The Canada Run
A little fishing village on the lake, better days have been seen there. Comes a benefactor full of cash for a soup kitchen at St. Brendan’s, where the priest has just given up repairing the old wheeze of an organ. A splendid new instrument is provided, the men are fed, there’s even a lighted cross above the church each night, to guide the benefactor’s run of whiskey from Canada by boat. He’s murdered the previous supplier, and filling up the speaks of Nitti’s competitors with genuine Canadian Gold.
Ness sends in an undercover man who’s quickly found out. The priest learns the truth and refuses the Trojan horse he’s been offered. The benefactor dies, the town becomes a resort.
Time for Pity
Nazi paratroopers seize Bernay as an observation post, hold five children as hostages with the librarian and the janitor.
The Glorious History of France as “printed matter capable of arousing resistance is to be destroyed”. The librarian speaks like one, and a Frenchwoman at that, a country’s greatness comes not from power but from its art, its philosophy.
All the books are burned, “impressionable minds must be protected from decadent influences,” a suicide mission.
She makes a play for the officer while Lt. Hanley gets the kids out, the place is leveled by Allied artillery.
“To be merciful is weak,” the German officer says. Hanley has stabbed a guard, the elderly janitor seizes his bayonet to charge the enemy and is shot, Hanley escapes notice. The janitor’s grandson is among the children. “Why should he live to kill other Germans?”
The barrage is set for 2200, Hanley just makes it.
More for the Road
The Second Thirty Years War (1914-1945) begins with the squad in a trench or ditch against a machine-gun nest flanked and stilled by Caje. A baby is found, “To Renée with Love from Her Ludwig”, they carry it back.
A bombed-out convent and apple trees, a German patrol. A bombed-out farmhouse and a cow in a minefield. A German pontoon bridge guarded by sentries.
The squad fords the river, deep, loud and fast. Caje kills a soldier napping at the farm and wears the farmer’s clothes across the bridge with the baby.
Allied shelling drops on the squad, Saunders shields the infant. He understands the French spoken to him at another convent where the baby is received.
Ben is wounded by a poacher, his sons take him for dead and go after the guilty party, one of three men just released from Huntsville Prison.
A traveling merchant carries Ben to town on his wagon. Along the way, they discuss his sons, what they will do. Adam is “not rash, calm in an emergency.” Hoss is a man of feeling, slow to anger. Little Joe is something of a puzzle, with a temper.
As they are described, they are seen in three separate incidents. Adam is manhandling a barkeep for information, Hoss is searching a man’s house, Little Joe interrogates some townsmen.
Each is brought to the point of killing his suspect in a showdown or cold blood. All prove to be, as Ben says, “intelligent men”. The shopkeeper challenged by Adam is left with the sheriff, Hoss can’t draw on the man who killed his wife and now is alone to raise their son (who “pesters” Hoss), Little Joe stumbles into a passel of Col. Abel Chapin’s men, his cravenly murderous son is the culprit in a remote echo of The Ox-Bow Incident (dir. William A. Wellman), and also is remanded to the sheriff.
The merchant accepts no remuneration for his good deed, he’s been “paid enough” by the events he’s witnessed.
General and the Sergeant
An old crock who “outwitted the great Joffre himself” at “the National War Games in 1911”, his granddaughter entreats for him.
“Too old,” he consults his late wife (d. 1940), after the manner of John Ford. Question of an observation post outside Beaulieu.
John Dehner qui parle, the Lear of Gustave Field, madness real and feigned, “God’s spies.” Cf. Bernard C. Schoenfield’s “Doughboy” (dir. Tom Gries), of which this is a variant with a startling invocation of the Terror.
Night of Fire and Brimstone
The Wild Wild West
A kidnapped professor, a dangerous fire condition in the town of Brimstone, a hoard of Confederate gold lodged in a cavern there and guarded by an old Rebel soldier.
He is relieved of it by the apparition of Gen. Lee, impersonated by Gordon.
McEveety is well alive to his subject, taking Western angles to supply many of his shots.
Night of the Pistoleros
The Wild Wild West
They maraud the Southwest swearing “death to the gringos”, their boss is a hidalgo in Sonora who wants the United States Government to attack the Mexican Army and leave him de facto Governor of Sonora.
The missing step in his plan is supplied by a skilled doctor, key persons are replaced with doubles, the American military commander, his aide, and Gordon (who knows the latter).
You See Me, Now You Don’t
Now this is O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh (dir. John Frankenheimer) in an amusing Elizabethan variant with a turn. The bifurcation occurs in this way, Bradley Merrick (Jay Robinson), a vice-president in his father’s bank with a domineering wife (Nancy Olson) and family, absconds with securities amounting to $1,750,000, and does so onstage by way of the trunk illusion in his amateur magic act, unknowingly assisted by his daughter (Gretchen Corbett). The securities belong to Chicago mobster J. Maxwell Barber (Bruce Gordon), who is seeking to establish a more respectable image and is also on his second wife, a young and beautiful thing in whose name the securities are kept for business purposes.
Merrick has undergone plastic surgery to pass for his own impresario, an émigré named Steiner. He wears makeup and a wig to appear as his old self, and tries the apparatus on a Las Vegas showgirl, whom he later kills when Banacek comes to interview her.
In the end, Banacek drives off with a girl at the wheel of his car (the scene is Los Angeles, the car is a yellow Italian bomb because “cosi desio me mena”). His chauffeur Jay is left standing with five dollars in his hand for cab fare, having just been told by Banacek he will be turned into “a beautiful Las Vegas showgirl.”
Banacek’s reconstruction of the crime is recorded by McEveety in such a way as to give a very clear indication of George Peppard onstage with an easy, authoritative style.