The Twilight Zone

Season 1 Episode 4

The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine

Aired Unknown Oct 23, 1959 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (4)

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out of 10
197 votes
  • Where the Series Starts

    This is the episode where The Twilight Zone really kicked in, the first story that defined what the series was. A great, dramatic script about an ageing, faded film star who refuses to accept her past has deserted her, and a twist at the end that eventually became the hallmark of the series.

    It's not one of my favourite episodes, but it's where the writing really began to take shape.
  • An againg actress longs for her faded youth and career.

    The episode comes as a pretty mixed bag. The dialogue while great at times, feels dated at other. Everytime the plot takes a step forward it seems to take another step back, things get intresting then the old dynamic returns. It's not till the Sci-Fi elements are truely introdcued that things pick up, then its little too late, as theres not much exploration of the concept.

    There are some pretty entertaing and intresting moments; when the interviewer finnaly snaps at the annoying actress, and when we learn there is a level of interaction between the film world of her wishes and the real world. Problem is there not enough to lift what is overall a pretty blande story, and I'm also puzzled as to why she reamins in her current age when she longed for her youth. Not offesnivley bad, but forgetable.
  • Here's to the wishes that come true

    I really enjoyed this episode, which was a great surprise given the bad reputation it seems to have acquired. From a pure writing perspective, 'The 16mm shrine' is an absolute treat, with fantastic dialogue and character analysis, typical of Serling. In particular I really enjoyed the philosophical indulgences of the episode, tackling themes of existence and reality, whilst balancing it with more psychological topics such as denial, pride, and desire. 'The sixteen-millimeter shrine' is an episode about how these ideas based around an unwillingness to accept change can seemingly alienate a person from the rest of the ever-changing world. It is also a fantastic example of cerebral Twilight Zone; one that explores the mind rather than the world outside it. These elements all come together very nicely to create a thought provoking and incredibly interesting 25 minutes.

    The episode is not without its faults however, which mainly lay in Lupino and Leisen shoes. Ironically, I felt Lupino was unconvincing throughout, with only a few scenes that could count as memorable. This of course being an absolute shame considering how well Serling had written her character. Furthermore Leisen didn't seem to know what to do with most of his characters, sometimes having them stand around on set doing next to nothing -which probably explains why accepted the poor performances from Lupino half the time-. Thankfully Balsam does a good job of covering up a lot of weak spots, helping redeem the show from an acting perspective at least.

    As I said previously however, if you're a fan of classic film and cerebral science fiction, this shouldn't be as bad as it's sometimes made out to be. In addition to the writing that I mentioned above, the episode also features some fantastic photography (it still amazes me that the show looks this good nearly fifty years later!) and decent enough set-design. Overall 'The sixteen-millimeter shrine" is a great episode and above all is certainly one to make you think.
  • 'The 16mm Shrine' is "The Twilight Zone"s take on Sunset Blvd.

    In 'The 16mm Shrine' an aging actress, played by Ida Lupino, sits in a darkened room watching her old films. She longs to be beautiful and famous again; Just as she was in those films. All the while her maid and agent try to help her realize that 20 years have passed and she can't go back. Martin Balsam and Ida Lupino both deserve credit for creating memorable characters in the short amount of time they were given. The theme of revisiting the past was touched upon in the prior episode 'Mr. Denton On Doomsday' and would be dealt with even more extensively upon in the next episode 'Walking Distance'. However, both 'Mr. Denton On Doomsday' and 'Walking Distance' achieved a more satisfying conclusion then 'The 16mm Shrine'. The final plot twist is just unconvincing. Overall, I give it a 6 for 10.