Armchair Theatre (1967)
A Magnum For Schneider
Created and written by James Mitchell
Directed by Bill Bain
Callan - Edward Woodward
Schneider - Joseph Furst
Hunter - Ronald Radd
Meres - Peter Bowles
Jenny - Francisca Tu
Lonely - Russell Hunter
Miss Brewis - Helen Ford
Det. Insp. Pollock - Martin Wyldeck
Det. Serg. Jones - John Scarborough
Waterman - Ivor Dean
Secretary - Judy Champ
Titles over section guns arranged on the counter top at the
Hunter and Meres examine Callan's file.
A Magnum For Schneider opens with
Hunter (head of the section) and Meres
(section operative) examining a file
on Callan, a section operative Hunter
has withdrawn from active duty.
Callan arrives at the section's shooting
range and picks up a revolver. Hunter goes
out to meet with Callan, but tells Meres to
stay out of sight. Callan has never met Meres.
The very first onscreen appearance of Callan.
Hunter lectures Callan about his dismal civilian employment
Hunter wants to discuss Callan's present
civilian employment and Callan's bastard
of a boss, both of which Hunter found for him.
Hunter watches as Callan tries his skill with
a gun. They discuss the purpose of the section,
a secret governmental department that deals
ruthlessly with people who threaten national
security, and Hunter offers Callan a job. The
job must be done by Callan entirely on his own
without any help from the section, not even
the provision of a gun. Hunter has to be
certain Callan hasn't lost his nerve or his
resourcefulness and this is the test.
Hunter watches Callan shoot.
Hunter tells Callan about the job he wants done urgently.
The job is urgent and involves getting rid
of a man whose section file is in a red
cover, meaning he is a serious threat to
security and must be eliminated. Up until
recently Callan was the section's top man
and best killer, but was taken out of
service due to his increasing tendency to
question orders, and his demands to know
why his victims should be targeted.
Hunter shows Callan the file of a man named
Schneider. Callan is hardly surprised by the
coincidence that Schneider has an office in
the same building Callan works in. Callan
wants to know what Schneider has done but
Hunter refuses to tell him; Callan's old
weakness is already acting up. Hunter tells
Callan that Schneider must be taken out
urgently, and the fact he is in a red file
is reason enough.
Hunter shows Callan Schneider's file.
Meres is instructed to keep an eye on Callan.
Callan notices a brand of revolver he hasn't
seen before, a Noguchi .38 Magnum. He tries
out the gun and is impressed. He accepts the
job and Hunter gives him one week to eliminate
Schneider. Back in his office Hunter instructs
Meres to keep an eye on Callan, to see that
nothing goes wrong; and, if necessary, take
over the job.
On his way back to work, Callan accidentally
bumps into Schneider in the hallway of their
office building, causing him to drop some
precious items he is carrying. Schneider is
annoyed and Callan stops to help pick them up.
Callan accidentally bumps into Schneider in the hallway
of their office building.
Callan impresses Schneider with his knowledge of model
They are model soldiers, of the type
Callan is passionate about, and he
quickly impresses Schneider with his
knowledge of them.
This shared enthusiasm leads Schneider
to invite Callan into his office to show
off some of his models which he has
arranged on a table.
Schneider invites Callan into his office to show off his
Callan demonstrates his passion for model soldiers and
Schneider and Callan, in all innocence,
get on very well, and discover a mutual
interest in the re-enactment of
historical military battles using
models, something Callan is very
Callan has to leave to get back to work,
and on the landing he looks back at the
lock on Schneider's office door. He
arrives back in his own office where
his boss, Waterman the wholesaler,
berates him for being slightly late.
Callan gives Waterman cheek in return,
and after the argument he settles down
to his work.
Callan arrives back at work.
Callan thinks about Schneider.
His mind, however, is mainly on
Schneider, wondering about what
Schneider has done to warrant being in
a red file. He also reflects on his
liking for Schneider.
Two plainclothes policemen arrive at
Schneider's office. From across the
hall Callan hears them knocking and is
curious. He sneaks out with Waterman
none the wiser.
Waterman is oblivious as Callan sneaks off.
Police officers visit Schneider.
Detective Inspector Pollock and
Detective Sergeant Jones want to talk
to Schneider, yet Schneider seems
blithely unconcerned, engaging in some
Schneider lets the policemen into his
office and Callan listens at the door
for a short time as they question
Schneider about his business.
Schneider, at his messy desk, makes a
show of not being able to find things.
Callan has to get back to his own
office and misses out on hearing the
policemen confront Schneider about his
alleged dealing in firearms. They
obviously haven't enough evidence to
take the matter further, and Schneider
knows this, but they warn him he
Callan listens at the door while the police question
Hunter speaks with Callan on the phone as Meres listens in.
Waterman goes out and Callan phones
Hunter. Meres listens in on the
conversation. Because of the police
sniffing around Schneider, Callan tells
Hunter in no uncertain terms the job is
off. Hunter tells Callan to keep on it.
Hunter will look into the situation
with the policemen. Once off the phone,
Hunter tells Meres to go out and keep
an eye on Callan.
