Thursday, August 21, 2014

Film Capsule: Cy Endfield's Hell Drivers (1957)

Hell Drivers (1957)
Directed by Cy Endfield

Sequestered across the Atlantic in the wake of the “Red Hollywood” witch-hunt, the genre-inclined Endfield would make a number of films in his adopted UK homeland, under a variety of pseudonyms. This mid-career standout would ultimately bear his given name, and it’s an appropriately rowdy B-picture indicative of the director’s rebellious streak. Starring Stanley Baker as ex-con Tom Yately, who takes a job as a truck driver hauling loads of gravel across the European countryside, the film operates at once as social portrait, hardbody racing thriller, and complicated love triangle. When Tom gets wise to labor exploitation practices, he attempts to take down the entire testosterone-fueled infrastructure while rescuing the company’s prized secretary (Peggy Cummins) from the grip of masculinity, and Endfield mounts the ensuring mayhem with a flair and confidence which belie his professional expatriation. (August 15, 9:30pm; August 19, 1:30pm at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s "Red Hollywood and the Blacklist”) [The L]

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