When Hell Broke Loose


1h 18m 1958

Brief Synopsis

Near the end of the war in Germany, GI Steve Boland, a self-described "sharp-operator", meets a German girl, Ilsa (Violet Rensing), and they fall in love. Ilsa's brother Karl (Richard Jaeckel), whom she has not seen in three years, and his fellow-Nazi Ludwig (Arvid Nelson)visit Ilsa. Karl proudly informs her that he and Ludwig are "Werewolves", a group of Nazi assassins parachuted behind Allied lines for the purpose of killing Allied High Command officers. She and Steve go to Army Intelligence with they information, where Steve is immediately arrest for being A.W.O.L. Captain Melton (Dennis McCarthy) of Army G-2 intervenes on Steve's behalf, as G-2 has had a suspicion about the existence of the "Werewolves" but no concrete info before now.

Film Details

Release Date
Nov 1958
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Dolworth Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on articles by Ib Melchior.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 18m
Color
Black and White
Film Length
7,047ft

Synopsis

In December 1941, New York bookmaker Steve Boland is more interested in drinking champagne with his beautiful neighbor Ruby than listening to news reports about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. After being turned in to the police by his unhappy customers, whom he has been cheating, Steve is convicted for racketeering, but avoids a prison sentence by promising to enlist in the U.S. Army. Though he has no intention of serving his country, Steve is personally escorted to the recruiting office by the arresting officer. After only a few weeks of basic training, Steve has caused so much trouble that a military chaplain is called in to counsel him. Despite his lack of dedication, Steve is shipped out with the rest of his unit to England, but spends most of the ocean voyage under arrest, having been caught running a craps game. While on leave in London, Steve continues his crooked ways by working in the black market, hiding his loot in hollowed-out library books. Back with his unit, Steve spends most of his time on punishment duty, digging latrines, and is considered a coward by some of his fellow soldiers. Despite his best efforts to be dishonorably discharged, Steve remains in the Army and ends up fighting on the beaches of Normandy during the D-Day invasion, as well as marching into Paris when that city is liberated by the Allied forces. Steve and his unit soon become part of the invasion of Germany. While serving in the occupation force of a German town, Steve befriends Ilsa, a young woman he catches stealing food. Though she accepts his food and gifts, Ilsa initially rejects Steve's sexual advances, informing him that she is a virgin, but after he calls her a "cheat" for leading him on, she offers herself to him. For the first time in his life, however, Steve feels pangs of love and rejects her submission. When the Germans begin bombing the town in the middle of the night, Steve rushes back to Ilsa and admits his true feelings, which she returns in full. Unknown to both of them, Ilsa's brother Karl is part of an elite troop of German soldiers, known as "werewolves," who have been sent behind the front lines to commit acts of sabotage and murder against the Allied forces. Karl and his childhood friend Ludwig soon appear at Ilsa's door, disguised as American soldiers as part of a plan to destroy Allied morale by assassinating Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. When Ilsa tells them the war is already lost and that their assignment would only prolong it, Karl warns his sister that he would not hesitate to kill her if she did anything to jeopardize his mission. Meanwhile, Steve has been arrested for breaking curfew, but is so desperate to see Ilsa again that he escapes the stockade and goes AWOL. He arrives at her door just as Karl and Ludwig are leaving and immediately assumes the worse. Desperate to save her brother's life, Ilsa tells Steve all about Karl's mission and begs him to take her to his commanding officer. Brought before two Army Intelligence officers, Ilsa tells them everything she knows about Karl's detachment, noting that the "werewolves" were founded by Heinrich Himmler in 1943 and that their secret training ground was located in Poland. Having no luck in finding Karl and his men, Capt. Melton asks Ilsa to help them search the nearby forest for her brother, but she agrees to go only if Steve is brought along. Instead of finding Karl and his men, however, they are captured by the Germans, who are in the midst of preparing to ambush Eisenhower, who, they have discovered, through an intercepted military courier, is headed their way. In order to warn the Allied chief of staff, Ilsa breaks free from her captors, only to be shot in the back by one of Karl's men. During the ensuing firefight, Steve stabs Karl, then shoots Ludwig. The remaining "werewolves" are soon captured by Allied troops, and Steve carries the wounded Ilsa into the forest, assuring her that everything is "going to be all right."

Film Details

Release Date
Nov 1958
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Dolworth Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on articles by Ib Melchior.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 18m
Color
Black and White
Film Length
7,047ft

Articles

TCM Remembers Charles Bronson - Sept. 13th - TCM Remembers Charles Bronson this Saturday, Sept. 13th 2003.


Turner Classic Movies will honor the passing of Hollywood action star Charles Bronson on Saturday, Sept. 13, with a four-film tribute.

After years of playing supporting roles in numerous Western, action and war films, including THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960, 8 p.m.) and THE DIRTY DOZEN (1967, 1:15 a.m.), Bronson finally achieved worldwide stardom as a leading man during the late 1960s and early 1970s. TCM's tribute will also include THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963, 10:15 p.m.), Bronson's second teaming with Steve McQueen and James Coburn, and will conclude with FROM NOON TILL THREE (1976, 4 a.m.), co-starring Jill Ireland.

