The Twilight Zone

A summary view of capital punishment. The maiden run of a time machine plucks away a desperado from the noose into New York City, nearly a continent and a century from the Old West. Much chuckling at the bumpkin (cp. Robert Aldrich’s Apache) ends when he is throttled handily with a curtain drawstring by a criminal of this our present day, who stumbles back in time to take his victim’s place at the hanging.

McDearmon has a fine shot of the cowpoke on a sidewalk under a grand well-lighted theater marquee, craning up to a down-angle of his predicament. The shootout with a television gunfighter above the bar at Club Bonanza is a most memorable gag.


A Thing About Machines
The Twilight Zone

An æsthete is hounded by every machine and appliance in his mansion, until he takes refuge from his own car by jumping into his swimming pool, where he sinks like a stone.

A variant of L’Enfant et les Sortilèges, rememorated by Spielberg in Duel and Silverstein in The Car.


Back There
The Twilight Zone

In “A Most Unusual Camera”, Fred Clark briefly ponders aloud what his find might do to medical science, for example, but dismisses the idea for a trip to the track.

“Back There” is closely related, discussing as it does a pack of businessmen at The Potomac Club (where Serling himself is reading a newspaper at the outset) debating à la Wells, who is named, the possibility of time travel enabling one to beat the ‘29 crash, say. Young Mr. Corrigan steps out into 1865, tries to avert the Lincoln assassination, and winds up where he started, having succeeded only in turning a club waiter into a full-fledged member by virtue of the chap’s great-grandfather, a Washington policeman, who alone heeded Corrigan and became the man of the hour for trying to avert the Lincoln assassination.

John Wilkes Booth himself appears under the guise of “Mr. Wellington”, an allusion perhaps to the explanatory note at the head of George Alfred Townsend’s account.

The artful opening sequence begins with a slow crane-in to the club in 1961, ending with a crane-out similarly on the earlier view, aided by Jerry Goldsmith’s score to achieve the desired effect. Lang’s The Woman in the Window is no doubt a general influence.