'Manhunt' takes place in 1942, Nazi-occupied France. An idealistic young university student (code named Nina) volunteers to be a secretary for the French Resistance. She attends their ... See full synopsis »
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1970  

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Series cast summary:
...
 Squadron Leader Jimmy Briggs 19 episodes, 1970
Cyd Hayman ...
...
...
...
 Abwehr Sergeant Gratz 10 episodes, 1970
Maggie Fitzgibbon ...
 Adelaide 8 episodes, 1970
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'Manhunt' takes place in 1942, Nazi-occupied France. An idealistic young university student (code named Nina) volunteers to be a secretary for the French Resistance. She attends their meetings in Paris, records the details, and inadvertently memorizes information about all the Resistance cells in France. A German raid then kills the top leaders of the resistance, leaving Nina as the only survivor with full knowledge of the Resistance. French-born British agent Vincent is charged with the task of smuggling Nina to England, but to kill her rather than let her fall into German hands. Along the way, Vincent stumbles upon an RAF officer named Jimmy Briggs, who has been shot down over France, and receives orders from London to smuggle him back to Englad along with Nina. The three then make their way across France, evading a massive German manhunt (or womanhunt, in this case) to find them. The plot thickens as the possibility of either Nina or Jimmy being a double agent intent on blowing the...

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Drama | War

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2 January 1970 (UK)  »

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| (26 episodes)

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Got more stunning as it developed
5 November 2017 | by See all my reviews

An extraordinary series, in turn intriguing, gripping, shocking and sometimes downright mad.

It begins as a piece of superior thick ear, with an odd trio - repressed Victor, extrovert Jimmy, and traumatised Jew Nina - trapped in occupied France, trying to get back to Britain with the information in Nina's head. The series involved a series of writers, whose different strengths led to a great deal of variety among the episodes - a technique used by excellent dramas of the time including The Gold Robbers and The Guardians. One wonders whether the writers competed amongst themselves to outdo each other - most of the episodes included scenes with dialogue of great tension which could make the hairs on one's neck stand on end. Various experiments were tried - one episode in virtual silence, others being practically two-handed plays. There was a lot of violence, and a high death rate, but typically the gunfire only punctuated the complex interactions of the various people trapped in the wartime situation.

We had the leading trio - Peter Barkworth, of dual nationality, who tries to overcome his sensitivity and compassion with cold professionalism, Cyd Hayman, who begins as a beautiful victim and sex object but finds untrained and unmanageable powers of self- protection, resistance and revenge, and Alfred Lynch as the Brylcreem Boy who finds that his cavalier attitude to danger and discipline are not enough to get him through the nightmare - but also the duplicity of the Resistance, and the collaborators, and the fatal rivalry between the brutish SS, the supine French police and the Abwehr, schooled in more military virtues.

As the series becomes more profound and serious, three more characters are dropped into the mix - Lutzig, too subtle for his SS masters but still a thug, Adelaide, of ambiguous loyalties, and the extraordinary Gratz. There is no scene too small for Robert Hardy to steal, in an incredible performance. The three original protagonists are split up, and so in the second half you could never predict which of the six would appear in any given episode. In the extremity of their situation they become so obsessed with each other that passions emerge, love and abuse co-exist, and - as the codeword introduced later in the show has it, 'war is love'.

The show is not perfect. Some of the psychology stretches credibility, and one wonders what languages they all speak. But still, it's a stunning drama which builds up to a giant and profound climax.

The theme, built around the opening motif of Beethoven's Fifth, became instantly associated with the series at the time of broadcast. This was a particularly brilliant idea, as the series was broadcast only 26 years after the end of the war, and many viewers would have memories of the motif being used in allied broadcasts. Why that motif? Because the rhythm, ...-, signifies the letter V (for victory) in Morse Code.


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