The Four Just Men

. . . First story: Battle of the Bridge Jack Hawkins Dan Dailey Richard Conte Vittorio de Sica . . Contemporary notes . Francis Chagrin
The date is December 29th 1958. Shooting has begun, two weeks later than scheduled, on the series! On 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. In fact it seems that Cliff Robertson had been first choice for the part. 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, listen here the intro read in English, as opposed to American.
"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."
Question: Each of the Just Men had an assistant. Which one appears most in the series? Answer

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4 Just Men

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December 29th 1958 - shooting begins, a fortnight later than originally planned. The 39 episodes would eventually take 20 weeks to complete. First to start is Jack Hawkins, though soon two units would be filming simultaneously at Walton Studios.
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, 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."
Apr 59 - postponement of the shooting of the opening story, originally scheduled to start on April 13th. De Sica had only just received his script, and insisted he needed four weeks to prepare, since his mastery of English was not that good. At this date, Conte had completed two stories, Hawkins had two to finish.
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. Curiously however, in 1963 Jack Hawkins is reported to have said (TV Times no 391 p5), "I'm often asked if we could do more of this series. I'd very much like to, but I don't suppose we could ever get the four stars together again."
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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 "cutthroat" friends. However Tim Collier notices one member of their old wartime group is missing, Colonel Cyril Bacon (Anthony Bushell). He died last week.
Bacon's eerie voice echoes round the place, It's a recording by him reminding 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 wounded in the leg.
As the bridge can't be blown until precisely 6am, the men have 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 awful horrors of war, many orphaned innocent children.
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.)
Uncredited speaking extras: 1 German officer. 2 Roberts, a soldier with Manfred. 3 German soldier

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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). Dan Dailey was the first to complete his films, completing his final episode, #10, by the start of April 1959.
In Paris France Dailey drives a sports car 7216AP92. Tiim Collier lives on a houseboat on the Seine (phone 3356). Nicole lives at Fleur D'Oranger (80-120)

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

At the UN, the arrival of Dr Emil Mozek (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 that Mozek is flying on Flight 16, under an assumed name.
Tim meets him at Orly Airport. Ben Manfred has been guarding Mosek, and unusually appears in person to meet Tim and and hand the prime minister over into Tim's care.
However Mozek refuses to accept that he needs any protection while waiting in Paris for the next flight to America. But when he is 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 after the driver leaps out. Tim somehow, on the wrong side of the road in his car, forces Mozek's car to stop, calmly helping Mozek out of the vehicle to safety.
In his temporary hotel room, waiting for his 18.00 flight, Mozek grants Tim an interview. Alem (Maurice Kaufmann) brings some important documentation for Mozek to show at the UN, but Tim, suspecting the worst bashes him, not realising he's friend not foe.
All's well as Mozek returns to the airport for his flight. But the case with the documents is switched, but luckily Nicole suspects "they've pulled something," and tails Alem. 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.

Note: Frank Thornton appears uncredited, even though he has two parts! Firstly outside the airport, he plays the gendarme, righting the No Parking sign that Tim Collier has kindly hidden, and secondly as the hotel receptionist. Other speaking uncredited roles: 2 hotel waiter, 3 villain in Alem's car, 4 journalist, 5 customs officer, 6 airline official, 7 lady passenger

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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 fans,"weird kids."
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 send 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. Storm in a teacup.

Uncredited speaking extras: 1 Bellboy. 2 Maria. 3 Gendarme with another in street.
In keeping but too loud: the intrusive often raucous jazzy music

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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 Arenas, Tim is asked by manager Vito to help. It's easy to see Cesarito blames Vito, previously his father's manager, for his father getting gored to death.
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 has the young bullfighter got to? A frantic search, Tim finds him by his dad's grave, offering some free advice about "becoming 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, mixed in with studio shots, not badly done. But there are catcalls and worse when the bull is not killed, "disgraceful."
Tim 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). Tim 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.

Uncredited speaking part: spectator
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Stories with Richard Conte
in New York as Jeff Ryder, "a Professor of Law." Jeff's phone: Morningside 41233.
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!)
Shooting on the Conte series began just before Easter 1959, with #1 The Judge.

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 Lawson (Kay Callard) is indicted at Maynard Court for poisoning her husband Harry. A former student of Jeff, Robert Hill, is to defend her, his "first big case." He is not very convinced he will win as Jean has something of a reputation, "she gets around."
Jeff helps. He goes to the small town of Maynard to talk with Jean, who does not think Harry did commit suicide. Nor that he was poisoned with strychnine, despite the autopsy by Dr Chase, "the most respected doctor in the whole state."
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.
Dr Helen Townley (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?"

Additional uncredited speaking roles: Lawyer outside convention. Several locals in the mob.
NB The newspaper article by Jay King headlined Just Man Intervenes 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 racial hatred, which has been 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, carrying 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.
The end.

Uncredited speaking parts: 1 Gerry. 2 Another boy in the club. 3 Third boy. 4 Dr Chaffey (Frank Thornton)

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The Discovery
Dr Victor Legari (John Gabriel), an immigrant Italian, offers his own untested drug on Mrs Trescal, an old friend who is dying, 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 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 DA (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 2cc 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."
Uncredited speaking roles: 1 Mrs Trescal. 2 Cop. 3 First Reporter. 4 Reporter two. 5 Reporter three
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Crack-Up

In Canada's Blackwoods Mountains, prospector Jim Flynn spots the wreckage of a plane AB251.
Mrs Ingrid Brandt from Sweden asks Jeff Ryder to represent her. It was her husband Lars 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, who is busy dressing for dinner, 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 Swedish journalist Krager, they commence the long expedition to get to the plane.
It is five days before the come upon the wreckage. A gruesome skeleton still sits in the pilot's seat. No sign of the gold.
But one of the expedition knows the secret hiding place of the gold! Actually Flynn has discovered the gold, and he is knifed to death. The gold has now definitely disappeared, 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. As to what the title means, I hope you can tell me.

Uncredited speaking extra: Jail guard

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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."
"A politician with a conscience."

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 Roll Royce is MXJ575. It is not seen in 1, 2, 7 or 8, but shows up in #3 as Ben drives past The Houses of Parliament. However by the time he reaches home, a dent is visible in the offside front wing! In #4 the car is fine, but in #5 the dent returns and is still there. In #6 (early March 1959) there's that dent, though it disappears outside the Dorchester, before reappearing again. In the last (#9) story the offside of the car is not seen, but on the nearside front wing is a dent!

A report in March 1959 said that Jack Hawkins learned his lines for this series with the aid of a tape recorder. He certainly did say 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 uears old. As a result of the traitor, he'd wound up in a Nazi prison camp.
Amid 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 here the traitor confronts Ben. "I pity you," Ben tells him. The killer tries to strike 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.

Uncredited speaking part: Edmond's pal.
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 Captain Bob Bannion under arrest for desertion. Ben Manfred MP comes to the country to talk to the prisoner, and is mystified to learn that Bannion is offering no defence. Parkes says had a high regard for Bannion before this trouble.
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. He does explain that his silence is part of a plan for him to infiltrate the enemy, top secret, thought up by Parkes. The prisoner is confident Parkes will secure his escape, so that this 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 a break-out.
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 is 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.
Uncredited speaking extras: 1 Soldier. 2 Sergeant
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National Treasure
The title refers to the 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) begs Ben return it, "a delicate job," admits the MP, who finally decides to do it quietly, "I shall put it back myself." A nice idea, a 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. Sears, a "scruffy looking character" (Toke Townley) is the obvious crook, since he offers Ben 500.
Manfred tails him to the forger of the original fake, Richard Bowles, who, before he can say anything, 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.
Sears' car: Wolseley 892FPC, the vehicle normally used in films as a police car! The taxi: DGW906. Uncredited speaking parts: 1 Usher at Covent Garden. 2 Lady passenger
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The Survivor
Ben Manfred MP is speaking in the House of Commons about the danger of a Nazi revival in Germany. His fears are heightened when Paul Koster, 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 Koster, 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 Koster'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 Koster's list is not accurate. Further this Dr Karl was never at the camp, despite what Koster states.
In the House of Commons, Manfred is all but censured for his behaviour. However the Prime Minister- is it Harold MacMillan himself?- defends him. He is played by actor Frank Thornton, made up to look a little like the PM.
MI5 accompany Ben to the ship where Anya says Koster is hiding. There follows another of Donald Pleasence's familiar depictions of a semi-madman, that's Koster, "he's got a bomb!" Ben climbs on board to persuade Koster he's been tricked himself, sadly, by the Nazis. In a rather manufactured finish, together they nervously defuse the bomb. A mini sermon from Ben to conclude.

