Having exhausted their supply of stories from Fancies and Goodnights, the producers of Alfred Hitchcock Presents turned to a more recent story for their fourth adaptation of a work by John Collier. "None Are So Blind" was written around December 1955 and was published in The New Yorker on March 31, 1956. A thorough search has failed to turn up any source where this story has been reprinted, so it looks like it made one appearance in print, was quickly purchased for TV adaptation, and was forgotten.
The story concerns Seymour Johnstone, proprietor of a small antique shop in New York City and more preoccupied with wondering when his rich Aunt Muriel will die than he is with running his shop. He happens upon an article in a magazine about life expectancy and is discouraged to learn that his aunt may not die as soon as he hopes. Out of the magazine falls an envelope, in which Seymour finds a driver's license issued in California to Antonio Bertani, whose physical description is similar to that of Seymour. Seymour decides to masquerade as Bertani in order to murder his aunt. He constructs an identity as a shady Italian in New Jersey, disguising himself with a gold tooth, different clothes, and facial dye.
Muriel Drummond, his aunt, invites him to spend the Easter weekend at her Connecticut home. On Good Friday, he announces that he will take the train to New Jersey to inspect an antique. From New Jersey, he drives back to Connecticut in Bertani's car and then joins his aunt for dinner. After dinner, he places a threatening note in her desk and shoots her dead. He sneaks upstairs, then races down to find his aunt's dead body. He raises a ruckus that the maids witness, runs outside, and makes sure that Bertani's car is stuck in the mud. He calls the police and they come to the house and interview him.
Seymour pretends to have been fearful when he set out to chase the murderer. He tries to charm the policemen, who leave to continue their investigation. They return the next evening, having traced the car to Bertani's residence in New Jersey. Descriptions of Bertani by his neighbors mention a gold tooth, but also "a nasty little cyst on the left side of his nose." The detective observes that Seymour also has a cyst on his face in exactly the same spot. The title of the story comes from Matthew Henry (1662-1714), who wrote "none are so blind as those that will not see" in a Bible commentary. Collier's use of the name Seymour for his main character is ironic, since he actually "sees less" than others.
|Mildred Dunnock as Aunt Muriel|
The visual nature of the twist ending to this story must have made it appealing to adapt for TV. The teleplay was written by James Cavanagh and the episode was broadcast on CBS on Sunday, October 28, 1956, two weeks after "De Mortuis" had been aired, making it the third episode of the show's second season to be adapted from a story by John Collier. Once the viewer is aware of the twist ending, the most interesting part of the show becomes the process of watching how director of photography Reggie Lanning and director Robert Stevens set up their shots and film Hurd Hatfield (as Seymour) to hide the left side of his face without making it obvious that that is what they are doing.
The plot of the show follows that of the story with some revisions. Seymour narrates the show in voiceover, which helps to tie it together. He spends a lot of time staring at his right profile in the mirror and self consciously rubbing the left side of his nose, though the reason for this is not revealed until the last shot. Clues are sprinkled liberally throughout the show, such as this line of Seymour's: "The only way I could possibly survive in this so-called civilization is not to see anything unpleasant, just to pretend it doesn't exist." Aunt Muriel comments on Seymour's habit of positioning himself so others only see what he believes is his best angle.
|K.T. Stevens as Liza|
|Hurd Hatfield as Seymour|
"None Are So Blind" is a mediocre story that cannot be saved by good performances and competent direction. James Cavanagh (1922-1971), the writer who adapted it for television, was the author of many TV scripts in the 1950s and 1960s. He wrote 15 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, including "'Mother, May I Go Out to Swim?'" and "Fog Closing In," for which he won an Emmy. Director Robert Stevens also won an Emmy for the episode "The Glass Eye," one of the 49 episodes of the Hitchcock series that he directed.
|Rusty Lane as the detective|
|Seymour disguised as Bertani|