poll_process(85); ?> View comments

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]

Back Up Next
reviews by Jo DavidsmeyerEpisodes rated from 0 to 4 bayonets

(020) The Volunteer

volunteer.jpg (31391 bytes)Rating:
2 bayonets

Written by Gene Levitt
Directed by Robert Altman
Produced by Robert Altman

First aired January 22, 1963
Season 1, Episode 16
Syndication Order: 20


In "The Volunteer," written by Gene Levitt, a young French orphan tries to join the squad as a soldier, but ultimately finds the game of war not to his liking. Serge Prieur plays thirteen-year-old Gilbert Barole with angelic earnestness. A strikingly beautiful young boy with soulful eyes, Prieur conveys the hopes, fears, and desires of a boy left alone in the world--all without speaking a word of English.

Robert Altman directed and produced this engaging story. The episode has all the visual hallmarks of the Altman Combat! style: cluttered foregrounds, hand-held camera work, a lot of play with sunlight and shadow, excruciating close-ups, scenes obscured by dust and smoke. It's interesting watching "The Volunteer" back-to-back with "Survival," also directed by Altman. Directorially, "The Volunteer" is a dry-run for "Survival". The sharp-eyed viewer will note many filming locations repeated from one episode to the next. Prieur in "The Volunteer" and Morrow in "Survival" travel the same roads, climb the same hills. Prieur wanders through charred woods that are still smoking after a barrage. A week later Saunders finds his "brother" in the same charred forest (freshly smoking). But more than just locations, Altman repeats camera shots between the two episodes: closeups of shadows of running feet, dappled sunlight streaming through overhanging trees, the same spinning point-of-view as both Morrow and Prieuer run through the woods.

Other interesting Altman moments include the drunken, near-orgy with the town women as the squad "liberates" the village. Portions of this street party footage are used in "The Sniper" and "Ambush," though the racier moments are not reused. In later episodes we're not treated to repeated views of Lt. Hanley, surrounded by his carousing men, carrying a babe in his arms through the streets of the village; or of Saunders also carrying off a young woman and later familiarly slapping her on the rear as he leaves town. (For those who read credits, it's interesting to note that two women are billed in this episode, though no women have any dialog or featured roles. It makes my salacious little mind wonder what Veronique and Nadine Arlyn did to earn their on-screen credits.)

Rick Jason has some wonderful moments as Lt. Hanley in this episode. His relationship with his "volunteer" are delightful as Jason alternately treats this boy with sympathy, frustration, anger, and finally desperation as he must entrust the lives of the advance force of the American army into the hands of a child. Hanley doesn't get to behave often as an officer in the series, Usually we see that side of him in brief flashes, and less of that as the series progressed. But in this episode (when he's not copping a feel on the streets of the village), he's definitely the officer struggling to keep his men alive and accomplish his mission, even after being seriously wounded.

Notes, Oddities, and Bloopers

  • The ending is a bit pat, but effective.
  • Why do they use a slightly different version of the opening theme music?
  • Saunders takes up the rear in all the marches in this episode.
  • More Littlejohn/Kirby tension
  • Ten Germans encounter Prieur in the woods, but this patrol has twelve men when they take the village. Did they meet some replacements en route?
  • Would have liked Hanley to react in some way to hearing the kid's name. "You're Gilbert Barole? Gil? That's my name, too, kid. And Barole is the name of my old college roommate who also lives in France. You any relation?"

Cast Credits

Rick Jason
as Lt. Hanley

Vic Morrow
as Sgt. Saunders

introducing Serge Prieur

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

Ted Knight ..... Kurt
Kurt Levin ..... Karl
Ed Gilbert ..... Herman
Veronique ..... Hilda
Nadine Arlyn ..... Ilsa

Dialog Excerpts

You think that's it? You think they've stopped?
They're not gonna stop 'til we're all dead.

View comments about this Episode - add your own comment

Back Up Next


Military Magazines

Military Posters

Patriotic Jigsaw Puzzles

WWII Video Games

WWII toys

American Flag Jewelry


SITE MENU: Combat TV Series
The Show
The Cast
The Crew
Combat! A Viewer's Companion
Combat!  Fandom
Combat TV Trivia
Combat! Collectibles
WWII Weapons
WWII Books
Military Posters


HomeWeb site copyright 1995 - 2011 by Jo Davidsmeyer.  All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy
File last updated June 28, 2012

Other WWII TV Shows: Black Sheep Squadron Twelve O'Clock High

Combat! is owned by ABC Television and distributed in the US by Paramount Pictures. It is not our intention to infringe on the copyrights of the creators of Combat! This web page is meant for the free enjoyment of Combat! fans everywhere. Unless otherwise noted, materials Copyright Jo Davidsmeyer. All rights reserved. Photographs from the TV series  copyright ABC-TV.

Dollar Bargains:  Christmas Stocking Stuffers for a Dollar * Halloween Party Favors * July 4th Favors