Alfred Hitchcock Presents – Man with a Problem (11/16/58)

ahpmanproblem02A woman is hit in the hat by something too small to be a dead bird, and the doorman sees a pair of eyeglasses shatter on the sidewalk.  Clearly neither of them needs glasses as they are able to spot Carl Adams on the ledge 17 floors up.  I’ll say this for people who go out onto ledges — they always seem to pick the ledge that has the best exposure.  No one ever threatens to jump into the alley or down into an obliette-like courtyard.

The hotel manager and a bellhop break into room 1711.  The manager, apparently a graduate of the Dale Carnegie course on How to Win Friends and Influence People to Jump Off Buildings, shouts, “Whats the meaning of this? You come in here at once!”

The manager digs the hole — or potential sidewalk-crater — deeper by telling Adams to think of his wife.  The man says he doesn’t have a wife, at least not since last night.  He flashes back to Elizabeth Montgomery telling him their marriage is over.  As she is one of the most beautiful women ever to be on TV, his reaction is understandable.

ahpmanproblem04Police Sargent Barrett climbs out on the ledge to talk him out of jumping.

Vic Tayback [1] suggests to some fellow photographers that they work together.  One group will shoot the man as he jumps, another group will shoot him as he falls, and the third group will shoot him as he splatters on the sidewalk.  This is the same kind of inspiring teamwork that allowed the paparazzi to beat the tolls when killing Princess Diana.

The Sargent’s Lieutenant . . . or is it the Lieutenant’s Sargent?  No, it’s the Sargent’s Lieutenant shows up and is about as helpful as Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson. Apparently an old frat-brother of the hotel manager, he begins shouting at Adams.  I would jump just to get away from this prick.

Adams has another flashback.  This time he slaps Liz (Liz, I call her), so now I’m ready to push him off the ledge myself.  Can we get that nice Lieutenant back in here?  She walks out with a suitcase to go to “the other man.”

ahpmanproblem03In another flashback, the man finds Liz unconscious in their home with an empty prescription bottle in her hand.  He finds a suicide note.  “Other man” rejected Liz and she killed herself, unable to live with the pain that she had caused her husband.

After being on the ledge for four hours, the Lieutenant allows Officer Barrett to go back out on the ledge and try to reason with Adams.  They have the police dangle a rope from the floor above. Barrett tells him to grab it and slip into the lasso.

There is a most excellent, though not unexpected reveal.  Then it is revealed, even less unexpectedly, that Officer Barrett cannot fly.

Another very good episode although once you crack the code, it is pretty easy to figure the twists in this series.  Still, the performances and the concept carry it along.  The worst I can say is that there is not one second in the episode where Liz is smiling.[2]

I rate it 26 out of 32 feet per second per second.

ahpmanproblem10

Not cool.

Post-Post:

  • AHP Deathwatch:  Office Barrett is still hanging in there.  Elizabeth Montgomery died at a relatively young 62.
  • [1] Vic Tayback was Jojo Krako in the Chicago mob episode of Star Trek.
  • [2] Three years later, Elizabeth Montgomery would have another non-smiling role — bonus points, she was filthy and also probably a commie — where she was the last woman on earth in a Twilight Zone episode.
  • On the other hand, later in Bewitched — holy crap!  And when she started dressing in 70s hippie-chic — yowza!
  • Hulu sucks.

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