Target Zero

Target Zero

(director: Harmon Jones; screenwriters: Sam Rolfe/James Warner Bellah; cinematographer: Edwin DuPar; editor: Clarence Kolster; music: David Buttolph; cast: Richard Conte (Lt. Tom Flagler), Peggy Castle (Ann Galloway), Charles Bronson (Sgt. Vince Gaspari), L.Q. Jones (Felix O’Hara), Richard Stapley (Sgt. David Kensemmit), Aaron Spelling (Pvt. Strangler), John Dennis  (George), John Alderson (Cpl. Devon Enoch), Terence de Marney (Pvt. Harry Fontenoy), Strother Martin (Pvt. Dan O’Hirons), Abel Fernandez (Pvt. Geronimo), Chuck Connors (Pvt. Moose); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: David Weisbart; Warner Bros./ITunes; 1955-B/W)

The film like the war itself makes little sense.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Standard-issue low-budget movie on the Korean Conflict. The film for the unpopular war is set in 1952, that already ended when the film was released in 1955. It’s modestly directed by Harmon Jones (“The Pride of St. Louis”/”Gorilla at Large”) and written with a fair share of cliches by Sam Rolfe and James Warner Bellah. The film like the war itself makes little sense.

 A small American army patrol, under the command of the tough survivor Lt. Tom Flagler (Richard Conte), is cut off from their Easy Company behind enemy lines. They join forces in the field with a stranded American UN nurse Ann Galloway (Peggy Castle), whose jeep came under gunfire while she’s treating South Korean refugees near the front and a Brit three-man tank crew–Sgt. David Kensemmit (Richard Stapley), Cpl. Devon Enoch (John Alderson) and Pvt. Harry Fontenoy (Terence de Marney) that lost their way.

Before they reach the hill where Tom’s company was located, the motley crew must beat back a North Korean convoy. When the hill is secured, it’s discovered that Easy Company was wiped out.

In the climax, the stranded good guys are attacked by a large force of commie soldiers from N. Korea. They call for air support and the Air Force strafes the enemy from above and then from a long distance away at sea, a Navy ship provides missile support.

Meanwhile there’s enough time between battles for the lieutenant and the nurse to begin an unlikely romance in the war zone.

Some of the more colorful American soldiers include an Indian, a South Korean, a wounded guy (Strother Martin), carried on a stretcher, who is from Paterson, NJ, a loyal sergeant (Charles Bronson) who would follow his First Looey into hell if need be and a handy radio man (Chuck Connors).

There’s some cornball comic relief offered by the usual stock war soldier characters. Conte delivers the film’s general message: ‘Every man fights his own war.’ I guess that another way of saying “War is hell.”

The surviving men, at the end of the day, deliver the key message when they see the Lt. and the nurse have clicked, by saying: “a man stays alive so he can find things to live for.”

It was shot at Ft. Carson, Colorado.

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REVIEWED ON 6/18/2021  GRADE: C+