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When Hell Broke Loose

When Hell Broke Loose(1958)

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The opening credits contain the written statement that "except as to General Dwight D. Eisenhower, his staff, and the factual background taken from Periodic Report #262 of the Twelfth Corps, all characters and events depicted in this photoplay are fictional..." A narrator then explains in voice-over that this military report concerned a group of German soldiers, known as "werewolves," who were sent behind the Allied lines in April 1945 under orders to "spread death and destruction." These Axis commandos dressed as American soldiers and spoke fluent English, and the dedicated mission of one such "werewolf" squad was the assassination of Eisenhower, the Allied Chief of Staff. Another film that dealt with the topic of German soldiers posing as Americans is the 1959 Columbia release The Last Blitzkrieg.
       A May 3, 1957 Hollywood Reporter news item includes John Compton in the cast, but his appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed. Although the onscreen credits imply that When Hell Broke Loose was actor Charles Bronson's first feature film, he actually made his debut years earlier in the 1951 Twentieth Century-Fox production You're in the Navy Now (see below), under his real name, Charles Buchinski. His first film credit under the name Bronson was in the 1954 Warner Bros. release Drum Beat. When Hell Broke Loose was the first produced by Dolworth Productions, an independent company run by Sol Dolgin. As noted in a February 25, 1958 Hollywood Reporter news item, Paramount purchased the feature "outright" in order to "bolster its summer release schedule."
       When Hell Broke Loose contains World War II newsreel footage, including shots of the D-Day invasion, General George A. Patton and Eisenhower. The Hollywood Reporter review states that accounts of the German "werewolves" were published in Reader's Digest, but it is unclear whether these stories were the "factual articles" written by Ib Melchior mentioned in the onscreen credits.The exact titles of these articles and their publication dates are undetermined.