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There Was an Old Woman 

Dishonest Frank and Lorna Bramwell visit the home of wealthy, eccentric Monica Laughton, with the intention of robbing her.



(teleplay) (as Marian Cockrell), (story) | 1 more credit »

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Episode complete credited cast:
Alfred Hitchcock - Host
Monica Laughton
Frank Bramwell
Lorna Bramwell
Theodore the Milkman
Emerson Treacy ...
Deli Manager


Elderly Monica Laughton greets the milkman, and tells him that another relative of hers has passed away. The milkman then stops at a cafeteria, where he discusses Miss Laughton's wealth and eccentricity with the man at the counter. The conversation is overheard by Frank Bramwell, who then plans to visit Miss Laughton with his wife, so that they can rob her. When they reach her home, they are shown into an empty parlor, where she introduces them to a number of imaginary relatives, and shows them an open, empty coffin. Fearing that she is insane, Lorna Bramwell wants to leave, but Frank sees the situation as an even better opportunity than he'd hoped for - and he is not above using force to get what he wants. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

18 March 1956 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title is the first line of the nursery rhyme about the woman who lived in the shoe. See more »


Frank Bramwell: [threatening Miss Laughton with a knife] Do you dig up that money right now, or do I use this on you?
Monica Laughton: I haven't quite decided.
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User Reviews

Very Good Macabre Humor
6 March 2006 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

"There Was An Old Woman" devotes its entire screen time to the kind of macabre humor that was such an enjoyable part of so many episodes of this television series. The deceptively light feel of the episode conceals some grim truths that lie underneath, and it succeeds very well in carrying off some markedly offbeat story ideas. The writing, production, and acting are all of very good quality.

Estelle Winwood is wonderful as a very pleasant but decidedly delusional woman, with the habit of planning imaginary funerals. Charles Bronson and Norma Crane work well together as an unscrupulous couple who hear about her wealth and invade her home, only to find it necessary to respond to a weird and unexpected situation. Bronson is particularly effective in sometimes showing scorn and incredulity towards the elderly woman's delusions, and at other times trying to think along with her, to turn the situation to his advantage.

The story is written and told with careful pacing, and it includes a simple but plausible explanation for everything. The ending is gruesomely ironic, and the main story is framed very neatly by the two visits from the stoic milkman (played by Dabbs Greer), which contain some clever parallels. It's a very offbeat episode, and it would be understandable if it is not to everyone's taste. But for those with a morbid sense of humor, it could prove quite enjoyable.

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