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Lamb to the Slaughter 

When Mary Maloney's police chief husband is found murdered, the police investigate and have a hard time trying to find the murder weapon.


Alfred Hitchcock


Roald Dahl (teleplay), Roald Dahl (story)

On Disc

at Amazon




Episode complete credited cast:
Alfred Hitchcock ... Himself - Host
Barbara Bel Geddes ... Mary Maloney
Harold J. Stone ... Lieutenant Jack Noonan
Allan Lane ... Patrick Maloney
Ken Clark ... Mike - Policeman assistant
Robert C. Ross Robert C. Ross ... Forensic doctor
William Keene ... Fingerprint policeman
Thomas Wilde Thomas Wilde ... Photographer policeman (as Thomas Wild)
Otto Waldis ... Sam


Mary Maloney is a devoted wife and an exceptional housekeeper. One day, her husband, the police chief, announces that he wants a divorce because he has met another woman. Mary is quite angry and kills him with a blow from a frozen leg of lamb. She calls the police and provides an alibi for herself with the story that she'd been out to the store when the murder took place. The investigating officer, Lieutenant Noonan, is further frustrated when he cannot find the murder weapon. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

13 April 1958 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This is one of the rare episodes where Alfred Hitchcock does not begin by saying his distinctive, "Good Evening." See more »


[introduction, Hitchcock is in a supermarket where a cop gives him a ticket and walks off camera]
Himself - Host: He gave me this ticket for blocking an aisle during the rush hour. I don't understand. I was in the slow lane. I just stopped a moment at the condiment shelf where the store's have a get-acquainted sale on 'Low Calorie Calories'. Tonight's play is not unrelated to this milieu. It is called "Lamb to the Slaughter", but before we see it, the store has asked that I direct your attention to their very ...
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Referenced in Uit de wereld van Roald Dahl: Een frisse duik (1975) See more »

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User Reviews

Doesn't live up to the source material
2 January 2012 | by TBJCSKCNRRQTreviewsSee all my reviews

When Mary Maloney's husband comes home in time for dinner, he consistently ignores her and eventually admits that he's leaving her for someone else. She grabs up a leg of lamb from the freezer and bashes him on the back of his head. He's dead, and this will be investigated... can she prevent the police from discovering the truth? Being a great fan of the original short story, I had hoped for a better adaptation. Don't get me wrong, it's well-produced. It's simply not done in very fitting manner. The husband arrives too soon and with too little build-up towards it. Bel Geddes does a phenomenal job as the wife(the acting in general is quite good), but this doesn't put us in her head as it ought to. She comes off as less brilliant and downright needy("if I can't have him, no one can") and the murder comes off as a crime of passion driven by jealousy. Such a dichotomy when it should strongly resonate as the rebellion by someone who's given everything she could to please another human being, only to be discarded for that very effort and gusto. This attempts to stir up suspense and tension, when the plot neither calls for it nor supports it. Though it does fine at that(you can tell Hitchcock directed this), it doesn't gel. This is filmed and edited well. Dialog is slightly repetitious(saying the exact same sentence without varying it any is used for emphasis, in place of, well, something creative, or relying on performances), and otherwise it's quality work(if not holding any memorable lines, other than the absolute killer it ends on, which is from the literary version). Perhaps Dahl shouldn't have done the teleplay? Being an impressive author doesn't mean you can write for TV. This is disturbing throughout. I recommend this to those who can't be bothered to track down and read the dozen or so pages of the proper form of this tale. 7/10

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