Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


George Maharis in "Miss Belle"
JOURNEY TO THE UNKNOWN. 1968 television series.

This British import ran for one season and was produced by Joan Harrison, who worked on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, but if this show is any indication she had lowered her standards for scripts considerably for the later series. The majority of episodes not only would have been instantly rejected by Hitch, but are lame by any standard, with weak premises devoid of a final snap or twist. There are very few exceptions. "The New People" is an excellent, creepy, and suspenseful episode [directed by Peter Sasdy from Charles Beaumont] in which a young couple have very strange if fun-loving neighbors; the cast includes Robert Reed and a notable Milo O'Shea. "One on an Island" [from Donald Westlake] features a fine performance from Brandon De Wilde [All Fall Down] in an absorbing story of a young man shipwrecked on an isolated island. It shouldn't work at all but somehow it does. "Matakitas is Coming" stars Vera Miles as a woman who writes about murders for a magazine and finds herself locked in a library that has somehow gone back in time to the night a librarian was murdered by a maniac back in the 1920s. The murderer is creeping about, and so is the victim ... The episode has an excellent premise even if its execution is uneven and a little confusing. Also Miles is a little too perfunctory at times given her character's situation. "Somewhere in a Crowd," with David Hedison [Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea] giving one of his best performances (in a tale wherein the same group of people keep showing up at disasters), would have been one of the series' more memorable episodes were it not for the fact that it's a complete, uncredited rip-off of Ray Bradbury's 1948 short story "The Crowd." George Maharis appears in an unpleasant look at child abuse -- a woman raises her little nephew as a girl -- in "Miss Belle." And there were episodes even worse than that.NOTE: Some of the episodes from the show were strung together to make TV movies. One, Journey to the Unknown, features Joan Crawford as host and presents "Matakitas" and an episode with Patty Duke vacationing at the English seaside at an inn with a strange landlady.

Verdict: Three decent episodes does not a great series make. **.


Gary R. said...

I watched the series when it first aired and remember being generally impressed, maybe by the episodes you thought superior. I've wondered if a DVD collection would ever be available; can you reveal your source for the show? BTW, the "Journey" actually lasted only half a season on ABC.

William said...

Thanks for reading and thanks for the info.

You can find the complete series for sale on from several vendors. Not retail, but pretty good quality.