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When he learns that a gangster has taken over his nightclub and murdered his partner, returning WW2 hero Joe Miracle steals the money from the club's safe and hides in a settlement home, while the mob is on his tail.
Stanley Kramer's WW-II character study has Lee Marvin as the Sergeant of a small squad laid over during fighting in Italy. During the otherwise boring time between battles, tensions arise as they are ordered not to rescue a squad mate pinned down by the enemy, for fear of risking more lives. Based on the stage play "A Sound of Hunting", by Harry Brown. Written by
Producer Stanley Kramer and Director Edward Dmytryk deliberately chose a cast of unknowns who later did move on to varying degrees of success in the film industry, most notably Lee Marvin, for the cast of Eight Iron Men.
It's a tense situation for this squad in some small town on the Italian front in World War II. One of their number is pinned down by a machine gun and it's wearing on the nerves of the other seven. Especially when they get orders to pull back and leave him until replacements come.
The film shows the tension on all of them. Lee Marvin with his war experience in the Pacific Theater is a natural as the concerned sergeant. Other good performances are from Arthur Franz, Richard Kiley, Nick Dennis, and most of all Bonar Colleano whose career was mostly in the United Kingdom. This was one of the few American made films for the New York City expatriate.
Eight Iron Men is based on a flop play on Broadway by Harry Brown which ran only 23 performances in 1945 and featured Sam Levene and a most unknown Burt Lancaster. Obviously someone named Harry Cohn didn't want to pay Lancaster's going rate in 1952 to get him for the screen version.
Even without Burt, Eight Iron Men is a well made war drama and should not be missed.
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