Alfred Hitchcock Presents – Death Sentence (04/27/58)

Norman and Paula Frayne are in bed — or rather, they are in separate twin beds as all couples were in the 50’s (hence the title Death Sentence).  Paula is noticeably 10 years older than Norman. Apparently Hitch didn’t get the Hollywood memo that when a woman is at least 5 years older, she is to play the man’s mother.

ahpdeathsentence02Norman is worried about a contract he lost at his real estate office.  As the contract was won by a realtor named Kennedy, he should just be thankful he’s still alive.  But I’m a little baffled how he works at Frayne Real Estate which his wife’s father owned.  He is pretty wimpy — did he take his wife’s name when they married?  I suppose the correct answer is that he inherited the firm and renamed it after himself, but that seems an unlikely move for his wimpy character.


The next morning at the office, he is surprised by a visit from an old pal. Norman had committed a robbery with Al Revnel, but only Al had been caught.  He did not rat out Norman who spent 12 years in the can as he was charged with murdering the night watchman. You never hear about day watch-men being killed — that seems like the better career move.  Al figures $50,000 should make things even between them, and keep him from implicating Norman.  As that would be $413,000 today, that would shut me up too.

Well, he did keep Norman out of prison.  And the vermicelli-spined (and not even al dente) Norman would have made first season Beecher look like sixth season Beecher.


Al is one of those bullies who likes to touch his victim’s face and get very handsy with them.  He tells Norman to call Paula and tell them he is coming to live with them.  He also calls Norman “buddy-boy” about 400 times in 25 minutes. The first month, he milks Norman for $800 of advances.  He also likes to drop in to have lunch with Paula every day while Norman is at work.

Norman actually shows about 25% of a gonad and forces a confron-tation; although with Paula, not Al.  She says their rondevouzes [1] are very innocent. Apparently Al is feeling Norman up more than he is Paula.  She says she is going to go on a trip to Detroit with a gal-pal.  As this is 1958, she stands a pretty good chance of coming back.  Norman thinks she might be sneaking off with Al so he buys  some dynamite and wires up his car.


Paula hears an explosion, and the twist is that it wasn’t Al who was in the explosion — Norman killed himself.  Kind of anti-climactic.  Al goes back to jail for life for violat-ing his parole by leaving the state. Twelve years for murdering an innocent man, but make the state look bad, and it’s LIFE buddy-boy!


  • [1] The plural of rondezvous is also rendezvous, but you pronounce the “s”.
  • AHP Deathwatch:  James Best made it until this year.  Probably best known as Rosco P. Coltrane on The Dukes of Hazzard.  He also starred in Jess-Belle.
  • I was watching The Walking Dead on a second screen at the same time as AHP — Does the Dos Equis slogan make any sense at all?  Isn’t “Stay Thirsty” telling people to not drink their beer?  Their “Most Interesting Man in the World” is about as interesting as a Rothko painting.
  • Hulu sucks.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.