Alfred Hitchcock Presents – The Morning of the Bride (02/15/59)

Newlywed Helen wakes up and reaches over for her new husband Phil.  He is not in bed, which I guess accounts for them sharing a bed. On 1950’s TV, if he were still in bed, they would have had twin beds. That’s some catch, that Catch-22. She leaves her room, stares at the bedroom door of her mother-in-law who she has somehow never met.

Helen thinks back to five years ago when she had dinner with her mother-in-law — well, almost.  As she is preparing, she gets a visit from her roommate Pat [1].  And, thank God too, because Helen had neglected to put her shoes on yet.  This is treated as catastrophic, “To meet Mrs. Pryor without my shoes on?  I would have just died.”  Pat says she will slip out the back door.

Phil arrives without his mother.  It just so happened that he got his orders to ship out to Korea that night, so the little hootenanny was cancelled.  With Helen’s roommate gone, Phil’s mother absent, candles lit, his gal dolled up with shoes and everything, him shipping out to Korea . . . he gives her a kiss on the forehead and leaves.

ahpmorningbride04Seconds after the door shuts — there is not even an edit — Pat returns and says, “Helen, I’m sorry.”  There is just no way she could have known what just happened unless she was spying on them, hoping to witness some hot shipping-out-tomorrow sex.

Helen flashforwards, but not yet to present day.  She recalls when Phil returned after the Korean War was cancelled [2].  They meet on a park bench and Studly asks if she is proud of him, “I feel like a kid with a good report card.  I want my head patted.”  He talks about his job and his mother.  He still hasn’t gotten around to telling Mom that he and Helen are a couple, though.  He has to run back to work, but promises to inform his mother in a month or two.

Flashing a little further forward, Helen decides to go see Phil’s mother on her own.  As she approaches the house, she sees a woman rushing away.  She calls out to her, but the woman shouts back, “There’s no one here!  No one at all!”

Later, at a restaurant, Phil gives Helen a present from his mother — David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.  Psycho by Robert Bloch would have been a better choice, and was published the same year this episode aired.  He tells Helen that the woman at the house couldn’t have been his mother because she is practically bed-ridden.  He suggests that it must have been Mrs. Beasely, the cleaning woman — a yuge flaw in the screenplay. [3]

Helen tells Phil that she is dumping him.  He asks her to marry him immediately, so all is peachy again.  They get hitched that night and return to the house he shares with his mother.

Back in the present, Helen goes to Mrs. Pryor’s room.  In the empty room, she finds an obituary for Mrs. Pryor which is ten years old.  Phil appears in the doorway and Helen says, “I don’t understand.  She’s been dead for seven years.”  So I guess reports of her death were widely exaggerated for 3 years.  Phil gets a shawl from the closet and says, “You never remember to keep warm, mother.  You’ll get another chill if I don’t watch over you every minute.”  Yuge flaw #2. [4]

ahpmorningbride18Helen, horrified:  “Oh, no no no.”

Post-Post:

  • [1] Pat Hitchcock, making her 8th appearance on the show.  In a departure, her average looks are not used against her.  Despite being the boss’s daughter, she is usually cast as the schoolmarm, a maid, or as the office nottie for a cheap joke.  I do find it amusing that a review at IMDb still refers to her as a maid even though she is clearly a roommate.  But who says maids can’t be hot?
  • [2] Which lasted 11 years as we public school graduates know.
  • [3] Not so much a flaw as a missed opportunity.  I would rather it had been Phil in his mother’s clothes being caught.  I guess that would have been a little crazy for TV in 1959.
  • [4] The direction here — by a good director — baffles me.  Phil gets a shawl from the closet, then drapes it over . . . what?  The camera never drops below his chest.  Did it fall to the floor?  Was there an empty chair that Mom used to sit in?
  • Then Phil bizarrely bugs his eyes out as he looks where his imaginary mother is imaginarily sitting.  Then he scans across, directly into the camera for just a second.  Then his eyes meet Helen’s.  He raises his eyebrows slightly as if to say, “Well, what do you think?”  I am baffled.  If he knows this is a sham, why the funny faces.  Or if he truly believes his mother is sitting there, why the funny faces?
  • Barbara Bel Geddes (Helen) is best remembered as Miss Ellie on Dallas.
  • AHP Deathwatch:  Pat Hitchcock still hanging in there.
  • Hulu still sucks.

One thought on “Alfred Hitchcock Presents – The Morning of the Bride (02/15/59)

  1. My impression was that he had “adopted” Helen as his “Mother Surrogate”, since he says he cannot live without Helen–meaning, really, he cannot live without his mother and needs Helen to replace her, for him. Hence, the reason she/Helen is older and the reason he only kisses her on the forehead before he goes to Korea vs. a big on-the-lips-kiss, which would have been the minimum for anyone else leaving their girlfriend/fiance as they would go off to war.

    Helen’s shock is that she now realizes what his secret is and what he needs and wants in his life—his mother or someone who can fill in as his mother.

    What do you think?

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