15 October 2000 | Casey-52
One of the better made-for-TV movies
Any film fan knows that this is where Steven Spielberg got his start, directing the second vignette "Eyes". But NIGHT GALLERY deserves more respect and attention because of its overall creepiness than for the debut of a young "genius".
Rod Serling, creator of "The Twilight Zone", hosts this anthology TV movie that later spawned the TV series of the same name. Both the film and the series feature a multitude of guest stars that keep things interesting. Part 1: An obnoxious southern man (superbly played by Roddy McDowall) kills his uncle (George Macready) for his fortune and is later haunted by a painting of the family cemetery. Part 2: A blind woman (Joan Crawford) arranges to use a gambler's eyes (Tom Bosley) so she can see for a few hours, but things don't turn out the way she planned. Part 3: A Nazi war criminal living in South America is enchanted by a beautiful painting that reminds me of his happier past.
Of the three stories, Part 3 is easily the weakest. Part 1 and Part 2 are both amazing pieces of cinema and leave lingering memories to haunt you. But the plot and execution of Part 3 is rather boring and never really provides the viewer with memorable images or even a few chills here and there. Joan Crawford and Roddy McDowall easily take the cake as the best actors in the movie. Having always been a fan of both, I may be a bit biased, but most fans will agree with me that the two play wonderful villains, yet evoke a certain pity when they get theirs. The music in the movie is brilliant, by the way.
NIGHT GALLERY is an above-average TV movie that should be out on DVD already. The VHS is out of print, I believe, but try looking for it. My advice: watch the first two, then stop, rewind, and eject. Avoid the third installment as it will positively ruin the viewing experience.