Glacier National Park.
Matt Hallett (Mature) suspects that pretty Louise Graham (Piper Laurie), who works in Glacier's hotel gift shop, is the sole witness to a mob murder. If Louise is identified as the witness, there's a contract out on her life, and the hitman could be anyone at the resort.
The killer's probably not Chief Ranger Parker (William Bendix)...and we'll give good old Bess Flowers, the perennial movie party guest, a pass...and it's unlikely to be young park ranger Dennis Weaver or ranger Walter Reed...but perhaps it's photographer Paul Adams (Vincent Price) or Mr. Elster (Harry Cheshire) or...
HIS KIND OF WOMAN (1951) and SECOND CHANCE (1953), both set in Mexico, and it also bears some similarities to the previous year's Fox film NIAGARA (1953).
Like SECOND CHANCE, DANGEROUS MISSION was filmed in 3D in beautiful settings; location shooting also distinguished NIAGARA, although that title wasn't in 3D. I think of the style of these types of movies as "Hitchcock meets Traveltalk" -- which the Master himself pulled off to perfection in his own NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) at decade's end.
DANGEROUS MISSION blends spectacular footage shot at Glacier with some really bad back projections and soundstage work; the final glacier sequence was obviously all filmed indoors. The really good shots, which capture not only the scenery but the wardrobes and vehicles of a particular time and place, outweigh the silly-looking stuff and make the movie worth seeing.
The movie also emulates HIS KIND OF WOMAN in featuring Vincent Price as a strange hotel guest, a genial photographer who has a curiously potent effect on a gorgeous young Indian girl (Betta St. John, from the Broadway cast of SOUTH PACIFIC). What she sees in him I never did figure out. I also didn't understand why she was so curiously unaffected by the fact that her father (Steve Darrell) had very recently been charged with murder, but since that was simply a red herring in the plot I guess it didn't matter anyway!
The plot tends to meander in pointlessly entertaining directions; producer Irwin Allen couldn't resist ending a party scene with an avalanche, apparently for no other reason than it would make an exciting 3D sequence. The avalanche is soon over, Victor Mature saves the day by turning off the electrical power, and that's the end of that.
Similarly, Chief Ranger Parker drafts Mature to help out in a nonsensical firefighting sequence that could easily have been lifted from Paramount's THE FOREST RANGERS (1942). What these men think they'll accomplish by standing right next to trees with falling burning branches I'll never know, but apparently this was considered state of the art firefighting in the '40s and '50s. The fire is likewise soon over and Mature is back to his real job, trying to protect Laurie from the killer.
Lest I leave the impression I didn't like the movie, I had a really good time watching it, despite -- because of? -- its stranger aspects. Victor Mature on location in Glacier National Park works for me! The movie may have been silly at times, but it was never dull, and I found it to be fun Friday night viewing.
Louis King directed this 75-minute film. The photography was by William Snyder.
DANGEROUS MISSION does not appear to have had a DVD or VHS release, although it had a video release in Europe. It was recently shown on Turner Classic Movies. Here's the trailer.