The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, November 25-December 1

hell drivers

Hell Drivers (1957)
Directed by Cy Endfield
The Pennsylvania-born Endfield’s films often focused on people driven into desperate circumstances due to poverty and other forms of social exclusion. These films included two 1950-released Hollywood crime dramas, The Underworld Story and Try and Get Me! (aka The Sound of Fury), whose depictions of violence committed by American society against its working-class members were among the reasons for Endfield’s eventual blacklisting. He left the United States for England, where he directed films pseudonymously until reassuming his name with Hell Drivers. The film stars Stanley Baker as a drifter named Tom who picks up and strives to survive a job at a ballast transport company where the bosses award bonuses to drivers who move their trucks at especially high speeds. His only allies in his new, ultracompetitive workplace come to be an isolated Italian immigrant (Herbert Lom) and the company secretary (Peggy Cummins) who dates both men while painfully holding secret the extent to which the company heads are exploiting them and their fellow drivers. The reason Tom is there at all, he eventually reveals, is because of a larger system of exploitation: His status as a recently released prison inmate denies him virtually any other kind of work. Aaron Cutler (December 1, 7:15pm; December 4, 9:15pm; December 7, 7pm at Anthology Film Archives’s Endfield series)

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