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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Between Heaven And Hell (1956)

It's 1945 during WWII and on a remote Pacific island, a sergeant (Robert Wagner) who has been busted to a private for assaulting an officer reflects on his life before the war. Based on the novel by Francis Gwaltney and directed by Richard Fleischer (THE VIKINGS). As a war movie, it's decent enough without ever rising to anything special but there are two interesting aspects of the film, one of which is underdeveloped. The flashback sequences to Wagner's life before the war as a wealthy Southern cotton farmer who exploits his sharecroppers against his wife's (Terry Moore) wishes suggests something more complicated than we're given here. It seems more like superficial exposition than anything and else and indeed, although second billed Terry Moore's role consists of very little screen time. The most interesting portion of the film involves Broderick Crawford in the film's best performance as a possibly psychotic and definitely paranoid Army Captain. The film's portrait of army life is hardly jingoistic and often unflattering which sets it off from most routine WII war flicks. The Oscar nominated underscore is by Hugo Friedhofer. With Buddy Ebsen (terrible!), Robert Keith, Brad Dexter, Mark Damon, Frank Gorshin, Skip Homeier and Ken Clark. 

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