A Reminder of an Old Love…
A woman is intent on finishing her marriage, after her husband leaves he’s hurt in an accident. A visitor makes her think again.
The Visitor promo, Creepster tv, and photos © ABC Films
Last year I reviewed the work of Ida Lupino – an actress and director – where I reviewed two of her directorial television works, from The Twilight Zone (1959-54) and Thriller (1960-62) anthology series. Both told of individual stories with a wee twist in the tale.
I always enjoy these stories as the unexpected part is revealed. Also both to my delight these always have such a prolific cast of Hollywood names in their credits. I love seeing undiscovered performances in roles from before they became superfamous.
This series One Step Beyond (1959-61) is another of these supernatural series. All of these stories differed from the Twilight Zone as were based on true events. The 3 seasons long series has an impressive cast list including Donald Pleasence, Veronica Cartwright, Christopher Lee, Cloris Leachman, William Shatner and Louise Fletcher.
The series like the Twilight Zone, had its tales introduced (but here by John Newland) and also has a similarly almost spooky theme tune, (here composed by Harry Lubin). However this wee post will concentrate on just one of these episodes, The Visitor starring Joan Fontaine opposite Warren Beatty, in an early role.
The story tells briefly of how one snowy night, alcoholic Ellen Grayson, invites her graying husband, Harry to their mountain top holiday home. She tells him she’s stopped drinking, but wants to have a divorce. He tells how they became strangers to each other, and they fight.
He leaves and is involved in a car accident, with her hearing this. Shortly after this Ellen is visited by a young man, who talks to her easily about his life, and how he much loves his wife but their child was stillborn when delivered in hospital leading them to drift apart. This chillingly reflecting her life with Harry and her visitor eerily looking like her husband… but younger.
Both Fontaine and Beatty give mesmorising performances in this short docu-play. Beatty’s monologue where he talks about his love for his wife and the circumstances that drove them apart is passionate and heartfelt.
Fontaine also in her role, is compelling and on hearing his tale, much guilt and heartbreak is felt in her facial expressions responding to this speech from an apparently younger version of her husband.
This making much more of an impact, with these saying much more than words, especially after it is apparent she still loves him. And as for the twists and turns in this almost unbelievable story, these more profoundly felt as this story is apparently true. Making me wonder as I do with many a biopic, just what happened with Ellen and Harry after the story ended on screen .
This now an actress and series I will definitely revisit… starting with those other star roles in this series and Fontaine’s appearances both before and after this show. In an ironic twist of fate, with One Step Beyond the name of this crazy but true series, this was the title of a musical track in the 1980s for a group called Madness.
Weeper Rating: 😦 😦😦 😦 😦 😦 :-(/10
Handsqueeze Rating: 🙂 /10
Joan Fontaine’s Centenary Blogathon 2017, No 56
This was reviewed for The Wonderful World of Cinema and In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood‘s Joan Fontaine’s Centenary Blogathon. Warren Beatty also stars in Heaven Can Wait. Joan Fontaine starred in The Love Boat and Hotel.