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Twilight Zone Collector's Edition (Cavender is Coming, He's Alive, and Uncle Simon)

1 rating: 1.0
A Twilight Zone Collector's Edition tape
1 review about Twilight Zone Collector's Edition (Cavender...

Two episodes that are really bad and one that unfortunately will always remain topical

  • Apr 29, 2010
Rating:
+1
The guardian angel theme is a common one in literature and religion, but in nearly all cases the angel is capable and the results pleasing. That is not so in "Cavender is Coming." Cavender is an angel with a history of failure, he is about to be expelled from the angel corps, whatever that means. Given one last chance, he is sent to Earth to aid the clumsy but kindhearted Agnes Grep, played by Carol Burnett.
As the blurb on the cover states, the basic plot of this episode is nearly identical to that of the other Twilight Zone episode "Mr. Bevis." The idea of a bumbling, incompetent powerful being is an unnerving one; the combination of a bumbling human aided by an equally bumbling angel comes across as simplistic and stupid. I would hope that the heavenly powers are a little better at implementing the God thing than that. Although I must admit that unlike so many others, I do not find bumbling characters lovable. "Cavender is Coming" was an episode that tested my patience and I was glad when it was over.
"He's Alive" is an episode that will remain topical as long as humans hate others and people try to rise to power on the tide of that hate. Dennis Hopper plays a gifted, uncertain and sad young man named Peter Vollmer that wants power and influence and his only means is to surround himself with the symbols of Nazi Germany. While his uniform is not exactly like that of a Nazi Storm Trooper, the posters feature Adolph Hitler, Joseph Goebbels and Hermann Goering. His speeches and his movement are going nowhere and the group is about to be evicted from the hall they rent.
However, a strange and shadowy benefactor appears, giving them the money to pay the rent. This advisor then tells Vollmer how to speak and suddenly his movement begins to attract some attention. The advisor is a brutal man, telling Vollmer that he must have one of his aids killed so that suspicion can be directed at a group opposing him. People that have viewed tapes of the speeches of Adolph Hitler will recognize the body language of the figure lurking in shadows.
The most interesting aspect of this story is the presence of Ernst Ganz, a survivor of the concentration camps that took in the young, frightened and abused young boy named Peter Vollmer. Ganz has been a father to Vollmer and now he is speaking out against his hate-filled speech and tactics. However, their past affiliation does not protect Ganz, when the Hitler figure advises Vollmer to kill Ganz, he personally fires the lethal bullet. Vollmer then considers himself to be made of steel, yet that feeling does not protect him when the police gun him down.
As recent years have demonstrated, racist and hate-filled speech will never be eradicated; the growth of the internet has merely increased the amount and volume. Fortunately, as the moral of this story demonstrates, most of the time the purveyors of the filth end up being the ones destroyed by it.
"Uncle Simon" is an episode that does something that I never thought possible; it overuses the concept of the corny robot. Constance Ford plays Barbara Polk, a dowdy woman that lives with her dictatorial Uncle Simon. Simon is a fiend, constantly ridiculing Barbara, reminding her of all her inadequacies and repeatedly humiliating her. Early on he describes her as so unattractive that she appears to be wearing clothes under her clothes. Simon also laughs at her tolerating him all these years in the hope that she will be the recipient of his substantial wealth.
Eventually, Barbara cannot stand the abuse and pushes Simon down the stairs to his death. Just when she believes that she will be liberated, Barbara learns that there is a clause in Simon's will that forces her to care for his primary science project. Since the will is enforceable Barbara learns that she will never be able to lay her hands on what she believes is rightfully hers. Once again, the robot looks like a rain barrel with legs and an inverted glass bowl on top. I yawned my way through this episode.

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