A review for this British fifties thriller centered around organised crime controlling the trucking industry called The Long Haul (1957)
What’s going down?
When American serviceman Harry Miller has served his time in Allied occupied Germany at the end of World War Two he dreams of returning back home and settling down. He’d married and had a son with the English born Connie. She’d lived her life away from home to be with Harry. Desperate to see her family before making the big trip to America she asks Harry to move to her hometown of Liverpool. Uncle Jeff has a trucking company. He’ll have work for you. Save some money, get ready to move and say goodbye to family. What’s the worse that can happen? Keep out the way of Joe Easy and his gangsters and all will be ok?
Harry Miller not impressed with his wife’s idea – “Who want’s to work for Uncle Sam when you can work for Uncle Jeff!!“
The main players
Victor Mature plays Harry Miller
Diana Dors plays Lynn
Patrick Allen plays Joe Easy
Gene Anderson plays Connie Miller
Peter Reynolds plays Frank
Liam Redmond plays Casey
Michael Wade plays Butch Miller
Murray Kash plays Jeff
Tagline – Drivers Fight Crime and Corruption in Battle for Control of Truck Industry!
Sure I’ve seen them in something?
I know everyone says it but Victor Mature could easily be Sylvester Stallone Dad. I’d shamefully admitted when I’d reviewed the excellent Violent Sunday (1955) that I’d been sure I’d never seen him before. I now know I had in Samson and Delilah (1949). However, after that statement and a collection of knowledgeable great recommends in the comment section, I have now watched Kiss Of Death (1947), I Wake Up Screaming (1941) and Cry of the City (1948). All films I’d happily watch again and hopefully find time to review. Also he was hilarious playing alongside Peter Sellers in the comedy After the Fox (1966). Skimming through Victor’s bio on IMDB I came across his personal quotes. He really made me laugh. Here’s a few.
“I’m no actor, and I’ve got 64 pictures to prove it.“
On retiring in his mid 40s “It wasn’t fun anymore. I was OK financially, so I thought what the hell… I’ll become a professional loafer.“
“I loaf very gracefully. There’s a lot to be said about loafing if you know how to do it gracefully.“
“Recently (in 1992), I was asked to play Sylvester Stallone’s father in a movie, so I gave them my price. It’s been a few weeks now and I haven’t heard, so it’s probably not going to happen.“
“I wasn’t pampered the way a Tyrone Power was. Zanuck would say to producers, “If you’re not careful, you son of a bitch, I’ll give you Mature for your next picture.“
Diana Dors, with that jaw dropping voluptuous figure of hers had always been national treasure of British TV. Always saddled with the inevitable title of Britain’s version of Marilyn Monroe. Apart from lots of 70’s saucy comedies I’m shamed to say I hadn’t seen any of her serious work. This sounds bad but I’d always thought she was probably all looks and not a great actress. The Long Haul really proved this to be wildly wrong. OK she might of looked out of place turning heads in the greasy spoon truckers cafe but to be honest Dame Edna would of had the same effect to these fatigued lonesome truckers! Diana comes across soft and caring and really stood out, literally. She also has a great collection of funny life quotes.
“They asked me to change my name. I suppose they were afraid that if my real name Diana Fluck was in lights and one of the lights blew …“
“I’m forty now and I can’t go on playing good time glamour girls and tarts forever. I want to play women my own age, now and in the future.”
“The figure was fabulous, but my face was never much, little eyes and lips like rubber tires, I did well because I was the first and only British blonde bombshell.“
“I’ve played my share of drunken sluts, good time girls, and whores. Being bumped off is really no novelty for me. I’ve been shot, hanged, strangled, gassed, burned to death, and even pushed off a cliff. And for an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955), I was sawn in half by an electrical buzz saw.“
“I was the first home-grown sex symbol, rather like Britain’s naughty seaside postcards. When Marilyn Monroe’s first film was shown here, The Asphalt Jungle (1950), a columnist actually wrote “How much like our Diana Dors she is.“.
