The actual star of this episode is Gladys Cooper, who plays a seemingly crazy and scared old lady who refuses to allow anyone in her basement apartment. You see, she believes that the Angel of Death is stalking her and if she never lets anyone inside, then she'll live forever. Throughout the episode, various people try to get her to open the door but with no success. Only later, when a young policeman (Redford) is shot does she struggle between her fears and her desire to aid this poor dying man.
The episode is exceptionally well written and acted, plus it is very profound in its message about death and the afterlife--and all handled in a very engaging and deft style. This is one classy and enjoyable episode I can't recommend strongly enough.
Since I am terrified of death, this episode brings me a lot of comfort. It makes the idea of death seem not so frightening. My favorite line is from Rod's ending monologue that says "there was nothing in the dark that wasn't there when the lights were on". That line right there is so spot on and great that I always think of it, whenever I find myself scared of death.
All in all I think this is an extremely underrated episode! It's one of the best!
This beautiful tale is among my favorite episodes of "The Twilight Zone". The heartbreak story about the fear of the unknown is magnificently performed like a play on the stage by the awesome Gladys Cooper; Robert Redford in the beginning of his career and R.G. Armstrong. I believe this unforgettable tale shakes with every mature person, and there are many fantastic lines, like for example, "better living in the dark than not living at all" or "old gives space for the new". My vote is ten.
Title (Brazil): "Nada na Escuridão" ("Nothing in the Darkness")
Gladys Cooper was simply marvelous in this role. I believe she gave an abstract but very touching performance as Wanda the old lady who was probably agoraphobic at this late stage in her life. Personally, this was my TZ favorite episode with her followed by a very close second place in Night Call. You can see she really was a master at her craft and really caused me to associate her with my own grandmother who was afraid of death. I like to think my grandma finally found peace just like Wanda. As for Robert Redford I felt he gave a fine performance especially in the second half once he revealed himself to Wanda. The gentle violin music, the soft colors of Mr Death's face and the way he gently called Wanda "Mother" while gently motioning her to take his hand. Who would not melt by such a call? Not to mention such a handsome Mr. Death. :) The contractor had such a small part but one of his lines did have an impact on me. I refer to his saying "out with the old to make room for the new". That was a reference to death making way for life everlasting.
A very fine Twilight Zone Episode with a strong cast led by the great Gladys Cooper. I give it a 9 out of 10!
It's on one snowy night that Wanda heard shots outside her place and saw police officer Harold Beldon, Robert Redford, fall bleeding on the ground that she at last confronted in her mind Mr. Death himself; The person whom she been tying to avoid for the last few years. The fact that Beldon was near death himself didn't get Wanda at first to go help him in that she felt it was a trap by Mr. Death, or Officer Beldon, to get her outside and give him a chance to touch her and with that, the death touch, take her life! The big surprise on Wanda's part is that even when she got Beldon into her apartment she was in fact still alive thus proving to herself that he in fact was not the person that she feared so much: Mr.Death!Or was he?
One of the better "Twilight Zone" episodes that goes to the heart of the matter of one's mortality and how to face it when the end finally comes. Wanda knows that she can't live forever but the thought of her own demise is far too disturbing for her to contemplate. Officer Beldon is just one of the many persons that Wanda saw over the years that she feels is the Grim Reaper in disguised and wants to keep him from taking her. Even if the life that she now leads as a lonely and forgotten shut-in is in many cases even worse then death itself!
****SPOILERS*** It's when Wanda was about to be evicted by the kind and understanding but just doing his job contractor, R.G Armstrong, form her home that was about to be demolished that she finally saw the light in what death, or Mr.Death, was really all about! Despite her fear of it death didn't hit her like the nuclear explosion she felt it would but more like a soft whisper that put her both at ease and out of her suffering in her fear of it! As Wanda soon learned death in itself was only a continuation of one's existence when the life of the person,like herself, it takes away has already reached it's final stage of living. It's like discarding an old and worn out pair of shoes and then getting, possibly in a new life, a brand new pair!
