Trompé Setsuled (setsuled) wrote,
Trompé Setsuled

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Continents Colliding In the Dark

Somewhere in the night, driving freight from Liverpool to various parts of Scotland, are big men who are more man than anyone ever dreamed of. And at least two of them have a dame on their minds who's got more woman in her little finger than Demeter, Aphrodite, and Oprah Winfrey combined. And these impossibly big people have big problems in 1957's The Long Haul, a film noir about corruption in the freight industry of northern Britain. It's a movie of captivating visual and thematic extremes about people caught up in hopeless situations that only get worse.

Of all the big lorry drivers, the biggest is the guy who calls them trucks, an American ex-G.I. named Harry played by Samson himself, Victor Mature. He wanted to move back to the U.S. after his service but his English wife, Connie (Gene Anderson), wanted to move with their kid, Butch, back to her home town in Liverpool where her Irish uncle Casey (Liam Redmond) got Harry the job driving.

The boss of the operation's name is Joe Easy (Patrick Allen) but of course he's a hard man, harder than he chews on the cigar that's almost always in his mouth. He's almost as big as Harry, too. But he really can't compete, especially when Harry's holding a puppy.

And that's probably why Easy's girl, Lynn (Diana Dors), falls for Harry even though Harry's married. When Easy stops in a café in order to discipline some of his guys on the way to taking Lynn out, he responds to Lynn's impatience to get out of this "pig house" by tearing her dress, remarking to the guys watching that, "This must be the only café on the road with a floor show."

Easy doesn't count on all the big drivers being huge gentlemen and before long Easy's exchanging punches with a bunch of them while Lynn sneaks out to Harry's truck and he reluctantly takes her with him.

Lynn likes Harry right away. She tells him she likes the way he didn't make a pass at her just because he bought her dinner--most guys assume if they buy her dinner, she says, then she's "the dessert." Then she likes it when Harry kisses her.

The two really are fantastic together but there's so much in between them, both the morally right--Harry's obligation to wife and kid--and the morally wrong--Easy's hold on both of them. The performances by the two actors are really good but the physical assets of both of them do a lot of the talking, from Mature's big shoulders and eyebrows to Dors' soft lower lip and her dresses that always seem to be on the point of bursting.

And there's some great action as the climactic sequence has Harry, Easy, and Lynn taking a truck over what looks like truly impossible Scottish terrain, the film clearly shot on location.

Tags: diana dors, film noir, ken hughes, movies, patrick allen, the long haul, victor mature
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