Three Women In The Old “Twilight Zone” Series

If you have Netflix, you might want to check out episodes of the old Twilight Zone series, by Rod Serling, from the first four seasons.  Many disappointments crop up, yes, but many virtues are there too.

Among the disappointments, in the Serling-written “Nightmare as a Child,” for a woman (Janice Rule) to conjure herself as a little girl, the child she used to be, in order to revive unsettling memories is too blatant an invention.  Serling does better in “The Hitch-Hiker,” in which Nan (Inger Stevens), driving cross-country, espies the same male hitchhiker everywhere she goes, and is terrified.  The story quickly suggests the subject of the violence of strangers against women (is there foul play in the offing?), but this is not what occurs.  Rather it is something more metaphysical.  The episode is neatly, grippingly directed by Alvin Ganzer.

As lovely as Rule and Stevens, Ann Francis stars in ‘The After Hours.”  Here, she is Marsha, a woman who seems normal but assuredly is not.  She buys at a department store a golden thimble she finds she must return, only to be told that the floor she bought it on does not exist.  Ah, but it does exist.  It could well represent the Other, the Incomprehensible, in cosmic and human experience.  Somehow Marsha herself represents this too.  The episode (like the other two, featured in the first season) is more sapidly weird than arch, with grounded acting by Francis and mildly chilling acting by a couple of others.

To be continued

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