Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Twonky (1953)

Starring Hans Conried, Billy Lynn, Gloria Blondell, Ed Max, Janet Warren
Directed by Arch Oboler
(actor & director credits courtesy

While his wife is away on a trip, a college professor finds his life taken over by their new television set, which has incredible abilities not to be found in any other set.

Arch Oboler is probably better known today for his acclaimed radio plays than his films, although most of both took place in the world of science fiction, as this does.  The concept of the film is a winning satire, contrasting how television dominates people's lives by creating a set for the film which never broadcasts a single program, but is soon controlling Conried by deciding what he should read, what he should listen to, and following him around on actual walking legs.  Before long, it also is incapacitating anyone trying to remove it from Conried's house by turning them into mindless zombies.  As clever as that approach is, unfortunately the screenplay spends too much time on Lynn's character, a mediocre football coach who speaks silly nonsense, including a never explained comparison of the female gender to french fried potatoes.  The end result is a film with promise that squanders it by trying to be amusing and failing.

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