"Nothing in the Dark" delves into a favorite theme of creator Rod Serling: the fear of the unknown, or in this case specifically, the fear of death. That death itself arrives in the form of someone like Robert Redford makes this entry particularly noteworthy. Veteran actress Cooper is outstanding and highly convincing as the old lady who is forestalling the ravages of age and infirmity. Redford plays the Angel of Death not as a dour Grim Reaper, but as a sort of transitional travel agent with a winning smile. It's this dichotomy that gives the episode a much-needed edgy and unsettling feeling. R.G. Armstrong is also in the cast as a wrecking crew foreman intent on dislodging Ms. Cooper from the premises. Redford beats him to it, however.
TZ at its best takes you to all sorts of places and examines the deepest human fears. Gladys Cooper gives one of her three solid performances for the show here. The setting is cold and austere but this is a warm-hearted entry for the Zone. Wanda has been 'running' from death for some time. A gentle story that might take some fear out of death, reminding us its a natural and possibly peaceful process.
George Clayton Johnson wrote this one and his stories make up seven pretty consistent TZ contributions in all. 'A Game of Pool' and 'A Penny For Your Thoughts' are very good.
Director Lamont Johnson relates this gripping and elegiac story at a steady pace as well as ably crafts a quietly eerie and somber tone. George Clayton Johnson's intelligent script makes a poignant and provocative point about the need to accept one's own mortality and the inevitability of death. Cooper and Redford both do sterling work in the leads while veteran character actor R.G. Armstrong lends sturdy support as a sympathetic contractor. Beautifully moody black and white cinematography by George T. Clemens, too. A lovely and moving episode.
But wait - this episode could have been a perfect ten if Rod Serling and writer George Johnson had followed through. The demolition man gave away the ending when he couldn't see Redford's character lying on the cot. But then, after Wanda took Beldon's hand, her own reflection was still visible in the same mirror! Oh no! How could everyone on the set have overlooked that?!! With just a couple of minor re-writes, this one could have left things totally to the imagination of the viewer, and it would have worked so much better. And still, it winds up in my Top Ten TZ episodes.
Hats off to set and art decorations. The old lady's apartment cave is about the last word in grim. Frankly, I'd welcome Mr. Death as a way out of that black hole. Great acting from Cooper that carries the show, and has Redford ever looked handsomer. It's a spare, elegiac story with what I guess is an uplift ending. Still, be prepared for some really bleak visuals, as the old lady tries to keep Mr. Death away from her door. I detect a philosophical point behind the contractor's conflab. Namely, that the old must give way to the new, because that's simply the way of the world. So get used to it. None of us is special. Well, I guess that's not exactly a novel point to make, but it still works within the story's context.
My advice—don't watch the first part in the dark.
Turns out she was right the first time! This actually leads to some of the most heartwarming moments in the entire series. We see Redford as Death act so gently towards the woman. She needs to realize that death is natural and it's her time to go. This episode moves so fluidly you have to love the pacing. This show really can be sweet, even when dealing with death. ****
Then she lets her dream into the run down hovel. She keeps he door locked to keep death out. Here she is teaching a young Robert Redford some acting lessons. He learns them well in a short role as the cop. Of course his youthful looks would be the ultimate fantasy for many an older woman. As he recovers from his wounds he provides comfort. Then the man who needs to demolish her building shows up. Gladys only opens the door at Reford's suggestion because he has won her trust.
Then she realizes that the demolition man can not see the man (cop) who has earned his trust. After he leaves, Gladys realizes that in fact she already let death into her door when she let Redford in. Then Reford comforts her and points out she is already dead. This overwhelms her will to survive and then he leads her out to eternity.
This is very well done. This one has the Zone at the top of its game, drama. This series hits great drama points more often than any other Sci-Fi series. Even when Serling does not write the script, in this case he finds a great script from a tv script writer who writes great scripts and does so often.
As we all consider our fates, a lot of us would like the kind of help Gladys gets here. A guide to make it easier.
This was not a very good twilight zone episode. The doomed old lady allows a police officer suffering from a gunshot wound into her residence. While the officer is in her house his condition goes from dying from the gunshot wound to perfect health. He turns out to be death who she had been successfully keeping out of her house up until that point because she doesn't want to die.
My problem with it is if she had reason to believe the cop was in fact death attempting to trick her into letting him in, after not falling for all of his past attempts where death had appeared at her doorstep in various other disguises, why fall for this one. It couldn't have been to save his life because she doesn't have a phone to call for help and she does not leave her house for anything, not even food, so calling from a neighbors phone wasn't going to happen either.
This episode has too many holes in the story telling for my tastes.