Condon, Richard. The Manchurian candidate -- Film and video adaptations, Soldiers -- Drama

The Steel Helmet

Archival 35mm Print


Gene Evans, Robert Hutton, James Edwards, Richard Loo,

Just as the Korean conflict was escalating, Fuller set about making this grim film about an American patrol lost in the woods. A gruff veteran, Sergeant Zack (Gene Evans), is the sole survivor of a North Korean ambush. Bound and crawling through a field of corpses, he is freed by Short Round, a South Korean orphan. The two begin a dangerous trek back to secured territory. Along the way, they accumulate a motley assortment of GI stragglers. Fuller’s disdain for war creeps into every characterization, but it is Sergeant Zack—gritty, emotionless, almost bestial in his lack of sentiment—who calibrates the film’s cynicism. The Pentagon distanced itself from Fuller’s heroic gesture, calling the film “vicious [and] full of perversions.” At a private Department of Defense screening, Fuller recalled, “They’d just watched The Steel Helmet before I walked in. ‘Your film looks like communist indoctrination, Fuller,’ said one general.” However, as noted by J. Hoberman, a DOD memo stated, “The consensus of opinion was that if The Steel Helmet was subtle communist propaganda, it was too subtle for the ordinary person to see.” Perhaps it should have been more heavy-handed, like an incoming round.

  • Samuel Fuller
  • Ernest Miller
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 85 mins
  • Academy Film Archive
  • Janus Films

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Samuel Fuller (program note), Institut Valencià de l'Audiovisual i de Cinematografia Ricardo Muñoz Suay, Quim Casas, 2010

Sam Fuller's Asia (program note), Freer & Sackler Exhibitions and Events, 2005

The steel helmet (review), Reader (Chicago, Ill.), Jonathan Rosenbaum, 2005

Pulp fictions: the films of Samuel Fuller (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, James Quandt, 1998

Un Americain en Normandie: le jour j de Samuel Fuller (press kit), GMT Productions, Noël Simsolo, 1994

Revivals in focus -- excerpt (review), Village Voice, Tom Allen, 1988

Excerpt from an interview with Sam Fuller (before he shot The naked kiss) (program note), 1969

The steel helmet (review), Variety, Brog., 1951

Steel helmet, The (review), Monthly Film Bulletin, 1950

Tribute to Samuel Fuller (program note)

Displaying 10 of 10 publicly available documents.

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