★★★★ December 29, 1961 Season 3 Episode 15
If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.
A very powerful episode that places the shoe on the other foot. A young Dean Stockwell plays Lt. Katell who is young and blood thirsty for war. He quickly is warned and then learns about humanity on the battlefield. This episode is full of good actors. Leonard Nimoy plays radio operator Hansen but the real treat for me was Albert Salmi who plays the tough but worn out Sgt. Causarano. Salmi usually plays bad guys but in this one his common sense and honesty is refreshing.
A Quality of Mercy was filmed on an already-standing jungle set on a soundstage at the Hal Roach Studios. The episode covers some of the territory already covered by The Purple Testament…which coincidentally, Dean Stockwell was originally cast as the lead but was unable to appear.
We are brought face to face with the grimness of war, the fatigue and the futility. Serling, after serving in WWII, was close to this issue. It seems that Serling expressed his opinions through Sgt. Causarano played by Albert Salmi.
From IMDB: The title refers to a quote from William Shakespeare’s play ‘The Merchant of Venice’: “The quality of mercy is not strain’d, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven.”
Albert Salmi (Sgt. Causarano) previously appeared in The Twilight Zone: Execution (1960) and would later appear in The Twilight Zone: Of Late I Think of Cliffordville (1963), all of which involve time travel. “A Quality of Mercy” is the only one in which his character is not portrayed as despicable.
This show was written by Rod Serling and Sam Rolfe
Rod Serling’s Opening Narration:
It’s August, 1945, the last grimy pages of a dirty, torn book of war. The place is the Philippine Islands. The men are what’s left of a platoon of American Infantry, whose dulled and tired eyes set deep in dulled and tired faces can now look toward a miracle, that moment when the nightmare appears to be coming to an end. But they’ve got one more battle to fight, and in a moment we’ll observe that battle. August, 1945, Philippine Islands. But in reality, it’s high noon in the Twilight Zone.
On August 6, 1945 – the last day of World War II – a forward platoon acting as artillery spotters get an eager and aggressive Lieutenant Katell. The artillery has been unable to dislodge a Japanese unit from a cave and Katell decides that the unit is going to attack. He suddenly finds himself in 1942 leading a Japanese unit that is about to attack Americans who are holed up in a cave.
Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:
‘The quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.’ Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, but applicable to any moment in time, to any group of soldiery, to any nation on the face of the Earth—or, as in this case, to the Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling… Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Dean Stockwell… Lt. Katell / Lt. Yamuri
Albert Salmi… Sgt. Causarano
Rayford Barnes… Andrew Watkins
Ralph Votrian… Hanachek
Leonard Nimoy… Hansen
Dale Ishimoto… Sgt. Yamazaki
Jerry Fujikawa… Japanese Captain (as J.H. Fujikawa)
Michael Pataki… Jeep Driver (uncredited)