Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962): Season 5, Episode 27 - The Cuckoo Clock - full transcript

Mrs. Blythe goes to spend a weekend at her cottage. She hasn't been there since her husband died the year before. Stopping at the general store, she's told that a patient has escaped from ...

Good evening, and thank you
for your kind attention,

erratic though it may be.

You have, of course,
heard of canned laughter,

the hollow recorded laughter which
accompanies some comedy shows.

Naturally, since this program
is entirely serious in nature,

we have never resorted to this
means of audience stimulation.

However, I have just been shipped a
number of cans of fresh audience sounds

which may be useful.

Most of these cans
contain screams.

There are some
filled with shudders.

And some of them
hold whimpers and gasps.

Just now, we do not intend
to use these recordings.

This is merely a warning.

If you fail to react
to our stories

at the emotional level
we feel they deserve,

we'll turn these sounds loose.
So much for blackmail.

Now, for our story...

it sure feels good getting out of
the car after that long drive.

Honestly, Mother, I don't know how
you can stand wearing a girdle!

I'm used to it, dear.

Now, do you have a list of things you're gonna buy?
Oh, I know what I need.

Besides, Burt will remember.

But you haven't been up here
for over a year. Not since...

Not since your father died.

Don't worry. I'm sure Burt hasn't forgotten.
He's part elephant.

Ah, afternoon!

Something you ladies want?

Why, it's Mrs. Blythe, ain't it? Sorry
I didn't recognize you at first.

Oh, that's all right, Burt. You
haven't seen me in over a year.

Year and a half, nearly.
Just after Labor Day.

Well, I didn't expect you to remember me that long.
Never forget a face.

Guess Doc was right,
I must need new glasses.

Told me I needed 'em just before
he passed away. That was in '48.

Reminds me. Heard about
you losing the mister.

Was a year ago, weren't it?

Yes, just after we
closed up the cabin here.

Ah! Sorry to hear it.
Heart attack, weren't it?

Yes. It was quite sudden.

I know. Lost a brother
the same way.

Recently? Yeah, nineteen
and thirty-six.

Mother, don't you think you'd
better give him your order?

It's getting late, and we have
to get out to the cottage.

Come back to stay?

Well, no, not exactly.
Didn't think so.

Pretty early in
the season for that.

There ain't nobody
else up here yet. Yes.

Kind of lonesome without the summer
folk around. Yes. I see now.

Maybe you figure
on selling, that it?

Yes, that's it.

I just came to do a little
cleaning over the weekend.

We've already handed it over
to the real estate agency.

If you happen to know
of anybody who is interested,

have them contact
Mr. Scott in Ardmore.

You folks been over to Ardmore?

We stopped in at Mr. Scott's office.
Why do you ask?

Just thought maybe you had
some news about... You know.

What? Well, you know!

The one that got away
this morning.

I don't know
what you're talking about.

The news come over the radio,
the late news.

It said one of them patients had
busted loose from the rest home.

I didn't even know that there was
a mental home anywhere near here.

Oh, yeah!
Right outside of town.

'Course they call it a "rest home,
" but you know what it really is.

Why don't you keep your
radio on for more news?

That station goes
off the air at 4:00.

That was half hour ago.
Sun's still high up.

I had no idea it was so late!

My watch must have stopped.
Funny, it seems to be broken.

Never mind, Mother. You can take
it to the jeweler tomorrow.

But I'm gonna be up here until you
and Jim come for me on Sunday.

After what we heard?

I wouldn't dream of letting you
stay up here all by yourself.

You're gonna drive back
with me right now.


I used to stay by myself all week while
your father was working in town.

Nobody ever bothered me.

Please, Mother, I'd feel better
if you came back with me now.

And I'd feel better
if I stayed right here.

I have all that cleaning to do,

and Mr. Scott promised to come
over tomorrow and see the place.

And you forgot, we stopped in at
the phone company in Ardmore.

They promised
to connect up the phone.

But all this can wait
until next weekend

I have no intention of making
that long drive twice.

Now don't worry,
everything will be all right.

I'm sorry, Burt.
Now, let me see...

Like a pound of coffee, a pound of butter...
Oh, a loaf of bread,

dozen eggs...

Just a moment
till I get the lights.

There, that's better.
Come on in!

Where do you want this?
Just put it down anywhere.

I'll get rid
of these groceries.

Don't close the door, dear. This
place needs a little fresh air.

I'm not afraid
of the air getting in.

For heaven's sake, are you still
thinking about what Burt said?

Really, Mother, I wish
you'd change your mind

and drive back with me tonight.

Whatever for?
I'm perfectly safe here.

We didn't see a single
soul on our way up.

