Monthly Archives: December 2011

Serling on Film Violence

When The Twilight Zone ended its run in 1964, well-wishers posted an amusing sign at the show’s farewell party: “This plaque commemorates the 128 people killed during its turbulent five years.”

Even die-hard fans may be surprised by the length of the casualty list. A couple dozen deaths maybe, but 128? Perhaps that’s because the deaths weren’t graphically depicted.

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This had much to do with the strict TV standards then in vogue, of course. But it wasn’t simply that. Rod Serling appears to have been no fan of over-the-top violence. Consider this excerpt from a lecture he gave in 1972:

The thing that disturbs me is that thread of violence that seems to permeate every current film. The other night I saw ‘The Godfather’ for the first time, and I’ll admit that I found it really quite a stunning film — at least, it was good, tight, believable, it had some beautiful performances, and it was very competently directed.

But the mayhem in that picture, the deaths, the killings. Six assassinations by machine gun — each machine-gunning taking a minimum one minute to portray — two strangulations, three beatings, one car explosion, and some very explicit portraits of a bullet plowing into an abdomen and the retina of an eye.sonny_corleone_multiple_gunshots_wallpaper_-_1280x800 Read the rest of this entry

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