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Friday, July 21, 2006

2.20 --- Song of the Younger World

Directed by : Noel Black
Written by : Anthony & Nancy Lawrence
Starring : Peter Kowanko, Jennifer Rubin
First aired : 17th of July, 1987.

America, 1916. Tanner Smith (Peter Kowanko), a young stablehand, is in love with the beautiful Amy (Jennifer Rubin, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, Screamers), whose ultrareligious father disapproves of such relationships. Both Tanner and Amy are avid readers, and Tanner is especially fond of Jack London's book, as well as anything with wolves in it.

Problems arise when the two of them are caught in the hay, and Tanner is beaten by Amy's father. Amy is warned by her old man that she would be severely punished if she's caught with Tanner again, and this revokes the will to live in her. An old vagrant called the Hoakie is the link between two young lovers, convincing both that there is hope.

Tanner and Amy soon meet at the library, where Amy shows tanner an ancient book of magic which allows you to transplant your soul into another plane. Tanner does not understand what's she on about, but when she tries it, she manages to transport herself via the imaginary gate described on one of the pages. Her father is gravely unsettled by this and confiscates the book from her, forgetting that there are more copies in the library.

Amy has now made her plan - she informs Hoakie that she will commit suicide, in a way that she would "transport" her soul into the better world while leaving her body behind. She then meets Tanner one last time and tells him to listen to Hoakie's instructions, but Tanner is still confused about the whole issue. When he goes to visit her next morning, he finds her dead, and in a fit of rage decides to attack her father. The assault fails, and Tanner is thrown into the dungeon, laced up in a sort of straitjacket.

Hoakie manages to reach him and show him the piece of paper Amy sent to him, just in time as Amy's father decides to take matters into his own hands. He shoots Hoakie, but is too late to stop Tanner, who succesfully decyphers the magical writ Amy left him...and joins her in another dimension, in a form of a wolf.


A neat little tale of freedom achieved through unusual ways, Song of the Younger World is a well-directed, well-acted episode off the tail end of season 2. I enjoyed the concept, and the piece was above the Season 2 average standard, but no classic. Which, I guess, is not too much of a bad thing.

If there are any occult-savvy readers here, I'd love it if someone could tell me which book are Tanner and Amy consulting in their "witchery". I couldn't recognize it, and they don't mention its name anywhere.

Robert Blossom, previously seen in The Burning Man as the raving roadside lunatic, is fine as the zealot father, his part fitting perfectly with the liberal ideas often expressed within this series. Director Noel Black is another holdover from season 1 - he directed the marvelous To See the Invisible Man.


Sorry for the lack of updates, but the whole of western Europe is beset by a ginormous heatwave of unseen proportions - it's 30+ celsius with ghastly humidity every day, and I don't find the energy to write as much as just to drone off in my chair watching something.

Comments on "2.20 --- Song of the Younger World"


Blogger The Night Watchman said ... (4:33 AM) : 

The book is the I Ching.


Blogger The Night Watchman said ... (4:36 AM) : 

The book is not a book of spells. But it is very crytpic. Reading the I Ching creatively is part of the tradition of the I Ching. In a weird way, the use of it here made sense.


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