A small time thief is recruited by a mobster to help with the racketeering. He doesn't like the job, but with the mob on his back, a femme fatale in his bed and a sick friend to care for, he will have to keep all his wits about him.
Joe 'Tom' Yateley is an ex-convict. Trying to leave his past behind, he decides to start working for the Hawlett Trucking company, which transports gravel. It's an aggressive company, where speed is everything. Doing too few runs in a day? You're out. Red is the most experienced trucker; he can do 18 runs in a day. Tom soon makes friends with Lucy, the secretary, and Gino, a driver. But the record of Red intrigues him and he wants to break it. Gino advises against it, but he helps Tom when he wants to go through with it. Soon trouble begins when Red and the other drivers form a united front against Tom. Just when Tom has enough and decides to pack his bags, Lucy tells him Gino had a terrible accident. She also tells about the corruption of Hawlett Trucking. Written by
Arnoud Tiele (email@example.com)
The spirit of 30s Warner Brothers movies lives in this tough, intense thriller about men doing an impossible job-- driving gravel trucks at breakneck speed. (Like the mail service in Only Angels Have Wings, this company loses way too
many men and trucks to make economic sense, but it's great as a movie
pressure cooker for character.) Baker, a largely forgotten star who was the first real working class hero in British films and the precursor to Michael Caine et al. (which, to extend the Warner Bros. analogy, sort of makes him to British cinema what John Garfield was as the first real ethnic American star), is brooding and Eastwood-silent as a new trucker with a past, while a highly interesting cast of character actors includes not only three future movie/TV spy stars, as other
reviewers have noted, but a bunch of ace Carry On-type comedians (Sid James,
Wilfred Lawson, and Alfie Bass), Gun Crazy star Peggy Cummins, the future
Mrs. Charles Bronson (Jill Ireland) and even a Dr. Who (William Hartnell).
Writer-director Endfield, an American blacklistee whose most famous film (and Baker's) would be Zulu ten years later, clearly drew some inspiration from the international art house hit The Wages of Fear, but this movie wisely doesn't seek existential meanings and keeps its B movie soul pure-- and hardboiled.
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