Twilight Zone – A Quality Of Mercy

★★★★  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.

Summary

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.

The Complete Episode on Dailymotion

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.

CAST

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)

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

14 thoughts on “Twilight Zone – A Quality Of Mercy”

  1. I know I never can really, but I can try to imagine how those war-weary soldiers must feel when some hotshot greenhorn comes in and gets to give them orders to kill — and die. I’m sure in war many unnecessary killings and dyings happen because of them as they learn how to be leaders. One of the many many many reasons why I hate war. Too many people I know have gone to war and either died (I lost an uncle I never got to meet) or came back forever changed (my dad, uncle, brother.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. With Vietnam…yea many came back with mental and physical problems that some could not over come. Make the politicians fight the war and wars would cease to exist.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great episode. I used to love watching any kind of war movies as a kid. But I’d always be scared I’d get drafted and sent to war. The idea of fighting in a war didn’t bother me, but for some reason I had this big fear I’d run out of bullets! Then I ended up telling a friend of mines dad that, who was a Marine in Korea (and a POW), and he told me not to worry about that. It’d never happen. I slept better at night after that. As a side note, do you know how Albert Salmi died?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In the early nineties I was terrified of getting drafted….my uncle who was a marine at one time told me the same thing…it won’t happen.

      Yes I know how he died…it’s sad. His girls actually took his side! She did say no one deserved to be killed. That was hard to believe…here is a quote… ” “My mother did some horrible things,” she said. LaRue has been outspoken about years of abuse she suffered at her mother’s hand.”

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Sounds like another good one. the world would be a lot more peaceful if the leaders who declare war were first on the front lines, followed closely by the multi-star generals behind them

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This title turns up quite a bit. I don’t recall this one, off hand but, I certainly remember Quality of Mercy on the Outer Limits of the 90s. There is also an episode on Babylon 5 that was The Quality of Mercy.

    Like

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