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Joseph H. Lewis
Interesting drama from MGM about father (Howard Keel) and his new wife (Jane Greer) who must search the wilderness after a plane crashes with the man's two children. Things get a little testy as his ex-wife and the mother (Patricia Medina) of the children shows up and causes more harm that good. The introduction by Robert Osbourne mentioned that MGM was trying to cut out their multi-million dollar pictures and try their hand at smaller productions and this here is one of them. The film isn't a complete success but it's certainly a lot better than its reputation would have you believe. I think the obviously small budget hurts the film somewhat as there's a lot of action that we never get to see. This includes the actual plane crash, which in most disaster type pictures would have been the film's highlight. Instead, we briefly see the plane on fire and that's pretty much it. Another minor problem is a few goofs including, after the crash, the two kids being shown without a cut and their hair and clothes appear like they just stepped out of a trailer and not out of a plane crash. With that said, the film still offers some pretty intense scenes especially when the children come under attack by a mountain lion. There are at least three of these scenes and each on is pretty intense. Another plus is that Keel and Greer are very good in their roles. This isn't the type of picture you'd expect to see them in but both do good jobs. Medina easily steals the film as the ex-wife who never overplays the part yet still manages to be very believable and actually turns out to be one of the most hated villains in a film like this. Keenan Wynn does a good job in his part as does Lee Acker as the 9-year-old son. I don't normally bash child actors but Linda Lowell plays his younger sister and I must say she gives one of the worst performances I've ever seen from a child. The screenplay has her mostly crying and screaming, which is fine but unfortunately the child couldn't cry and it's obvious the director just had her screaming to make up for this. Here scenes are all pretty bad when trying to "act" like she's crying and it becomes very obnoxious. The limited budget doesn't give us too much footage in the wilderness but at 71-minutes the film goes by pretty quickly and manages to be entertaining despite a few problems.
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