Combat! reviews by Jo
Episodes rated from 0 to 4 bayonets
(Eddie Ryder as Mason in a Christ-like pose sacrificed on a tree)
Rating: 3.5 bayonets
Written by Tom Sellers
Directed by Vic Morrow
Produced by Gene Levitt
Aired 04-21-64 - Episode 32 of Season 2 - Syndication order: 64
"The Glory Among Men"
presents men struggling to maintain their moral center when faced with the immoral
necessities of war. This particular struggle revolves around a thoroughly unlikable squad
member who becomes pinned down by a German machine gun nest. Should the squad abandon him?
Should they attempt to rescue him? Is this loathsome man worth dying for? Watching the
glory achieved by this small band of ordinary soldiers is great entertainment.
In his second outing behind the
camera, Vic Morrow provides superb direction for a script that is, at times, heavy-handed
and overstocked with Christian symbolism. Considering the large sections of script that
are devoid of action, Morrow amazingly keeps a firm hand on the pacing. But Morrow, the
director, goes overboard with some ostentatious shots that do more to show off Morrow's
creativity than to illuminate the story. These include "showy" reflection shots,
half-face closeups of himself, and some rough hand-held camera work at the beginning. He
makes good use of some lovely long-lens shots with a foreground closeup of the squad and
way way in the background, Mason trapped on the tree. Kudos to the effects and technical
people. The lighting is absolutely sumptuous, especially the night scenes, with flares
falling, backlighting Caje, Littlejohn, and Kirby and catching a defenseless Saunders out
in the open.
Fine performances all around in this episode. Despite his
dual task of star and director, Morrow turns in a strong performance. Jalbert and Rogers
also shine. Caje is frightening losing his cool and getting in a fistfight with Hacker.
Interesting that it's a woman that gets this usually easy-going guy riled. Conlan Carter
as Doc superb, affected by the abandonment of Hacker on a more personal level than the
others, not because he felt any friendship for the man, but because his duty is to save
life. His restrained tears at his failure are affecting. Fletcher Fist, a semi-regular as
Brockmeyer in season one, returns as an expendable.
The no-man's land where Hacker is abandoned is a sound stage set. Vic Morrow worked
closely with the set crew to create the stark, surrealistic setting. The grays and blacks,
trees with no foliage, and barren ground turns the surroundings into an alien landscape.
ABOUT FILMING THE EPISODE:
Conlan Carter: "I was having a
little bit of trouble with this one scene, about what to do with it, and he said, don't do
nothing. And it worked extremely well. It was just a simple little quick line. It was just
the little things like that that he could do. He was just good."
NOTES, ODDITIES, AND BLOOPERS:
· Blond Fletcher Fist is a brunette in this episode.
· The squad once again captures
Paul Busch; and again gets him killed.
· Why isn't Caje wearing a belt in
· A German (shooting an authentic
MG42) flips up the rear sight to get a better shot, but the front sight remains folded
down the whole time. >
as Lt. Hanley
as Sgt. Saunders
Henry Brandt .... Heinecke
Jerry Douglas .... Kohler
Paul Busch .... Bauer
Fletcher Fist .... Barnett
Richard Tretter .... G.I.
Peter Helm as Laslo
Bernard Kates as Hacker
Eddie Ryder as Mason