||BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL opens with Sam Gifford (Robert Wagner) in action on an island in the Pacific. Despite the time period (1945), director Richard Fleischer's movie is not merely a straightforward Pacific war story, and Gifford is not just a simple hero. Fleischer flashes back to Gifford's life as a rich plantation owner, where he is contemptuous of his sharecroppers--whether they are white or black--and ignores his wife Jenny's (Terry Moore) pleas to treat them better.^In battle, Gifford gets the shakes and is sent, despite his combat nerves, into the interior. His new commander, Waco (Broderick Crawford), is more than a little crazy and almost as dangerous as the enemy. Gifford, along with others under Waco's command, feels much safer deep in enemy territory, away from their paranoid leader.|Gradually Gifford relies more and more on Willie (Buddy Ebsen, in a fine performance), who easily could have been one of his sharecroppers. Willie is the kind of stoic grunt who is the bedrock of this man's army. Slowly, Gifford learns war's lesson: that when you're a foot soldier, all men are equal. As always with Fleischer, the battle scenes are never less than magnificent, making this an essential war film.