A syndicated columnist, Jordan Herrick, gets an interview with the famous and beautiful actress Pamela Morris. She claims to be 38 years old but according to Jordan's information, that would have made her first film as an adult when she was only 10. He takes her word for it but her elderly mother, Viola Draper, has news for him: she's not Pamela's mother, she is her daughter. The more he looks into her background, the more convinced he becomes that Pamela hasn't aged for decades. Faced with the facts, Pamela shows the lengths she will go to in order to protect her great secret. Written by
Jordan Herrick, syndicated columnist, whose work appears in more than a hundred newspapers. By nature a cynic, a disbeliever, caught for the moment by a lovely vision. He knows the vision he's seen is no dream; she is Pamela Morris, renowned movie star, whose name is a household word and whose face is known to millions. What Mr. Herrick does not know is that he has also just looked into the face - of the Twilight Zone.
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"Queen of the Nile" is an absolutely mediocre TZ episode that is indicative of the creative malaise that affected most of the final season. Essentially a female version of the far superior "Walter Jameson" plot from Season 1, this show is sabotaged by its utterly ordinary direction, and a set that includes bright 60's-style sitcom lighting and lots of obvious painted backdrops. In other words, absolutely no visual atmosphere or character.
A lot of the dialogue, though, helps to build intensity, and the big revelation of the old woman (very effectively played by Celia Lovsky, Peter Lorre's real-life wife) which comes right before the commercial break is pretty cool. As the drama moves to its conclusion, it gets better, and the scenes of Herrick on the phone with his editor are actually pretty suspenseful.
But then it's back to the brightly lit glare of 60's suburbia that feels more appropriate for the Dick van Dyke show than the horrific conclusion to this tale. The ending is really pretty shocking, especially for 1964 prime time TV...and definitely TZ's most gruesome scene of all, in my opinion.
I was a lad of 8 when I saw the network premiere of "Long Live Walter Jameson" in March of 1960...and that ending really freaked me. I consider myself very lucky that I wasn't at the same impressionable age and sensibility in 1964 when "Queen of the Nile" debuted; had I seen it then, I am sure I would have been traumatized. Now are you curious enough to watch it?
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