|Category||Sci-Fi / Television||Biography - Rod Serling
Production Notes - Season By Season
Production Notes - History of The Twilight Zone
Reviews and Credits
|Running Time||100:32 minutes|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English (Dolby Digital 1.0, 96 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 1.0, 96 Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, minor in credits|
The episodes on offer on Volume 12, in the running order on the DVD, are:
The Trade Ins (Episode 96, Apr 20 1962, 25:14 minutes) - Decisions, decisions. You have to make them all the time. And so what will you decide when you are seventy-seven, in constant pain and still in love with your seventy-four year old wife? Head over to the New Life Corporation for a body transplant, right? But you can only afford one body - who gets the change? A poignant episode best remembered for a return performance by Joseph Schildkraut - previously seen in Deaths-Head Revisited on Volume 6 - whose wife died from a terminal illness during the filming of the episode. Whilst he insisted on the show going on in the best theatrical tradition, the emotion on screen is all the more real because of the sad event. An episode that certainly aims to make several points and does so unequivocally. Directed by Elliot Silverstein.
The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine (Episode 4, Oct 23 1959, 25:13 minutes) - Former 1930s screen actress Barbara Jean Trenton lives in the past, forever replaying her glory moments on film, especially those with leading man Jerry Hearndan. Her grasp on the reality of 1959 is diminishing by the day until one day, it is gone. Episode 4 in the series and the big names start to appear. Ida Lupino may not be so well known now but in her time she was big, and she is ably supported by Martin Balsam and Jerome Cowan. Something of a mishmash of an episode in my view, as the show was still trying to find its way at the time, but it still has a nice little message to send to us all. Probably more memorable for devotees of film music is the composer of the score for this episode - none other than the great Franz Waxman, responsible for so many of the soundtracks to those swashbuckling films of the 1930s. This makes the choice especially apt of course, given the subject matter. Directed by Mitchell Leisen.
Mr Denton On Doomsday (Episode 3, Oct 16 1959, 24:56 minutes) - The town drunk is the butt of the usual jokes from the hotshots in town. Trouble is the town drunk may be more than he is taken for. With a little bit of encouragement, Rummy rediscovers what made him Mr Denton - but also what started him on the downward spiral to being the town drunk. Can he avoid the problem a second time - and maybe gain a real life for himself? Dan Duryea stars as the former fast gun turned town drunk and does an admirable enough job, if not quite in the league of Lee Marvin in Cat Ballou. However the supporting cast here provides the memories: apart from the attractive Jeanne Cooper (we really do need to invent time machines), have you ever wondered what Martin Landau looked like when he was young (yes, he was once)? Here he is, along with a young Doug McClure. Directed by Allen Reisner.
The Lateness Of The Hour (Episode 44, Dec 2 1960, 25:09 minutes) - A daughter rebels against the strictness of the environment in which she is held captive. Surrounded by her perfect parents, in their perfect environment and with their perfect robot servants, things are obviously not perfect. The rebellion takes form - only the result is not what the rebel is expecting. This strikes me as one of the more unoriginal episodes of the series, as it seems to borrow heavily from the robot stories of Isaac Asimov. Inger Stevens is also on a repeat performance, having previously appeared in The Hitch-Hiker on Volume 8, and another great job she does too as the rebel with a cause - however misguided it ultimately seems. This is one of the six episodes from Series 2 that were shot on videotape rather than 35mm film as a cost cutting exercise, and visually different it sure is! Directed by Jack Smight.
This is the best looking of the transfers I have yet seen in the series, although the standard does dip just a little in the vastly different quality of the videotaped episode. The latter has a distinctly more diffuse, and somewhat three-dimensionally false, image than the filmed episodes and this does not necessarily translate well to DVD - although it should be said that it is by no means terrible. The problems are highlighted more in little ways, like the darkened flare of the match flame. In general, these seem to be much brighter transfers than previously and this is especially noticeable in The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine and Mr Denton On Doomsday. The overall result is a somewhat more sharp transfer than usual with significantly more detail, which really helps in The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine especially, as this has quite a detailed set. It is perhaps a pity that the videotaped episode is included here, as I think that the differences are heightened by the better quality of the filmed episodes compared to normal. Clarity is reasonably good throughout, and grain does not appear to be a significant problem here at all. There is no low-level noise in the image, and the shadow detail is quite acceptable.
The black and white presentation of these episodes is a little better than the standards of the earlier volumes in the series. Whilst they miss out on being really solid blacks and whites, since that is not the nature of the transfers in general, they are much more detailed in the greys than usual. The videotaped episode is again much different in tone, but in this area is far less of a concern when compared to the rest of the episodes.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts
in the transfer. Film-to-video artefacts however were again generally improved
here, with The Trade Ins being noticeably free of aliasing.
These would rate as the cleanest transfers in the series yet as far as
film artefacts go, and this is an especially noticeable thing even though
the film artefacts are generally not particularly distracting in the other
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 at all.
The music for all episodes barring The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine is derived from those ever handy stock sources. As ever, there is nothing overly memorable here at all in those episodes. However, that for The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine comes from the very apt choice of Franz Waxman and suitably melodramatic it is - very reminiscent of films of the period of the subject matter.
This is virtually identical to the earlier volumes
in the series and therefore there really is not an awful lot to add about
the soundtrack, as it is obviously a reflection of the limitations of the
period in which it was recorded and the medium for which is was recorded.
The soundtracks are generally free from any distortion or congestion and
this is actually very decent sounding mono. Naturally, you can forget about
every speaker apart from the centre speaker here! Sorry about repeating
this all the time, but there really is not much that I would quibble about
with the soundtracks offered up on these DVDs, given the source and age
of the material. There is only one issue that should be noted: in the videotaped
episode, the dialogue at times is a little recessed where the character
is to the rear of the picture. My guess is that 'tis is an inherent problem
with the videotape that could not be satisfactorily overcome by ADR work
in the time, or money, available to get the episode on the air.
|Surround Channel Use|
© Ian Morris (have
a laugh, check out the bio)
5th November 2000
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Amplification||Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|