This low-budget black and white effort from British Lion Films is a grim and gritty tale about a patrol of British soldiers on a reconnaissance mission in Korea in 1951 who find themselves outnumbered and outgunned by two advancing Chinese battalions. The action takes place over three days and two nights.
The British soldiers take refuge in a Buddhist temple atop a hill and fight it out with the enemy. They initially repulse several assaults (at one point, they have to contend with an enemy tank and successfully knock it out of action with a bazooka), but the fighting ultimately takes its toll.
The majority of the men are National Service conscripts who don’t exhibit the discipline of regular professional soldiers and order begins to disintegrate – one soldier (Stanley Baker) becomes psychotic, another (Ronald Lewis) sabotages their wireless and, one by one, they begin to die.
The cast is first-rate, including seasoned character actors George Baker (as the rookie lieutenant burdened by command), Harry Andrews (as the tough old sergeant), Robert Shaw, Stanley Baker, Stephen Boyd, Robert Brown, Victor Maddern and Percy Herbert. A young Michael Caine (in his film debut) can be seen throughout the film but has only a few lines and reveals no sign of star potential.
Portugal did a great job standing in for the Korean countryside.
Released in the US as Hell in Korea.