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Combat! reviews by Jo Davidsmeyer - Episodes rated from 0 to 4 bayonets 

(070) Dateline

RATING: bayonetbayonet2 bayonets

Written by Richard L. Newhafer
Directed by Sutton Roley
First aired 23-Feb-1965
Episode 23 of Season 3


After losing a superior officer in the field, Saunders and squad allow themselves to be captured by the enemy to liberate a famous American correspondent being held by the Germans. But the wounded correspondent, Robert Barton, refuses to take any risks to gain his freedom, preferring a prison cell to the dangers of an escape.


In "Dateline," Saunders teaches a war correspondent what it really means to live a war, not just write about it. Dan Duryea, as Barton, is fine as the cowardly reporter, who cares more for his own security than for the Allies or the men who have come to rescue him.

The script by Richard L. Newhafer is thin, requiring long marches through the woods to fill the hour. Director Sutton Roley devised innovative ways to march the squad along to Rosenman's music. He creates some interesting squad-on-patrol shots: fording lakes, leaping walls, crossing rail bridges. But the shots are more interesting than exciting.


· The cord on the hat of German major who gives Barton morphine alternates between being tucked behind the cockade and falling forward.
· In the scene where Saunders holds Barton at knife point, the knife is alternately held overhand and underhand.
· Good job of making a few jeeps on the MGM lot look like a battalion motorpool.


Conlan Carter recalls one silly incident filming with Henry Beckman, who plays the German Major. "We were shooting the thing like at nine o'clock at night. We were bone tired, getting stupid and ridiculous. The scene was for Beckman to walk into the stable . . . and see that we had escaped. And he was to say something appropriate in German.' Beckman walked in, looked at the escape tunnel, hit his leg with a riding crop and said, with a flawless Yiddish accent, 'Ho, boy!' Well, it just hit everybody and we started laughing. And we laughed for thirty minutes. We couldn't keep doing the show. We just sat down for about a half an hour, because every time we'd start to do it, we'd start laughing again. It wasn't that funny, except for that moment when we all were so goofy. And it was hysterical. The Jewish expression coming from a dyed-in-the-wool German. Nobody expected him to do it, it was a total ad lib and we obviously couldn't use it—they were rolling when he did it."

Dick Peabody says, "I'll give you an example of Sutton Roley. On Lot 3, up high, about ten feet off the ground, they built a section of a railroad track. And Sutton, with his wonderful sense of drama as far as camera placement was concerned, wanted a shot with the camera below, looking up through the ties at me as I'm walking along the railroad track. It was a great idea. The first take, I'm walking over there, and he says, 'Wait a minute. Cut,! Dick, don't look down. That ruins the whole thing when you look down.' I said, 'If you think I'm going to walk across this thing ten feet off the ground and not look where I'm stepping, forget it.' ... How are you going to do that. No one in their right mind is going to do that." In the sequence, all the actors who walk across the railroad tracks glance down at their feet.


Vic Morrow as Sgt. Saunders
Rick Jason as Lt. Hanley [does not appear]

Guest Star
Dan Duryea as Barton

Jack Hogan as Kirby
Dick Peabody as Littlejohn
Conlan Carter as Doc
Douglas Henderson as Reardon

Kurt Landen as Guard
Rank Kodmen as German Sergeant
Ray Baxter as German #1
Roger Gentry as German #2
Peter Hellman as German Guard
Henry Beckman as Major Mueller

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COMBAT! Episodes
Combat! Season 1
Combat! Season 2
Combat! Season 3
Combat! Season 4
Combat! Season 5

Season 3 COMBAT! episodes:
[Season 3: Overview]
[Silver Service]
[The Long Walk]
[Mountain Man]
[The Duel]
[Operation Fly Trap]
[The Impostor]
[Losers Cry Deal]
[Point of View]
[Brother, Brother]
[The Hard Way Back]
[The Little Carousel]
[Fly Away Home]
[A Rare Vintage]
[The Enemy]
[A Gift of Hope]
[A Walk with an Eagle]
[Birthday Cake]
[The Cassock]
[The Town that Went Away]
[The Convict]
[The Steeple]
[More than a Soldier]
[The Long Wait]
[The Tree of Moray]
[Cry in the Ruins]
[The Hell Machine]
[Billy the Kid]
[Beneath the Ashes]