The subtle trick Showtime's "Penny Dreadful is that it is far less about the blood, gore and the specter of gruesome death than the sharp pain and exhilarating pleasure of living, and the terror of feeling alone even in close company. Read our review in the May Picks section.
Professor Ellis Fowler has been teaching at the Rock Spring School for Boys for a great many years. In fact, he taught the grandfather of one of his current students. Just before Christmas however, he's told by the headmaster that his contract will not be renewed for the new year. Despondent, he returns home convinced that his life has been wasted and decides to end it all. Before he can do so however, his is visited by some very special students from the past who give him cause to reconsider. Written by
The final Twilight Zone (1959) episode where the ending shot rose upward, seeing the setting's higher point replaced by a starlit sky. See more »
When Professor Fowler is looking out the window listening to the singers, he is wearing glasses in some angles and not wearing glasses in others. See more »
Professor Ellis Fowler, a gentle, bookish guide to the young, who is about to discover that life still has certain surprises, and that the campus of the Rock Springs School for Boys lies on a direct path to another institution, commonly referred to as the Twilight Zone.
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While Donald Pleasence made a few stinkers that might some might remember (such as his appearance in HALLOWEEN II), he was still a very good actor. His role as a wistful aging professor who is forced to retire is a wonderful job of acting, as his little soliloquies are quite compelling. So good, in fact, that I wish he'd done more episodes of the series.
"Changing of the Guard" begins with Pleasence teaching a class of seemingly indifferent students. After the class ends, he is informed that he is being forced to retire after 51 years of teaching. Sadly, that evening he sits and thinks about his life--imagining that it was wasted--that he influenced no one and made no difference in any lives. However, in a GOODBYE MR. CHIPS moment, ghosts of his dead former students come and tell him about the way they changed their lives for the better. It's all very sentimental and lacks some of the typical "Twilight Zone" ironic twists you might expect, but it was made so well this can be overlooked.
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