|Index||3 reviews in total|
Mr. Eale's review of this PRC movie is right on target; nonetheless, I enjoyed it. Liked the snow bound ski resort setting, the odd assortment of characters and the occasional bits of humor. The humor (at least the intentional humor) is provided by Roscoe Karns. Loved the bit with the talking crow - worth watching the movie just for that. In addition to Karns, Veda Ann Borg and Sid Saylor give some pizazz to the movie. By a coincidence this is the second show I've seen Borg in today. An underrated supporting actor that always made the most out of her roles however small they were. The nominal star of the movie, Bruce Cabot, walks through the movie without adding anything interesting. He did, however, deliver my favorite line in the movie which was the last one: "See what happens when you don't pay your income taxes?"
Now, this one is a true head-scratcher. Our heroes are two Treasury men
(played by Bruce Cabot and Roscoe Karns), but instead of looking for
counterfeiters ala T-MEN, they're on a manhunt for a nefarious... tax
evader. Their search takes them to the cleverly named High Mountain and
a snowbound ski resort, the few occupants of which soon become suspects
in a handful of mysterious murders.
This low-budget PRC turkey takes full advantage of the location, with ski chase sequences which defy all rational logic and the occasional avalanche to liven things up. All the while, as the murders pile up and everyone acts as guilty as possible, a trained, talking crow serves drinks at the bar (I'm entirely serious). Oh, and there's a gratuitous marionette puppeting sequence, as well.
Bruce Cabot, he of "King Kong", is about as dynamic as a fence post in his role as the T-man-cum-Hercule Poirot, clumsily romancing Helen Mowery, who is often clad in a sweater embroidered with some sort of a note on her shoulder in the film's most peculiar fashion choice. Cabot gets a sweater, too: a real comfy-looking wintry number. Fuzzy.
Roscoe Karns, drunkenly hilarious in "His Girl Friday", provides a faltering attempt at comic relief here as the incoherent mystery deepens. Perhaps the film's greatest mystery, however, is how a sleeping person manages to avoid being shot in the head at close range by hearing the gunshots and moving out of the way of the bullets (which hit the pillow).
It's an astonishing little footnote in B-picture history. See what happens when you don't pay your taxes?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Having a 16mm bw print (2-reeler) of the movie, it has been and still is an enjoyable time passer around the holidays for the past 50 years. As with many B movies of its time, Avalanche offers that "TV" episode feel stretched out in a full feature film. Not much of an action film, but does have its moments of suspense and drama. Despite its drama and suspense, there is a touch of comedy to break the ice. Specifically the part with the talking crow that seems to speak only to one character. One would wonder if it was all in the characters mind to mask his boredom and fear! So if you like skiing, scenes of snow avalanching randomly and being snow bound in a ski resort, this is the movie to see.
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