Thursday, November 20, 2014

One Minute to Zero - 1952

One Minute to Zero (1952), like most war movies, isn’t “timeless,” which is a label critics so often paste on their reviews of a film to indicate a particular quality of excellence, more than of immortality.  It is locked, perhaps hamstrung, by its singular event of the Korean War—whose ambiguous political and military result is, not surprisingly, reflected in the film’s ambiguous and even ambivalent message.

The film, for many months up until its release in August 1952 was referred to in the press by its original (if unoriginal sounding) title: The Korean Story.  Produced at RKO by Edmund Grainger under the auspices of Howard Hughes, suffering delays due to severe weather on location in Colorado and the loss of its lead actress, Claudette Colbert, due to pneumonia she contracted there in the bitter cold.  The movie carried the reputation of a jinxed picture long before the crew limped back to Hollywood.  With several of the film’s cast and crew down sick, lead actor Robert Mitchum’s brawl with a serviceman, and the cooperation of the military up in the air with Howard Hughes over a scene the government preferred to be censored, the only bright spot in the lumbering affair seemed to be the popular, if unlikely, young actress Hughes hired at the eleventh hour to step into the female lead.  She also raised eyebrows due to her youthfulness compared to the other actresses hired, or considered for the role (Colbert, and also Joan Crawford), and speculation as to how the “little lady” of Hollywood would fare in a testosterone-infused war picture against bad boy Robert Mitchum.

Ann Blyth had just turned 23 years old when she belatedly joined the cast of what would eventually be called One Minute to Zero.  She told interviewer Eddie Muller in her 2006 appearance at the Castro Theater in San Francisco (in the transcript as posted by The Evening Class blog here):

I found myself in Howard Hughes' office with my agent—I didn't really want to go by myself; I'd heard stories—anyway, he was very nice to me, sat off in the corner…

According to a column by Louella Parsons, who visited Ann on the set of The World in His Arms, which we covered here, Ann was due to head out to location shooting in Colorado Springs for Hughes’ war picture “at the break of dawn the next day,” with no break between pictures. She told the gossip columnist that 1951 had been the most memorable and exciting year for her, in which she traveled to England for I’ll Never Forget You, visited relatives in Ireland for the first time, and saw the release of four very different films: the murder mystery Thunder on the Hill discussed here, exotic historical costume picture The Golden Horde, I’ll Never Forget You, and The Great Caruso, discussed here, which helped to launch her into MGM musicals.  Her versatility evident, there seemed to be no reason not to put her into a war picture, even if the script had to be altered to reflect a much younger woman in the role.  

From a syndicated article by Hugh Heffernan: 

This embattled outfit, headed by director Tay Garnett, has been filming The Korean Story on location sites near Denver for the last three months – and overcoming one rugged and discouraging hardship after another.…First of all, Joan Crawford pulled out from the star role after the company had been shooting there for several weeks awaiting her arrival.  Jane Greer was then announced as the replacement and there was more stalling until it became apparent that she could not be released from a previous commitment.

After two weeks of dealing, Claudette Colbert agreed to leap into the breach.  Claudette actually reported, but within a few days, was stricken…Meanwhile, the outfit kept on shooting with what it could, which wasn’t much.

Today they’re working with their fourth leading lady...but before Ann could take over, the heroine role had to be revamped almost in its entirety.

Too many excursions in Hollywood companies have been suffering torturous location pains recently and The Korean Story miseries may prove to be the straw that breaks the Hollywood jaunting budget.

Director Tay Garnett mentioned the troubles in his autobiography, Light Your Torches andPull Up Your Tights:

When we arrived in Colorado, the trees had just come into full leaf.  When we finally locked up the last can of film, we had wired alien branches to the denuded aspens so as to match the stuff we shot in the spring.

Our initial difficulty was that, three-fourths through the location shooting, Claudette Colbert came down with a four-star case of pneumonia.  She was game, but 104-degrees of fever hospitalized her

He developed a “short sequence of pneumonia,” too, and was hospitalized.

H.H. suggested that I fly to Hollywood, because he wanted me, personally, to discuss the Colbert role with Joan Crawford.

Joan was represented at the time by Lew Wasserman (then head of the MCA talent agency, and now president of Universal Studios).  I’ve always felt that, because the male roles were dominant in Zero, Lew advised Joan against taking the lone female part.  I was disappointed.  I had known Joan for years and had always wanted to direct her.  She brings a brilliant talent onto the set, and I’m convinced she would have been great in the Zero role.

