Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Season 2 Episode 3

De Mortuis

1
Aired Sunday 9:30 PM Oct 14, 1956 on CBS
9.5
out of 10
User Rating
114 votes
1

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Episode Summary

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An old college professor decides to take some actions when he find out his wife has cheated on him.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Has Professor Rankin murdered his wife? Or is he about to?

    9.0
    John Collier's original story is masterly in its brevity. The process whereby a couple of Rankin's fishing buddies first come to the conclusion that he's killed his wife and then reveal, unintentionally, that she was a chronic adulteress is done with the utmost economy and elegance. To adapt it, even for a half-hour episode (and when you account for Hitchcock's introduction and wrap-up, the story itself only occupies about twenty minutes), is to risk tampering with that concise form - which, alas, does happen. Brief as it is, "De Mortuis" is still too long; we don't really need to see so much of Cara Williams as the wife. But Emhardt, Jones and Coolidge are just fine as the old man and his chums and the twist in the final moments has the same indirect understatedness as on the page.moreless
Cara Williams

Cara Williams

Irene Rankin

Guest Star

Bill McLean

Bill McLean

Benny

Guest Star

H.M. Wynant

H.M. Wynant

Truck driver

Guest Star

Robert Emhardt

Robert Emhardt

Clarence Rankin

Recurring Role

Henry Jones

Henry Jones

Wally Long

Recurring Role

Philip Coolidge

Philip Coolidge

Bud Horton

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Wally: It's a funny thing. You know a fellow's gonna get stuck in a business deal, you tell him. (smiles) But a woman…
      Bud : Well, even if we had told him, I doubt it would have done much good.

    • [Closing Narration]
      Alfred Hitchcock: And so, just like many a Hollywood movie star, Irene Rankin was immortalized in concrete. But Professor Rankin was not so fortunate. He remarried, his crime was later discovered, and he paid the supreme penalty. I have asked one of the actors to come out after the show, for I want to congratulate him on a splendid performance and I'm sure you do, too. (walks over to a cage with a rat in it) He played the most ferocious of the rats, a characterization that was quite departure for him. Offstage, he is entirely different, you can see. He's a family man, never seen in the nightclub…he's just like a fellow who lives next door to you. (rat squeaks and Hitchcock addresses him) Thank you. We have another story, but I'm afraid there isn't time enough to present it. We'll have to do it next time. Until then, good night.

    • [Opening Narration]
      [Alfred is wearing the cap and gown of a graduating student]
      Alfred Hitchcock: Good evening, students of the macabre. This evening's lecture has as its text the short story De Mortuis translated from the Latin. This means "about the dead". At the risk of being facetious, I would like to point out that Latin is a dead language. Thank you. It is rewarding to know that there are still a few students interested in achieving high marks. If you can't hear me in the back of the room, please raise your hand and adjust the volume control. Regrettably, the author wrote only his title in Latin, and did the story in English. Writers are always compromising to attain commercial success. I shall leave it to your judgment as to whether or not it would have sounded better in Latin.

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