their confrontation, Lizzie herself comes down the staircase, and immediately takes control of the situation. Written by Snow Leopard

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22 January 1956 (USA)  »

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(RCA Sound Recording)

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1.33 : 1
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Quotes

Himself - Host: Did she seem a trifle overwrought to you? She did to me. But then I react in precisely the same way whenever I hear a child singing Davy Crockett. Being more civilized than Lizzie, I don't go about hitting tables. I hit the child instead, not with the ax of course but in a nice way.
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User Reviews

A Tense & Very Interesting Take on the Lizzie Borden Case
1 March 2006 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

This episode of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" offers a tense and very interesting take on the notorious Lizzie Borden case, with a good cast and a carefully-crafted script. The gruesome, fascinating historical mystery is in itself a natural for the series, but this episode also adds psychology and depth to the story. Even though Hitchcock himself did not write or direct the episode, it is one of many examples of the keen eye that he and his associates had for material that would work especially well in the anthology show's format.

Adapted from a story by Lillian De La Torre, the plot picks up a year after the bloody killing of Mr. and Mrs. Borden. Lizzie and her sister Emma, still living in the same house, are visited by a pushy reporter who is determined to get something new for her paper. The story then uses this setup to present its own interesting theory about the crime.

It's pretty resourceful in using the reporter's ruthless badgering of Emma to review the historical facts of the case, rather than presenting them in a dry exposition. The reporter also clearly relishes each horrifying detail, an interesting way of 'allowing' the audience to experience a macabre thrill along with her, even as they sympathize with the panic-stricken Emma.

The small, all-female cast performs quite well, with Carmen Mathews giving Lizzie an icy self-control, and Joan Lorring even better as the delicate, troubled Emma. Pat Hitchcock also appears in a smaller role as their frightened housemaid. The episode is quite interesting, both for the tense situation that it sets up and for the well-conceived psychological portraits of the two sisters.


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