Sgt. Saunders and his squad are on patrol with a Captain from G-2 Intelligence. He informs them he intends to be captured by the Germans, allowing himself to be taken to a POW camp where an...
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Sgt. Saunders and his squad are on patrol with a Captain from G-2 Intelligence. He informs them he intends to be captured by the Germans, allowing himself to be taken to a POW camp where an important writer for Stars and Stripes is being held. The Captain must get the writer out of the POW camp before he can talk, through a hidden tunnel he knows to be there. When the Captain steps on a mine and is killed, Sgt. Saunders and his squad are captured, but they intend to complete the mission.Written by
When Kirby lights the lantern, there's an obvious, flickering flame and the lantern glass is clear. But when Saunders uses the lantern while crawling in the tunnel, the glass is opaque and the light is very bright, as if there is a bulb in the lantern. When he crawls out of the tunnel, the glass is clear again and the flickering flame is seen. See more »
Memorable acting by Don Duryea, Vic Morrow, Henry Beckman and the supporting cast keeps this episode moving along. Regrettably, the script is rather weak. The writers appear to have appropriated much of the story line from the movie, "The Great Escape". But unlike that screen classic, there are far too many improbabilities and absurdities in this episode of "Combat!".
The first disappointment for "Combat!" regulars is that "Dateline" lacks the battle scenes and action fights that make this such a great television show. There is one fire fight between the Germans and the Americans, but it stretches credibility (White Rook is under heavy fire from three sides, and how many are wounded?). There is also a scene wherein a land mine is detonated, but the crater from the blast looks more like something on the moon than the result of a land mine explosion.
Other parts of the story also come up short. Would the G2 send a Captain, and not a Sergeant, for this high-risk duty? Why isn't there any attempt by the Americans to overpower Major Mueller and his one and only disinterested Guard? Could an escape tunnel in a POW camp remain undiscovered by the Germans, especially after such a long time?
The script for "Dateline" is not up to the usual high standards of the "Combat!" scriptwriters. We might be tempted to reach for the off button at a couple of low points in the show, were it not for the great acting skills of Dan Duryea, Vic Morrow, and Henry Beckman.
I gave the entire "Combat!" series a vote of "10", but my vote for this episode is only a "6".
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