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
I’ve reviewed the work of Ida Lupino, as an actress and director in The Twilight Zone (1959-64) and Thriller (1960-62) anthology series respectively. Both series told individual stories with a wee twist in the tale. I always enjoy these stories as the unexpected part is revealed. Also 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 super famous.
The 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 season 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 stars Joan Fontaine opposite Warren Beatty, in an early role.
The story tells briefly of how one snowy night, alcoholic Ellen Grayson (Fontaine), invites her greying husband, Harry (Warren Beatty) 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 much he loves his wife but their child was stillborn when delivered in the hospital leading them to drift apart. This chillingly reflects her life with Harry and her visitor eerily looking like her husband… but younger.
Both Fontaine and Beatty give mesmerising 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 are felt in her facial expressions responding to this speech from an apparently younger version of her husband.
This makes 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 are 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 is 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 TV episode was reviewed for The Wonderful World of Cinema and In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood‘s Joan Fontaine’s Centenary Blogathon. Other reviews with this cast include Warren Beatty who also stars in Suspicion, Bonnie and Clyde and Heaven Can Wait. Joan Fontaine is written about in relation to her film Rebecca in this book HERE. She also starred in Rebecca, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Love Boat and Hotel. John Newland the host of this show also directed episodes of Fantasy Island, Star Trek, The Spy with My Face and The Man from UNCLE.