Night Gallery: Death on a Barge

The young swain rises at midnight to gaze upon the vampire, flowing water insulates her, sunlight or a stake of oak quells her.

His girlfriend is neglected. His boss at the fish market takes an interest in the exotic ferne Geliebte.

The boy is chaste, the vampire on shore lets him go, pining. The fishmonger moves in and is devoured.

“Plunge it in,” she tells the boy come to avenge him, “and when you do, tell me that you love me, as I love you.” He drops the stake and embraces her. She is about to strike when a barge hatch opens, sunlight hits her, the stake is driven home by her father, the captain.

Lesley Ann Warren poses on the deck in a pallid dress by torchlight. Nimoy dissolves from this reverie of mist and moon into a blur and two bright objects receding into the picture plane as colors, two passersby outside the fish market on the pier by day (cp. a similarly fine application of thought to a plain and simple dissolve in “Pickman’s Model”).


Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Star Trek III carries out a theme which dates back at least to 13 Rue Madeleine, was vastly reworked and developed on the Combat! series, appeared in that version as Castle Keep, and was again modified as High Plains Drifter.

This material is as volatile as the “proto-matter” described here, and must be handled by hardened and trained professionals. For the benefit of idle spectators, the cataclysmic expression of it is prepared by Uhura’s odd remark: “This isn’t reality. This is fantasy.”

The Vulcan hall is suitably grand for Dame Judith Anderson, who delivers the goods.

Star Trek II ended on the untenable pronouncement that “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one,” which is the word of a Caiaphas. That dramatic instability precipitated Star Trek III, and the qualitative destruction at the end of this film must have an answer in Star Trek IV, such is the way of movie serials (Dick Tracy, for example, always ends with another call from headquarters).



Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Never was Leonard Nimoy’s comic mettle tested more severely than in the scene where he enters the whale tank to attempt the Vulcan mind-meld.

Only in the Star Trek cosmos can a pair of whales communicate with extraterrestrial intelligences in a significant image (Revelation’s two witnesses?), but that’s nothing for the pros from Dover, who know how to put it over. The Greek god Apollo, Abraham Lincoln and God knows what else appear on the show with epic plausibility.

The alien space probe is a typically good design, not stylized but somehow incoherent or incommensurable.

The main thrust is the redemption of Ahab by a greater vision even than Melville’s, which is cited. D.H. Lawrence’s poem, “Whales Weep Not!”, is quoted.