In Hollywood, I reported the situation to Mr. Hughes (by telephone) and was told to return to Colorado Springs the next morning, because Ann Blyth had been signed for the part.


Somewhat earlier, Ann had played (superbly) Joan Crawford’s daughter in Mildred Pierce; obviously our entire script had to be rewritten to accommodate the younger casting.

Ann managed to complete the assignment without getting pneumonia, and also got along with her bad-boy co-star.  She recalled in Eddie Muller’s interview noted above:

“…he was a terrific man to work with.  I loved working with Bob.  He was terrific.  He loved to play gags.  We had one scene one day—it wasn't too serious a scene so I guess he thought he could get away with this—and he got together with the prop department and he said, ‘Now, in this scene I want you to—up in the rafters—have a rubber chicken.’  In the course of the scene—and of course he always had his buff body—he said, ‘In the middle of the scene I'm going to aim up there and I want you to throw the chicken down.’  So we started the scene and—as I say—it was a fairly serious scene, rather melodramatic, and we were going along nicely when I hear this bang and this chicken comes down.  I kept right on going with my lines.”

Also, in 2006 she told interviewer Tavo Amador for The Bay Area Reporter:

Bob Mitchum was a favorite.  I loved Bob.  He was a big man, with boyish charm.  And an underrated actor.  He’s so frightening in the original CapeFear, which was much better than the remake.”

She would continue to defend him when more alleged brawls gave his reputation a black eye in the years after she worked with him. 

“...when I worked with him, he was a perfect gentleman.  He always knew his lines.  He has the nicest manners and always was considerate of me.

“Every time he sees me.  He always comes right over and asks about my new baby, Timmy,” she beamed.  “I think he’s wonderful.”

Nor did she apparently mind climbing on a five-inch-high box for their kissing scenes.

Their most intriguing scene together, however, is playing sitting opposite each other at a kitchen table after she has made supper for him at her apartment in Japan, their first date.  The candles burn down, and both, slightly slumped over the table, he with his chin on his hand, give the impression of being all talked out.  A soothing, lazy tune, in a delicately Asian style, penetrates their silence, coming, we are told in quick camera shot from a record on a portable record player.  Suddenly, Robert Mitchum begins to sing along to the tune, in Japanese.  Catch Ann’s expression of surprised delight.  She is glued to his face, watching him sing, fascinated by him. It opens the door to their romance.  She sees there is more to him than just a blustering alpha male, dismissive of her opinions on the war.

In this story, Mr. Mitchum is a career U.S. Army officer stationed in Korea as tensions build with the communist uprising in the north.  Ann Blyth is a United Nations health worker.  He represents the male warrior and she is the female pacifist, (the yin and yang of this arrangement, I think, is more coincidental on Howard Hughes’ part than an artful use of Asian philosophy) and their first encounters are combative, a mixture of bad first impressions and a Cliff Notes version of geopolitics in 1951.  She puts her faith in the United Nations in curbing aggression; he feels the U.N. will be useless in stopping aggressors.  Both will bend somewhat in these opinions, but the conclusions are lost in a burst of new weaponry: jet airplanes firing rockets, and scouring the hills with napalm. 

We’ll go back to the war in a minute.  First, we return to that candlelight dinner.  As Robert Mitchum lazily smokes a cigarette (his trademark sleepy performance punctuates pretty nearly everything he does in this movie), he coaxes Ann, who confesses she knows only the English words to that tune, to sing.  Bless him.

So now it’s her turn at bat, and Ann sings an English verse of “Golden Moon.”  It is low, quiet, and lovely, and the really neat thing about this scene (correct me, please, if I’m wrong) is that they both appear to be singing “live.”  I don’t believe they’re lip-synching to a pre-recorded track.  It’s easier to keep the flow of singing and dialogue in this quiet, moody setting by having them do it live.  What we get is a very casual, natural, and intimate moment.

When they get up to move to the living room to have their coffee, Mitchum whistles another tune that becomes their romantic leitmotif, and we will later call it, “When I Fall in Love.”  It will swoop down upon us in a glorious wash of violins whenever they want each other, hurt each other, or just see each other.  For what is really a fairly pedestrian war movie, it’s unusual and quite charming to have such a moving love song be used so frequently and with such power.

