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The Looters (1955)

An expert mountain climber and his partner find a plane wreck in the Rockies, but the partner conspires with one of the plane's survivors to stop at nothing to steal a large amount of cash found on board.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Jesse Hill
...
Sheryl Gregory
...
Pete Corder
...
George Parkinson
...
Stan Leppich
...
Maj. Knowles
John Stephenson ...
Lt. Jerry Stevenson
Rod Williams ...
Co-pilot
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Joe Sr. (unconfirmed)
James Parnell ...
Joe Jr. (unconfirmed)
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Storyline

An expert mountain climber and his partner find a plane wreck in the Rockies, but the partner conspires with one of the plane's survivors to stop at nothing to steal a large amount of cash found on board.

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Adventure

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May 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

3 fores eglimatias  »

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(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
A decent surprise, rather solid, mostly hobbled by a creaky plot line
14 December 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Looters (1955)

Well, it was at the Gratiot Drive-In outside of Detroit that the still obscure Swiss photographer Robert Frank saw this movie on its first release. I know because it's in one of his photographs, seen in his legendary book, "The Americans." And that's the only reason I sought out this B-movie. It has no DVD release, but there's a lousy copy on Youtube. Check it out. The movie is better than it should be.

The plot seems simple enough—a plane has crashed in some truly steep and dangerous mountains in Colorado. Two ex-army associates, one now a low-level crook (Ray Danton) the other (Rory Calhoun) now a principled mountain guide, head off to find the crash. There are a few survivors, including a beautiful woman (Julie Adams with a great haircut) and a money-grubbing bank clerk. And with a box of money, little food, and a couple of guns, rivalry and greed take hold on their long walk to survival.

But as with any crash movie, like the recent "Grey," survival isn't enough to get through an hour and a half. And the other theme here is worth the effort—what it is to be a man, and a woman. There are some quick but sincere points made about the woman's superficial life as a model (and she reforms by the end) and the two young men's lives as "real men" playing it rough in a rough world (and the army wins that showdown). There is that box of money, a major plot point, but more important is the mink coat, which has its role right up to the final minute.

A year later, Spencer Tracy starred in a rather similar movie, "The Mountain," and on the surface that's a better production in full Technicolor, set in the Alps. (Neither movie is great.) This 1955 black and white one has a kind of seriousness that creeps through all the thin ideas and holds it together. Adams (the woman) gets hit a couple times very hard, a weird roughness. And the director, Abner Biberman (in his first true feature film) even sneaks a scene past the censors where the Calhoun and Adams characters spend the night sleeping together in a tent.

It's been noted that this was filmed on location, which really is rugged, though it's supposed to be bitter cold and it looks like a nice summer day. The army helped with its artillery training unit, so when the two young men get their final fistfight going, and the cannons are firing, and jets fly by, it's one hell of a scene.

Yeah, check this out for fun. The acting is solid, the cinematography is by the same guy who shot "Miracle on 34th Street" and it's excellent, and the setting is intense. Different enough to warrant a look.


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