Hell Drivers (film)

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Hell Drivers
Hell bpmp.jpg
Directed by Cy Endfield
Produced by Benjamin Fisz
Earl St. John
Written by Cy Endfield
John Kruse
Starring Stanley Baker
Herbert Lom
Peggy Cummins
Music by Hubert Clifford
Cinematography Geoffrey Unsworth
Edited by John D. Guthridge
Production
company
Aqua Film Productions
Distributed by Rank Organisation
Release dates
  • 23 July 1957 (1957-07-23)
Running time
108 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Hell Drivers (1957) is a British film drama directed by Cy Endfield and starring Stanley Baker, Herbert Lom and Peggy Cummins. The film was produced by the Rank Organisation and Aqua Film Productions.

Plot[edit]

Tom Yately, just released from prison, is determined to start a new life and he gets a job as a driver at Hawletts, a haulage company that transports loads of ballast gravel from a nearby quarry. The truck-drivers are offered bonuses by the manager Cartley for delivering their loads at dangerously high speeds along narrow roads. Tom is accepted by all the other drivers except Red, the foreman and head driver and also a violent bully. Tom soon becomes friends with Gino, an Italian driver who is in love with Cartley's secretary Lucy. Red offers a bonus, (in the form of a £250 gold cigarette case), to any driver who can make more runs than him in a day and Tom is determined to try.

One evening, the drivers go to a dance at a nearby hall and start a fight. When the police are called, Tom flees the scene, fearful that his criminal record will return him to prison. Red calls Tom a coward and all of the other drivers except Gino turn on Tom, bullying him incessantly.

Lucy and Tom soon begin to be attracted to each other but Tom is hesitant out of loyalty to Gino. The other drivers continue to pick on him but, determined to escape his criminal past, he does not fight back. However, Tom finds out that Cartley and Red have been scamming money by hiring fewer drivers than the budget allows for and then pocketing the difference, forcing the drivers to risk their lives by hauling extra loads at high speeds. Tom confronts Red and the two engage in a fist-fight which Tom wins. Gino finds out that Red plans to kill Tom by sabotaging his truck; so he offers to exchange vehicles with Tom. Lucy breaks up with Gino who then finds out that she and Tom are secretly seeing each other. Despite his heartbreak, Gino continues to help Tom by driving the latter's truck which is sabotaged by Red. Gino is fatally injured in the subsequent crash. Distraught, Tom is tempted to leave and return to his life as a criminal but Lucy convinces him to stay.

Tom discovers that Red has been keeping his place as top driver through cheating by taking a risky short-cut through a quarry. Tom attempts to do the same but Red and Cartley in another truck try to force him off the road and over a cliff. Tom is injured and his truck dangles on the edge of the quarry. The over-eager Red loses control and goes over the side. He and Cartley are both killed whilst Tom manages to escape.

Cast[edit]

Hell Drivers is notable in being among the first films for several actors who later went on to more illustrious careers. It provided early appearances for Jill Ireland and David McCallum — who met and married each other during the film's production — and was only the third film to give a role to Sean Connery (though not the first, as is sometimes reported).

Production[edit]

The character of Yately comes from Blaenllechau in the Rhondda, near actor Stanley Baker's birthplace of Ferndale.

Footage of a Hawlett's lorry going over the edge of a quarry was reused in the "The Heiress" episode of the Rank Organisation television series Interpol Calling.

The vehicles used in the film were the Dodge 100 "Kew" parrot nosed truck with tipper body.

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD in 2007 with many extras on the film including documentaries.

External links[edit]