Alfred Hitchcock Presents – I Killed the Count (S2E25)

Well, this had to be a rarity in the 50’s.  Episodes 25 – 27 of this season are a single three-part story.  I guess airing it as a 90 minute very special episode would have blown people’s minds back then.  Sadly, it was not directed by Sir Hitchcock.

Like most (or maybe all) AHP episodes, I killed the Count is based on an existing story.  It was a play written in 1937, a British film in 1939, and produced on Broadway in 1942.  Who says Hollywood just ran out of ideas?

ahpikilled01The boss’s daughter, Pat Hitchcock, cast as always in a non-glamorous role (though I can’t say it is against-type), is a maid bringing tea to Count Mattoni. Like most men, I suspect, he does not respond to her.  In his case, however, it is because he was been shot in the head.  It must have been very unusual for AHP and 50’s TV in general that the wound is shown, with a darkened circle for the bullet hole, and trickles of blood running down his face.  Very Lincoln-esque.

AHP regular John Williams is Inspector Davidson, on the scene from Scotland Yard to determine what happened.  The first witness is Polly the maid (Pat H).  She claims to have been mixed up in so many investigations that this is old hat to her.  She is “always losing ‘me’ job because my employer got arrested or shot or something.”

She last saw the Count when she was turning down his bed last night.  Not the first time she has experienced a turn-down in a man’s bedroom, I imagine. [1]  Polly says he was drunk and no gent.  She is dismissed by Davidson and we meet new academy graduate Detective Raines who has got to be relative of Simon Pegg.

The Inspector finds a letter from Lord Sorrington to Mattoni cancelling a dinner invitation.  Raines calls the Lord who claims to have never heard of Mattoni.

A Mr. Rupert has rented the adjoining flat, but he has never been seen.  Only Mullet the lift operator has seen him.  They go into his flat and find the missing cartridge.

ahpikilled02

What the hell? No justice, no peace, baby!

Back in Mattoni’s flat, Raines finds a letter addressed to an American, Mr. Froy.  Raines begins reading the very odd letter which pauses after a few sentences and the letter turns into a  play-by-play of the action in the room: “Froy has just come in the room, I can see him in the mirror, he has gun, if anything happens, you will . . . .” and then it stops.  Davidson believes Froy and Rupert are the same person.

Johnson the day lift operator says he never saw Rupert, but would recognize Froy.    Polly also never saw Rupert.  Mullet the night liftman can identify Rupert.

Froy arrives and says he was not at the flat last night.  Davidson shows him the letter and Froy admits he was there and confesses to the murder.  Davidson brings in Mullet to confirm that Froy is also Rupert but Mullet says this looks nothing like Rupert.

Lord Sorrington arrives.  He says he has never heard of Mattoni.  Davidson shows him the letter and he admits knowing him, but denied it because he was an unsavory character.  Then Mullet IDs Sorrington as being Rupert.  Finally Sorrington admits that he did rent the adjoining flat under the name Rupert.  It was just coincidence that they knew each other, he says.  Then Davidson products the letter with the address.  Having been caught in multiple lies, Sorrington confesses that he killed Mattoni.

Part II – Strangely, Hitchcock’s opening remarks are played twice before this episode.  Whether it was a mistake by NetFlix or AHP was just padding this episode out to 3 weeks, I don’t know.  Also not known: how the hell people kept this plot straight for a week.

Sorrington saved this bon mot for Part II: his daughter was married to Mattoni.  Did he think that wouldn’t come out?  She had left him a year ago, however.  Her time with Mattoni ruined her and devastated her mother to the point of death.  So Sorrington had a motive.  Sorrington relates in flashback how he killed Mattoni.  His gun was found at the scene.

Froy tells the Inspector he killed Mattoni because he was in love with Countess Mattoni, Sorrington’s daughter.  An incriminating letter from him is found on the scene.  He also relates in flashback how he killed Mattoni.

Louise Rogers comes in for questioning, but has no info.  Next the police question a dancer, Miss LaLune who lives on the same floor.  Mullet is questioned and finally confesses after his fingerprints match those on the Count’s bloody money.  At this 3rd confession, Davidson flips out to wah-wah-wah music.

Part III – Another duplicated intro.  Hitchcock gets winded as he gives a recap.

Mullet says he had lost at the track and was stealing a few quid from Mattoni each night as he was put to bed.  This night, Mattoni caught him.  After a struggle, he was shot.

All of the confessors are taken to Scotland Yard.  When they get some privacy, Froy and Mullet discuss “who drew the black ace” to do the actual murder.   When Sorrington arrives, all three say to each other that they did not kill Mattoni.

Ha-cha-cha, Aunt May!

Louis Rogers has come in and confesses.  She is the Countess Mattoni, the dead man’s widow, and Sorrington’s daughter.  She claims she shot Mattoni during a struggle and has scratch marks to prove it.

Raines points out that it is illegal for Davidson to charge all 4, so they stick to their story and can’t be arrested.  Raines whimsically opines that it is lucky the Count deserved to  die.

OK, he’s no Simon Pegg.

Post-Post:

  • [1] OK, that’s just gratuitous and makes no logical sense.  Why would they have even gotten to the bedroom if — pffft, not worth the time.
  • AHP Deathwatch:  Rosemary Harris, who played Spiderman’s Aunt May 45 years later, is still alive.  Also Pat Hitchcock and Jered Barclay.
  • John Williams is tied for the 2nd most AHP appearances, with Pat Hitchcock and Mr. Drysdale from the Beverly Hillbillies among others.  Strangely, all but one of Williams’ appearances are in the first 2 seasons. [UPDATE] IMDb seems to have re-tallied the results.  It’s rigged!
  • [UPDATE] Weird confluence:  Rosemary Harris, John Williams, and Anthony Dawson were all also in Dial M for Murder, but not the one directed by Hitchcock. For some reason, auteur George Schaefer [2] felt the need to remake it (or technically the original play, I guess) for TV four years after Hitchcock’s movie.  Actually, Williams and Dawson were in both versions.
  • [2] Schaefer has another one of those oddly fascinating IMDb pages.  He also remade Little Foxes for TV 15 years after the Bette Davis version, remade Meet Me in St Louis for TV 15 years after the Judy Garland version, remade Lost Horizon for TV (as Shangri-La) 23 years after the Frank Capra version . . . Jesus Christ, he also remade Arsenic and Old Lace, Teahouse of the August Moon, Pygmalion, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, Inherit the Wind, Our Town, Harvey, Anastasia, and others.  He also managed to squeeze in a lot of Shakespeare (more bloody remakes!) and two Barry Manilow specials.  To be fair, he was hugely respected by his peers, racking up an impressive list of awards.
  • WTH – Scotland Yard is 458 miles from Scotland.  It was named for the street it was on, not the country.

One thought on “Alfred Hitchcock Presents – I Killed the Count (S2E25)

  1. Apparently there were two versions of Alfred Hitchcock’s remarks filmed (one for America, one for England). In some cases, the DVD version of an episode shows the England version (where sponsor remarks were not made) rather than the more familiar American version. In the case of “I Killed the Count” whoever did the editing for the DVD fell asleep and included both the English and American versions with only a part of the first scenes from the past episode.

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