The Four Just Men
"Throughout time there have been men to whom justice has been more important than life itself. From these ranks come four men prepared to fight valiantly on the side of justice, wherever the need may be. Joined together in this cause they are The 4 Just Men."

First story: Battle of the Bridge Jack Hawkins Vittorio de Sica Dan Dailey Richard Conte . . . Contemporary notes . . . dvd Overview
The date is Friday January 9th 1959 and at the home of boss of Sapphire Films, Hannah Fisher (nee Weinstein), in Cadogan Square London, a reception is held for the team of The Four Just Men. Mrs Fisher tells the press "because the scripts are good, we have been able to sign stars of the first quality."
The stars are there too- director Bill Fairchild has a word of praise for Vittorio de Sica: "what a privilege to direct this consummate artist. He has great humility." Jack Hawkins, the first of the stars to be signed up, is asked why he has risked his reputation on this tv series. "I risk my reputation every time," is his retort, "why not on TV?"
Honor Blackman arrives by taxi, and is 'announced as the only woman star to be signed up for the series.' Well, our reporter has got that wrong, or maybe it's because "whiskey and other refreshments flowed freely." Dan Dailey, the third Just Men to sign for the series, has only just flown in from America, and reveals it's his first tv series. "Honor will be my secretary," he explains, "with other special duties." Certainly she seems to be in love with him!
As Richard Conte wasn't announced as the 'fourth' Just Man until March 1959, it's certain he didn't attend this party. But Hannah Fisher was in good spirits even when reporter Margaret Cowan commented to her, "Until tonight I thought you were a man!" This critic seems to have been something of a fan of the programme, writing, "the new series is full of thrills, human touches and moving stories, laced with that spice of humour."

At the start of the programme, the date of the declaration signed by the Four Just Men on the document is 26th April 1959. For those only with the fine Network dvd, here's the intro read in English, as opposed to the American. So does anyone know who is the speaker??

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DVD Overview

Rex Langmaid has kindly reviewed the dvd reissue of the series.

Best episodes:
Jack Hawkins: Their Man In London, The Survivor and The Heritage are among the best stories, even if Heritage does have an idealistic ending, with a militant faction surrendering to save a girl's life.
Dan Dailey group: The Prime Minister, though it represents an opportunity missed: A Middle Eastern Prime Minister is travelling Rome-Paris-New York to address the Security Council. He's been staying under Poccari's protection, is followed by Manfred to Paris where Collier takes over, and is due to be met in New York by Ryder. Collier thwarts all assassination attempts of course, but what an opportunity it could have been to link all Four, starting in Rome and ending in NY, even if it had to be shown in two parts. Also worth watching is The Princess, if only for the scenes around the Arc de Triomphe.
Vittorio de Sica: The Slaver. Usually Poccari is mixing business with pleasure, so that most of his episodes are Poccari shuttles. Slaver is a bit more gritty than most of his episodes, and for once Poccari cuts straight to the chase. Also worth watching are Maya and Rietti Group. Some of his episodes are better than I remember, though his heavy accent is sometimes a strain on the ears.
Richard Conte: hypocrisy in The Bystanders, mass hysteria in Panic Button, racism in Dead Man's Switch. I liked The Protector and Crack-up, though the stories - a woman being driven insane and a-plane-lost-in-the-wilderness - are hardly original. My only niggle is that scenes supposed to be American are so obviously English - for instance a shot of the prison exterior in Riot. Our old nicks are nothing like those in America.

Dud episode: Dan Dailey in Moment of Truth, which is more about Tim helping a bullfighter who's lost his nerve than anything remotely connected with justice - more a case for Dr Corder in The Human Jungle.

Regarding the opening titles, after the shot of all Four signing a paper we see Dailey and Eiffel Tower, then Hawkins on Westminster Bridge with Big Ben in the background, but when the series was first broadcast in Britain the order was Jack Hawkins first.
Note: the spoken introduction for American viewers was read in an American accent, while the British narrator is much more Oxford accent. The words however are identical

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January 1959 - shooting begins in the first week of the year. The 39 episodes would eventually take 20 weeks to complete.
March 1959 - "Back to Walton has come Sapphire's Dan Dailey who has spent a week location shooting in Paris with director Don Chaffey. Executive producer Hannah Fisher went with them. But even she could not persuade a Paris gendarme to pose for street scenes before the cameras. It's against regulations. Finally actor Frank Thornton flew there, complete with authentic uniform. Result: he kept being approached by pedestrians seeking information and guidance, and highly indignant when he proved to be a broken reed." The particular episode referred to is 'The Man in the Road,' though Thornton does also appear, uncredited, as a gendarme in 'The Prime Minister.'
March 59 - "Nine films in the series have already been completed." "Fourth Just Man has finally been announced - Richard Conte. Columbia have loaned him to Sapphire for the series. Conte arrives here on the 11th and starts shooting on the 16th."

May 59 - The opening episode was filmed this month starting on the week commencing May 18th and lasting about a week. It had been quite a job to get all stars together! It was filmed partly in Wales and partly in Fitzwarren Park. Reporter Margaret Cowan wrote "When I went down to watch the shooting, it was near-chaos and feverish activity. In the elegant drawing room, crammed with equipment, cameras boom, lighting and all, I counted at one time just over forty people! Director Basil Dearden and his assistant Bob Pollard, struggled valiantly with it all. The four principals took it all good-naturedly." The report adds that this marked the completion of work for Hawkins and Dailey whilst "De Sica and Conte have a few more episodes each to finish."
A tantalising comment is added: "If the Just Men is a success, a further series of 39 will probably be made."

July 59 - This optimism was dashed by the headline "Big 'Just Men' Series not for US Networks." It had been sold to America on a syndication basis but not for national networking. ITC President Walter Kingsley said "With a projected gross of 6,250 per episode in overseas sales, we are sure we can prove that big name stars and top quality production are as feasible and practical in syndication as on the network." Lew Grade was even more bullish: "It will make two million dollars. It is only just starting its sales. We are going to sell it everywhere. Australia has already bought it." So too had CBC Canada in a deal reported to be 267,857. But nothing could disguise the ultimate truth - that British shows failing to gain a sponsor in America, were sadly doomed.

Saturday September 12th 1959 9pm- premiere on ATV London. Critic Guy Taylor wrote under the headline IF ONLY ALL THE NEW SHOWS HAD THE SHINE OF 4 JUST MEN- "if only every film series had this quality! Expertly directed, magnificently photographed and very well acted. On first showing I would say that The Four Just Men justifies all expectations. With Hawkins, Dailey, Conte and de Sica it is obvious that much thought, care and artistry has gone into the making of these films."

March 60 - Elkan Kaufman, Chief Overseas Sales Executive for ITC announced the sale of The 4 Just Men to Czechoslovakia. Something of a coup! 'Television Today', reporting the good news, added "what is so unusual about this sale is that some episodes are anti-Communist in nature." I'd be interested to know if all stories were shown in what is now the Czech Republic and in Slovakia. And were there any really anti-Iron Curtain stories in this series?

Note- Four Just Men was not a financial success. Jack Hawkins says in his autobiography that he had "decided to take a lower fee for a share of the profits. Alas, there were none. The company went broke!" So Sapphire retreated from the production side and moved to providing a Writing School for aspiring scriptwriters.
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1 The Battle of the Bridge

This tedious war story was first screened on UK TV in September 1959.
The working title was "The Victory." It was directed by Basil Dearden.

A sports car drives up to a huge mansion. An American alights to meet his three "cutthroat" friends. However Tim notices one member of their old wartime group is missing, Colonel Cyril Bacon (Anthony Bushell).
Bacon's recorded voice reminds them of their last "wee bit dangerous" mission together. Their job had been to demolish a bridge to prevent the Nazis from reaching the Allied landing beach.
The time 05.00 - less than an hour for Sgt Ryder to fix the charges. A sentry is distracted by a 'drunken' Italian patriot, Poccari, and Tim Collier, even though he's a mere journalist, volunteers to take the sentry's post. But things start to go wrong when a German patrol drives up to the bridge. Collier's lack of German triggers a shoot-out in which he is injured.
As the bridge can't be blown until precisely 6am, there's time for the men to wait and reflect. Collier thanks Ryder for saving him from the worst of the gunfire on the bridge, Ryder thanks Ben Manfred for his covering fire and they all in this mutual backslapping express grateful thanks to Poccari. By now it's three minutes to six. The Germans return but too late to prevent the bridge being blown. "Mission Accomplished."
But as they return to base they see the many orphaned as a result of war.
The Colonel's recorded voice turns them to the theme of injustice. That's why the four are present today. "To you four I make a bequest, a substantial sum of money in the Bank of England. It is deposited there in the name of Justice. Wherever man suffers unjustly, where moral law is ignored, where tyranny rules, pledge this one to the other, that as we fought injustice before together, you will continue to fight it each in your own way, in your own place. I know I have made no mistake in calling you here for you are the Men."

It was a good if difficult idea to begin the series with all the stars, but sadly this is the only episode with them all working together. (Only one other story features all four, but in this, as all the others, it's really a case of One Just Man. The other story which includes them all is Vittorio de Sica in The Night of The Precious Stones.)

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Stories with Dan Dailey in Paris as Tim Collier
"an American journalist who has become one of the world's greatest foreign correspondents."

