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Ten Seconds to Hell (1959)

Approved | | Action, Drama, Romance | 14 June 1959 (UK)
At the end of the Second World War six German ex-soldiers return to Berlin and set up as a bomb disposal group. The pressure of the dangerous work starts to affect them, the more so as they... See full summary »



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Eric Koertner
Margot Hofer
Robert Cornthwaite ...
Franz Loeffler
Peter Tillig
Wolfgang Sulke (as Wes Addy)
Jim Goodwin ...
Hans Globke (as Jimmy Goodwin)
Virginia Baker ...
Frau Bauer
Richard Wattis ...
Major Haven
Nancy Lee ...
Ruth Sulke


At the end of the Second World War six German ex-soldiers return to Berlin and set up as a bomb disposal group. The pressure of the dangerous work starts to affect them, the more so as they have agreed to pool half their pay so that if only one survives he takes it all. Casualties and friction are inevitable, and having to handle British 1000lb bombs seems particularly bad news. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


BLOCKBUSTER ABOUT TO EXPLODE! (original poster-all caps) See more »


Action | Drama | Romance | War


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

14 June 1959 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Vor uns die Hölle  »

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Did You Know?


Director Robert Aldrich had his name taken off the credits as Producer because the studio cut a half-hour out of the picture without telling him, and he believed that unless they put that footage back in, the film made no sense. The studio refused, so Aldrich had his name taken off as producer. See more »


Karl Wirtz: I guess it's still my bomb.
See more »


Referenced in Ken Adam: Designing Bond (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

It's a dirty job but someone has to do it
7 November 2012 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Ten Seconds To Hell is a story about six former German soldiers who have the dirty job of defusing all the unexploded bombs that the RAF Bomber Command under Arthur 'Bomber' Harris left in Berlin post World War II. During the late hostilities these men incurred the wrath of the Nazis, but apparently not enough to warrant a concentration camp. Or maybe someone got the bright idea that a person truly expendable in the eyes of the Third Reich was just the kind you want for this work.

The six who are led by Jack Palance and Jeff Chandler are working for the British Army and get a salary and extra food rations coupons, something most useful in a devastated Berlin. But this is a fatalistic group and Chandler proposes a kind of tontine with their salaries as the work has a high fatality rate, last man standing collects the pot. Of course the last two standing are Palance and Chandler as per the screen billing.

These two got a rivalry going over Martine Carol who gets those tired war weary hormones into overdrive. Not clear whether she's part of the tontine, but she'll take what comes.

Ten Seconds To Hell could have been a much better film and certainly the bomb defusing scenes have tension built in. But the execution seems to fall flat though the cast gives it their best shot.

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