Eight Iron Men (1952)

80 mins | Drama | December 1952

Director:

Edward Dmytryk

Writer:

Harry Brown

Cinematographer:

J. Roy Hunt

Editor:

Aaron Stell

Production Designer:

Rudolph Sternad

Production Company:

Stanley Kramer Co., Inc.
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HISTORY

The working titles of the film were The Dirty Dozen and The Sound of Hunting . The film was based on Harry Brown's 1945 play A Sound of Hunting , which featured Burt Lancaster in the Broadway production. Although the play ran for only three weeks, Lancaster received attention from Hollywood and made his screen debut the following year in The Killers (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). According to an Apr 1949 NYT news item, Franchot Tone was to appear in and direct the film, which would star Glenn Ford and Lew Ayres. RKO was mentioned as a possible distributor at that time. Bonar Colleano, an American actor who had appeared in a number of British film productions, made his American film debut in Eight Iron Men . Alan Nichol, Paul Gilbert and Gene Reynolds starred in the Lux Radio Theatre version of Eight Iron Men , broadcast on 12 May ... More Less

The working titles of the film were The Dirty Dozen and The Sound of Hunting . The film was based on Harry Brown's 1945 play A Sound of Hunting , which featured Burt Lancaster in the Broadway production. Although the play ran for only three weeks, Lancaster received attention from Hollywood and made his screen debut the following year in The Killers (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). According to an Apr 1949 NYT news item, Franchot Tone was to appear in and direct the film, which would star Glenn Ford and Lew Ayres. RKO was mentioned as a possible distributor at that time. Bonar Colleano, an American actor who had appeared in a number of British film productions, made his American film debut in Eight Iron Men . Alan Nichol, Paul Gilbert and Gene Reynolds starred in the Lux Radio Theatre version of Eight Iron Men , broadcast on 12 May 1955. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
25 Oct 1952.
---
Daily Variety
22 Oct 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
29 Oct 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jun 1951.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Feb 1952
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Mar 1952
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 1952
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Mar 1952
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Oct 52
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
25 Oct 52
p. 1581.
New York Times
10 Apr 1949.
---
New York Times
2 Jan 53
p. 11.
Variety
22 Oct 52
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Stanley Kramer Company Prod.
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Ed supv
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus score
SOUND
Sd eng
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play A Sound of Hunting by Harry Brown (New York, 20 Nov 1945).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Dirty Dozen
The Sound of Hunting
Release Date:
December 1952
Production Date:
5 March--29 March 1952 at RKO-Pathé Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Stanley Kramer Co., Inc.
Copyright Date:
18 August 1952
Copyright Number:
LP1864
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
80
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15885
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Europe, during World War II, three U.S. Army infantry soldiers--leader Carter, Small and Ferguson--who are trying to return to their squad's camp, are pinned down by an enemy machine-gun nest. Coke, another soldier who has become separated from the squad, arrives at the camp, which is in the basement of an abandoned building, and as sporadic gunfire continues outside, frets about the others. Soldier Collucci awakens from dreaming of a beautiful woman and advises the nervous Coke to remain calm. Near the machine-gun nest, Carter, Ferguson and Small make a planned dash, but Small goes the wrong way and becomes trapped in a huge crater just in front of the nest. Coke anxiously greets the other members of the squad, Sgt. Mooney, Sapiros and Muller, and Mooney complains about the squad having been split up during their patrol. Walsh, a messenger from the main camp, brings a package for Muller and reveals that rumors are circulating that after seventeen days the division will be pulling out that evening. The squad greets Muller’s fruit cake from home with enthusiasm, then grows serious when Carter returns with Ferguson and reports that Small is trapped in the shell hole. The men reflect on why Small, a clumsy, well-meaning man, married with children, volunteered for the Army, and Muller insists on saving a slice of cake for him. Coke presses Mooney to return to rescue Small, but Carter explains that he and Ferguson tried to provide Small with ample cover, but his position was too precarious. Carter suggests that Small will have a better chance to escape at nightfall and can then easily catch ... +


