"The Gallant Men" was an American television series that debuted on ABC in the fall of 1962. It followed a company of US soldiers from the Sept 1943 invasion at Salerno, and their battles up the toe of Italy. The series ran for a total of 26 episodes during 1962-63. Leading the cast is Robert McQueeney, who also narrates the story. McQueeney is a newspaper reporter who follows the company on their exploits. (Sort of an Ernie Pyle clone) The rest of the regulars are played by, William Reynolds, Robert Ridgely, Francis X Slattery, Eddie Fontaine, Roland La Starza, Roger Davis and Robert Gothie. There are the standard types sprinkled throughout, the joker, the card sharp, the loner etc. This is the 6th episode.
The company sends out a couple of squads to do a recon on a German position. They however have the misfortune to walk into a German ambush. The Americans take heavy casualties and are forced to retreat. One of the wounded is Lt Robert Ridgely, who besides picking up a round in the shoulder, has lost his sight.
The wounded are sent south to recover in a hospital in Naples. The doctors go over Ridgely but cannot find any reason for his blindness. They say it is psychosomatic and induced by stress. It should restore itself over time. Ridgely is visited by newsman, Robert McQueeney, who tries to help the tensed up officer relax. It seems seeing all his men killed in the ambush pushed his mind over the edge.
Things start to improve when local volunteer nurse, Marianne Hill, takes an interest in Ridgely. She spends time reading and talking to Ridgely. He starts to ease up on blaming himself over the ambush. Each day he waits for the visit from the woman. What he does not know, is that Miss Hill works for several black market types, John Van Dreelen and Fred Villani. She is casing the hospital to see where the drugs are keep. Van Dreelen intends to rob the storeroom and sell the drugs on the Black Market.
One evening, while Miss Hill is keeping Ridgely, company, there is a German air raid. The shock and sounds of the raid shake Ridgely up and his blindness is gone. He however does not wish to tell anyone. He has fallen for Miss Hill, and Hill, has also went, for the big lug Ridgely. She tells the black market mob she is out of the deal.
That is till the gang tell her they will harm her "friend". Hill agrees to get them entrance to the area. They make their play but it does not go to plan. One of the men is killed by a guard and the other captured. Hill is also soon under lock and key. The MP's question Ridgely about Miss Hill and whether he knew about the robbery. The disappointed man says nothing, and asks to be sent back to his unit.
Back at the unit, Ridgely asks for a new assignment tackling a German position. He does this in style. Newsman McQueeney arrives back from a visit to Naples and tells Ridgely that Miss Hill is out of jail. She would like Ridgely to visit his next leave. Ridgely smiles, and says he just might do that.
Weakest of the episodes I've seen so far. While the opening and closing battle scenes are quite well handled (Again some excellent use of old Warner Brothers film footage is used to advantage) the middle is a tad slow.
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