Universal-International Driving the Red Ball Express (1952)
Budd Boetticher directs U-I
wartime excursion across mud fields toward Berlin, Jeff Chandler's squad
assigned truck duty to supply Patton's invasion. A neat and involving trek, and
early writing credit for John Michael Hayes of later Hitchcock collaboration.
Universal shot portions at Fort Eustis, Virginia, using members of the state National Guard, and sold it for authentic
Euro background. Chandler
is moody and martinet, has a troubled backstory vis a vis Alex Nicol, and
referees racial tension involving Sidney Poitier and Hugh O'Brien. That last
never becomes focal point as it undoubtedly would if Red Ball were remade.
Boetticher keeps trucks on the roll and maintains variety of incident. This
sort of modest actioner was what he and Universal did best. Red Ball Express is
lately out on Region Two DVD. Quality gets by, the pic well worth having.