Wednesday, March 06, 2002

The Movie I Watched Last Night X
Tuesday: The Twilight Zone #1
Three episodes of the long-running, five-season TV show created and narrated by Rod Serling. It would've been nice if the DVD's provided the shows in episodic order, but these three episodes over the course of three years watch quite well together. In the first episode, "The Night of the Meek" (air date Dec. 23, 1960), the Honeymooners' own Art Carney plays a Christopher Lloyd-like rummy rent-a-Santa who makes a wish on Christmas Eve -- and gets it. Carney plays opposite a sinisterly smarmy store manager played by John Fiedler. In the second ep, an until-the-end wordless "The Invaders" (air date Jan. 27, 1961), Agnes Moorehead, who'd previously acted in a play using only words, offers an exhaustingly overwrought portrayal of a simple rural woman -- or so you think. The invaders turn out to be something quite other than what viewers expect. Lastly, a young Robert Redford plays a wounded police officer in "Nothing in the Dark" (air date Jan. 5, 1962) whose appearance catalyzes an elderly tenement resident's coming to grips with death. The DVD extras are all text-driven, which is a disappointment, and the clunky eyeball navigation tool is tiresome, but the information included -- such as the Reviews and Credit section -- prove quite enlightening. For example, I didn't know that there was a Twilight Zone coffeehouse at one point. Talk about a theme restaurant! "Waiter, the Fly is in my soup." Also, Serling started the Twilight Zone to escape sponsor censorship after writing an episode of Kraft Television Theater that dealt with the "cutthroat world of corporate business." And "The Night of the Meek," the show's only Christmas episode, was also the only ep shot on video tape instead of film. The visual difference is quite remarkable, but the process was so laborious the show was never shot on video again. While they could certainly fit more episodes on a single DVD, the Twilight Zone holds up quite well.

What are you watching?

No comments: