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The Four Just Men
Topic Started: Mar 18 2017, 02:42 PM (111 Views)
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Balcony Gang, Foist Class
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"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, are The Four Just Men"

So say the words, which are stated at the beginning of each episode of the iconic 1959 TV series, The Four Just Men

Twenty years earlier, The Four Just Men (1939) had used, as its source, the Edgar Wallace 1905 novel (of the same name) - which told of four wealthy gentleman vigilantes who punish wrong-doers who are beyond the reach of the Law.

Edgar Wallace's story was again sourced two decades later, but this time for a TV series. This expensively mounted half hour series, began with a pilot episode (Battle of the Bridges) which served as an origin story and introduced our four heroes who first meet while Allied soldiers tasked with blowing up a bridge prior to the D-Day landings of WWII. Deeply affected by the experience, the quartet had since gone about their own separate lives - whilst in the process serving mankind 'justly'.Now its 1959 and their wartime commanding officer, Colonel Cyril Bacon has died and the executor of his estate summons the four men to hear a reading of the Colonel's will, which states (in part):

"wherever man suffers unjustly; where moral law is ignored; where tyranny rules Ö 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"

The quartet are also bequeathed a sizeable estate to finance their endeavors

The four leads are all past movie stars: British war film stalwart, Jack Hawkins as Ben Manfred, a member of Parliament, based in London; Italian arthouse veteran Vittorio de Sica as partisan resistance fighter-turned-hotelier Ricco Poccari, who operates out of Rome; US's film noir legend Richard Conte as New Yorkbased lawyer Jeff Ryder; and charming Hollywood actor (and sometime song & dance man) Dan Dailey as Tim Collier, a hotshot journalist who works out of Paris.
Regularly appearing assistants consist of British sci-fi film hero, Andrew 'Quatermass' Kier as Jock, Manfredís Scottish manservant, and future The Avengers & James Bond 'highkicker' Honor 'Pussy Galore' Blackman as Nicole, Timís lovely French secretary & Girl Friday. Guest stars included Judi Dench, Alan Bates, Patrick Troughton, Donald Pleasence, Richard Johnson, Ronald Howard & Charles Gray

The Four Just Men was unique (at the time) in that instead of following a single hero, we follow four of them individually. Following the pilot, in which all 4 men appear, the subsequent episodes have the leads rotate, and only one of them carries each story. However, thatís not to say that they never interact. At least one other Just Man (generally the one from the week prior or the one who will take center stage the following week) pops up in every episode - usually only via telephone, though. Several episodes feature all four Just Men contributing from their respective home bases in London, Paris, New York & Rome. This practice certainly adds to the seriesí continuity and makes it feel more whole, and not just like an anthology show.

Hailing from UK's ITC production company, The Four Just Men predates their popular series which followed: The Saint, The Baron, Department S, Man in a Suitcase, The Champions, Return of The Saint, Strange Report & The Persuaders!
The difference here is that - unlike the ones above - The Four Just Men were 30 minute episodes (very much in keeping with US TV series of the 1950s)
And like their American counterparts there were 39 episodes comprising the season

So how does it play?
Quite well, with each episode being well written and giving the hero plenty of scope in exacting 'justice' against the maladjusts.

So how's the quality?
Well all episodes are pristine prints from a 35mm source - except for Ep No. 1 Battle of the Bridges (the pilot episode) which is from a 16mm source and as such while presenting quite nicely on big TVs, is not as good as that of the the succeeding 31 episodes
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