I was chuffed to see this film, one of my favourites and a movie I feel deserves to be on my list of the greatest British dramas ever made, was at least for the moment available on a well known video website. The film is Hell Drivers and it’s a stunning portrayal of an ex con who takes a job as a tipper driver in a company where Red the pace setter and road foreman rules the other drivers with fear and violence. Red is also shown to wield control by appealing to the other drivers sense of greed for the prize on offer for hauling the most loads per day.
The film stars the late Stanley Baker as Tom Yatley, the ex con who has to take a job as a driver for a haulage firm that works its drivers extremely hard. The company, Hewitts, has a contract to deliver gravel to a building site and for this job speed was of the essence. A driver who does too few runs in a day gets fired but the prize for the driver who can do more than 18 runs in a day is a solid cold cigarette case worth £250, a small fortune back in 1957 when this film was made.
Yatley makes friends with a secretary at the company and with one of the drivers, an Italian immigrant called Gino Rossi. Yately becomes fascinated with beating the number of runs done by the pace setter Red, played by Patrick McGoohan, leading to a conflict which builds up to a climactic finish for the film.
I hope you like this film as much as I have done.