Uncredited speaking roles: 1 The Prime Minister (Frank Thornton). 2 Usher in Parliament. 3 Another MI5 man. Police car XPC898
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Money to Burn

The old established firm of Barlings in Great Stanhope Street EC2 have printed Gueron banknotes which are collected by Sgr Vidal (Frank Thornton). He takes them away, 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 commit suicide. 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.
De Santos' aide Colonel Gomez (Alan Tilvern) attempts to run Ben over, but fails. Ben demands 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, and returns it to Walter Barling. Together they burn it all

Vidal's car UTR1. De Santos' car LGO880. Dominguez takes a taxi RYW769, though when he alights at the Dorchester the taxi is OGW906. Uncredited speaking role: Police sergeant.
Jock announces Checkmate when playing chess with Ben, who concedes, though from seeing the board it clearly is not!

Note: Filming for this episode was completed in early March 1959
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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

Poccari is in Milan, off to the station to catch the night train to Rome. Near the station in an art shop, his eye spots a "very bad" seventeenth century painting, which he buys for 100,000 lire. What he doesn't know, is that two villains want the picture also and they tail the vendor to the train, 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, 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, Henry 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 Betty 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 Poccari is expecting him, and he is made to admit he did kill Green. What is still a puzzle is why Rapelli wants such a poor picture. 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, film of Anselmo's famous boxing triumph. Poccari isn't so daft, he had 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.

Notes: 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.
Footnotes: 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.
Henry Green is in the screen credits as 'Harry'.
Uncreditted speaking extra: Train conductor

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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 decadent 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. In a coup, he will declare himself president.
Jeff Ryder is in Rome, on his way back from the Middle East. His hot news that 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. (This is a rare scene with two of the Just Men appearing on screen in person together.)
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 conversation is spoiled when Poccari learns that one of the pilots 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.

Uncredited part speaking one word: the pilot, Four passengers are also uncredited, they do not speak

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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, bookkeeper 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 billionaire 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 billionaire 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 happily alongside him. Laugh now.

Uncredited speaking part: Hotel receptionist
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Francis Chagrin
An acclaimed composer of film scores, 4JM was a rare foray of his into television.
Later in 1959, he described his work on the series:

"Every single section was written specially and fitted to the occasion. I viewed all the films before writing the music, and by the end I felt quite emotionally involved with the stories." In total he wrote about 400 minutes of original music for this series.
"For Dan Dailey, there is a cool jazz piece.
For Jack Hawkins the theme is more serious and dignified.
Richard Conte has a 'blues'- for his stories are sad and violent.
Vittoria de Sica has a gay and charming theme to fit his personality."

His schedule was as follows:
For the first twelve films, two films taking three weeks each (over 4 months).
With a lull in production, the next four films were composed at a film a week.
Then the next eight scores were completed in one month.
Finally, with the need to get the series on to the screens for the autumn schedules, he had to write eight films per fortnight. He then had to conduct the music at recording sessions, these were done in batches of eight on two days, once a fortnight

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Surprisingly imdb credits the most appearances as by Lisa Gastoni as Guilia, though often uncredited. I'd reckon Honor Blackman was the most credited assistant

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