Diminutive Mr. Big of KAOS has kidnapped Dr. Hugo Dante and his Inthermo device, it vaporizes people and things by converting heat into energy. A fortune must be paid or it will be turned against cities.
Mr. Big is ensconced with the weapon aboard a garbage scow off New York City. The garbage is phony, which gives Agent 86 his first clue, a rubber banana peel found at the scene of the crime. “Why a rubber banana?”, he asks.
It leads to the South Street Novelty Company, where Smart notices an absence of seagulls around the scow, Dante’s Inthermo is made to self-destruct. “Well,” says 86, “that’s the end of Mr. Big. If only he could have turned his evil genius into—niceness.”
He takes the initial call during the Trio of Beethoven’s Seventh at Symphony Hall in Washington, his shoe rings and he locks himself in a broom closet, shoots his way back out again and finally repeats a gag from Keaton’s Seven Chances by stepping into his car to make a U-turn and arrive at CONTROL headquarters directly across the street.
The code phrase for his meeting with Agent 99 at the airport is “New York Mets Win Double-Header”, but they have and it’s in all the papers. 99 is introduced in chauffeur togs from heel to head, a long drink of water.
She and Smart and Dante are in a rowboat at the last, as at the end of Fellini’s E la nave va.
KAOS, the “international criminal organization”, is said by Smart to have been founded in 1957. Agents 44 and K13 assist in an airport locker and under the name Fang, respectively. Smart obligingly punches the latter’s time card for him, along with his own, at a clock in the Chief’s office.
Are Your Best Escape
Col. Hogan has two RAF fliers to send home (their names are Ritchie and Donner). General Von Kaplow arrives with a briefcase chained to his wrist. What would Hogan be doing now if he weren’t a prisoner? “Oh, probably bombing your headquarters.”
Col. Klink plays the violin at dinner. Hogan asks if he knows “Melancholy Baby”. Klink replies, “is that Mozart, by any chance?” Hogan says, “no chance at all.”
Kinch announces Hitler on the PA system, Newkirk gives his speech, “Berlin is in ruins, Hamburg is a shambles,” certain negotiations are in the works, “keep smiling.”
Hogan tells Klink, “you don’t have to worry about going to the Russian front. The Russian front is coming here.”
The fliers are disguised as a German film crew documenting the camp. They drive out in a car ordered by Klink, with microfilm of Von Kaplow’s attack plans for the 4th Army Group.
Light on the Heavy Water
A bombing run diverts a truckload of heavy water into Stalag 13 for safekeeping. Col. Hogan has orders to destroy it, Col. Klink doesn’t know what it is. It’s water from a Norwegian spa once frequented by Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, “La Fontaine de la Jeunesse”, and it restores hair, Hogan tells Klink, who slips inside the truck and sips some.
Next day, he gets compliments, Helga even notices some dandruff. He and Sgt. Schultz repeat the experiment, the officer in charge, Capt Mueller, discovers them and tells Col. Klink the truth. “Will I die?”, Klink wants to know. “You will when Berlin finds out,” he’s told.
The last hope is to switch barrels. A smoke bomb in the Kommandant’s office forces the truck to be moved, it’s backed against a barracks wall that folds down into a ramp. Newkirk and Carter just miss Klink as he leaps from his office window onto a blanket they were holding.
A running gag has Helga and Hogan kissing outside Klink’s office, he appears and receives an explanation, “she was blocking the door”. The Kommandant of Stalag 13 tells his secretary, “keep up the good work.” Col. Hogan’s camp-brewed aftershave is called “Unconditional Surrender”.
for the Lamps of Hogan
To deceive Allied bombers, a synthetic fuel plant is to be set up at Stalag 13, and all the prisoners sent elsewhere.
Carter, LeBeau and Newkirk come up at the feet of Sgt. Schultz covered with oil, out of a tunnel they’ve dug (a German oil drum).
The Klink & Hogan Oil Company is formed over a cigar. Gen. Burkhalter orders Col. Klink to refrain from “giving away shares in my oil company.”
I.G. Bowman is adamant, besides, real oil would “upset the entire economy”. Bombers drop leaflets, charges go off, the plan is dropped.
Klink has “a five-hundred-year-old aristocratic name and for the first time money to go with it,” briefly. “How do you expect to win a war without oil,” asks Col. Hogan.
Aweigh, Men of Stalag 13
A fantastic masterpiece that opens with Sgt. Schultz finding Hogan and LeBeau outside the camp, where they are meeting a British officer just escaped from Stalag 5. Capt. Michaels drives up in a German lorry which happens to have the new German gunsight in the back, operated by computer. Sgt. Schultz of course sees nothing, wants only to avoid trouble, he’s given the job of hiding the truck.
Papa Bear can’t send a submarine. Col. Hogan recommends an officers club to Col. Klink, for his health. A pleasure boat is built instead, Klink’s dream is to be a yachtsman. It’s loaded with champagne and the gunsight.
Gen. Burkhalter is cracking down on extravagance, Hogan says. “Get rid of it,” says Klink, take it to the water. His own men launch the boat with Capt. Michaels stowed aboard, hidden in a life raft.
Takes a Thief... Sometimes
Hogan is led by the nose to an SS group masquerading as Resistance fighters to uncover sabotage all around Stalag 13, he shares a poignant moment with a French girl during an air raid, she has been dragooned into this service.
The truth is revealed in Klink’s office by the captain in command, who looks at Klink and says, “Of course, the best officers are at the front.”