Callan finds Lonely, his unofficial
underworld lackey, at the pub, and
deliberately startles him. Callan buys
the drinks and tells Lonely he has a
task for him. Not for the first time
Callan points out Lonely's body odour,
a nervous condition, and insults him.
Callan finds Lonely at the pub.
Lonely listens to Callan's instructions.
Callan wants Lonely to get him a gun,
a .38 revolver, and Lonely's price is
£100. Callan wants the gun delivered
to his home, and tells Lonely the
address, but warns Lonely not to write
it down. This is a wry insult as
Callan knows Lonely can't write.
Callan leaves the pub and Lonely
returns to the bar, where Meres has
been standing having a drink.
Callan breaks into Schneider's office
and noses around. His only real purpose
appears to be his wayward need to find
out why Schneider has been marked for
death. He finds a key and pockets it,
and takes the time to play with
Schneider's model soldiers. On the
table he sees pencils enscribed with
the brand Noguchi, makers of the
section gun Callan liked.
Callan pauses to play with Schneider's models.
Meres reports to Hunter.
Meres reports to Hunter and describes
Callan's meeting in the pub. From the
description, Hunter knows right away
Callan met Lonely, which probably means
Callan is going to get a gun. They also
discuss Schneider and his gun-running
activities. Schneider coming to a nasty
end will serve to warn off and curtail
the activities of other gun-runners
operating contrary to the national
Callan returns to his flat and his
neighbour Miss Brewis catches him in
the hallway, calling out a friendly
greeting. Once inside, Callan looks
thoughtfully at the key he has stolen,
wondering what it could be for.
Miss Brewis calls out to Callan.
Hunter rings Callan.
Hunter phones Callan and guarantees
the police have been taken off
Schneider. He tells Callan to get on
with the job. Callan is playing with
his own model soldiers when there is
a knock at the door. It is Lonely
delivering the revolver and ammunition.
At Schneider's home, Schneider and his
lover Jenny chat and get ready to go
out. Out in the lobby, Schneider locks
his front door and sets an alarm, but
he and Jenny are being watched by
Callan who is posing as a window
cleaner on the outside of the building.
Jenny and Schneider get ready to go out.
Callan breaks into Schneider's home.
Schneider and Jenny leave, then Callan
climbs through into the lobby and
switches off the alarm. He lets himself
into the apartment using the key he
stole from Schneider's office.
Using a stethoscope and a fine touch
of skill, Callan breaks into
Schneider's safe. In the safe he finds
wads of money. He also finds clippings
about the deaths of British military
personnel overseas in recent conflicts,
and statements that prove Schneider is
dealing with the Japanese firm of
Noguchi, buying arms and selling them
to the enemy. Callan has finally
discovered for himself why Schneider
is in a red file.
Callan cracks Schneider's safe.
Callan gets out in the nick of time.
Callan gets out just as Schneider
and Jenny are returning, but he
is not seen by them.
Jenny is worried about Schneider's
visit from the police and tells him
so. Jenny wants to cut ties and leave
for good, but Schneider is confident
and wants to stay put long enough to
pull off the lastest big deal he is
working on, worth a huge sum of money,
then they can go away together.
Jenny expresses her concern to Schneider.
Callan makes new demands of Lonely.
Once again Callan meets Lonely in the
pub, and he tells Lonely he wants a
different gun. Callan wants to swap
the revolver Lonely brought him for a
Noguchi .38 Magnum, for reasons Lonely
doesn't really understand. However,
there is a little extra in this deal
for Lonely for his trouble. Lonely
agrees to take the first gun back
and bring Callan a Noguchi.
As he is leaving, Callan threatens
Lonely and tells him to keep his
Callan threatens Lonely.
Schneider visits Callan at work.
Callan breaks into Schneider's office
again and returns the stolen key to
where he had found it. He then goes
into his own office, and Schneider
subsequently enters. There is a moment
of unpleasantness in which a hint of
the menace Schneider could be seems
to surface, then he returns to his
jovial self. Schneider speaks of his
liking for Callan and invites him to
his home that night to play at
soldiers and re-enact battles.
Callan accepts the invitation and gets
back to his work, but there is a moment
of awkwardness when Schneider points
out that Callan forgot to ask where
Schneider lives. They agree to fight
two historical battles that night.
Back at his flat a troubled Callan is
drinking scotch when Lonely arrives.
A troubled Callan drinks scotch at home.
Lonely brings Callan a gun.
Lonely has brought Callan the new gun
and ammunition he asked for. Callan
once again leans heavily on Lonely to
keep schtum. Callan is very impressed
with the revolver. After Lonely leaves,
Callan phones the section but Hunter is
not available. He leaves a message for
Hunter with the secretary that he is
seeing Schneider tonight and he should
have his job completed by eleven o'clock.
Callan sits down at his table and turns on
a tape recorder to make a recording. Meres
creeps into the hallway and eavesdrops at
Meres listens at Callan's door.
Callan makes a tape recording for the police.
