In Korea, on 6 September 1950, Lieutenant Benson's platoon finds itself isolated in enemy-held territory after a retreat. Soon they are joined by Sergeant Montana, whose overriding concern is caring for his catatonic colonel. Benson and Montana can't stand each other, but together they must get the survivors to Hill 465, where they hope the division is waiting. It's a long, harrowing march, fraught with all the dangers the elusive enemy can summon. Who will survive? Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Lt Benson asks one of his troops to wake him at 0500 (5:00 a.m.). But when Benson arises at that time, the sun is shining brightly. The shallow shadows indicate the actual time is probably mid-morning or mid-afternoon. See more »
Director Anthony Mann helmed some of the best westerns of the 50's: Winchester '73, Naked Spur, The Man from Laramie and Tin Star. By 1957, the Korean War must've been a debacle Americans wanted to just forget about (yes, I realize Lewis Milestone's Pork Chop Hill was still 2 years off), and using a mediocre WW2 pulp novel as source material (although largely unused) must've made for a tough pitch. The result is more a reworked version of 1934's Lost Patrol than an original work. Ryan is a tough platoon leader trying to maneuver his 17 surrounded troops back behind the lines. During their trek they encounter a tough sergeant, Aldo Ray (imagine him as Ernest Borgnine's brother), whose on a mission to deliver his shell-shocked colonel (veteran actor Robert Keith) to safety after his men were wiped out. Look for the tragic 26-year old Vic Morrow (whom with Ray and Ryan will soon reteam for Mann's then-steamy God's Little Acre the following year)--- this was only his 4th feature film. The problem with the film is there's no typical plot arc no John Ford symbolism, no character depth. It's merely a march of attrition. TCM finally has a decent print.
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