Combat! reviews by Jo
Episodes rated from 0 to 4 bayonets
RATING: 2 bayonets
Written by Kay Lenard and Jess Carneol
Directed by John Peyser
First aired 11-Feb-1964
Episode 22 of Season 2
When battalion headquarters is overrun, Saunders and Caje pick up rear-echelon
stragglers, including a technician sergeant who clashes with him over strategy and
command. With a motley assortment of unmilitary soldiers, Saunders decides to commandeer a
train loaded with Germans to make a break for the American lines.
Whenever I watch this episode, I can't quite remember how it ends. The second half hour
does not quite match up with the first. Both are good "episodes," but darned if
I can figure out why screenwriters Kay Lenard and Jess Carneol went from point A to point
The beginning deals with Saunders gathering the misfits under his wings. Steve Gravers
is properly grating as the now-it-all Sgt. Gravers, and Malachi Throne is excellent as the
bindle stiff Moorwood. When this ragtag team encounters a French train filled with
Germans, the story takes on a new direction, turning into a story with similarities to Von
Ryan's Express, a best-selling novel released the same year as this episode.
This episode was partially written to take advantage of the classic steam engine owned
by MGM at the time. This historic steam locomotive, old No. 11, originally saw service on
the Virginia and Truckee Railway, running on the Reno-Carson City-Virginia City circuit.
Bought by MGM in the forties, the locomotive appeared in many classic MGM films. It now
has an honored place in Old Tucson.
NOTES, ODDITIES, AND BLOOPERS:
· Great use of archival
footage. The planes strafing the trains are P-51s.
· While squad is walking down road, the sound of a propeller-driven
airplane cuts in and out underneath the music.
ABOUT FILMING THE EPISODE:
John Peyser had the prop department provide him with a holster and pistol that fired
blanks. He would wear the pistol on his hip when filming and used to fire it at planes
flying overhead. The studio was right in the flight path of LAX.
Rick Jason as Lt. Hanley (does not appear)
Vic Morrow as Sgt. Saunders
Steve Gravers as Martinez
Malachi Throne as Moorwood
Pierre Jalbert as Caje
Anthony Holland as Cutner
George Savalas as Cooper
James Davidson as Bowers
and Eugene Borden as Roget
See: Train posters