Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Sunday 9:30 PM Oct 02, 1955 on CBS
out of 10
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150 votes

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Episode Summary

Revenge fuels a husband looking for the man who raped his wife

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  • Why is newlywed Mrs. Spann so very clinging to her husband - and what really happened whilst he was away at work?

    Alfred Hitchcock seemed to regard television as a kind of sketchbook, where he could make rough drafts of ideas for later films. For instance, both "Lamb To The Slaughter" and "One More Mile To Go" contain striking visual ideas which would be developed later into classic scenes in "Psycho". This very first episode of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" gives his new leading lady, Vera Miles, a kind of audition for her star role in "The Wrong Man", which Hitch made the following year; both cast her as a housewife losing her grip on sanity in terrible circumstances. But there's one big difference - was Mrs. Spann, the Miles character, ever really sane? Too late, her new husband is given cause to doubt.moreless
  • This isn't my favorite episode but it sets a good tone for the show.

    So basically a husband and wife are living in a trailer, the husband is off to his new job and the wife is trying to take it easy after suffering a breakdown. When he comes home the wife claims to have been violated in some way.

    Anyway his wife points out the guy that has violated her and then her husband goes out and kills him. He later realizes that his wife is sick and he killed an innocent man. This isn't my favorite episode.

    I don't feel for the characters in this episode and they don't really draw me in. I like the other episodes after this one better. Alfred Hitchcock sticks to what he did best, mysteries and suspense. The episode however does set the tone for the series.

    Just like his movies, there are twists and turns in this series. In some way this show reminds me of The Twilight Zone. I like both shows btw. The Twilight Zone was all over the place though with fantasy, sci-fi, even the supernatural.

    This show deals with mystery and suspense and everyday life. They're good shows in different ways. Anyway, if the first episode doesn't thrill you keep on watching, there are good episodes in the first season.moreless
  • This episode set the stage for what to expect from this series.

    "Revenge" left me thinking about it for the rest of the day. The characters were so "normal" and unassuming that when tragedy struck, I really felt bad for both of them. I could have never guessed the ending and when I did see it, I was so surprised. It wonderfully written. You can feel that something is going to happen but you would never guess what did happen. The suspense was so thick, you could cut it with a knife. In the beginning, I thought the neighbor was awfully suspicious because of the way she looked at the woman and the comments she made. Little did I know that the neighbor was just a distraction from the plot of the real story.moreless
  • Way to begin a classic tv show!

    This is a neat way to begin a tv show as director Alfred Hitchcock though well-known in the movie industry would really become famous and wealthy off this show that made him more of a household name. As Vera Mills stars in the first show as a wife who is raped as her devoted husband tries to find the criminal that did this to her. Great show and a very suspenseful ending.moreless
  • A woman named Elsa Span (Vera Miles) is attacked in her home by a stranger prompting the husband to seek revenge on the criminal.

    Straightforward episode with Vera Miles playing a woman attacked by a mysterious stranger. I didn't even think she was raped till I looked at the notes here.

    In fact, the word "rape" is never actually to my memory ever used in the episode. These were still conservative times and these were taboo subjects that weren't talked about much which is a shame.

    The woman's husband, Carl wants to find the man that did it but the wife's description of the man is very vague. So what we end up at the end is a tale about mistaken identity and a woman whose nerves are so shot that she'll point out any man as the attacker.

    Vera Miles was a movie star and she kinda drifted away from Hollywood but before her big break in movies like "Psycho" (also directed by Hitchcock himself) she showed in this episode she could act.

    Overall another familiar story that doesn't quite have a big surprise but it's still done well enough to recommend to watch.moreless
Frances Bavier

Frances Bavier

Mrs. Fergusen

Guest Star

Vera Miles

Vera Miles

Elsa Span

Guest Star

Ralph Meeker

Ralph Meeker

Carl Span

Guest Star

Ray Teal

Ray Teal

Police Lieutenant

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Presumably because of when this show was made, Elsa never actually tells her husband that she was raped. It's just generally assumed when she says, "He killed me." This is possibly a reference to the Renaissance period, when people believed that during an orgasm, they lost some of their life force, or died a little. In french, the words "la petite mort" mean "the little death", and this is a popular slang term for an orgasm.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • In the scene in which Carl is first driving with his wife, the scenery behind them through the rear window shows a white VW parked alongside the curb, and certain storefronts through the front window. When the scene shows a lapse of time and then the two of them still driving, the exact same white VW is visible behind them and the same storefronts with the same names are seen again through the front window.

    • Elsa: You know, I may be a woman of hidden talents.
      Carl: And some not so hidden.

    • Carl: Practicing nine hours a day before the age of ten. It might make a great ballerina, I suppose, but I'm afraid it cut you off from the rest of the world, sweetheart.

    • (Opening Narration)
      Alfred Hitchcock: Good evening. I'm Alfred Hitchcock. And tonight, I'm presenting the first in a series of stories of suspense and mystery, called oddly enough, "Alfred Hitchcock Presents". I shall not act in these stories, but will only make appearances. Something in the nature of an accessory before and after the fact, to give the title to those of you who can't read and to tidy up afterwards for those who don't understand the endings. Tonight's play-let is really a sweet little story. It is called "Revenge". It will follow...(Alfred gets distracted and looks off camera.) Oh, dear. I see the actors won't be ready for another sixty seconds. However, thanks to our sponsor's remarkable foresight, we have a message that will fit in here nicely.

    • (Closing Narration)
      Alfred Hitchcock: Well, they were a pathetic couple. We had intended to call that one "Death of a Salesman". But there were protests from certain quarters. Naturally, Elsa's husband was caught, indicted, tried, convicted, sentenced, and paid his debts to society for taking the law into his own hands. You see, crime does not pay, not even on television. You must have a sponsor. Here is ours. After which, I'll return. (Fades to commercial)
      Alfred Hitchcock: That was beautifully put. In fact, after hearing that, there's nothing more I wish to add. So good night, until next week.

  • NOTES (3)

    • This was not originally meant to be the very first episode of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" - Hitchcock's first plan was to begin the series with "Breakdown", starring Joseph Cotten. But he was so pleased with this segment, especially the performance of Vera Miles (whom he was trying to build into a big film star at the time), that he promoted it to series opener and rescheduled "Breakdown" to a couple of months later.

    • This episode was remade as the first regular Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1985) (the first four episodes originally appeared as a 2-hour movie), also titled Revenge, although in the remake the woman was raped.

    • This episode is based on the short story "Revenge" by Samuel Blas. This story was first published in Colliers (January 11, 1947).