Saturday, November 07, 2015

Tonight's Movie: Bobby Ware is Missing (1955) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

BOBBY WARE IS MISSING (1955) is a no-frills Allied Artists film about the efforts to recover two missing boys. It's newly available from the Warner Archive.

In this 67-minute programmer, Bobby (Kim Charney of SUDDENLY) and his friend Mickey (Thorne Whiteman) ride their bikes to a construction site after school. They decide to hike to the top of a hill but get into trouble when there's a rock slide; they're trapped on a ledge with no way out.

Bobby's parents (Arthur Franz and Jean Willes) and Mickey's dad (Walter Reed) soon have the police looking for the boys, but the search is complicated when a ransom note is received, which Mickey's father insists on secretly paying.

As it turns out, the ransom note was delivered by someone who knew the boys were missing and was trying to cash in, and the search is back on. One more problem awaits: the area where it's suspected the boys might have gone hiking is about to be dynamited by a granite company.

This low-budget film won't be to every viewer's taste, but I enjoyed it. It's especially fun seeing Neville Brand, who so often played a movie villain, as the dogged police detective heading the search for the little boys.

I enjoyed the cast, the black and white Southern California '50s ambiance, and especially the procedural aspects of the film, which include an elaborate stakeout and car chase for the suspected kidnapper. I also enjoyed seeing the equipment used in that era, such as the field phones used in the search and rescue operation.

Franz and Reed do a good job as the anguished fathers; Franz must also cope with worrying about how his wife and his other two children are dealing with the situation, while on the other hand Reed fears the loss of his one family member.

This was the fourth film I've seen William Schallert in over the last couple of weeks. He was an ambulance attendant in THEM! (1954), a doctor in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN (1957), and a meteorologist in THE MONOLITH MONSTERS (1957). This time around he's the police dispatcher! It's always good to see him, and he was another reason I enjoyed the movie.

BOBBY WARE IS MISSING was directed by Thomas Carr and written by Daniel B. Ullman. Carr and Ullman both worked on Bill Elliott's THE FORTY-NINERS (1954), reviewed here a few days ago.

The movie was shot in black and white by Ellsworth Fredericks. It's fairly ordinary looking, reminding me of '50s cop shows like HIGHWAY PATROL, and that seemed appropriate for the story.

The Warner Archive DVD is a nice crisp print. There are no extras.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.


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