CAESAR AND ME is very good. But the other two episodes are
Tom Brody | Berkeley, CA | 04/05/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This disc contains three stories, JESS BELLE, SOUNDS AND SILENCES, and CAESAR AND ME. JESS BELLE is one hour long. First, the good news. CAESAR AND ME is a charming story and a work of art. CAESAR AND ME concerns an out-of-work ventriloquist played by famed actor, Jackie Cooper. The story also involves a girl of about ten years of age, who lives in the same building as Jackie Cooper, and who is curious about Jackie Cooper and his dummy, and who listens at the door to his little apartment. There is not one misplaced moment in the story. CAESAR AND ME is excellent from beginning to end, and it has a unique surprise ending.
CAESAR AND ME is actually a variation of another TWILIGHT ZONE episode, called THE DUMMY. THE DUMMY begins with this opening narrative, "You're watching a ventriloquist named Jerry Etherson, a voice-thrower par excellence. His alter ego, sitting atop his lap, is a brash stick of kindling with the sobriquet 'Willie'. In a moment, Mr. Etherson and his knotty-pine partner will be booked in one of the out-of-the-way bistros - that small, dark, intimate place known as the Twilight Zone." The main difference between CAESAR AND ME and THE DUMMY, is as follows. In CAESAR AND ME, there is a transition where the dummy leaves Jackie Cooper and befriends the girl. But in THE DUMMY, there is a transition where the dummy takes over the nightclub show, and becomes the boss of the ventriloquist. FIVE STARS to CAESAR AND ME.
Jackie Cooper acted in the series of shorts, OUR GANG, a.k.a., THE LITTLE RASCALS. Then he acted in movies such as Skippy (1931), The Champ (1931), The Bowery (1933), The Choices of Andy Purcell (1933), Treasure Island (1934), and O'Shaughnessy's Boy (1935). As an older adult, during the 1970s, he played editor Perry White in the Superman movies which featured Christopher Reeve. During the 1960s, he worked behind the scenes in Hollywood, casting TV shows and directing. For example, he directed the TV series MASH. Regarding OUR GANG, OUR GANG made its all-talking debut in April 1929 with the 25 minute Small Talk. In the ensuing year, they lost Joe, Jean and Harry, and added Norman "Chubby" Chaney, Dorothy DeBorba, Matthew "Stymie" Beard, Donald Haines and Jackie Cooper. Jackie proved to be the personality the series had been missing since Mickey left, and he was featured prominently in three 1930/1931 Our Gang films: Teacher's Pet, School's Out, and Love Business (source: Wikipedia).
JESS BELLE is about a farmer torn between two women, a blonde and a brunette. The story appears to take place in the mountains of Kentucky or perhaps Tennessee, and the story includes fiddles, barn-dances, and phony hillbilly accents. The man chooses to marry the blonde, and the brunette seeks the guidance of a "witch." The witch provides the brunette with a potion, and the result of the brunette drinking the potion is that the man abandons the blonde, and instead chooses the brunette. But the brunette has acquired the property that she turns into a leopard when the clock strikes midnight, and she must flee the man whenever the clock strikes midnight. Thus, the movie is a combination of CINDERELLA and a medieval story of witches. JESS BELLE actually shows a real leopard. The real leopard is shown sitting on the roof of hillbilly cabin. The leopard is shown sitting in the loft of a barn. The two actresses are abundantly easy on the eye. They play their parts with great conviction. But I think what is wrong with JESS BELLE is that the movie lacks credibility, in that people usually do not associate mountain folk of Kentucky or Tennessee with witches. Perhaps, the story should have been set in Salem, Massachusetts, or in Merry Olde England. TWO STARS.
SOUNDS AND SILENCES is truly horrid. It concerns an owner of a small business that markets model ships. The owner has a foul personality, and abuses his employees. For example, in the company's office the owner plays loud recordings of World War II ships, and he yells at his employees. Eventually, the owner develops a mental disorder, where even the tiniest sounds, e.g, clocks ticking, become unbearable to him. The owner then seeks a psychiatrist, and he recovers from his mental malady. SOUNDS AND SILENCES is actually a variation of THE MIND AND THE MATTER, featuring famed comedian Shelley Berman. (THE MIND AND THE MATTER is one of the best of the best of the Twilight Zone stories. THE MIND AND THE MATTER, as far as dramas are concerned, is a true work of art.) But, unfortunately, SOUNDS AND SILENCES is irritating from start to finish. SOUNDS AND SILENCES involves unconvincing characters. ONE STAR."