"Eye of the Beholder" is an episode of the The Twilight Zone.
From the CBS Video Library cover:
"Miss Janet Tyler, hospital patient 307, lives in a private world of darkness. Surgeons have just labored to repair the hideously disfigured face that has made her a lifelong outcast. If the procedure fails, state officials will relegate her to a special village with others of her kind. Tyler waits with hope, her head completely covered in bandages, ready to witness the outcome of her doctors' efforts."
"Suspended in time and space for a moment, your introduction to Miss Janet Tyler, who lives in a very private world of darkness, a universe whose dimensions are the size, thickness, length of a swath of bandages that cover her face. In a moment, we'll go back into this room, and also in a moment, we'll look under those bandages, keeping in mind, of course, that we're not to be surprised by what we see, because this isn't just a hospital, and this patient 307 is not just a woman. This happens to be The Twilight Zone, and Miss Janet Tyler, with you, is about to enter it."
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 that 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. The reaction of the doctor and nurses is horror and disappointment. The procedure has failed, and her face has undergone "no change—no change at all". The camera pulls back to reveal that she is actually beautiful.
At this point, the doctor, nurses and other people in the hospital are revealed to be horribly deformed from our perspective, with large, thick brows, sunken eyes, swollen and twisted lips, and wrinkled, pig-like snouts. Distraught by the failure of the procedure, Tyler runs through the hospital as the faces of everyone she runs into, the norm in this society, are revealed. Flat-screen television screens throughout the hospital project an image of the State's despotic leader giving a speech calling for greater conformity.
Eventually, a handsome man (by our standards) 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, saying that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder".
"Now the questions that come to mind: 'Where is this place, and when is it?' 'What kind of world where ugliness is the norm and beauty the deviation from that norm?' You want an answer? The answer is, it doesn't make any difference. Because the old saying happens to be true. Beauty *is* in the eye of the beholder, in this year or a hundred years hence. On this planet or wherever there is human life, perhaps out amongst the stars. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Lesson to be learned - in The Twilight Zone."
Preview for Next Week's Story
"You've probably run across these penny-machines that tell your fortune. You put a penny in...and out comes a card, only this particular machine which you'll see next week is a little bit unique in that the fortunes that it tells happen to come true. A most intriguing tale called "The Nick of Time" by Mr. Richard Matheson and you're invited to partake of it. Thank you and good night."
- Rod Serling as Narrator
- Maxine Stuart as Janet Tyler (under bandages)
- Donna Douglas as Janet Tyler (unmasked)
- William D. Gordon as Doctor Bernardi
- Jennifer Howard as Nurse
- Edson Stroll as Walter Smith
- Cayuga Productions
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (in association with)
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (1959) (USA) (TV) (original airing)
- Corporation, The (2008) (France) (DVD)
Home media release
This episode is included on the Image Entertainment Vol. 43 DVD under its alternate title, "The Private World of Darkness", along with the alternate version of "Where Is Everybody?", "A World of His Own" and "A Thing About Machines". It's included on the More Treasures of The Twilight Zone DVD under its original title along with "The Masks" and "The Howling Man".
- Maxine Stuart was replaced by Donna Douglas for the unmasking scene. Originally Donna's voice was to be overdubbed by Stuart's voice but coincidentally Donna's voice was so similar to Stuart's that they kept it.
- The episode received a remake in the 2002 revival of The Twilight Zone
Notes and References
- CBS Video Library: Twilight Zone #0307 "The Invaders/One for the Angels/Eye of the Beholder/The Lonely" ; UPC: 000307060004, EAN: 0000307060004, ASIN: B0007LHTR4; Format: NTSC, VHS, Collector's Edition (1987)