Demon with a Glass Hand - 1964

Demon with a Glass Hand - broadcast October 17, 1964 on ABC The Outer Limits. Directed by Byron Haskin. Stars Robert Culp and Arlene Martel. Screenplay by Harlan Ellison.

In an episode using time-travel, aliens, a hand-sized super computer, virtual-storage and a cyborg, Demon with a Glass Hand was far ahead of its time in 1964 (but by the 1980s was borrowed from for many films, particularly the 1984 James Cameron Terminator, which production company was sued by Ellison for the plagiarism. Ellison won his case.)

Robert Culp is the deadly serious Trent, a man not sure of who he himself is and how he got where he is at, but he hardly has time to think things over because a continuous stream of assassins are trying to kill him, each one dressed strangely and wearing a metal medallion, which, if removed, causes the would-be killer to vanish.

Eventually, Trent ends up at the mercy of Arlene Matel (as Consuelo Biros) who saves him while he is searching through an office building late at night, trying to locate a mysterious mirror that may provide the answer to what is happening to him. Inconveniently, this is also the headquarters for the team of killers trying to destroy him. This being a 51-minute TV story, everything has to move fast and Consuelo is soon in love with the taciturn Trent.

Though Demon with a Glass Hand is marred by the limitations of 1964 television and the limited run-time, Culp is particularly good and Ellison's script fascinating. Director Byron Haskin usually keeps the story moving along and has several well-done action sequences. He also has camera work that sometimes looks like the quality of a feature film, not an episode of a weekly TV-Show. The seeds for many later science fiction stories and movies can be seen in the idea-packed Demon with a Glass Hand.

Original Page July 2016

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