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The Outer Limits is turning 50....

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Craig Beam, Sep 5, 2013.

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  1. Craig Beam

    Craig Beam Cinematographer

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    The Stryker pilot ("Fanfare for a Death Scene") can be viewed on Amazon:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009P3ZQOS/ref=atv_feed_catalog

    $2.99 to rent, $9.99 to buy (if you consider purchasing a digital copy of something actually "buying" it). I think it used to be on Netflix, which is where I saw it several years ago. I did my damnedest to figure out a way to download it for permanent archiving, but no dice.
     
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  2. Sadsack

    Sadsack Stunt Coordinator

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    It's been done, probably with PC screen copying software, but the framerate wasnt perfect. You'd think someone would offer a MOD dvdr.
     
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  3. Message #983 of 1009 Oct 19, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2018
    Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    31. Two centiments: (Spoilers)

    "The Chameleon"

    You can't go wrong when you've got Robert Duvall as your dramatic lead. And it doesn't hurt to have a teleplay by Robert Towne.

    And the premise is very hip for 1964; basically a secret agent story where the spy goes undercover as an alien. What makes this premise a bit more original under Towne's take is that, at the same time as James Bond in Goldfinger was setting the trend for the cool, collected shaken not stirred spy, Louis Mace is a cynical, world weary, disturbed psychopath, who strangles an adversary to death in the first scene with a guitar string plucked from the musician at a Mexican dive bar. Now that's innovative (and bold for 1964).

    Towne is limited by only having basically three archetype characters to carry the rest of the narrative: The spy handler, the genetic Scientist, and the General. Seriously, these guys are the only ones dealing with this international alien spaceship crisis. And the actor portraying General Crawford (Henry Brandon) does his damnest to almost bring the whole thing down to cornytown. Maybe it's his dialogue, but I'm blaming it on his hamfisted delivery. The spy chief and scientist hold their end of the suspension of belief bargain in the acting game here. And, of course, Duvall delivers. I wonder if it was his idea to add the eerie laugh once he's converted to an alien. It's a great touch, especially, when you can no longer use your own eyes to convey emotions.

    It's a preposterous conceit to think you could just fool these aliens with a rogue alien you just happened to create from an Earthling, and he's supposed to suddenly fit in with not just another country and culture, but another universe and technology. But, hey, let's cut them some slack, it's sci-fi, and it's still a cool concept (that James Cameron also got around to copping for Avatar as he dipped in the TOL well, again).

    I've really got nothing else except my brief and hopefully amusing Robert Duvall story.

    My mother met him at a restaurant bar in Pompano Beach in 1971 right before he was going to make The Godfather, and while he was in town visiting his ailing father. He chatted her up at the bar as she had momentarily stepped up to order a drink (probably a club soda knowing my Iowa naive mom) and she hurried back to our resort cottage to tell her family about meeting this actor who might be going on to big things and how he seemed "interested in me and things I had to say."

    Cut to... almost 20 years later and my mother and father are visiting me in Los Angeles and I take them to a hip new restaurant in Venice called 72 Market Street. We're eating lunch and, lo and behold, across the room sits Robert Duvall. My mother gets all excited remembering her encounter years earlier, and what a big star he is now. I tell her she should go over and say hello. She's too shy. So... my father, who's not exactly Mr. Social Skills, volunteers to go over instead.

    So picture this: A man nervously walks over to Robert Duvall at his lunch table, stands over him, and begins awkwardly by saying... "You met my wife at a bar in Pompano Beach in 1971." The actor tenses up. What did he do? He's probably scrambling to remember. Did anything happen? Is this guy going to punch my lights out? But my dad continues, "And she just wanted to say what an exciting thing that was for her to meet this actor and she's glad for all his success." He magically relaxes, looks over at our table and nods politely to my mother. She beams. My dad returns to our table.

    For a moment I thought of stopping over and apologizing to the rattled actor for my father scaring the bejesus out of him, but then I remember that the dude was probably trying to pick up my mother all those years ago, so nevermind, he deserved it.
     
  4. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Supporting Actor

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    Next on The Outer Limits: “The Forms of Things Unknown” and it is at the top of my top 10.

