|Index||7 reviews in total|
Charles Bronson enjoyed one of the longest movie careers of any of his
contemporaries. Although he has had his detractors, his appeal has
reached across the generations , from westerns to war films to
All hell literally breaks loose here as Bronson tries to save the day.
In this film, Bronson begins to gravitate toward the kind of action film that he perfected in the 70's and beyond. His tough, heroic GI faced with a tough & unusual mission is very well acted. Although the script was nothing spectacular, the film is worth a look to see a legendary star on the brink of his memorable tough-guy career.
"When Hell Broke Loose" is one of Charles Bronson's earliest starring
roles. Up until that time, he mostly played minor supporting characters
but here he is THE star of this low-budget production. Bronson plays a
rather amoral guy who is always looking out for himself--which is
tough, as he's in the Army during WWII--a place where everyone must
work as a team. Not surprisingly, he's often in trouble and has a
horrible record as a serviceman. However, when he falls for a German
woman, for once he thinks about another person. It becomes VERY
complicated, however, when they both learn that her brother is a
so-called 'werewolf'--a member of a team who dress like American G.I.s
and who are dedicated to killing Eisenhower and disrupting the peace.
What's next? See the film if you'd like...or not.
While Bronson does a good job in this early role, the film is pretty cheap--with only fair actors in support and lots of poor, grainy stock footage. It is interesting but just seemed cheap. Worth seeing if you love Bronson, otherwise easy to skip.
When Hell Breaks Loose (1958)
** (out of 4)
Routine, low-budget WWII drama start off the day Pearl Harbor is bombed and we see con man Steve Boland (Charles Bronson) pretty much turn the other way not caring about his country. He eventually gets busted for a crime and is forced to join the service where he finds himself getting into more trouble for not caring about what he's doing. All of that changes when he falls for a woman (Violet Rensing) whose brother is working for the Germans in an attempt to kill General Eisenhower. WHEN HELL BREAKS LOOSE is about as standard a "B" movie can be when it comes to WWII. Instead of any real action scenes we're basically given a few small items where soldiers shoot guns while the "big" stuff is replaced by a bunch of stock footage from earlier movies and/or newsreels. This here obviously gives the film an extremely fake look and it's nearly impossible to ever feel like you're really in the middle of a war. Another problem is that the story itself is just so silly and predictable where you never can connect with any of the characters. The lead guy is made to be such a jerk that you really can't help but laugh in disbelief and especially during the opening where he pretty much doesn't blink an eye to Pearl Harbor getting attacked. Another problem is that there's really no sort of character development so when Bronson's character goes from a jerk to a hero overnight, it's simply not believable. Don't even get me started on the so-called love story. With all of that said, the film remains slightly entertaining if you're a fan of "B" movies and especially if you're a fan of Bronson. The star actually gives a pretty good performance considering what he had to work with. I didn't totally buy him as the con man but when it came time for him to fight and push people around, it's easy to see why studio people put him in movies. Bronson's appeal is going to be the main reason to check this film out. Getting to see him in such an early role will keep people entertained.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"You know that guy would make a wonderful stranger. I don't know why
you put up with him." "Because he's my buddy, that's why." For this
film that's a sample of scintillating dialogue. This movie was
obviously shot on the cheap in a converted telephone booth. Newsreel
footage is employed with a liberal hand by director/editor Kenneth G.
Crane. Yes, it's a real cheapo, meanwhile-in-the-stock-footage effort
with a few plyboard sets, a Mickey Mouse music score, a lot of dialogue
and no action except a mild shoot-out at the climax.
Bronson is not well served by the budget and this film would be a good example of how much the success of his films owe to their high- budget mounting. Without that back-up, he is a distinctly less attractive proposition. The support cast, the dull, wordy script, the routine direction and camera-work are not much help and though Bronson does his best he just cannot overcome these limitations. In fact, this film is worth seeing solely for the opportunity of viewing Misses Carlyle and Wakefield.
