As a train speeds through the Arizona night, a man posing as a physician holds up the baggage-car crew and escapes with a $500,000 payroll. The fake doctor, Paul Bruckner, leaves the train ... See full summary »
novel variation on "Most Dangerous Game" from wr-dir Wyott Ordung
Best known for some classic "B" science fiction films of the 1950s such as MONSTER FROM THE OCEAN FLOOR, writer/producer/director Wyott Ordung attempted to work in the LA film noir/psychological drama vein with this 1956 rarity, taking the classic "Most Dangerous Game" scenario as a starting point, but reinventing it in a very novel way. I don't want to give too much plot away as the film unrolls in a surprising way. Chuck Connors, although best known for his Western roles and his fatherly manner on The Rifleman, plays over-the-top psycho roles well (see DEATH IN SMALL DOSES for proof!), and does so here, pitted against Korean War vet Don Ross (billed as "introducing"). It's an interesting psychological game of wits. Although many of the expository scenes are shot on a few small sets, much of the action takes place on the streets of 1950s Los Angeles, fascinating to look at and giving the film a wonderfully gritty and authentic feel. The film also has the ironic development of a Twilight Zone or Thriller episode, but further developed to feature length. This seems to be a unique entry in Mr. Ordung's filmography, and it shows that he can work well within the low-budget crime drama field with minimal resources because he can as a writer and director create tense situations and he had the good sense to hire actors such as Chuck Connors. Don Ross is fine too, although he is the down-to-earth one here and other than being tough and ingenious is not given the opportunities for histrionics that the script gives to Connors. Perhaps because Ordung is a "cult" name in Science Fiction circles, someone will do a video/dvd release of this little-known gem--I certainly hope so. It is due for re-evaluation. (It has a vague resemblance to CONFESSIONS OF A PSYCHO CAT, made ten years later...although that is probably coincidental. PSYCHO CAT was the first film I thought of while watching this)
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