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



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]
[I Swear by Apollo]
[The Walking Wounded]
[The Medal]
[The Volunteer]
[No Time for Pity]
[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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reviews by Jo DavidsmeyerEpisodes rated from 0 to 4 bayonets

The Sniper

Rating: 2 bayonets

Written by Edward J. Lakso
Directed by Ted Post
Produced by Gene Levitt

First aired April 16, 1963
Season 1, Episode 28
Syndication Order: 29


A freshly liberated French town, exuberant villagers, free-flowing wine, lots of young women longing to express their gratitude to the brave American liberators, and several days off duty -- what could possibly arise to spoil this idyllic picture? A sniper, of course. This never-say-die German stays behind after the German withdrawal to wage his own private war, aided by a beautiful but bitter Frenchwoman who has her own reasons to hate the town that her German lover is terrorizing.

This first Combat story by Edward J. Lakso shows little of his later fire. Though a solid script, the characterizations are shallow. Saunders' dialog with Gail Kobe (the embittered French barmaid) is stilted and lacks the usual Saunders conviction. He seems almost a busybody, prying into affairs that are really none of his business. Saunders is better off sticking to GIs as the objects of his per talks. He should leave the civilian lectures to Hanley, who usually gets them. The bit at the top of the show with Hanley "teasing" the squad about moving forward was a bit oddly out of character.

Hans Gudegast as the sniper is appropriately sly and deliciously sexy as he seduces Kobe and slithers freely about the village. But we never are offered a look inside this character, never even hear him speak. Why did he stay in the village? Why is he waging this one-man war? We never know. We do learn about Kobe's past, but why she fell in love with Gudegast, and why she later chooses to save Saunders' life over the life of her lover is unclear. And why, when Saunders is wounded, nearly blinded, and has plenty of help within easy calling distance, does he stumble off alone in pursuit of the sniper? Saunders is always heroic, but he's usually not stupid and heroic. Since it was Lakso's first script, I guess we can forgive him for making Captain Jampel a Major (but Hanley should have known better).

The "liberation" of the village in the beginning has some charming moments. I love Littlejohn strutting like a peacock with two tiny girls on his arms. Our hunkly, blond Fletcher Fist looks mighty fine as he stretches out for some relaxing R&R. Kirby provides his usual salacious and inappropriate behavior around anything in skirts. Directed by Ted Post, the episode is peppered with delightful visuals. Director Post teases his audience in places, putting many characters in the sniper's sights, and making us guess which will be the next to fall to this predator. But the first "victim" was a gimme. The moment the GI said he was going to forego the partying and write that long letter to his wife that he's been putting off, you knew he was a goner.

Notes, Oddities, and Bloopers

  • Caje wearing that turtleneck again
  • Kirby carries an M1
  • Why doesn't anyone fink on the sniper? It's a small village, they know everyone in the town. Why don't they know about Hans Gudegast?
  • Jampel is referred to as a Major in this episode. Later in series he is a captain.
  • 1st season squad semi-regulars Brockmeyer and Davis appear in this episode
  • The two children at the window in this episode appear later in Combat!: Michel Petit stars as Bijou in "The Little Jewel" and Phillipe Chappele plays the haunted boy seeking his sister's murderer in "What Are The Bugles Blowing For?"

Cast Credits

Rick Jason
as Lt. Hanley

Vic Morrow
as Sgt. Saunders

and starring
Gail Kobe
[Note: listed only in the opening credits]

Jack Hogan as Kirby
Pierre Jalbert as Caje
Steven Rogers as Doc
Dick Peabody as Littlejohn

Jordan Grant ..... Marks
Fletcher Fist ..... Brockmeyer
Bill Harlow ..... Davis
Michel Petit ..... 1st Boy
Phillipe Chappele ..... 2nd Boy
John Newton ..... Fisher
Maya Van Horn ..... Woman

Athan Karras ..... Carot
Walter Kohler ..... Man
Guy de Vestel ..... Villager
Alex Dunand ..... Bistro Man
Arlette Clark ..... Old Woman
Hans Gudegast as Hans Grubber

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