"The Passerby" is first-rate
Lawrence Rapchak | Whiting, IN United States | 02/13/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Vol. 6 is worth seeing for the episode "The Passerby", an extremely well-produced show. The set alone is very impressive, as is the plot device of the continuous procession of weary, bedraggled soldiers, especially as night falls.I am greatly disappointed at author Mark Zicree's negative remarks about this episode in his "TZ Companion"; believe me, his opinions are just that, and he totally misses the beauty and eloquence of this show. True, the pace is weary and measured, but that's exactly what the plot demands. He says that James Gregory is "too old" to play a Confederate Sargeant----has he ever seen actual photos from the Civil War??? Men of ALL ages fought---and they aged tremendously from the torturous rigors of war.Johanna Linville is wonderful--always on the edge of tears, heartsick, lost in her dreams of the past. Sure Mr. Zicree, WE all know what's happening fairly early on in the show---but SHE DOESN"T---she's too "disconnected" from reality to grasp it.Fred Steiner's noble and elegaic score is wonderful, and the overall look of the show is terrific. There's even a real shocker of a scene involving a Union Lieutenant---even though James Gregory's lead-in dialogue and explanation during that scene is pretty contrived and "over-the-top".And the final twist----how touchingly understated!
The rest of the dvd is variable. "The Grave" is OK in terms of atmosphere, and we all like watching Lee Marvin but COME ON--the ending is really stupid--no other way to say it!Joseph Schildkraut, one of the great actors of all time, is excellent in "Death's Head Revisited" ---- a very moody and gripping morality play---(and rather daring for its time)."Jeff Myrtlebank" is OK. Zicree thinks it's fabulous. Cute, maybe, but its minor stuff. Buy it and judge for yourself."
Death has special meaning in the Twilight Zone
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 11/27/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There is an obvious theme to the four episodes collected on Volume 6 of the Twilight Zone DVD series, namely that death is not the end of existence. After all, the reviews for this DVD all disappeared, but this one managed to make it from beyond. The first episode on this DVD is far and away the best, the classic "Deaths-Head Revisited" written by Rod Serling. Oscar Beregi plays Captain Lutz, a former S.S. officer who returns to the concentration camp at Dachau to remember the good times he enjoyed there torturing and murdering people. However, the ghosts of Dachau, led by a man whose name was Becker (Joseph Schildkraut), have something else in mind. Dachau is represented by what is obviously a frontier fort, but like "Life Is Beautiful" the story is much more important than the set design. Serling always had a tendency to get too preachy, but in this particular episode he hits the mark perfectly. Less satisfying is "The Grave," written and directed by Montgomery Pittman. Pinto Sykes (Richard Geary) is gunned down by the folks in a western town. They had hired Conny Miller (Lee Marvin) to do the job, but he never caught up with Sykes and we have doubts about his courage. Now Miller hears that before he died Sykes vowed to grab Miller if he ever came near his grave. The mood is rather spooky, but why a killer would want to get the coward who never even tried to kill him is a bit of a big hole. "The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank" is another Pittman offering, in which the title character (James Best) suddenly sits up in his coffin at his funeral. However Jeff does not seem exactly normal; in fact, he seems better. Now he likes to work hard and can win fistfights, all of which has the local folk and his fiancee Comfort Gatewood (Sherry Jackson) a might spooked. There is certainly a rustic charm to this episode, which is the second best one on the disc. I would have sworn it was an Earl Hammer, Jr. episode, but I was certainly wrong on that score. Finally, Rod Serling's "The Passerby" is a minor tale in which a woman named Lavinia (Joanne Linville) is waiting for her husband to return form the Civil War, but fears he might be dead. James Gregory plays a sergeant who stops to rest and who figures out ahead of Lavinia, but not ahead of the audience, what the twist is to this one. Then again, any story in which Abraham Lincoln shows up has some redeeming quality. Still, it is "Deaths-Head Revisited," a tale about the Holocaust when it was still pretty much a historical footnote as far as television and films were concerned, is the reason to pick up this one."