15 July 2024

Premonition (1955)
26 min.
Airdate: October 9, 1955
Directed by Robert Stevens.
With John Forsythe, Cloris Leachman, Warren Stevens, George Macready, and Percy Helton.
Jose Cruz
Acclaimed concert pianist Kim Stanger (Forsythe) returns to his hometown after receiving a foreboding premonition. Looking to bridge the gap that has grown between him and his estranged father Greg, Kim is slightly perturbed by the nervous behavior of those around him including lawyer friend Douglas (Macready) and his sister-in-law (Leachman).

It is only when Kim’s brother Perry (Stevens) arrives that the unfortunate truth becomes known—Greg has passed away after suffering a heart attack during a tennis match. Now never able to sort out their problems, Kim sinks into depression.

That is until he finds a hunting license renewed in his father’s name the day after his reported death. Sensing that something is seriously amiss, Kim begins to dig deeper into the mystery and starts to become convinced that his father was a victim of foul play! With Perry trying to block his every move, Kim follows the clues to Greg’s hunting lodge where the ultimate truth will be revealed.

The greatest asset Premonition has going for it is probably its gripping mystery story, one that will keep even modern viewers constantly guessing as the plot takes turns and revolutions to a final twist that’s probably just as genuinely surprising as it was during the episode’s premiere. A rewatch will especially bring to light the sharp craftsmanship utilized in misdirecting the viewer.

Seeming almost more like a radio play than a story produced for television with its inner monologues and colorful characters, Premonition is also aided by a worthy cast of thespians. Forsythe is likable as the tortured protagonist and his rabid desperation and final despair recall the plights of heroes in ancient tragedies.

The other characters are mostly constructed to act as shady and suspicious figures in our tale, but everyone from Stevens as the vaguely sinister brother to Helton as the squeaky-voiced undertaker chew into their roles with relish. Offering a fast and furious play worthy of Agatha Christie, this episode is a great choice for those who like to do a little sleuthing during their viewings.

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