6 user 3 critic

Back for Christmas 

Before leaving on a trip to America, a man kills his wife and buries her in the basement. Once in the United States. he receives correspondence tipping him off that the murder will undoubtedly be exposed.


Alfred Hitchcock


Francis M. Cockrell (teleplay) (as Francis Cockrell), John Collier (story)


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Episode complete credited cast:
Alfred Hitchcock ... Himself - Host
John Williams ... Herbert Carpenter
Isobel Elsom ... Hermione Carpenter (as Isabel Elsom)
Arthur Gould-Porter Arthur Gould-Porter ... Major Sinclair (as A.E. Gould-Porter)
Lillian Kemble-Cooper ... Mrs. Sinclair (as Lily Kemble-Cooper)
Gavin Muir ... Mr. Wallingford
Katherine Warren ... Mrs. Freda Wallingford
Gerald Hamer ... Mr. Hewitt
Irene Tedrow ... Mrs. Hewitt
Ross Ford ... Mr. Hall
Theresa Harris ... Elsie the Servant
Molly Glessing Molly Glessing ... Maid (as Mollie Glessing)


Herbert is digging in his basement when his wife Hermione calls him upstairs to eat. She thinks he is making a wine cellar, but he is really planning to kill her and bury her in the basement. At lunch, Hermione goes over all the arrangements she has made for a business trip to California that they are about to take together. Several friends then come over to visit, and after they leave, Herbert looks for the opportunity to put his plan into practice. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

4 March 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?


Francis M. Cockrell (teleplay) and John Collier (story) were nominated by the Writer's Guild of America for a WGA(TV) Award for Best Anthology Drama, Thirty Minutes in Length in 1957. See more »


After Hermione attempts to hang the dustsheet from the hallway lamp fitting, it is inconsistently draped from shot to shot. See more »


[first lines]
[Hitchcock is looking at a shrunken head on a stand]
Himself - Host: Oh, good evening, ladies and gentlemen... especially the ladies. Now you see what might happen if you fall asleep under the dryer? Shrunken heads are a hobby of mine. Collecting them, of course, not making them. It takes too long to make one. First of all, you must wait until the original owner of the head dies. I haven't the patience for that. As you have, no doubt, already guessed, tonight's story has nothing whatsoever to do ...
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Version of Tales of the Unexpected: Back for Christmas (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

Ahh! Sunny California!
10 October 2008 | by HitchcocSee all my reviews

You know, sometimes it just doesn't pay to murder your wife. We've got this guy who puts up with his wife controlling virtually every aspect of his life. He sees his youth slipping away as she fusses and controls everything. Actually, if one were to step back, she's not all that overbearing. He never tries to simply say, "Enough!" already. We are always suspicious when some guy starts digging in the basement. She does respect his need to build a wine cellar. Of course, he checks his notebook from time to time to see what her dimensions are. She is not a shrew nor does she really smother him. She has a streak of real kindness, so it's hard to be very sympathetic toward him. Well, I won't give the ending away, but suffice it to say that it is her kindness that ultimately comes back to bite him. I think this could have really been improved with a few modifications in her character.

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