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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is really quite a departure from your 'normal' Twilight Zone, if there could ever be such a thing. I was reminded of the atmospheric, fog enshrouded sets of films set in the 1930's and '40's, films as diverse as the original "King Kong" and "Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise". You were definitely not expecting the type of garish, yet lovely state-room that the Ransomes discovered upon check-in. Nor the unexpected warnings against embarking on such a 'private cruise', mentioned more than once. All the while I thought the ill fated Ransomes (Lee Phillips and Joyce Van Patten) and the Lady Anne were destined to meet the fate of the Titanic or some other worldly calamity. The episode's resolution is left somewhat open ended and disorienting, but the point was bringing the Ransomes back together again. A host of Twilight Zone stories dealt with the ever increasing pace of the modern world and it's effect on human beings caught up in the struggle of balancing career with home life. This one did it in a novel way, restoring love and romance to a couple who would have fallen apart otherwise. All done in a very disorienting way, ultimately leaving them adrift so to speak, before they could be saved both literally and figuratively.
A younger couple is interested in booking passage on a cruise ship.
However, it's not the normal cruise season and the pickings are slim,
so the only cruise seems to be on an old ship. But, when they are about
to board, a couple older passengers approach them--telling them that
they'll hate the cruise! They even offer to buy their tickets off of
them at a HUGE profit! Frankly, I would have taken it, but the couple
is stubborn. Once on board, they are shocked to see that all the
passengers and crew are elderly! The folks are friendly enough and make
them seem welcome--but it's obvious that something is going on...but
While the finale of this show was awfully expected, it's still a decent show for several reasons. First, while it's not exactly 'Twilight Zoney" in style, the show has a nice romantic style. It's a nice change of pace. Second, with some wonderful elderly actors, it can't help but be good. With Alan Napier, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Cecil Kellaway and Gladys Cooper, you have a nucleus of magnificent talent--and they are all charming and terrific performers.
So is this a must-see? Certainly not. But, it is worth seeing and is a worthy hour-long show.
This one kind of grows on one. A couple, married for six years, books a cruise to England on a ship. During the entire process, they are warned time and time again not to do this. The couple is interesting. Their marriage is in big trouble. He is a workaholic who thinks only of his next deal; she is the long suffering wife who has put up with this since they said "I do." She feels if they could just get away and be together, something might be salvaged. He is a cad, cynically commenting on everything, determined to hate everything on the trip, dismissing his wife's romantic hopes. The "Lady Anne" is on its last voyage. It is populated with elderly people, people who have a history of romance on this ship, going back decades. Some of the film world's greatest elderly character actors are on board. After doing everything they can to get the young couple to leave, they give up and invite them to be part of everything. There are some sombre comments made and they play on the mind of the young man. At one point the couple agrees that when this trip is concluded, they will go their separate ways. This whole episode is nicely played with really good performances. It has a charm and a gentleness to it is subtle in its flavor. Not the typical Twilight Zone, more like a movie from the 1940's.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
They must have rounded up half of Hollywood's English colony for this
story about a young married couple (Philips and Van Patten) who are
more or less accidentally given berths on the Lady Anne, a slow
passenger ship bound for London. I mean -- Wilfred Hyde-White, Gladys
Cooper, Cecil Kellaway, and Alan Napier. It's unclear whether any of
these names will be familiar to younger viewers, but Napier played
Alfred in the old "Batman" series. Kellaway always struck me as a
little too cute, but Wilfred Hyde-White was always a joy on screen. His
features seemed a caricature of themselves, as if someone had taken
hold of the top of his head and the point of his chin and pulled them
slightly apart from one another, but he always brought something extra
to his roles.
The story ends mysteriously, as befits a TZ episode, but the message is laid out in a leisurely way for its 55 minutes. Van Patten and Philips have been married a few years abut the relationship has grown shaky because of a familiar problem. Philips is drowning in his work, constantly anxious to get on with things, always busy, consulting his pocket watch. Van Patten is neglected and feels unloved: "We never get together, we never talk, we never --". No room for sentiment let alone sex.
HMS Lady Anne herself is an old ship, manned by an old crew and carrying old passengers. Okay, the ship takes thirteen days to reach Le Havre, but so what? The old folks, mostly couples, take the slow boat to London each year to reminisce about the old days and to celebrate the present in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. And what atmosphere! Cluttered and old-fashioned, with beaded curtains around the four poster bed, Victorian lamps, bronze figurines, formal portraits of British nobility on the bulkheads, and an abundance of ferns. As a matter of fact it looks rather like my place, which I've done my best to turn into a replica of an Egyptian cat house, ca. 1910.
That message I referred to? That's Philips finally observing how happy these oldsters are, taking their time, savoring the years they have left, and he absorbs the lesson. Stop pushing so much. He throws his pocket watch and its demands out of the porthole. His steely scowl is replaced by a smile. And both of them, now happy, become physical again.
The climactic scene is mysterious enough, I suppose, but the mystery is more of a puzzle than anything else. It sits uncomfortably on the rest of the story. And there are holes in the logic. What happened to the Lady Anne, for instance? It disappears without trace and without notice in the news. But how can that be? They bought their tickets from a real, live travel agent. Someone must have noticed that a passenger liner disappeared at sea? And why does the ship turn north? And how can Philips tell? If they were sailing due north, the sun would be directly astern only around noon. And why are all the other passengers over seventy years old? But none of that really matters too much. It's a leisurely story, unhurried and as relaxed as life aboard the ship itself. Except, I guess, for the crew. Somebody has to peel the potatoes and tend bar.
This is easily my favourite episode from the hour-long fourth series.
The Twilight Zone at it's most charming. A nice change of pace from
most of the others. An ideal one to watch to get into the series if you
feel the Zone is just a tad too weird for you.
The Ransomes are a couple whose marriage is falling apart. Joyce Van Patten is engaging as the wife trying to rekindle the flame with her work obsessed husband. Wilfred Hyde-White and Gladys Cooper contrast stylishly with the Ransomes as old people still in love. Alan Napier (Alfred from 1960's Batman) appears as captain of HMS Lady Anne on which all the other passengers seem to be old.
An appealingly atmospheric setting for the most romantic entry of the anthology should lure you to sail into the zone. Don't be put off, however much Wilfred Hyde-White may offer you not to board.
Lee Philips & Joyce Van Patten star as Allan & Eileen Ransome, a young married couple who are going through difficult times, and are close to divorcing. A last ditch effort to rekindle their romance sees them board passage on a trans-Atlantic cruise liner the Lady Anne, but they are surprised to find that all the other passengers are elderly couples who seem most anxious to see them leave, though not for the reason they may suspect... Endearing tale may not appeal to the young, though older viewers and sympathetic younger ones will appreciate what this episode is about. Though slight, this is still rather sweet, with a fine cast of veteran British actors.
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