With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us?
The Twilight Zone (Episode #110): “Miniature” (airdate 2/21/63)
The Plot: A man becomes obsessed with the contents of a dollhouse.
The Goods: On a trip to the museum, the timid Charley Parkes (Robert Duvall) believes he sees movement inside a dollhouse. As any normal human would do, he keeps heading back to see if he can spy the same motion or find out what it is.
What he finds, is a young woman with whom he falls in tiny love.
Of course, he’s sent to the loony bin. He’s become too infatuated with objects that the rest of the world see as static. He’s fallen for an inanimate representation of life. He must be crazy, right?
There isn’t a lot of meat to the plot here. It focuses almost entirely on his treatment and his subsequent release (which sees him heading back to his miniscule love immediately). The key to the brilliance of the episode is in Duvall’s performance. It’s probably the best acting that the series ever saw. It’s award-worthy work from a man who only a year earlier had his film debut in To Kill a Mockingbird and was still two decades away from winning his Oscar.
Duvall’s Parkes is a sobering, saddening man who pours the whole of his joy into a singular entity. The nuance at work here is staggering (and famous).
If there’s one reason alone to see this episode, it’s that, but it also happens to be a showcase of fine directing. It’s a well-told story that has more emotional ups and downs than the typical trip into the Zone. It’s an oasis in the bland desert of Season 4.
In a way, it’s also the Yin to the Yang of Time Enough At Last – both see a man of diminutive stature who are psychologically abused by a woman escaping into a world others view as fantasy. However, where one is tragic, the other is celebratory.
What do you think?
The Trivia: Although we think of him as a film actor, Duvall got his start in a ton of television shows.
On the Next Episode: The devil goes into the newspaper business.
We’re running through all 156 of the original Twilight Zone episodes over the next several weeks, and we won’t be doing it alone! Our friends at Twitch will be entering the Zone as well on alternating weeks. So definitely tune in over at Twitch and feel free to also follow along on our Twitter accounts @twitchfilm and @rejectnation.