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


Season 4
COMBAT! episodes:

[Season 4 : Intro]
[The Linesman]
[The Main Event]
[Hear No Evil]
[9 Place Vendee]
[A Sudden Terror]
[Finest Hour]
[The Farmer]
[The Raider]
[Soldier of Fortune]
[The First Day]
[Luck with Rainbows]
[The Flying Machine]
[The Old Men]
[The Casket]
[The Good Samaritan]
[The Mockingbird]
[Hills Are for Heroes]
[Nothing to Lose]
[Ask Me No Questions]
[The Ringer]
[One at a Time]
[Run, Sheep, Run]
[The Leader]

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episode reviews by Jo Davidsmeyer * Episodes are rated from 0 to 4 bayonets 

video_siw.jpg (12605 bytes)S.I.W.


4 bayonets

Guest star John Cassavetes

First aired September 28, 1965
Episode 3 of Season 4

Written by Shirl Hendrix
Directed by John Peyser
Produced by Gene Levitt


Kirby rejoins the squad in the field, bringing with him a new replacement, Kalb (played by John Cassevetes). But Cassevetes is already known to one of the squad members, Fleming (William Stevens); Fleming believes Kalb is a coward who ran at Omaha Beach and has been running ever since. After a firefight in the French village, Cassevetes turns up wounded, but the powder burns on his legs leads the squad to think that it was a self-inflicted wound (SIW). After being bandaged and given morphine, Kalb's description of his hand-to-hand fight with a German is confused and contradictory. When the Germans return, the squad is trapped in the church, unable to run because the wounded Kalb would slow them down. During the battle, Kalb runs from the church and risks his life to prove his courage. Cleaning up after the battle, Saunders finds the proof that clears Kalb.


This story by Shirl Hendrix skillfully keeps Cassevetes' guilt or innocense in constant question. The script makes a stinging point about the cancer of gossip and innuendo. John Peyser, in his best directorial work for Combat!, creates a dark, oppressive atmosphere as Cassavetes' fear and fate are dissected and discussed. Throughout, Peyser is in firm command of the action and the camera, creating some great visuals: long gunfighter-like shots down the mainstreet and brooding close-ups in the church. Maybe he had enough pull by this point to insist on shooting new footage for the teaser. Not a bit of re-used footage there — we're even in a new location outside the French village in the teaser. But, never fear, he did manage to sneak in some footage from "The Little Carousel," but it's so seamlessly merged into the final battle sequence that it's difficult to spot.

Saunders and Doc are standouts in this episode as they deal with the possibility of a soldier with a self-inflicted wound.

About Filming the Episode

Conlan Carter about John Cassavetes: "John and I hit it off immediately. John didn't have an agent. He did all of his own stuff that way. We talked about that for hours, because I was fascinated with that process. It was tough to get jobs with an agent. John was a different breed, he was a different cat. I would have liked to have known him better. We talked a lot about stuff, not all of it Hollyweird. He was a good guy. Very bright. Very real. One of the nicest, down-to-earth good guys in Hollywood."

Notes, Oddities, and Bloopers

  • Blooper: As the squad enters a village, they are walking down the street and no one is wearing jackets. Three times, interspersed in the jacketless long shots, are close-ups of Saunders where he is wearing his jacket (the collar is visible).
  • This is (perhaps) the only episode where, except for the blooper above, none of the squad members ever wears a jacket.
  • This episode was one of six commercially released on VHS tape by GoodTimes Video in 1986. It is a sought-after collectible among Combat! fans.
  • A respected actor and film director, John Cassavetes was regarded as a pioneer of American cinema verit´┐Ż. See books about John Cassavetes.

Cast Credits

Vic Morrow
as Sgt. Saunders

Rick Jason
as Lt. Hanley
(NOTE: does not appear in episode)

John Cassavetes
as Kalb

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

William Stevens ... Fleming
Paul Sherif ... Sawyer
Mike Krempels ... German

Dialog Excerpts

Hey, don't just stand there. Come on, let's get on with the war. Kirby's back and you got 'em.

[sound clip] Look Who's Back (33 k)

Like you said, believe only what you see with your own eyes.
That's right. And even then you have to look twice.

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File last updated December 22, 2015

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