1 PRIME MINISTER (with Jack Hawkins, Vittorio de Sica)
2 THE BEATNIQUES (with Jack Hawkins)
3 THE DEADLY CAPSULE (with Jack Hawkins)
4 MARIE (with Jack Hawkins)
5 THE MAN IN THE ROAD (with Richard Conte)
6 MIRACLE OF ST. PHILIPPE (with Vittorio de Sica)
7 THE PRINCESS (with Jack Hawkins/ Richard Conte)
8 THE GRANDMOTHER (with Jack Hawkins)
9 THE GODFATHER (with Jack Hawkins)
10 THE MOMENT OF TRUTH
As well as the first story, Dailey also makes brief contacts with Jack Hawkins (six times), Vittorio de Sica (twice), and Richard Conte (three times).
Honor Blackman played Nicole in all the Tim Collier stories except #2. She also briefly appears in the first de Sica story.

"During the making of the series, the whole unit voted him the greatest fun to work with- he is always full of jokes and laughter." So Margaret Cowan wrote in the TV Times introduction to the series (Sept 1959).
My favourite Dailey story: Marie, though the Dailey stories are mostly light hearted, this one makes some serious points.
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The Prime Minister
Frank Thornton appears uncredited, even though he has two parts! Firstly outside the airport, he's the gendarme, righting the No Parking sign that Tim Collier has kindly hidden, and secondly as the hotel receptionist.

At the UN, the arrival of Dr Mosek (Peter Illing) is awaited. He's flying via Rome, to Paris, thence to New York. Cue Tim Collier, who's currently relaxing on his boat on the Seine, with Nicole, who despite his kissing is trying to type. Poccari phones to advise Mosek is flying on Flight 16, under an assumed name.
Tim meets him at the airport. Ben Manfred has been guarding Mosek, and appears in person to hand the prime minister into Tim's care.
However Mosek refuses to accept that he needs any protection while waiting in Paris for the next flight to America. But when he's whisked off in a taxi, a suspicious Tim follows in his sports car, good job, as on a country road the PM's car goes out of control when the driver leaps out. Tim somehow, on the wrong side of the road in his car, forces Mosek's car to stop, calmly helping Mosek out of the vehicle to safety.
In his temporary hotel room, waiting for his 18.00 flight, Mosek grants Tim an interview. Akim (Maurice Kaufmann) brings some important documentation for Mosek to show in the UN, but Tim, suspecting the worst bashes him, not realising he's friend not foe.
All's well as Mosek returns to the airport for his flight. But the case with the documents is switched, but luckily Nicole suspects "they've pulled something," so Tim grabs a late, a very late seat, on the flight.
Despite all the fuss, the PM's luggage is searched before it departs. There's a bomb on board! Tim removes the offending case, hopping off before the plane commences its long journey to New York.
He consoles a worried Nicole, who thought the plane was going to explode with Tim on board, but Tim says no more until there is time for the police to arrest the saboteurs. Then he drops Nicole off at her home, with a kiss

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The Beatniques
Set at the Cannes Film Festival, this year to be opened by Senator Harvey Bannon. An old flame is also in town, Nedra (Delphi Lawrence) a has-been film starlet, and at the airport she is given a novel lift to her hotel by three weirdos.
But in their ancient jalopy Nedra leaves her jewel case, which contains love letters from Bannon. Please retrieve them, the senator asks Tim Collier, not sure if this has anything to do really with fighting injustice. He traces one of the three beatniques. Mouche, to the Globe d'Oeil, a jazz club and dances an ungroovy dance with her, "who daddy-o?"
This is all entirely unconvincing, though more standard plot fare is a blackmail note for $50,000 for the return of those letters.
Ben Manfred is phoned by Tim, with the request to give him the money.
Mouche admits to Tim that though they hadn't stolen the jewels, they had been tempted to keep them, but now want Tim to return them, "we meant nothing wrong." Tim believes them and soon sees through the whole obvious scheme. The jewel box had been deliberately planted, no love letters are in the box, there never were.
Either the youngsters are unconvincing or the plot is, or probably both, as Nedra takes the $50,000 by car to the appointed spot. You must have guessed it all. Even Tim did. "I wanted to teach a lesson."
The last scene depicts Tim happily discussing some potted philosophy with the beatniques, a topical tale to be sure, but more than a little to make you squirm

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Deadly Capsule
In an old grey Citroen, atomic scientist Weiss travels to Paris with news of his latest discovery. He never makes it. Tim Collier had interviewed him last month and travels to Grenoble to talk to Anna Weiss who believes her husband was murdered.
Weiss had been working on a type of radiation of foods "so they could keep fresh outside the refrigerator." In the lab Tim talks to Weiss' closest friend Scheye (Elwyn Brook-Jones). He says the experiments were incomplete as food kept tasting bad. Jack Hawkins makes a brief 'telephone' appearance, confirming similar experiments had been going on in Britain. (Pity they ever succeeded!)
At the scene of the crash where Weiss died, Scheye and Collier detect a radiation leakage. The capsule Weiss was carrying has disappeared. Two children, ten year old Phillipe, and Pierre are nearby collecting plovers' eggs, and they find the capsule. Phillipe takes it to choir practice. Tim follows him and explains his problem to the priest.
A geiger counter however is useful in finding the capsule, which Tim takes off to Paris. As Tim drives off, Scheye phones his colleague Jacques to "catch him in the mountains - he's driving 7216 AP92." But Collier doesn't fall into the trap that Weiss fell into and brings along Inspector Nagel to arrest Scheye. The complex plot about ships flying refrigerated foods under flags of convenience is explained. You'd almost think some foreign countries must still have copies of this episode and have got 'ideas' from it!
Finally Tim gets back to his office in Paris. How many sisters have you? he asks secretary Nicole. Nicole gets one kiss for each!
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Marie
Nicole is taking Tim's dictation on his boat, even time for a little kiss, but all that stops when they notice a girl about to jump off a bridge. Saved by Tim, Marie (Perlita Neilson), thanks him but then runs away.
They know little about her, but Nicole surmises she is Algerian, and Mme Susa knows all there is to know about these refugees.
Her uncle is Fawzil, who says she had left home two days ago. She had been one of the many innocent victims of the crisis in Algeria, her parents had been killed, and she smuggled herself to France, but has no papers.
We get a sightseeing trip round Paris as Tim scours the city for her- Montmartre, the Zoo, and then the guitar clubs by night. Everywhere Tim is followed by a man in a pinstriped suit (Frank Thornton).
Ben Manfred phones, complaining of the London rain, but more helpfully giving Tim background of how and why Marie's father had been shot by extremists.
The search of the nightspots brings a reward at last. She's at the Club du Cirque, but after gunshots and pinstripe is wounded. Marie grabs his gun, and once more runs off. Nicole, searches the handbag Marie had dropped and finds a letter in Arabic from someone signing himself H, threatening her life.
A car chase, and the taxi driver who had picked her up is questioned. Tim makes for the place. But the revived pinstripe is following, though he stops a lorry and is no more.
Tim reaches Marie. She knows her uncle is one of the extremists, "you betrayed my father." She points the gun at Fawzil. But he grabs it. Tim to the rescue.
End of a sad story. "Now I'm completely alone." We get a final joke, but it is no solution to Marie's plight
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Man in the Road
Marcia Richmond (Simone Lovell) is driving along a road in the French Alps with her ski instructor Robert, when she accidentally runs down a cyclist. "He's dead," Robert pronounces, and proposes Marcia drives off lest any scandal befall her husband. He's Mark (Patrick Barr) who is about to commence an important American diplomatic job in Africa. Expert Paul (Charles Gray) is currently teaching him the language.
But it's a puit up job. Marcia receives a demand for five million francs, turning to Tim Collier for help. He senses Robert is a nasty bit of work and takes Marcia to Val d'Isere where he hopes to find, in his words, "nothing"- ie no corpse, just a frame-up.
Sam Brady, a reporter gets hold of the story, but Tim persuades him to hold fire for 24 hours. Jeff Ryder is phoned asking him to spout libel law at New York editors.
At the ski resort, Tim's hopes are dashed. Old Pierre had been involved in a hit and run accident. At the scene of the accident Tim finds a little girl (Jane Asher) who has built a roadside shrine to Pierre. "And a little child shall lead them," quotes the corny Tim. But Marcia points out that the shrine is a hundred yards away from where she thought she had knocked him down.
Robert ends up with a knife in his back, to stop him talking.
So Tim plays "a long shot." Throw a soda syphon at the mirror in the bar, he tells Marcia. She obeys and is of course arrested. Husband Mark is soon in town with Paul, who assumes Marcia is under arrest on a manslaughter charge, He has neatly given himself away.
Tim explains the whole politically motivated plot and Sam gets his scoop.
Back in Paris, Tim is greeted by his frosty secretary Nicole, who had been in rather a huff over her boss' attentions to the good looking Marcia. But as she types up the story, she melts and ends with a kiss for the wonderful Tim
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The Miracle of St Phillipe

