Friday, December 07, 2012

Tonight's Movie: Alaska Passage (1959)

ALASKA PASSAGE, a "B" movie about a trucking company operating on the ALCAN Highway, is just the kind of little movie I enjoy checking out.

Bill Williams plays Al Graham, half owner of Northern Transport Co. Al's long-distance partner, Gerard Mason (Leslie Bradley), travels north to visit Al in the little town of Tanana to find out why the company's operating expenses are so high. Gerard soon learns a great deal about the difficulties of operating on rugged roads which are prone to washouts and slides.

Gerard's wife Janet (Lyn Thomas), who happens to be Al's old flame, shows up in Tanana unexpectedly. Al is none too happy to see her, and Al's current girlfriend Tina (Nora Hayden) isn't happy about Janet either, especially when she becomes aware that Janet wants Al back.

That's really all there is to this fast-paced 71-minute movie. The dramatic final moments are a bit over the top, given the realism of preceding scenes, but for the most part the film presents an interesting peek at a unique way of life in a beautiful little town.

The movie was filmed on location in Alaska, and although it was made in black and white, the Regalscope pictures shot by William Whitley nonetheless capture some of the region's beauty. One can almost breathe the cool air and feel the dust. I found it quite enjoyable spending an hour or so in 1950s Alaska.

The few sets, which include motel rooms and a cafe, have a realistic look, making me wonder if the interiors were also shot on location.

Bill Williams is solid and believable as the hardworking trucker, with Nick Dennis as his loyal friend and employee.

Nora Hayden (also known as Naura Hayden) is flashy as the curvy Tina, but she proves to be interesting as well as pretty. She has a great scene where she gets back at a businessman who'd tried to put the moves on her when she was sharing a ride with him.

The other actors are adequate, with Jorie Wyler fun as a movie fan waitress named for Claudette Colbert, but for me it was the lead actors and the setting which really made the movie worth seeing.

ALASKA PASSAGE was written and directed by Edward Bernds.

To my knowledge, this film isn't available on DVD or VHS. I recorded it some time ago from Fox Movie Channel.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a movie I've always wanted to see. Now I wanna see it even worse.

8:07 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hey Toby!

It's a fun little movie for people like us who love the B's.

Check your email. :)

Best wishes,

10:22 AM  
Blogger Silver Screenings said...

This sounds pretty good! Alaska always seems to make for interesting movies - even the TV series Sarah Palin did on Alaska a few years ago was intriguing. (Regardless of a person's views of Sarah Palin, she really was an excellent spokesperson for that state.) Thanks for the review.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Barbaraa said...

I just caught this movie early this morning while getting ready for work. What a cool B movie! I found myself being drawn in immediately and caring about the characters--so much so that I was nearly late for work because I had to see how the movie ended.

7:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nora/Naura was a kick! I spent a few hours hanging out with her when she was on a book tour in 1977. She expressed much love and appreciation to Ib Melchior (maker of THE ANGRY RED PLANET, her film we chatted about) and Ib's wife, Cleo. All three of them have passed on into the "realm beyond"... --K

11:43 AM  

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