Thursday, July 03, 2014

Tonight's Movie: 5 Steps to Danger (1957)

Last night I reviewed the first of four films which I streamed while on my recent vacation, THE DIAMOND WIZARD (1954).

Movie Number 2, watched via Netflix, was 5 STEPS TO DANGER (1957), a "road movie" starring Sterling Hayden and Ruth Roman.

Like the enjoyable THE DIAMOND WIZARD, the themes of 5 STEPS TO DANGER were very familiar; the "couple on the run" has been done many times over, and in fact it was also the basic plotline of the movie I watched the very next evening, STEP BY STEP (1946). However, there's a reason that premise appears in so many films -- it's fun! A pair of interesting actors can make a film such as this quite enjoyable to watch, and with Hayden and Roman in the leads that was the case with 5 STEPS TO DANGER.

Hayden plays John Emmett, whose vacation plans to detour for a fishing trip while on the way to visit his folks are thwarted when his old car breaks down. He sells the car to a mechanic and plans to hop on a bus when Ann Nicholson (Roman) offers him a lift as far as Santa Fe in return for his sharing the driving.

Ann needs to reach Santa Fe urgently for reasons which are gradually revealed, along with the information that she's been treated for an emotional breakdown. Is Ann crazy? maybe a criminal? or a very brave woman who needs help?

All sorts of interesting things start happening, resulting in John and Ann handcuffed together and on the run from law enforcement.

I like the lead actors so I quite enjoyed watching this. I also liked the "open road" setting with authentic places like a mechanic's garage, diner, and fishing cabin; I'd love to know where the film was shot.

You've gotta love a movie when a helpful FBI agent turns out to be a handsome, pre-"Festus" Ken Curtis. Also keep an eye out for John Mitchum, who plays a deputy.

Jeanne Cooper, who passed away last year, plays a rather mysterious nurse, and Peter Hansen (BRANDED, GENERAL HOSPITAL) has a brief role as a friend of Ann's brother. The cast also includes Richard Gaines, Werner Klemperer, and Charles Davis.

5 STEPS TO DANGER was written and directed by Henry S. Kesler. The screenplay was based on the book THE STEEL MIRROR by Donald Hamilton. It runs 81 minutes.

In addition to being available on Netflix, 5 STEPS TO DANGER has been shown in the past on Turner Classic Movies.

2018 Update: This film is now available on a restored Blu-ray and DVD from ClassicFlix. My review of the Blu-ray may be found here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for highlighting this film which I like. Sterling Hayden and Ruth Roman worked well together.

12:01 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I'm glad to know you've enjoyed it too! I agree they were a good team. I sure like Sterling Hayden in this kind of role.

Best wishes,

12:55 AM  

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