TCM will alter it's prime-time schedule this Saturday, Sept. 13th. The following changes will take place:

8:00 PM - The Magnificent Seven (1960)
10:15 PM - The Great Escape (1963)
1:15 AM - The Dirty Dozen (1967)
4:00 AM - From Noon Till Three (1976)

Charles Bronson, 1921-2003

Charles Bronson, the tough, stony-faced actor who was one of the most recognizable action heroes in cinema, died on August 30 in Los Angeles from complications from pneumonia. He was 81.

He was born Charles Buchinsky on November 3, 1921 in Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania, one of fifteen children born to Lithuanian immigrant parents. Although he was the only child to have graduated high school, he worked in the coalmines to support his family until he joined the army to serve as a tail gunner during World War II. He used his money from the G.I. Bill to study art in Philadelphia, but while working as a set designer for a Philadelphia theater troupe, he landed a few small roles in some productions and immediately found acting to be the craft for him.

Bronson took his new career turn seriously, moved to California, and enrolled for acting classes at The Pasadena Playhouse. An instructor there recommended him to director Henry Hathaway for a movie role and the result was his debut in Hathaway's You're in the Navy Now (1951). He secured more bit parts in films like John Sturges' drama The People Against O'Hara (1951), and Joseph Newman's Bloodhounds of Broadway (1952). More substantial roles came in George Cukor's Pat and Mike (1952, where he is beaten up by Katharine Hepburn!); Andre de Toth's classic 3-D thriller House of Wax (1953, as Vincent Price's mute assistant, Igor); and De Toth's fine low-budget noir Crime Wave (1954).

Despite his formidable presence, his leads were confined to a string of B pictures like Gene Fowler's Gang War; and Roger Corman's tight Machine Gun Kelly (both 1958). Following his own television series, Man With a Camera (1958-60), Bronson had his first taste of film stardom when director Sturges casted him as Bernardo, one of the The Magnificent Seven (1960). Bronson displayed a powerful charisma, comfortably holding his own in a high-powered cast that included Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen. A few more solid roles followed in Sturges' The Great Escape (1963), and Robert Aldrich's classic war picture The Dirty Dozen (1967), before Bronson made the decision to follow the European trail of other American actors like Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef. It was there that his hard, taciturn screen personae exploded in full force. In 1968 alone, he had four hit films: Henri Verneuil's Guns for San Sebastian, Buzz Kulik's Villa Rides, Jean Herman's Adieu l'ami which was a smash in France; and the classic Sergio Leone spaghetti Western Once Upon a Time in the West.

These films established Bronson as a huge box-office draw in Europe, and with some more stylish hits like Rene Clement's Rider on the Rain (1969), and Terence Young's Cold Sweat (1971) he soon became one of the most popular film stars in the world. It wasn't easy for Bronson to translate that success back in his homeland. In fact, his first few films on his return stateside: Michael Winners' Chato's Land, and The Mechanic (both 1972), and Richard Fleischer's Mr. Majestyk (1973), were surprisingly routine pictures. It wasn't until he collaborated with Winner again for the controversial Death Wish (1974), an urban revenge thriller about an architect who turns vigilante when his wife and daughter are raped, did he notch his first stateside hit. The next few years would be a fruitful period for Bronson as he rode on a wave of fine films and commercial success: a depression era streetfighter in Walter Hill's terrific, if underrated Hard Times (1975); Frank Gilroy's charming offbeat black comedy From Noon Till Three (1976, the best of many teamings with his second wife, Jill Ireland); Tom Gries tense Breakheart Pass; and Don Siegel's cold-war thriller Telefon (1977).

Sadly, Bronson could not keep up the momentum of good movies, and by the '80s he was starring in a string of forgettable films like Ten to Midnight (1983), The Evil That Men Do (1984), and Murphy's Law (1986, all directed by J. Lee Thompson). A notable exception to all that tripe was John Mackenzie's fine telefilm Act of Vengeance (1986), where he earned critical acclaim in the role of United Mine Workers official Jack Yablonski. Although he more or less fell into semi-retirement in the '90s, his performances in Sean Penn's The Indian Runner (1991); and the title role of Michael Anderson's The Sea Wolf (1993) proved to many that Bronson had the makings of a fine character actor. He was married to actress Jill Ireland from 1968 until her death from breast cancer in 1990. He is survived by his third wife Kim Weeks, six children, and two grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole
Tcm Remembers Charles Bronson - Sept. 13Th - Tcm Remembers Charles Bronson This Saturday, Sept. 13Th 2003.

TCM Remembers Charles Bronson - Sept. 13th - TCM Remembers Charles Bronson this Saturday, Sept. 13th 2003.

