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



Season 4
COMBAT! episodes:

[Season 2 (1963 - 1964)]
[Bridge at Chalons]
[The Long Way Home]
[A Distant Drum]
[Infant of Prague]
[The Wounded Don't Cry]
[The Little Jewel]
[Glow Against the Sky]
[The Party]
[Anatomy of a Patrol]
[What Are the Bugles...]
[Thunder from the Hill]
[The Pillbox]
[Gideon's Army]
[General and the Sergeant]
[The Hostages]
[A Silent Cry]
[Eyes of the Hunter]
[Mail Call]
[The Hunter]
[Weep No More]
[The Short Day of Pvt Putnam]
[The Glory Among Men]

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reviews by Jo DavidsmeyerEpisodes rated from 0 to 4 bayonets


Vic Morrow and James Coburn in the COMBAT episode 'Masquerade'Rating:
4 bayonets

Written by
Anthony Wilson

Directed by
John Peyser

Produced by
Gene Levitt

Aired OCT-01-1963 - Season 2, Episode 3
Syndication Order: 40


* * * * In "Masquerade," two German infiltrators try to make it to battalion headquarters under the pretense of escorting a "captured" German Colonel. Their plans are complicated first by a landmine that disables their jeep and then by a suspicious Saunders. In a clever script by Anthony Wilson, Kanger (played by James Coburn) matches wits with Saunders in a deadly game of survival.

James Coburn in 'Masquerade'Dan Stafford plays Lt. Comstock, an infiltrator not quite up to the task. Though his "American" passes muster, he is betrayed by his humanity. He blanches at the sight of a dead German in the street; he's unwilling to sacrifice his commanding officer for the sake of the mission; and when Germans attack the town, he is unable to fully play GI and gun down his fellow soldiers. Kanger is unbothered by such moral dilemmas. There's no veneer of civilization on this predator. And when Comstock endangers Kanger's survival, Kanger dispatches him without hesitation.

Coburn plays this infiltrator with a mesmerizing menace, adopting animalistic mannerisms and a keen, predator's gaze. His manner is as easy as his smile as he deftly turns away suspicions, or turns on the offensive when the questioning takes a dangerous turn. My favorite scene is between him and Saunders in the barn; Coburn turns the tables on Saunders' subtle interrogation, becoming the verbal attacker. The tension of this duel of words is heightened by the body language, as the two constantly shift to attack positions as they speak; the threat in their physical movements is in sharp contrast with their conversational banter. Morrow's Saunders is a match for Kanger, meeting every deft ploy with his own sharp wit and cunning. Ultimately Kanger is defeated by his own arrogance -- the confidence in his superiority to those American suckers.

video_masquerade.jpg (12149 bytes)Notes, Oddities, and Bloopers

  • Odd that everyone in the platoon is so familiar with the battalion medical staff. Hanley knows who the best surgeon is; everyone is old friends with the ambulance driver (even though he never comes to the front). Just how much time do these guys spend back in the hospital?
  • Saunders! Stop taking advantage of unconscious guys! After the jeep accident, he unbuttons Coburn's shirt in an unmilitary fashion. Yeah, Coburn needed it loosened to help his breathing. Right.
  • I think Coburn got his actions wrong in the scene after Comstock's death. Coburn hands a cigarette to Saunders, who sort of looks at it funny until Caje smiles and says "no thanks", wrong person -- *then* Saunders says thanks and takes one.
  • Badly crafted exposition scene as Saunders talks about Kanger to the squad. Silly dialog with Kirby and Littlejohn whining about those nasty Krauts not playing fair. And after Littlejohn asks about Kanger (while standing next to Caje), Caje then ALSO asks about Kanger a minute later. Weren't you listening, Caje, or is that beret on too tight?
  • Saunders bio info: says he's from "out West" when talking with Kanger, later says he's from Illinois when questioned by guards.
  • 361st was stationed outside Sheffield before D-Day.
  • Infiltrators claim to be from the 594th.
  • The infiltrator should recheck those facts: St. Paul is not the Gateway to the West.
  • Action takes place after the liberation of Paris.
  • The interplay between Saunders and Hanley is interesting, especially how Hanley officially dismisses Saunders and his concerns, then goes ahead and contacts battalion when Saunders isn't around.

Cast Credits

Rick Jason
as Lt. Hanley

Vic Morrow
as Sgt. Saunders

James Coburn
as Cpl. Arnold Kanger

Jack Hogan as Kirby
Pierre Jalbert
as Caje
Dick Peabody
as Littlejohn
Conlan Carter
as Doc

Norman Alden ..... PFC Cooper
Rick Traeger ..... German Colonel
George Keymas ..... Captain Simms
K.L. Smith ..... 1st G.I.
Jacque Shelton ..... 2nd G.I.
Bruce Watson ..... Sentry
Alex Burke ..... 1st Man
Dan Stafford as Lt. David Comstock

Dialog Excerpts

One more slip, Lieutenant, and I may have to kill you just so this animal can survive.

Kanger's Threat (51K)

You've been up here too long, haven't you, Lieutenant?

There aren't any rules in war, Littlejohn. There's still plenty of Krauts out there in their own uniforms. Let's worry about them.



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