Queen of the Nile (The Twilight Zone)
|"Queen of the Nile"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 5
|Directed by||John Brahm|
|Written by||Jerry Sohl
(credited to Charles Beaumont)
|Featured music||Lucien Moraweck|
|Original air date||March 6, 1964|
Columnist Jordan Herrick, a noted cynic, prepares to interview famed actress Pamela Morris. She is known for her vitality and beauty, and many want to know her secret to staying young and beautiful. Herrick is welcomed to Morris's sprawling manor by her housekeeper, Charlotte, who says Miss Morris will be in soon. While he waits, he examines a painting of her that is dated 1940. Then he turns and sees her swimming in the pool outside, and goes outside to greet her. She looks just as she did in the painting.
An old woman approaches the actress, who frowns and tells the old woman, "Didn't I tell you to stay in your room?" The old woman responds that she doesn't want to see her do it again, but retreats.
Miss Morris welcomes Herrick and turns on the charm full force. When he asks how old she is, she claims she has no secrets, but keeps deflecting his question. They later have coffee and are joined by the old woman, whom Miss Morris introduces as her mother, Mrs. Draper. Herrick expresses an interest in talking with Mrs. Draper, but Miss Morris says her mother's "mind wanders and her memory becomes increasingly distorted."
After Mrs. Draper retreats, Miss Morris flirts relentlessly with Herrick, ending with a kiss. After the kiss, she dismisses him, but tells him, "We'll see each other again, if you like." He responds by saying, "What about tonight? Dinner?" She agrees.
As Herrick is leaving, Mrs. Draper meets him outside and warns him to never come back. He asks how old Miss Morris is, and Mrs. Draper says she doesn't know. Then she says that she is Miss Morris's daughter. He frowns.
In the next scene, Herrick and Miss Morris are returning from their dinner. They kiss in the car, and Herrick tells Miss Morris about what Mrs. Draper had said. She says Mrs. Draper is mentally disturbed. They kiss, and agree to see each other again.
After the date, Herrick calls his editor and asks him to research the film The Queen of the Nile, Pamela's first film. The editor reveals that there had been two films by that name, the first having been a silent movie that was filmed on location in Egypt. It ended in tragedy; a cave-in in a tomb near the end of the shooting killed the leading lady, Constance Taylor. The editor describes Constance as having been an ageless beauty and a real femme fatale. Herrick asks the editor to find photos of both actresses; the editor says they look alike. Herrick asks a few other questions based on things Miss Morris had said, still trying to find out her real age, and asks the editor to dig up newspaper clippings on every man Miss Morris has ever been involved with.
In the next scene, Mrs. Draper is going through the newspaper clippings and assures him that it is all true. She begs him again to leave and never come back. Miss Morris comes in and interrupts their conversation. Charlotte follows with a coffee cart. Miss Morris dismisses Mrs. Draper and Charlotte, then drops something into Herrick's cup. As Herrick drinks his coffee, she asks him what he wants, and he says, "Just the truth."
"And you shall have it," she says, and goes to fetch a small container from behind an Egyptian-style statue. When Miss Morris returns to Herrick's side, he is sweating and weakened. She openly holds the container, which we now see has a scarab beetle in it. Herrick asks what it is, and she says it is the secret of eternity. She says she got it from "the pharaohs, who understood its power."
Herrick is growing increasingly more ill, but manages to say, "The pharaohs, hm?" Miss Morris responds, "I told you, Mr. Herrick. I was once Queen of the Nile." Herrick slumps unconscious to her living room floor. Miss Morris applies the scarab to Herrick's chest. The beetle pulls the youth from him, gradually aging him until he dies, then turns to a skeleton (and then we see, in a few minutes, that he has turned to dust). She then applies the scarab to her own chest, seeming to rejuvenate.
The episode ends with yet another young and handsome columnist arriving to interview Miss Morris, starting the cycle once again. In the closing narration, it is hinted that Miss Morris is actually Cleopatra VII, and she has continued to live for more than two thousand years.
"Everyone knows Pamela Morris, the beautiful and eternally young movie star. Or does she have another name, even more famous, an Egyptian name from centuries past? It's best not to be too curious, lest you wind up like Jordan Herrick, a pile of dust and old clothing, discarded in the endless eternity of the Twilight Zone."
Apparently, in the original first-draft script, a handsome young policeman turned up at the end of the story, asking Pamela Morris as to the whereabouts of the now missing Jordan Herrick. She begins to flatter and flirt with the cop, setting him up to start the cycle all over again.
- DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
- Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0