Joseph Cotten in "Breakdown." Source: (BFI).
The Structure Of Each Episode
One of the recognizable features of the show was its title sequence. In the sequence, the camera faded in on a line caricature of Hitchcock’s profile; incidentally, Hitchcock drew it. In the background, the theme music, Charles Gounod’s “Funeral March of a Marionette,” played as Hitchcock appeared in silhouette on the right side of the screen. As he walked to the center, he eclipsed the drawing. Typically, he said “Good evening” at this point. After the title sequence, he appeared again to introduce the story, either from the set of the episode or an empty studio. Hitchcock’s introductory monologue was written by James B. Allardice, and two versions were created for each episode. For the American audience, the monologue spoofed a recent commercial or poked fun at the sponsor. The monologue for European audiences, on the other hand, included jokes that were made at the expense of Americans. In later seasons, Hitchcock also spoke in German and French for the international versions. Each episode ended similar to the way it began, with Hitchcock concluding the episode rather than with a monologue. If a main character got away with a crime, Hitchcock would explain how the criminal was brought to justice, whether by the law or by fate. The show was also noteworthy for its use of well-known actors. The list was extensive, including Vincent Price, Robert Redford, Roger Moore, Walter Matthau, Bette Davis, and Jessica Tandy. There were also a number of directors, with Robert Stevens directing the most, at 44.