The Outer Limits: The Bellero Shield
"The Bellero Shield"
Production Order #23 and Broadcast Order #20
Shooting Days: 6-16 December 1963
First Air Date: February 10, 1964
Production Credits:
: Joseph Stefano
Story: Lou Morheim and Joseph Stefano
Director: John Brahm
Assistant Director: Robert H. Justman
Director of Photography: Conrad Hall
Composer: Dominic Frontiere (stock music with additional materials from "Stoney Burke")
Cast of Characters:
Martin Landau
as Richard Bellero, Jr.
Sally Kellerman as Judith Bellero
Neil Hamilton as Richard Bellero, Sr.
Chita Rivera as Mrs. Dame
John Hoyt as the "Bifrost" alien
Opening Narration:
"There is a passion in the human heart that is called aspiration. It flares with the noble flame, and by its light Man has traveled from the caves of darkness to the darkness of outer space. But when this passion becomes lust, when its flame is fanned by greed and private hunger, then aspiration becomes ambition-by which sin the angels fell."
By accident, an alien, made of light, lands on Earth and in the lab of an idealistic scientist, Richard Bellero, Jr. His wife Judith kills the alien and uses his weapon (a mobile force field) for her own (greedy) interest.
Closing Narration:
"When this passion called aspiration becomes lust, then aspiration degenerates, becomes vulgar ambition, by which sin the angels fell."
"Someone spoke of the trembling way: a bridge between Earth and Heaven. When I grew up, I found it in the mythology book. Scandinavians call it the 'Bifrost'. I thought of this is our 'Bifrost'. Trembling way to what for me would be Heaven... power, far-flung holdings, undiminishable authority."
—Judith Bellero (Sally Kellerman)
Martin Landau plays utopian inventor Richard Bellero, Jr. who experiments a laser beam device to communicate and he delivers brilliant lines against his over-protective father: "Call, call, call whom? The police, the leading scientist of the world,... Whom do you want to call, father, when you're trapped alive in your own tomb?" The reference to the Scandinavian mythology ("the trembling way") is marvelous and the Bible overtones in both narrations remind "The Sixth Finger" 's ultimate statement of the lead character. Sally Kellerman is a machiavellian "angel" face (which sin makes her fall) when she shoots a Champagne bottle with a ray-gun: a symbol of power. Neil Hamilton, from "The Invisibles", is noble and over-dignified ("Geat men are forgiven their murderous wife!") before dying, pushed down by the servant; and shows his dislike for the wife of his son as a knight from a tragedy: "Your ambition is singurlarly the most active form of violence I've ever encountered!". John Hoyt as the Bifrost space visitor, which learns foreign language through eyes contact, protects itself with a mobile force field ("without it, we could not travel into such un-serene universes as this...") and emits saturated soundwaves (thanks to John Elizalde's distortion work), is as benevolant as the one in "The Galaxy Being". Chita Rivera, as the barefoot servant, is diabolical when she gives a small gun, extract from her garter, to Sally Kellerman. Two wealthy persons are murdered by two women a la "The Forms of Things Unknown" (owing to their black and white outfits) during that story: the alien (and its advanced science) and Richard Bellero, Sr. (his industrial empire: the Bellero Corporation). As in "The Borderland", the hand (here, the palm) is the iconographic motif. Conrad Hall's supreme cinematography is gothic and classic at once: the wine cellar is beautiful with its high chiaroscuro look, the lab mood is great when the props and inserts of the dials' machines and the close-up of Sally Kellerman's hand which epitomized her alienation (in ancient Greek, to be alienated means to be a prisoner of oneself). This is a play and the best episode directed by John Brahm ("The Lodger/Hangover Square") who also did "ZZZZZ". This story also treats the causes and effects of greed (love, power, ambition and madness); and last but not the least, the theme of punishment via contamination: by killing and stealing the alien's pressure button device, Judith clumsily stains her hand with its toxic blood (the "fluid" as a "prime ingredient" to activate the force field). In "Specimen: Unknown", the alien plants also bleed. Greed always breeds the best drama in every art form, remember the timeless words of Shakespeare: "Boundless intemperance In Nature is a tyranny; it hath been The untimely emptying of the happy throne, And fall of many kings..." — The Tragedy of MacBeth, from MacDuff, Act IV. Sc. III. Notes: John Hoyt appears in "Don't Open Till Doomsday" and "I, Robot" .