HOLLYWOOD TELEVISION THEATRE: CONFLICTS: INCIDENT AT VICHY; ARTHUR MILLER: INCIDENT AT VICHY AND OTHER MATTERS: A CONVERSATION WITH NORMAN LLOYD (TV)

Summary

One in this dramatic anthology series, originating from KCET in Los Angeles. This production of Arthur Miller's 1963 play "Incident at Vichy" is followed by an interview segment in which executive producer Norman Lloyd talks with the playwright. Set in Vichy, France, in 1942, the play opens as a group of men wait in a guarded police detention center resembling a warehouse. They tensely discuss why they have been brought here: all have been picked up by the Vichy police and detained to have their papers checked. They are from various walks of life: an artist, an electrician, an actor, a teenage boy, a waiter, a wealthy businessman, a Gypsy, a psychiatrist, an Austrian nobleman, and an ancient old man who is silent throughout. Highly suspicious and guarded at first, the men slowly reveal information about their backgrounds, their politics, their philosophies, and their fears. As one by one they are taken upstairs to an unseen interrogation room to be questioned by a German regular army major and a professor, it becomes evident that most of them are here because they are Jewish and that they are holding false papers. Word spreads among them that they will be examined to see if they are circumcised. A mixed current of fear and disbelief runs through the group as they share rumors about people being taken away in cattle cars and of concentration camps and furnaces in Poland. As they talk, it seems that while some of them are prepared for the worst, many simply do not want to believe the Nazis could be capable of such evil. At one point, the psychiatrist -- Leduc -- and the boy, attempt an escape and are stopped by the German major who appears to be disgusted with what is presumably going on upstairs. He warns them that there are guards stationed outside and they would have no chance of survival. Leduc and the major get into a philosophical argument about who has more right to live and whether the major should risk his life to help them escape. Later, when only the prince and Leduc remain in the waiting area, the prince tells how the Nazis took away the members of a small orchestra he sponsored. The prince -- whom it is assumed will be released -- offers to give a message to Leduc's wife and help his family with money, and later asks Leduc for his friendship. Leduc tells the prince he must first admit his prejudices and admit that, because of his position, he could have done something to oppose the Nazis at an earlier time. The prince is taken upstairs next and quickly let go. Upon his release, he gives Leduc a great gift. In an interview, presented after the play, Norman Lloyd and Arthur Miller discuss the following topics, among others: the true story that inspired this drama; the play as an attempt to interpret and understand the fundamental forces operating underneath the Holocaust; the complex collaboration that allowed the atrocities to occur; initial reactions to the play in France, Germany, and Holland; Miller's impressions of today's youth -- as he is currently conducting a seminar at the University of Michigan; students' frustration with avant-garde theater, and Miller's prediction of a consequent return to more traditional forms of narrative; Miller's belief that, in the theater, one sees with one's "guts" -- not one's intellect; and Thomas Mann's impressions of "Death of a Salesman" after seeing a production in the early 1950s.

Cataloging of this program was made possible by Michael Finkelstein and Sue-ann Friedman, 1996.

Details

  • NETWORK: PBS KCET Los Angeles, CA
  • DATE: December 8, 1973 Saturday 10:20 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:29:30
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:13777
  • GENRE: Drama
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Arthur Miller Collection, The
  • SERIES RUN: PBS - TV series, 1970-1978
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • Norman Lloyd … Executive Producer, Interviewer
    • George Turpin … Producer
    • Stacy Keach … Director, Music by
    • Arthur Miller … Writer, Guest - Interview segment
    • Lyn Murray … Music by
    • Rene Auberjonois … Cast, Monceau, an Actor
    • Ed Bakey … Cast, Ferrand
    • Lee Bergere … Cast, the Police Captain
    • Tom Bower … Cast, the Police Guard
    • Harry Davis … Cast, a Waiter
    • Jack Denbo … Cast, the Second Detective
    • Bert Freed … Cast, Marchand, a Businessman
    • Allen Garfield … Cast, Lebeau, a Painter
    • Edmund Gilbert … Cast, the First Detective
    • William Hansen … Cast, the Old Jew
    • Joseph Hindy … Cast, the Gypsy
    • Richard Jordan … Cast, Von Berg, a Prince
    • Sean Kelly … Cast, the Boy
    • Curt Lowens … Cast, Professor Hoffman
    • Barry Primus … Cast, Bayard, a Railroad Worker
    • Andy Robinson … Cast, the Major
    • Harris Yulin … Cast, Leduc, a Doctor