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Under Fire (1957)

Approved | | Drama, War | 23 September 1957 (USA)
On the same day that he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary valor in the European campaign during World War II, Sergeant Joe Dusak is charged with desertion during... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Lt. Steve Rogerson
...
Sgt. Joseph C. Dusak (as Henry Morgan)
...
Capt. Linn
Peter Walker ...
Lt. Sarris
Robert Levin ...
Pvt. Pope
...
Corp. John Crocker
Gregory LaFayette ...
Cpl. Quinn
Karl Lukas ...
Sgt. Hutchins
William Allyn ...
Lt. Karl Stagg
Frank Gerstle ...
Col. Dundee
Tom McKee ...
Capt. O'Mar
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Storyline

On the same day that he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary valor in the European campaign during World War II, Sergeant Joe Dusak is charged with desertion during combat by a military court. Also summoned to testify are Corporal Crocker, Corporal Quinn and Private Pope, the only surviving members of a patrol led by Dusak. The charges stem from a patrol into the Black Forest of Germany in which Dusak claims the patrol got lost. Sergeant William Hutchins testifies that he ran into Dusak's patrol, and the men were laughing and not lost. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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FRONT LINE HEROES - suddenly facing the most shocking charge that could ever be hurled at fighting men! See more »

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Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

23 September 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Peripolos mahis  »

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Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First film for Robert Colbert. See more »


Soundtracks

I'd Like To Be True To You
Written by Max Kolpé (as Max Colpet), and Paul Dunlap
Sung by Rita Paul
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One of the best "B" films ever made!
23 July 2017 | by See all my reviews

Producer: Plato Skouras. Copyright 1957 by 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation. A Regal Films, Inc. Production. A Regalscope Picture. No New York showcasing. U.S. release: September 1957. U.K. release: 17 March 1958. Australian release: 1 May 1958. 7,037 feet. 78 minutes.

SYNOPSIS: On the same day that he is awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary valor in the European campaign during World War 2, Sergeant Joe Dusak (Henry "Harry" Morgan) is charged with desertion during combat. Also summoned to the military court are the only three other surviving members of a patrol led by Dusak. The sergeant claims that the patrol became lost in Germany's Black Forest, but this assertion is disputed by Sergeant William Hutchins (Karl Lukas) who states that when he encountered Dusak's patrol in the Forest, the men were laughing and were not lost. The prosecutor (Steve Brodie) asks for the death sentence, but the men's attorney (Rex Reason) cannot believe that heroes can turn overnight into cowards. Even though the evidence is overwhelming, Lieutenant Steve Rogerson is determined to ferret out the truth.

NOTES: The close ties between Regal Films and 20th Century-Fox is well illustrated here by the fact that the film was produced by the son of Fox president, Spyros P. Skouras. It was in fact young Skouras' second film, his first being another Regalscope picture, "Apache Warrior".

Last film of Gregory La Fayette who was killed in a car crash on 4 July 1957.

Directorial debut of long-time Fox film editor, James B. Clark, whose pictures included How Green Was My Valley (1941) — for which he was nominated for an Academy Award — I Was a Male War Bride (1949), The Desert Fox (1951), Five Fingers (1952), Hell and High Water (1954), House of Bamboo (1955).

COMMENT: Regal had a three-pronged policy when it came to choosing directors for their product: (1) Fresh talent, for example Maury Dexter; (2) Experienced quickie directors, akin to Edward Bernds, a graduate of the later Blondie movies; (3) Film editors, the reasoning being that a man who knew how to cut film must also know how to shoot it economically and professionally. This is where Regal came unstuck. Quickie directors were always reliable, if unimaginative; the newcomers, spearheaded by Dexter, luckily proved to be both cost-conscious and inventive; but the film editors on the whole seemed totally unable to relate the professional skills they'd gained in the cutting-room to the practicalities of fast decision- making on the studio set. The safest course was most often chosen, so their movies often emerged as slow-paced, flatly directed bores. James B. Clark was one of the few exceptions to this rule. And even his subsequent Fox films are not all that brilliant, though "Misty" and "A Dog of Flanders" were highly praised in their day. His best directed picture is not one of his higher-budgeted efforts like "The Big Show", but actually this one. The direction is so smooth, allowing Jodie Copelan to edit the material with such seemingly dramatic skill, it's hard to believe this was Clark's first time behind a camera. On a shooting schedule of only ten days, he has constructed a remarkably tight little drama, one of the very best of the Regalscope pictures.

If this "B" is so great, you may well ask, why isn't it better known to-day? The answer to this question is quite simple: The New York Times. Because "Under Fire" (like nearly all the Regal movies) was not given a New York send-off, it was not reviewed in "The New York Times". It unfortunately follows that for many film critics and so- called film historians, "Under Fire" simply doesn't exist. "The New York Times" is not only their bible, it, and to a lesser extent "Variety", are their only reference sources.

Of course, even given "B" production values, it's hard to go wrong with a court-martial drama — provided the script is up to scratch and at least a halfway decent cast has been engaged to interpret it. Both these conditions are successfully met here. Not only that, but the milieu and atmosphere are conveyed with creditable conviction. There's hardly a minute of the total running time that doesn't fully engage total audience involvement.

Henry "Harry" Morgan and his comrades provide absorbingly lifelike portraits. The tightly intriguing script is made more dramatic still by unusually talented technicians. The film editing as stated has been undertaken with exceptional skill, photography and art direction are unobtrusively workmanlike, whilst the excellent sound recording is not only crisp but realistically directional. Even the music has something to contribute, the score cleverly including a German version of "Don't Fence Me In".

In all, one of the best of the Regalscope films, thanks to a gripping script, charismatic acting and smooth direction. The film editing with its dramatic cross-cutting and tight pacing, is a lesson in achieving maximum entertainment quality from "B"-budget resources.


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