Mrs. Morgan and Mr. Frute inside the Royal Pavilion
"I Spy" is a charming light comedy that was filmed on location in the English seaside resort of Brighton. It begins at a London office where a lawyer reports to his client, Captain Morgan, on the efforts of a private detective named Frute to discover why Morgan's wife left him. The scene shifts to the Queen's Hotel in Brighton, where Frute masquerades as a waiter in the hotel's dining room in order to keep an eye on Mrs. Morgan, who now works as a waitress. Frute is not a very dashing investigator, dropping plates as he attempts to carry four at once along his arm. When he follows Mrs. Morgan along the Boardwalk as she spends her day off with her friend Gladys, he is easy to spot in his costume as a priest and he ends up catching a cold from a sudden rainstorm.
Exterior of the Queen's Hotel, Brighton
Cecil Parker as the lawyer
Eric Barker as Frute
The cast of "I Spy" is wholly British, and none of them ever appeared in another episode of the Hitchcock series. As Mrs. Morgan, Kay Walsh (1911-2005) is kind, demonstrating a middle-aged beauty that is appropriate for the character. She was married to director David Lean from 1940 to 1949 and appeared in many films from 1934 to 1982, including Oliver Twist (1948) and Hitchcock's Stage Fright (1950). Eric Barker (1912-1990) plays Frute as a gentle man who seems to have taken up the wrong profession. He was a popular British comedic actor who had his start in films in 1916; he also appeared in an episode of The Avengers.
Kay Walsh as Mrs. Morgan
The crew of "I Spy" features a series of names that never appeared in the credits of Alfred Hitchcock Presents except for this episode: director of photography Peter Hennessey, art director Jack Maxsted, assistant director Kip Gowans, makeup artist Eddie Knight, and hair stylist Biddy Chrystal. A clue to the reason for their participation is provided at the end of the credits, where it reads that "I Spy" was "Filmed in Cooperation with Eyeline Films, Ltd., London, England."
William Kendall as Captain Morgan
"I Spy" is not available on DVD but can be viewed online here. The play on which it was based , I Spy, by John Mortimer, was first performed on November 19, 1957, on the BBC Third Programme, then performed again on the BBC on January 28, 1958. It was first performed on stage at the Salisbury Playhouse on March 16, 1959. The adaptation for Alfred Hitchcock Presents was broadcast on NBC on Tuesday night, December 5, 1961. The play is available in several collections of Mortimer's plays.
|Mrs. Morgan and Gladys on the Palace Pier, Brighton|
|Exterior of the Royal Pavilion, Brighton|
|A happy ending!|