“Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Triggers in Leash (#1.3)” (1955)

“Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Triggers in Leash (#1.3)” (1955)

ah presents


you draw and i shoot

Here is an interesting development of the 30 minutes formula that this show approaches. I believe people involved in the show could do anything with the specific episode they were granted. These were exercises in working a short measure of time to develop an idea that, in order to work, would have to be clear, clean, grasping and effective. Or not be any of those but made in a way that made the audiences wonder. It had to work. Actually, as i start digging a little deeper into this, i think one can probably go through all the episodes of the show and get, in the end, an interesting glossary on cinematic narrative bending. Probably not so much in visual terms, which is understandable because: -not many directors of the show did really interesting things with their careers; -this Is television, things were shot and edited way faster than feature films.

Here we have an interesting idea. To build (and hold!) a tension based on nothing. A single set, to prevent distractions, and a dispute that will make us follow the two cowboys, and want to know who of them (if any) will break and draw first. The fact that they use a single space is already important, because it notes already an intention to be tense (and intense). Because this is a 25 minute episode (plus Hitch’s interventions) they don’t have to establish any shots outside the space to allow spectators to breathe. We can be 25 minutes inside the same room.

The interesting thing is to check the narrative devices and modes they choose to build on the tension, or ease on it when needed, and the cleverness of the unfolding. So, tension increases depending on the placement of the cowboys in the space and, more important, Maggie’s position in relation to them. So it’s a very spatial positioning of the characters which i enjoy, and which the camera helps. We fear for Maggie, when she is just behind Del, and we fear for her when she’s in the middle. Comedy; this is a comedy, in the end, and we have a very curious balance between the eminent shooting and the goofiness of having, for example, two fellows who can’t eat properly because they won’t stop starring at each other. Comedy here happens not because they act to be funny, but because the situation implies that. It’s a great type of comedy. And of course, the final twist, when we thought we’d seen something, we are told we’ve being as deceived as the cowboys.

Hitch’s interventions, specially at the end, is again priceless, here enhanced by the really funny nonsense twist. The value of it is that it’s not a mere annotation on what we saw, it’s a continuation of the narrative, after the end of the episode.

My opinion: 4/5

This comment on IMDb


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