This week's Overlooked Film is one I haven't seen yet, something that will be remedied later this week when TCM shows this 1954 crime film on Thursday, September 27, at 1:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).
Why am I psyched over a movie I haven't seen? And a movie that got only a 5.4 rating (out of 10) on IMDB, to boot? You can blame it on IMDB itself. Listed under the writing credits for this flick is W. R. Burnett, a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master and the guy who created LITTLE CAESAR, THE ASPHALT JUNGLE, and HIGH SIERRA. IMDB also lists as a writer Charles Bennett, who adapted THE THIRTY-NINE STEPS, SABOTAGE, SECRET AGENT, and FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT for Alfred Hitchcock as well as writing the original version of THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH and providing the source material for BLACKMAIL.
And there's more. Giving the writing credits for DANGEROUS MISSION, IMDB also said "and 3 more credits." If you follow that link, you will find out that two of the additional writing credits
(screenplay and story) go to Horace McCoy, the great writer who gave us THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY? Yep, this movie is pulp/noir heaven.
The director of this masterpiece was Louis King, a veteran director of B programmers (Boston Blackie, Charlie Chan, Buck Jones westerns, etc.) and of the Disney television "Swamp Fox" episodes. The movie was produced by Mr. Disaster himself, Irwin Allen.
The film features Victor Mature, Piper Laurie, William Bendix, Vincent Price, and a young (blink, and you might miss him) Dennis Weaver. Not a bad cast, although I have never been too fond of Victor Mature.
The plot? Again, from IMDB: A young women flees to Montana rather than testify in mob killing. She finds work in a gift shop at Glacier National Park where she attracts the attention of two vacationers, not realizing that one is a hired killer after her and the other is a cop trying to protect her.
How good is this flick? Reviews on IMDB are not encouraging:
"The picture was never meant to win an Academy Award...remember that this film was produced in the 1950's and actors needed to find WORK."
"...(I)t presents a square dance interrupted by an avalanche, a battle with a live wire, a first-rate forest fire, a stirring chase and a climatic battle on the glacier..."
"Did the State of Montana invest a huge chunk of money in Dangerous Mission?...this mash-note to mountain lodges and dude ranches..."
"The serious flaws include the disjointed story line...and stupid subplot...Add in some silly dubbed dialog during noisy scenes and the usually great William Bendix given some incredibally stupid lines."
[Comparing this movie to a 1936 Gene Autry oater] "...(E)ven Gene Autry was more animated than Victor Mature. Come to think of it, so was Glacier National Park."
So, have I whetted your appetite? Is this a good movie, or a movie so bad that it's good, or a movie so bad that it's bad? I am going to find out Thursday. Will you?
Todd Mason, our fearless leader, will have all of today's links for Overlooked Films and/or A/V at his blog sweetfreedom. Check it out.