Published on October 22nd, 2012 | by Chris0
When Hell Broke Loose (1958)
Well, I figured I'd better take a break from the Worst War Movies and from the Halloween-y stuff and get back into the lesser-known titles, so I pulled up 1958's When Hell Broke Loose on Netflix Streaming.
Oh, hey, look, it's Charles Bronson. Thank God for that, because if it weren't for Bronson this movie would have been a complete dog.
One common street thug, bookie, gambling addict, etc. etc. Steve Boland (Charles Bronson) gets himself into one too many spats with the law, and gets involuntarily volunteered for the Army during WWII. He continues his string of escapades until he finally meets one German Frauline, Ilsa (Violet Rensing) and decides to go "straight" as it were.
Oh, wait, the premise of the movie, right. There were these English-speaking German units who infiltrated the US lines in American uniforms and caused all sorts of trouble, with the ultimate goal of assassinating high-level officers, up to and including Ike himself. The problem is, we're told this, see one of them, Karl (Richard Jaeckel) parachute in, and then they forget about them until the last 15 minutes or so. When we find out that Karl is Ilsa's brother. Boland and Ilsa go in to help catch Karl, and there you have it.
Like I said, if it weren't for Bronson, this would have been a total waste of time. His demeanor and comfort level with the script made the entire thing bearable, and actually funny at times. I can't imagine what would happen if a lesser known (and less capable) face would have been used. The soundtrack at times resembles more of a stereotypical 1950's soap opera. But, the bad parts get balanced by the not-so-bad parts, and the very skillful use of stock footage to get some of the points across.
The really bad part is that Netflix and Amazon streaming seem to be the only place apart from VHS to see this. I might recommend it if you have nothing else to do.
When Hell Broke Loose could have been a whole lot better if they'd have stuck to the premise, instead of meandering through the illegal escapades of Boland. Because of that, I have to go 2.5 stars.
Sorry, no clips. This thing seems to have been forgotten.
Summary: If the whole "Werewolves" story line had been adhered to, it might have been a pretty good movie. Charles Bronson rescues this one from the bottom of the list.