An entertaining, inoffensive little tale based on a short story by the late, great Manly Wade Wellman - and that in itself should serve as a recommendation.
My only cavil with this adaptation is the observation that both of the scouts, Paradine and Dauger, are pretty useless at their job. They're waiting for Union troops to show up in the town below, so what do they do whilst they wait? They build a fire. Well done, lads. Then, when they hear what sounds like men and materiel moving in, what is their reaction? They leave the cover of the copse wherein they have been concealed and stand in the open on the hill where they could be seen. It's a miracle they didn't decide to "skyline" themselves too. Shortly after, Sergeant Paradine decides that he needs to gain more specific information regarding the enemy forces, so determines to reconnoitre the town. Does he then stay low, skulking from cover to cover? No - he gets on his horse and rides in. All I can say is that it was damn lucky that old Teague had already cast his spell on the Yankees, because they weren't up against much opposition in the form of this pair of galoots. xD
Interesting premise but I didn't find this episode to payoff very well and the moral behind is just a little to simple to accept.
A Confederate soldier and his cowardly friend arrive in a town with Union soldiers. Not intimidated the soldier named Paradine decides to confront them. When he arrives in the town he sees that they aren't moving. He thinks they are sleeping. Then ao old man comes out and tells him that the soldiers can't move because he a book of witchcraft on them. Paradine shrugs of this statement but when he himself is frozen he belives the old man.
The old man tells him that this book could change the war and that since he is dying he chooses Paradine to use the book. Paradine takes the book back to camp but no one believes him until they see the frozen soldiers. When he sees that a chant must be made for the devil, Paradine and the camp decide to destroy the book and this is where the episode doesn't payoff.
I didn't buy the fact the soldiers would give up on using the book so easily. Also seeing as how much blood was spilled during the North and South Civil War I would find it highly unlikely that all of them would see the morale behind using the book. The South was in such turmoil at this time, I see one of them trying to use it.
This is an episode that if they made into an hour might be more interesting especially if the book was stolen from one side to another. Then we have an ending where he would see the death toll on both sides to be so high that the book would then be destroyed. Now that would have been a greater moral message to put out all the deaths of the soldiers in this war rather than ending on a simple morality between the Devil and God. God would not approve at the thousands of deaths in the Civil War.
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