Ray Bradbury Theater – The Man Upstairs (S2E5)

If you were thinking the only way this series could get worse was to set an episode in France —  sacré bleu!

rbnotredame07aWe open with the standard shots of the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame Cathedral accompanied by the usual God-awful electronic score.  Normally, this would indicate stock footage and be a sure sign that the episode was not filmed in Paris.  Shockingly, the camera pans from the cathedral to one of the actors throwing rocks in the river.  Was this actually filmed in Paris?

Grandma calls her American grandson Dougie into the small hotel she runs so he can watch her plunge a Michael Myers sized kitchen knife into a turkey, which apparently he always takes great pleasure in.  As Grandma stitches up the bird, Dougie plays with with the guts she removed.  This strikes Grandma as charming rather than, say, a sign of tendencies toward serial killing.

A man, Mr. Koberman, rings the door of the hotel.  He is French, carrying a parasol and wearing a turtleneck, so Dougie wisely tells him they are full, beat it.  Grandma has a business to run, however, and invites the man in.  Dougie shows the man to his room.  When he opens the curtains, the man reels back from the sunlight.

rbtreadwell01That night at dinner, we meet the other tenants: Mr. Dumas, an artist, and the very hot and criminally underused Miss Treadwell, a student.  Dougie notices that Mr. Koberman hides his silverware and produces his own wooden utensils.  He says the sound of silverware clanking gives him lé willies.

So naturally Dougie tweaks him by doing a trick with his fork.  Somehow he plucks the tines, producing a sound that no real fork could ever make, not even a tuning fork.  In fact, it sounds suspiciously like the awful electronic score of the episode.  This drives Bokerman from the table.  I feel his pain.

That night, Miss Treadwell goes to the library, and Koberman goes out for the evening.  Dougie plays with his heat-sensing camera —  wait, what?  As Koberman returns to the hotel, Dougie notices a strange hot hourglass-shaped organ in his chest.  The next morning, Miss Treadwell does not come down to breakfast.  And they are having croissants!

rbeiffel01Dougie checks out her room to see if she is OK.  Or naked.

No sign of her, so he goes to Bokerman’s room.  There he sees pictures of many girls, including Miss Treadwell.  There is also a picture of Bokerman at the construction of the Eiffel Tower.

Dougie connects a lot of dots and determines that Bokerman is a vampire.  He sneaks into his room, pulls out the turkey knife and plunges it into Bokerman.  He proudly brings the strange organ downstairs to show Grandma.

Strangely, Mr. Dumas and the police seem to have no particular concern that this boy has murdered a tenant at the hotel.  With a lack of skepticism worthy of the Obama press corp, they accept that this must have been a monster and deserving of his fate.  Seeing that he was stitched up just like the turkey, they cut him open and find the murder weapon — not the knife but Dougie’s silver coin collection.    Says one: “Seems like the boy made a good investment.”  Cue haughty French laugh.

I rate this a cinq.

Post-Post Leftovers:

  • Sacré bleu is never actually used in French speaking countries.
  • Dumas says the Eiffel Tower was built for the 1900 Paris Exhibition, but it was actually built for the 1889 World’s Fair.
  • The director’s other credits are French productions, further suggesting this was filmed in France.  There’s got to be a story behind that.
  • Dougie is one of the worst child actors in history.  He is at the level of Worf’s son on Star Trek TNG or . . . [I got nothing].  Appropriately, this is his only credit on IMDb.
  • Féodor Atkine (Koberman) has had quite the career, however.  Mostly in France, but he was also in Woody Allen’s Love and Death, and in World War Z where he was oddly uncredited.
  • Miss Treadwell is still in the biz, but is credited only sporadically on IMDb.

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