Director: Samuel Fuller
Year Released: 1951
During the Korean War, a group of forty-eight men are left behind to act as a "rear guard" in order to disguise a retreat by the rest of the troops - they're "led" by reluctant Corporal Denno (Richard Basehart) and Sgt. Rock (Gene Evans) - but have to contend with frostbite, land mines and the omnipresent "Reds" (Chinese Communists). Fuller released this the same year as The Steel Helmet - which I consider one of the best movies made about that conflict - and it isn't nearly as powerful: while the snowy sets provide a menacing atmosphere (it was shot by Lucien Ballard), the storytelling isn't the clearest and the characters aren't provided with sufficient back stories (it's just a lot of machismo masking the dread). Still, it's pretty scrappy and gripping in parts ... especially the scene where a landmine poses a problem in a rescue attempt. I'm contractually obligated to mention that it's James Dean's debut (although uncredited): he can be spotted at the very end ... and even gets a line to say.