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|Category||Sci-Fi / Television||Biography - Rod Serling
Production Notes - Season By Season
Production Notes - History of The Twilight Zone
Reviews and Credits
|Year Released||1960 - 1963|
|Running Time||100:18 minutes|
Alan Crosland Jr
|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||Yes, minor in credits|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, minor in credits|
The episodes on offer on Volume 19, in the running order on the DVD, are:
A Most Unusual Camera (Episode 46, Dec 16 1960, 24:58 minutes) - The world is full of small-time heisters who eke out their predatory trade in a small-time manner. Chester Diedrich (Fred Clark) and his wife Paula (Jean Carson) are two such people and their latest heist has been another rip-roaring success. Having broken into a curio shop, their haul is a meagre one indeed - despite the grossly overstated list of missing items set out in the newspaper - that will realize little from the fencers. But amongst their modest haul is one unusual item - a camera. An innocent enough item in general terms, but this is an unusual camera, a most unusual camera. It seems to be an enclosed box with no place to insert film, and upon testing it seems to be nothing unusual - at least until the photograph pops out. So what exactly do you do with a camera that takes photographs from the future? Well, something comes to mind and soon the pair, plus Paula's escapee brother Woodward, have lots of money - which is always a recipe for disaster amongst petty criminals. Not exactly a classic Zone episode by any stretch of the imagination but that still makes it a decent piece of viewing. Directed by John Rich.
The Jungle (Episode 77, Dec 1 1961, 24:45 minutes) - Alan Richards (John Dehner) has just returned with his wife Doris (Emily McLaughlin) from a trip to Africa planning a new hydroelectric scheme. Doris has brought back a few trinkets that she hopes will ward off the lion curse placed upon all associated with the project by the local shaman, should it go ahead. Naturally, as a well-educated man, Alan derides her feelings and disposes of the trinkets. But superstition is everywhere and things get a little edgy very quickly, especially after a business meeting when Alan starts hearing noises reminiscent of Africa. And once you hear those noises, your imagination starts taking over and lead you down a dangerous path. Thankfully, Alan survives his journey home and starts to relax... Another of those episodes that rely upon the lead performance so strongly, John Dehner is more than up to the task and does an admirable job as the man slowly succumbing to his neurosis of sorts. A nicely handled episode and the strongest effort amongst this collection. Directed by William Claxton.
The 7th Is Made Up Of Phantoms (Episode 130, Dec 6 1963, 25:09 minutes) - 25th June, 1876 is long remembered as the fateful day when the 7th Cavalry led by General George Custer met their match and were massacred by a large Sioux army at Little Big Horn. Historical fact - but can history be changed? Three National Guardsmen are out on patrol in their tank during manoeuvres near the junction of the Big Horn and Little Big Horn rivers, but are somewhat lost. They suddenly hear gunfire and head off to investigate, whereupon they discover a tepee and a canteen bearing the mark of the 7th Cavalry. Returning to camp they are derided by their commanding officer, and are sent out the next day on patrol - right down one of the routes used by the 7th Cavalry forces back in 1876. Unnerving events recalling that fateful day started to weigh heavily on the three guardsmen and when the final recalling event happens, there is no doubt. This is not 1964, but rather 1876 and there is a battle going on - and the consequences? Nicely acted by the three leads, albeit in a story that is perhaps a little too transparent for its own good. Directed by Alan Crosland Jr.
Uncle Simon (Episode 128, Nov 15 1963, 25:26 minutes) - Cantankerous Simon Polk (Cedric Hardwicke) has been the bane of niece Barbara Polk's (Constance Ford) life. Considering that she has been living in his house, looking after him for twenty five years, this is something of an issue. Still, the reward will be for her to be the sole beneficiary of his will when he finally departs the mortal coil. Given the fact that his estate will be no small sum of value, the reward will actually be quite large, and so the endless game of her wishing he were dead and he baiting her over the fact that he continues to live just to spite her. Typical family really, when money comes to the fore. So when he finally departs the mortal coil, through no small amount of guidance by Barbara, the future looks quite cosy for her. At least until the codicil to the will is read. A decent enough story making a decent enough episode highlighted by some decent acting. In other words, not exactly top drawer classic Zone but the sort of typical quality that highlighted the five years of the series. Directed by Don Siegel.
As you will be aware, the last two volumes released in the series showed some quite significant improvement in the technical quality compared to the earlier volumes in the series. Well, I hope it is not just my imagination but that improved quality certainly seems to have been in general carried over to this most recent release. Whilst there are still the odd differences between the episodes, with The Jungle being just a little dark, the overall standard of sharpness and detail is very good. Even the slightly darkish nature of The Jungle does not exactly result in anything significant in the way of lost detail. Certainly the definition continues at the high standard set by its immediate predecessors. Shadow detail remains generally good, with just the odd lapse here and there. Clarity is generally good throughout with just the odd evidence of grain. The 7th Is Made Up Of Phantoms is especially blessed with grain, most notably during the effects sequences (try the smoke signals for a good example). There does not appear to be any real issues with low level noise in the transfers.
Overall, the quality of the black and white here is good, with all barring The 7th Is Made Up Of Phantoms showing decent depth to the tones. The quality of The Jungle is better than decent and shows really solid depth to the blacks. The overall feel of all episodes is very acceptable with nice gradation across the grey scales, and there is nothing here that I could find the least bit objectionable.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. The ongoing improvement in the aliasing problems continues here and the instances are far less noticeable than previously. There is still evidence of the issue in the episodes, with things like the striped dressing gown in A Most Unusual Camera and fences in The Jungle being the obvious culprits. Outside of the aliasing there is nothing much in the way of film-to-video artefacts present in the transfer. Film artefacts were again refreshingly restrained with A Most Unusual Camera being particularly clean. The others are quite clean for their age with Uncle Simon (being the most recent episode) perversely more afflicted than the others: it contains a number of obvious hair marks and scratches.
And just to keep the minor changes in presentation
rolling along, the episodes apart from
Uncle Simon have had
their CBS logos at the conclusion of the credits removed, whilst that episode
also has a new credit sequence appended covering the design of the opening
title sequence to each episode and the input from Carol Serling.
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.
Rather unusually, all four episodes on the DVD do not have music credits so presumably those ever-handy stock sources contribute the music for all episodes. The music is nothing overly exciting nor memorable.
These are generally identical audio transfers to
those on earlier volumes in the series. All four episodes are remarkably
free from noticeable hiss, which aids the overall presentation enormously.
The soundtracks are generally free from any significant distortion or congestion
and this is very decent sounding mono.
|Surround Channel Use|
© Ian Morris (have
a laugh, check out the bio)
20th May, 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|