Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond: Season 3, Episode 31

The Sorcerer (23 May 1961)

TV Episode  |  Approved  |   |  Drama, Fantasy, Mystery
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In World War One German officer Reitliger enlists the help of Karnak, a man with supposed psychic powers, to find out how his girlfriend Elsa is faring back in Germany. Seeing a vision of ... See full summary »



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Title: The Sorcerer (23 May 1961)

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Episode cast overview:
John Newland ...
Himself - Host
Wilhelm Reitlinger
Martin Benson ...
Klaus Karnak
Alfred Burke ...
Frederick Jaeger ...
Gabriella Licudi ...
Elsa Bruck (as Gabrielli Licudi)
Peter Swanwick ...
Joseph Fürst ...
Judge (as Joseph Furst)
Edwin Richfield ...
Reitlinger's Subordinate
George Pravda ...
Richard Shaw


In World War One German officer Reitliger enlists the help of Karnak, a man with supposed psychic powers, to find out how his girlfriend Elsa is faring back in Germany. Seeing a vision of her infidelity he gets Karnak to will him back home where he kills Elsa but no one will believe him as the murder was down to an out of body experience and nobody can be in two places at once. Ultimately Reitlinger decides on a way to ensure he is punished. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Release Date:

23 May 1961 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This was the first appearance of Christopher Lee (Wilhelm Reitlinger) on American television. See more »


Wilhelm Reitlinger: [counting the cartridges from his Luger] Eight... there should be nine. There should be nine! There should be nine!
See more »

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ONE STEP BEYOND: THE SORCERER {Short; TV} (John Newland, 1961) ***
16 June 2015 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

For his first appearance on US TV, Christopher Lee chose this intriguing entry into the Sci-Fi series – which ran from 1959 to 1961 – that was a contemporary of (if somewhat lesser-known than) Rod Serling's THE TWILIGHT ZONE (1959-64). Again, this 31st episode of Season 3 (which proved to be the final one, before its being resurrected in 2005!) of the series, is my first encounter with it.

Lee (who was himself fairly modest about his serving in WWII) here plays a disgraced German officer during WWI who keeps insisting with his reluctant superiors to court-martial him for having murdered his philandering girlfriend (a debuting Gabriella Licudi); the only trouble is that, at the exact time the murder was committed in Berlin, he was actually engaged in installing telegraph poles at the front! As it turns out, Lee had previously tried to evict a local farmer (Martin Benson; also the writer of the story on which the episode was based) who was shunned by the populace for his alleged psychic powers; disturbed by a letter he had received from his beloved, the officer seeks the supernatural help of the sorcerer in checking up on his girl all those miles away. In fact, he is willed into the girl's apartment and, not only witnesses her bidding goodbye to a departing soldier but, in the ensuing confrontation learns that she had virtually been servicing the whole regiment during his absence! Needless to say, Lee shoots her…which is where we came in.

Apart from Lee's committed portrayal of the distraught protagonist and the atmospheric monochrome photography, the episode's trump card is the ingenious way in which the officer ensures that he is indeed punished for his crime after all…which I will not spoil here for any viewer which might decide to check this episode out – just like I did on "You Tube", following the death of its legendary star. Incidentally, that is director Newland acting as host at the episode's close.

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