Married couple Chester and Paula have broken into and robbed a curio shop, hoping to sell the loot for a handsome sum of money. Unfortunately, all of it turns out to be junk or fakes. All, that is, save for a mysterious camera. When they try taking a picture, it turns out to be from five minutes into the future. Soon Paula's brother Woodward joins them and the three decide to use the camera at a horse track to win big. Written by
The horse pays 47.60 per $2 bet. He has around $200 to bet. When the horse wins, he says, "Ninety-five hundred bucks." It's actually $4760. See more »
A hotel suite that, in this instance, serves as a den of crime, the aftermath of a rather minor event to be noted on a police blotter, an insurance claim, perhaps a three-inch box on page twelve of the evening paper. Small addenda to be added to the list of the loot: a camera, a most unimposing addition to the flotsam and jetsam that it came with, hardly worth mentioning really, because cameras are cameras, some expensive, some purchasable at five-and-dime stores. But this ...
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Fun morality play, but stops making sense near the end
Two small time crooks, Chester and Paula, root through their latest haul in a shabby hotel room, lamenting the worthlessness of it all, until one of them stumbles upon one of their stolen items, a seemingly ancient and valueless camera without any apparent place to open it and put film in or take it out. They soon learn that the camera takes pictures of 5 minutes in the future, and do what any small time crook would do, they go to the races. It seems strange that they could go to the horse races and take pictures of the scoreboard and bet on the winners over and over without attracting any attention, but soon they find themselves with a huge pile of cash back at the hotel room, and then everything starts going wrong.
Adam Williams plays the part of Woodward, Paula's escaped con brother, possibly the dumbest character ever presented on the twilight zone. Soon a Frenchman shows up in their room and notices that the camera says, in French, that it only allows 10 pictures per owner, providing Rod Serling with a great opportunity to make one of his exploratory statements about the human psyche. Obviously, the only thing on the crooks' mind is greed, but Serling doesn't seem to know where else to go with this message.
The Frenchman gives us an antagonist to our antagonists, plotting to steal the money that they won unfairly and unsquarely. But the ending of the episode is just too goofy to take seriously, even for a twilight zone episode. After learning that the camera only takes ten pictures per owner, rather than consider the possibility of each of them taking turns being the owner (and thus getting at least another 22 pictures out of it), Chester and Woodward start fighting over it and end up falling out the window to the ground below.
Paula gives a weak attempt at grief until she realizes that now all of their prize money is hers to keep, and just for the hell of it, looks out the window and takes a picture of her brother and husband dead on the ground below. What the hell? Not only does she waste one of the two pictures left, but she takes a picture of something that surely she would never want to see in the first place.
But soon we realize that this is crucial to the plot, as the Frenchman immediately shows up ad calmly begins collecting the money, since he has an airtight insurance against her telling the police, as this would put her in a, ah, fantastic plight. He tells her that there are not just two bodies in the picture that the camera spit out after she snapped one out the window, and rather than going to look at it, she runs to the window with enough velocity to trip and fling herself out the window to the ground below. Come ON.
I can accept Chester and Woodward falling out the window while fighting over the camera, and I can accept Paula getting over their deaths immediately, as soon as she realizes that now all the money is hers, but then the Frenchman shows up and not only doesn't notice that there are four bodies in the photo that Paula took out the window and not three, but she manages to accidentally fall out the window herself.
Now, at this point, it's getting difficult enough to believe, but then the guy notices that, wait! There aren't three bodies, there are four! Oh no!! The camera then pans away and we hear the sound of the Frenchman falling out the window too. I'm guess we panned away because they had run out of ideas for how four people could accidentally fall out of the same window within a few minutes of each other.
The moral of the episode is clear enough, and it is an entertaining episode, but definitely has far more 'oh please' moments than I have come to expect from your typical twilight zone episode.
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