Pilgrims are heading for healing, the object of their journey a recently rediscovered holy cup, alleged to have been that used by The Good Samaritan himself (as he was only a character in a parable, it seems an improbable object of veneration). The Samaritan Cup had gone missing during the war and is to be rededicated.
""It has brought peace and happiness back to the town." But that's not entirely true, for townsfolk cannot agree even on the order of the procession in the ceremony. M Briand (Richard Caldicott) who had traced the cup after a long hunt to a shop in Cologne, has one idea, the mayor another.
Tim and Nicole are also in town. At the police station they come across a startling confession. "I killed Dubois and his wife." But police know the couple committed suicide, and are used to this madman, Dante (Paul Daneman) confessing to any and every death in the vicinity. They are used to ignoring his confessions.
The local dispute goes a step further when the cup is stolen again. Has the mayor taken it? But he is found with a knife in his back. Dante naturally is on hand to make his confession. He adds the stark warning, "there'll be more killings."
Tim conjectures how the cup had been stolen. He clambers across the roofs of the houses to show that only an acrobat, or a great American journalist like himself, could have done the job. Poccari has been phoned, and he tells Tim that Dante had been an acrobat.
More revelations! Dante's father had been mayor during the war when the cup had gone missing. He was a traitor.
A demand for 100,000 francs is made for the safe return of the Samaritan Cup. Briand, excited, follows this up, though it is a trick to capture Briand. Dante has been using that old dodge, confessing to crimes, in order to deflect from his avowed purpose, that of revenge on Briand whom he blames for his father's death. Tim has tracked Dante down when an avalanche of barrels miraculously kills Dante.
No more arguing now, the ceremony can proceed. Tim has done little, except perhaps help the incompetent local police

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The Princess
Princess Toma (Betta St John) is leaving the Hotel Tibor in Zurich, bound for Paris. Tim and Nicole are also on her train when a scar faced man Mendri (Lee Montague) prevents her from leaping off her speeding carriage.
Next day, on his boat on the Seine, Tim discusses the incident with Nicole. He'd been chasing the princess for an interview, without success. He decides to try again, and follows her as she leaves her Paris hotel for a trip up the Eiffel Tower. At the top, Tim spots Mendri and this time it seems he is going to push her off. Tim prevents that and it seems he may at last get that elusive interview. But her protective chancellor Amishar (Leonard Sachs) does not permit it. However Tim is introduced to Amishar's son, who is none other than the scarfaced Mendri! Proudly his father explains he'd got that scar fighting off a fierce tiger that had attacked the princess.
Tim is certain she is in danger, and all but kidnaps her himself, for her own good, taking her to Nicole's home. Her sad story is that she wants to kill herself as she's been told she is unable to have children. She had been in Zurich to consult the celebrated Dr Konig, but he had bad news. At least, that's what Toma had been told by Amishar.
Ben Manfred phones saying that Amishar and Mendri are the most trusted of the princess' retinue. Tim then asks Jeff Ryder if he can contact Dr Konig directly, as he is now in New York.
Unfortunately, the princess gives Nicole the slip and rejoins her group. She is poised to make another jump when Tim bursts in and bluffs Amishar. The specialist has good news, and in a well timed phone call, Jeff rings up. Mendri however prevents them talking, he's jealous of the princess, he had wanted to marry her himself. Tim stops any nonsense and then talks to Jeff Ryder on the phone, explaining why they had been cut off. Jeff puts Konig on the line and he's able to give Toma some excellent news

Note: Frank Thornton appears uncredited as the hotel manager

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The Grandmother (filming completed early March 1959)
"If you don't like my Peaches" is a jazzy song with which Dan Dailey briefly starts this story off. Then a drink and a smoke with Nicole, all played tongue in cheek.
Then the serious bit. In this seedy cafe he's to interview Lt Guy de Seiberd about corruption in the army. Guy had been blinded as a result of faulty French ammunition. But there's no interview, only a beating up for Tim.
Nicole bathes his wounds. Tim phones Ben, asking him to get some information on the Seiberds, then with Nicole takes the train for Normany and the Seiberd ancestral home in St Pol.
Tim is informed by Guy's formidable grandmother (Marie Ney) that Tim's not at home. He's coming from Paris this very afternoon.
To pass the time, Tim accompanies Col Andre de Seiberd on a shoot. You can be sure Tim will wind up in the firing line.
Safely back, he gets to talk with Guy and his wife Madeleine. He's scared, he'd been warned off talking to Tim by his own grandmother.
Tim stays to dinner. The other guest is Cpt Raoul, one of his attackers in the cafe, and the man who had fired at Tim recently.
Ben phones with news that he's found out the family, until recently not too well off, have suddenly become rich, source of wealth unknown.
Andre kills himself and this persuades Guy to speak up, handing Tim papers that contain evidence of the corruption in the army that had been the root cause of Guy's blindness. Though the documents will bring dishonour on the family name, the motif of honour never quite comes across in this hard to follow story, the significance of the grandmother stated but never very evident.
Cpt Raoul, prompted by grand' mere, tries to get the documents back, but wily Tim tricks him and leaves to publish them
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The Godfather
French national hero Ernest has brought a suitcase full of cash to buy jet planes on the black market for his new native country. Manfred- unseen by us- has phoned Tim Collier asking him to meet Ernst. But when Tim calls at the hotel, it's Nicole who catches the receptionist's eye! Tim has to content himself with playing marbles with Ernst's son Joshua.
At the Surete National Tim shares his concerns, he's spotted 'they' are watching. One such person is Marie Clement who is the real mother of Joshua. When Joshua disappears, Tim starts a search for her.
Though she denies kidnapping her son, pressure from Tim gets her to admit her crime. With her connivance, a man had snatched the boy. Po-faced, Tim listens as he puffs another fag.
Ernst receives a ransom demand, the exact amount of cash in his suitcase. Despite his wife's pleading, he cannot bring himself to spend his country's money on himself.
Poccari -not seen by us- has provided information on the possible kidnapper, then Marie helps Tim find the man, she can recognise his voice. After a lengthy search, it transpires Skovic (Laurence Payne) is the man behind the plot. After a fight in which Marie is shot dead, Joshua is rescued.
Tim phones Ben, who arranges for Ernst's country to present its case to the Security Council.
The tale ends with Nicole being taken in a punt on the Seine by Joshua
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Moment of Truth

Cesarito is to fight his first bull this Sunday, following in the footsteps of his legendary father Cesar Arenas, who "died killing and killed dying." But the lad is afraid.
As an admirer of the late Cesar, who had indeed died in the ring, Tim attempts to help. It's easy to see Cesarito blames his manager, previously his father's manager, Don Vito for his father's demise.
The Big Day. Cesarito and Vito size up the possible bulls he may fight. Then the bulls are drawn, 38 and 17, "there'll be trouble."
Tim Collier of course can see through the lad's "phoney bravado." But where is the young bullfighter? A frantic search, Tim finds him by his dad's grave. Some free advice, "become a man." This is nothing to do with fighting injustice, and if you find bullfighting distasteful, you might hope for a different ending to what we are given.
There are extensive scenes of a real bullfight, ole. Mixed in with studio shots, not badly done. But there are catcalls and worse when the bull is not killed, "disgraceful."
Dan has to spout a pep talk before the second bull can be faced. It's all about courage, that's what the lad needs (I think). Dan admits later it's all guff what he says about his father being scared and half drunk.
But his words work the oracle. No justmennish justice for the poor bull, victory dedicated obscenely to Nicole. You couldn't blame the other three Just Men for not showing up in this tale. This was the last Tim Collier story, and it suggests the scriptwriters were badly running out of ideas

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Stories with Richard Conte
in New York as Jeff Ryder, "a Professor of Law."
1
THE JUDGE (with Jack Hawkins)
2 DEAD MAN'S SWITCH (with Dan Dailey)
3 PANIC BUTTON (with Dan Dailey)
4 THE DISCOVERY (with Vittorio de Sica/ Dan Dailey)
5 CRACK-UP (with Jack Hawkins)
6 THE PROTECTOR (with Jack Hawkins)
7 THE BYSTANDERS (with Jack Hawkins)
8 RIOT
9 THE LAST DAYS OF NICK POMPEY (with Vittorio de Sica)
10 JUSTICE FOR GINO (with Jack Hawkins)
As well as the opening story, Conte also makes brief contacts with Jack Hawkins (twice), Dan Dailey (twice) and Vittorio de Sica (eight times).
June Thorburn plays Vicky, a student of Jeff Ryder, in stories #4, #5, #6, #10. (She plays a different character in one Ben Manfred tale!)

When questioned about the series, Conte made an interesting comment that filming was "slow in comparison with TV production in the States. There's a lot more talking and discussion on the set. On the other hand I think your production values are better."
The real problem with these stories are that they were made in Britain- and with American settings, the atmosphere created is akin to Hollywood's idealised representations of Britain. Though some authentic American actors are used, somehow you always feel you are in an American never-never land, not quite real. At least Conte adds genuine integrity, with his earnest expression, and you feel that he, unlike Dan Dailey, is genuinely concerned to fight for justice

My favourite Conte story: at the time I liked Riot, but now, more sober, the simple appeal in The Bystanders is my choice.
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The Judge
Jean (Kay Callard) is indicted at Maynard Court for poisoning her husband Harry with strychnine. A former student of Jeff, Robert Hill, is to defend her. He's not very convinced he will win as she has something of a reputation, "she gets around."
Jeff helps. He talks with Jean, who does not think Harry did commit suicide. Nor that he was poisoned, despite the evidence- this is from Dr Chase, "the most respected doctor in the whole state."
Then Jeff talks to Dr Chase, who is bland, but evidently prejudiced. It turns out his daughter had married a Harley Street doctor. Cue phone call to Ben Manfred at 2am London time.
Helen (Naomi Chance) is a lesser local doctor who had fallen out with Chase- she's the one who had tipped Jeff off via an anonymous phone call to claim Harry wasn't poisoned.
Seedy Miss Joann lives in not the best part of town, she had a grudge against Chase when both her legs were smashed in an accident. He said she had been drunk and wouldn't treat a person of her type.
Jeff is ordered out of town for casting aspersions on the great Dr Chase. In a scene over familiar in the series, Jeff is the victim of a lynch mob, and ironically it is Chase who saves Jeff from a beating.
Helen helps Jeff break into Chase's office to find some evidence against him. Jeff is caught at it, and the two men have a man to man talk. Chase's motivation is explained.
Harry died of natural causes, "you already know that, don't you?"

