In the Far West, the drunkard Al Denton is bullied by the gunman Dan Hotaling to get some booze. The mysterious Henry J. Fate observes the humiliation and Al Denton finds a revolver on the street. When Dan sees Al Denton with a revolver on his hand, he challenges the drunk for a gunfighter. Fate observes again and makes a movement with his hand that will change the life of Al Denton. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In his 1959 promotional film shown to potential sponsors, Rod Serling summarized an earlier version of this week's plot under its original title, "Death, Destry, and Mr. Dingle." As told by Serling, the basic premise is similar, but the earlier version seems to have been more comedic in tone, involving a meek schoolteacher who quite unintentionally gains notoriety as a top gunslinger. The name "Mr. Dingle" (originally intended for the Dan Duryea character) would be used by Serling for a future show, The Twilight Zone: Mr. Dingle, the Strong (1961) with Burgess Meredith playing the eponymous character. See more »
Right after Denton drinks from the broken liquor bottle at the beginning of the story, he's shown with a large scratch on the right side of his face. In the next scene with Liz, the scratch is gone. See more »
I was good. I was real good. I was so good that once a day, someone would ride into town to make me prove it. And every morning, I'd start my drinkin' a few minutes earlier. Until one morning, the guy who asked me to prove it turned out to be sixteen years old. I left him there on his face. Right there in front of the saloon. I left him there bleedin' to death with my bullet in him. I guess it'll start all over again, now. Every fast and fancy man who owns a gun will come riding in down that ...
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Russian folk tune
played throughout See more »
Dan Duryea is wonderful as a gunslinger turned wretched drunk named Al Denton. Poor Al spends his days being tortured and teased by cretins such as swaggering bully Dan Hotaling (Martin Landau). One day, he starts pulling himself out of the abyss into which he fell. First, he finds a discarded revolver in the street. Next, he makes the acquaintance of a travelling peddler named Henry J. Fate (Malcolm Atterbury). Fate offers Denton an elixir which will supposedly both get his gunslinging prowess back to normal as well as cure him of alcoholism. A young punk named Pete Grant (Doug McClure) will be the latest to challenge Denton on his abilities.
There's a review here at IMDb that really got my attention. Far too often, this viewer is only able to take such entertainment at face value, so when other, more savvy viewers are able to point out the subtext, it makes him truly appreciative of the writing on this classic series. There's a hidden meaning here that is cleverly mirrored by the plot. Also, there is a very enjoyable revelation / twist late in the game that makes you think about what the peddler has in mind. (We *know* he's not named Fate for nothing.) The atmosphere is solid as always, especially in a tale set in the Old West.
The primary attraction of 'Mr. Denton on Doomsday' is a heartfelt performance by Mr. Duryea. Your heart just goes out to him, and you root for him to rise up righteous and kick the asses of people like Hotaling. Landau is great fun in the role of the bully, Atterbury is solid as Fate, and Jeanne Cooper does nice work as Liz, the area local who takes pity on the unfortunate Mr. Denton.
Eight out of 10.
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