Hazardous job of deactivating dud bombs after World War II appears sound material for a melodramatic and suspenseful film. But curiously Ten Seconds to Hell emerges as a downbeat picture.
Based on Lawrence P. Bachmann’s novel, The phoenix, the screenplay seldom draws sympathy for any of its characters. Of six former German soldiers who form a bomb disposal unit in Berlin at the war’s end, three are quickly killed in performance of their duties.
Jack Palance, self-styled leader of the unit, is a man of courage and conviction. But he’s a moody individual who appears to be continually wrestling with inner problems. Ruthless and egotistical is Jeff Chandler who has regard for no one except himself. Martine Carol, in an unglamorous role, runs a boarding house, where Palance and Chandle reside.
With the film shot on location in Berlin, cameraman Ernest Laszlo has provided some realistic backgrounds.