Note about the newspaper article by Jay King headlined Just Man Intervenes.
The paper is clearly an English one, since there's an article above the main one about the Labour Party's attitude to nuclear tests!
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Dead Man's Switch

The opening street scene must have been constructed by someone brought up on The Dead End Kids, but this is post war America apparently, so instead of Pat O'Brien at the boys' club, you can spot a television set in one corner of the gym, and the talk is of with-it things like "gang rumbles."
A fierce scrap ends with an ambulance being called, young Joey Rivera is fighting for his life, a knife just missed his heart. Behind the argument is a racial motif, and that exacerbated by the newspaper articles of Garnes (Bill Nagy), who has put it out that the root cause of civic unrest is the immigration of Puerto Ricans.
Jeff Ryder is called in and blames Garnes, you're creating the tension he warns him. Joey's dad Thomas (Richard Pasco) also apportions the blame on Garnes, and with his son lying dangerously ill in hospital, takes his own action, a live grenade into Garnes' home. There's a slight argument on the ethics of the situation before police attempt to arrest him. However it's a standoff, grenade v gun.
The police clear the building but daren't make any move. Ryder tries to break this deadlock, his first step to contact Dr Chaffey, the best heart specialist around. "A better than even chance," the surgeon gives Joey, but it'll be six hours before the operation is completed and Thomas Rivera is getting nervy.
Garnes tries to call Rivera's bluff by walking out, but Ryder knows the father is desperate, and Ryder himself stops Garnes from getting them all blown to pieces. Perhaps the best scene is when Garnes' wife is allowed to go free, and Rivera pointedly notes that Garnes had never himself asked for her to be allowed to leave.
A bomb squad officer is readied by police to enter the room where Rivera holds his hostage, the aim is to rush Rivera. Ryder is dubious, instead he urges a priest come. Now Thomas is a religious man and the pair argue, but the only outcome is, "I must do what I must do." Sounds more like John Wayne to me. Jeff sees there is no hope of a peaceful solution so grabs the grenade from the tiring father, who is placed under lock and key.
But of course Joey recovers, so it ends happily.

The final scene shows Jeff phoning Tim Collier in Paris. Tim comments rather obviously that Rivera was "crazy to fool round with a live grenade," but agrees to write an article on the immigration issue that will counter that those views of Garnes

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Panic Button
Jeff Ryder is dining at Mike's Steak and Chip House where student Sue Pearson tells him of her "nightmare." She wants to be a law student, but has been banned by her school because she's radioactive. Ray, her dad (Paul Carpenter), is a research scientist and, a la Invisible Man, had had an accident with a radioactive capsule. Here are all those contemporary nuclear fears, even though "any idea that I or any member of my family could contaminate anybody else is- scientifically ridiculous."
Yet local gossip in Fairview is wildly out of control. Neighbour Mrs Willett whose son Carl (Jess Conrad) is Sue's boyfriend, is the root cause, for when she sees men with geiger counters enter the Pearson home, she spreads exaggerated tales of them "ripping open the furniture... that place is contaminated." Though in fact very little radiation is discovered.
Jeff explains this to the local sheriff, who is unaccountably prejudiced against the Pearsons, "those instruments don't mean a thing." For the fact is that Rudley, Pearson's assistant, has just died. Okay, from a heart attack, but local fears are stirred to boiling point.
Jeff stays with the Pearsons to show his own faith in them. From here, he phones Tim Collier to discuss his experiences with the Aubert family. Then Jeff accompanies Sue to school. "She can attend," even though some students object.
Ray Pearson is given the all clear and Tim phones with, "I've found out just what you want."
A mob gathers outside the house. Jeff emerges to deliver his soliloquy in this suburban garden. It probably won't be enough except for his trump card. From somewhere, he produces Jean Aubert, from France apparently, a scientist who years ago had survived a similar radiation scare. Even he may not be enough to sway the crowd, but what is, is his wife and young child, convincing proof indeed.
It was never like this in my suburban backwater, the whole storyline is too artificial and the pseudo-American backdrop, clearly English suburbia, and some unlikely Americans (Warren Mitchell as Rudley, Ewen Solon as Sheriff etc etc etc) combine to make an unconvincing drama. There was a missed opportunity to link this story with the Tim Collier one 'Deadly Capsule'
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The Discovery
Dr Victor Legari (John Gabriel), an immigrant Italian, offers his own untried drug on an old dying friend, but he has no medical licence. She dies of a haemorrhage. Charged with murder, he runs away. (Down a street where a London taxi is clearly visible!)
It's 4am, an exhausted Jeff is fast asleep. From Rome, Poccari phones, answered by Vicky "one of his law students," who amazingly happens to be there. Jeff is told by Poccari about the "brilliant" doctor's plight.
Tim Collier phones from Paris confirming that the war hero Legari had been close to a woman in the Resistance. She's now living in America.

Jeff finds her, and Legari is with her. Give yourself up, Jeff urges, and I'll defend you. That agreed, Jeff goes to the dead woman's daughter who will not admit she had begged Legari to try out the drug on her mother.
It's Perry Mason all over again, "objection... sustained." An expert witness testifies that the drug needed much more detailed testing. The prosecutor (Lionel Murton) pushes this expert into admitting it is "a deadly poison." It sounds improbable, but Jeff doesn't even cross question.
The verdict seems a foregone conclusion. But Jeff has dug up details of Legari's honourable past, and gets him to relate his side of events. Then Perry, sorry Jeff, shows his faith by administering himself 2 cc of the drug. The judge reprimands him. But if Jeff collapses and dies, so does his case!
He recalls the dead woman's daughter who says she did lie earlier, and of course as he delivers his summing up speech, Jeff continues not to collapse dead in the courtroom. "I should have been dead two minutes ago"
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Crack-Up

In Canada's Blackwoods Mountains, prospector Flynn spots the wreckage of a plane.
Mrs Ingrid Brandt from Sweden asks Jeff Ryder to represent her. It was her husband who had been the pilot of the plane five years back, and he was alleged to have stolen half a million in gold bars, though she believes him innocent, and wants to get to the plane, allegedly to make sure there is no gold there. She's a golddigger, pronounces the jealous Vicky, and you can't help feeling she's right.
Jeff phones Ben Manfred, subject Lars Brandt, to be informed "he and the gold just vanished."
Mrs Brandt and Jeff meet up with Captain Stuart of the RCMP (a wasted Robert Shaw), and with Flynn, his prospector pal Rustie, and journalist Krager, they commence the long expedition to get to the plane.
Five days before any sight of the wreckage. A gruesome skeleton still sits in the pilot's seat. No sign of the gold.
But secretly Flynn has discovered the gold, and he is knifed to death. The gold has now definitely gone, but it was too heavy to have been carried away, so where is it hidden?
Mrs Brandt and Krager find a recently dug mound, and agree to share the proceeds. But when she learns Flynn has been killed, she tells the others. The gold is dug up, and more squabbling follows, though this is no Treasure of Sierra Madre, and the characters' motives are sometimes hard to fathom. And what the title means, I hope you can tell me

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The Protector
Miss Janice (Maureen Connell) is the President of the Gorman Foundation, that had been started by her late father. The story's interest lies in her plight, for she is evidently being exploited by someone.
That Someone is soon evident when we see Ferdy Mayne, who plays Dr Bannerman! He is treating her for her depression and now she is announcing to the Gorman Board that she will take over the committee's funds. Jeff Ryder is called in to investigate the doctor, "a phoney and a charlatan."
Jeff talks to Janice, who is evidently most dependent on Bannerman. She thinks she is being followed. As the doctor had practised in London, Jeff phones Ben Manfred, who promises to get the lowdown on a man who Ben knows didn't enjoy the best of reputations.
Jeff sends his assistant Vicky to Bannerman, who however can find nothing wrong with her. Naturally. "He's too nice to be crooked," is her verdict.
Janice's fear that she is being followed proves well founded when Jeff sees someone doing just that. Vicky recognises him as a guy named Wilson and Jeff gives him a lecture. As a patient of Bannerman, he claims he had been ordered to follow her as part of his therapy.
"I asked him," admits Bannerman. "Ingenious," responds Jeff. Janice has now decided she will, of her own free will, hand the administration of the fund to her doctor. Ben Manfred phones, a second brief Hawkins' appearance, to state he has found out that one of Bannerman's English patients had committed suicide.
Janice has got in one of her states, and is taking some pills prescribed by Bannerman that make her collapse immediately. The bad doctor is about to let her breathe her last when Jeff steps in catching Bannerman in flagrante. The doctor had been removing the lethal tablets, but Jeff finds one, "enough to put an elephant to sleep," and enough to get Bannerman arrested
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The Bystanders
American tennis star Ted (Ronald Allen) is back after a severe bout of nerves. He's hoping to make the US tennis squad at Wimbledon (who wrote these scripts??), but receives a setback in his posh house (which looks awfully English in its estate setting, though apparently it's in America).
Young Katy Peterson (Jeannette Bradbury) lives nearby and she gets awfully upset when she reads in the paper of Ted's engagement, "you said you'd wait for me," she cries naively. This child dreams up vengeance and tells her father she's been molested by Ted. Her father calls the police. Ted's mum calls Jeff Ryder.
Jeff phones Ben Manfred, asking him to keep the story low key in the British papers. Then he tries to question Mrs Peterson with no success, nor are the neighbours Ed and Sue much help, they mind their own business. The young Italian lad Tony, who had shown Katy the newspaper article about Ted's engagement, is equally uncooperative.
Ted becomes so depressed he climbs on to a high ledge threatening a suicide jump. Jeff fails to persuade him to come in, so he goes to Katy and manages to talk to her alone, though her mother quickly interrupts any meaningful conversation. Though her dad is still stirring up opinion against Ted, news of Ted's impending suicide stirs Katy into admitting the truth. This admission finally shuts her belligerent dad up. This storm in a teacup ends with Katy apologising to Ted, who is so petrified on his ledge that he needs Jeff to help him come in from the cold.
Sadly we never hear whether Ted plays at those Wimbledon championships, perhaps it would have needed two different endings, one for American viewers, one for British

