HELL DRIVERS (director/writer: Cy Endfield; screenwriter: John Kruse; cinematographer: Geoffrey Unsworth; editor: John Guthridge; music: Dr. Hubert Clifford; cast: Stanley Baker (Tom Yately), Herbert Lom (Gino), Peggy Cummins (Lucy), Patrick McGoohan (Red), Jill Ireland (Jill), Sean Connery (Tom), William Hartnell (Cartley), Sidney James (Dusty), Gordon Jackson (Scottie), Wilfred Lawson (Ed); Runtime: 108; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Benjamin S. Fisz; J. Arthur Rank Production; 1957-UK)
“The thriller is appealing for its no-nonsense approach.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
American blacklisted exile Cy Endfield directs and co-writes with John Kruse a gritty and energetic Brit crime drama about truckers. Stanley Baker is ex-con Tom Yately seeking to go straight after his release. He gets what he thinks is an honest gig as one of a team of truck drivers who must take heavy loads of gravel over dangerous roads at very fast speeds to meet the daily quota. The plotline reminds one of The Wages of Fear. The men are promised bonuses by the corrupt manager Cartley (Hartnell), but are at risk when the speedometer hits 40mph. They are all in pursuit of the maniacal Red (Patrick McGoohan), who is the number one driver. After Tom’s Italian friend Gino (Herbert Lom) is killed by Red and Cartley, the scowling Tom clashes with Red and sets out to expose the corruption. This puts his life in jeopardy.
The thriller is appealing for its no-nonsense approach and rawness. Peggy Cummins is cast as Baker’s love interest, while the 27-year-old Sean Connery has a small part as a truck driver learning the ropes from Baker. The fun in this thriller is watching Baker square off with baddie Red, as his quiet determination goes up against the wild-eyed hooligan. The team of Endfield and Baker were to go on and make the popular Zulu, while Connery was to make Dr. No after Baker turned down the part. The rest is history.
REVIEWED ON 2/6/2004 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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