Yes, Bronson is athletic. In one scene he jumps from a roof ledge to the street below. But otherwise he benefits little from Crane's relentlessly TV-close-ups style of unimaginative direction. Of course you can save a lot of money by making a movie this way and saving money seems to be this picture's principal aim. Not only are the dialogue scenes in closet sets tediously dull, but the similarly economy-minded action spots are directed with an eye to the incorporation of as much stock footage as possible. Even the most undiscriminating action fans will find this one distinctly mediocre at best. When hell broke loose... Well, when did it?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
WHEN HELL BROKE LOOSE is a very early star vehicle for Charles Bronson,
receiving an 'introducing' credit even though he'd been acting in the
likes of HOUSE OF WAX some five years earlier. Perhaps it was the first
time he used the Bronson surname. This film ostensibly sounds like a
war film with plenty of battle footage, but it's not, and the action is
rather limited due to budgetary constraints. Instead what we have is a
mild thriller that's never as tense or exciting that it wants to be.
Bronson plays a mild-mannered guy who doesn't want to be a soldier and who subsequently goes A.W.O.L. to romance a pretty German girl, played by Violet Rensing. Unfortunately for him, his girl's brother, played by the entertaining Richard Jaeckel, is a Nazi saboteur planning to take down some American high command. Nobody believes Bronson so he has to save the day, but the execution is never as exciting as it sounds.
The film offers a decent fist fight (possibly the first of Bronson's lengthy career) and some other interesting moments, but is generally only a very average sort of picture, lacking the class and technical quality to make it genuinely enjoyable. It's on par with MACHINE GUN KELLY in that respect.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***SPOILERS*** The film in its opening credits "First Introduces" actor
Charles Bronson as GI Steve Bpland to the movie going audience ignoring
the fact that Bronson has already been in the movies and on TV with at
least some 50 credits under his belt-According to the IMDb-since 1951!
Brosnson or Steve Boland plays a just drafted into the US Army, to
prevent him from serving time for for illegal bookmaking, right after
the the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor who in fact continues his
bookmaking and ends up in the brig for it right up until almost the end
of the war! It's in the final days of WWII in Europe that he finally
sees the light by risking his life to prevent a number of Nazi
guerrillas or Werewolves from knocking off the Allied Supreme Commander
Gen. Eisenhower. That's to be carried out in an ambush that PVT.
Boland's German girlfriend Ilsa's, Violet Rensing, fanatical Nazi
brother Karl,Richard Jeackel, and equally crazy, about preserving
Hitler's 3rd Reich, friend Ludwig, Arvid Nelson,are determined to carry
Up until then Boland has been a complete screw up as a member of the US Army landing in jail as well as on garbage or KP duty during his entire time servings, by digging ditches, his country. It's when he met Elsa as he says at the end of the film he found a reason for his very existence in life and that paid off by him preventing the Werewolves in changing the course, by knocking off Gen. Eisenhower, of the second World War! Most of the action takes place in WWII stock footage due to the films limited budget but the final scene with Boland taking out the Nazi Werewolves almost single handed was top notch as well as made the never sticking his neck out for anyone PVT Boland into a genuine hero.
***SPOILERS*** Sadly it was Ilsa who risks and gave her life by trying to alert the US unit that Gen. Eisenhower was with that it was about to be ambushed by her brother Karl and his fellow Werewolves and got shot, by Ludwig, in the back for it. Charles Bronson more or less played the same character in the movie that he played all throughout his career but added some humor into it as a bookie who never took anything seriously, even WWII, until the chips were down and then showed his true colors: Red White & Blue!
Devoted film fans might note a more than passing resemblance of Charles
Bronson's character in Well Hell Broke Loose to that of Alan Ladd in
his first star billed role of Lucky Jordan. But the difference in the
films is the difference between Paramount building up their newest box
office sensation and Paramount rather indifferently releasing this low
budget independent film that gives Charles Bronson one of his first
The only real interest When Hell Breaks Loose has is Bronson's rather unique character. Come Pearl Harbor he's forced to join the army to get out of a jackpot with the law, he's a bookmaker by profession. As a soldier he's no model and serves rather indifferently and most of the time in trouble from Pearl Harbor to the last days of the war in Europe as his unit is in Germany mid April of 1945.
Where through his German girlfriend Violet Renning he learns of a secret group of fanatical Nazi true believers called 'werewolves' who are determined to still inflict as much damage as possible on the allies even though they know the war is lost. One of these 'werewolves' is Richard Jaeckel, Renning's brother.
Well we know they didn't succeed because when this film was released Ike was our president.
Only Bronson who was looking for his big break to stardom seems to do any acting. Everyone else kind of goes through the motions. This one is for Charles Bronson's devoted fans. Others take caution.
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