During the early days of the Korean War, U.S. Army colonel Steve Janowski is one of the military advisers training the South Korean army and he's tasked with evacuating American civilians from the war zone.
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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>
The main theme by Victor Young is occasionally whistled by Robert Mitchum in the movie and was published as "When I Fall in Love" with lyrics by Edward Heyman. The song has become a standard, with many artists recording it, though the original hit version was the Doris Day recording issued in 1952. Another version was recorded by Nat 'King' Cole in 1956 on the Capitol LP, "Love Is the Thing". The single was released in the UK in 1957 and reached number 2 on the UK Singles Chart. Cole also sang it in Istanbul (1957) and he is the singer now most closely associated with the song. 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 »
One Minute To Zero is a cold war film about Korea, very typical of its time. President Truman called it a police action, like we were going there to arrest Kim Il Sung and his cronies. It sure looked like a war from the point of view of the World War II veterans and their younger brothers who fought it.
Robert Mitchum plays one of those veterans, a career army man who rose from the ranks to become a Colonel. He's training the South Korean Army when the North attacks. His personal story is interwoven with the progress of the war from the initial attack until the landings at Inchon. Mitch is every inch the combat soldier in this film.
And Mitch falls big time for widow Ann Blyth, a United Nations worker. When the UN was founded post World War II a lot of people put hope and faith in it that it would prevent future wars and it would deter aggression with force if need be. The only reason it got into Korea was because the Russians were boycotting the Security Council at the time and couldn't veto anything. A gambit they never used again. Ann is a World War II widow who believes she's carrying out the ideals her husband fought for. Lots of folks felt that way back in 1950.
Director Tay Garnett did a good job editing in real combat footage with his actors. The film has a good sense of realism.
But it's a good romantic story as well, helped along by one of the most durable popular songs in history. When I Fall In Love came from this film, heard in the background but never sung. Curious because Ann Blyth is an excellent singer. Nat King Cole and Doris Day had hit records of it when the film was first out. Later on Etta James, The Lettermen, Donny Osmond, Natalie Cole all did well by this song. And right up to the present day Celine Dion and Clive Griffin did a duet record back in 1993. The good ones always survive and I wouldn't bet against a future hit single for some artist with this one.
There is one scene in this that would definitely jar today's audiences. At one point Mitchum directs his men to fire into a group of refugees who the North Koreans are using as a blind to smuggle men and arms into the South. And the movie makes sure you see that that was the case. I don't doubt such things happened. They're happening today. But the movie verdict acquits Mitchum and assuages Ann Blyth that she shouldn't doubt her man. What CNN would do with that today.
The supporting cast includes Charles McGraw, Wally Cassell, and William Talman. All do a good job.
It's a double treat. Lots of action for the men and plenty of romance for the women, or the other way around if that's what floats your boat.
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