Friday Fantastic TV Classics: The Veil, “The Girl on the Road”

The-Veil-1958-ep02-Girl-on-the-Road

Rating: B

Written and Directed by george waGGner, 1958

Note: The Veil was a 12 episode thriller anthology series hosted and starring Boris Karloff and produced by Hal Roach. It was never broadcast.

george waGGner, owner of the most ee cummings credit line in film and TV history, directed this solid but predictable episode. John Prescott (Tod Andrews) stops to help a woman, Lila (Eve Brent), whose car has run out of gas. Prescott, who from his moves must have graduated from the Film Noir detective charm school, falls for Lila and takes her to a bar. There John realizes that Lila is hiding from a mysterious Morgan Debbs (Karloff), but when Lila runs off before telling him why she’s worried, he discovers her mysterious secret.

(spoilers follow)

Ok, so from the set up and the fact that this is a supernatural themed anthology show, you know that Lila is most likely a ghost. To waGGner’s credit, he uses the mystery of Debbs to take the viewers attention away from the inevitable twist. But the success of the episode is that it doesn’t rely on the success or failure of the twist being a surprise. It’s not played intensely, with swelling music and a zoom, but rather surprisingly matter-of-factly in a subtle two-shot. The feel then isn’t of a failed Twilight Zone-esque reversal, but more along the lines of a Japanese ghost story that is more romantic and tragic than terrifying.

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