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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Valley of the Shadow

Valley of the Shadow,
The Twilight Zone episode
Valley of the Shadow.jpg
Scene from "Valley of the Shadow"
Episode no.Season 4
Episode 105
Written byCharles Beaumont
Directed byPerry Lafferty
Featured musicStock from A Hundred Yards Over the Rim
Production no.4861
Original airdateJanuary 17, 1963
Guest stars
Ed Nelson: Philip Redfield
Natalie Trundy: Ellen Marshall
David Opatoshu: Dorn
Dabbs Greer: Evans
Jacques Aubuchon: Connelly
James Doohan: Johnson
Morgan Brittany (as "Suzanne Cupito"): Girl
Sandy Kenyon: Gas Station Attendant

"Valley of the Shadow" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.

Opening narration

You've seen them. Little towns, tucked away far from the main roads. You've seen them, but have you thought about them? What do the people in these places do? Why do they stay? Philip Redfield never thought about them. If his dog hadn't gone after that cat, he would have driven through Peaceful Valley and put it out of his mind forever. But he can't do that now, because whether he knows it or not, his friend's shortcut has led him right into the capital of the Twilight Zone. ”


A reporter named Philip Redfield (Ed Nelson) finds himself unable to leave a small town when he learns too much about a secret mechanical device which can control and rearrange atoms, making things appear and disappear, assemble and reassemble. The town refuses to share this and other amazing technology that had been given to them by a "great man of science" from an unknown land (implying a super intelligence from most likely an alien world) until "men learn the ways of peace."
The town elders tell Redfield their law states that he has either the choice of staying forever in Peaceful Valley as a citizen, where all of his needs and wants will be taken care of, and where he will live in constant harmony, or he must be executed to ensure he will never take their technology to the outside world. He ultimately chooses to stay in the town, or what he describes as a prison, and yearns for the freedom of his old life, and for the glory of curing all sickness, ending all hunger and essentially saving the world. Redfield becomes romantically involved with (what appears to be) the only female member of the town his age, and she convinces him that she wants to leave the sleepy village. The backwater confinement chafes, and Redfield decides to make a break for it one evening. The lure of saving the world becomes too much for him, and he uses the technology to make a gun.
He steals the book of formulas, shooting the three town elders on the way out. However, he ironically learns the lesson that had been designed for him by the elders, and taught by the great man of science. Once he and the girl are just outside the town limits (and the force field), he looks at the book to see it full of blank pages. The town elders, including the mayor Redfield supposedly shot and killed, reveal that the girl was a plant and that Redfield has failed their test spectacularly, conveying that if the information of their formulas reached the outside world, even under the best intentions, death and destruction would inevitably follow based upon man's unwillingness of peace. The girl tearfully confesses that it wasn't all a lie, implying her love for him was real, but Redfield will have none of it and approaches what he believes to be his imminent death in the surly, combative manner, being a metaphor for mankind, that has characterized him throughout the episode.
The end of the episode loops to where it began, and Redfield apparently wakes up to find everything in order while receiving change for the gas he has just bought. With his dog sitting by his side, he then asks for directions, and drives out of town, just after having a strange deja vu experience when he notices the female love interest from earlier in the episode standing on the corner, with what appears to be a few tears in her eyes.
Whether the events were a dream, or whether Redfield is now in some sort of illusion is left open. Nevertheless, the town elders, when describing the machines that the original great man of science had made, tell Redfield that their main machine is based upon the "time" dimension, and they demonstrated this by reversing the stabbing of one of the elders as an example. This would draw the conclusion that instead of executing Redfield as their law strictly stated they should to those who would steal their technology, they in fact reversed time[original research?] in order to save the secret of their town without committing the "outsiders" crimes of humanity (murder, death, destruction), proving that eventually man will learn to live without violence and in peace ... somewhere in the Twilight Zone.

Closing narration

“ You've seen them. Little towns, tucked away far from the main roads. You've seen them, but have you thought about them? Have you wondered what the people do in such places, why they stay? Philip Redfield thinks about them now and he wonders, but only very late at night, when he's between wakefulness and sleep--in the Twilight Zone. ”

Preview for next week's story

Announcer: "And now, Mr. Serling."
“ We move next on Twilight Zone into a shadowy area that trends a very thin line between flesh and fantasy. You'll see a performance by Dennis Hopper that, even from my rather close-in perspective, strikes me as an exceptional one. Our story is called "He's Alive," and if this doesn't get where you live, you'll find it close by in the suburbs.


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