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August 1944: proceeding with the invasion of France, Patton's Third Army has advanced so far toward Paris that it cannot be supplied. To keep up the momentum, Allied HQ establishes an elite military truck route. One (racially integrated) platoon of this Red Ball Express encounters private enmities, bypassed enemy pockets, minefields, and increasingly perilous missions, leavened by a touch of comedy. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
It's a sad commentary that before the Armed Services were integrated post World War II by President Truman, the Red Ball Express was one of the few that black American soldiers could fully participate in and that one was relatively behind the lines.
Jeff Chandler plays the steely eyed commander of this bunch of formerly civilian truck drivers now chosen as a unit to supply Patton's advancing army with needed fuel. Among the cast is a young Sidney Poitier as one of the drivers. They may have been behind the lines, but the picture clearly shows their participation in the war wasn't an easy street.
Chandler's job is to weld this disparate bunch into a unit and he succeeds despite a lot of racial tension. The cast performs admirably in this picture.
One of the great stories of World War II was the rapid advance across France of Patton's army after the breakout from the Normandy beachhead. He could have never done it without the heroic efforts of the men depicted in this movie. It was Ike's and Patton's secret weapon and this picture an admirable tribute to them.
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