Combat! reviews by Jo
Episodes rated from 0 to 4 bayonets
Rating: 3 bayonets
Written by Kay Lenard and Jess Carneol
Directed by Bernard McEveety
First aired 07-Apr-1964
Episode 30 of Season 2
When a wounded Hanley is shipped to
England for recovery, a temporary platoon commander makes life miserable for the squad. On
a mission to destroy a bridge, Lt. Douglas makes sure the men go completely by-the-book,
while taking all the risks for himself. His brutally strict treatment of the men covers
his fears that he will lose the men under his command just as he lost his entire
platoon his last time in command.
Joseph Campanella is affecting as the
hard-headed and haunted Second Lt. Douglas. The episode suffers slightly from slow pacing,
especially in acts three and four, and loses points for shameless re-usage of previous
footage. These are merely minor distractions from an over-all enjoyable jaunt with our
favorite squad on patrol.
I particularly enjoy watching Morrow in this episode as he walks the line between
conflicting duties: obeying a superior officer and keeping his men in line and alive.
Watching contemporary military shows, I always wonder where the techincal advisors are as
NCOs argue with their superiors. In the military, you obey, you don't argue. And in this
episode, Morrow is excellent showing us a soldier at odds with himself as he must obey
orders from a new lieutenant that he not understand.
The show, though, really suffers from being so late in the season. Because production
was behind schedule, this excellent story didn't get the development it deserved. The
script includes references to footage shot for other episodes, and how it will be
incorporated into the current episode. This cut down on production time, allowing them to
catch up, but shorted this poignant story of the high cost of duty and command.
NOTES, ODDITIES, AND BLOOPERS:
· I love how Kirby goes running at the prospect of seeing a
· Beautiful reflection shot in
stream as squad marches by. But too much running up and down hills. Enough already!
· In the battle at the
farmhouse, with five vehicles in the line of fire, the squad hits no tires and no
· Filmed as Franklin Canyon,
MGM backlot, with reused footage of Mormon Rocks.
· This episode could be
retitled "Son of Bridge at Chalon." When Lt. Douglas asks Saunders if he has
ever handled C-3, Saunders should answer, "Yes, sir, earlier this season in 'Bridge
at Chalons,' we'll be reusing the clips
later." The end of the episode is a complete lift from "Bridge," showing
Saunders blowing up the same bridge. As in "Bridge," Kirby twists his ankle and
gripes about the leader.
· The by-the-book leader
violates a major rule of command: he reprimands his NCO in front of the troops. A good
leader does not undermine the authority of his NCO.
Vic Morrow as Sgt. Saunders
Rick Jason as Lt. Hanley
Joseph Campanella as Lt. Douglas
Jack Hogan as Kirby
Pierre Jalbert as Caje
Dick Peabody as Littlejohn
William Arvin as Adams
Dennis Robertson as Bronson
Louis Mercier as Jean Bayard
Charles Giorgi as Anton
Danny Klega as German Lieutenant