The Twilight Zone-Volume 28 (1960)
Notes-Season By Season
Notes-History Of The Twilight Zone
Notes-Reviews And Credits
|Year Of Production||1960|
|Running Time||101:26 (Case: 100)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The continuing cross over into The Twilight Zone sees us investigating Volume 28 and somewhat unusually sees me remembering all three episodes from when I watched the show as a kid! That is something of a major achievement nowadays as the ravages of age start to diminish the old grey matter somewhat. Maybe it's those "strange powers" that the tagline refers to? Quite why I remember these three episodes particularly has me scratching my head a little, for to watch them does not immediately reveal a whole lot of something memorable about them. But memorable they must be and so the episodes on offer on Volume 28, in the running order on the DVD, are:
The Whole Truth (Episode 50, Jan 20 1961, 25:11 minutes) - Harvey Hunnicut (Jack Carson) is a used car salesman and like all such beasts has the gift of the gab and the morals of .... no one quite knows what but certainly the lowest of the low. Out of his small little yard he peddles some of the worst examples of automotive non-excellence available to purchase at a suitably ludicrous price. Nothing seems to phase him, not even cars falling to pieces as he is "selling" to a potential client. So when an old man drives his ancient piece of automotive engineering onto the lot, Hunnicut just sees an opportunity to buy cheap and sell big. The deal is duly done but then some important news is imparted to him - the car is "haunted" and the owner is compelled to tell the truth always. Now for a used car shyster, err salesman, this is not a happy state of affairs and it surely starts to have an effect on old Harvey's business as he cannot sell a single vehicle on his lot. Not only can't he sell a car but he also manages to tell his salesman a few truths that perhaps he should not with the expected result. So how can he rid himself of this jeopardy to his dishonest livelihood? Aside from the clichés that it reinforces (although can they be called a cliché when this personifies many in the used car trade?), this is not a bad little episode with an unusual ending. Jack Carson of course carries the episode and does it well. Directed by James Sheldon.
Mute (Episode 107, Jan 31 1963, 51:03 minutes) - The time is 1953 and the location Dusseldorf, Germany. Some learned friends have gathered to set into motion a great experiment, one that could rekindle a great talent that they believe the human race has lost: telepathy. The four couples decide to set up home in relative isolation from each other to train their children in this talent long forgotten. The Nielsen's decide to return to a small community in Pennsylvania to undertake their part of the experiment. The test subject is their daughter Ilse (Ann Jillian). For years they persevere and Ilse turns out to be very good at telepathy. But then her cosy little world falls apart when her parents are killed in a fire. Taken in by the local sheriff Harry Wheeler (Frank Overton) and his wife Cora (Barbara Baxley) temporarily, Ilse faces the trials of learning skills that she has not developed - namely talking. She is now seen as the freak that must conform, whereas she has always been the norm in her little world. Things are not going to be easy, especially as Cora and Ilse start to develop a bond - a bond that Cora will not see broken again. Apart from having one of the shorter episode titles in the history of the series, this is one of the better efforts from the hour long episodes from season four. A decently strong cast, especially Barbara Baxley, gives this story some serious emotion that was on occasions missing from The Twilight Zone. Directed by Stuart Rosenberg.
Queen Of The Nile (Episode 143, Mar 6 1964, 25:12 minutes) - Pamela Morris (Ann Blyth) is a very famous movie star whose first big break in Hollywood was in 1940 at the apparent tender age of fifteen in Queen Of The Nile. Syndicated journalist Jordan Harrick (Lee Phillips) comes to visit her for a story and is piqued by the fact that she still looks the same today at the apparent age of thirty eight as she did when she was fifteen. He meets her mother Mrs Harper (Celia Lovsky) who has an interesting warning for him. So Jordan starts to dig a little and finds out that there were two films made by the name of Queen Of The Nile, and that the female stars were remarkably alike. Slowly but surely he digs out enough information to confirm that Pamela Morris is not exactly what she appears to be. But he has a rather nasty shock in store for him when she decides to tell him the truth.... The lovely Ann Blyth carries this story all the way, even if the denouement is a little passé in execution. Directed by John Brahm.
The transfer is presented in the usual aspect ratio of television shows of the era, namely 1.33:1.
Maybe it is just the lack of exposure to the series over the past three months, but this seems to be an excellent collection of transfers in general, one of the best we have yet seen from the series. This makes the twosome release of Volumes 27 and 28 collectively the high-point so far. That is not to say the transfers are perfect, but rather that they are unusually good for source material that has on occasions been a little on the ropey side. Definition is excellent throughout, even in The Whole Truth which is one of the six episodes filmed on video tape as a cost cutting exercise. Compared to the previous such episode reviewed, this is a vastly improved look. The transfers overall are quite sharp and all three episodes exhibit good shadow detail. There is little in the way of obvious grain present in all the transfers, and low level noise seems to be confined to a small issue in Mute at 16:48.
The quality of the black and white here is good to very good, although Mute could have benefited a little from a bit more depth to the blacks. Considering the video tape origins of The Whole Truth, there is a nice solidity to the grey scales that rarely descend to extensive flaring that does generally afflict this sort of early video tape material.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer, although the occasional issue with poor resolution pan shots does occur. These are more than likely inherent in the source material as there is far less of an issue with shimmer in pan shots or camera movement here. Besides the usual minor background shimmer, there really was not much of an issue here and my notebook is remarkable free of mention of the problem. Film artefacts are also far less noticeable here. They are present but you would have to be really fastidious to be raising any issue with them within the context of the age of the source material.
The subtitle options are as usual restricted to Spanish, French or Italian, so no comment can be made thereon.
The usual standard of two soundtracks are on offer on the DVD, being Dolby Digital 1.0 mono efforts in English or French.
The dialogue for all episodes was clear and easy to understand, and there did not appear to be any audio sync problems in the transfer.
The music credits for this collection extends to Fred Steiner for Mute and Lucien Moraweck for Queen Of The Nile. Given the nature of the score for Mute I was almost expecting this to be from the ever available stock resources, which perhaps indicates the extent of its impact upon me. Queen Of The Nile also needed little in the way of music support and again is something of an unmemorable effort.
Having had the improvement in the hiss factor on Volume 27, I was a little surprised to see the problem remaining at a quite minor level this time around too. In fact it might have improved too much, for when the periods of hiss reappear during Mute, they do become quite noticeable (try around 13:00 and 17:00 as well as during the end credits). Beyond that, there is nothing really that different from what we have heard in the previous releases in the series. The soundtracks are free from any significant distortion or congestion and this is generally very good sounding mono, better than the norm for the series.
|Surround Channel Use|
The new menu design continues here as does the absence of Seasons Four and Five in the season by season notes.
The same as the Region 1 version in broad terms, the Region 4 version would be the marginal version of choice owing to PAL formatting.
The Twilight Zone - Volume 28 in terms of the video and audio transfer is about as good as it can get and the three episodes are consistent in quality. This therefore is another one of the better DVDs in the series so far, and one that would be a good place to start an investigation of the whole series.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|