Callan starts a recording for the
police, recounting his involvement
with Hunter and the section, the job
he is on to kill Schneider, and other
details that will incriminate Hunter
should Callan be caught and sent to
prison. After finishing his recording
Callan leaves, but once through his
door and into the hallway, he is
ambushed by Meres and knocked
unconscious. Meres drags Callan
back into the flat.
Meres listens to part of the recording.
He examines Callan's gun but does not
take it. He destroys the tape and
reports to Hunter. Hunter thinks
Callan is being ironic in his choice
of a Noguchi to kill Schneider. He
wants Meres to be on hand at
Schneider's home, but to stay in the
background. Hunter arranges for the
two detectives to visit Schneider's
home at eleven that night.
Meres knocks Callan unconscious.
Jenny plays hostess to Callan.
At his flat Callan is in pain and
tries to recover from the knockout.
Hunter rings him and tells him he was
very foolish to make the recording,
and stupid to try incriminating the
section or revealing its existence.
A note Callan had hidden at his place
of work has also been found and
destroyed. Callan keeps his
appointment that evening at the home
of Schneider and Jenny.
Callan and Schneider play a war game and
Callan wins decisively. Meres breaks into
the house undetected. Schneider and Callan
begin a new battle. At the appointed hour,
the time Callan has decided he will kill
Schneider, Pollock and Jones ring the bell
and Jenny comes in to tell Schneider there
are two policemen at the door.
Jenny interrupts the battle.
Meres breaks in to Schneider's home.
Still hidden, Meres cocks a small
pistol. Schneider is forced to leave
the battle and go to the front door.
Jenny and Callan chat at the war game
table, and Jenny asks Callan, only
half-jokingly, if he can let
Schneider win. Callan seems troubled.
Jenny says a warm good-night and goes
off to bed, leaving Callan alone in
Meres is hiding in the bedroom and he
grabs Jenny but she struggles free. He
is forced to club her and she cries
out, alerting Callan. Callan comes to
the bedroom door and Meres points a
gun at him. Callan knows immediately
Meres is from the section, and Meres
tells him to get on with the job
without any further delay.
Callan discovers Meres with an injured Jenny in
Callan confronts Meres.
Callan is angry and tells Meres the
job is off. With the police at the
door, Callan knows Hunter has set him
up to be apprehended for Schneider's
murder. Callan suddenly steps back
out of the room and pulls the door
shut, locking Meres in with the
Schneider has been busy talking with
the policemen and he refuses to answer
their questions or let them in. They
finally leave and Schneider returns to
finish off the war game. He asks where
Jenny is and Callan tells him she has
gone to bed. The battle comes to an
end as Callan wins again. Meres is
trying to break out of the locked
bedroom and Schneider hears a noise.
Schneider asks Callan if he heard the
noise and Callan says it is probably
Jenny. Schneider disagrees and tells
him someone is trying to break in.
Schneider rejoins the battle.
Schneider holds a gun on Callan.
With a little subterfuge Schneider catches
Callan off guard and threatens him with a
gun. Schneider quickly frisks Callan and
doesn't appear to locate a weapon.
Schneider hopes Callan is not involved and
tells him so. He warns Callan not to make
a sound and approaches the bedroom door,
kicking it open violently. Meres, who has
been bending down close to the lock, is
stunned. Schneider holds the gun on Meres
and is concerned about Jenny. In the
background Callan reaches down and takes
the .38 Magnum from a holster near his ankle.
Schneider gets Meres out into the
living room and now has Meres on one
side and Callan on the other.
Schneider questions them and Callan
admits he is with Meres. Schneider
guesses correctly that they are not
merely robbers but have come to kill
him because of his business interests.
Schneider has some regret regarding
Callan but moves to shoot them both,
starting with Meres. Callan shoots
first, very quickly and accurately,
and kills Schneider.
Callan shoots Schneider dead.
Callan reacts badly to the killing.
Callan suffers an emotional reaction to
his killing of Schneider but recovers
to deal with Meres.
Meres is behaving as if he and Callan have
completed the job and are comrades-in-arms,
but he has underestimated the depth of Callan's
disillusionment. Callan approaches and asks if
Meres was the the one who coshed him back at his
flat. Meres says yes, and makes light of it.
Callan strikes unexpectedly, incapacitating
Meres with two vicious hand blows.
Callan drops Meres with two vicious hand blows.
Hunter gives instructions to his secretary via intercom.
Callan wipes down the .38 Magnum and puts it
into Meres' hand. Callan leaves the apartment
and rings Hunter. Callan describes the
situation and says he has left Meres for the
police. Hunter wants Callan to get Meres out
and tries a bit of flattery, suggesting Meres
should work under Callan for a while, that he
has a lot to learn. Callan, however, says he
will not get Meres out, that he did like
Schneider and hates Hunter. Callan hangs
up and phones the police.
Using the intercom, Hunter asks his
secretary to confirm which colour the
cover of Callan's file is. The answer
is yellow, and Hunter instructs her to
exchange it for a red one.
Callan's file gets a red cover.