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No Time to Die (1958 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

No Time to Die
No Time to Die, 1958 quad poster.jpg
British release quad film poster
Directed byTerence Young
Written byRichard Maibaum
Terence Young
Based onNo Time to Die (1954 novel)
by Ronald Kemp
Produced byIrving Allen
Albert Broccoli
Phil C. Samuel
StarringVictor Mature
Leo Genn
Bonar Colleano
Anthony Newley
CinematographyTed Moore
Edited byBert Rule
Music byKenneth V. Jones
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
August 1958
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

No Time to Die is a 1958 British war film about an American sergeant in the British Army during the Second World War. In the US, the film was renamed Tank Force!.

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In Italian Libya during the North African campaign of the Second World War, a Royal Armoured Corps squadron of British tanks is destroyed in battle by German Afrika Korps panzers. A tank commanded by American Sgt. David Thatcher (Victor Mature) is hit and he and driver Trooper "Tiger" Noakes (Anthony Newley) bail out. The squadron's attached reconnaissance vehicle, commanded by Sgt. Kendall (Leo Genn), becomes stuck in the sand and the crew bail out too. The three survivors are quickly captured and transported to an Italian POW camp run by German Army Captain Ritter (Alfred Burke).

Unbeknownst to the Axis prison guards, Thatcher had previously tried to assassinate Joseph Goebbels in revenge for the killing of his Jewish wife and tries to escape at every turn before the Nazis discover his secret. The British commander Sgt. Kendall arranges an escape of Thatcher, Noakes, Bartlett (Sean Kelly), and a Polish prisoner (Bonar Colleano) in an ambulance before the Schutzstaffel can detain Thatcher, and the Pole kills the German mole Johnson (Kenneth Fortescue). They escape through the Libyan Desert in sandstorms, briefly taking shelter at the nightclub of Thatcher's friend Carola (Luciana Paluzzi) in Italian Benghazi before she is accidentally shot by the Italian officer Alberto (Robert Rietti).

Over the course of the trip the Pole grows increasingly homicidal, indiscriminately killing two German officers the group captures. After Kendall vows to court-martial the Pole when they return home, he allows a Bedouin tribe led by a sheikh (Maxwell Shaw) loyal to the SS to kill Bartlett and capture the surviving men. When the SS tries to torture Thatcher into confessing, Captain Ritter becomes so disgusted that he helps the men escape and then commits suicide. Kendall takes the sheikh and the SS colonel (Martin Boddey) hostage, but he Pole initiates a shootout that leaves him wounded and the sheikh and the colonel dead. They steal a truck, which is met by a rival group of Bedouins which warn them of a nearby German panzer division. They capture a tank, but Kendall and the Pole are killed while their tank is disabled. However, a British tank battalion arrives to save them. The German panzers are defeated, and Thatcher and Noakes bury Kendall.



The film was initially based on a 1954 novel of the same name by Ronald Kemp, but later received a different script unrelated to the novel with the exception of the title and the setting.[1][2][3] Warwick Productions bought the film rights in 1955 and tried to get Montgomery Clift to star.[4] Sy Bartlett was assigned to write the script.[5]

In March 1957 Merle Miller was hired to rewrite the script.[6] Then Richard Maibaum did a draft. The script eventually became about five Allied soldiers, two Englishmen, a Pole, an American and an Australian, who escape an Italian POW camp in the Second World War.[7]

Alan Ladd was mentioned as a possibility as star.[8] In April 1957 Terence Young arrived in Hollywood to find two American leading men for the film.[9] Van Johnson, who had just made a film with Young, was a leading contender.[10] Jeff Chandler turned down the role (and fee of $200,000).[11]

In August 1957 Victor Mature signed a two-picture contract with Warwick, No Time to Die and The Man Inside.[12]

In September, Mature left England for six weeks of location filming in the Libyan Desert, near Tripoli. The Queens Bays Tank Regiment assisted in production of the film.[7]

No Time to Die featured authentic war time Cromwell tanks as well as post-war Centurions and Charioteers as both British and German tanks. In the opening battle Leo Genn commands an AEC Armoured Car and wears the beret of the Cherry Pickers.

Sean Kelly was a South African actor who had been signed by Warwick to a seven-year contract.[13]

It was the last in a seven-picture commitment between Warwick and Columbia.[14]


Kinematograph Weekly listed it as being "in the money" at the British box office in 1958.[15] When the film was initially released in the United States, it was 20 minutes shorter than the version released in the United Kingdom.[1]


The 25th James Bond film, 2021's No Time to Die, shares a title with this film, which was directed by Terence Young, produced by Albert R. "Cubby" Broccoli, and written by Richard Maibaum,[16][17] the original director, producer and writer of the James Bond films.


  1. ^ a b "Tank Force". Retrieved 6 March 2022.
  2. ^ "Display Ad 45 -- No Title" The Observer [London] 17 Oct 1954: 9.
  3. ^ "NOVELS.. REVIEWED BY GORDON STEWART This school was tough". The Argus. Melbourne. 13 August 1955. p. 40. Retrieved 8 July 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ Schallert, Edwin (16 July 1955). "'No Time to Die' Bought for Clift; Heflin Will Star in 'Distant Paths'". Los Angeles Times. p. 15.
  5. ^ THOMAS M. PRYOR (16 July 1955). "REPUBLIC TO FILM SERLING TV PLAY: Studio Acquires 'Taps on a Bugle,' Third Work Sold by Author of 'Patterns'". New York Times. p. 12.
  6. ^ "Of Local Origin". New York Times. 13 March 1957. p. 25.
  7. ^ a b "MOVIELAND EVENTS: Mature, Genn Will Migrate to Desert". Los Angeles Times. 4 September 1957. p. C9.
  8. ^ Schallert, Edwin (30 March 1957). "'No Time to Die' Likely for Ladd; Western Film Proposed for Brando". Los Angeles Times. p. B3.
  9. ^ Schallert, Edwin (18 April 1957). "'No Time to Die' Bids for Americans; Cooper Classic Soon to Start". Los Angeles Times. p. C13.
  10. ^ Hopper, Hedda (31 May 1957). "Johnson Ponders London Film Role". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. a3.
  11. ^ Hopper, Hedda (15 August 1957). "Bernice Block Will Produce Shocker". Los Angeles Times. p. B8.
  12. ^ "STUDIO SUSPENDS KIM NOVAK PACT: Columbia Acts After She Refuses Paramount Role-- Debbie Reynolds to Star Nature Has Its Way". New York Times. 31 August 1957. p. 18.
  13. ^ Newcomers Win Capital Film Breaks; Robinson to Enact Mad Bomber Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times9 Feb 1957: B3.
  14. ^ "Warwick Shrinks Overhead and Sked". Variety. 23 October 1957. p. 4.
  15. ^ Billings, Josh (18 December 1958). "Others in the Money". Kinematograph Weekly. p. 7.
  16. ^ Republic to Film Serling TV Play: Studio Acquires 'Taps on a Bugle,' Third Work Sold by Author of 'Patterns' By Thomas M. Pryor, Special to The New York Times. (1923–Current file) 16 July 1955: 12.
  17. ^ Schallert, Edwin. "'No Time to Die' Bids for Americans; Cooper Classic Soon to Start," Los Angeles Times (1923–Current File) 18 Apr 1957: C13.

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This page was last edited on 11 November 2022, at 23:39
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