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Between Heaven And Hell

4.2 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Robert Wagner, Terry Moore, Broderick Crawford and Buddy Ebsen star in this absorbing drama about a young, self-centered recruit who comes of age during WWII. Sam Gifford (Wagner) is a successful cotton planter who treats his sharecroppers as if they were little more than farm machinery. But during combat in the Pacific, as he sees "quality" people crack, endures life under a sadistic officer (Crawford), and learns true friendship, from a "cropper" (Ebsen), Gifford slowly discovers there's more to a person than social class and good breeding.

Amazon.com

A callow Southern aristocrat (the charismatically challenged Robert Wagner) acquires character and democratic values in the crucible of combat, via a laboriously complicated script that begins in the middle of things and then loads on explanatory flashbacks like a forklift. On "an island in the Pacific, 1945," the scion of a Tennessee cotton dynasty becomes not only comrade-in-arms but also friend to the sharecroppers he once scorned. Although the jungle island is crawling with Japanese snipers and patrols, the greatest danger comes from U.S. officers who are variously incompetent, "yellow," or--in the case of company commander Broderick Crawford--certifiably insane. Screenwriter Harry Brown wrote the World War II classic A Walk in the Sun 11 years earlier, but the characters here are a dull lot and the dialogue terminally flatfooted. However, director Richard Fleischer blocks his action scenes to take full advantage of the CinemaScope format. --Richard T. Jameson

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Wagner, Terry Moore, Broderick Crawford, Buddy Ebsen, Robert Keith
  • Directors: Richard Fleischer
  • Writers: Francis Gwaltney, Harry Brown
  • Producers: David Weisbart
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: May 21, 2002
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000063URX
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,056 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Between Heaven And Hell" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
This war drama tells how a southern soldier changes from a class conscious snob and becomes a human being with the help of Buddy Ebsen. It shows in flashbacks how he used to be a ruthless plantation owner and how he treated his sharecroppers. Along comes WWII and realizes that in war, everybody is the same. His buddies all get killed due to the cowardice of an officer and Wagner almost kills him. He is courtmartial and sent to another unit and meets a psycho company commander played with gusto by Broderick Crawford. The platoon he is ordered to be with are sent up to relieve another platoon on this hill. They are attacked by a Japanese company and everyone is killed except Wagner and Ebsen, but Ebsen is wounded and Wagner must run back for help. Will he make it in time to rescue Ebsen? The movie was nominated for Original Score and if you look real hard, you will recognize Frank Gorshin, who later played the Joker on the TV version of Batman. Not the best war drama ever made, but is good nonetheless.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This is a very effective psychological war film with a great performance by Broderick Crawford as the demented commander of a group of loose canons located in an isolated jungle outpost during W.W.II. Robert Wagner is ordered to the post for his transgressions and comes to terms with his own lack of humanity. This film contains one of Hugo Friedhofer's best scores. The stereo score on this VHS recording sounds excellent.
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Format: DVD
Bobby, we hardly knew ye....

If Hollywood cannot suppress a great concept and turn it into drivel before a film gets made, they often will find a way to do it after it has been released. Orson Welles learned this the hard way making Citizen Kane to his great pain, and could never get quite enough funding for any big film after that.

This is no Citizen Kane, nor will Robert Wagner ever, ever, be confused with Orson Welles. On the other hand, to call him un-charismatic?!? Not to a whole generation of girls in the 50's and 60's, including my sweetie. Not to mention to a whole generation of guys who wanted to be like him.

As a war film, it is way above the cut and cannot be written off too easily after viewing. I esteem it as much as Hell Is For Heroes with Steve McQueen or Attack! with Jack Palance. Films that stood out from the fodder, and were rarely duplicated if ever. Why this one never got respect, I am too young to have heard, and at this point, there is a whole new generation who will get to see, and perhaps appreciate it.

I saw this film many years ago on TV and I never quite forgot it, for many reasons, and I have been dying to see it released on DVD.

The other reviews on this site give a decent summation of the plot, but the truth of the film goes deeper. Buddy Ebson as a sharecropper gives a slyly informed humanity to people we all have driven by when we saw them (barely) working in the fields, or else cleaning our offices, or in our kitchens.

Broderick Crawford so typifies the insanity of war, where we can find ourselve in situations without a rulebook, yet not knowing the rules means death.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first saw this film as a youngster in '57 when Robert Wagner was the nice guy Elvis wasn't, but wore the same haircut he had later in TV land with "It Takes A Thief." He's always troubled, whether appearing in "What Price, Glory?" with James Cagney and Dan Dailey etc. before breaking free of B movies and heading for TV mega-stardom. The standout actor is Broderick Crawford playing a wacko, named "Waco"who seems to be at the edge of sanity constantly. The music, of all things, was nominated for an Oscar, while I would nominate all the gear difficult to duplicate in war films today: a troop transport,an LST, landing craft and several half-track trucks. Buddy Ebsen grows closest to Wagner before you can say Davy Crockett. Richard Fleischer directs the action from a soap-opera novel in the spirit of those times like "Naked and the Dead," (a dull story) with Terry Moore looking fine in her cameos. Only here Fleischer is wise enough to leave the tugging home drama far behind in flashbacks smoothly handled. The supporting players are extensive WWII film players: Robert Keith ("Men In War"), Brad Dexter, Skip Homeier, Harvey Lembeck("Stalag 17")and an un-credited Frank Gorshin (Hollywood impressionist then). You might say this is an early PTSD film, exploring the sanity of men during battle while suffering battle fatigue. By the conclusion Wagner has swapped his feelings of class superiority as a southern cotton magnate for the self-regard of his fighting comrades. It was always nice to return to this film to appreciate the contribution the BAR model 1917 made to stand-off warfare. Either the BAR or Broderick Crawford barks you to attention in this early off-beat war yarn.
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Format: VHS Tape
This film is about a man whose worldview is limited by his prejudiced, high-class upbringing. The horrors of war will show him the error of his ways and become a better human. The path is indeed a hard one.
The story begins "in medias res" with a demoted sergeant being transferred to a distant post in the Pacific Theatre in WWII. Robert Wagner plays this soldier from the South named Sam Gifford who must now rejoin the rank and file. Under the command of a sadistic captain, Gifford recalls his past as a wealthy landowner and his treatment of his sharecroppers. He then recalls the events of his heroism and demotion. Through all of this, he learns that the people he mistreated back home are just as capable of heroism and that he has been wrong.
Buddy Ebsen, from "The Beverly Hillbillies," plays a part in this film, and I believe he made the movie enjoyable. He wasn't comic relief, but played the stout-hearted sharecropper that truly showed Gifford the error of his ways.
The part of the sadistic captain doesn't seem to fit at first, but watch the whole movie, and his place and his story will make sense.
A fairly good movie, but the flashbacks seem a bit excessive. They are necessary, but still seem a bit much where they are.
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