BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL—-callow Southern rich-boy Robert Wagner enlists after Pearl Harbor and finds his attitudes to life shaken, not least regarding class differences. Stuck in a punishment company for foul-ups and fighting the enemy while under the command of ‘Waco’ (Broderick Crawford)—make that ‘wacko’—is no picnic either.
Taut little 1956 picture is directed with drive by Richard Fleischer, well photographed by Leo Tover in sharp color, outfitted with good sound and a fine Oscar-nominated score from Hugo Friedhofer.
Dialogue is pretty good, even if some of the situations stretch to the ridiculous. Wagner gives one his least glamour-conscious performances (a good year for him, playing total bad guys to effect in The Mountain and A Kiss Before Dying ) and Buddy Ebsen is able as his good-natured sidekick. Skip Homeier does his dependable best to make you hate him in another of many nasty turns. Brod Crawford bellows his lines with enough timbre to crack your bass control.
Wagner’s survival run through the jungle is excitingly staged. 94 minutes, with Terry Moore, Robert Keith, Brad Dexter, L.Q. Jones, Mark Damon, Harvey Lembeck, Biff Elliott, Frank Gorshin and Carl Switzer. Budgeted at $1,520,000, it pulled in a respectable $5,700,000, 52nd in ’56. Hawaiian locations once again served to duplicate The Philippines.