Second Now," Hanley's life is in the hands of a bomb- disposal officer who has lost
his nerve. But the British officer is forced to confront his fears and "fall from
grace" in the guise of a German time-bomb ticking away in the rubble of a church.
Also in the church a wounded Hanley, trapped beneath a fallen beam.
Robert Altman directed this strong script by Gene Levitt. In "Any Second Now"
Altman deals with his favorite subject and setting church and Catholicism. He
revels in the stark, moody visuals of a Gothic church in ruins. By flickering candlelight
he explores the themes of fall from grace and eventual redemption. Though his direction is
firm and stirring, his symbolism gets rather heavy-handed; especially his choice to end
the show not with a reconciliation between Hanley and his rescuer, or with a reunion
between Saunders and Hanley, but concludes with the final image of the priest returning
the host to the altar. Though fascinating in its style, clever interplay of characters,
and its brooding look into the soul of a broken man, "Any Second Now" reveals
the same problems that run rampant throughout Altman's other Combat! outings uneven
technical work. The continuity is faulty and the lighting inconsistent and ill-thought
throughout. I tire of seeing flashlights used in well-lit scenes and wonder at the
mysterious flashlight on Hanley's chest that appears and disappears at random.
Rick Jason is in top form under Altman's direction. Though he spends the bulk of the
episode flat on his back, he manages to command the respect of the bomb-disposal officer,
command his scenes, and command the attention of the camera in a remarkable performance.
His reactions and banter-under-stress as he fights against the pain and fear are a
pleasure to watch. I particularly like the cocky smirk as he smashes the morphine ampule
and the impatient look when he's told that he's trapped underneath a time bomb. At the top
of "Any Second Now," Jason reprises that charming lady-killer we saw in "A Day In June", an aspect of the Hanley character we see
so rarely in Combat! He puts his 200-watt smile, innocent green eyes, and a
bagful of practiced pick-up lines to good use charming a British nurse (Ellen Willard).
But she's in the story only to salve the wounds and the heart of David, the bomb-disposal
officer (Alex Davion). Donald May, who soap fans may remember from the "Edge of
Night" appears as a Major.
Notes, Oddities, and Bloopers
- I had to giggle when the American soldier in the bar complains to the tart when she
replays the record. "You gonna play the same thing over and over again?" Get
used to it, soldier, we're going to hear that stupid song for five seasons (it's the same
record played by the girls in both "Battle of the Roses" and "Weep No
- Littlejohn appears, but not as a member of the squad. He's a stranger to Saunders and
- It's nice to see a Major who personally crawls around bombed buildings checking for
- Morrow has military haircut. It's the shortest we see it in the series.
- Odd how the church gets pretty much trashed with everything blown over, but many of the
candles stayed lit.
- This was the first episode filmed. Production started June 2, 1962.
as Lt. Hanley
as Sgt. Saunders
Alex Davion as David Woodman
Ellen Willard as Anne Farell
And Special Guest Star
Donald May as Major Thompson
Shecky Green as Braddock
Pierre Jalbert as Caje
Steven Rogers as Doc
Emile Genest ..... Emile
Jacques Roux ..... French Priest
Felix Reinsch ..... Briefing Officer
Dick Peabody ..... Littlejohn
James de Winter ..... Corporal
Ned Wynn ..... M.P.
Anne: David, why are you so peevish about the Americans
David: They talk big, for one thing.
Anne: And they die big.
Hanley: A rough one, huh?
David: I said keep quiet.
Hanley: I would if I thought it would help.
David: I don't need any help.
Hanley: I was talking about me. I'm scared stiff. You know, sometimes it helps
to keep gabbing.
David: Sometimes. You know anything about German bombs? How they work?
Hanley: No. But this seems like a good time to learn.
David: You think I'm a coward, don't you?
Hanley: No. I think you think people will call you a coward if you walk out of
David: You're right.
Hanley: Why? I don't call an infantryman a coward because stops charging when
his gun is shot out of his hands.
David: It's different.
Hanley: No. He needs a gun for his kind of war, you need steady nerves for
David: What are you trying to do, talk me into walking out of here?
Hanley: Makes sense, doesn't it? I mean, you've got to make up your mind either
to go that way out the door, or that way. You'll admit it beats just standing around.
You've got to make up your mind. One way or the other.
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