The song was recorded by many through the decade, Doris Day and Nat King Cole both released very popular versions.  Unfortunately, Ann Blyth did not, and I don’t know who dropped the football here.

Thanks for “Golden Moon,” Howard, but why in Aunt Mary’s knickers didn’t Blyth sing the bloody theme song?

Pardon my French.

By the way, Ann gets to speak a little French in the movie too.

 Later in the film, when they’ve gotten serious, he proposes marriage, but she turns him down, bitterly showing him the box of medals, including the Medal of Honor, that had been awarded to her late husband, killed in World War II.  

“The President shook my hand,” she whimpers, not with pride, but brokenheartedly to the Medal of Honor, sifting the ribbon in her fingers.  That was another war, and another lifetime ago.  

We see this reality, too, in the modern weaponry the film displays.  This is isn’t your older brother’s war.  With Howard Hughes’ involvement with the aviation industry, it’s no wonder the fighter jets are the real stars of the movie, including a look at some Australian planes coming to the rescue of Mitchum and his infantry platoon at one point.  The footage of the military planes is impressive, even if the Australian accent from the pilot speaking over the radio is atrociously fake.

The picture also liberally uses genuine combat footage with the cooperation of the government. (The movie was filmed at Fort Carson, using troops of the 148th Field Artillery.)  It’s hard to say whether the footage is used successfully.  It is, certainly, a realistic view on war that takes us out of the back lot, and farther away than Colorado, but as often happens with interspersing other footage—say, as with rear-screen projection—the cuts are pretty obvious and we are not fooled into thinking the image we see is part of the scene.  We can easily tell what is government combat footage.  There are times when a soldier looks off to the side, we see a flaming tank, and it looks as if he is suddenly watching a newsreel and not a real tank beside him.  We are jerked out of the scene.

Another problem is the footage used, much of which is gratuitous—the enemy seared by flame-throwing and napalm, with screams added to the soundtrack for effect, pitiful refugees, and scores of dead American soldiers.  They seem to be used for shock effect and not for storytelling.  All these images are part of the reality of war, and to understand our participation in a war we should see them, but I think they are more effectively used in a documentary, or at least used in a fictional story with a greater skill.  After one removes these combat footage splices from One Minute to Zero, what is left is a standard Hollywood type war picture, with a squad of regular joes trying to maintain their position.  Some of the dialogue is pretty hokey.

We have the smart alecks, the comically naïve dumbbell, played by Alvin Greenman, who you’ll remember as the young janitor, Alfred, in Miracle on 34th Street (1947).  Charles McGraw plays the gruff, but hero-worshiping sidekick sergeant of Robert Mitchum.  You’ll remember gravelly voiced McGraw from Once More, My Darling (1949) here, where he played the chauffer of oddball socialite Ann’s wealthy eccentric father.  He also stars in one of my favorite train noirs, The Narrow Margin (1952) here.  They stumble through the Korean countryside, kill and are killed, are kind to Korean children and teach them how to blow bubbles with bubble gum.

Richard Egan is the captain of the lost squad.  It’s really quite an accomplishment for the film to juggle so many subplots: the guys in battle, the air force pilots who fly over from their base in Japan, including Mitchum’s longtime pal William Talman, whom many of us remember as the perpetually losing attorney on TV’s Perry Mason.  Their wives are with them, and that, too, makes this war strangely different from the Pacific Theater of World War II.  They show up at the airbase to watch their men come back from a mission, and count to see which ones don’t come back.

And then, a romance with Ann Blyth, who pops in and out of Robert Mitchum’s very busy life in Korea.  Perhaps the oddest and most uncomfortable subplot in the movie, the scene for which the film is most remembered, is when Mitchum orders his men to fire upon a long file of refugees approaching his checkpoint.  Innocent men and women, small children, and frail elderly, are massacred.

It is this scene to which the Department of Defense objected, and asked Hughes to remove from the film. (According to Transforming the Screen, 1950 to 1959 by Peter Lev, Mr. Hughes first ascertained whether defying the ban would hurt his defense contracts for his Hughes Aircraft.  He was told it wouldn’t.  He went ahead, apparently despite his promise not to film the scene.)  