But that's just the point.
You'll be all alone.

And with no telephone.
What if somebody did come?

The shutters
are still on the windows,

there's a good lock on the door
and there's a chain as well.

All right. If you won't come
with me, I'm staying here.

Oh, now that's
perfectly ridiculous!

Jim is expecting you home before 9:00.
And what about the children?

No, run along now.
I'll see you both on Sunday.

Oh, but, Mother... Now, look,

you're acting as though
I'm an old woman!

Don't you want me to
help you unpack? What?

That little overnight bag? No,
no, you go on to your family.

I'll call you as soon as they
hook up the phone. Yeah.

That reminds me, what time is it?
Five to 7:00. Why?

Your watch is broken.
Here, you'd better take mine.

No, I don't need to.
I'll set the clock.

You remember this clock? Your father
gave it to me on our fifth anniversary.

You were just a little girl.

You must have set it
a little ahead.

Yes, I just wanted to hear it. I
love the sound of a cuckoo clock.

Your father used to say that...
What am I talking about?

Now you have a long trip ahead of you.
You must go right away.

Mother, are you sure?

Now let's not start that
all over again, now.

Run along now. All right.

Promise me one thing. Keep
the door locked. Of course.

Now run along and I'll
see you on Sunday.

Call me tomorrow. What?

Call me tomorrow. I'll call you as
soon as they hook up the phone.

I'm sorry to barge in on you like
this, but it's kind of an emergency.

My name's Madeleine Hall.

I'm Mrs. Blythe.

You're shivering!

It's just kind of
cold out there, that's all.

I think you're frightened.

All right, so I'm frightened.
Who wouldn't be?

Haven't you heard about it yet?
Heard about what?

That man who escaped.

I felt sort of nervous, knowing
that he's on the loose.

So I thought I could use your telephone...
it's not connected yet.

I just arrived this afternoon.

Then you have a car. That's much better.
I'm sorry, there's no car.

My daughter drove me up.
She's gone back to the city.

Where do you live?

I'm staying in Ardmore.

Ardmore? But that's where...
No, in the town.

Not out by that place.

But then what are you
doing way out here?

I just went for a hike
this afternoon.

You mean to say that you walked
all the way from Ardmore?

Is there any law against it?

I just felt that I had
to get away by myself.

Haven't you ever felt that way?

That if you just
didn't get away,

then something inside of you
was just gonna explode.

Come and sit down here. Sit down.
You'll be fine. There.

You can sit right here.

Are you sure
that you're all right?

Are you sure you're not sick?

I'm not sick!

What is with psychologists,
that all I hear is,

"You're sick, you're sick,
you're sick."

Please, I... I'm sorry.

I just shouldn't push the
panic button, that's all.

Now I suppose I'll have to tell you.
Tell me what?

You know that hill
behind the woods?

About a mile from here?

Oh, yes. I think they call
it, "Hunter's Ridge."

I was painting there
all afternoon.

Oh, you're a painter!

No! No, not really.
It's just a hobby.

But it's supposed to be
very relaxing.

Good therapy.

Yes, I've always heard that.
I always wanted to try it

but I was never
any good at drawing.

You don't have to
be good at it.

The main thing is just to get
out and be alone, by yourself.

That's very important.

But you wouldn't understand
about things like that.

Oh, yes, I would.

Sometimes that can be
very important.

Oh, it was to me.

I didn't even know
how late it was getting

till I saw the sun going
down behind the trees.

And then I wanted to catch the
sunset, so I started up this hill.

And that's when I saw that man.

What man?

At first, I thought it was just a shadow.
But shadows don't stare.

He was watching you?

He was just standing there,
just staring into the sunset.

Probably was some farmer.

There aren't any farms
around here.

And what would a farmer
be doing

wandering around
the hills in a raincoat?

You got a good
look at him, then?

No, but I knew who he was.
I knew who he...

And then I remembered that
news report on the radio.

And I knew he was the man.

But you could be mistaken.

I didn't wait to find out. I just
started running and I kept running.

I dropped the easel and
the paints and everything

and I just ran till I saw the
light outside your door.

Oh, you'd better turn it off.

I said...

I think he followed me.

You're letting your imagination
run away with you.

What's the matter? Listen!

Don't you hear anything?

No, I don't hear...

it's just the wind...

it's him. It's him.

I told you he followed me.

Don't answer that door.

Be quiet.

Listen. I think
he's going away.

I can't see a thing.
The shutters are closed.

Oh, I haven't opened them yet.

Good. Leave it that way.
We'll be safer.

I don't hear anything.
I think he's gone.

Thank goodness!

But suppose it was the police?

