IMDb > Red Ball Express (1952)

Red Ball Express (1952) More at IMDbPro »

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Down 12% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
John Michael Hayes (screenplay)
Marcy Klauber (story) ...
View company contact information for Red Ball Express on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
29 August 1952 (Finland) See more »
Story of the military truck drivers who kept the Allied armies supplied in Europe during WW2. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Agreeable if average war flick See more (10 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Jeff Chandler ... Lt. Chick Campbell

Alex Nicol ... Sgt. Red Kallek

Charles Drake ... Pvt. Ronald Partridge / Narrator
Judith Braun ... Joyce McClellan

Sidney Poitier ... Robertson
Jacqueline Duval ... Antoinette Dubois
Bubber Johnson ... Pvt. Taffy Smith

Davis Roberts ... Pvt. Dave McCord (as Robert Davis)

Hugh O'Brian ... Pvt. Wilson
Frank Chase ... Pvt. Higgins
Cindy Garner ... Kitty Walsh

Gregg Palmer ... Tank Lieutenant (as Palmer Lee)
John Hudson ... Tank Sergeant

Jack Kelly ... Heyman
Howard Petrie ... Maj. Gen. Lee Gordon
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Douglas Bank ... Mechanic (uncredited)
Nan Boardman ... French Peasant Mother (uncredited)
Eugene Borden ... Dubois, Antoinette's Father (uncredited)

Forest Burns ... Minor Role (uncredited)

Sidney Clute ... Military Police Captain (uncredited)

Yola d'Avril ... Barmaid (uncredited)
Michael Dale ... Mechanic (uncredited)
Robert Dane ... Guard (uncredited)
George Dee ... French Waiter (uncredited)
Harold Dyrenforth ... German Sergeant (uncredited)
Douglas Evans ... Brigadier General at Briefing (uncredited)
Joe Freiden ... Tanker (uncredited)
David Friedman ... Mechanic (uncredited)
Richard Garland ... Undetermined Role (uncredited) (unconfirmed)
Richard F. Gaston ... Tank Corporal (uncredited)
Thomas Browne Henry ... Col. Carter (uncredited)
Don Hicks ... Soldier in Bistro (uncredited)

Clark Howat ... Military Police Captain (uncredited)
Jack Hyde ... MP Lieutenant (uncredited)

Robert Karnes ... Engineer Captain (uncredited)
Syl Lamont ... Jones (uncredited)

Harry Lauter ... Lt. Michaelson, Sentry (uncredited)
Tommy Long ... Guard (uncredited)
Roger McGee ... Sergeant (uncredited)
James McLaughlin ... First Sergeant (uncredited)
Peter Michael ... German Corporal (uncredited)
Bernard L. Montgomery ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Howard Negley ... Major General (uncredited)
Murray Olshansky ... Tank Private (uncredited)

George S. Patton ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

John Pickard ... Major (uncredited)

Walter Reed ... Major (uncredited)
Ted Ryan ... Sgt. Gorio (uncredited)
Leonard Schneider ... Radio Operator (uncredited)
Emmett Smith ... Military Police (uncredited)
Richard Solito ... German Officer (uncredited)

Arthur Space ... Colonel at Briefing (uncredited)
Gordon Walsh ... Tanker (uncredited)

Jack Warden ... Undetermined Role (uncredited) (unconfirmed)

Directed by
Budd Boetticher 
Writing credits
John Michael Hayes (screenplay)

Marcy Klauber (story) (as Marcel Klauber) and
William Grady Jr. (story) (as Billy Grady Jr.)

