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The Twilight Zone - Vol. 21

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Episodes: "Mirror Image" (Ep. 21, February 26, 1960) - When Millicent Barnes (Vera Miles) spies her exact double at a bus station, she becomes convinced that the double is trying to take her place. Fellow passenger Paul Grinstead (Martin Milner) thinks she's crazy--at first. "Dust" (Ep. 48, January 6, 1961) - A man is about to be hanged for drunkenly running over a little girl in a decaying town. But when the girl's anguished father (Vladimir Sokoloff) flings "magic dust" into the air, a change comes over the squalid village. "Five Characters in Search of an Exit" (Ep. 79, December 22, 1961) - A clown, a hobo, a ballet dancer, a bagpipe player and an army major are trapped together in an enormous cylinder. They don't know who they are or how they got there. But when the major tries to escape, they finally learn the truth. "Ninety Years Without Slumbering" (Ep. 132, December 20, 1963) - Sam Forstmann (Ed Wynn) believes that he will die if his grandfather clock stops. When the clock does begin to wind down, Sam must face his deepest fear.

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Volume 21 of The Twilight Zone DVD collection is a real keeper, beginning with "Mirror Image," a classic first-season episode starring Vera Miles as a woman whose sense of reality is shattered when she encounters her exact double in a bus station. Her fear of being "replaced" reaches a fever pitch, despite the efforts of a fellow passenger (Martin Milner) to calm her frenzied nerves. As the woman is taken away for psychiatric examination, her terror turns out to be entirely justified--emphasizing paranoia as one of Rod Serling's favored themes. The second-season entry "Dust" is pale by comparison--a lethargic tale of magic in the Old West that redeems a man about to be hanged for drunkenly running over a little girl with his wagon. He's saved from the noose by a bit of "magic dust," but the true pardon has come, of course, from the Twilight Zone.

"Five Characters in Search of an Exit," scripted by Serling, is a third-season highlight in which the titular characters--clown, hobo, ballet dancer, bagpiper, and army major--are trapped in a giant cylinder, with no understanding of how they got there. The truth provides the kind of O. Henry twist that was Serling's specialty, and the performances by William Windom and Murray Matheson (as the belligerent major and carefree clown, respectively) offer a delightful study in dramatic contrast. Finally, "Ninety Years Without Slumbering" is a casualty from TZ's fifth season--a badly rewritten story (originally scripted by acclaimed series contributor George Clayton Johnson) starring veteran screen comedian Ed Wynn as an old man who's convinced he will die if his treasured grandfather clock ceases to tick. Robbed of its dramatic impact by a soft ending that compromises Clayton's original idea, the episode remains entertaining on the strength of Wynn's endearing performance. --Jeff Shannon


Special Features

  • Episodes: "Mirror Image" (February 26, 1960, Episode 21), "Dust" (January 6, 1961, Episode 48), "Five Characters in Search of an Exit" (December 22, 1961, Episode 79), "Ninety Years Without Slumbering" (December 20, 1963, Episode 132)
  • Special Inside the Twilight Zone Section: Includes bio material on Rod Serling, history of The Twilight Zone, reviews of each episode, cast info & a season-by-season commentary!
  • Animated Menus

Product Details

  • Actors: Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts, Vaughn Taylor, James Turley
  • Writers: Rod Serling
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 14, 2000
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305772525
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,937 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Twilight Zone - Vol. 21" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By CinemaNET on July 7, 2000
... just kidding. "Five Characters in Search of an Exit" is one of the best Twilight Zone episodes ever, and it is included in this DVD. Written by series creator Rod Serling, it is obviously based on "Six Characters in Search of an Author", a 1921 theater play by italian Luigi Pirandello, which also inspired Paul Sartre's "No Exit". It's a claustrophobic story about a soldier, a ballet dancer, a clown, a musician and a wonderer trapped in a cilinder shaped room with no doors... the outcome is sorpresive, incredibly original and terrifying. Vincenzo Natali, a canadian filmmaker, also took a very similar ground for his sci-fi movie "The Cube"... The other episodes included are "Mirror Image" (Season 1) where a woman finds a "double" of herself (scary), "Dust" (Season 2) about a man's execution and "Ninety Years Without Slumbering" (Season 5), about a man that believes that his life depends on his grandfather's clock . This last episode is the only one not written by Serling on this DVD.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 15, 2003
All of the episodes on this DVD are fine, especially the surreal "Five Characters in Search of an Exit." "Ninety Years without Slumbering" is a charming script, even if the ending is a little weak. Ed Wynn is superb throughout as an elderly gentleman who suffers from a delusion involving an heirloom grandfather clock. I wouldn't want to reveal the endings of any of the episodes, so you'll just have to trust me that they are three good ones. In short, you can't go wrong with this DVD.
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Volume 21 in the "Twilight Zone" DVD series features some of the very best episodes from the show. Two of them I think would classify as classics but all four stories on this disc are strong with great writing, directing and most of all great actors on here.

