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Season 4
COMBAT! episodes:

[Season 2 (1963 - 1964)]
[Ambush]
[Bridge at Chalons]
[Doughboy]
[The Long Way Home]
[A Distant Drum]
[Bridgehead]
[Masquerade]
[Infant of Prague]
[The Wounded Don't Cry]
[The Little Jewel]
[Glow Against the Sky]
[The Party]
[Anatomy of a Patrol]
[What Are the Bugles...]
[Barrage]
[Thunder from the Hill]
[The Pillbox]
[Gideon's Army]
[General and the Sergeant]
[The Hostages]
[A Silent Cry]
[Eyes of the Hunter]
[Counter-Punch]
[Mail Call]
[The Hunter]
[Weep No More]
[The Short Day of Pvt Putnam]
[Rescue]
[Command]
[The Glory Among Men]

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Combat!
reviews by Jo DavidsmeyerEpisodes rated from 0 to 4 bayonets


(063) Command

Rating: 3 bayonets

Written by Kay Lenard and Jess Carneol
Directed by Bernard McEveety

First aired 07-Apr-1964
Episode 30 of Season 2


SYNOPSIS:

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.

REVIEW:

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 pin-up

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 windshields.

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.

CAST:

Vic Morrow as Sgt. Saunders
Rick Jason as Lt. Hanley

Guest star
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

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File last updated June 28, 2012

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