One Minute to Zero (1952) Robert Mitchum, Ann Blyth, William Talman, Charles McGraw Movie Review

One Minute to Zero (1952)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Ann Blyth in One Minute to Zero (1952)

Mitchum & Blyth's Korean Conflict

Col. Steve Jankowski (Robert Mitchum) and his men are in South Korea, there to train up their men in preparation for the ever present threat of an attack from North Korea. It initially brings him in to conflict with widow Linda Day (Ann Blyth) who as a United Nations representative who believes a peaceful resolution is possible to the escalating tensions. That is until Steve saves her life when a plane opens fire on a street they are on and suddenly they find themselves sharing some chemistry. But for Steve the war is on and with the small amount of men at his command must do their best to stage a defence against the attacks from the North even if his actions seem heartless to Linda.

I frequently admit to knowing little about the wars which have affected the World we live in often blame the terrible state of education during the 80s but I often wonder what a movie which deals with a war must be like for those in the know. It is a thought which came to mind whilst watching "One Minute to Zero" because my knowledge of the Korean war is extremely limited and have no idea how accurate this movie is in walking us through the events of the war. In fairness it doesn't ruin the movie if your Korean war knowledge is limited but it does make it ordinary.

Robert Mitchum and Ann Blyth in One Minute to Zero (1952)

In truth "One Minute to Zero" often comes across like any typical WWII movie rather than one specifically about the Korean war. Maybe that is different for those who realise the significance of various scenes such as one where a huge group of civilians are being used as cover by North Korean soldiers giving Jankowski a major decision to make as they force their way in. What that does mean is that for those like me whose war knowledge is slim the movie seems as much about dealing with the war as it is dealing with the conflict both romantic and moral when it comes to the relationship between Steve and Linda.

That brings me to the acting and what can I say other that Robert Mitchum in military uniform and he seems very much in his comfort zone through out the movie. That maybe why so much of "One Minute to Zero" ends up feeling typical but Mitchum's performance seems to come to life in scenes with Ann Blyth who is quite frankly a striking woman with looks which grab your attention. But it isn't just her looks as she also brings tension and emotion to the role, maybe somewhat typically in scenes where here character is overwrought but still it makes Linda more than just a romantic subplot.

What this all boils down to is that "One Minute to Zero" is a good movie but it is one which for me felt very typical of a war movie and it might be more entertaining and interesting for those who are more aware of the ins and outs of the Korean war.