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Riot (made early June 1959)
"It's too late, Ryder," says Joe Nelson (Neil McCallum), "for your own good, get out of here!"
Jeff Ryder is visiting Joe in the state penitentiary to tell him the good news that he can get him a retrial. But Jeff gets caught up in a riot organised by Nelson and Dougan (Peter Dyneley) in which three warders are taken hostage, as well as Jeff Ryder. The new Governor has to enlist the State Troopers who prepare to storm their way into the cell block, where the rioters are holed out. During this lull, Jeff learns the riot is about the awful conditions the prisoners have endured. One of the warders who has been captured (Percy Herbert) is the butt of the rioters' hostility. "I only carry out orders," he claims.
The Captain of the Troopers is an uncompromising figure, but he loses Round One. Two troopers are shot as well as four convicts. Dougan threatens to kill their hostages unless they're given a free pardon. "I'm going to enjoy shooting you, bright boy," he tells Ryder. Jeff starts talking! He urges the men to make a deal, ask for an inquiry. He volunteers to act as go-between, promising to return with the Warden's answer on an inquiry. Dougan doesn't buy it but Nelson persuades the others.
In a tense scene, Jeff risks all to go to the Warden. Will the Troopers shoot him as he emerges? Or will Dougan shoot him in the back? But he does reach safety and the Warden is only too happy to agree to an inquiry, even though the Captain says he'll have it over in two hours with some tear gas.
Jeff returns with the good news but discovers loudmouth Dougan had fallen out with Joe and stabbed him. "You don't care who you kill do you, Dougan?" shouts Jeff. The prisoners are finally persuaded to surrender and throw down their arms. "You can put your guns away, Captain," concludes Jeff, "the shooting's over."
I guess the scriptwriter had been brought up on all those Warner Brothers jailbreak movies, the only character missing might be Pat O'Brien, yet Richard Conte makes a fine stand in
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The Last Days of Nick Pompey
Jeff Ryder is working late in his office when in bursts a man offering to pin something on evil gangster Nick Pompey. He can supply Ryder with Pompey's secret books. All very odd as this man is Nick Pompey himself (Reed de Rouen). What has brought on this strange bargain is that his wife Maria (Betty McDowall) has disappeared with Lita his daughter.
Jeff's search starts in Rome, where he stays in the Hotel Poccari. He and Poccari exchange pleasantries before the hotelier tells Ryder where Nick's wife is, at a villa by the sea.
And there is Lita, playing in the garden of this grand estate that belongs to Luis (Eddie Byrne), Nick's agent in Italy. Apparently there's no need of any rescue, it seems a wild goosechase. Luis is affable, maybe too affable. He phones Nick in New York and when Ryder gets to the line he is told only, "you're fired."
But it is obvious something is wrong. Back in Rome Jeff buys a couple of necklaces before returning to his hotel where he is unaccountably attacked. Clearly an attempt to make him miss his flight, which fails as he gets to the airport in time, and finds that Luis as well as Maria and Lita are on the same plane.
On the journey, a confident Luis kindly explains to Jeff Ryder that he is getting Nick's books, in exchange for his family of course, so he can take over the organisation. Isn't he so very confident noone can stop him?
But Jeff finds a way at the airport.Those necklaces are planted in Luis' baggage and he's placed under arrest at customs. By way of thanks Nick proves a man of honour and hands Ryder his books, being reunited temporarily at least with his wife and daughter
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Justice for Gino
Gino is phoned by his younger brother 'Arturo' at the airport, during which Gino is shot dead. "Nice work doll," a voice states. His brother's a dead gangster, a shocked Arthur is informed by police.
Jeff Ryder listens to Arturo's tale, "help me find the killer." Not revenge though, insists Jeff. After thinking it over, at the funeral, Jeff notices blonde Inga, "widow" of sorts, place a wreath. He asks her questions, gets no answer.
One suspicious character there is Jake Zoldi (Alan Tilvern), who's planning to muscle in on Gino's territory.
Jeff delves and hears from Louie that Gino was planning to ditch Inga. Who was she going with?
Arthur is "stirring up too much dust"(!) so Jeff advises him strongly not to attempt to murder his brother's killer. Jeff asks for time to weed out the killer himself.
Inga phones Arthur with the offer of giving him the desired information. Meet at 125th Street- of course it's a trap. So Jeff gives Arturo the ko and bravely goes there himself.
He meets her amid a hail of bullets, just like the old gangster films! That gets her to give the name.
Arturo has been handed a key from Gino's lawyer. It's where a quarter of a million is hid. Some of the cash is willed to him to bump off anyone who might kill Gino.
Arturo points his gun at Jake, Jeff interrupts. A man to man reasoning brings the young man round, "give me the gun."
Jeff phones Ben, the good news is that the quarter of a million are now funds to be used by the Just Men.

Pity in real life, this cash was not there for a follow up series!
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Stories with Jack Hawkins
in London as Ben Manfred
"a well-known independent MP and a leading figure in English political life."

1 VILLAGE OF SHAME (with Dan Dailey)
2 THE DESERTER (with Dan Dailey)
3 THEIR MAN IN LONDON (with Richard Conte)
4 NATIONAL TREASURE
5 THE SURVIVOR (with Dan Dailey)
6 MONEY TO BURN (with Richard Conte)
7 THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE (with Dan Dailey)
8 THE HERITAGE (with Dan Dailey)
9 THE BOY WITHOUT A COUNTRY (with Dan Dailey/ Vittorio de Sica)
As well as co-starring in the opening story, Hawkins also makes brief contacts with Dan Dailey (seven times), Vittorio de Sica (once) and Richard Conte (five times).
Andrew Keir played Jock in all the Ben Manfred stories except #2 and #8. Manfred's car is MXJ575.

Jack Hawkins said of his first tv role that he "found the going fast." He added in a TV Times interview: "the pace is much faster than in feature films." (Contrast Richard Conte's comment!) But he declared it "exciting and interesting. Nobody can ignore television today."
My favourite JH story: National Treasure
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Village of Shame
This story has a stagey acted feel, though the impressive village square set is some compensation.

Ben Manfred is practising his golf in his office when he receives a taped message from Tim Collier saying Ben's wartime buddy Austin Smith has been found drowned near the village of St Paul in France. It's a place so remote that Ben has to cycle the last few miles to get there. Resistance fighter Albert greets him. He's blind as a result of a wartime tragedy, the work of a traitor, who was never discovered. The mayor welcomes Ben, but denies that Smith could have been murdered as Ben suspects. Such a line of questioning starts to cause "a little unpleasantness."
Even the priest suggests it might be better for Ben to leave. But Janine recalls Smith's recent visit, he'd been here as part of his job tracking down war criminals. She remembers his first visit to St Paul during the war when she was only eight. As a result of the traitor, he'd wound up in a Nazi prison camp.
Amid many evil stares from locals, Ben leaves a message for Tim Collier in Paris. The local police chief also advises Ben to quit, but Ben declines.
Nightfall. Villages stand idly round, awaiting the showdown, the exposure of the traitor. Tim phones through his information. Janine distracts everyone while Ben gets the facts.
Ben announces to one and all that he's going for a stroll on the shore, to ponder the matter. Of course he expects to be followed, and is. "I pity you," Ben tells the traitor. The killer strikes again, but fails. In fact the police chief has overheard it all and when Ben does leave St Paul it's to profuse thanks from nearly everyone.

