Barbara Jean Trenton is a faded film star who lives in the past by constantly re-watching her old movies instead of moving on with her life, so her associates try to lure her out of her self-imposed isolation.
The washed up actress Barbara Trenton is a woman stranded in her past, worshiping and watching her movies of twenty-five years ago in her glorious days. Her housemaid Sally is worried with her behavior and she tells to Barbara's friend and agent Danny Weiss that unsuccessfully tries to make Barbara move on with her life, giving a new role in the cinema industry. But Barbara lives in the past and does not accept that she is older now. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Barbie, it's no good, honey. None of this is any good.
Look, if you won't fix yourself a drink, sit down and be quiet - will you? You know something, Daniel, you have a habit of looking poised, ready to spring.
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An Erstwhile "Sunset Boulevard" Rerun, Minus the Pathos
Former movie queen Barbara Jean Trenton insists upon spending all of her time locked away in the projection room of her mansion, lost in her past cinematic glories. Her agent desperately tries to find her work playing characters her own age, but Barbara refuses to bring herself out of the past, and into reality.
What would have happened if Rod Serling had written the screenplay for "Sunset Boulevard"? This episode more or less answers the question, and not very promisingly. The real problem here is the character of Barbara who (as written by Serling and played by Ida Lupino) is so cold and narcissistic, it's impossible to care very much for her, or to figure out why her agent (well-played by Martin Balsam) is willing to go the lengths he does. What made the delusional Norma Desmond character so much more affecting in "Sunset Boulevard" is that we got a sense of someone who -- at least in her own mind -- was trying to atone for what she perceived as her greatest sin (leaving her fans by retiring), she came off as sympathetic. Lupino, on the other hand, comes off entirely rational and, consequently, entirely undeserving of the audience's sympathy. This approach seriously undermines the power the episode might otherwise have.
That's not to say the episode doesn't have its strengths -- Balsam's performance being the primary one. Jerome Cowan (Miles Archer in "The Maltese Falcon") also gives a nice turn as a former leading man of Barbara's, who tries to convince her to act her age, and Mitchell Leisen's direction also plays nicely with illusion/reality motif.
In a later season, this might have been one of the better episodes; for the first season of this series, however, it's a little disappointing.
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