DEBT OF HONOR
This one has noir types (cast and crew) all over it from start to finish. This tale is an episode from the one season run (1955) of the anthology series, STAGE 7.
Edmond O'Brien and Charles Bronson are the stars in this episode. The episode is based on the Cornell Woolrich novel, I.O.U. One Life.
Our man O'Brien is a cop with a perfect life. He has a loving wife, a young daughter, as well as a nice home in the burbs. He has even received a nice promotion at work. His job? He is a now a LT. in the Police Department.
He decides that a night out with the family on the town is in order. They are however involved in a car wreck which results in crashing off the road and into a lake. The wife, Kasey Rogers, gets out dragging an unconscious O'Brien.. The daughter though, Wendy Winkelman, is still trapped in the slowly sinking car.
A passing motorist, Charles Bronson, dives into the water and pulls the child to safety. A somewhat groggy O'Brien comes to and thanks Bronson. He tells Charlie that he is forever in his debt. Bronson jumps in his car and drives off before O'Brien can get his name.
A year goes by and O'Brien is now a Captain. He is in charge of a unit assigned to hunt down a killer. O'Brien looks at the suspect's mug shot and recognizes Bronson. What to do? To avoid being involved, he puts his aide, Steve Pendleton. in charge and heads home.
"Good thing the wife and daughter are out of town" O'Brien thinks to himself. A couple of hours later and there is a knock at the door. Standing in the doorway is Bronson. He has come to ask O'Brien to honor his "debt".
There is some great back and forth as the two men discuss the "debt". Bronson says, "I gave you your daughter's life! Now I want mine!" "I'm a cop you fool! I can't do what you ask"! O'Brien finally tells Bronson he can stay the night, but if Bronson is there in the morning, he is taking him in.
No giving away the end this time, but suffice it to say this is one intense half-hour.
The episode is directed by Lewis R. Foster whose work included the noir CRASHOUT and MANHANDLED.
The episode was photographed by one of noir's best, George Diskant. His work included DESPERATE, RIFF-RAFF, THEY LIVE BY NIGHT, PORT OF NEW YORK, ON DANGEROUS GROUND, A WOMAN'S SECRET, K.C.C. BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAWN and NARROW MARGIN.
What more could a guy ask for, O'Brien and Bronson in a Cornell Woolrich penned story. A real top flight time-waster!!!!