20 August 2014

Revenge (1955)
26 min.
Airdate: October 2, 1955
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
With Ralph Meeker, Vera Miles, and Frances Bavier.
Jose Cruz
Carl Spann (Meeker) and his wife Elsa (Miles) have moved to the sunny shores of California to get some rest and relaxation after dancer Elsa suffers a minor breakdown from stress. All seems to be going well when Carl leaves for his new job at the plant and Elsa prepares a cake for her husband’s arrival.

But when Carl returns he finds his wife in a traumatic shock, she just barely able to tell him that a stranger posing as a salesman came into their mobile home and proceeded to abuse and rape her. Unfortunately the police can’t do anything based on Elsa’s scant clues, leaving Carl to brood over his hatred.

Taking his practically catatonic wife for a drive into the city, Carl’s dark plans come to horrible fruition when Elsa points out her attacker in a crowd. But Carl soon learns the harsh lesson that revenge can bring with it.

The first episode in Hitchcock’s legendary television series, Revenge is surprisingly cold and brutal, delivering a good kick to the gut under the Master’s direction. Nail-biting tension such as this could only be produced with Hitch at the camera, each scene from Elsa’s violation to the unforgiving climax building in suspense.

Meeker and Miles both deliver wonderfully strong performances as husband and wife. Meeker is the character we are to sympathize with, and even as he sits with murder burning in his brain we still feel a touch of compassion for his situation. Miles nearly steals the show though, her wide-eyed fear after the attack particularly powerful and unsettling.

A cruel portrait of bloody justice, Revenge ultimately shows us that, as Hitch always said, crime never pays. Highly recommended.

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