Cast & Crew
While on bivouac maneuvers in South Korea with his five-man patrol of South Korean scouts and American soldiers, Lieutenant Craig receives word from Major Wald that North Korean troops have crossed the 38th Parallel. Craig is instructed to help two other units, led by Lieutenant Bailer and Captain Joe Hanson, secure a strategic bridge. Within hours, however, Ching, a South Korean runner, brings Craig word that the others have been ambushed and presents orders for Craig's squad to dynamite the bridge to prevent the enemy from using it. Sergeant Kim, Craig's advisor notices Ching's often cowardly behavior, suspects him of sympathizing with the enemy and threatens to kill him if he interferes with their objective. After many grueling days, Craig, Kim, Ching and the rest of the men reach enemy territory. Kim is then sent to collect dynamite from an abandoned construction site to execute their plan. The next day two members of Craig's patrol, South Korean scout Lee and Corporal Dykes, are killed during skirmishes with North Korean forces. As Craig, Kim, Ching, Sgt. Abrams and Murphy continue on, they cross through war-torn villages and witness refuges fleeing the enemy. Along the way, the men attack a village under North Korean control and find Hanson wounded and held captive, but are forced to leave him because of his injuries. When a village girl offers to be their guide, Ching secretly interrogates her about the reason for her father's death at the hands of the North Koreans. She proudly replies that her father resisted the enemy to protect his village and his independence. The next day in the jungle, when a chimp's screams alert the patrol to the approach of North Korean soldiers, Craig sends Abrams and Murphy to cover their rear. After the others move on, Murphy and Abrams are assaulted by a large group of North Korean soldiers and Murphy is killed. Soon after, Abrams is mortally wounded, but before dying he reports back to Craig, who shares news of the loss with Kim, Ching and the girl. Ching panics and tries to run away, but after Kim knocks him out, the girl defends Ching, asking if it is right "for only a woman to be afraid." Kim accompanies Craig to the bridge, leaving Ching with the girl. When Ching comes to and asks the girl what will happen if Kim and Craig do not return, the girl replies that they must, because her father's life was not given in vain. Ching, moved by the girl's faith and ashamed of his own fear makes his way through enemy fire to help Craig and Kim, but both have been wounded. Ching begs Craig to entrust him with finishing the mission and takes the dynamite. He successfully destroys the bridge and then returns for his comrades and the girl. With the North Korean advance delayed, the men make their way back to the Allied Forces to continue the fight.
Kenneth G. Brown
The working title of this film was Korean Patrol. The film opens with voice-over narration describing United Nations notification that forces from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) crossed the 38th Parallel into the Republic of Korea's (South Korea) territory and the United Nations' resolution to halt the hostilities in the area. Footage of the actual UN meeting, including statements from different UN representatives, is inter-cut with this narration. Actual war footage is seen throughout the film.
The Korean War conflict, between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea) began in June 1950. The UN, with the United States as the principal participant, joined the war on the side of the South Koreans. Both the Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety reviews of the film state that Korea Patrol was the first film about the Korean conflict to be released, however, a December 28, 1950 Hollywood Reporter article states that the film Steel Helmet, also about the Korean conflict, had its premiere on January 10, 1951, beating, by a day, the premiere of Korea Patrol in Minneapolis.
According to a October 30, 1950 Hollywood Reporter article, Jack Schwarz Productions signed David Vaile, CBS news commentator and director, to narrate the film, however, it has not been determined if Vaile is the offscreen narrator of the opening UN footage. Although Harry Franklin is credited onscreen as the assistant director, a September 29, 1950 Hollywood Reporter production chart lists Leonard Shapiro as assistant director. As noted in the pressbook at AMPAS, many of the filmmakers had previously served as US military personnel.