EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|JEOPARDY (director: John Sturges; screenwriters: Mel Dinelli/story by Maurice Zimm; cinematographer: Victor Milner; editor: Newell P. Kimlin; music: Dimitri Tiomkin; cast: Barbara Stanwyck (Helen Stilwin), Barry Sullivan (Doug Stilwin), Ralph Meeker (Lawson, The Fugitive), Lee Aaker (Bobby Stilwin); Runtime: 69; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sol Baer Fielding; Warner Home Video; 1953)|
|"Slick family vacation horror
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
John Sturges ("Joe Kidd"/"Ice Station Zebra"/"Bad Day at
Black Rock") directs with his usual aplomb this slick family vacation
horror story, viewed as a tense psychological
It's based on a story by Maurice
Zimm (originally a radio play, A Question of Time) and is written by Mel Dinelli. Star Barbara Stanwyck contemplated retirement
and vacationed for a year in Europe before deciding she was bored and
returned to work.
Married couple Doug Stilwin (Barry Sullivan) and Helen
(Barbara Stanwyck), with their small son Bobby (Lee Aaker), go on a
holiday fishing trip along the Mexican coast and locate an idyllic
deserted beach near Ensenada. It's a place where Doug used to
fish with his buddies when he was in
the Army. Bobby while
exploring a derelict pier gets his foot stuck in the boards. Dad while
getting the kid unstuck, falls beneath the rotting
timbers and becomes pinned in the sand. His anxious wife takes the car to get help
and finds a rope in a nearby ranch. She must hurry to get to hubby
before the high tide in a few hours will drown him, but unfortunately
at the ranch comes across a dangerous escaped killer named Lawson (Ralph
Meeker) who just murdered the
Mexican rancher living there. The American convict takes her hostage, as Doug is faced with a
race against time for survival.
Wifey has to bargain with the killer to get him to help her free hubby
by offering to help him avoid the Mexican police's roadblocks and
possibly also compromising her virtue.
Sturges, always the master craftsman, got the most he could have from this routine thriller. The modestly budgeted film turned into a surprise box-office hit for MGM.
REVIEWED ON 7/18/2010 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