There are some similarities of plot and location with the Charlie Chan story, Death at High Tide
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The Deserter
A state of emergency in a colony. However when Jack Hawkins is seen at the tiny airport, the film shows this must have been shot in a foggy winter in Britain!
Colonel Parkes (Ronald Howard) has placed Cpt Bob Bannion under arrest for desertion. Ben Manfred MP happens to be in the country, and talks to the prisoner, who is offering no defence. Parkes is surprised at this, since he had a high regard for Bannion.
Ben is allowed to ask questions, starting with Mrs Bannion, who says her husband was popular with his fellow officers, but also admitting their marriage was failing.
Bannion is judged guilty, dishonourably discharged and sentenced to two years in prison.
Tim Collier speaks to Ben very briefly on the phone about the story.
"You're holding something back," Ben suggests when he talks to Bannion again. His silence is explained as it's part of a plan for him to infiltrate the enemy, top secret, thought up by Parkes. The prisoner is confident Parkes will secure his release, so that their scheme can continue.
During another conversation with Mrs Bannion, she gives herself away, calling the colonel 'Jerry.' He has indeed arranged for Bannion to stage an escape.
Ben confronts Parkes quoting from an apposite Bible story about King David who "set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle." Ben interrupts the great escape, "don't be a fool Bannion," uttered in the most authoritative Hawkins tones. But Bannion flees, Ben follows, guards pursue shooting. But it's Parkes who shoots though he is then shot dead himself.
In hospital Bannion recovers, at least history in the shape of Uriah did not repeat itself
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Their Man in London
Guata Rica is ruled by a dictator, Ben Manfred speaks out in parliament in support of Alvarez who represents the opposition in hiding.
Miss Lopez invites Ben to Yorkminster Terrace to learn more of the corrupt regime, but all he finds there is her corpse. Ben spots a posh car driving off, numberplate GP3. When he looks round the flat, he makes note of an address written on a piece of paper, 57 Carrington Court.
This address belongs to Ricardo Hernandez, and since the Guata Rican embassy refuses to cooperate with police investigation into Miss Lopez's death ("so the murderer goes free"), Ben decides to break in and here he meets a rather unsurprised Hilary (June Thorburn). She says Hernandez works at the embassy but before he can learn more he is knocked out.
Manfred comes to at his home and later catches up with Hilary again who explains that Manfred had been attacked by two embassy officials, but not Hernandez. Why is Hernandez hiding in the embassy, Manfred asks her.
Ben is now able to piece the mystery together. Being a supporter of Alvarez, Hernandez has been arrested and is awaiting execution for treason, so Ben wants to immediately rescue him. But he doesn't need to, for Hernandez's drugged body is being taken out of the embassy in a large crate. Manfred doesn't pounce, realising this is a decoy, for round the back, here he finds another crate, this one really containing Hernandez. After a struggle, the prisoner is released and asks for asylum.
Jeff Ryder phones to advise Manfred that Alvarez has fled his country and is now safe in New York, where he will tell the United Nations about his country's plight.

Note: June Thorburn later became a semi regular in the Jeff Ryder stories. Here she plays a different character, which must suggest that as the Jeff Ryder stories didn't start filming until March 16th 1959, this episode must have been completed before this time
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National Treasure
The title refers to a celebrated Rembrandt self portrait.
Ben Manfred is at Covent Garden enjoying the opera with an unidentified lady friend, when, surely against all the rules of the house, he is called urgently to the phone. Lord Nigel Eastleigh is dying.
On his deathbed, he shows Manfred his priceless Rembrandt, it's an original, stolen from the Grant Gallery. A fake had replaced it at the gallery. His son Paul (William Lucas) asks if Ben could return it, "a delicate job," admits the MP, who finally decides, "I shall put it back myself." This is a nice idea, sort of League of Gentlemen in reverse, though hardly a fight against injustice.
Thus we get the sight of "an MP breaking and entering," with Paul his accomplice, it's all too easy as the fake is removed and the original replaced. You can guess that's not all.
Bathed in his success, Ben must track down the gang which had stolen the painting. So when the Eastleigh estate is auctioned off, the Rembrandt copy is included in the auctioneer's particulars, identified as a copy, though the thieves would think it is the original. Several bidders are outbid by Ben Manfred himself, who hands over 300gns. He takes it away having chatted with each of the underbidders. A "scruffy looking character" (Toke Townley) is the obvious crook, as he offers Ben 500, ironically he drives from the auction in Wolseley 892FPC, the vehicle normally used in films as a police car!
Manfred is led to the forger of the original fake, Richard, but before he can say anything he is shot dead.
At the Grant Gallery, Ben and Jock wait for the thief to steal the original Rembrandt. A little sermonette from Jack Hawkins in his best style as the thief is caught. I liked this complex little story which has some nice touches from Jack Hawkins, such as when he nicks a taxi to follow the crooks
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The Survivor
Ben Manfred MP warns the House of Commons about the danger of a Nazi revival in Germany. His fears are heightened when Paul Coster, a rare concentration camp survivor, brings Ben a list of old Nazis who are now infiltrating German politics. The list came from Dr Karl and it leads to a discussion of unusual seriousness. MI5 interrupt, just missing catching Coster, who "according to our information," is a saboteur.
The political potential of this tale is lost under the more traditional chase as Ben calls at Coster's home in Stepney. Of course he's not there, try Ann's Cafe suggests his landlady. Though the owner Anya doesn't know him either, or so she says, Ben follows her, in his Rolls, as she boards a humble No 22 bus to her home. This rather slow sequence proves the political thread of the story has been abandoned.
Tim Collier phones twice from Paris to state that Coster's list is not accurate. Further this Dr Karl was never at the camp, despite what Coster states.
In the House of Commons, Manfred is all but censured for his behaviour. 'The Announcer' defends him, surely this is supposed to be the Prime Minister, Harold MacMillan, for actor Frank Thornton is made up to look a little like him.
MI5 accompany Ben to the ship where Anya says Coster is hiding. There follows another of Donald Pleasence's familiar depictions of a semi-madman, that's Coster, "he's got a bomb!" Ben climbs on board to persuade Coster he's been tricked himself, sadly, by the Nazis. Together they nervously defuse the bomb. A mini sermon from Ben to conclude
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Money to Burn
(filming for this episode completed in early March 1959)

The old established firm of Barlings in Great Stanhope Street EC2 have printed Gueron banknotes which are collected by Sgr Vidal (Frank Thornton, a regular in this series albeit in different roles). He transports them off by car UTR1, though according to the Gueron embassy, he is not known there.
Lady Alicia Barling asks Ben Manfred to help her distraught husband Walter, who has tried to kill himself. Could Ben possibly recover the notes before they leave the country? So police need not be involved, he'll try.
Ben watches the Gueron embassy.. Somehow he is able to discover the suspicious Dominguez (Charles Gray) is in the pay of General de Santos, who is planning to use the money to start an uprising. De Santos is staying at the Dorchester Hotel, where a reception is to be held prior to his departure for Gueron. Ben attends on behalf of Barlings.
Jeff Ryder phones with details of de Santos' plans to become dictator. Jeff promises to stand by, if he's needed. He's not.
Ben is almost run over by De Santos' aide Colonel Gomez (Alan Tilvern), but is alive enough to demand Dominguez hands back all the cash. The answer is, of course, no.
Ben's response is simple, he merely removes the money without asking from Vidal's car LGO 880, and returns it to Walter Barling. Together they burn it all

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The Man Who Wasn't There
A newspaper seen in this story is dated April 1st 1959, possibly about the time of filming.

Cambridge professor Dr Karl Menger (Gerard Heinz) has gone missing. His daughter Ilsa interrupts Ben Manfred's enjoyment of a Brahms record, appealing to him to help. Her father had been developing a new metal alloy that will improve space travel.
Manfred consults the Permanent Under Scretary (William Mervyn) who can only reveal Menger had flown to New York. However at Shannon Airport he had disappeared. This is a pretty straightforward spy case, but newspaper editor Arkwright (Lionel Jeffries) denounces Menger in his paper as a traitor, so here's a case of injustice which Manfred determines to right.
Studying Menger's regular letters to Ilsa, postmarked London, Ben Manfred notes each mentions a time, 7.57, and he surmises this is a latitude and longitude fixing. 7W 57N, that's a Hebridean island.
His long trip ends at The Old Inn, where locals tell him of the Navy's new activities on the isle. Cmdr Rice (Anthony Sharp), an old mate, is in charge, and Ben calls to see him. But at the gate to the base Ben is knocked out. When he comes to, he's in a motor boat, being transported by a Navy officer (Michael Ripper). Ben makes a second visit to the base, having pretended to leave the island, cutting his way through the perimeter fencing and to a hut where he meets up with Menger. He hasn't revealed his secret yet, but Ilsa is to be kidnapped to persuade him to come to heel.
Ben captures the leader of the kidnappers (we should have guessed his identity) who is given a lecture on megalomania, rather unconvincingly. Indeed the whole story is bitty but Jack Hawkins' authority just about carries it through
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The Heritage

"It's not murder. It is war." A story based round the Irish troubles, in which the leaders of 'The Organisation' "have grown fat and soft," so a group of fanatics lead by O'Rorke have taken matters into their own hands. But "a true son of Ireland," Kevan Malone (Barry Keegan) can't stomach their plan to blow up a police station and attempts to defuse the bomb. However police catch him and think he's a terrorist.
Kevan's girlfriend Cathy (Concepta Fennell) appeals to Ben Manfred who's on a fact finding visit to Northern Ireland, and he is able to use his influence and sit in on Malone's interrogation.
Although Kevan protests his innocence, the attitude of the police chief (Ronald Leigh-Hunt) is typical of the entrenched attitudes that afflict both sides, for he believes that Irish violence will only end "when we have all the thugs like Malone safely under lock and key." With hate such as this, Manfred's key question hits at the heart of the problem, "how's this violence ever going to end?"
Manfred finds it hard, despite a promise only to watch, of remaining silent during Malone's interview. But before it's over, the gang burst in and whisk Kevan away to freedom, giving the MP a punch on the nose for good measure. That convinces Manfred of the rightness of the police action. But Cathy manages to persuade Manfred that the rescue only came about because Kevan might have talked: "they'll kill him." She says where he's probably been taken.
In an isolated hut, Kevan is on trial, "I only wanted to stop the killing," he tells his captors and ex-friends. Enter Ben Manfred, at the point of a gun: "I'm here to see justice is done." The charge is treason and, despite Ben's pleas "this is not a debating society." Cathy interrupts the trial to warn she's seen the police! Accidentally she treads on a terrorist mine. This seems to inject some sense into proceedings until the police surround the hut and a gun battle commences. Leaping from the hut amid a hail of bullets Ben shouts "Stop it!" He's able to prove to the gang that Kevan is no traitor to the cause, and the evidence comes from the police captain himself! Then the police are convinced that Kevan had indeed been trying to defuse the bomb. Cathy's serious injuries persuade all and sundry to agree a truce.
Would that it could always have been so straightforward. Despite the rather simplistic ending, this is a satisfying story, only the Irish background music I found slightly twee.

