Nine Men

2769. NINE MEN (1943-EngIand). With JACK LAMBERT, GORDON JACKSON. Here is a gut- wrenching and beautifully filmed World War II drama which opens with a group of young recruits being tutored in the basics of battle. Their instructor is Sergeant Jack Watson, and he rides the rookies hard because he knows all too well that these civilians must be transformed into warriors if England is to prevail, “I’ve got to make soldiers of you,” he tells them, ‘and so help me I will.” Many of those in his charge are young, with baby-faces and peach fuzz on their cheeks. Others are bloodthirsty ever-anxious to take a crack at the enemy. Still, all are united in their inexperience in battle. To teach the men a lesson, Watson tells them a story of his experiences earlier in the war. It is the life-and-death saga of the sergeant, a superior officer and seven underlings. The truck which carries their supplies is separated from their convoy. Next, the truck becomes mired in the sand. As they labor to get it free, they are attacked by enemy aircraft. The vehicle catches fire and burns. All of their food and most of their water is destroyed. Plus, some of the men are wounded. The most serious is Crawford, Watson’s superior. This gallant nine must struggle to survive as they go on to do down-and-dirty battle against both the enemy and the elements. The film makes an interesting comparison to “Sahara” with Humphrey Bogart, made the same year. Graphic combat scenes and the interplay between the characters help to make this a stirring human drama. 68 minutes. War Drama