Downed RAF Squadron Leader Jimmy Porter joins Resistance agents ‘Nina’ and ‘Vincent’ in wartime France as they attempt to sabotage the activities of the occupying Germans and smuggle stranded airmen to safety. Never certain of whom they can trust, and in constant danger of capture and death at the hands of the SS, they embark on a vital mission to enable Nina – and the valuable information she possesses – to reach England.
Season 1 Ep.03: Only the Dead Survive
The three arrive in the grounds of Vincent’s family château, part of which is being used by General von Trenow as the headquarters of a German division, where they are helped by the estate’s gamekeeper, Franco. SS Obersturmbanfuhrer Lutzig has arrived to co-ordinate a search for the three, unimpressed by the attitude both of the army and the local police, and has Franco – who is something of a local hot head – shot as an example to the local population.
British pilot Jimmy Porter (Alfred Lynch) crashes his aeroplane in occupied France and immediately finds himself on the run from the Nazis. He meets a young girl, Nina (Cyd Hayman), a part-Jewish agent with important information, and vows to get her back to Britain. He is helped by another agent, code-named Vincent, (Peter Barkworth) and pursued across France by S.S. Officer Lutzig (Philip Madoc), and the ambivalent Abwehr Sgt. Gratz (Robert Hardy), a complex psychological character who is implied to fall in love with Nina. Unlike most previous war dramas, the Nazis were presented as more than just fanatical thugs. While Lutzig was close to the stereotype, although given great depth by Philip Madoc, Gratz could not have been more different.
In the end, both Nina and Porter return to Britain, at the cost of several lives. Having been forced together while fleeing, they find they have nothing in common back home and cease their budding relationship. According to Gratz, he had managed to get most of the information he required from Nina as “pillow talk”. One is left feeling that the whole effort, and by implication the war itself, was a futile exercise.
Cast and Crew:
Peter Barkworth, Alfred Lynch and Cyd Hayman
Production Company: London Weekend Television (LWT)
Audio/Visual: mono, color
Date Release: 1969
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