The Eye of the Beholder

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Maxine Stuart: Janet Tyler (under bandages)
Donna Douglas: Janet Tyler (unmasked)
William D. Gordon: Doctor Bernardi
Jennifer Howard: Nurse
Edson Stroll: Walter Smith

"The Eye of the Beholder" (also titled "The Private World Of Darkness" when initially rebroadcast in the summer of 1962) is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.

Contents

Synopsis

Janet Tyler has undergone her eleventh treatment (the maximum number legally allowed) in an attempt to look like everybody else. The details of the treatment are not given, but Tyler is first shown with her head completely bandaged, so her face cannot be seen. She is described as being "not normal" by the nurses and doctor, whose own faces are always in shadows or off-camera.

The outcome of the procedure cannot be known until the bandages are removed. Tyler pleads with the doctor and eventually convinces him to remove the bandages early. After a climactic buildup, the bandages are removed, revealing to the audience that she is beautiful. However, the reaction of the doctor and nurses is disappointment; the operation has failed, her face has undergone "no change — no change at all".

At this point, the doctor, nurses and other people in the hospital, whose faces have never been seen clearly before, are now revealed to be horribly deformed in the audience's perspective, with large and thick brows, heavy eye-shadow, curled lips, and misshapen, pig-like snouts. Distraught by the failure of the procedure, Tyler runs through the hospital as the disfigured faces of everyone she runs into, the norm in this society, are revealed. Large screens throughout the hospital project an image of the State's despotic leader (sounding and making gestures like Adolf Hitler), calling for greater conformity.

Eventually, a handsome man afflicted with the same "condition" arrives to take the crying, despondent Tyler into exile to a village of her "own kind", where her "ugliness" will not trouble the State. Before the two leave, the man comforts Tyler with the "very, very old saying" that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder".

Production

The episode was written by Rod Serling, who remade it as "The Different Ones" for his later series Night Gallery. The remade version involves a disfigured teenage boy who is sent in a spaceship to a planet where the inhabitants look like him.

It was directed by Douglas Heyes. His primary concern, when he was casting the show, was to pick actors with sympathetic voices: to achieve this he cast the episode with his back to the performers.[citation needed]

The original title for this episode was "Eye of the Beholder." Stuart Reynolds, a television producer, threatened to sue Serling for the use of the name because at the time he was selling an educational film of the same name to public schools. Reruns following the initial broadcast featured the title screen "The Private World of Darkness." Because CBS consulted different prints over the years for syndication packages, the closing credits for this episode varies from one title to the other depending on what television station is using which package. In The Twilight Zone's original DVD release the syndicated version was marketed as an "alternate version".[1]

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