One Minute to Zero
Director: Tay Garnett
Cast: Robert Mitchum, Ann Blyth, Charles McGraw, William Talman
105 mins, 1952
US Army officer Steve Janowski is sent to Korea to assist the ROK Army. He soon finds himself in charge of an artillery unit. When a column of white-clad refugees approaches, Janowski, certain that communist fighters hide among them, orders his men to shell the whole column.
For the most part, the Hollywood studios never knew what to do about or what to do with the Korean War. When the war began in June 1950 their focus was still on turning out films about the Second World War. Of the top 50 box office successes that year, eight were films about that war, including the John Wayne guts-and-glory epic, The Sands of Iwo Jima.
The film delivers a box-office hero, played by Wayne’s pal Robert Mitchum. It also presents documentary footage and a voice-over which hints at how poorly the US understood Korea or its war.