The Twilight Zone Episode 75: The Midnight Sun

General Information

Director: Anton Leader

Writer: Rod Serling

Cast: Lois Nettleton, Betty Garde, Tom Reese, Jason Wingreen, June Ellis, and William Keene

Composer: Van Cleave

Air Date: 11/17/1961

Production Code: 4818

 

Overview

As the Earth approaches the sun at an accelerated rate, Norma (Lois Nettleton) and Mrs. Bronson (Betty Garde)—the last remaining residents of an old apartmentthe-twilight-zone-the-midnight-sun complex—must endure extremely high temperatures on both a daily and nightly basis. Additional problems arise when a physically imposing, mentally unstable man (Tom Reese) breaks into the apartment and helps himself to a bottle of fresh water—the most valuable commodity on the entire planet.

Employing a doomsday scenario to expose the true (i.e. selfish and depraved) nature of the average human, “The Midnight Sun” deserves its reputation as a classic, insightful episode of The Twilight Zone. Especially phenomenal are the performances of Tom Reese, Betty Garde, and Lois Nettleton, which add an air of realism to the (exceedingly improbable) notion of the sun gradually engulfing the Earth over a span of several weeks.

 

Pros

Due to budgetary constraints and a running time of only twenty-five minutes, “The Midnight Sun” fails to convey the full and devastating extent of athe-twilight-zone-the-midnight-sun worldwide apocalypse. Nevertheless, the premise of a modern society on the brink of collapse is made credible, engaging, and deeply unnerving by the reactions of Mrs. Bronson, a landlady who struggles to behave in a calm and rational manner when affected by heatstroke; Norma, an artist whose paintings of the sun seem to reflect a sense of impending doom—much in contrast to her ostensible optimism; and a housebreaker who, despite having been a “decent man” in the past, holds two women at gunpoint while stealing water from a refrigerator: convincing depictions of the panic, insanity, and hopelessness that would plague the human race during an extinction event.

 

Cons

None.

 

Analysis

the-twilight-zone-the-midnight-sunSimilar to “The Shelter” from earlier in season three, “The Midnight Sun” indicates that the majority of people remain civilized only when afforded the comforts and luxuries of an advanced civilization, instead abandoning concepts such as morality, altruism, and basic human decency upon reverting to survival mode.

 

Concluding Comments

A harrowing glimpse into the primitive side of man, “The Midnight Sun” should be commended for its compelling drama coupled with an apocalyptic setting. Also remarkable is the twist ending featured in this episode, which serves as a testament to the ability of Rod Serling—creator of and frequent contributor to The Twilight Zone—to skew the perception of his audience.

 

Overall Quality: 10/10

 

If you enjoyed this post, please enter your email address in the subscription box to stay tuned for more updates.

Please note: Comments that are malicious, offensive, or excessively profane will be removed. Off-topic messages belong in the About section.

Leave a Reply

One thought on “The Twilight Zone Episode 75: The Midnight Sun

  1. There is definitely similarity between this episode and “The shelter” with showing how people ordinarily decent snap and resort to primitive aggression, losing common sense and decency when placed under the most extreme circumstances where it’s become seemingly impossible for survival under the ordinary systems of manners and civility. In “The shelter”, people resort to uncivilized aggression to claw into that shelter and anyone in their way to survive the nuclear Holocaust. In this episode, a normally civil man breaks into someone else’s apartment holding a gun and knocking a lady to the ground to get ahold of water to survive the continuous 120 degree temperatures and extreme shortage in water and facilities. And under the circumstances, I believed him when he said he was normally a decent man. Those are dangerous conditions when being very low on water.

    Argumentatively, the man Joe Caldwell in “Execution” the scientist who brought him to 1960 from the 19th century old west, it might be looked at the same way when Joe explained how he killed those men saying “another man’s bread or another man’s jacket stands between you and staying alive”. However, there were other signs that showed that Joe really had truely evil tendencies when he was showing absolutely no remorse about his latest killing right before being hung, saying ” the man had too much mouth, not enough brain, I’d invite him back out again tomorrow if I could do it over again”. He also shot the man in the back. He also killed the scientist unprovoked without freezing or starving having anything to do with it. However on that one though, the scientist was telling him that he was going to send him back to his own time right to the moment of his hanging, so in a sense, that killing was for survival also. But he could’ve just ran away though, he didn’t have to kill him.