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The Hell with Heroes (1968)

Approved | | Drama | 4 September 1968 (USA)
In 1946 North Africa, two former US Air Force pilots are forced to work for an international smuggler to get money needed for their return to civilian life after fighting in World War II.

Director:

Joseph Sargent

Writers:

Harold Livingston (screenplay), Harold Livingston (story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rod Taylor ... Brynie MacKay
Claudia Cardinale ... Elena
Harry Guardino ... Lee Harris
Kevin McCarthy ... Col. Wilson
Pete Duel ... Mike Brewer (as Peter Deuel)
William Marshall ... Al Poland
Don Knight ... Pepper
Michael Shillo Michael Shillo ... Pol Guilbert
Robert Yuro Robert Yuro ... Willoughby
Lew Brown Lew Brown ... Sgt. Shaeffer
Wilhelm von Homburg ... Hans
Tanya Lemani ... Jamila (as Tania Lemani)
Mae Mercer Mae Mercer ... Chanteuse
Émile Genest ... Insp. Bouchard
Louis De Farra Louis De Farra ... Pierre
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Storyline

In 1946 North Africa, two former US Air Force pilots are forced to work for an international smuggler to get money needed for their return to civilian life after fighting in World War II.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They all had something to sell...courage...sex...corruption!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

4 September 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los valientes mueren jóvenes See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (censored)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In this picture, Rod Taylor plays nearly the same kind of character he did in his previous movie, The Mercenaries. And the scheme is also nearly the same, only the actors change. See more »

Quotes

Lee Harris: Thousands of dollars worth of cigarettes on this truck - and we've got a dead pilot. Who the hell are we going to get to fly this cargo out of here to Paris, huh?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Midnight Cowboy (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Where There Is Love
Music by Quincy Jones
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Sung by Sue Raney
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Enjoyable, but fails to fulfill the screenplay's potential
29 May 2005 | by robin-moss2See all my reviews

The different contributions by the screenplay and the director to a movie's quality have always been misunderstood. Critics, amateur and professional, give all the credit to the director when a film is good, and all the blame when a film is not.

"The Hell With Heroes" has a brilliant cast and a really good screenplay that, with one final polish, could have been a masterpiece. However, Universal entrusted this project to a TV director and a second string crew, and the movie did not fulfill its potential. Nevertheless, "The Hell With Heroes" is interesting and enjoyable, and in places quite moving. Better than almost any other film, it demonstrates that if the screenplay is good, a fine movie will probably result, even if the director is sub-standard.

Set in 1946 in North Africa and Europe, where the ravages of the Second World War have caused shortages of everything, "The Hell With Heroes" tells how two American ex-servicemen are lured into working with black-marketeers. One of the ex-war heroes falls in love with the mistress of the head of the racket, and all the main characters face dilemmas and have to make difficult choices. With that narrative material and that cast, a classic film could have resulted.

Unfortunately the director did not know where to place his camera: frequently the camera is too close, when a medium shot would have been better. Even worse, the director is in too much of a hurry and does not allow scenes to play naturally, with characters pausing to think, and with emotions rising gradually. There are several key scenes that fall well short of the screenplay's potential. This is not the cast's fault. They do the best they can, and Rod Taylor in particular provides some high quality emotional acting.

Another area where the movie should have been better is in the make-up and lighting of Claudia Cardinale. Cardinale in the 1960s was a magnificent woman, but her beauty is given no help in "The Hell With Heroes". If only someone like Jack Cardiff or John Alton had been behind the camera! (If only someone like John Frankenheimer or Robert Wise had been directing!)

"The Hell With Heroes" seems to have disappeared in recent years, and is now almost unknown. Not long ago a bootleg DVD was touted on Ebay, and the vendor stated that the copyright was in the public domain. I hope this is incorrect, because I want Universal to issue a proper wide-screen DVD.


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