A Young Robert Redford Almost Ruined An Otherwise Great Twilight Zone Episode

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Written By Sedoso Feb

“I thought if you had somebody who had those kind of blazing eyes and that candor and that kind of American Beauty about him, he’d be great for this cop as I was reading it,” Johnson told Zicree. In “Nothing in the Dark,” an elderly woman named Wanda (Gladys Cooper) hides in her home, terrified of meeting death head-on. When a cop named Harold (Redford) is shot outside her door, she sets her paranoia aside to help him. By the episode’s end, another man (R.G Armstrong) has knocked, telling her that the building is due to be demolished. Wanda realizes Harold is the Death figure she’d feared for so long and ends up leaving the world arm in arm with him, unafraid to move on.

Ultra-green Redford’s performance isn’t great here (though a beautiful script from George Clayton Johnson helps him along), but he wasn’t the only actor whom the powers-that-be had qualms about. Johnson says that others were doubtful that stage star Cooper could play such a humble old lady type, and it took a while to nail the accent for the character. “She was a great lady of the theater, and she had an elegant, polished London Mayfair kind of speech,” Johnson says in “The Twilight Zone Companion,” “but it seemed incongruous for that character, who’s a sort of an Apple Mary character.”

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