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Wartime drama about an idealistic young UN official (Ann Blyth) who finds out about the horrors of war when she falls in love with Colonel Steve Janowski (Robert Mitchum), the officer in charge of evacuating citizens from Korea. Written by
Jonathan Broxton <email@example.com>
Claudette Colbert was first cast as Linda, but was replaced by Ann Blyth when Colbert contracted pneumonia. See more »
During an attack on enemy ground targets by American jets, witnessed by the main American characters, one jet is shot down. As it dives downwards, an explosion meant to represent the moment the plane hits the ground, takes place underneath it before it actually does so. See more »
Opening credits prologue: This is the story of a small detachment of American troops stationed in South Korea at the Outbreak of hostilities and their efforts to stem the surge of enemy aggression until the full force of British, American and other United Nations forces could be brought into action. See more »
Once upon a time Hollywood could really pump out these classic war films; here, in the midst of the Korean War, RKO Studios tells how the North Koreans and their allies invaded the South, pushing them and their American allies to the very southern end of the peninsula; the story is told by focusing on a Colonel played by Robert Mitchum, whose job it is to delay as much as the possible the push south by the Commies, giving time to the UN and the free West to get its act together and come to Korea's aid.
"One Minute To Zero" benefits greatly from some excellent war effects: fighter jets setting mountainsides on fire, mortar shells blowing up tanks, and the like. Particularly unusual and gruesome is a quick shot about 30 minutes into the film of a charred corpse lieing on a hull of a burned-out tank.
Robert Mitchum cruises through this movie quite handily; he basically plays himself. He is a very likable actor, and I admire him greatly, but he plays this role with what appears to be very little effort - and I mean that as a compliment - I think he was just born to play characters like this. A great actor with commanding screen presence.
Mitchum's blossoming romance with Ann Blythe is managed quite interestingly: both characters are "a little older", so there is no heavy panting; rather, their early love scenes are surprisingly gentle, slightly but pleasantly awkward, and quite tender; Mitchum's first kiss for Ann is on her cheek. A nice change of pace indeed (though I think she is kind of tiny for him).
The director made sure to include a handful of clichéd Yankee soldiers: the innocent and comic chef turned warrior, the two buddies, one of whom kind of bullies the other, only to have the other save the life of the first, like a faithful dog, and so on. But they are not too overdone.
And I never tire of seeing American soldiers of different rank be able to joke with each other, recognizing each other's innate goodness and patriotism, while still respecting rank. And cheesy as it is, Mitchum's compliments and mentoring of the embattled captain played by Richard Egan are just plain heart-warming and pleasing.
A very interesting little film of the "forgotten war", Korea. Don't expect too much, just sit back and enjoy the kind of film they don't make anymore.
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