The SS supplies dummy dynamite for an attack on Stalag 13 that would allow a mass escape, Col. Hogan changes this to a railroad tunnel previously ignored because, as Carter explains, “we just never got around to it.” Real dynamite is substituted, to the great surprise of the captain, who demonstrates his ruse by setting it off. He dies in a nervous fusillade by the guards of Stalag 13, massed behind the fence and expecting an onslaught rather than a phony Resistance fighter in a truck, speeding to the camp.
Col. Hogan solicitously inquires of Col. Klink if the late captain was “a nice guy”. Klink wonders at this question, and Hogan has a show of polite diffidence, he would be needed, if he were.
43rd, a Moving Story
Col. Klink’s new executive officer, Maj. Kuehn, doubles the guard around the perimeter, which prevents Col. Hogan from neutralizing the 43rd Anti-Aircraft Battery at Kaiserhof before a raid.
Maj. Kuehn’s uncle is a field marshal on the General Staff.
The major is persuaded by more than subtle reasoning that the raid is not aimed at Kaiserhof after all. He therefore calls General Burkhalter, the 43rd is sent elsewhere.
The general arrives next day to personally bring the news that Kaiserhof was bombed overnight, its chemical works destroyed, the field marshal on an inspection tour as well.
A list of officers involved in the plot to assassinate Hitler is placed in Hogan’s way, he has to retrieve it from a hotel safety deposit box.
The source is an old friend of Col. Klink’s, still a major. “Well, the war has been very good to me,” says Klink. The major is arrested, slips the key to Hogan.
A safecracker is flown in from Pentonville Prison, “Alfie the Artist”. The heroes serve as singing waiters (Irving Berlin’s “This Is the Army, Mr. Jones”), the explosion is interpreted as an attempt on Klink’s life, removing him from suspicion.
Look Better in Basic Black
Three American showgirls have just performed at an infantry base when an air raid drives them into a shelter along the road, where they find “torpedoes with wings” and are captured. “Rockets,” says Col. Hogan, who finds a way in, and one replies that she once had that job.
A tunnel cave-in prevents an escape, Hogan, Newkirk and LeBeau dress up as the girls to transfer out, overpower the guards and return. The girls go out as soldiers, all of it engineered by finessing Col. Klink with a sense of inferiority toward the Gestapo.
A purely surreal farce exhibiting the precise comedy techniques of the series.
Comes to Stalag 13
The lights are going out all over Stalag 13, Sgt. Schultz is in the barracks counting down, Newkirk steals his rifle, Carter asks for a drink of water.
Col. Klink anxiously goes to see Hogan in his barracks office, asks for some light, and complains of being a failure. His classmates are “generals and field marshals”, Gen. Burkhalter is coming to discuss his future, the Russian Front is to be feared.
Burkhalter is worried about Klink, believes he should be married, the “class idiot” Klink remembers is now a general, having married Field Marshal Keitel’s niece. Gen. Burkhalter’s niece and sister will be paying a visit, Klink imagines the niece to be “a monster”.
On the contrary, Klink is smitten. His nervous pacing around the camp has prevented the escape of a captain with maps for the underground, Col. Hogan volunteers romantic advice. French cuisine served by LeBeau, heartrending speeches on the night before battle that catch a sob in Schultz’s throat as he listens.
All in vain, the widowed sister is in prospect, an Iron Maiden. Col. Hogan lets spill the news that Klink is shortly departing for the Russian Front, she is unenthused, tonight Col. Klink will “sleep like a baby,” he tells Col. Hogan gratefully.
Flame Grows Higher
It’s laundry day at Stalag 13, a prisoner is returned by the Gestapo, somewhere there’s a traitor in the ranks.
A forest fire is engineered to enlist Hogan, Newkirk and LeBeau. What do they know about fighting fires? “That’s like asking what Hitler knows about rabble-rousing,” Hogan tells Klink. Schultz escorts them to a smoke canister tended by Kinch. “You call that a forest fire?”
The escape route is followed first to the Kaiserhof, where two charming agents beguile the men and receive a telephone call from the Winterhilfe.
The next stop is a farmhouse run by an older couple with SS uniforms in their closet, they are Swedish, use disguises. A phone call from the Kaiserhof sends the prisoners along the south road, change of plans.
Hogan has Newkirk call the Gestapo, the Kaiserhof is where they all meet, even Sgt. Schultz, who is explained as having captured the escapees. “Now I know something,” he says.
It’s quickly seen that the girls are Gestapo agents, Hogan implicates them in the escape, they are arrested.
Schultz is recommended by the Gestapo for a commendation and, at the kommandant’s discretion, transfer to combat duty. “He’s needed here,” Col. Klink says, noting the glee on Hogan’s face.
Col. Hogan asks the sergeant, “how would you ever get through this war without me?” Schultz replies, “I don’t know... but if you ever escape, take me with you.”
With Six You Get Eggroll
The idea is to get a complex surrealism out of commonplace materials, and this will be seen to reflect the practice of Arthur Miller from After the Fall on. It takes some time to build the aggregate of images operative amongst themselves (exactly as in The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, for example) which brings the film to a conclusion. In the meantime, Morris has three devices: first, an energy devoted to minutię usually ignored as subsidiary matter in a larger film, and brought to the fore here as a consequence of the technique employed; second, a grasp of television practice certainly stemming from Your Show of Shows, which tends toward the generation of a field precipitated by the camera, in which foreground and background and right and left are instantaneously active; this is brought into play amidst, third, editing on swift takes (usually reaction shots) or little side gags or colorful wipes adapted from prior practice.
The key to all this unity is the sensible approach to adult discourse, which drags in piecemeal the elements of its constellation, and is ultimately derived from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, for instance, where a chain of circumstances figures as the natural outlook of a simple accession, viz. the prince’s coming of age.
Here the personę are represented in themselves and as the parts of a puzzle the solution of which is the fertile mind.