It begins with "Mirror Image". It stars Vera Miles and a young Martin Milner. In the story Miles plays a woman named Millicent Barnes who starts to wonder if she might be going crazy. It starts while at a bus station waiting for her bus to arrive. While waiting she starts to notice her bag has been moved around. Plus when she goes up to the booth to ask the guy behind the counter when her bus should arrive he tells her she just asked him that a couple of minutes ago. But she doesn't remember asking him that question a couple of minutes ago. Then she spots herself, or is it an exact double of her? She meets a young man named Paul Grinstead, played by Milner, who at first thinks she just might be a little crazy until he sees something. It ends with one of those TZ endings we all know and love. I would rate this as one of those classic episodes.

"Dust" is the next offering on the DVD and while most people don't seem to care about this one too much I rate this as one of my fave episodes. It takes place in the old west where a young man is waiting to be hanged for the accidental death of a little girl he killed while driving a wagon drunk. The young man's father, played by Vladimir Sokoloff, meanwhile is looking for mercy from a town that wants justice. Then the Father meets a peddler who claims he has some magic dust that could save his son if the father can come up with the money. When the father leaves to try and come up with the money to buy the magic dust we see that the peddler is obviously scamming the father.
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By gobirds2 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 22, 2013
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MIRROR IMAGE (February 26, 1960, Episode 21) written by Rod Serling and directed by John Brahm is interesting stuff. In this interesting and unsettling episode Vera Miles is a woman whose sense of reality is shattered when she encounters her exact double in a bus station. And so it goes.

DUST (January 6, 1961, Episode 48) is another great Western episode written by Rod Serling with Thomas Gomez, Vladimir Sokoloff, John Alonso and John Larch. On the day of his hanging, a man's father is conned by a obnoxious traveling salesman who sells him "magic dust" capable of eliminating hate. Is the dust simply a handful of dirt or is it something more?

FIVE CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF AN EXIT (December 22, 1961, Episode 79) written by Rod Serling and directed by Lamont Johnson is another classic and memorable episode. In this surreal episode, five people try to figure a way to escape from a large cylindrical container that they are trapped in. They each come from five very dissimilar walks of life. They each have no memory of who they are or how they came to be there. The cast is very strong here and very much makes this episode work. They are William Windom, Murray Matheson, Susan Harrison, Kelton Garwood, Clark Allen, Mona Houghton and Carol Hill.

NINETY YEARS WITHOUT SLUMBERING (December 20, 1963, Episode 132) written by George C. Johnson is an interesting episode with Ed Wynn as he plays an old man who is convinced that his life will end the moment his grandfather's clock breaks down. Bernard Herrmann's score is very good and very key to this episode.
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"Mirror Image", from The Twilight Zone's wonderful first season, is one of the series' quintessential and unforgettable episodes. It exudes an atmosphere of loneliness and existential dread that were the special province of The Twilight Zone. The tale of a young woman who encounters her doppelganger while waiting for a bus late on a rainy November night is told to perfection through tight writing (Rod Serling), evocative direction and photography (John Brahm and George Clemens, respectively), and above all an intense, dramatically urgent performance from the classy Vera Miles. The episode is pregnant with metaphorical meaning; once seen, it will lodge in your memory.

"Five Characters in Search of an Exit", inspired by Pirandello's play "Five Characters in Search of an Author" is a well-known and favorite Twilight Zone episode, but to me it has always seemed pretentious and, in its twist ending, disappointing and not a little silly.

An unjustly maligned episode (because its ending was rewritten) is "Ninety Years Without Slumbering", from season 5, the story of an old man who believes that he will die if his grandfather clock stops. Despite the changed ending, the episode still emerges as a gentle meditation on time and mortality. The lovable Ed Wynn (here in the second of his two Twilight Zone appearances) "makes" this episode.
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