It is based on an apparent actual incident from 1950 where American troops fired on Korean civilians, the facts of which are still cloudy.  In the movie, a long column of refugees, moving away from battle areas to safety, approach Robert Mitchum’s platoon, which is maintaining a defensive position.  Mitchum gives the order to fire warning shots from artillery to scare them away, to force them to go back to an area where the military will drop food and supplies to them.  The refugees ignore the warnings and continue to walk toward Mitchum’s outpost.

We are shown, in a rather melodramatic and heavy-handed way that many of the refugees are being prodded forward by enemy soldiers, who are using them as, in the modern term, “human shields.”  Mitchum knows this, and he will not allow the enemy infiltrators approach.  He fires more artillery, this time a little closer to the people.  They still proceed forward.

It is a showdown, and ultimately, Mitchum gives the orders to fire the artillery directly into the long column of people, massacring them.

At this moment, Ann Blyth, on duty with her U.N. health unit, shows up in a jeep, watches with horror, and tearfully, hysterically confronts Mitchum on the monstrous thing he has done.  Of course, he slaps her because that's what you do with women who cry and shout in your face.

By the end of the film, William Talman will take her aside and show her (through the inevitable clip of government footage) a temporary morgue in a bombed-out village where lie the corpses of many American soldiers, whose deaths, many of them slaughtered with their hands tied behind their backs, are the result of those enemy infiltrators sneaking into U.S. lines by way of refugees.

The end of the movie tries to switch back to patriotic World War II movie-mode and shows Ann in a bombed-out church praying for forgiveness for misjudging Mitchum, and praying for his safety.  When she finally catches up to him, as he is going off to more fighting, she says she wants to be his wife.  He tells her, without a trace of romance, but rather like he is acknowledging a salute from one of his men, “You will.”  And the columns of men leave us with Ann's patriotic voiceover.

This scene, after the daring move of showing the horror of war with ugly combat film, the political murkiness of our involvement, and even the ambivalence of the men and officers, seems forced and ersatz.  The movie drifts awkwardly between comforting us that this is just like World War II, and “we did it before and we can do it again”—and an eerie, unsettled frankness that tells us we are in a completely different ballgame and nobody knows the future.

Regarding the massacre, we may acknowledge that a scene of this sort would never have been shown in a World War II-era Hollywood movie, even to justify it.  U.S. military personnel didn’t massacre civilians, that would be the message.  (Even in a future war, information on the MLai massacre in Vietnam was censored by the U.S. government.)

But, the boldness of this scene is weakened by the way the audience is supposed to feel sympathy for the stoic, if mentally anguished, Robert Mitchum for having to do his duty by firing on civilians.  We may, indeed, feel sorry for him, as making such a decision and then having to live with it must be terrible.  However, we cannot, in all conscience or logic, feel more sorry for him than we do for the innocents who were murdered in the name of weeding out the bad guys.  The idea that we must feel worse for Mitchum than the refugees is ludicrous, but that is what the film tries to accomplish in order to build up the hero.  Since everybody in this movie has been hero-worshipping Mitchum, talking about his character, his guts and his excellent military record, we don’t need to be hammered over the head that anything he does is for the greater good.  The scene would have been more powerful if it were Mitchum in the bombed-out church praying for forgiveness.

As propagandist as the World War II movies were (to an extent, all war movies are propagandist), the hero in those films never demanded, or even asked for our pity.  He might have earned it, but he didn’t ask.  

Perhaps we were so scared we’d lose that war, he didn’t have to.  Everything he did was jake with us.  But we didn’t feel Korea was a threat to our existence, and if many regarded it as an ideological threat, that was not enough.  It became, almost the moment it started, “The Forgotten War.”

Bosley Crowther, our old acerbic friend from The New York Times remarked of the film:

Plainly, One Minute to Zero is a ripely synthetic affair, arranged to arouse emotions with the most easy and obvious clichés.  And, although some of the battle talk sounds faithful and the inter-cut news shots are sincere, neither the story nor the performances of the actors, including Miss Blyth and Mr. Mitchum, rings true.  Here is another war picture that smells of grease paint and studios.

His last line is, I think, particularly telling.  War movies were old hat.  We’d seen them all before.  For whatever propagandist hue Howard Hughes tried to paint in this film to make it earnest for the military whose cooperation he needed to supply troops and equipment for the movie, and palatable to an apparently bored and war-weary audience, it didn’t create a big splash.   

