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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When I saw this segment, it clearly demonstrated why Joanna Pettet is, at least in my viewpoint, the Glamour Empress of Night Gallery. It also made a valid comment about the consequences of materialism and lust, what with the girl sucking the life-force from the men that come into contact with her and all. Of course, my thought when I saw this was: It's possible that the girl might not have wanted to do this, because there could've been someone who truly loved her that she didn't want to be a victim of her hunger for souls, and maybe she could've been released from the curse of draining souls, lifted by Fritz Leiber, Jr. in some part from The Shunned House by Howard Phillips Lovecraft. The story goes like this: Glamour photographer David Faulkner (James Farentino) has a beautiful new model (Joanna Pettet) who displays a perceived need and hunger that he sees in her eyes, which frightens him as much as it attracts him to her. He soon discovers that that hunger is for the souls of her victims which include his friend Harry, and Munsch, one of David's clients, which gives her the name of Hungry Eyes. David gives her an incendiary death, thus ending her feeding cycle. Spoiler Alert: The photos in this segment in which Ms. Pettet appeared were taken in a shooting session with Harry Langdon, Jr. at his Melrose Avenue photo studio which was arranged for Ms. Pettet by the segment's director, John Badham.
Joanna Pettet plays an extraordinary fashion model who hooks up with a photographer played by James Farentino. He is used to abusing his models. When he finds Pettet she assumes control, and while making him rich and famous, maintains a mysterious existence. She comes and goes and does as she wishes. She seems to have eyes that reach into the souls of men. A macho friend of the photographer wants to meet the woman and is found dead that same night. One evening, against her wishes, Farantino follows her and witnesses her making out with a guy on the street. As he kisses her, he begins to convulse and falls dead on the ground. This is a good setup, but the resolution to the episode was very strange. You see, in such a world we need a set of rules to test our characters and that they can play by.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Fickle and aloof hack of a photographer David Faulkner (James
Farentino) is used to treating people - especially models disposably.
In the hustle that goes with trying to eke out a living snapping pics
he has lost a lot of the enthusiasm he once had for it as an art form
and interest in even the most captivating of images after but a short
Pressured by a demanding client (John Astin) who rejects the models Faulkner has shown him he becomes open to looking at new subjects. A beautiful young woman (Joanna Pettet) boldly insinuates herself on to his roster and is immediately chosen as spokesmodel by the client. She uses it as a platform to captivate then suck the life of male admirers whom she leaves for dead.
I'm sure there is some commentary being offered here but the outdated point is one made apparent before - that a pleasing appearance can conceal something less than pleasing or even monstrous. Based upon the Fritz Leiber Jr. short story of the same name (Itself a rehash of an HP Lovecraft work) it was quite topical for 1949 when it was first published but badly dated and nearly impertinent for 1972.
The issues surrounding the setting of fashion and print ad models and photographers in the early 1970s forward to current times had nothing to do with models being monsters and everything to do with whether women (in general - not those being paid quite well to be photographed) felt exploited, objectified or whatever. They could have taken the basic set-up and made a completely different statement without using Leiber's story at all.
The casting also featured the very lovely Joanna Pettet who appeared in no less than four full Night Gallery teleplays as four separate but not wholly different characters. John Astin did three episodes as three different characters. James Farentino did two. Therein lies a huge excess of the series and any TV series that uses the same actors over and over.
Even in an anthology series if you bring an actor back you can have him be the exact same character or a completely different character. Bringing them back as someone completely different asks that the audience disregard what they have already seen whilst simultaneously demanding they keep track of what is being shown.
Joanna Pettet stars as the girl with the hungry eyes, a drop dead gorgeous fashion model who seeks out fashion photographer David Faulkner(played by James Farentino) who allows him to take her photos in various poses that become incredibly popular, making him a fortune, but he still becomes fascinated by her mystery, as she doesn't fall for his charms as quickly as his other models. He becomes concerned when it seems she may be responsible for some men dying(including a wealthy client played by John Astin) and he becomes determined to find the truth and stop her, if he can... Intriguing episode doesn't make total sense, but Pettet is perfectly cast and male viewers will no doubt be mesmerized by her just like the photographer! Strange ending too.
The most notable aspect for many may be the appearance of veteran Night Gallery actress Joanna Pettet, who portrays the mysterious woman with the strange brightly lit eyes. Look for a few other familiar faces in James Farentino(David)and John Astin(Munsch), who are both intrigued by her, as David agrees to photograph her as a model, and Munsch makes her the face of his beer company; also, look for Kip Nivin(Magnum Force), who plays Harry, a close friend of David's who is also infatuated by the woman. She warns David to not ever follow her and even though he warns the men to stay away from her, they decide to follow her anyway, with dire consequences. I thought the special effects were done reasonably well, considering many episodes have rather cheesy effects, but these were effective to this reviewer. The same can be said for the acting here, as the performances were decent enough, as opposed to many other segments. If I have a small complaint, it would be how such a big city, that this episode obviously takes place in, could be so desolate for the outdoor filming. I still would recommend this episode that happens to be the final season of the series.
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