Best War Movies of 1952
The Sound Barrier
Fictionalized story of British aerospace engineers solving the problem of supersonic flight.
The Four Poster
Jan de Hartog's two-person stage play The Fourposter has always seemed to attract married acting couples, a tradition established by the play's first Broadway stars Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy. The film version featured Rex Harrison and Lilli Palmer, who (you guessed it) were man and wife at the time. The story traces the history of a marriage from the wedding night in 1890 to the death of the wife in the 1930s; all crucial scenes are acted out in the couple's boudoir, near the fourposter bed they'd received as a wedding present. The passing years, and the triumphs and tragedies of the couple, are wittily represented by transitional animation sequences produced by the UPA cartoon studios. A musical version of The Fourposter titled I Do I Do opened on Broadway in 1966, breaking precedent by starring Mary Martin and Robert Preston, who were happily married but not to each other.
Major Lex Kearney, dishonorably discharged from the army for cowardice in battle, has actually volunteered to go undercover to try to prevent raids against shipments of horses desperately needed for the Union war effort. Falling in with the gang of jayhawkers and Confederate soldiers who have been conducting the raids, he gradually gains their trust and is put in a position where he can discover who has been giving them secret information revealing the routes of the horse shipments.
Eight Iron Men
Stanley Kramer's WW-II character study has Lee Marvin as the Sergeant of a small squad laid over during fighting in Italy. During the otherwise boring time between battles, tensions arise as they are ordered not to rescue a squad mate pinned down by the enemy, for fear of risking more lives. Based on the stage play "A Sound of Hunting", by Harry Brown.
During the Korean War, a U.S. Marine battalion must fight its way out of a frozen mountain pass despite diminishing supplies, freezing temperatures and constant attacks by overwhelming numbers of Chinese soldiers.
Compton Bennett's war drama The Gift Horse follows the fortunes of ageing destroyer The Ballantrae and her crew from the time they come together in 1940 until the climactic raid on occupied St Nazaire in 1942. Trevor Howard plays Lt Cmdr Hugh Alginon Fraser, the newly appointed captain, back in service after having left the navy following a court martial.
Angels One Five
The year is 1940, Pilot Officer T.B. Baird arrives straight out of flight school to join a front line RAF squadron at the height of the Battle of Britain. After an unfortunate start and a drumming down from his commanding officer, Baird must balance the struggle to impress his Group Captain, regain his pride, fit in with his fellow pilots, and survive one of the most intense air battles in history.
One Minute to Zero
Using refugees as human shields, North Korean troops advance on Col. Steve Jankowski and his dug-in troops. Hoping to turn the throng back, Jankowski orders his gunners to fire warning shots short of the advance. Again and again the cannons roar, aiming closer each time. The approach continues: Jankowski must make an agonizing decision. Robert Mitchum portrays Jankowski, a leader of U.S. forces that are part of the United Nations Coalition pushing back against the invasion south of the 38th Parallel. Tay Garnett (Bataan, The Cross of Lorraine) directs, effectively integrating documentary footage of the conflict. Ann Blyth plays a UN official drawn to Jankowski. And it wouldn't be a war flick without a tough top kick -- a role Charles McGraw fits perfectly.
Thunder in the East
During India's first years of independence from Britain, Steve Gibbs lands his armaments loaded plane in Ghandahar province hoping to get rich. Pacifist Prime Minister Singh hopes to reach an agreement with guerilla leader Khan, the maharajah is a fool, and the British residents are living in the past. Steve's love interest is Joan Willoughby, the blind daughter of a parson.
After assisting the French Underground during WWII, an American Officer is later accused of murder and subversive activities by former colleagues. Based on the actual exploits of Lieutenant Colonel Peter Ortiz.