The Alfred Hitchcock Hour

Season 3 Episode 10

Memo from Purgatory

Aired Thursday 10:00 PM Dec 21, 1964 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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out of 10
13 votes
  • In a great episode James Caan plays Jay Shaw a writer masquerading as a gang member to write a book. However, when he meets a beautiful young, Filene, things changed and his life is put at risk.

    Really a great episode. Any show with James Caan is great and this is a living example of that. The term Juvenile delinquent is actually still a widely used term. Leather jackets never quite go out of style when it comes to youths and the characters are actually believable not ridiculous.

    First it's Caan who gives a great, great performance as the writer going into an underworld he knows little about to make a book. He pulls of his fake identity "Phil" well beaten up a couple of gang members and earning respect just like any would be gang member would (that's believable). Just like joining any gang we see him go through an initiation getting beat up. The last part of the initiation entails Phil having sex with the gang's beautiful girl Filene played superbly by Lynn Loring. Loring and Caan have great chemistry as the two gang members who fall in love.

    Like a classic love story they try to hide their feelings but it's obvious she's smitten with him. Even when his true identity is found out Filene is still in love with him. I don't know how anybody can say the characters aren't believable they were. Unless you've never been in a gang then you would know this is the way it works out.

    There are also noteworthy peformances by Walter Koenig and Zalman King but it's Caan whose clearly the star. This episode is a great testament into why he is such a great actor even at this young age. Highly recommended episode.
  • A Weak Episode

    A young James Caan gives a committed performance as writer looking for inspiration in the world of juvenile delinquency. He alters his wardrobe and manner to fit in with the young toughs and their girlfriends who live lives dedicated to crime in the Red Hook section of New York City. Unfortunately, Caan is the the only really good thing about this show.

    This episode has serious problems. For one thing, by 1964 leather-jacketed \"juvenile delinquents\" look and act more like relics from the previous decade. Even the term \"juvenile delinquent\" seems dated by that year. It\'s just not possible to take these characters seriously. Their dialog sounds like bad out-takes from WEST SIDE STORY(minus the music to make it bearable), and their look seems to be just some concoction from a TV writer\'s fevered fantasy. A few of the young actors give decent performances, but the characters are so ridiculous that they never really convince the viewer. The episode is too long to be an amusing exercise in camp or dated nostalgia. Look for Walter Koenig (later Chekov on STAR TREK), Zalman King and Tony Musante in the cast.