|Index||6 reviews in total|
"The Veil", is a highly entertaining 1958 TV series which my fellow fans of Classic Horror/Mystery should enjoy, and which is especially recommended as it is hosted by none other than Horror-deity Boris Karloff. The individual episodes, in each of which Karloff narrates a mysterious story about the 'unexplainable, which lies behind the veil', are not all equally good, some, such as "Jack The Ripper" are fascinating and eerie, others, such as "Genesis" are just camp fun, but all episodes are entertaining and worthwhile. This third episodes (out of only 10), "Food On The Table" is highly recommendable, especially since Karloff himself plays the leading role (Karloff hosts the series, and he usually played smaller roles in the episodes). Karloff plays a ship captain, who comes home to his wife whom he does not love... I do not want to give too much away so I'll stop at this point. I will only say this much: The episode is delightfully macabre. As far as I am considered, this episode is not one of the absolute best in the series, but definitely one of the better ones. Karloff (one of the greatest actors who ever lived) is brilliant as always, and the role of the grouchy sailor fits him like a glove. Good performances also come from the rest of the cast. The atmosphere could have been a bit creepier, but it is good enough and the macabre story should satisfy the Classic Horror fan. Overall, "Food On The Table" is a highly recommendable episode.
Boris plays a sea captain who must work extra hard because he is on the ropes financially. He arrives after a bunch of snakes get on board his ship (sound familiar), killing a couple crewmen. He jokes about how stupid these men were. We find out that the good captain is a gold digger who used his wife's money to get a boat which was destroyed. Now that she has no connection to Daddy's money, he treats her like dirt. When he finds out there is a rich widow in town who fancies him, things take a bad turn for his bride. She is so in love with him and he is horrible. The story eventually descends into a kind of trite ghost story, but Karloff is inimitable in his performance, despite a pretty lame script.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A few years before "Thriller", there was " The Veil", another anthology series of typical gloom and doom hosted by and often staring Boris Karloff. This episode has a vindictive Karloff as a sea captain who has grown to hate wife Kay Stewart and opinions her, only to be allegedly be haunted by her ghost. Spooky and atmospheric, this is never surprising but through Karloff's master of macabre, it becomes wonderfully enjoyable. I would have liked a little more back story concerning why Karloff hated his wife so much. Eleanor Lucky, who plays the servant girl, reminds me ironically of the bride of Frankenstein herself, Elsa Lanchaster.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A greedy sea Captain, who learns of a widow gaining the wealth of her deceased husband, plots to slowly poison his wife, a woman who worships him while the feelings for her are not mutual. Karloff is the star of "Food on the Table", working from a standard "murdering scoundrel is haunted from a vengeful spirit from beyond the grave" tale. What I did like was the simple use of a tablecloth and the food along with it, pulled from the table of a Mariner's Club by a seemingly supernatural force, as a tool to torment Captain John Elwood (Karloff, terrific as always) who is harboring a despicable secret. The scenes between a doting, loving spouse (played with conviction by Kay Stewart, a pitiable, badly mistreated woman who loves her man despite his abuse) and her uncaring, unfeeling husband are heart-wrenching, particularly as she reaches out to him and isn't granted the same affections. The plot is nothing new: a scheming no-good husband seeing the opportunity to rid himself of a wife he considers a nuisance, hoping to gain favor with the other widow whose money could afford him a brand new ship. The key to this episode's power is Karloff as Elwood, able to pull the wool over his fellow seamen's eyes (although his navigator Logan (Russ Bender) gives Elwood the cold shoulder when a course change which could cost Ruth her life isn't corrected) because of his sense of humor and friendly nature, while we truly see the monster he really is when alone with wife Ruth. Nothing is more heartbreaking than when Elwood tells Ruth to her face that he is poisoning her; that look of devastation on Stewart's face is potent indeed. The ending, which describes Elwood's fate (elaborating the show's poverty-row budget which doesn't allow us to actually see it), is a bit disappointing, but understandable considering the resources a low budget spook show has at its disposal. Because of the show's short length per episode, a lot of possibly good story is cut, such as the presence of the widow mentioned and what happens to Elwood (not seeing such a menace get his just desserts is kind of a drag, to tell you the truth) after being "outed" in front of his peers. Karloff is always adept at portraying a Jekyll/Hyde kind of character, who presents himself as one person, only to hide a sinister side that is unleashed on unsuspecting victims (in this case, Ruth, who is convinced that he wants her on his voyage to spend time with her).
The series "The Veil" was apparently a failed TV series that was never
picked up by the networks. This in and of itself is not unusual,
however, that 10 episodes were made is quite odd--and several of them
are available to watch for free at archive.org (a site commonly linked
I've seen all the episodes available for the series from archive.org and feel that "Food on the Table" is the best. Much of it is because the episode is interesting and much of it is because Boris Karloff (who introduced and acted in nearly all the episodes) played the most thoroughly awful character--someone you really love to hate! The show begins with a sea captain arriving home circa 1830 or so. However, instead of rushing home to his wife, he goes off to the pub to drink and flirt. Clearly, the Captain (Karloff) is NOT a very nice guy. And, when his wife sees him and talks to him, he responds abominably--treating her like a dog.
Later in the episode, after behaving horribly, the Captain seems to soften--apologizing for his actions and inviting his wife to accompany him on his next voyage. However, don't be fooled--he has a thoroughly evil plan and her days are numbered. What's next? See the show for yourself.
Well written and a great showcase for Karloff to act evil--this is THE episode to see even if I completely doubt the show when it claims this and the other tales are 100% true (yeah, right!!).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Distinguished sea captain John Elwood (a terrific performance by Boris Karloff) saves the life of his unhappy wife Ruth (a sound portrayal by Kay Stewart). Elwood learns that a rich widow is smitten with him, so he plots to murder Ruth. Will Elwood get away with this evil crime? Director Frank P. Bibas and writer Jack Jacobs treat the slight supernatural aspect of the absorbing story in a typically smart, subtle, and satisfying way. Moreover, this episode offers a credible evocation of the 18th century setting. Karloff really shines as an accomplished dramatic actor; his argument scenes with his wife are exceptionally well acted and Elwood sizes up as a deliciously smooth heel who hides his true sneaky and deadly nature behind a deceptively polite and pleasant facade. The rest of the cast is likewise fine, with stand-out contributions from Tudor Owen as Elwood's hearty friend Captain Barney, Russ Bender as suspicious first mate Calvin Logan, and the comely Eleanor Lucky as sassy barmaid Bessie. Both Howard Schwartz's crisp black and white cinematography and Leon Klatzkin's spare shuddery score are up to par. A good and enjoyable episode.
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