27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Sheer grit from Brit trucker thriller,
This review is from: Hell Drivers [DVD] (DVD)
On the surface, a 1957 b&w film about short haul truck drivers in cold, rainy Britain seems a dull proposition. Check the credits though: ex-pat yank Cy Endfield is directing a roll call of Brit period talent here. Stanley Baker (later to appear in Endfield's 'Zulu'), is newly-released from jail and finding work tough to get, takes on a driving job with dodgy hauliers helmed by manager William ('Dr Who') Hartnell and bullying road boss, Patrick McGoohan (huge and angry as ever). Co-drivers Sean Connery (yes, him), Alfie Bass, Herbert Lom amongst other then newcomers to the contemporary stage and screen soon make it clear that this job is no Sunday outing. It could seem horribly dated in the CGI age but there is real grit in this pacy, edgy production. The script crackles, direction and editing is tight, the stunt drivers have fun, and the performances from a cast crowding to snatch centre-stage at all times, highly entertaining. Endfield strives to lend proceedings realism and there is an absence of the mawkishness and prudery often found in entertainment of the time. Baker's love scene with a yummy Peggy Cummin is brief, snatched in a truck shed, and credibly hungry. OK - speeding up the film so that the creaky old tipper trucks almost fly round the muddy lanes around Pinewood is a tad silly viewed today, but don't let period technology get in the way of enjoying a film with so much on offer for film buffs and nostalgics alike. The DVD comes with a somewhat stilted interview with star Baker and a more revealing documentary about the lives of truck drivers of the time. (McGoohan fans note: the trucks are all numbered - they'll understand) ...