"Eye of the Beholder" was an episode of "G.E. Theater" that aired in 1953 starring Richard Conte and the ethereal Martha Vickers along with a cast full of high-octane character actors who knew just how to play their particular parts.
Ironically, I saw this film, not on TV, but in a junior high classroom. Somehow its educational message had actually transcended its entertainment value enough for the school board to spring for a 16mm copy. The fact that I still vividly remember the medium and the message all these years later is a testament to the quality television that was being produced in the 50's, and to the potential of TV if it's used for something other than eating bugs and other current network embarrassments.
Richard Conte plays the infamous Michael Girard, who is viewed by the other characters as everything from a masher to a murderer, and we see the story played out from each of the characters point of view. This requires that Conte play the Girard character differently in each scene. In one scene he's a nerd, and in another, he's a hood. A great actor and veteran of countless crime dramas, Conte pushes all the right buttons as his characters morphs between scenes. Girard's evil nature seems to be escalating as the story progresses until it reaches an exciting climax with a twist.
It's a brilliant performance from Conte and a fine production directed by Felix Feist and written by Hannah Grad Goodman. It's a shame we don't have quality television like this anymore, a show that entertains while it educates. If you can somehow manage to see this short film, I highly recommend it.
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