The war movies produced shortly after World War II interest me. I don’t watch many, but given that many were produced in the 50′s and 60′s, the war was still fresh in everyone’s mind and veterans and their families would have made up a significant number of movie goers. I can’t image what it would’ve been like to come back from Europe or the Pacific or Africa and see filmmakers telling stories—for entertainment—about the most horrific thing you’d ever seen.
Some of these movies take themselves seriously, while some (like The Great Escape) are very light and comedic. Most fly right down the middle.
That’s where Hell is for Heroes lives. It’s a simple, largely forgettable, story of a handful of soldiers charged with holding the line only a few hundred yards from the Nazis. What starts off as a promising character-driven war movie looses steam about halfway through.
The film’s star, however, is a one Steve McQueen. McQueen (possibly the coolest Hollywood star ever) is largely wasted here, but when we do get to see him, he steals the show.
There’s not much to say about this film. It’s hard to criticize it too much, given that it’s fifty years old, and our expectations of war movies have come a long way (especially after watching Band of Brothers and The Pacific). If you’re a fan of McQueen, and interested at all in what a mediocre war movie looked like 15 years after the war ended, it’s probably worth your 90 minutes. It’s available on Netflix Canada, if you’re interested.