Battle Zone (1952)

81-82 mins | Drama | 26 October 1952

Director:

Lesley Selander

Writer:

Steve Fisher

Cinematographer:

Ernest Miller

Editor:

Jack Ogilvie

Production Designer:

David Milton

Production Company:

Allied Artists Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The film begins with the following written foreword: "We desire to express grateful appreciation to the Department of Defense and the United States Marine Corps, for the cooperation which was extended in the production of this picture. We especially salute the men and officers of Camp Pendleton, California, where many of the sequences were filmed." At the end of the film, the following narration is heard: "Wherever the United States Marines are fighting our nation's battles, whether by land, sea or air, the Marine combat cameraman will be bound. He is a fighting man, using a camera as well as a gun in one of the finest combat forces in the world. To him, we respectfully dedicate this picture." According to an Oct 1952 HCN item, some of the battle footage in the film was taken from Korean War documentary ... More Less

The film begins with the following written foreword: "We desire to express grateful appreciation to the Department of Defense and the United States Marine Corps, for the cooperation which was extended in the production of this picture. We especially salute the men and officers of Camp Pendleton, California, where many of the sequences were filmed." At the end of the film, the following narration is heard: "Wherever the United States Marines are fighting our nation's battles, whether by land, sea or air, the Marine combat cameraman will be bound. He is a fighting man, using a camera as well as a gun in one of the finest combat forces in the world. To him, we respectfully dedicate this picture." According to an Oct 1952 HCN item, some of the battle footage in the film was taken from Korean War documentary films. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
28 Jun 1952.
---
Daily Variety
9 Oct 52
p. 4.
Hollywood Citizen-News
23 Oct 52
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jun 52
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jun 52
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jun 52
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jul 52
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Oct 52
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
18 Oct 52
p. 1565.
New York Times
1 Nov 52
p. 17.
Variety
15 Oct 52
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Walter Wanger Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dresser
MUSIC
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Research
Set cont
Scr supv
Dial dir
DETAILS
Release Date:
26 October 1952
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 22 October 1952
Production Date:
23 June--8 July 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Allied Artists Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
28 September 1952
Copyright Number:
LP2033
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
81-82
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16091
SYNOPSIS

On July 20, 1950 at the Camp Pendleton, California Marine Corps Training Area, newsreel cameraman Master Sgt. Danny Young returns to active duty in the Korean War. Although he has not seen his friend Sgt. Mitch Turner in two years, Danny immediately reignites their rivalry by mocking Mitch for shooting military documentaries instead of the more dangerous combat films. Corp. Andy Sayer is awed to meet Danny, who is highly decorated for his daring work and is now on a special government assignment. The next day, Mitch trains his new recruits at the Motion Picture Production Unit, explaining that films that seem boring, such as reels of tide patterns, are just as important to military strategy as battle footage. Outside, Danny is thrilled to be invited to dinner by his ex-girl friend Jeanne, an Italian Red Cross nurse whom Danny met during World War II. That evening, however, he is furious to hear that Jeanne is now engaged to Mitch. She informs him that she forgave him for cheating on her in Europe, and when she was assigned to America, she looked for him but found only Mitch, and they soon fell in love. Danny storms out of the restaurant, and although he later tries to apologize, she refuses to answer his messages. He is just about to visit her when Mitch informs the troops that they are shipping out to Korea. As the troops board the carriers, Mitch, who is filming the transport, spots Danny talking to Jeanne, who walks away from him. Within days, the troops join the other Marines and United Nations combat forces in South Korea. Their support soon wins the battle, and Danny photographs ... +


On July 20, 1950 at the Camp Pendleton, California Marine Corps Training Area, newsreel cameraman Master Sgt. Danny Young returns to active duty in the Korean War. Although he has not seen his friend Sgt. Mitch Turner in two years, Danny immediately reignites their rivalry by mocking Mitch for shooting military documentaries instead of the more dangerous combat films. Corp. Andy Sayer is awed to meet Danny, who is highly decorated for his daring work and is now on a special government assignment. The next day, Mitch trains his new recruits at the Motion Picture Production Unit, explaining that films that seem boring, such as reels of tide patterns, are just as important to military strategy as battle footage. Outside, Danny is thrilled to be invited to dinner by his ex-girl friend Jeanne, an Italian Red Cross nurse whom Danny met during World War II. That evening, however, he is furious to hear that Jeanne is now engaged to Mitch. She informs him that she forgave him for cheating on her in Europe, and when she was assigned to America, she looked for him but found only Mitch, and they soon fell in love. Danny storms out of the restaurant, and although he later tries to apologize, she refuses to answer his messages. He is just about to visit her when Mitch informs the troops that they are shipping out to Korea. As the troops board the carriers, Mitch, who is filming the transport, spots Danny talking to Jeanne, who walks away from him. Within days, the troops join the other Marines and United Nations combat forces in South Korea. Their support soon wins the battle, and Danny photographs the Koreans surrendering while Mitch films the cooks, to provide families back home with images of their boys eating hot meals. Danny, who has his own Jeep and driver, informs Mitch that Jeanne will arrive in Seoul the following day. Danny beats Mitch to Seoul by hours and there lies to Jeanne that Mitch wants to meet her for lunch. By the time Mitch arrives, he finds them eating together and jealously demands that Jeanne leave with him. In the morning, Danny discovers that Mitch has cancelled his wake-up call and commandeered the Jeep in order to reach the battle area first. Danny, however, requisitions a helicopter and beats Mitch to the front, where they eventually shoot side by side. When they receive their next orders to travel north to snow country, Danny announces he will stay behind, knowing that Jeanne's unit will soon be coming through. Although everyone believes that the war is close to ending, they soon learn that the Chinese Army has joined the South Korean troops and the area towns will be evacuated. Danny photographs the evacuees and then joins Mitch's troops in the north, bearing gifts from the city. After discussing the fact that United States intelligence may take weeks to uncover Chinese plans, Mitch wakes Danny in the middle of the night to inform him that he is taking Andy, Corp. Smitty and a Korean translator past enemy lines to gather intelligence. As Mitch had predicted, Danny insists on coming along, and just before they leave, a group of soldiers assigned to protect them also joins them. Disguised as Koreans, they infiltrate the Chinese area and take photographs that are carried to Army headquarters by runners. Although Danny grumbles that the photographs show nothing, the colonel quickly discerns hidden artillery ranges in them. One night, the exhausted team takes over a local farmhouse, not realizing that one of their runners is a spy who has raced to the Chinese to divulge their location. They are ambushed, and although the Americans emerge victorious, Andy is killed. Upon discovering that their new prisoners have a Chinese truck, the Americans use it as camouflage to gain entrance to, and then photograph, the Chinese headquarters. As they prepare to leave, they are discovered and, at a roadblock, are forced to drop out of the truck and hide from tank gunners. They escape, but Danny's arm is nicked by a bullet. During the two-day walk back to their unit, Danny admits to Mitch that even the dull pictures were important to the war effort. At the camp, Danny cedes full credit for the mission to Mitch and is ministered to by Jeanne, whose outfit has joined the Marine battalion. When Mitch thanks him, Danny informs him that he plans to stay behind with Jeanne while the troops return to combat. Disappointed that Danny has not changed, Mitch prepares to travel on. As the troops leave, Danny tries once more to seduce Jeanne, and when she again turns him down, he finally realizes how much she loves Mitch, and races to catch up to the troops. He spots Mitch on the road and, pulling up in his Jeep, invites him to hop in. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.