The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 4 Episode 17 – Passage on the Lady Anne

Alan Ransome is a hard charging business executive who spends all his waking hours pushing to get ahead.  His neglected wife Eileen is ready to give up on their marriage but she decides to try one last idea to see if they can reconnect.  On a trip to London that Alan must make she demands that he bring her along and that they travel by ocean liner.  Because of the season and the short reservation timing the only ship available is a very old one called the Lady Anne.

When they arrive at the dock two fellow passengers question whether the Ransomes have made a mistake.  These two old men McKenzie and Burgess say that a mistake has occurred because the trip on the Lady Anne is an excursion that was privately booked by a group.  They relent when Alan shows them their tickets.  But later, just as the ship is ready to embark McKenzie and Burgess make a last attempt to buy back the tickets from Alan for $10,000.  Alan refuses.

Going over the passenger list Alan discovers that no one on board is under seventy-five years of age.  When Alan and Eileen go into the passenger’s lounge, they discover that this used to be a honeymoon ship and that all the passengers are former honeymooners who wanted to ride on the final voyage of the Lady Anne before it is retired.

Meanwhile Alan and Eileen reflect on the failure of their marriage and Allan admits that his business life is more important to him than his marriage.  They decide to divorce when they return from the trip.  Toby McKenzie, the man that tried to buy their tickets invites Alan and Eileen to a “tea” with him and his wife Millie.  Ian Burgess stops by and the three older people talk affectionately of their memories of the Lady Anne back when they were young married couples.  Ian’s wife was supposed to accompany him on this voyage but she died shortly before.  The talk of love and happiness affect both Alan and Eileen but when they leave the tea they get into an argument.  After speaking angrily to Eileen Alan turns away from her and looks over the ocean but when he looks back, she is gone.  Alan feels panicky and starts searching the ship and alerting the passengers and crew of Eileen’s disappearance.  The McKenzies assure Alan that Eileen will show up soon and not to worry.  That night when Alan returns to his cabin Eileen is waiting for him in bed wearing a nightgown given to her by Millie.  And somehow Alan and Eileen manage to reconnect and Alan realizes how mixed up his priorities have been.  They rekindle their marriage and the next day they are in a celebratory mood when the ship is throwing a party.  At some point Alan notices that the ship engine has been stopped.  But the passengers are in no way alarmed and the party goes on happily.  At one point Captain Prothero joins their table and asks the older passengers if they’ve told the Ransomes about the event coming up but the passengers decline to talk about it.  The party continues happily until Captain Prothero returns and asks the passengers again if they’ve told the Ransomes about what will happen that night.  McKenzie says they decided not to spoil the evening.  Then the Captain tells the Ransomes that he will have their belongings loaded on a lifeboat and they will be set out on the ocean.  He assures them that a beacon will alert the Coast Guard and they will be picked up safely but that they cannot stay on the Lady Anne.  Alan resists but one of the ship’s crew pulls a pistol on them.  As they are being loaded on the lifeboat Alan says that he thought the passengers were his friends.  The passengers lower their eyes in sadness but Eileen tells Alan that she knows that they are their friends.

Alan and Eileen are lowered down in the lifeboat and drift away.  They are picked up in a few hours by the Coast Guard.  When they returned to shore, they looked for news of the Lady Anne.  But no news of the ship or its crew and passengers was ever heard of.

This is a very odd story.  Obviously, the Lady Anne is transporting these old couples to a heavenly hereafter and the Ransomes are being let off to allow them to continue their young lives.  There isn’t any way of explaining how exactly the Ransomes were able to get tickets to a ghost ship but this is the Twilight Zone.  I thought I’d b a little harsher with this episode but McKenzie and Burgess are played by two actors that I enjoy watching quite a bit.  McKenzie is played by Wilfrid Hyde-White who has a small but memorable part in the movie “The Third Man” and Burgess is played by Cecil Kellaway who was the murdered husband in “The Postman Always Rings Twice.”  Both of them are great fun in this teleplay along with a few other fine character actors.  Let’s say B.


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