Wednesday, March 28, 2012



Cornell Woolrich

George Matthews

'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' - "The Big Switch"

From the Alfred Hitchcock Wiki:
"The Big Switch" was originally broadcast on 08/Jan/1956 as part of the first season of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Sam Donleavy wants to kill his girlfriend and get away with it. He contacts a man who provides alibis for a price. Matters become much more complicated, however, when he meets with a friend from boyhood who is now a detective and who suspects that something is up.

From Hal Erickson:
Outraged over the infidelity of his girlfriend Goldie (Beverly Michaels), thuggish Sam Donleavy (George Mathews) decides to bump the dame off. Unfortunately, there is a more than somewhat stiff penalty for murder, thus Sam intends to provide himself with an airtight alibi -- and pays a huge price to a guy named Barney (George E. Stone), who specializes in such matters. The fly in the ointment on this occasion is Sam's old pal Al (Joe Downing), who happens to be a police lieutenant. "The Big Switch" is the first of several Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes to be based on a story by suspense specialist Cornell Woolrich.

From Wikipedia:
Cornell George Hopley-Woolrich was an American novelist and short story writer. His first novel was Cover Charge, a Jazz Age work published in 1926. He also wrote under the pseudonyms George Hopley and William Irish. He wrote the story "It Had to be Murder" in 1942 under the Irish name. It was retitled "Rear Window" in 1944 and made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock. His "The Bride Wore Black" (La Mariée était en noir) was made into a film by François Truffaut.

Francis Nevins Jr., in his Woolrich biography "First You Dream, Then You Die", rated Woolrich the fourth best crime writer of the era, behind only Dashiell Hammett, Erle Stanley Gardner and Raymond Chandler.

He left one million dollars to Columbia University for a scholarship for potential writers, in his mother's name.

From the TV source:

Alfred Hitchcock:
This is a mousetrap, as any fool can plainly see…that is, if he isn't a mouse. It's amazingly effective, too. I've been fiddling with it only a few minutes, and I've already caught three! (holds up three bandaged fingers) Cornell Woolrich, the author of tonight's story, does not make mousetraps. Mr. Woolrich goes in for bigger game. He makes people traps – very good ones, too. This story concerns the perfect alibi. Actually one never knows when he will need an alibi. Recently, I read of an innocent man who found himself in serious difficulty, because although he claimed he had been watching a movie while the crime in question was being committed, his vagueness about details of the movie caused the police to become suspicious. Please do not allow this to happen to you. Watch and listen closely to the following commercial, which is furnished for your benefit. It will provide you with an airtight alibi as to your whereabouts during the next sixty seconds.


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