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5 Steps to Danger (1957)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 5 April 1957 (UK)
During the 1950s, a man's car trip from L.A. to Texas turns into a Cold-War espionage drama when his car breaks down and he accepts a lift from a stranger.

Director:

Henry S. Kesler

Writers:

Henry S. Kesler (screenplay), Donald Hamilton (story) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Ruth Roman ... Ann Nicholson
Sterling Hayden ... John Emmett
Werner Klemperer ... Dr. Simmons
Richard Gaines ... Dean Brant
Charles Davis Charles Davis ... Kirk
Jeanne Cooper ... Helen Bethke
Peter Hansen ... Karl Plesser
Karl Ludwig Lindt Karl Ludwig Lindt ... Kissel (as Karl Lindt)
John Mitchum ... Deputy
John Frederick John Frederick ... Sheriff (as John Merrick)
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Storyline

When his car breaks down during a trip from Los Angeles to Texas John Emmett meets another motorist, Ann Nicholson, who offers him a lift. He learns that she is running away from her physician, Dr. Simmons, and the police, who want to question her about a murdered Central Intelligence Agent in Los Angeles. Anne, as it also turns out, is a native of Berlin, Germany. She had come into possession of a valuable secret formula for a 4000-mile-per-hour rocket, which is written on the reverse side of a small pocket mirror she carries. She wants to deliver this to a scientist in the United States. But, the scientist is an enemy agent as is her doctor and they, and the F.B.I are after her. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They Carried a Hell-Bomb Horror From East Berlin Across Ten Thousand Miles---To a Secret U. S. Rocket Base! (original poster) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 April 1957 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Steel Mirror See more »

Filming Locations:

Hollywood, California, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | Mono (Ryder Sound Services)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Released in the UK in November 1956 as the support film for Robert Aldrich's Attack. See more »

Goofs

In the opening scene, we see Mrs Nicholson's car passing the towed car. Yet, the towed car gets to the garage before Mrs Nicholson. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Why we know Hitchcock, but not Henry S. Kesler.
16 September 2009 | by Irie212See all my reviews

Another IMDb reviewer, dbdumonteil, made the key observation that this movie was reminiscent of Hitchcock-- about an ordinary man caught up in extraordinary circumstances. It also has handcuffed characters ("39 Steps"), an evil doctor ("Spellbound"), and German scientists ("Notorious"). But this is a far cry from Hitchcock. In Henry S. Kesler's hands, I'm not even sure what the eponymous five steps to danger were.

The idea isn't bad. The first scene is intriguing. The road scenes capture the American Southwest in the mid-1950s. And the performances are adequate, except for the many lawmen who are so rigid and expressionless, you'd think they'd be convincing, but no.

But its minor attributes are overwhelmed by major problems: there is no memorable dialog; the plot is more convoluted than complex; the editing is atrocious (the chase scene with the gunsel is particularly inept); and the big final scene at the weapons lab is too little, too late.

Kesler made three movies before he migrated to TV, where he directed only a few episodes of each of a handful of 1950s series, the most famous of which is "Highway Patrol." If you've seen "Highway Patrol," then you know that Kesler is strictly from the point-and-shoot school of film-making. There isn't an ounce of creativity in "Five Steps"-- nothing in the editing or camera-work that builds tension or rhythm, let alone pace.

It deserves less than a 5 rating, but I've always admired the under-rated Ruth Roman; and it was fun to see Werner Klemperer, Jeanne Cooper ("Young and Restless"), and Ken Curtis ("Gunsmoke") in early roles; but in the final analysis, I can't give any Sterling Hayden picture less than a 5.


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