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At an isolated, seaside greasy-spoon cafe live George, the sarcastic owner; Slob, the potentially violent cook; and Kotty, the sexy waitress all the men lust after. Plus an occasional customer, including "Professor Sam", Kotty's boyfriend from a nearby research facility. And something's going on under the potentially explosive surface emotions...nuclear secrets being smuggled out of the country. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Allied Artists, formerly Monogram Studios released this Cold War dinosaur on the American public in 1955. Shack Out On 101 tells the story of a greasy spoon diner that from all appearances looks like a greasy spoon diner, but in reality is the headquarters of a Communist spy ring.
The diner is strategically located near an atomic facility that's on the Pacific Coast highway nearby. Early on in the film, it's revealed that Lee Marvin the short order cook in the place is a spy. The question is, who else is working with him? Terry Moore whose blood is red, white, and blue catches on that all is not right with Marvin who keeps trying throughout the whole film to nail her and not for the Communist cause. You have professor Frank Lovejoy from the atomic facility, diner owner Keenan Wynn, salesman Whit Bissell, fisherman Frank DeKova and a few others come in and out of the Shack Out on 101. Which of them are Americans and which are Communist traitors?
It's a really good group of character actors who got together for this one that played the bottom of many double bills. Of course Lee Marvin was not yet a leading man so he only is fourth billed behind Frank Lovejoy, Terry Moore, and Keenan Wynn. If it was not for the campiness of the whole film, Marvin's career and the rest of the cast's careers might well have gone belly up after this one.
Today's audience will split a gut laughing at the prospect that the evil Communists would be operating from a diner on the Pacific Coast Highway. It's why Shack Out on 101 gets as high as a five star rating.
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