Combat! reviews by Jo
Episodes 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
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,
- 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,
- 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!
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
Andrea Darvi as Micheline
- 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.
- I know.
- 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.
- Lieutenant, let me handle it, huh?
- Well you've been handling it, Sergeant.
- Yeah, I know. But maybe -- maybe in the wrong way.
- 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.
- We'll have him.
- And if he doesn't snap to? Did he stand outpost duty last night?
- No, sir, he didn't.
- Why not?
- I put Littlejohn in his place.
- You gonna find someone to hold his rifle, too?
- He'll hold his own rifle.
- 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
- 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.
- Forgotten, Sarge? If anything happens to that girl --
- 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