In Europe, during World War II, three U.S. Army infantry soldiers--leader Carter, Small and Ferguson--who are trying to return to their squad's camp, are pinned down by an enemy machine-gun nest. Coke, another soldier who has become separated from the squad, arrives at the camp, which is in the basement of an abandoned building, and as sporadic gunfire continues outside, frets about the others. Soldier Collucci awakens from dreaming of a beautiful woman and advises the nervous Coke to remain calm. Near the machine-gun nest, Carter, Ferguson and Small make a planned dash, but Small goes the wrong way and becomes trapped in a huge crater just in front of the nest. Coke anxiously greets the other members of the squad, Sgt. Mooney, Sapiros and Muller, and Mooney complains about the squad having been split up during their patrol. Walsh, a messenger from the main camp, brings a package for Muller and reveals that rumors are circulating that after seventeen days the division will be pulling out that evening. The squad greets Muller’s fruit cake from home with enthusiasm, then grows serious when Carter returns with Ferguson and reports that Small is trapped in the shell hole. The men reflect on why Small, a clumsy, well-meaning man, married with children, volunteered for the Army, and Muller insists on saving a slice of cake for him. Coke presses Mooney to return to rescue Small, but Carter explains that he and Ferguson tried to provide Small with ample cover, but his position was too precarious. Carter suggests that Small will have a better chance to escape at nightfall and can then easily catch up with the division. Unconvinced, Mooney reports to Lt. Crane to request permission to send out a rescue party. Unaware of the division’s new orders to pull out, Crane tells Mooney that he must confirm the orders with Capt. Trelawny, and will then advise Mooney. Back in the squad’s basement, Collucci falls into another reverie imagining himself irresistible to numerous beautiful women while Muller continues to guard the remaining piece of fruit cake. When an impatient Coke lunges outside, intending to go after Small, Mooney intervenes and Carter attempts to placate them both. A sudden burst of machine-gun fire in the distance quiets the bickering men. Crane sets off for Trelawny’s headquarters but is shot down by an enemy sniper. As the afternoon wears on, Coke grumbles about their inactivity and the bad luck of breaking up the original squad, until Carter offers to go to Trelawny directly. Carter returns to inform the men of Crane’s death and Trelawny’s refusal to allow them to go after Small. Incensed, Mooney then goes out to confront the captain. Trelawny informs Mooney that he must consider the safety of all the men under his command, not just one, and refuses the rescue request again. Frustrated by the decision, Mooney nevertheless returns to camp, where he and Coke replace Sapiros and Ferguson on guard duty. While Collucci continues to eye the remaining piece of fruit cake, Ferguson falls asleep and dreams of marrying his hometown sweetheart. Mooney and Coke continue arguing about Trelawny’s orders until they realize they have not heard the machine-gun in some time and wonder if Small is dead. Hunter, another messenger from the main camp, arrives to advise the men that they have thirty minutes before the official pull-out. Suddenly the men hear a burst from the machine-gun and, galvanized, Mooney orders Muller to get the mortar. Mooney places Sapiros and Ferguson back on guard duty, orders Collucci and Carter to remain in camp and goes after Small with Muller and Coke. A short time later, Trelawny hears the mortar and machine-gun fire and angrily goes to Mooney’s camp. When an abrupt silence falls, Carter and Collucci listen anxiously. Trelawny arrives and demands to know why Carter allowed Mooney to disobey orders and risk more men to rescue Small. Carter admits he agrees with Mooney’s decision and when Trelawny presses him, Carter declares that the men are bound closer than a family and feel an overwhelming necessity to remain together, whether dead or alive. Mooney and the others return to report that despite their efforts they were unable to get near Small. Coke is unconvinced that Small is dead, but Mooney wearily orders the men to pack, as they are already late for the pull-out. Unknown to the others, Collucci decides to go out to look for Small. When he kills the sniper, the others hear the shot and realize what has happened. Collucci throws several grenades at the machine-gun nest until, climbing atop an abandoned tank, he gets clear aim and hurls a grenade directly into the nest. Back in the camp, the other men stand about expectantly until Trelawny returns, furious, to order them to pull out. Collucci then arrives with a limping Small and, to the men's amazement, reveals that Small suffered a twisted ankle and slept the entire day in the shell hole, oblivious to the gunfire and excitement around him. Trelawny departs without further comment as the squad members grow infuriated at Small’s passivity. As the incredulous men gather their equipment and prepare to leave, Collucci eats the last piece of fruit cake. +

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.