Turner Classic Movies will honor the passing of Hollywood action star Charles Bronson on Saturday, Sept. 13, with a four-film tribute. After years of playing supporting roles in numerous Western, action and war films, including THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960, 8 p.m.) and THE DIRTY DOZEN (1967, 1:15 a.m.), Bronson finally achieved worldwide stardom as a leading man during the late 1960s and early 1970s. TCM's tribute will also include THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963, 10:15 p.m.), Bronson's second teaming with Steve McQueen and James Coburn, and will conclude with FROM NOON TILL THREE (1976, 4 a.m.), co-starring Jill Ireland. TCM will alter it's prime-time schedule this Saturday, Sept. 13th. The following changes will take place: 8:00 PM - The Magnificent Seven (1960) 10:15 PM - The Great Escape (1963) 1:15 AM - The Dirty Dozen (1967) 4:00 AM - From Noon Till Three (1976) Charles Bronson, 1921-2003 Charles Bronson, the tough, stony-faced actor who was one of the most recognizable action heroes in cinema, died on August 30 in Los Angeles from complications from pneumonia. He was 81. He was born Charles Buchinsky on November 3, 1921 in Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania, one of fifteen children born to Lithuanian immigrant parents. Although he was the only child to have graduated high school, he worked in the coalmines to support his family until he joined the army to serve as a tail gunner during World War II. He used his money from the G.I. Bill to study art in Philadelphia, but while working as a set designer for a Philadelphia theater troupe, he landed a few small roles in some productions and immediately found acting to be the craft for him. Bronson took his new career turn seriously, moved to California, and enrolled for acting classes at The Pasadena Playhouse. An instructor there recommended him to director Henry Hathaway for a movie role and the result was his debut in Hathaway's You're in the Navy Now (1951). He secured more bit parts in films like John Sturges' drama The People Against O'Hara (1951), and Joseph Newman's Bloodhounds of Broadway (1952). More substantial roles came in George Cukor's Pat and Mike (1952, where he is beaten up by Katharine Hepburn!); Andre de Toth's classic 3-D thriller House of Wax (1953, as Vincent Price's mute assistant, Igor); and De Toth's fine low-budget noir Crime Wave (1954). Despite his formidable presence, his leads were confined to a string of B pictures like Gene Fowler's Gang War; and Roger Corman's tight Machine Gun Kelly (both 1958). Following his own television series, Man With a Camera (1958-60), Bronson had his first taste of film stardom when director Sturges casted him as Bernardo, one of the The Magnificent Seven (1960). Bronson displayed a powerful charisma, comfortably holding his own in a high-powered cast that included Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen. A few more solid roles followed in Sturges' The Great Escape (1963), and Robert Aldrich's classic war picture The Dirty Dozen (1967), before Bronson made the decision to follow the European trail of other American actors like Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef. It was there that his hard, taciturn screen personae exploded in full force. In 1968 alone, he had four hit films: Henri Verneuil's Guns for San Sebastian, Buzz Kulik's Villa Rides, Jean Herman's Adieu l'ami which was a smash in France; and the classic Sergio Leone spaghetti Western Once Upon a Time in the West. These films established Bronson as a huge box-office draw in Europe, and with some more stylish hits like Rene Clement's Rider on the Rain (1969), and Terence Young's Cold Sweat (1971) he soon became one of the most popular film stars in the world. It wasn't easy for Bronson to translate that success back in his homeland. In fact, his first few films on his return stateside: Michael Winners' Chato's Land, and The Mechanic (both 1972), and Richard Fleischer's Mr. Majestyk (1973), were surprisingly routine pictures. It wasn't until he collaborated with Winner again for the controversial Death Wish (1974), an urban revenge thriller about an architect who turns vigilante when his wife and daughter are raped, did he notch his first stateside hit. The next few years would be a fruitful period for Bronson as he rode on a wave of fine films and commercial success: a depression era streetfighter in Walter Hill's terrific, if underrated Hard Times (1975); Frank Gilroy's charming offbeat black comedy From Noon Till Three (1976, the best of many teamings with his second wife, Jill Ireland); Tom Gries tense Breakheart Pass; and Don Siegel's cold-war thriller Telefon (1977). Sadly, Bronson could not keep up the momentum of good movies, and by the '80s he was starring in a string of forgettable films like Ten to Midnight (1983), The Evil That Men Do (1984), and Murphy's Law (1986, all directed by J. Lee Thompson). A notable exception to all that tripe was John Mackenzie's fine telefilm Act of Vengeance (1986), where he earned critical acclaim in the role of United Mine Workers official Jack Yablonski. Although he more or less fell into semi-retirement in the '90s, his performances in Sean Penn's The Indian Runner (1991); and the title role of Michael Anderson's The Sea Wolf (1993) proved to many that Bronson had the makings of a fine character actor. He was married to actress Jill Ireland from 1968 until her death from breast cancer in 1990. He is survived by his third wife Kim Weeks, six children, and two grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

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.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall November 1958

Released in United States Fall November 1958