Honored Horror: 'An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge'
The winner of both the Golden Palm for Best Short Subject Award at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival and Best Live Action Short at the '63 Academy Awards, Robert Enrico's "La Riviere du Hibou" ("Owl River") is by no means a jolt-a-minute shockathon -- the mood is more pensive than petrifying. But the short, based on the short story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce, is most definitely Halloween material: A Confederate spy, (Roger Jacquet), sentenced to be hanged by Union troops, makes a daring escape from the gallows and makes his way to his home, where his wife and child await... or does he? The denouement, at once shocking and moving, made it a perfect addition to "The Twilight Zone," where it aired (minus a few minutes of running time) in the anthology's final season in 1964.
Here's "Owl Creek Bridge," sans the "Twilight Zone" wrap-arounds. May I suggest turning down the lights? Black and white chills are always more effective in the dark.
-- Paul Gaita
Photo credit: Handout