5 user 1 critic

There Was an Old Woman 

Dishonest Frank and Lorna Bramwell visit the home of wealthy, eccentric Monica Laughton, with the intention of robbing her.


Robert Stevenson


Marian B. Cockrell (teleplay) (as Marian Cockrell), Jerry Hackady (story) | 1 more credit »


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Episode complete credited cast:
Alfred Hitchcock ... Himself - Host
Estelle Winwood ... Monica Laughton
Charles Bronson ... Frank Bramwell
Norma Crane ... Lorna Bramwell
Dabbs Greer ... Theodore the Milkman
Emerson Treacy ... Deli Manager


Elderly Monica Laughton greets the milkman, and tells him that another relative of hers has passed away. The milkman then stops at a cafeteria, where he discusses Miss Laughton's wealth and eccentricity with the man at the counter. The conversation is overheard by Frank Bramwell, who then plans to visit Miss Laughton with his wife, so that they can rob her. When they reach her home, they are shown into an empty parlor, where she introduces them to a number of imaginary relatives, and shows them an open, empty coffin. Fearing that she is insane, Lorna Bramwell wants to leave, but Frank sees the situation as an even better opportunity than he'd hoped for - and he is not above using force to get what he wants. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

18 March 1956 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Shamley Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The title is the first line of the nursery rhyme about the woman who lived in the shoe. See more »


In the kitchen scene where "Frank" and "Lorna" are eating out of the pan, there are moving shadows on the wall to the left of the screen that are not from the actors. See more »


Alfred Hitchcock: Good evening. I have a request for those of you who are not watching television: Please turn on your set. I'm sure I look much worse in the flamboyant Technicolor of your imagination than I do in the austere black and white of television.
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User Reviews

Delicious Hitch
24 May 2016 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

A delicious episode. I never thought I would see a frazzled Charles Bronson, but then he is up against an 80-year old loopy Estelle Winwood. Seems small-time crook Frank (Bronson) and rather dim wife (Crane) think aristocratic old lady Laughton (Winwood) will be easy pickings. After all, she lives alone in a big house full of invisible family, guests, and food. But somewhere inside that mausoleum, Frank figures, is a load of cash, at least that's what he heard. So now he and wife push their way in, while the agreeable old lady introduces them to the invisible guests. But where's she got that darned money hidden.

Winwood's perfect, her bulging eyes and ditzy manner, a perfect foil for the aggressively greedy Bronson. This was still early in the tough guy's career before his acting style was reduced to a single hard-eyed stare. Happily, he shows here that he does have an acting range. Then too Crane makes the rather slow-thinking wife into a reluctant counterpart to hubby Bronson. In my book, the episode is pitch-perfect Hitch fare, the character elements coming together beautifully, with an ironic closing line that fits perfectly, raising also a boggling subtext about how those now invisible family members became invisible. Anyway, hats off to all involved, and to a Bronson that's seldom seen.

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