Dangerous Mission isn’t on the top of anyone’s list of favorite classic movies or classic films and most of you are scratching your heads now to place it at all. Released in 1954 in 3D no less to capitalize on the then current craze for the third dimension, this one has a great cast, including Victor Mature, Piper Laurie, William Bendix, and Vincent Price. The next good thing is the scenery and cinematography- mostly being in Glacier National Park. After that…..watch out!
Perhaps I am in a more critical mood than usual as Dangerous Mission was never released as an “A” feature. It was and is a classic “B” picture and was most likely regarded as a routine actioner at the time. It is a rather tortured tale which, to be honest, doesn’t make a lot of sense. However if you realize that it was produced by Irwin Allen things fall into place a bit better.
That being said, the avalanche, forest fire, a monotonous Native American ceremony, and a completely unneeded backstory involving another Native American accused of murder. These unrelated events actually do spice up what is otherwise a rather uninteresting story. Piper Laurie witnesses a mob murder in New York and flees to Glacier National Park of all places to escape retribution.
Quick on the scene are Paul Adams (Vincent Price) and Matt Hallett (Victor Mature) who both become presumably smitten with the young Piper Laurie – at least on the surface. We know ultimately one of these fine gents is a hitman sent to kill and the other a cop sent to protect. Hmmmm. Wonder who is the hitman? No surprise it is Vincent Price.
Of the veterans in the cast Vincent Price seems to handle this material the best, as William Bendix and Victor Mature have difficulty with what are some atrocious lines. Vincent Price has some awful ones too, he just delivers them better. Piper Laurie proves strong in the “up and comer” portion of the cast. Surely no one looked back on this one wistfully.
Well these two run around for a bit through some rather disjointed events, none of which really tie together well. Ultimately they end up in a dramatic glacial fight. A great part of the fun is to see how badly this is matched up with the rear projection footage which plays behind our dueling stars. Actually much of the wonderful scenery – the cinematography of Glacier National Park should really get top billing here – is shown using rear projection.
All the negative commentary aside, this is an okay “C” level film- so if you read above it failed even in its “B” level aspirations. Nothing serious and there are significant gaps in the story and also the plausibility of oh so many things throughout. But let Irwin Allen drag you from mini-catastrophe to mini-catastrophe. Remember Allen ultimately gained his fame as the genius behind most of our favorite disaster films. Seeds of his ultimate rise can be seen here.
To my knowledge, this isn’t out (thankfully) on DVD, but was available on VHS tape. As of this writing you can buy a new copy from amazon for $190, or used for the bargain price of $59. Good gracious.
It’s a hoot, but not much more than that. Although I did not see in 3D- and thus missed the snapping power line which presumably would have sparked in my face- that wouldn’t have made much of a difference.
Sorry for the brevity but verbosity would imperil my Dangerous Mission. Ouch.