19 August 2002 | Art-22
A routine, but watchable drama about the dangers of handling nitroglycerin
I knew that nitroglycerin is a dangerous explosive, but I still enjoyed how the dispatcher, Frank M. Thomas, tells the new 'soup' handler, John Beal, that fact. "Here's a picture of a truck that the 'soup' blew up" says Thomas, and it's a blank picture. Beal's love interest is Sally Eilers, the daughter of the veteran soup handler, Harry Carey. She won't marry marry Beal because of the worry involved. And he won't quit because he wants the money the job pays to get to medical school. In desperation, he takes a dangerous job flying 'soup' to Mexico to put out an oil well fire. But Carey, sensing Eilers really loves Beal, takes matters in hand.
The drama is dedicated to the 'soup handlers' who made oil exploration possible, but it tends to telegraph events which robs the viewer of some suspense. We see throughout the anxiety the wives suffer about the fate of their husbands. It is easy to predict one of the handlers will be killed. ("What did they bury?" one mourner at the funeral asks. "Part of a shoe they found.") And it was easy to predict Carey's actions at the end. Clouzot's "Salaire de la peur, Le (1953)" is clearly a much better film on the same subject, but Danger patrol still is watchable entertainment.