Don't worry,
it's just my kettle.

I put the water on
before you came in.

I could do with a cup right now.
How about you?

No, thank you.

Take off your coat, dear,
and sit down.

I didn't think to ask if you
preferred coffee. No, thank you.

My ancestry's English

and I've always thought that
tea was a great pick-me-up.

You don't need to worry now.
He's gone.

Yes. But where?

Wandering around alone
out there in that darkness

with nowhere to go,

nowhere in the whole world.

Because everybody's
against him.

It's no wonder
he's so full of hate.


What makes you say that?

Because that's what happens.

That's the way it is
when you're sick.

You feel so alone, like
everybody's against you.

And you're so hurt, that
you just wanna hurt back.

Haven't you ever felt that way?

Of course not! Why should I?

Of course not. Why should you?

That's a good question.

My Aunt Dora had one of these
when I was a little girl.

You remind me of her.

The calm, sensible type.

She used to live alone, too,
just like you do.

She did a lot of sewing.

And she kept a canary.

Except that she
didn't really keep it.

Because one day she just cut its
head off with her pinking shears.

Just like that.


Do you have to
talk about such things?

I just wanted to show you
how it can happen,

even to calm, sensible, ordinary
people, when they're filled with hate.

And some of them
don't stop with canaries.

Why don't you try your telephone
and see if it's connected.

Not yet.

Well, I have to go then. He
might decide to come back.

Do you think he would?

He might. He must know
someone's here.

And he might have seen the
light under the door.

But then I can turn it off
the way you suggested.

It's too late for that now.

You'll just have to
take your chances.

Don't leave me.

Please don't leave me.

Are you really so frightened?

To tell you the truth,
I'm scared to death.

Perhaps it was my little
story about the canary.

You don't have to worry.
I made that up.

And the man? You made
up about the man, too?

No. That part's true.
Don't leave me, please.

He may be waiting for you
outside there.

The phone will be connected and
then we'll be able to call out.

Please stay with me! Please!

All right...

I'll stay.

Since I'm going to stay,
why don't we have that tea?

Yes, of course. I think the
water's still hot. Yes, it is.

I could do with a cup, myself.

Why did you make up that
story about the canary?

Did you intend to frighten me?

Did you?

I don't know.

You did it to upset me,
didn't you?

Yes. Why?

Because you're... No. No.

The doctor just said that I
should quit my job at the agency

and just get away
and relax and paint.

And he put you in that
rest home, didn't he?

That's where you came from,
the sanatorium in Ardmore!

I've been staying at the
hotel for two weeks.

You can ask anybody!

And I was fine. I was just fine

until today
when I saw that man.

Man! There isn't any man!

He's back. I told you he's back.
Please, please don't.

I've got to see who it is.
It could be the police.

Promise me, don't you let him in.
All right.

I promise. I promise.

But this time, I have got to
know who is outside there.

What do you want?

I hope I didn't frighten you,

but what I have to tell
you is rather important.

I suppose you heard
what happened today

about the patient that escaped
from over at Ardmore?

Yes, yes, I know.

There's really nothing
to be alarmed about.

You mean that they've
caught the patient?

No, not yet.

But just keep your door locked and I'm
sure everything will be all right.

You see, she's rather extremely
dangerous, the one we're looking for.

Clever, too. That's all.

I'm sure everything
will be all right.

No, but...
Don't, don't, don't...

That's blood. It's paint.

It's blood! It's paint.

Come on in, the girl's here.
The door's open.

Here she is.
The girl's right here.

Yes, I see.

That's what I counted on.

I followed her down
from the hill.

When I saw your light,

I guessed where she might be.

The first time I knocked,
you wouldn't let me in.

That's when I decided to
play my little trick on you.

It worked, didn't it?

Didn't it? Yes.

Yes, it worked.

It was a clever little trick.

Wasn't it?

Wasn't it?

Answer me!

It was mocking me.

And I can't stand being mocked.

Look at the clock.

Just look at the clock.

I don't think he played
that quite fairly, do you?

Some people will cheat, tell
fibs, do anything, in fact,

in order to kill someone.

I don't approve at all.

It gives murder
a very bad name.

But I can assure you,
he won't try that again.

At the next house
he broke into,

they were more hospitable.

It belonged to the sheriff.

This is from the section
of quick-frozen screams.

They have to thaw out.

A number of people
have been asking

where we obtained these canned
screams, gasps, et cetera.

They are, of course, authentic audience
reaction recorded at a comedy show.

I don't believe
it's on the air any longer.

Good heavens!

They forgot to remove
the audience.

Next time, I shall return
with another story

laced together by my
impertinent remarks.

Until then, good night.