If It's A
Man - Hang Up!
(ITC Movie title "If It's A Man - Hang Up!")
Original UK transmission: 12th April 1975
Original US transmission: 5th May 1975
WRITTEN BY: Brian Clemens
DIRECTED BY: Shaun O'Riordan
PRODUCED BY: Ian Fordyce
MAIN CAST: Carol Lynley (Suzy Martin), Gerald Harper (Greg Miles), David Gwillim (Henry Venner), Tom Conti (Bruno Varella), Michael Byrne (Richard Lovell), Paul Angelis (Terry Cleeves), John Cater (Murchison), Colin Etherington (Peter Marnley), Susan Holderness (Betty)
Late at night, a peeping tom watches a girl's flat from across the street, spying on her as she gets undressed. Putting down his binoculars, he dials her number and she rushes to answer in her bath towel. Hearing only breathing noises, she hangs up again and pauses momentarily with a concerned expression, as the mystery caller replaces the receiver.
(NOTE: in the ITC movie version this sequence was intercut with animation).
Successful model Suzy Martin has been bothered of late by distressing calls from an unknown man, so she reports the incident to the police. Two constables arrive and promise to check up on the calls, but the younger one, Hal, seems to take a particular interest in the glamorous Suzy. The matter is confused by the many men in Suzy's life who are already infatuated with her, including her current photographer and even the custodian of the apartment building. Eventually, Suzy's brother is murdered and she is forced to accept the fact that there is a dangerous psychopath on her tail, when Hal unexpectedly invites her to his country cottage for the weekend...
This one probably overplays its central theme a little too much but is still quite enjoyable. It was based on Clemens' own stage production Lover, and seems to pay homage to the more traditional type of thriller. Despite the lack of originality, there are still some very frightening moments throughout as Suzy's stalker slowly closes in on her.
There are several very different versions of this episode in existence.
The first is in a completely different format to any other episode and appears to have been the original UK broadcast (this is the version on Disc 16 of the dvd box set). It contains 75 minutes of original footage and consists of the following:
* A greatly extended version of the teaser sequence described above, with superimposed credits (in the Thriller font) appearing at various junctures. The title of the episode appears, but there is no actual "program" title.
* A musical score consisting of strings and brass, more similar in style to Laurie Johnson's scores for The Avengers than the other Thriller episodes. The music wells up in melodramatic fashion at each commercial break point.
* Fast rolling end credits which appear as the camera zooms in and lingers in a still shot of the fatal razor (not a freeze frame - the camera simply stops moving), with Laurie Johnson music. This lasts under a minute (unlike the later ITC movie version closing credits, which can run for over 3 minutes). The way in which this has been shot shows that the ending was planned into the original production and was not something tagged on as an afterthought.
The second version, which is the UK ITC movie version broadcast in the UK and Australia in the 80's, is largely missing the long teaser sequence which is only briefly excerpted in the titles. The musical score is almost identical to the above version, but there are some differences at various points. There are also one or two "cutaway" shots missing that are in the above version, but otherwise it is for the most part identical in content.
A third version, which is available on the American video release, is missing six minutes of footage present in both the above versions and is in the US ITC movie format. This features a completely different musical score in the usual Thriller style, with harpsichord, woodwind and percussion. Significantly, the "voice" of the mysterious caller is also completely different and has apparently been dubbed on, probably because in the other versions it is too easily identifiable. There are still fades to black every so often for commercials, so it is likely it was assembled from a version intended for US tv. The material cut mostly involves the custodian Murchison's secret infatuation with Suzy, plus several short scenes set in the police station.
The fourth version is the "red peephole titles" version first shown in the US on 5th May 1975. It too is missing scenes, uses the harpsichord/woodwind score and has the different "voice". This is the version included on Disc 11 of the dvd box set, but has been slightly modified therein to include the word "THRILLER" in the titles and UK style adcaps instead of US ones. The closing credits are as seen on ABC.
Apparently, there was no "peephole" version of this episode ever broadcast in Britain. Why exactly the format was changed for this one episode is unknown.
TV TIMES CLIPPINGS
An original TV Times interview with Carol Lynley