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"Combat!" A Rare Vintage (1964)

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The Sarge & The Wine Maker

Author: Jim Marchese from Mesa, AZ USA
15 August 2014

"A Rare Vintage" portrays a great amount of suspense. Saunders and the squad get trapped in a French villa after the Germans inadvertently follow them in. The walls are too high and there's no where to run except for tall bushes. While deciding how to escape their predicament, the Germans come driving up with a badly wounded Lieutenant Hanley, and the Sarge is committed to rescue him.

Bob & Esther Mitchell wrote a fine screenplay and everything fits; the plot and story are very believable. I especially like the timing of the ending sequence with Captain Brauer, the stalled truck, and Private Garrett redeeming himself - very well done. Caje and Saunders do an excellent job of making everything happen. The wine maker Jean Sebelleau (excellently played by veteran actor Marcel Hillaire) is an integral part of it all and deserves acclaim equal to Morrow & Jalbert. He comes across as very fearful at all times.

Director Sutton Roley did a good job overall except the balcony leap scene which was not an inch more than 8 feet. The under shot tells the tale. Vic Morrow's stunt double did an excellent job in that he slips in the process to give the shot more effect. One must be in great physical condition to execute that sequence. Otherwise, suspense levels remain high throughout.

Chalk up another clinic on persistence & determination given by the Sarge. It's quite amusing to watch Saunders never take no for an answer when dealing with the wine maker. He just keeps plugging away until Jean Sebelleau gives in and gets with the game plan !

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