Season 1 Episode 7 Escape to Nowhere

Directed: Robert Altmann
Written: Malvin Wald
Released: 20 Dec 1962

Starts off with Hanley lying next to his Captain in a village after a battle. I recognize the same set for the village from other episodes. The one they used for Marolles.

Hanley is not injured but dazed probably from artillery fire. He pretends to be dead but is found to be alive by a German soldier.

Next we see him in a nice room, probably in a chateau. He only gives his name, rank and serial number to the guy interrogating him. The only technique the interrogator uses is to keep repeating his question over and over again.

This interrogator is a funny looking character. A mixture drunkenness and sinister maybe? The camera angle keeps sliding over to the cognac the guy is having as if by him participating in this vice, it’s going to make Hanley talk.

german-interrogator
“Vat I vont to know and I eeensist on knowing is it Calais or Avranche?”

He also threatens Hanley with the Gestapo. We then see a sinister looking man dressed in civilian attire. It’s revealed that his name is Colonel Kleist of the Gestapo. He meets General Strelitz in the hall but he doesn’t see Hanley being questioned in the other room. In the meantime, Strelitz receives a phone call from Berlin.

Albert Paulsen plays General Baron Friedrich von Strelitz. He also played in a couple of other episodes including The Forgotten Front and The Pillbox.

General Streiliz tells the interrogator that he’s taking Hanley with him. He takes him along with his Aide-de-Camp Haupmann Mueller. He has Hanley riding in the front seat of the car while he rides in the back.

Haupmann Mueller is wearing the uniform of a Wehrmacht Captain. I’ve often wondered about having somebody with some talent, such as a Captain being utilized as a glorified chauffeur and as a gentleman’s gentleman. Also, he has an Iron Cross decoration on it which means that he was no slouch.

General Strelitz has his driver pull over and he appears to be looking at his map when he shoots Mueller with his Walther P-38.

general-streilitz-p-38-2
Walther P-38

Here’s General Strelitz cold bloodily murdering his Aide-de-Camp. There’s no telling how long he’s been with him but surely they had to have had established some sort of rapport. He didn’t seem like that bad sort of a fellow. But Strelitz didn’t seem bothered at all.

They pull the staff car out by a lake to dump the body and then Hanley is seen with his uniform on. Of course, Hanley looks striking in it and it’s perfectly form fitting. But, there’s absolutely no bullet hole or blood on the uniform. Unless Stelitz shot his driver directly in the head, there would have been at least one hole and some blood.

hanley-german-uniform
Hanley dressed as General Strelitz’s Aide-de-Camp with the rank of Haupmann (Captain)

Streliz has Hanley drive them to some buildings, what looks like a chateau or perhaps a town. Of course, the lights are on all over the place which wasn’t usual in a war zone, where they had black out rules enforced.

His instructions to Hanley is that he’ll walk right behind him. Open doors. Light his cigarettes. Sit when he sits and stands when he stands. When he stands, he’s to stand at attention. The only thing Hanley could do is to keep that stone face of his to go along with it.

This is when it gets highly unlikely and far fetched. They walk into a raucous scene where Germans are drinking and carousing. As the camera pans the room, you can see wounded veterans around the room. Hanley simply keeps a fixed expression yet you could tell that he’s not very comfortable with this situation.

hanley-officers-club
General Streilitz and Hanley

A woman named Maria then performs some songs in German with everybody singing along. Not only are we treated with one song, we’re treated with a second which I though was a bit of overkill. There’s a scene when Hanley goes up the stairs to hand her a note and he stumbles and knocks a drink from a German sitting on the staircase, yet is unable to respond to him yelling because Hanley doesn’t speak any German. He was rescued by Maria who gets him off the hook by making the German a part of the song.

General Streilitz and Hanley are spotted by Colonel Kleist, the Gestapo man. When Kleist goes downstairs to have a word with him, he finds that they’ve both already disappeared.

Streilitz and Hanley drive to a farmhouse where Streilitz tells Hanley about his plan to defect to the allied side and he needs Hanley’s help in order to do so. When asked why they went to the officer’s club, Streilitz told him that Maria was his daughter and he wanted her to come as well.

They get to the train station and Maria joins them. Streilitz tells her that there’s been an attempt at Hitler’s life the day before and that he was also involved in it. He wanted Maria to escape to the allied side with him but she refused. This woman’s reluctance to go with her father is a study in conflicting loyalties. Whether to be concerned for her own safety or to desert her nation. She chooses the latter and rushed out to the Gestapo men on the train station.

Hanley tried to get Streilitz to stop her but his response was “What do you want me to do? Shoot her?”

The attempt on Hitler’s life was July 20, 1944, so it would have only been a month and a half since D-Day at June 6th, 1944.

Streilitz was ready to give up but Hanley talked him into trying to make a break for it with only seconds to decide. The escape involved Hanley killing 3 Germans, one by jumping on his back and strangling him with his rifle strap. Another one, the Gestapo aide, by grabbing him from behind a window and choking him. Hanley also killed the German that was guarding the staff car while Maria sat on the train station platform.

Paulson does a great job of acting as a man out of his element. He’s a General that is used to commanding thousands of men; yet he was hapless trying to make his escape down in the trenches. He was totally reliant on Hanley to help guide him. It could have been because of his sadness to having to leave his daughter behind, by her own choice.

Streilitz made one last appeal to Maria to come with them but she declined.

maria
“Maria, my liebshon…” But she refuses to go.

As Hanley drove and they sped away, Colonel Kleist opened up on them with his Luger. As expected, one of the shots hits Streilitz.

staff-car
1939 Mercedes-Benz 170 V

Hanley and Strielitz must have stolen Colonel Kleist’s car because at the beginning, General Streilitz was driving a Mercedes 770.

 

They make it back to British lines and causes a couple of British motorcyclists to crash as they rush a convoy.

The British were suspicious while Hanley told them the situation. They look in the back of the staff car only to find Streilitz dead from the gunshot wound.

Hanley killed 3 Germans
At the beginning, he was concussed, probably from artillery

 

 

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