Note- Dan Dailey makes a brief telephone call thanking Ben Manfred for his help on the Pago(?) Case.
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The Boy without a Country
Nice line from Ben Manfred: "are you suggesting, Jock, that justice is only for the virtuous?"
The young lad at the docks, just off a ship, carrying a suitcase with a sextant, is fourteen year old Vito. He's making for St Albans but after pawning the sextant, he is arrested by a policeman (Frank Thornton) who notes some scars on the boy's back.
Ben Manfred is just off for a weekend in Rome with Poccari when he reads Vito's story in the paper. He talks to him at the police station. He must be deported as a stateless person, "nobody to give a damn whether he lives or dies."
A ship's captain claims him as his cabin boy. He says Vito had joined the ship some years ago in Tangiers. It's clear the captain has been maltreating the lad. So why is he so keen to have Vito back? The sextant is recovered and Ben pays compensation for the missing suitcase, and given custody of Vito for a week until the ship sails. He has that long to establish his identity.
May 1956 was when the ship had berthed at Tangiers. Ben learns from Vito that he had an uncle there. He doesn't recall much of his mother, but remembers her telling him he'd been born in a cave. But where?
Tim is asked to arrange for a language expert to come to London. This man decides Vito is likely to be Italian, but not a native, since his speech also betrays early influence of English.
At Question Time, Ben urges the boy be given a temporary visa. However his request is rejected.
The clues surrounding Vito's identity are pieced together. Malta is his possible birthplace, so was he heading to St Albans because of a vague memory of St Albans in Malta, where there are caves? Poccari is asked to send a man to Malta to find out. Ben also flies there.
Time for the ship to sail. Vito runs off, as per Ben's instructions. But the captain captures him and forces him to steal back the sextant, but instead of handing it over Vito runs away. Of course Ben, having returned from Malta, happens to bump into the captain chasing Vito and inside the suitcase, the truth of why it was wanted so badly is discovered.
Goodness, Vito is a British citizen, born in Malta. Ben will be happy to pay the thirty bob for his passport
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Stories with Vittorio de Sica
in Rome as Ricco Poccari,

"a man who has risen from a poverty-stricken early life to be one of the world's great, and rich, hoteliers."
1
THE CRYING JESTER (with Dan Dailey, plus Honor Blackman)
2 THE NIGHT OF THE PRECIOUS STONES (with Jack Hawkins/ Dan Dailey/ Richard Conte)
3 MAYA (with Richard Conte)
4 THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN TOUCH (with Richard Conte)
5 THE RIETTI GROUP (with Richard Conte)
6 THE SLAVER (with Richard Conte)
7 THE MAN IN THE ROYAL SUITE (with Richard Conte)
8 ROGUE'S HARVEST (with Richard Conte)
9 TREVISO DAM (with Richard Conte)
As well as his role in The Battle of the Bridge, de Sica also makes brief contacts with Jack Hawkins (once), Dan Dailey (twice) and Richard Conte (twice).
Lisa Gastoni played Guilia in all the Poccari stories except #1, #4 and #8.

Vittorio De Sica told the press that he found the series "a strain with the language difficulty." Perhaps some viewers did too! He also admitted in a January 1959 interview that he found tv rather different from feature films: "the technique is new for me. I am used to more time and a larger canvas." After recording the first episode "The Crying Jester" in January 1959, he returned to Italy (for a "film commitment," he said), before coming back to England in March to make the rest of the stories. Director Bill Fairchild praised his star, saying "he is modest and devoid of temperament. First he studies carefully every shade of meaning in his lines... that is true artistry."
My favourite de Sica story: Well if you like the comedy= The Man in the Royal Suite, otherwise, take your pick
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The Crying Jester

A "very bad" seventeenth century painting, Poccari buys from a Milan gallery. What he doesn't know, is that two villains want the picture also and they tail the vendor to the night express to Rome, compartment B5.
Baddies always come unstuck, and what they don't realise is that Poccari is not in B5. Poccari has met Alberto (Lee Montgaue) on the train, he's full of the victory of his protege Anselmo in a boxing match. They happily share champagne, and Poccari kindly gives his berth to a fellow passenger, Harry Green, who is not feeling too well. After an intruder named Luigi (Dudley Sutton) creeps into B5, Harry is soon even sicker.
Green's death is oddly put down as suicide, so here's a case for Poccari to help fight an injustice. Mrs Green (Betty McDowall), though living apart from her husband, appeals to one of the Just Men to find out the truth.
Rapelli, one of the baddies, phones Poccari offering to purchase the painting. Actually by "buy" he means "steal," and his henchman Luigi creeps into Poccari's hotel to snatch it. However he is expected and he is made to admit he did kill Green. What is still a puzzle is why Rapelli wants such a poor picture, though Poccari sends Luigi on his way, with the painting, asking him to bring back the payment for it.
Rapelli is naturally surprised when Luigi turns up with the painting and such a story. Poccari "must be very simple minded" if he is expecting cash by return. But Luigi has been followed and the police and Poccari pounce to find hidden in the frame of the painting, er, film of Anselmo's famous boxing triumph. Poccari isn't so daft, he'd already abstracted the film hidden there, one that could have caused a security leak.
This is not really any story about justice, though it's quite an enjoyable if basic detective story.

Note: Nicole (Honor Blackman) phones Ricco Poccari and gets her boss Tim Collier to ask about the Peisano (?) Case. After which Collier informs Poccari that Rapelli had been a Nazi sympathiser.
Footnote: A newspaper is seen, carrying the date April 26th 1959. This could be about the time of the shooting of this story. This date must carry some importance to the makers of the series, for it is the same as the date on the document signed by all Four Just Men. Maybe it was the day that they finally got a date for shooting the one episode with all four of them in.

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The Night of the Precious Stones
A bitty story that aspires to better things, with too many characters. Most of note as all four Just Men appear, if not together.

Vittorio de Sica provides the opening narration. He's arranged a charity fancy dress ball to benefit the Naples Boys Home, tickets 20,000 lire a time. Security is naturally a concern, and is in the hands of Inspector Nardi (Patrick Troughton) who is employing an American, an Englishman and an Austrian to keep surveillance on the rich guests. These include an old friend of Poccari's. Olga (Brenda de Banzie).
Jeff Ryder phones to warn about top jewel thief Connolly who has left the States for England. Ben Manfred continues the tale: Connolly had been met by Harry Crandall, number one jewel thief. They have flown to Paris. Rather silly of them really, because Tim Collier is able to report that the pair have picked up Marcel, and are heading for Italy.
Now in Rome, the trio pore over plans of Poccari's hotel. But thanks to the surveillance of the Just Men, they are all arrested. But the fourth member of their gang is not to be found. Who is it? To us, it's obviously Olga and she twists Poccari into very kindly showing him the expensive emerald necklace in his safe. She is even allowed to put it on. Poccari and Inspector Nardi watch on admiringly. Quite how she is able to switch it with a replica is hard to fathom, I thought Nardi must be her accomplice, but apparently he's just incompetent.
Too late the theft is discovered. Poccari knows who to ask for the jewellery back. He interrupts Olga's bitter sweet love affair with the necklace, she confesses at once, seeming to revel in her crime. However following the arrest of another jewel thief, for goodish measure, Poccari most kindly presents her with the replica emeralds

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Maya
Sgr Bruno Gastole has not paid his bill at the Hotel Poccari, but he's confident Maya (Mai Zetterling) will pay up, she's rolling in it, the carefree sister of the King of an Arab state. But Bruno also has gambling debts, which crooks use to blackmail him. He is given the pleasant task of hiding away with Maya. But behind this is the evil Cathis (Peter Illing) who plans to murder the king, then Maya and frame Bruno for the murder. He will then declare himself president.
Jeff Ryder is in Rome, on his way back from the Middle East. His hot news he passes to Poccari is that the king has just been killed and that Cathis is the leader of the revolutionaries. He persuades Ricco Poccari that it is his task to get Maya to return immediately to her country.
But this self centred princess, in the seclusion ordered by Cathis, doesn't believe her brother has been murdered, doesn't want to return anyway. However an attempt on her life followed by the shooting of Bruno changes her mind.
Ricco flies with her on a small plane, "home to her kingdom." But their idyllic converstaion is spoiled when Rico finds out that the pilot is none other than Cathis himself. Ricco is tied up, the princess will never reach home, Cathis happily announces. However Ricco manages to trip Cathis and improbably knock him out so "everything is quite all right now." Smatterings of poetry accompany her arrival as the crowd cheers her.
Bruno recovers from his wounds, but not to marry the princess, though he does grab a date with Ricco's secretary Guilia

