February 28 in Twilight Zone History: Celebrating the 1964 premiere of 'An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge'

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Feb 28, 2018

Today, February 28th, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia celebrate the 1964 premiere of a very unique TZ episode, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge."

For the only time in the five-year history of the show, the producers decided to acquire a complete film from an outside source – in this case an Academy Award-winning short film written and directed by Robert Enrico, based on a short story by Ambrose Bierce. In this wonderfully produced French production of a Civil War story, Roger Jacquet stars as Confederate sympathizer Peyton Farquhar, who's about to be hanged by Union troops. The rope breaks and Peyton plunges into a river, racing downstream as rifle fire tries to take him down. He's determined to return home to his wife (Anne Cornaly).

French actor Roger Jacquet beautifully portrayed the fear of Confederate sympathizer Peyton Farquhar in "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge."

Robert Enrico, working in a kind of Terrence Malick-style of war and nature (think The Thin Red Line), marvelously captures the atmosphere of the story while maintaining the tension of a desperate man seeking his freedom. It was truly a perfect addition to the show's fifth and final season.

In the atmospheric "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," Anne Cornaly portrayed Peyton Farquhar's wife, waiting for her husband to return from the war. 

Enrico (1931-2001) went on to direct multiple features in his native France; actor Roger Jacquet turns 90 next month. Serling's Cayuga Productions paid $20,000 to air the film.

So let's hoist a glass of champagne to this acquired gem that nicely filled out the jewel box we call The Twilight Zone.