One Minute to Zero (1952)

Genres - Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Combat Films  |   Release Date - Jul 21, 1952 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 105 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

One Minute To Zero is a rather dull war picture. Though far from a disaster, Minute simply doesn't have a lot of life in it and so will be rewarding viewing only for diehard fans of war flicks, Robert Mitchum or Ann Blyth. Minute does include some genuine documentary footage of the actual conflict in Korea, and that footage provides genuine attraction. It isn't very well integrated with the rest of the film; it's clear when one is watching real combat and when it watching the Hollywood version. But its presence is probably the most interesting thing about the film, aside from one plot point. Certainly, the screenplay is not interesting, being nothing more than one war movie cliché piled on top of another. The exceptional plot point is a crucial sequence in which Mitchum's character orders civilians to be gunned down, justifying this by showing that the civilians were in fact guerrillas in disguise. It's a disturbing scene, especially when seen today. Director Tay Garnett turns in terribly uninspired work, giving the impression that he had no involvement whatsoever in the material. Mitchum and Blyth add some star power, and their "Golden Moon" duet has some chemistry, but Mitchum doesn't seem to be half trying and Blyth is only effective in fits and starts.