Combat - Season 1, Campaign 2
DVD | Box Set
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One of the television's most popular series, the groundbreaking Combat!! offers a gritty, unflinching look at American soldiers battling in Europe during World War II, confronting imposing odds and demonstrating remarkable levels of ingenuity and courage. Vic Morrow and Rick Jason head a stellar cast in the longest-running war series in history, featuring an incomparable list of guest stars from Hollywood's Golden Age as well as top directorial talent including Richard Donner and Robert Altman. Campaign 1 guest stars: Robert Culp, Dean Stockwell, Joan Hackett, Don Edmonds, Dan O'Herlihy, Victoria Vetri, Denise Alexander, Michael Murphy, Barbara Babcock. The Squad / Next in Command / The Chateau / Off Limits / No Time for Pity / Night Patrol / Survival / No Hallelujahs for Glory / The Quiet Warrior / Battle of the Roses / Hill 256 / The Sniper / One More for the Road / The Walking Wounded / High Named Today / No Trumpets, No Drums.
The further adventures of King Company's second platoon are highlighted in all their blazing action and dramatic impact in this four-disc set, which concludes Combat!'s 1962-63 debut season. King Two undergoes a few changes in episodes 17 through 32--Shecky Greene's Pvt. Braddock is absent from the platoon (Greene quit over pay issues) and Jack Hogan, whose Pvt. Kirby first appeared in "The Forgotten Front" (featured in the Combat! Season One: Campaign One boxed set) is now a featured cast member; Emmy nominee Conlon Carter, who would later join the cast as Doc in the third season, appears as an unnamed PVC in disc 3's "Hill 256." The 17 episodes featured here carry the men of King Two to the liberation of Paris, which concludes the season; afterwards, the series would no longer adhere to true chronological events, preferring instead to place the men in mostly unspecific dates and locations within France. The excellent performances of the main cast, led by Vic Morrow and Rick Jason, are well abetted by terrific guest stars, including Robert Culp, Dean Stockwell, and even future Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS director Don Edmonds, and direction by Golden Age TV vets such as Robert Altman, Ted Post, and Richard Donner.
The interview featurette "Memories of Combat!" that was featured on the Campaign One boxed set is absent from Campaign Two, as is episode commentary by Robert Altman and the production photo gallery, but this set features more commentary tracks from cast and crew members. Actor Tom Lowell (Pvt. Billy Nelson) again contributes a track, as do guest stars Joseph Campanella and Ben Cooper and directors Ted Post, Richard Donner, and Sutton Roley. Also returning is Jo Davidsmeyer, author of Combat! A Viewer's Guide to the WWII TV Series, who lists production trivia and continuity bloopers in the scene selection menu for each episode. As a stand-alone set or with Campaign One, this is solid entertainment for vintage TV fans. --Paul Gaita
- 16 episodes on four discs
- Notes, oddities, and bloopers
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It takes place in an area that is probably about the size of a football field. The type of area similar to where a lot of the smaller battles of the war were fought , a muddy, filthy area strewn with fallen dead trees, a bleak open expanse of ankle-deep water and a bombed-out fortified wall at one side. Sergeant Saunders and his men are on reconnaissance looking for where the Germans have dug in. They come across this small bleak little stretch of land and slowly begin to cross it. They don't know that a German gunnery crew is watching them from behind the wall with a mounted heavy machine gun aimed at them. When the Americans draw near enough the German Lieutenant gives the command to open fire, and a blanket of bullets rains down on them. Saunders and his men manage to just barely get away from the barrage by ducking behind some fallen logs nearby, but one man wasn't so lucky. His name is Mason, and he was badly injured in the attack. He is laying in the middle of the expanse , face down groaning in agony, an equal distance away from where his fellow troops lay hidden and where the German guns are positioned. The Germans could kill him off easily but they don't, they leave him alive and moaning , hoping to use him as bait to lure the hidden Americans into the open for a resuce attempt. Now, here is the catch that makes it even more dramatic. The wounded soldier is one that everyone in his troop hates. He is a newcomer to the troop, a selfish, self-serving, loud mouthed antagonist who only cares about himself. Some of his fellow soldiers believe he abandonded his post on a prior patrol when the action got too heavy. Needless to say, there aren't a lot of hands going up for men willing to run out there to save him. What ensues next is a genuine struggle of the heart, as the men who are pinned down by heavy fire try to decide if that man's life is worth almost certain death to try to rescue. After some intense argument among them, two initial attempts are made to resuce him, and both times the soldiers who tried were shot dead in the attempt. It brings the moment to a toppling point. Do they abondon him there, or risk more deaths in yet another resuce attempt?
This is the kind of heavy, intense drama that highlights much of this series. It's less about the war itself, and more about the struggle of the people who are in the midst of it, trying to stay alive and trying to make some sense out of it while trying to do the right thing.
The disks worked perfectly, the video image quality and audio quality were perfect, and this has what is probably the best designed storage case of any DVD set I've ever purchased, very easy to remove the disks from and to slide them back into, and comes with a paper listing of all the episodes and chapters.
Also this series comes with some great commentary tracks that you can choose to listen to or not. I especially found the comments by one of the directors , Ted Post, to be very insightful as he discusses the reality of a soldier's life in the war, he being in the war himself.
- Mike S.
This set does have one of my favorite episodes, "The Walking Wounded". Saunders has received a minor wound that forces him to seek medical attention on his own back at their lines. His wound isn't bad enough to ensure him a ride, hence he's' walking wounded', but he does end up getting a ride on an ambulance. The driver isn't too keen about driving through the combat areas but Saunders takes control. It's a great episode for Vic Morrow. "Hill 256" is more drama than action as Pvt. Kirby faces a court martial for cowardice. Jack Hogan gets an opportunity to be the main focus of a script & he proves to be more than adequate as an actor. "Battle of the Roses" is one of the oddest episodes of Combat! that has Saunders trying to convince a French woman to leave the sanctity of her garden. "The Sniper" is full of some tense moments, the title tells it all. The final episode, "No Trumpet, No Drums" was an excellent show for the finale to season one. Caje (Pierre Jalbert) has killed a Frenchman & must deal with the dead man's daughter. Caje is very distraught & becomes distracted from his duty.
Like all the Combat! season sets that are a lot of bonus features. Season one has Steven Rogers portraying the medic, Doc. Rogers would only appear in the first season & would be replaced by Conlan Carter thereafter. Season one was a good season for Combat! but its best seasons are two & three.
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