This review is sponsored by
|Category||Sci-Fi / Television||Biography - Rod Serling
Production Notes - Season By Season
Production Notes - History of The Twilight Zone
Reviews and Credits
|Running Time||99:44 minutes|
Joseph M Newman
Harold J Stone
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English (Dolby Digital 1.0 mono,
French (Dolby Digital 1.0 mono, 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 14, in the running order on the DVD, are:
One For The Angels (Episode 2, Oct 9 1959, 25:03 minutes) - An ageing salesman plies his trade on the hot streets of New York not realizing that Death is stalking him. So when Death comes a-calling that night, Lew Bookman makes a deal - to be able to live in order to make the greatest sales pitch ever, a pitch to the angels. Death agrees and Lew is happy - until he discovers there is a price to be paid and that price is the life one of the young children that he so loves. An episode specifically written for its star, the great Ed Wynn, and so everything else is pretty much irrelevant to that fact. Not surprisingly, he does a good job as the salesman, although ably supported by Murray Hamilton as Death. The most depressing thing here is the fact that this episode is only two months younger than I am - how many of the current television shows will we be watching and enjoying in 2043? Directed by Robert Parrish.
The Man In The Bottle (Episode 38, Oct 7 1960, 24:56 minutes) - Arthur Castle owns a curio shop that was the bane of his father's life and his grandfather's life. It is now the bane of his life, and things are not going well. However, things sort of look up when the latest piece of trash he bought from a local hard-done-by resident turns out to be more than a empty chianti bottle. You know the deal, release the genie from the bottle and you are granted four wishes (it's usually three nowadays, but presumably inflation takes a toll on the number). But choices have consequences, so choose well what you wish for... Luther Adler plays the harried shop owner who asks for the usual - fortune and power. This never was one of my favourite episodes and this rather banal story still holds no attractions for me. Directed by Don Medford.
The Arrival (Episode 67, Sep 22 1961, 24:43 minutes) - Trans East Airlines Flight 107 from Buffalo, New York arrives on time. Nothing so unusual about that... or is there? It might arrive all right, but quite what happened to the two crew and thirteen passengers that were aboard the DC-3 when it left Buffalo is a mystery. And so a veteran FAA investigator is called in to solve the mystery. He has always been successful in solving many an aviation riddle, but this one may be beyond his talents - for this is The Twilight Zone and there is little here that is what it seems to be. Another tale that really does not grip one quite as well as it should, it is perhaps more noted for the way the FAA investigator proves his point. This was somewhat prophetic as director Boris Sagal was to die ten years later when he accidentally walked into... sorry, don't want to spoil the show for you by giving away too much.
In Praise Of Pip (Episode 121, Sep 27 1963, 25:02 minutes) - Alcoholic bookie Max Phillips has little to be proud of over his life, apart from the only good thing he ever did - his son Pip. His life is full of regrets as he was not the father to Pip that he should have been. But now things are a little difficult to rectify as his son is in Vietnam and is critically wounded. Spurred into one last act of restitution for his life, Max is dying as a result but makes one more pact with his maker - in an amusement park of all places. Noteworthy for the fact that the star is Jack Klugman and his young son is played by Billy Mumy (he of Lost In Space and Babylon 5 fame). Note the year of first airing - this is possibly the first mention of the non-existent war in Vietnam in a television series. Directed by Joseph M Newman.
After the reversal of (transfer) fortunes in Volume 13, this is something of a return to the general standards of the series thus far. Sure there are still plenty of lapses as far as sharpness and definition are concerned, mainly due to lapses in focus, but overall there is not a fat lot to complain about for the age of the show. The overall transfer is slightly better than average and at least is quite watchable. Shadow detail is also quite average, with nothing really poor to detract from the whole show. Clarity is of course somewhat variable as we have to some extent become accustomed to during the course of our journey. There is certainly a fair degree of grain in evidence at times, as is expected. There did not appear to be any significant problems with low level noise in the transfer.
The black and white presentation of these episodes is more consistent than some of the earlier volumes in the series. However, this means that whilst they generally miss out on having really solid blacks and whites, since that is not the nature of the transfers in general, they are a lot more consistent in the grey tones. Overall, in keeping with the general tone of the series thus far, these are decent if not especially remarkable transfers as far as colour goes.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. Film-to-video artefacts however were again fairly prevalent in the form of the rather ever-present aliasing which seems to afflict the series. None were especially upsetting, but the telecine wobble that affects the closing credits of One For The Angels is a little hard to ignore. There was also something of an issue with cross colouration in The Arrival, which also boasted a minor instance of moiré type artefacting in the suit at 17:07. There are plenty of film artefacts floating around these episodes and I would have to say that these are not amongst the cleanest episodes we have seen in the series thus far.
Interestingly, for the first time in the series there
is not a title screen before each episode showing the name of the episode
and the original airing date. This is a sadly missed inclusion and one
I hope is only a single DVD aberration in presentation.
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 the first three episodes on the DVD come from our ever handy and reliable source, stock. The fourth episode comes from Rene Garriguenc but it is not any more memorable than the stock stuff.
Another virtually identical audio transfer 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
it was recorded. The soundtracks are generally free from any distortion
or congestion and this is actually very decent sounding mono. One For
The Angels is a little on the murky side early on, and almost sounds
like it has copious amounts of hiss - until you realize that it is the
battery powered toys making the noise. At least I think it was the battery
powered toys making the noise...
|Surround Channel Use|
© Ian Morris (have
a laugh, check out the bio)
26th February, 2001.
|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|