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The Man with the Golden Touch
Filmed in mid-May 1959

Playing an Italian street urchin once again is Richard O'Sullivan (see also Overseas Press Club: Father Tiger). He's Pietro, a bad lad, but just the sort Father Clementi wants to help in his boys' camp. "Discipline is useless without love and understanding."
Poccari supports the work financially, as does Sgr Taranti, who is donating a de Medici urn to raise funds, Max Valio, known as The Man with the Golden Touch, is arranging the matter.
But as he transports the urn, Max's car is stopped, and the urn stolen. This is where Pietro comes in. He had been hiding in the back of this car, and overhears Max's swindle. But being suspected of being the thief himself, Pietro runs off, and seeks guidance from Poccari.
"This is outrageous," shouts Max, when informed of Pietro's story.
Phone call from Jeff Ryder, suggesting Max has some unknown moneymaking sideline.
Pietro is chased not only by police, but Max's ugly henchmen, and after a chase round the backstreets of Naples, the latter attack Poccari. However Pietro and his many mates rescue Poccari.
Ben Manfred, not seen, sends a telegram confirming Max is a swindler. Poccari pretends he is speaking to him on the phone, but this is a trick to try and trap Max. As he believes the urn might be discovered, Max does a bunk, and again Pietro's mates come up trumps, locating the fugitive in a shop. Max is swamped by them all, "let me have a look," demand police.
The urn is auctioned off, Pietro pushing the price up
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The Rietti Group
Presumably the title is a pun on the name of actor Robert Rietty, who plays Francesco, head waiter at the Hotel Poccari.

The Rietti Group were Italian Resistance fighters, lead by Count Montesco (Geoffrey Keen). (It seems they fought in support of the allies against their own countrymen.) Now, in 1959, the five survivors are meeting for their annual reunion. The Count is still leader, now an important figure in the world, shortly hosting a conference of world scientists to seek ways of preventing nuclear war.
In the dining room of the Hotel Poccari, two men whistle The Rietti Group password song. American Joe and Brit Jim relieve old memories with Ricco, who of course was also a Resistance man. But when Ricco invites them to the reunion, they tell of a bitter act of treachery one night in 1943. An unknown Italian had lead them into a trap, a German ambush, Jim and Joe alone surviving. They never saw the traitor's face, but his voice they could recognise.
Poccari phones Ben Manfred in England, though we never hear this conversation, but we do see Ryder in New York, who says the same as Manfred, whatever that was.
So to the reunion. The two foreigners are introduced to the five. The Count is the traitor. After the meal, Joe reluctantly relates his account of that night of betrayal. Ricco then reminds the group of their oath, death to any traitor. he produces a gun, with the suggestion that the traitor had better shoot himself. This becomes a tense scene as the Count argues against the action, these newcomers, he claims, might be liars. However the situation is only resolved when Ricco turns out the lights. Finally, after a dramatic pause, a gunshot. But there is no death. The gun had never been loaded by Ricco.
The waiter Francesco steps in with a loaded weapon to halt the villainy, as Poccari explains all
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The Slaver
Made early June 1959.
Sixty Africans sailing on a pilgrimage to Mecca are diverted to a slave market, "I don't believe it," but it is sadly what happens. The slaves threaten rebellion, so the leader behind the evil enterprise Sadik Bey (Charles Gray at his nasty worst) orders the "three rotten apples" to be disposed of.
Jeff Ryder phones Poccari, asking for his help "pronto." John Dexter has compiled a dossier on this slave trafficking and is to present his paper in Rome. Will Poccari escort him round Rome? However Poccari cannot locate Dexter, nor can Rosalina (June Rodney), who actually lives with Sadik Bey in his luxurious mansion, though Poccari knows that not. Here Bey is torturing Dexter to get him to reveal what his dossier contains. You'd have thought Bey would have guessed!
Poccari consults Inspector Russo about Dexter's disappearance. This official seems to spend more time drinking Poccari's wine than aything else. It's left to Poccari to try and get the truth out of Rosalina, though she is apparently ignorant of Bey's villainy, but Sadik Bey stops her from revealing what she does know, so Poccari has to make inquiries about where she lives.
Very innocently, Poccari calls at Dexter's home, "we have some business to discuss." Yes, Dexter is here and meets Poccari. He appears tired but otherwise well, however a gun is secretly pointed at his head. But Poccari has spotted it, and at his instigation police swoop and the racket is smashed quite easily. All very straightforward, it would have been good to see the slaves freed at the finish

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The Man in the Royal Suite

A man on the run (Kenneth Connor) hides in Poccari's hotel. "You gotta save me,"is his dramatic appeal to the owner. He has brought a message from Jeff Ryder, that introduces him, Enrico Milotti, a slob but also a key witness in the trial of racketeer Legs Punta, who is out to "moider" him.
That crazy accent sums up the tale, Connor is playing it for laughs, and the hackneyed gangsterism is hard to swallow too.
The kind but bewildered looking Poccari agrees to hide him, and the Royal Suite is ideal, here Milotti can pose as millionaire Byrol L Stich. "Nice little joint," concedes Milotti, no doubt by way of thanks. Another comedy scene as Poccari tries to smarten the bum up.
Jeff Ryder phones, to explain once again that Milotti needs protection as a key witness. Then a few more jokes, too many to be frank, as Milotti imbibes a little too much booze.
"Hi gorgeous." Zizi, a dim blonde pals up with him, overdoing it in imitation of Connor. She's there on Legs' instructions, as Poccari has refused to succumb to threats to undermine his business unless he hand Milotti over. The unlikely couple go for a night on the razzle, Pietro's Cellar.
The millionaire for Milotti, demands Punta, not knowing his blunder, he has who he wants if he'd only check. When he meets the 'millionaire' the penny drops. A fight follows.
Punta is arrested and Milotti emerges from another hiding place, a beer barrel, Zizi alongside him

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ROGUE'S HARVEST

Five years ago, a thief had hidden his loot in The Forum, the authorities had never found it. Now he's due out of prison.
Poccari has to leave off entertaining film star Miss Marlowe (Vera Fusek), when a girl named Maria asks to see him in his capacity as one of the Four Just Men. She loves Enrico Baldini, the thief, and wants Poccari to persuade him to turn off a new leaf, and hand over the loot to the owner, Rizzi, the current owner of the robbed antqiue shop. "One decent act" to prove he has really reformed, is all she wants.
But police inform Poccari that Baldini is "a hardened criminal" and so Poccari finds out when he discusses the matter with him. "I've paid for it," is his attitude and he refuses to reveal where he had hidden the stolen cash.
Poccari watches The Forum, and on cue Baldini, newly released from his jail, sneaks up to an ancient monument. Hands up, demands Poccari.
Baldini offers a 50-50 split, but Poccari's only offer is a second chance. Poccari returns to his hotel and places the stolen money in his safe.
Maria is so grateful, as is Rizzi. But the perceptive Poccari has worked out the neat little twist that I for one wasn't expecting.
However the conclusion is far too drawn out. Jeff Ryder phones to say he has traced the real Rizzi in New York, he works there as a gardener. The six million lire will be returned to him.
To finish, Poccari entertains the film star. Baldini is being employed as a waiter at the hotel

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Treviso Dam
A weak story about the construction of a huge dam which "won't last 5 years," at least according to Carlo, because, he claims, the cement mixture isn't strong enough. When he trips, seemingly by accident, into the dubious mixture, Poccari resolves to visit the site enroute to visiting a beautiful Contessa. Carlo's girl friend (Judi Dench) tells Poccari she thinks her boyfriend was murdered. He had been an engineering student and "had a good brain and he was honest." Poccari also had been struck by his sincerity, but could Carlo's death have been caused by a jealous rival, Giorgio (Alan Bates)?
With all these possibilities, Ricco, rather un-4 Just Men-like, is lured away to see the Contessa (Fenella Fielding) who also has a motive for stopping the "abominable" dam, as it is going to spoil the beautiful countryside round her home.
Poccari tears himself away from her to be given a tour of the "magnificent" dam by chief engineer Mazza. Two thousand billion lire!
Then he returns to the Contessa, who's rather peeved he's been absent so long. But again their diner a deux is spoilt as Poccari has brought along Anna. He believes someone might silence her, so would the Contessa kindly take care of her?
Straight off again to Anna's room where it's Poccari who is attacked, but of course unsuccessfully. Giorgio also happens to be there, to protect Anna, or so he says. Together they return to the place where Carlo tripped, or was he pushed? Mazza is questioned, and some rather unorthodox questioning elicits a confession.
At last, Ricco returns to the Contessa, but of course by now she's fast asleep.
Anyway, there's no rest for Ricco as Richard Conte phones, wanting an urgent discussion on the immigration racket.

There are too many strands in this story which are not properly explored. As a result the plot reads like I have described it, a sort of Poccari Shuttle, with little excitement and no character depth, despite the illustrious acting names.
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