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Based upon Elizabeth Walter's short story "Traveling Companion", this neatly-executed tale of suspense easily ranks as one of the high-points of the television anthology series "Ghost Story". Patricia Neal (in an Emmy-worthy performance) plays an ordinary woman, apparently on vacation and staying at a casino hotel, who can't figure out why her husband has checked out and left her behind. Neal's aching vulnerability--coupled with several gripping flashbacks--make for an intense circumstance, as she comes closer and closer to realizing the truth behind her situation. This is the type of scary yarn that can't be expanded upon too much--the thrust of the story would lose all of its power had writer Jimmy Sangster padded it. One-hour was just right to allow the tale to unfold carefully and precisely. All the performances here are strong, as is the direction and the production. As for Neal, she never hits a false note.
Patricia Neal stars as Ellen Alexander, a married woman staying with her husband Harry at a lush Casino hotel. Trouble starts one morning when she wakes up to find her husband gone, along with their luggage, having said nothing to her and leaving no note behind. Confused and worried, Ellen investigates by repeatedly asking the staff, who claim to not know anything in particular other that he left. Unsatisfied, she eventually contacts a higher hotel official named Brett(played by Craig Stevens) who ultimately tells her the shocking truth of things... Neal is excellent here, playing her role to the hilt, and though at times melodramatic, it contains a fantastic twist ending you may not see coming. Sadly the last episode hosted by Sebastian Cabot, with the "Ghost Story" title. (A most unfortunate mistake!)
"Time of Terror" was the last episode of the "Ghost Story" series before the show was reformatted to "Circle of Fear". The new title did away with the setting of "The Del Coronado Hotel," one of the most beautiful and famous hotels in the world today. Also, Sebastain Cabot was no longer host. In fact the show no longer had any host, which one was created originally to compete against Rod Serling's "Night Gallery". "Time of Terror" is probably the best episode of the whole series. The chief reason due to Patrica Neal's over the hilt acting as Ellen Alexander. The episode is clearly dated with its 1970's hair styles and clothing. However, it is a nice nostalgia of the past and refreshing to see today. In today's current horror tales, the stories aren't written as well as they used to be. Who can compete with William Castle, who produced the series. Patricia Neal plays an ordinary southern woman with excellent manners through out the episode, even though she doesn't know what has happened to her husband. There are many unintentional funny scenes. One funny scene is when Patricia goes to the bell boy and asks if the luggage he has belongs to her husband. He states "yes," and Patrica exclaims, "well who told you do that?" The facial expressions of Miss Neal are never the less so funny, as they are through out the whole episode. Alice Ghostly makes a great co-star as the domineering wife, who barely lets her husband talk. Ironically the actor, Doug Henderson,who plays the husband, would do one more t.v. show before he died from suicide. The scene of Patricia going out the exit screaming is really funny. It was really nice to see Lynn Hamilton, Fred Sandford's girlfriend Donna of "Sanford and Son", as the disturbed puzzled attendant. Lynn greets Patricia Neal in the beauty parlor room. This episode alone is reason enough to buy the whole series "Ghost Story/Circle of Fear". However as of 2010 it hasn't been released on DVD. Find a collector's copy, watch it somehow and enjoy. This review is dedicated to my best friend Eric Lyons, who introduced me to Patricia Neal and to the whole "Ghost Story" series.
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