    The monster: none
    The foe: a blackmailer
    The target: the super rich
    The setting: an old house in the French countryside
    The sociology: the upper-class
    The reference: Les diaboliques
    The high point: The performance of the general cast and the cinematography
     
  5. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    [​IMG]
     
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  6. B-ROLL

    B-ROLL Screenwriter

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    Hey Boo! :D
     
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  7. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Supporting Actor

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    TOL S1 E32: The Forms of Things Unknown
    Writer: Joseph Stefano
    Director: Gerd Oswald
    Assistant Director: Claude Binyon, Jr.
    Director of Photography: Conrad Hall
    Composer: Dominic Frontiere (original score)


    “Give me the glass, Kassia... Now! Both of you bring me my drink. Kassia will pour... Leonora will serve. Come as you are... in your fine stiletto heels.”
    —André Pavan (Scott Marlowe)


    This is the most unconventional and fantastical episode of the series owing to its dreamlike nature, which looks like a film, and I must confess THE masterpiece not only in terms of story but the film-making makes this highly dramatic segment a work of art. This is also an expected pilot for a new gothic series: The Unknown. The best scene remain: the freeze frame of André and his women while driving along a tight country road at full speed, and the murder of André via a Thanatos leaf libation (or liberation) which is depicted as a trance-like state and even a pagan ritual—one thing wrong, the regrettable slow and clumsy zoom out when André is watched by his mistresses while having a fatal drink. Strangely, the name André means ‘manly’ in Ancient Greek which explains his behavior pattern towards women (he wears a pair of pre-Incubus sandals, by the way); and Kassia’s last name is Paine but can be interpreted as “pain”: a masochist overtone. The name of the town ‘Aix-les-Bains’ suggests the idea of swimming (‘Bains’ means baths in French, by the way). The black and white killing-ladies and the small gun details remind "The Bellero Shield" and, above, they are wet twice: first during the assassination and then, in the woods while running away. The first Outer Limits lady to be wet by the rain is seen in “Specimen: Unknown”: blonde Gail Kobe.

    With “Controlled Experiment”, this is the second episode where a blonde harmful female, Kassia Paine, walks on high-heels. A new score composed by Dominic Frontiere (whose tense cues, heard in the assassination scene, automatically are afiliated to the shrill violins from Bernard Herrmann’s Psycho), re-used in The Invaders, five outstanding actors, the refinement of the art direction (watch the clocks room that you may even picture in a modern art museum; you can notice the same stairway as in “Fun and Games”) and the most sophisticated cinematography (the use of coated filter, the varieties of angle shots, the sense of movement and the scale of shots) but in the line of “The Man Who Was Never Born” (see the trousers shot of David McCallum while Vera Miles stares at him at the level of the ground!) because of this sense of the Nature, thanks to Conrad Hall and William Fraker, ever seen for the last episode of the first season. The clown is the inner connection of this episode which expresses the mood of madness (Caliban-like greed and morbid utopia): the fantasy clock in the living room and the reference to André’s dead body (“a crushed clown”, said Leonora Edmond or “a murdered clown”, “an evil clown”, said Tone Hobbart). A clown music cue (a merry-go-around tune) is played during the clown clock scene and Leonora’s hypnotic reverie. As in “The Sixth Finger”, notice the detail of the rural funeral. This episode also makes reference to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (see the dead body in the trunk detail; actress Vera Miles; the old dark house), Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Les diaboliques (the black and white ladies; the drowning of a man, the disappearing body), Val Lewton’s horror films (fear bred by shadows and therefore the suggestion) and William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, recited by David McCallum who wears elegant cufflinks: “Such tricks hath strong imagination, That, if it would but apprehend some joy, It comprehends some bringer of that joy; Or in the night, imagining some fear, How easy is a bush supposed a bear!” Theseus, Act V., Sc. I.

    Notes: In the unaired version, The Unknown, two uncredited personel are mentioned: operator William A. Fraker and title designer Wayne Fitzgerald whose rip-through title design is recycled for the Quinn Martin series: The Invaders.

    Les diaboliques (1955) Trailer


    The Unknown Titles (1964)


    The Invaders Opening Titles (1967)
     
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  8. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Guys, I’m back! , my HT plasma display has been repaired and it’s back to its old self. It was a power supply board, but there was an old problem with the scan board too that confounded the repair tech as the front panel LED was flashing 8 times indicating a fault in that board. In the end after it was removed and tested by Panasonic and put back it finally worked. That took up a lot of time to figure out.

