One of the most beautifully-made of all the episodes in this long-running series, and even an improvement on the brilliant John Collier story it's based on - there, Carpenter kills his wife because he's got another woman in the US, but here, he gives no reason and we don't need one; we see, briefly, quite enough of his "well-ordered" marriage to know that his "perfect" wife is a bossy shrew who's made his life a quiet hell for decades and never realised it. The understated wit of the direction finds perfect on-screen expression in the acting of John Williams - he doesn't want much from life, only the freedom to be untidy, casual - and unmarried.
This episode has Alfred Hitchcock directing, which wasn't a common occurance for the TV show. This show was made during the height of Hitchcock's movie career. It is a wonderful little story about a British man whose wife is accompanying him to the United States as he writes for the movies. She is very particular about everything and drives him crazy with her fastidiousness and attention to details he doesn't care about. She is determined to have them return by Christmas and always is punctual to a fault. The husband digs the floor of their basement up claiming to want to finish it so that it can become a wine cellar. She doesn't realize it is to become her grave and believes that it would be best finished professionally. The husband does kill her but finds himself still imprisoned by her fastidiousness and punctuality even in death. I couldn't help wondering if it was a humorous reflection on his wife and his move to the United States in the late 30s.
In extremely Poor taste due to its framework of Christmas. John Williams is a fine actor, so it's Not his fault but rather the fault of the script. That is, it's too tasteless to put Christmas in such an evil light. To make it even more trashy, the man's Wife was such a benign and kindly lady that she did Not deserve such a cruel fate at all. So it was poetic-justice that her Christmas Gift to him would prove to be the husband's Undoing.
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