Jamie Tennyson is an overly talkative member of a private men's club. He is challenged by fellow member Col. Archie Taylor to keep his mouth shut for one year. Should he do so, he would win $500,000. Taylor dislikes Tennyson and if nothing else, finds this a way to get a bit of peace and quiet at the club. Tennyson will live in a room in the club, under observation and will communicate in writing only. As the months go by, Taylor begins to worry that Tennyson may just succeed. He can't believe Tennyson's will but neither party proves to be completely honorable. Written by
Franchot Tone filmed the club sequences in the early part of production before suffering a facial injury (Liam Sullivan claimed that he had fallen off a terrace to a driveway while picking a flower for a girlfriend; Rod Serling said that a jealous romantic rival had attacked him). Even though the left side of his face was swollen, it was decided not to hire a different actor and re-shoot the previously filmed scenes, but to film him with only his right side exposed to the camera. Interestingly, it caused Tone's character to be denied eye contact while mocking Sullivan's, which made his character more sinister and added an extra dimension of emotion to the plot. See more »
Rod Serling - Narrator:
The note that this man is carrying across a club room is in the form of a proposed wager, but it's the kind of wager that comes without precedent. It stands alone in the annals of bet-making as the strangest game of chance ever offered by one man to another. In just a moment, we'll see the terms of the wager and what young Mr. Tennyson does about it. And in the process, we'll witness all parties spin a wheel of chance in a very bizarre casino called the Twilight Zone.
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Inferior TZ. Really plays more like an ironical Hitchcock episode than a TZ with its usual focus on the supernatural. Also reminds me of something de Maupassant the 19th century French ironist with his eye for the pretensions of the upper-crust would have composed. No need to repeat the plot here except to point out that it involves a highly unusual wager between two ostensible gentlemen at an exclusive gentlemen's club.
Perhaps the most interesting feature lies in how Franchot Tone is photographed. Notice how artificially he's sometimes posed presenting only a right profile of his face. Mark Zicree in his helpful TZ companion guide points out that midway through filming , Tone suffered an injury to the left side of his face-- apparently one that could not be touched up. Hence, the artificial poses; and since screenplays are seldom filmed in chronological order, these odd profiles can turn up at any time. Anyway, I wish there were more to recommend in this static drawing-room drama with its rather tame outcome, but there really isn't.
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