Director: Lamont Johnson
Writer: George Clayton Johnson
Cast: Gladys Cooper, Robert Redford, and R.G. Armstrong
Composer: None (Stock Music)
Air Date: 1/5/1962
Production Code: 3662
Fearing the arrival of Mr. Death, Wanda Dunn (Gladys Cooper)—a timid, fragile woman well past her prime—refuses to open her front door under any circumstances. A terrible choice must be made, however, when police officer Harold Beldon (Robert Redford) is badly wounded right outside Wanda’s home.
Offering a superior take on the premise of “One for the Angels,” “Nothing in the Dark” conveys a valuable life lesson through poignant drama. Additionally worth praising, the acting of Gladys Cooper (whom fans of The Twilight Zone will recognize from “Night Call” and “Passage on the Lady Anne”) adds an air of delicacy and human emotion to the stubbornness of Wanda Dunn.
In spite of her selfish desire to remain alive long after her expiration date, the elderly woman played by Cooper succeeds in evoking sympathy from the audience. Specifically, Wanda’s expressions of sorrow mixed with terror ultimately reinforce the vulnerable, if not pitiful, nature of a woman whose fear of death leads her to accept deplorable living conditions in perpetuity.
Viewers may also appreciate the performance of Robert Redford, whose handsome appearance and charming demeanor serve to misdirect the audience from a shocking, albeit not necessarily dreadful, twist regarding the true identity and intentions of his character.
As evidenced by the monologue of a duty-bound contractor (R.G. Armstrong), the actions of Wanda Dunn reflect the futility in attempting to thwart the cycle of life, death, and rebirth that occurs throughout nature on a continual basis—an important message that, though not exceptionally profound or new, may inspire comfort in those who face a similar predicament to that of Cooper’s character.
“Nothing in the Dark” is a thoughtful, emotionally stirring episode of The Twilight Zone. Especially well-executed are the interactions of Harold and Wanda, which may affect those with a strong sense of compassion.
Overall Quality: 10/10
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