Thursday, October 7, 2021

Revisiting the Wild Wild West: The Night of the Sedgewick Curse

"The Night of the Sedgewick Curse" 
Written by  Paul Playdon
Directed by Marvin J. Chomsky
Synopsis: A mysterious disappearance at a hotel and spa leads West and Gordon to Sedgewick Manor and the sinister secrets its inhabitants are keeping.

Trey: This episode is probably the most effective Gothic riff in the series, so far. Even the music--different from the traditional WWW score, but also not the modern, jaunty stuff we've been hearing recently--supports that vibe.

Jim: Oh yeah, this episode makes great use of the creepy vibe. Once West gets into Lavinia's dark mansion, it's one Gothic visual after another, culminating with the beautiful Lavinia aging before our eyes, a consequence of her doomed quest for eternal youth. Also, it starts with a variation on the Vanishing Lady/Hotel Room urban legend, which was popularized by another classic CBS show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents in the episode "Into Thin Air."

We have occasionally talked about how often the guest actors (villains) on the show may not have been the best choice for the given role. I have no such complaints about this episode! Jay Robinson is wonderfully unnerving as Dr. Maitland. His monologue about the historical portraits is almost Lovecraftian.

Trey: He is great, and he's one of three Star Trek alumni guest starring here. The other two are Sharon Acker and Anthony Jochim.

Jim: I don't remember Robinson from Star Trek, I DO remember him from "Dr. Shrinker" a segment from the short-lived Sid & Marty Kroft show, The Krofft Supershow.

Trey: Robinson's role in ST is pretty minor. He's the Troyian Ambassador in "Elaan of Troyius."  He's also got green alien make-up on and a wig, so not easy to spot except by that voice.

Jim: Yeah, he would have been pretty much invisible to me during that episode, as I would have only had eyes for France Nuyen!

One thing I admire about James West is that he is often so confident of his abilities that he doesn't worry about sleeping in a dangerous place. (Something he's done a few times in the series.) We never see him or Gordon quibble about who will have first watch, or how to best secure their area. I wish he was leading my D&D party.

Trey: He has the confidence of a man who knows he's the series lead. He's particularly lucky this episode, though. It's Gordon that gets put in two death traps whereas he's usually the rescuer!

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