24 June 2020 | ma-cortes
Intriguing and thrilling drama with tense events when an enemy pilot is taken prisoner by three American soldiers
It is set during an evacuation in the waning days of the Korean War , this is a story of men in war , not men at war. And the two are not the same. Hence, this film is dedicated not to any army, navy, air or other military force, but to those who are the lowest common denominator of all military forces...and the highest...the individual man. For in the brief and quiet intervals between the loud and terrible noises of war, he is capable of great and revealing moments of nobility . As three American soldiers (Kirk Douglas , Robert Walker , Nick Adams) retrieve an enemy airman and take him prisoner aboard the civilian ship captained by Capt. Van Ryn (Nehemiah Persoff) and returning them to their lines . When an order comes down from the commander-in-chief the sergeant in charge, Briscoe, orders his men, Dennison and Hackett , to carry out the execution , before reviewing the evidence . As they cannot bring themselves to follow the order to execute their Korean detained. But first one and then the other refuse to follow the order. A STRANGE AND COMPELLING STORY in these days of man's inhumanity to man. It's haunting theme will not soon be forgotten, for it proves that all men, no matter how different, have one thing in common...their humanity!
This story is about such a moment in the lives of three men and although it could have happened in any time or any war , it is set in 1953 , Korean War , being starred by top-notch cast under superb and tense direction by George Seaton who makes this movie excellent in every aspect . This ultra-slick calustrophobic picture contains thriller , suspense , intense drama , extreme tension and is quite entertaining although with some flaws and gaps . Made in television style and set in the final days of the Korean War about soldiers who receive an order from their superiors : to kill a captured airman , however , being reluctant to execute him , as an intriguing stand-off ensues between the seemingly heartless sergeant and his conscience-stricken men . Though the whole is mostly set on a freighter ship it never lacks for taut , suspense , intrigue and inspired direction . The struggle behind closed cabins is tense , charged and riveting .Henry Denker's brilliant script was left virtually intact in its move to feature film based on the novel "L'Hamecon" by Vahé Katcha. It was splendidly directed by George Seaton with an extraordinary plethora of actors who give magnificent performances as Kirk Douglas and Robert Walker Jr , both of them recently deceased and Nick Adams who unfortunately died very young at 36 . The painstaking rehearsals for the film lasted exhaustingly a few weeks. However, nowadays none of the twelve stars are still alive . The acting level of the cast during some of the intense discussions and debates almost bursts in the screen .
It contains a moving and thrilling musical score by Larry Adler. As well as evocative cinematography in black and white by Joseph Ruttenberg. This old-fashioned motion picture was professionally directed by George Seaton (Country girl , Miracle on 34th street , Chicken Every Sunday, Anything can happen , Apartment for Peggy , Airport) . Being directed in the wake of the famous plays from the '¨Golden Age of Television¨ as Caine's Mutiny , 12 Angry Men, The Desperate Hours , Marty ,The Petrified Forest , Birdman of Alcatraz . Rating . 7/10 . Better than average .