Posted: 05/17/2011

 

The Twilight Zone: Season 4 on Blu-ray

by Jef Burnham



Coming to Blu-ray May 17th, 2011 from Image Entertainment.


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The 1963 season of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone was the only season of this classic series to feature hour-long episodes. And while scant few of the 18 episodes in this season are remembered as series classics, their all-star casts and Image Entertainment’s terrific Blu-ray release make for a season you’d be remiss to miss out on.

With this season, the production values were at their absolute peak, and the hour format allows for much more fully developed tales that we as viewers may become more invested in the characters. Thus I find the better episodes in the season to be among the entire series’ most rewarding. Among the season’s very best episodes is series creator Rod Serling’s “He’s Alive” and I am Legend author Richard Matheson’s “Death Ship.” “He’s Alive” starring Dennis Hopper as a would-be despot— a Hitlerean “bush-league fuhrer”— rising to power with the aid of a shadowy adviser. And “Death Ship” opens with a space exploration vessel landing on an alien planet to discover a crashed ship with their own corpses inside.

Now the best way I can think to sell this season without giving away too many of the surprises Serling and his staff have in store for you is to list here some of the incredible talent that came together to create these 18 episodes. Among the season’s other incredible stars are Robert Duvall, Burgess Meredith (Rocky), Burt Reynolds, Anne Francis (Forbidden Planet), Jack Klugman (12 Angry Men, TV’s The Odd Couple), Bill Bixby (The Incredible Hulk), and Julie Newmar (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers). Additional writers contributing to this unique season included Charles Beaumont (7 Faces of Dr. Lao), Earl Hamner, Jr., and John Furia (Bonanza, Hawaii Five-O). And Stuart Rosenberg (Cool Hand Luke) and David Butler (Road to Morocco) are among the episodes’ directors.

Image’s gorgeous HD transfers breathes new life into these episodes. Aside from the occasional white speck and a few other minor peculiarities, these transfers are pristine. In addition, both remastered audios and the original audios are available.

Blu-ray exclusive special features include 13 New Audio Commentaries, featuring The Twilight Zone Companion author Marc Scott Zicree, author/film historian Gary Gerani (Fantastic Television), Twilight Zone writer Earl Hamner, writer William F. Nolan (Logan’s Run), author Bill Warren (Keep Watching the Skies! American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties), writer/producer Jeff Vlaming (NCIS, Fringe, Battlestar Galactica),writer/producer Joseph Dougherty (thirtysomething, Judging Amy, Saving Grace), authors/historians Scott Skelton and Jim Benson (Night Gallery: An After Hours Tour), and writer/producer Jaime Paglia (Eureka); and a vintage Audio Interview with director of photography George T. Clemens.

Features returning from Image Entertainment’s 2005 DVD release include:
-Audio Commentaries by Marc Scott Zicree for “Death Ship” and William Windom for “Miniature”
-Vintage Audio Recollections with Herbert Hirschman, Ross Martin, Burgess Meredith, Pat Hingle, Earl Hamner, Buzz Kulik and Anne Francis Video Interviews with Morgan Brittany, Anne Francis, Paul Comi and John Furia, Jr.7 Radio Dramas featuring Blair Underwood, Jason Alexander, Lou Diamond Phillips, H. M. Wynant, Mike Starr, Barry Bostwick and John Ratzenberger
-Isolated Scores for all 18 episodes featuring Fred Steiner, Van Cleave, Rene Garriguenc and others
-Rod Serling Promos for “Next Week’s” Show
-Rod Serling Blooper from He’s Alive
-Saturday Night Live Clip
-The Famous Writers School Promo with Rod Serling
-Genesee Beer Spot, and
-Twilight Zone Season 4 Billboards

Jef Burnham is a writer and educator living in Chicago, Illinois. While waging war on mankind from a glass booth in the parking lot of a grocery store, Jef managed to earn a degree in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago, and is now the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com.



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