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The Crystal Trench 

An obsessed young woman waits decades for her husband's body to emerge from the ice, after he fell from a mountain.


Alfred Hitchcock


Stirling Silliphant (teleplay by), A.E.W. Mason (based on a story by)


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Episode cast overview:
Alfred Hitchcock ... Himself - Host
James Donald ... Mark Cavendish
Patricia Owens ... Stella Ballister
Werner Klemperer ... Mr. Ranks
Ben Astar ... Swiss Innkeeper
Patrick Macnee ... Professor Kersley
Harold Dyrenforth Harold Dyrenforth ... Frederic Blauer (as Harald O. Dyrenforth)
Frank Holms Frank Holms
Eileen Anderson Eileen Anderson
Otto Reichow Otto Reichow


Stella Ballister is still in 'honeymoon mode' with her husband of six months, holidaying in the Austrian Alps. She stays in the hotel while he goes mountain climbing and several hours later receives the tragic news that her husband has died of exposure and exhaustion, and his remains may or may not be recovered (due to the danger) until the next day. While securing ropes to the body, it accidentally slips out of the grasp of the recovery team, and Mr Ballister slides hundreds of yards down into the glacier crevasse, seemingly never to be seen again. Mark Cavendish, the fellow British hotel guest who had to break the terrible news to her (and has now fallen in love with her) must accept that Stella, (who has consulted a Glaciologist) is so devoted to her dead husband that not only does she reject Marks' marriage proposal, but intends to wait the forty years for her husbands' body to hopefully resurface. He stays a close friend, and the day finally arrives and they return to Austria - ... Written by canadazbest

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Release Date:

4 October 1959 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


[afterword, Hitchcock is tying the rope around himself]
Alfred Hitchcock - Host: So much for our version of "The Iceman Cometh". I shall return for a final word in a moment. First, we have come to one of those treacherous crevices that riddle the glacier of television.
[commercial break]
Alfred Hitchcock - Host: I think I should begin my descent before I become the source of a legend about an abdominal snowman. Next week, I shall once again return with another story spiced together by commercials. Until then, good night.
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User Reviews

She Meant What She Said
8 June 2013 | by HitchcocSee all my reviews

Hitchcock's TV show often made me sad. He often had good people victimized by their own goodness and faith. When one becomes so in love and so full hope that he doesn't listen to the advice that we can only change ourselves, not other human beings, he pretty much ends his very life. Throw in the self centered, driven woman who appears on the surface to be a possible mate, and you have the formula for great sadness. There are two elements at work: time and a glacier. By the time they intersect, all that is left is a broken man and a woman who made her intentions known over and over. She never has a clue, however, of the impact on this man. Or did she?

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