Saturday, August 29, 2009

Claude Rains Appearances on Alfred Hitchcock Presents

These are only three of the five episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" in which Claude Rains appeared, but they are among the best. They are only about 25 minutes each, but I think you may enjoy them.

The Diamond Necklace concerns a man who is being let go by a jewelry firm after 37 years of service, even though his grandfather and father before him worked at the same store as well. The approach to the story, written by Sarett Rudley, is both sentimental and humorous. Rains, who managed to inject humor into even his most serious roles, is touching and droll as the employee being put out to pasture.

The last story, And So Died Riabouchinska, based on a Ray Bradbury story, is particularly touching in light of the comments it makes about age, acting, imagination and the theatrical life. The Cream of the Jest, based on a story by Edgar Award winner Fredric Brown is an even more heart rending portrait of a desperate actor at the end of his rope. While Claude Rains appeared to belong on an entirely different plane than the characters in these stories, he played them as though he knew their moments of loneliness and despair all too well.

It is tempting to infer that these elements came close to reflecting some of Rains' own feelings. His level of his performances in each of these short films is remarkably high.

The Diamond Necklace (1959)

The Cream of the Jest (1957)

And So Died Riabouchinska (1956)


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