EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|CRASHOUT (director/writer: Lewis R. Foster; screenwriters: Hal E. Chester/Cy Endfield; cinematographer: Russell Metty; editor: Robert Swink; music: Leith Stevens; cast: William Bendix (Van Morgan Duff), Luther Adler (Pete Mendoza), Arthur Kennedy (Joe Quinn), Gene Evans (Maynard 'Monk' Collin), William Talman (Swanee Rawlins), Marshall Thompson (Billy Lang), Beverly Michaels (Alice Mosher), Gloria Talbott (Girl on Train), Adam Williams (Fred), Percy Helton (Doctor Louis Barnes), Adele St. Mauer (Mrs. Mosher), Edward Clark (Conductor), Morris Ankrum (Head guard), Tom Dugan (Ed, the Bartender); Runtime: 82; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Hal E. Chester; Republic Pictures Home Video; 1955)|
escape flick--one of the best of its kind."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Lewis R. Foster ("Manhandled"/"Hong Kong"/"Armored Car
is co-writer with Hal E. Chester and the uncredited Cy
Endfield, and is
director of this hard-boiled prison escape flick--one
of the best of
its kind. One day 38 prisoners try to escape from a Colorado prison,
but only 6 men
escape without being killed or captured. The prison
leader, bank robber
and murderer, Van Morgan
Duff (William Bendix) escapes
but is wounded.
The other 5 escapees are a
bank embezzler Joe Quinn (Arthur Kennedy)
and the other four are murderers: Pete Mendoza (Luther
Luther "Swanee" Remsen (William
"Monk" Collins (Gene Evans)
youngster who accidentally killed someone, Billy
The men hide out in an abandoned mine shaft that
only Van knew existed.
Because the wounded Van is too weak to travel when
the coast is clear,
he offers to split with the men the
hid from his last bank robbery on a mountain top if
they help him get a
doctor and help him get to where he stashed the
loot. The men agree.
They lure a local doctor (Percy Helton) to a closed
gas station in the
middle of the night and force him to operate on Van
in the mine shaft.
After the successful operation they leave the doctor
bound and gagged,
but the sadistic Van returns with his favorite
henchman Swanee to kill
the doctor without the knowledge of the others.
men are hunted by the police in a wide manhunt
across the state and
leave a trail of bloodshed, as they get picked off
one by one. One
escapee, Billy, goes soft and tries to leave the
gang with a girl (Gloria Talbot) he
met on the
train and fell in love with, but is knifed to death
by the lapsed reverend, Swanee,
of the station. A motor-cyle cop is run down by
Swanee in front of the
bar where the felons just took the clothes of the
men patrons and
robbed the place, but before the cop dies he fatally
plugs the women
hungry Pete. While holding a family captive in their
farm house, a
mechanic (Adam Williams)
who was roughed up manages to awaken from
his beating to kill Monk with a Molotov cocktail. In
the end, the
psychopathic killer Van and the greedy Joe fight for
the stolen loot
atop a snowy mountain.
crisply told story keeps things moving at a
quickened pace and is
exciting, even if it leads to a predictable
conclusion. It's a finely
executed low-budget film noir, that was quite
violent for its day.
Bendix is absolutely chilling as the ruthless gang
leader, who views
everyone as a sucker. Beverly
Michaels has a nice supporting turn as the single
parent mother whose
farm has been invaded by these monsters, but manages
to humanize Joe
and plant seeds in his head that he can be
REVIEWED ON 2/20/2011 GRADE: A-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