"Alfred Hitchcock Presents" The Dangerous People (TV Episode 1957) Poster

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TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews7 November 2012
Two strangers in a train station waiting room. It's a cold night, and neither of them are quite content to be there. The periodical wailing of the siren refuses to let them forget: a maniac has escaped the local mental hospital. How long before he comes in? Or, even worse, since he may have killed someone and taken their clothes... maybe he's already here, one of the two men? This is what Hitchcock stood for... the simple premise with several elements(the heater and the poker are used marvelously) that are then used to create tension, and it builds throughout until it reaches fever pitch. In the audio landscape, there is also the seemingly incessant clicking of a telegraph - music is only sparsely used, its effect thus increased. The use of voice-over to allow us to "hear thoughts" highlights the paranoia, in addition to telling us exactly how far it has progressed, how fearful one of them is. Characterization is careful to provide just enough that you feel like you know anything about them, without giving so much that you completely trust them. The acting is fantastic and serves aforementioned purpose well. I recommend this to any fan of the master of suspense. 8/10
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Hitchcock Does Minimalism
dougdoepke19 April 2016
Psychological study with a one-note plot, a single set, and two players. It's a pretty spare setup, but manages to hold interest. So which of the two ticket-buyers in the empty train station is the escaped lunatic. At first we hear in voice-over Bellefontaine's (Harris) growing suspicions about the unkempt, unfriendly Jones (Salmi) sitting across from him. He certainly looks menacing, big, burly, and toying with a poker above the wood stove. Then we begin to hear Jones's suspicions about the little, bald-headed guy across from him with his mysterious satchel that could be hiding anything. And we wonder which of the two is the real escaped nutcase.

Salmi and Harris are well chosen for their parts and deliver two versions of a possible lunatic. Can't say I think the payoff equaled the buildup, but that's just my reaction. This has to be one of the least expensive productions of the series, but does manage some suspense thanks to two fine actors.
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I had this episode completely wrong
CoastalCruiser27 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This review is really for people who already have viewed the episode.

You know, I thought this story was going to turn out completely different. It was mentioned to the audience up front, by the clerk at the train station, what a split personality is; a person with two personas that are unaware of each other.

Then we have two men in the train station eying each other as the possible mental hospital escapee. I thought what we were going to learn at the end of the show that indeed there had been only ONE man in the station, arguing with his other side.

But no, they played it quite differently.. exploring the paranoia of so-called "normal" people. I actually like my idea a bit better. Or does this episode illustrate the difference between Hitchcock Presents and The Twilight Zone??
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Near the dangerous maniacs' asylum
Cristi_Ciopron31 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This funny, admirably paced episode with surrealist touches, has a lot of goodies to offer—being so atmospheric and funny and intriguing and suspenseful, plus the cast, plus the Fredric Brown connection. It's a delightful sketch, with the ideal setting—a train station, in the cold waiting room, with picturesque characters and crisp approach.

THE DANGEROUS PEOPLE, with Albert Salmi and Robert H Harris, a Teleplay by Francis Cockrell, registers as one of the craziest and uncanny episodes of the show, not surprising since it was based on a story by Fredric Brown, the poor man's surrealist; two men meet in a railway station's waiting room, it is cold and they hear the intermittent alarm from the nearby asylum for dangerous maniacs, sign that one such insane patient has escaped, and the two chaps begin suspecting each other of being that escaped maniac. One of the two passengers is blonde, unkempt, dizzy due to a severe hangover, he looks like a Russian anarchist, I guess he was cast as the murderous servant in the '50s American KARAMAZOVS (--as Smerdyakov, you know the fellow--)—his character here is the bookie Jones; the other passenger is small, anxious, older, looking Meridional, slightly funny, but he carries a revolver—and a cornered rat can kill a man, as you are aware of …. The episode alternately follows the stream of thought of each of the two passengers—at first the funny oldster fearing the blonde, dizzy Jones, then the bookie suspecting the small guy, and trying to get hold of the poker. As they're about to kill each other, a third passenger comes in, wearing a policeman's uniform …. In Hitchcock's show, this one registers as a surrealist, feverish comedy, conventionally atmospheric, crisp, funny, without the regular moralizing conclusions. In a word, another jewel of a TV play.

On the intro, Hitchcock is blindfolded and set against a wall, in front of the firing squad.
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Could have been a bit better
searchanddestroy-122 July 2019
I won't make it long. But I think that the climax arrives a bit too soon in the story. After the audience got what it was about, what the use to continue...I searched for something more to discover, but there was nothing at all. I won't say more. But that remains a good episode.
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