    Last night I resumed with Moonstone. I read Craig’s review of it on his blog. I’ve not really known the full plot of this episode. I’d seen it as a kid and later as a young teen. But it never hooked me. During this viewing, I found it to be an interesting story. Maybe I enjoyed Ruth Roman’s character and seeing the Commodore Stocker bumbling. I could not help but think of the paper pushing Stocker from Star Trek.

    I liked that the Moonstone is a vessel with the 5 aliens escaping the tyranny of their world. The image of those aliens in the globe was what caught my eye as a kid and I remembered that and only that about the episode. I liked that once the Grippions and the humans understood each other, they help each other. But in the end, yes it’s a downer end for the 5 Grippions. My interpretation is the larger ship destroyed them, I didn’t get a sense the 5 blew their ship up.

    So Craig felt it was mediocre. I’d agree to a degree. I’ve never seen the Men in Space series so the effects are new to me as they were in Specimen Unknown episode. The effects I thought were a highlight of the episode. The Grippion aliens in the sphere reminded me they could have been used in Star Trek had they not been used in TOL. Maybe as the Triskelion’s. And I liked the story of the benevolent aliens fleeing oppression. As for what happens to the 5 Grippions, it looks to me they were killed by the larger ship. If they did self destruct, I’ll have to see it again to see.

    I also took a quick look at the first 10 minutes of The Mutant. Another episode I mainly remember for the bulging eye balls but not much more. I don’t know if anyone else notices, but in one scene when one of the characters writes a note and hides it in the newcomer’s space suit, did anyone notice a wooden box on the floor with the word “Daystar” stencil painted on the side of the box? It’s under the leg of the bed elevating it. Was that a mistake? I couldn’t miss it.
     
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  9. Sadsack

    Sadsack Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, two weeks until Season Two....
     
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  10. Message #990 of 1009 Nov 9, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
    Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    32. Two centiments, continued: (Spoilers)

    "The Form of Things Unknown"

    First of all, this may be the most spectacular image quality print of the first season. The opening sequence through the trees around the lake had a 3D quality the image was so sharp. It was so remarkable as to be distracting, which was probably a good thing. I found myself oohing and aahing past the episodes's eye-rolling flaws.

    I applaud this landmark episode for its artistic reach and ambition, both thematically and cinematically, but my reaction to it this time was the same as my last viewing:

    Oh, my. What a pretentious mess. Here’s an episode that sacrifices story for style. Or, to sum it up in one word, it’s very … French. Somebody was channeling Diabolique through Luis Bunuel. It’s one remarkable hour of television, though. It looks fantastic. It’s directed like a feature. It probably has 2-3 times more edits than a typical episode. Lots of in-your-face close ups and Dutch angles. Conrad Hall was firing on all cylinders. But I can’t imagine how they ever thought this would sell as a pilot. It couldn’t be any less commercial or make any kind of narrative sense. There are so many jump moments with musical stings in between flat, overly serious statements and corny dialogue that defy comprehension and just hang there like …

    The cast is fantastic, particularly Vera Miles (oh, why couldn’t she not be pregnant to do Vertigo for Hitchcock?), but so much of what they’re given to do is inert. Except poor Barbara Rush, who is practically tortured throughout, in between having to scream and run in heels. Check the rain scenes out and you see both these esteemed actresses had to crawl in the mud or run through the woods in freezing rain, with frosty breaths.

    McCallum plays his character like a wide-eyed boyish imp, but it’s just going nowhere. We don’t even get a satisfactory back story. And then he’s just wiped away and the episode ends abruptly. I still can’t fathom what they were trying to accomplish with this. Stylistically, it can’t be touched. But who cares? There’s no one I’m rooting for and there’s no one who escapes an awkward moment. A noble experiment. Fail.

    Ironically, I liked this episode more as a kid than I did this time. The goose moments were good (trunks springing open with musical stings, etc.). It didn’t matter as much then that there wasn’t much going on in between.​

    And where did that Invaders theme music come from? I kept expecting David Vincent to stumble into the scene and Sir Ralph Richardson to raise a disfigured pinky finger (is that where Dr. Evil got it from?)​

    That ends my personal opinion takes on Season One. For the most part, great stuff. Wish I could say the same for what's coming up in Season Two. A few bright spots, but not many. I'm still looking forward to it, though. At least we have a good bounty of extras. Bring 'em on!
     