The gangster who controls the organised crime through the trucking industry is Joe Easy, played by Patrick Allen. Where he had been in many other productions I believe this was his first major part. At first I thought it was Stanley Baker with a bigger chin! They do look rather similar I thought. Patrick Allen has been in Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder (1954) and the British classic not classic, The Sea Wolves (1980) to name a few. One amazing thing is Patrick had a smash hit single in the charts! He was the narrator for British Protect and Survive public information films and his voice was used in 1984 Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Two Tribes“.
Notes on production?
The Long Haul was a novel by a writer called Mervyn Mills and published in 1956. It would soon be picked up by husband and wife team, Tony Owen and Donna Reed for their film company Todon Productions.
Director Ken Hughes is in the hot seat on organising duties. He also flips the novel into a screenplay. Ken Hughes made the, very recommended, two bit hustler and the strip club dancing girl movie, The Small World of Sammy Lee (1963) Plus (I haven’t seen it) he may not of want to be remembered for Sextette (1977) with Timothy Dalton dating an aged Mae West. The reviews are not kind at all and I’m actually tempted to give it a go. Feel free to give me the nod on other works
A 1955 Leyland Octopus, a 22 ton 8 wheel truck, is used throughout the film. Surely it had to be the ultimate advert for the truck sales? The end is filmed in the Scottish Highlands and honestly the stupidest route through the harshest landscape you could ever imagine taking an 8 wheeled truck. Giant boulders, sharp edged rock filled trials, freezing rivers. The Leyland truck throws itself at whatever dangerous situation comes it’s way. It must of sold by the “truck” load.
Hits like a sledge hammer
With a quick coffee break, Harry comments to his work colleague, Casey, about his choice in dinner guests at the halfway trucker’s stop. “Those boys look sharp?” he worries, to which Casey replies, as he pours some whisky in his tea, “Yeah sharp as a razor!“. Ready to move on, Harry returns to his truck. Those two wide-boys were stealing out the back supplies out the back of Casey’s vehicle. A frenzy of fists and thuds around the head as the Harry kicks and punches with the force of a freight train through these guys. Then, with a flick of the hand, out comes a switch blade. “Yeah sharp as a razor!“. The stakes in this fight had just changed. Still Harry doesn’t let up! Casey arrives with shock horror on his face. His cash in hand, off the back of a lorry, deal gone sour, he wouldn’t be getting paid for his side hustle!
Joe Easy – “You know the trouble with you Frank? You’re in the wrong business. With your stomach you should be selling ladies underwear.“
Harry Miller – “One thing you did to me, no woman should ever do to a man. You stood in my way. You knew I didn’t want to stay here and the minute I gave into you, what happened? Everything went wrong! Everything!“
Lynn – “I’m hungry and I want to go eat somewhere.“
Joe Easy – “If you want to eat something, then eat something.“
Lynn – “In this pig eat house?“
Joe Easy – “Listen, you were serving in a pig house like this when I picked you up, baby. Watch out I don’t drop you right back among the pigs.“
Harry Miller is tough. Years in the army had shaped him. He was fundamentally a decent man. Honest and steadfast but as the cards stack against him he becomes closer to tipping over the edge. Smashing fists and billy clubs batter their way down on many skulls and faces. Beaten and bruised they just keep on trucking. Victor Mature himself might, jokingly, say he can’t act but from all the films I’ve seen him in whilst doing this film blog I always much enjoy seeing him on the screen. He looks tough and believable in the fight scenes and you feel for him and his sad puppy dog eyes when it all starts crashing in around him. And Diana Dors was a nice surprise for me. She was excellent every time she appeared on the screen. It must be extremely hard to convey your acting chops when your beauty is the showcase of the film, all lit up in full focus. I thought she portrayed a real sense of tenderness in her acting that pushed passed the wonderful hour glass figure, platinum blonde and to die for, bosoms….
All in all The Long Haul has enough action and drama to keep you glued to the screen. It’s well worth tracking down. It’s a gritty little thriller and melodrama. It’s here on YT at time of writing.
Wolfman’s rating 8/10 IMDB 6.8/10
Feel free to recommend me related movies and any other trivia if you wish. Keep having fun at the movies…. Mikey Wolf
I leave you with two great publicity press photos.