The Twilight Zone (1964) – An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Queen of the Nile, and What’s in the Box

Things get underway in The Twilight Zone with another trio of episodes this week from The Complete Series, now available on blu-ray from Paramount Pictures.

First up is Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. This episode first aired on 28 February, 1964, and was written and directed by Robert Enrico from a story by Ambrose Bierce. This episode has the distinction of winning the 1962 Palme D’Or for best short subject at Cannes.

Series creator, Rod Serling, saw the short, and purchased it for the show, and gave us a classic episode.

Peyton Farqhuar (Roger Jacquet) is about to be hanged by Union troops during the American Civil War. Miraculously the rope breaks, and while in the water under the Owl bridge he is able to get his hands and feet loose.

As he swims south, eluding Union soldiers, he is driven on by visions of his wife (Anne Cornaly). Of course it wouldn’t be The Twilight Zone without some sort of reveal by episode’s end, and this one has a solid, if predictable one.

Still, the episode, or rather the short film, is nicely produced and Enrico crafted a solid piece of cinema. The way the camera moves, the changes of focus, make this episode very European in feel, contrasting with the episodes around it, but it is very much in keeping in the vein of all things Zone.

I rather enjoyed this one.

The extras for this episode include sponsor billboards, an isolated score by Henri Lanoe and conversations with Serling.

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Queen of the Nile aired on the 6 March, 1964. It was penned by Charles Beaumont.

Jordy Herrick (Lee Philips) is a syndicated columnist, and he’s about to sit down and interview with Pamela Morris (Ann Blyth). Claiming to be thirty eight, Jordy finds a number of things that don’t mesh about her story, including a stunning reveal about her mother (Celia Lovsky).

Who is Pamela Morris? And what is her secret?  And what is her fascination with Egyptian culture? And what is her plan for Jordy?

There are no real surprises in this episode, I’ve either become too jaded, or have watched a lot of Twilight Zone. I think it’s the latter. Unfortunately, there isn’t a to recommend this episode, especially on the heels of the previous one.

Jordy could have been a little more cautious, and clever, and honestly… won’t someone come looking for him?

This episode’s extras include billboards as well as a radio adaptation starring Kate Jackson.

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What’s in the Box, airing on 13 March, 1964, this episode was written by Martin Goldsmith.

Cab driver Joe Britt (William Demarest) is a bit of a philanderer, but he figures it won’t ever matter. Who can find out? But things take a twist when a television repairman (Sterling Holloway) tweaks his set.

Trouble with his wife, Phyllis (Joan Blondell) goes through the roof as their unhappy marriage is exposed to a whole new show… images of his recent escapades, and then looks forward in time to see their future… if they have one.

There are a number of troubling moments in the episode, especially all the domestic abuse. Happily. comeuppance is served, but it’s a rough way to go about it.

The extras for this episode include billboards as well as a radio version with Mike Starr.

There are more episodes next week as we continue our travels through the final season of The Twilight Zone. It’s an amazing show and you can bring it all home with The Complete Series on blu-ray, available now from Paramount.

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