Produced by
Aaron Rosenberg .... producer
John W. Rogers .... associate producer (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Maury Gertsman 
Film Editing by
Edward Curtiss 
Art Direction by
Bernard Herzbrun 
Richard H. Riedel 
Set Decoration by
Oliver Emert 
Russell A. Gausman 
Makeup Department
Vincent Romaine .... makeup artist
Joan St. Oegger .... hair stylist
Bud Westmore .... makeup artist
Rudolph Liszt .... assistant makeup artist (uncredited)
Production Management
Lew Leary .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Phil Bowles .... assistant director
Marshall Green .... assistant director
John Sherwood .... assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
C.H. Barrett .... props
Wally Kirkpatrick .... props
Robert Murdock .... props
Sound Department
Jack A. Bolger Jr. .... sound
Leslie I. Carey .... sound
Donald Cunliffe .... sound
Henry Janssen .... sound
Joe Lapis .... sound
Bob Herron .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
John Brooks .... gaffer
Harry Davis .... camera operator
Russ Franks .... grip
Al Hall .... grip
Irvin Malak .... best boy
John Mehl .... assistant camera
Madison S. Lacy .... still photographer (uncredited)
Casting Department
Phil Benjamin .... casting agent (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Martha Bunch .... wardrobe
Rydo Loshak .... wardrobe
Music Department
Joseph Gershenson .... musical director
Paul Dessau .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Milton Rosen .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Ethmer Roten .... musician: flute (uncredited)
Hans J. Salter .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Walter Scharf .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Frank Skinner .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Alexander Tansman .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Other crew
Irvin Berwick .... dialogue director
Frank S. Ross .... technical advisor
Bill Shanks .... script supervisor
Charles Baqueta .... coordinator (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
83 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Did You Know?

James Edwards was originally cast in the role of Robertson but was fired during production when he refused to testify before HUAC. He was replaced by Sidney Poitier.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Budd Boetticher: A Man Can Do That (2005) (TV)See more »


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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
Agreeable if average war flick, 9 September 2010
Author: Carl-17 from Tokyo, Japan

The setup, in case you don't already know it, is this. The troops of the western Allies were bottle necked in Normandy, France, for the first month or so after the D-Day landings. The armies finally broke through the German defenses and Gen. George Patton's Third Army rapidly advanced across central and northern France. So rapidly that they outpaced their supply lines. The U.S. Army put together a truck convoy system to keep Patton's forces supplied and named it the Red Ball Express. Aside from managing to keep up with Patton's advance, the outfit is also noted for being one of the few integrated units in the U.S. armed forces at the time--I use the term "integrated" somewhat guardedly, since that usually meant white senior officers leading black junior officers and enlisted men, which is not what would first come to my mind as "integrated." Regardless, around 75% of the servicemen in the Red Ball Express were African Americans.

You wouldn't know that from this movie, where the ratio seems to have been reversed. However, I'm willing to give the filmmakers some credit for at least trying to address the integration issue at the time when they were working rather than castigate them for not doing what we might expect a present-moment filmmaker to do. That's not the real problem with this movie as a movie. Acting is not the problem with this movie, either, as another reviewer suggested. The acting is workmanlike--neither outstanding nor poor, just efficient. No, the weakness of this movie is that it is simply another cliché-ridden war movie; blame not the messengers, but rather the script. First, there is the clichéd unit. Our two lead characters have a troubled past and, surprise surprise, are forced to work together in the same outfit ("of all the gin joints in all the towns . .."). The unit has a romantic, it has a "runt" of the litter with glasses, it has a stolid misunderstood commander, it has a guy clearly from Brooklyn, and so forth. Just like any other war movie of the day (think of, say, "Air Force" or "Guadalcanal Diary"). What's new here for the time is that the filmmakers exchanged African Americans for some of the other stereotypical roster of "average Americans" you got in any war movie. Notably, there are NO characters who are clearly supposed to be white Southerners--an omission that itself speaks volumes about how sensitive race relations were in the early 1950s in the U.S. and especially in the then-recently desegregated U.S. armed forces.

The clichéd unit is indicative of the rest of the flick. You've seen this movie before. Bunch of misfits forced to work together overcome their differences and become a cohesive fighting unit--well, except here I never really got the sense we were watching an outfit of misfits. Yes, there's the guy with the racial issue vs. Sidney Poitier, and yes, there's the lead characters with the troubled past--one of whom is the main stumbling block that's keeping this outfit from fully coming together (what's that you say? That setup sounds like "Flying Tigers"? no wait, "Sands of Iwo Jima"? no, wait . . .)--but the movie is in too much of hurry to get this outfit on the road to really *show* how this outfit becomes a team. Essentially it just is. What else, you ask? How about the sweet-talking American and the saucy French girl? Rivalry with another outfit, with other outfit finally recognizing our heroes are indeed Heroes? The guys who think there mission is going to be a cakewalk only to discover the Harsh Reality Of War? Etc., etc.

Oh, the movie is solid enough and hits all the standard points--some action, some down time, some roughhousing, a romantic moment or two, some grousing, some "let's pull together" time--and some of the cast members are likable enough that, all told, you won't feel like you wasted your time watching this one. However, aside from the then-timely touch of trying to show an integrated outfit there's nothing here to see you haven't seen before.

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