But One Minute to Zero remains for us as a unique slice of history told, not in the grand scale Hughes was apparently reaching for, but in the detail of the reconnaissance plotting of the officers at the base in Japan, in the procedural tactics practiced with dull repetition by the little family of grunts that make up Richard Egan’s forlorn squad, and in the stolen moments between Robert Mitchum and Ann Blyth, whose courtship is sporadic under the “rules of engagement” the Korean War has allowed them.  

I can’t imagine their characters ever settling down in suburbia together.  Maybe that’s where the audience of 1952 was really headed, in minds and hearts as well as physically, leaving the Korean War behind.

Ann Blyth, having long established a routine of donating whatever time she could to charity singing engagements, as we discussed in this post, also made time to visit military bases in the U.S. and territories to entertain the troops, just as she had as a teen during World War II. 

She toured several bases in the territory of Alaska in 1952, as we discussed on this post on The World in His Arms (1952) and performed with Jack Benny at the White Sands Missile Base in New Mexico in 1951.  She visited former Ford Ord Army Base on the Monterey Bay in California also in September 1952, where she was named the Queen of the 20th Regiment and apparently helped the young GI David Janssen to join Special Services, a unit that was involved in entertainment and sports activities on the base.  What clout she might have had, or how she was able to do this is unknown to me at the present time, but David Janssen gave her input a fair degree of importance, feeling that it might have kept him from being sent into battle in Korea, and he was always grateful to her.  A website devoted to Janssen posts a letter he apparently wrote October 13, 1952 to his mother from Fort Ord after Ann Blyth’s visit there in September mentioning his writing a thank you letter to Ann Blyth, as well as Frank McFadden of Universal's publicity department.

Ann received quite a bit of fan mail from military personnel, and it was reported in a syndicated column by Armand Archerd in 1951 that some 2,000 letters per month came to her from GIs, about three-quarters of all her mail.  Perhaps Howard Hughes knew about this when signing her to the role.

When the film finished, she went right into her next movie without a break, right into being 12 years old in Sally and Saint Anne (1952), which we discussed here.

But Howard Hughes wasn’t quite finished with her.  In appreciation for her stepping in when the clock was running out on his shooting schedule, he gave her a new Cadillac, and a trip to Hawaii.  Ann took her uncle and aunt, with whom she lived, with her in the spring of 1952.

U.S. Navy photo

Where, in April she performed for the troops at Fort Shafter, Honolulu with Bob Hope, and on Easter Sunday, she visited the USS Wisconsin and sang for the crew.

Come back next Thursday, our Thanksgiving post, for an on-location shoot not quite as arduous, when Ann appears in her first and only big-screen western, her first movie in color, with Howard Duff and George Brent in Red Canyon (1949)

The Bay Area Reporter, July 20, 2006, by Tavo Amador – “The Real Veda Pierce: a Serene Ann Blyth.

Court, Darren and the White Sands Missile Range Museum.  White Sands Missile Range – (Charleston, SC; Chicago, Portsmouth, NH; San Francisco: Arcadia Publishing, 2009) pp 121-122. 

David website -

Deseret News November 28, 1951 p. 2F – see article by Hugh Heffernan; December 9, 1951, by Sheilah Graham. 

Garnett, Tay.  Light Your Torches and Pull Up Your Tights (NY: Arlington House, 1973), pp. 282-283.

Kentucky New Era, February 9, 1951 – by Armand Archerd “Home Girl, Not Cheesecake, Pit Top Requests of GIs.”  

Lev, Peter.  Transforming the Screen, 1950 to 1959.  (University of California Press, 2006)

Milwaukee Sentinel, November 14, 1951, column by Louella Parsons part 1, p.8.

New York Times, September 20, 1952, review by Bosley Crowther.  

The Register-Guard (Eugene, Oregon) January 24, 1955, p. 5B  “Friends to the Defense of Robert Mitchum.”