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  11. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Supporting Actor

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    ***

    I agree with you on the whole. It's a very confused story and the actors perform as stage actors from a play.
    The cast and the film-making is better than the static intrigue.
    It's a treat for a photographer and a cinematographer.
    Some composition shots foreshadow Bergman's Persona.

    ***
     
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  12. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Hey guys, I’m continuing to catch up with the first season episodes. Last night I viewed The Mutant. It’s the first time I’ve watched it fully and understood the plot. That’s interesting to know that the cave is the Bronson Canyon cave so popular in so many films and TV shows.

    Warren Oates was a stand out in his decent into lunacy from the effects of the rain. I read the reviews on Craig’s blog and the other blog.\, We Are Controlling Transmission. I agree it wasn’t the best episode. It had a good premise, but lacking in execution. I didn’t think of it at first, but it does bear resemblance to Its A Good Life. Reese’s demise at the end in compete darkness made sense to me, while visually, if you didn’t pay attention to the episode, you’d not realize his fear of the darkness.

    I haven’t seen the DVD version of this episode in ages, but I image the clarity of the image there also revealed the obvious bald caps edges on Warren Oates. The clarity and film grain in this episode was really outstanding. I liked the minimal design of the houses and the skylight roof that lights the inside. The bare-ness of the sets makes sense as a colony who’ve just set-up on that planet and are starting out. So the story wasn’t that strongly delivered, but the visuals were all really strong. If they were able to make the eyes blink and turn, that would have added to the creepiness if it.
     
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  13. Message #993 of 1009 Nov 11, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
    Sadsack

    Sadsack Stunt Coordinator

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    So you want to hire wunderkind Scott Marlowe for some ersatz acting...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Sadsack

    Sadsack Stunt Coordinator

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    I didn't notice it, but Schow did. Click on the commentary at moment and you'll get an earful.
     
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  15. Doug Wallen

    Doug Wallen Producer
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    Received shipping notice from Deep Discount! Looking forward to viewing this along with those amazing extras!!!
     
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  16. Doug Wallen

    Doug Wallen Producer
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    Duplicate post, Sorry!
     
  17. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Supporting Actor

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    I also got a shipping notice but from Amazon.
     
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  18. B-ROLL

    B-ROLL Screenwriter

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    +1
     
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  19. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Hey guys-

    I watched The Guests last night. I had trouble from being a bit sleepy, I fell asleep partly into it, but woke up and rewound. :). I’d never seen this episode before! I’d seen images of the giant brain, but never knew the plot.

    I’m not sure what to think of it. It reminded me a lot of Don’t Open Till Doomsday. The music heard in the beginning that lures the hero to the house sounded new to me and I’m not sure I’ve heard it before on the Outer Limits. It was kind of cool. Visually, it looked cool, in terms of the lighting and shadows. Plus the bits of star bursts filter effects on highlights on the actors eyes. Reminded me of Hall’s lighting.

    I instantly recognized the costume of the Chromoite. I thought it was used effectively here. Conceptually, I get what the story was trying to do. I might have to watch it again to see if I like it more. These kinds of episodes feel so conceptual to me. It did have a dream like quality. Not straight forward and doesn’t quite have a feeling of maybe being possible.

    Now I’m glad to see Fun and Games next.
     
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  20. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    I’m now debating how to order the second season, should I go with Amazon again and risk the package arriving dented up like the first season. Or order through Kino Lorber? What do you guys think?

    Speaking of the second season, I wanted to bounce off you guys something I’ve been pondering a lot lately. I know Dominc Frontiere is consider the creator of the iconic music for the series. Many of my favorite episodes are also from the second season. So I often hear in my head music from second season episodes and to me, it’s as iconic as Frontiere’s. The music from Demon with a Glass Hand is pretty strong in my mind and while different, seem to make me think it’s Frontiere. I think of this episode the most likely. Same with The Invisible Enemy.

    Well, now I’ll see if I can decide which way to order the second season. :)
     
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