Alfred Hitchcock Presents – The Crooked Road (10/26/58)

ahpcrookedroad1Harry and Mrs. Adams are cruising down the highway when they close in a police car creeping along at 48. Hey, that doesn’t mean a MAXIMUM of 50, you idiots!  Oh, wait.  Rather than move at this glacial pace for 10 miles, Harry rockets past them at 57 MPH.

After a few seconds, the police car turns on the siren and pulls close behind them.  To be fair, Adams should have slowed and pulled over even if he didn’t think the siren tolled for thee.  The police car cuts them off, forcing the Adams family truckster onto some rocks.

I’m not sure Walter Matthau pulled off being a believable redneck southern sheriff, but he did create an awesome character.  He had the drawl, what we now call passive-aggressive language, the arrogance of power, small gestures, and an attitude guaranteed to infuriate anyone dealing with him.  Which is just playing into his hands.

ahpcrookedroad5Adams mouths off and Matthau orders him to follow the police car back to town.  Unfortunately, the Adams car is stuck on the rocks.  What luck, a tow truck shows up almost like this was planned.

Of course, the tow-truck driver doubles as a mechanic and both of them ream Adams on their services.  Then they are taken to the Justice of the Peace who doubles as the judge, and they both ream Adams on the fines and court costs.

However, in the end, justice is done.  I think the Justice of the Peace is also done; and his little sheriff too.

This was awesome, kind of a greatest hits package on both sides of the screen.  Although not directed by Hitchcock, it contains two of his recurring themes: fear of the police, and a man falsely accused.  Mixed with my own respect for the police but general disgust and distrust of the government, this created a science project Mt. Vesuvius for me.

ahpcrookedroad6At first I thought the beginning had been a cheat, but in reviewing it they were pretty slick on the dialogue. Kudos for not blatantly trying to trick the audience in the pre-VOD days. Also, at 39 episodes a year, how were there ever any reruns?

I rate this one 100 MPH.

 

Post-Post:

  • AHP Deathwatch:  The tow-truck driver is still with us.
  • Title Analysis: AHP doesn’t usually go in for the clever titles.  Well played on this one, however.
  • The IMDb Plot Summary refers to Matthau and also the entire town as corrupt rednecks.  Guess that’s still OK.
  • Hulu sucks.

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