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John Brown's Body 

An upstart furniture designer colludes with his boss's wife to drive her husband mad.


Robert Stevens


Robert C. Dennis (teleplay), Thomas Burke (story)


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Episode complete credited cast:
Alfred Hitchcock ... Himself - Host
Leora Dana ... Vera Brown
Russell Collins ... John Brown
Hugh Marlowe ... Harold Skinner
Edmon Ryan ... Dr. Croatman
Walter Kingsford ... Dr. Sam Helck
Jean Hayworth Jean Hayworth ... Ellen (as Jean Owens)
Marcel Rousseau Marcel Rousseau ... Waiter
Madelon Baker Madelon Baker ... Doctor's Receptionist
Norman Leavitt ... Accountant


John Brown and Company makes furniture and has been a solid business for years. But young Harold Skinner wants to shake things up and make modern furniture. John Brown will have none of it. Soon Harold meets John Brown's wife, an attractive woman in her 30s, who married for money -- though she denies it. Unlike her husband, she's excited about Skinner's modern ideas and wants to help him. Especially after the two of them become lovers. Harold comes up with a "wonderful horrible idea" to get John Brown out of the way: convince him he's losing his mind. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

30 December 1956 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Shamley Productions See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Per the title, John Brown's Body is an epic American poem written by Stephen Vincent Benet. Its title references the radical abolitionist John Brown, who raided Harper's Ferry in West Virginia in the fall of 1859. See more »


[first lines]
Harold Skinner: In my opinion, John, this is the type of furniture we should be making.
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Yankee Doodle
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User Reviews

Okay, at Best
14 July 2010 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Junior partner Skinner (Marlowe) has designs for modern line of furniture that he thinks will pump up shop profits. On the other hand, senior partner Brown (Collins) wants to stay with traditional line, making Skinner unhappy. However, Skinner has less difficulty persuading Brown's attractive wife (Dana), especially after applying some amorous incentive. But what will the illicit pair do with her old stick-in-the-mud husband now that big money looms.

Despite the promising premise, the story fails to build either tension or suspense. There is curiosity about how the story will end, but not much more. The screenplay doesn't really develop the conflict beyond plotting to send Brown to a home for the mentally impaired. The ending is mildly ironical. To me, the most interesting part is figuring out whether the two lovers are sincere or simply exploiting each other. Nonetheless, the 30 minutes strikes me as a rather flat, lacking the expected Hitchcock edge.

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