Director Robert Aldrich teams up once again with Jack Palance. After enjoying their last outing together, the 1956 war film Attack, I was keen on seeing our Jack in another hero role. Off the back of Attack, IMDB recommended me the wonderfully titled 1959 film Ten Seconds To Hell. A story of six German ex-soldiers returning to Berlin to help clear and make safe the city from unexploded British and American bombs.
Jack Palance plays Eric Koertner, a man so chiseled he looks like the most handsome missing link there ever was. Reluctant leader of the band of six, Eric is the heart of the group. He is serious and professional, with attention to detail for safety and looking out for his work colleagues. He’s courageous and thoughtful but with an air of pure somber innocence to him, a modest guy.
Quite the opposite to party man and ladies man Karl Wirtz (Jeff Chandler) the alpha male of the group who likes to have a drink to unwind the dangers of the job in hand. These two big guys couldn’t be more poles apart from each other but both are experts in their work.
The other four are just keen to get the job done and hopefully live to spend their hard earnt cash. The problem being, are you going to live long enough to be able to spend it? So they all come up with a plan to pass their wages on to the rest of the group if one of them should unfortunately not make it. A three month contract which binds them to the task.
Tagline – WATCH! This man sweat out the most suspense-torn seconds in screen history!
This is a very efficient film filled with all the drama of sweat, blood and tension you would expect in the painstaking task of diffusing massive unexploded bombs. Dripping foreheads, worried faces and strained muscles, as ropes are pulled and rubble strenuously removed to reveal the detonating fuse to safely disarm the bomb.
Throw in a bit of love interest rivalry from landlady, French minx Margot Hofer (Martine Carol) to add some extra tension to the working relationships and you get yourself an excellent post world war two drama. And another superb Palance performance.
Who will survive this dangerous and harrowing job till the end? Can all the explosives be removed to help rebuild Berlin? Can friendships and relationships survive under such hard stressful times? It’s well worth your time tracking this top-notch drama down for a viewing.
Like I said on the Attack post, if you have any other Jack Palance in hero mode film recommendations, then please let me know.
If you’ve seen it? What did you think?
Auf wiedersehen – Wolfenstein