HELL BOUND (1957). Director: William J. Hole, Jr.
Jordan (John Russell) is a ruthless criminal who is putting together a gang for a caper: robbing a ship of millions of dollars of drugs. His confederates include: suffering addict Stanley (George Mather), whom Jordan slaps around brutally; obese and diabetic Herbie (Stanley Adams); tough moll Jan (Margo Woode of Somewhere in the Night); and sexy Paula (June Blair), who is not as bad as she seems. Harry Quantro (Frank Fenton) is another nasty associate of Jordan's. As part of her assignment Paula must play nurse to a paramedic, Eddie (Stuart Whitman of Sands of the Kalahari), who doesn't know that he's part of the robbery scheme. When a little boy is killed at an accident scene attended by Eddie and Paula, she is very disturbed by the child's death. Later her resolve to help commit the robbery weakens, but most of the other conspirators have equal problems. Hell Bound is a lively and absorbing crime movie about a bunch of truly inept criminals, and features good locations, some supremely screwed-up characters, and a highly satisfying wind-up. The prologue seems to depict the robbery itself but is only a film made by Jordan to show to his confederates. Whitman and Blair give very good performances, Woode and Mather are fine, and Russell is quite effective as the rough and determined ringleader. Jordan calls himself "Mr. Natas," an obvious reference to his evil nature. One scene that's supposed to take place on a boat looks like it was filmed on a staircase in an office building! William H. Hole Jr. was primarily a television director. Richard Landau also wrote the screenplay for The Quatermass Xperiment.
Verdict: Low-budget, but vivid, exciting, and well-acted. ***.