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Highway Dragnet (1954)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 27 January 1954 (USA)
Wrongly accused of killing a bar-girl he was seen with earlier, a Korean War vet flees from the police in the company of a woman photographer and her young female model.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 4 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jim Henry
...
Mrs. Cummings
...
Susan Willis
...
Det. Lt. Joe White Eagle
...
Terry Smith
...
Dolly
...
Mr. Carson
Tom Hubbard ...
Det. Sgt. Ben Barnett
...
Marine in Civvies
...
Ice Cream Truck Driver
...
Trooper in Cafe
...
Steve
...
Elderly Border Inspection Officer
...
Chubby Border Inspection Officer (as Tony Hughes)
Bill Hale ...
Harry
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Storyline

Mrs. Cummings, a free-lance magazine photographer and a recent widow after her husband committed suicide, and her model, Susan, are on an assignment to cover resorts California and Nevada. Driving west from Las Vegas they pick up Jim Henry, a recently-discharged Marine, who is hitchhiking to the home of a friend near the Salton Sea. Meanwhile, back in Las Vegas, a blonde known casually by Jim, is found murdered. Jim becomes the object of a manhunt directed by Police-Lieut. White Eagle of the Las Vegas police. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THREE-STATE ALARM FOR LAS VEGAS THRILL-KILLER! (original poster-all caps) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 January 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The House in the Sea  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The car Jim, Mrs. Cummings, and Susan drive in the desert is a 1953 Dodge Coronet Sierra station wagon. See more »

Goofs

At the camp fire in the desert, Jim put his .45 caliber pistol on the rock with the barrel pointing away from the fire, but subsequent views of the gun show the barrel point toward the camp fire. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Directors: The Films of Roger Corman (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fast twisty sometimes nutty sometimes beautiful very low budget escapism
25 April 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Highway Dragnet (1954)

Wow is this an up and down production. Most of it is rather good, with a handful of supporting actors around the dependable leading role played by Richard Conte. And the plot is solid if a little familiar. Conte, a returned G.I. from Korea, is falsely accused of killing a girl in Las Vegas. And to save himself he has to resort to extreme measures, like escaping from the local cops and more or less kidnapping a couple of attractive women along the way.

One of the highlights is the range of location shooting. Foremost, briefly, is Las Vegas, circa 1954. It will blow your mind. It's worth watching the first fifteen minutes alone. Then there are lots of desert scenes leading to a grand finale at the Salton Sea, which was famously flooded. This is amazing stuff, buildings have submerged, and a wide open landscape with hardly a car or house.

And the interaction between Conte and the two women is good if somewhat predictable (one of them falls in love with him, the other wants to kill him). There is even the beginning of a photo shoot at a country motel, with a couple of Graflex cameras shown nicely. It all has a curious low budget tension.

But the tension is often resolved or delayed by a sudden bit of luck. Just when Conte is going to get caught, the phone rings, or that kind of thing. And then the ending, which I can't give away, but ugh. It had huge potential, and was going great overall, until this preposterous scene where a confession is shouted over the waves.

So, take the lumps with the cream here. It's a short, fast, enjoyable movie overall.


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