The Long Haul (1957) Ken Hughes
Former U.S. serviceman Harry Miller (Victor Mature) moves to his wife’s hometown of Liverpool and finds work as a lorry driver for a company in northern England. It’s not long before Miller discovers the trucking industry is corrupt, filled with thieves and crooks. One of the people controlling the illegal activity is a man named Joe Easy (Patrick Allen), but there’s nothing easy about him.
When Miller tries to buck the system (and Joe)… Well, let’s just say he encounters some significant resistance. Easy’s girl Lynn (Diana Dors), however, is offering little resistance to Miller, which could lead to major shenanigans if Miller’s not careful.
One of the film’s biggest strengths is in portraying Miller’s commitment to doing the right thing, both with the job and staying true to his wife, not getting involved with Lynn. Miller wants to hold out, wants to fight the good fight, but can he do it?
I’ve never been a huge fan of Victor Mature, but this role plays to his strengths. It’s a very physical role and he’s clearly confident in what he’s being asked to do. Dors is also excellent. At first we’re convinced she’s a total femme fatale, but then later we’re not so sure…
Several critics dismiss The Long Haul – probably because it does contain some pretty awful dialogue – but the performances are good and the British coldness adds nicely to the noir atmosphere. Director Ken Hughes (who also directed the noirish 1963 film The Small World of Sammy Lee) keeps things tense and moving fairly quickly, despite a running time that’s a bit long for a film noir. Check it out – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Next: word scramble: CUP O GORE
Photos: RareFilm, Mike’s Take On the Movies