COMBAT!
 

 



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


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Season 4
COMBAT! episodes:

[A Day in June]
[Any Second Now]
[Just for the Record]
[The Squad]
[Lost Sheep, Lost Shepherd]
[Forgotten Front]
[Missing In Action]
[Rear Echelon Commandos]
[The Chateau]
[The Prisoner]
[Escape to Nowhere]
[The Celebrity]
[Far from the Brave]
[The Quiet Warrior]
[Cat and Mouse]
[Reunion]
[I Swear by Apollo]
[The Walking Wounded]
[The Medal]
[The Volunteer]
[No Time for Pity]
[Survival]
[Next in Command]
[Night Patrol]
[Off Limits]
[No Hallelujahs for Glory]
[Battle of the Roses]
[Hill 256]
[The Sniper]
[One More for the Road]
[High Named Today]
[No Trumpets, No Drums]

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

(032) No Trumpets, No Drums

Rating: 3-1/2 bayonets

Written by Edward J. Lakso
Directed by Richard Donner
Produced by Gene Levitt

First aired May 14, 1963
Season 1, Episode 32
Syndication Order: 32

Review

In the first aired episode of Combat! ("Forgotten Front"), Caje follows the dictates of his conscience and refuses to kill an innocent man. "No Trumpets, No Drums," the final episode of Combat's first season, opens with Caje killing an innocent man. I rather doubt this was planned, but I appreciate the symmetry. When the show began, our intrepid Cajun was able to keep some of the tragedy of war at arms distance. But by season's end, the inevitable happens--Caje is responsible for the death of an innocent. He finds himself unable to live with the consequences of that act. Not for the first time, Caje falls apart, broken by war. But in this instance it takes more than a few sips of wine and the smile from a pretty girl to put the shattered pieces of this soldier back together again.

This is only the second Combat! script by Edward J. Lakso, Combat's most prolific writer, but already he has captured the essence of these characters and how they interact. Dialog is crisp and strong throughout, giving several memorable exchanges. The scene in the barge between a distant, belligerent Caje and an oddly gentle and tentative Saunders provides a harsh contrast to the later scenes where Saunders is again the hard-nosed, demanding, and unforgiving Sergeant. At first Saunders reacts with sympathy and understanding, like a civilian, and Caje doesn't respond. When Saunders intervenes with Hanley for an insubordinate Caje, asking the Lieutenant to let him handle it his way, Hanley responds, "Well you've been handling it, Sergeant." And Saunders must admit, "Yeah, I know. But maybe--maybe in the wrong way." It's only when Saunders returns to being a soldier and forces Caje to remember that his duty is to the larger cause, not just to one small, frightened child, that Caje is eventually redeemed. And in fighting the larger battle, the smaller battle is also won.

In this Lakso script, the interactions between squad members are right on target--Littlejohn's offer to stand watch for Caje, Saunders' refusal to know which one squad member saved his life, Kirby's unwavering self-interest, Hanley's regret at dressing down both Caje and Saunders, and Doc ... well, Steven Rogers' Doc never did have much of a character to begin with, and Lakso didn't broaden the character's range in Doc's final appearance. This is director Richard Donner's only Combat! credit. He leads the characters gently throughout this episode, letting the drama of the words do their magic. Andrea Darvi as the waif that Caje orphans, and later adopts, abandons, and eventually rescues, is heartbreakingly wonderful. The scene as she is taken from Caje makes me cry every time.


Notes, Oddities, and Bloopers

  • Patton would definitely have approved of Saunders here. Saunders slaps Caje not once, but twice!
  • A lot of the in-town battle sequences in this episode are re-used in "The Little Carousel." That poor German running for his life across the "concrete river," gets killed quite a bit during that run throughout Combat!
  • Doc is offered some wine in the final scene, but refuses it. Do we ever see Doc #1 drink? He seems to be the only squad member who took the pledge.
  • Kirby uses both an M1 and a BAR in this episode.
  • I remember watching this show as a little girl and being mesmerized. This was where I fell in love with Caje. I wanted him to take care of and protect me just like he did with Micheline--but as a kid I never thought it through to realize that for him to take care of me like he did with Micheline, that first he'd have to kill my father. I'll pass, Caje, thank you.
  • Andrea Darvi became a writer as an adult and is author of the book Pretty Babies: An Insider's Look at the World of the Hollywood Child Star. She talks about child stars in general in the book and briefly about working on Combat!

Cast Credits

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

Pierre Jalbert as Caje

Jack Hogan as Kirby
Dick Peabody as Littlejohn
Tom Lowell as Billy Nelson
Steven Rogers as Doc

Jean Del Val ..... Marceau
Ted Roter ..... Frenchman
Billy Beck ..... Dubois
Nicky Blair ..... Johnson
and
Andrea Darvi as Micheline


Dialog Excerpts

SAUNDERS:
Look, Caje, every once in a while, a guy runs into something and he figures, this is it. A very special kind of a hell arranged just for him. All I'm trying to do is tell you I've had these things happen to me, too. I've seen--I've seen buddies follow my orders and end up dead for it.
 
CAJE:
I know.
 
SAUNDERS:
Uh-uh. You don't know. But maybe now you're kinda gettin' the idea. You can't personally carry responsibility. You can't. All right, you got a fire in your gut, huh? I tell you what you do. You wash it out. Come on, Caje, wash it out. You're not made of iron, I'm not made of iron. Be a lot easier if we were. Come on.

 

SAUNDERS:
Lieutenant, let me handle it, huh?
 
HANLEY:
Well you've been handling it, Sergeant.
 
SAUNDERS:
Yeah, I know. But maybe -- maybe in the wrong way.
 
HANLEY:
Well, you'd better find the right way. In case you've forgotten, we're on standby. Those Krauts throw down on us, we're gonna need every man we've got.
 
SAUNDERS:
We'll have him.
 
HANLEY:
And if he doesn't snap to? Did he stand outpost duty last night?
 
SAUNDERS:
No, sir, he didn't.
 
HANLEY:
Why not?
 
SAUNDERS:
I put Littlejohn in his place.
 
HANLEY:
You gonna find someone to hold his rifle, too?
 
SAUNDERS:
He'll hold his own rifle.
 
HANLEY:
Well, you better see that he does. And also that he remembers where, how, and when to use it. And the next time he turns his back on me he's gonna face insubordination charges

SAUNDERS:
Caje, will you listen to me? As long as we're together, you might get through this. But when it's over, this squad, the patrol, all of it, it's gonna -- it's gonna disappear. Everyone's gonna go his own way. And what happened to you here will be forgotten.

CAJE:
Forgotten, Sarge? If anything happens to that girl --
 
SAUNDERS:
If anything happens to that girl, you won't know about it. You'll see what we see, do as we do. No more, no less. Now you keep taking this personally and you're gonna destroy yourself.

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File last updated June 28, 2012

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