Thriller – The Prisoner in the Mirror (05/23/61)

tprisonerinthemirror02Paris 1910 — I ‘m bored already.

A man is entertaining a woman by doing a few magic tricks for her at dinner. Despite not being six, she is charmed by his shenanigans.  He produces a bird from under a napkin — God knows where he had the poor thing jammed during the amuse-bouche and escargot.  Then he releases the filthy creature in the restaurant to shit in everyone’s consomme — to her delight.

Ultimately, she is hypnotized by his reveal of a huge diamond necklace.  But the scene tprisonerinthemirror03turns to horror as she screams, imagining him turn into a skeleton and his bony fingers putting the necklace on her.  He apparently strangles her as the gendarmes come after him as he is painting over an evil mirror. Rather than face trial and be judged mad, he throws himself out the window, uncannily splatting in the spotlight of a curiously focused streetlamp.

“Half a century later,” Boris tells us.

Professor Robert Langdon, er Harry Langham is interested in an old mirror he has read about and has his assistant, Fred Forrest, scouring the antique shoppes and museums looking for it.  Langham himself finally finds the mirror in a Paris antique shoppe, still tprisonerinthemirror04painted over.  As he scrapes away a bit of the paint, he sees the image of a woman killed by the original owner of the mirror.

He has it shipped home to America, or specifically to the home shared by Langham and Forrest.  Forrest wants his sister Kay to marry Langham and settle him down.  They move the mirror up to the bedroom where Langham gets out the paint scraper and cleans the entire mirror.  He sits staring at the mirror for hours, but sees only himself.  Finally in the dark, he sees the woman lighting candles.  She is able to hear him, but can’t speak herself.

When he tries to show his girlfriend Kay, she sees only her own reflection.  And as she is played by a very hot 33 year old Marion Ross (Mrs. C on Happy Days), that should be tprisonerinthemirror07enough.

But Langham throws her out, and is then met by a man in the mirror who explains that the original owner, evil Count Cagliostro has trapped them in that other dimension, but that they are alive.

The man recites an incantation that is supposed to free them from the mirror, but instead hypnotizes Langham into joining them in the mirror dimension. This enables the man to take inhabit Langham’s body outside the mirror.  The woman can now speak and tells him the man was actually the evil Cagliostro.

Cagliostro goes out for a night on the town for the first time in 50 years, foolishly passing up the very hot Mrs. C who was just complaining of Langham not paying enough attention to her.  Luckily for the future Mr. C, Cagliostro picks up a floozy down by the docks and kills her, drawing the police to his house.

tprisonerinthemirror08The next morning, he sets his eyes on Kay.  She is Langham’s girlfriend, and is there first thing in morning, but he wakes up alone in a twin bed?

That night, Kay deduces that he killed the floozy.  Fred busts him for killing Kay.  The mirror is busted in a struggle.

A nice little story, but with major strings left dangling — like the fate of 3 major characters.  Is Langham dead, or trapped forever in the other dimension?  How about the girl in there with him? Most importantly, is Kay actually dead or hypnotized perhaps banished to a mirror downstairs?

Post-Post:

  • The representation of the people in the mirror is sometimes fairly amusing as it is obvious they are just standing in a box.  In some scenes not even a sheet of glass has been installed to look like a mirror.
  • Supposedly Marion Ross is given the ironic toast “Happy Days” but I missed it and ain’t going back.
  • One year later, Lloyd Bochner would be hauled aboard a Kanamit spaceship just because no one could decipher that To Serve Man was a cookbook despite the pages and pages of full-color tasty dishes.

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