Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Tonight's Movie: Chasing Danger (1939)

CHASING DANGER (1939) was the first of three "B" films costarring Preston Foster and Lynn Bari.

I previously reviewed the other two films, NEWS IS MADE AT NIGHT (1939) and SECRET AGENT OF JAPAN (1942).

CHASING DANGER proved to be the flimsiest of the trio, and although it was only 60 minutes long, unfortunately it wasn't very involving.

Foster plays Steve Mitchell, a newsreel photographer in the Middle East who becomes mixed up with an unlikely gunrunner, Renee (Bari).

It seems that Renee has Arabian heritage and wants to help arm rebels against the French. It's a decision she comes to regret.

Henry Wilcoxon plays a French military intelligence man tracking Renee's movements. The plot is fairly muddled, and I had a bit of trouble following along as the characters dart from city to city -- each city was labeled onscreen as the story shifted locales. There were a lot of cities!

Steve at Mystery File, who shares my general liking for Preston Foster programmers, got more out of the movie than I did. He also learned there was a previous film in which Brian Donlevy played Steve Mitchell, called SHARPSHOOTERS (1938). Wally Vernon costarred in each of the movies as Steve's assistant, Waldo. Lynn Bari was also in the Donlevy film, but as a completely different character!

As a postscript, I got to wondering how many times in his career Foster played a character named Steve. IMDb says the number was eight; I've seen half a dozen of them so far. No wonder I felt like every other character he played was named Steve!

CHASING DANGER was the second film directed by actor Ricardo Cortez. Cortez directed seven films in 1939-1940, while also maintaining his acting career.

The movie was shot in black and white by Virgil Miller. The supporting cast included Joan Woodbury, Harold Huber, Stanley Fields, Pedro de Cordoba, and Jody Gilbert.

CHASING DANGER is not available on VHS or DVD, nor is it available for streaming.

I'm glad I checked this movie out, but it's only for diehard fans of Foster and Bari who want to see all their films. They've both done much more interesting work.

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