Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV-Series): Triggers in Leash (1955, Season 1, Episode 3)

Synopsis:

In the American Old West, Madge (Ellen Corby, I Remember Mama) is famous for her cooking skills. She owns a little diner that attracts different types of customers. One day, two cowboys (Gene Barry, The War of the Worlds, and Darren McGavin, A Christmas Story) arrive at Madge’s establishment with trouble in their minds. Madge has to use her wits to keep the men from killing each other.

Reaction & Thoughts:

“You mean all of this is over a hand of poker.”

I just didn’t like Triggers in Leash that much. It’s a rather odd choice for the series. It’s compact, maybe too compact, and too talky. I kept looking at my watch the whole time and that’s never a good sign.

I’m assuming that this episode was trying to display Alfred Hitchcock’s naughty sense of humor, but it turned into a one-joke bore instead — this is, in my opinion, one of Season One’s weakest episodes. The setting is interesting — the Wild Wild West — but I thought the episode wasn’t as strong as it could have been.

Something about the story didn’t click with me. I can’t put my finger on exactly what I didn’t like about it. I do know for sure that I didn’t like the happy ending — it’s contrary to Hitchcock’s style. Fortunately, Triggers in Leash does have that moment of irony that made the show fun to watch. The best thing about the episode is Hitchcock’s hilarious monologue at the end.

As far as I’m concerned, Ellen Corby’s excellent performance prevents it from being a total bust. This fine character actor is always watchable. It’s nice to see Corby dominate a story for a change. Gene Barry and Darren McGavin are also great as the trigger-happy cowboys. The cast also includes Casey MacGregor (Seven Doors to Death).

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

Directed by Don Medford (The Organization) from a teleplay by Richard Carr (Macho Callahan), Triggers in Leash is slow and heavy-handed, but it does contain a wonderful performance by its leading actor. On the basis of Corby’s performance alone, I recommend this episode. B&W, 25 minutes, Not Rated.

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