15 August 2007

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

Wow, I've been looking for this for years, literally, YEARS.

I first saw it in an English class almost 20 years ago and it has always stayed with me. It was so creepy and so hard to explain that anytime I'd relate it to someone they'd have absolutely no idea what I was talking about. I did my best to explain it but I was always left feeling like maybe I'd actually dreamt it; like maybe I never saw this thing at all; since no one else could corroborate, or confirm its existence, maybe it was all some dream. Anyway, I found it, at long, long last.

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (sometimes referred to as An Incident at Owl Creek Bridge) is a famous short story by the great Ambrose Bierce. It was originally published in 1890. The story is famous for its irregular time sequence and twist ending.

Set during the Civil War, "An Occurrence..." is the story of Peyton Farquhar, a Confederate sympathiser condemned to die by hanging upon the Owl Creek Bridge of the title.

The main character finds himself already bound at the bridge's edge at the beginning of the story. We later learn that a disguised Union scout enlisted him to attempt to demolish the bridge, and subsequently he was caught in the act.

Lots of stories and movies would later steal this concept and ending but this was the first.

ANYWAY, it was produced in 1962 by a team of French film-makers.

Twilight Zone's producer William Froug saw it and decided to buy the rights to syndicate it on American television.

At the time, the transaction cost the Twilight Zone $10,000—significantly less than the average of $65,000 they'd spend producing their own episodes.

For whatever reason, Froug's purchase allowed for it to be aired only twice. Subsequently it is not included on Twilight Zone's syndication package, and remains impossible to find.

Thank god for YouTube!

It's broken into 3 parts. Don't skip ahead!


An Attitude Exhumed said...

One of my faves. The underwater scene makes me so uncomfortable.

AdamSmithAcademy.org said...

There is a free streaming video of "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge here:

Anonymous said...

"Owl Creek" seems to have inspired a film i saw this weekend "Stay" (2005) dir. Marc Forster. Good Film.