St. Joseph News-Press (Missouri), December 16, 1951, column by Louella Parons, p. 4D.
USS Wisconsin website:

THANK the following folks whose aid in gathering material for this series has been invaluable:  EBH; Kevin Deany of Kevin's Movie Corner; Gerry Szymski of Westmont Movie Classics, Westmont, Illinois; and Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. of Thrilling Days of Yesteryear.  And thanks to all those who signed on as backers to my recent Kickstarter campaign.  The effort failed to raise the funding needed, but I'll always remember your kind support.
TRIVIA QUESTION:  I've recently been contacted by someone who wants to know if the piano player in Dillinger (1945-see post here) is the boogie-woogie artist Albert Ammons. Please leave comment or drop me a line if you know.

mel said...

I consulted David Meeker's authoritative and exhaustive book "Jazz On The Screen - a Jazz And Blues Filmography" (2008) and Albert Ammons is not mentioned as performing in Dillinger (1945).
So my educated guess is a negative.
November 7, 2014

Thanks, Mel.
UPDATE:  This series on Ann Blyth is now a book - ANN BLYTH: ACTRESS. SINGER. STAR. -

The audio book for Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is now for sale on, and on Amazon and iTunes.

Also in paperback and eBook from Amazon, CreateSpace, and my Etsy shop: LynchTwinsPublishing.

 "Lynch’s book is organized and well-written – and has plenty of amusing observations – but when it comes to describing Blyth’s movies, Lynch’s writing sparkles." - Ruth Kerr, Silver Screenings

"Jacqueline T. Lynch creates a poignant and thoroughly-researched mosaic of memories of a fine, upstanding human being who also happens to be a legendary entertainer." - Deborah Thomas, Java's Journey

"One of the great strengths of Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is that Lynch not only gives an excellent overview of Blyth's career -- she offers detailed analyses of each of Blyth's roles -- but she puts them in the context of the larger issues of the day."- Amanda Garrett, Old Hollywood Films

"Jacqueline's book will hopefully cause many more people to take a look at this multitalented woman whose career encompassed just about every possible aspect of 20th Century entertainment." - Laura Grieve, Laura's Miscellaneous Musings''

"Jacqueline T. Lynch’s Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is an extremely well researched undertaking that is a must for all Blyth fans." - Annette Bochenek, Hometowns to Hollywood

Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. 
by Jacqueline T. Lynch

The first book on the career of actress Ann Blyth. Multitalented and remarkably versatile, Blyth began on radio as a child, appeared on Broadway at the age of twelve in Lillian Hellman's Watch on the Rhine, and enjoyed a long and diverse career in films, theatre, television, and concerts. A sensitive dramatic actress, the youngest at the time to be nominated for her role in Mildred Pierce (1945), she also displayed a gift for comedy, and was especially endeared to fans for her expressive and exquisite lyric soprano, which was showcased in many film and stage musicals. Still a popular guest at film festivals, lovely Ms. Blyth remains a treasure of the Hollywood's golden age.

A new collection of essays, some old, some new, from this blog titled Movies in Our Time: Hollywood Mimics and Mirrors the 20th Century is now out in eBook, and in paperback here.


Caftan Woman said...

I don't believe I have heard of this movie previously. Blyth and Mitchum sound like an intriguing couple to me. Quite a beleaguered production. A game cast can only do so much, but can garner the good will of an audience.

Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

True enough, CW. I was intrigued by how the movie jumps from one subplot to another. It was a good try, but probably just attempted too much. The story is hampered by cliché, but I think the direction is solid.

Elisabeth Grace Foley said...

I had no idea "When I Fall In Love" was from a movie. I guess it's one of those cases where the song's popularity outshines its source.

Merits of this film aside, did Bosley Crowther ever write a positive review? I'm not sure I've seen one yet. :)

Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

"When I Fall in Love," and the bit where they sing the Japanese ditty to each other are the best parts of the movie.

I love Bosley Crowther. He just cracks me up. It's true he wasn't complimentary very often, and sometimes I wonder if he even liked his job. But there's just something endearing about that old fussbudget. I don't know what.

Kevin Deany said...

Very interesting comments from Ann about working with Mitchum. It's been so long since I've seen this I don't remember it, even that massacre scene. Sounds like its due for a re-visit. Hughes films from the early 1950s are some of the flakiest ever put out by a major studio. A lot of them are all over the place both thematically and tonally, and ONE MINUTE TO ZERO sounds like one of them.

Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

I think you're right here, Kevin: "Hughes films from the early 1950s are some of the flakiest ever put out by a major studio. A lot of them are all over the place both thematically and tonally..."

It's a curiosity, but has it's interesting moments.

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