Cast & Crew
Betta St. John
At a deserted New York nightclub, gangster Johnny Yonkers murders a man named Battaglia, who is playing the tune "One for My Baby" on the piano. Seconds later, a woman enters and, realizing what has happened, flees just as Johnny fires two shots at her. Johnny is charged with Battaglia's murder but plans to plead self-defense. Aware that the district attorney is looking for the eyewitness, Johnny arranges for a hired killer to find the woman, whose identity he has deduced. Soon after, a man named Matt Hallett arrives at Montana's Glacier National Park and checks in at the large resort hotel. There, Matt meets Mary Tiller, a young Blackfoot woman who works in the gift shop; suspicious ranger Joe Parker; and Paul Adams, a commercial photographer on assignment. Matt also meets cashier Louise Graham, and after she rebuffs his flirtations, sends a telegram to New York stating that "our friend is here." That evening, Matt escorts Mary to a dance at a luxurious house built into the side of a mountain. As Paul, who came with Louise, dances with Mary, Parker shows Matt a wanted poster for Mary's father Katoonai, who is being sought on murder charges. Later, Matt asks Louise to dance, but when the song "One for My Baby" is played on the jukebox, she becomes agitated. Soon after, an avalanche sends rocks cascading into the house, causing the power lines to explode. Parker is impressed when Matt scales the electrical pole outside the house and disables the power. The next day, during a Blackfoot ceremonial dance, Matt invites Louise to go walking and asks her about her relationship with Paul and why she was upset by the song. While standing on the edge of a cliff, Louise recalls strains of the tune and screams. Matt grabs Louise just as Paul comes looking for her. Later that afternoon, Mary receives an award at the elementary school she once attended, but when she sees her father peering proudly from a trap door in the ceiling, she faints. That evening, at the hotel bar, Elster, an emissary from Johnny posing as a jovial guest, approaches Paul and warns him that the gangster is impatiently waiting for him to eliminate Louise. Nervously, Paul seeks out Louise and asks her to go for a ride, but before they can leave, Parker commandeers him and Matt to help fight a forest fire. As they battle the fire, Matt and Paul are trapped in the flames and Matt saves Paul's life. Upon returning to the lodge, Paul, who is involved in a clandestine affair with Mary, uses his concern for the girl as a pretense to talk to Louise alone. Matt is called to the phone before he can stop Louise from driving away in Paul's car, and after he hangs up, he informs Parker that he is a New York detective and asks the ranger's help in arresting Paul. As Paul and Louise drive along a mountain road, a bulletin from ranger headquarters comes over their car radio, warning that Paul is a dangerous gunman dispatched to kill Louise. Screaming in fear, Louise jumps out of the car and Paul swerves around, trying to run her over. Pushed over the roadside embankment, Louise lands safely in the brush and pulls herself back onto the road, where she is picked up by a motorist and taken to the ranger station. Paul, meanwhile, speeds to Mary's room and informs her that the rangers want to arrest him. Claiming that his car was stolen and used in a robbery, Paul enlists Mary's help in fleeing the park. Matt, meanwhile, takes Louise for a boat ride on a lake and, after confessing that he has fallen in love with her, presses her to testify against Johnny. Upon reaching the lodge, they find a note from Mary, and when a fisherman directs them to Paul's abandoned car, Louise leads Matt to an Indian cave in which she thinks Paul may be hiding. Near the cave, they encounter Katoonai, who fears that Mary and Paul will cut across a dangerous glacier to exit the park. As Mary and Paul approach the glacier, Katoonai sees them and instructs Matt to pin down Paul with gunfire while he climbs onto the ledge above. Paul spots Katoonai, however, and shoots him from his perch, sending him careening to his death. Horrified, Mary struggles with Paul, who throws her against the rocks and takes her hostage, forcing her to continue. Matt and Louise follow, and Mary grapples with Paul again, sending his gun flying into the snow. Matt then jumps Paul, and as the two men fight, Louise reaches for the discarded gun. The added weight causes the snow to crumble, and Louise plummets to an ice shelf below. After throwing Paul onto another ice shelf, Matt, with Mary's help, lowers himself by rope to rescue Louise. Regaining his balance, Paul grabs for the gun and fires at Matt. The noise of the gunshots triggers the collapse of the glacier, causing it to topple over and crush Paul. After tying the rope around Louise's waist, Matt pulls her to safety. Drawn by the sound of gunfire, the rangers then appear, and in relief, Matt and Louise kiss and plan a happy future together.
Betta St. John
Bill White Jr.
Monroe W. Burbank
W. R. Burnett
Albert S. D'agostino
J. W. Emmert
James W. Lane
Josephine Willow Wisp
Dangerous Mission - Dangerous Mission
Dangerous Mission was filmed in 3-D, and many of the effects shots lose something when viewed "flat." In one scene, Mature brazenly subdues a live wire that has been severed during an avalanche. The wire wriggles about shooting sparks, as Mature (or his stuntman) vaults over it and climbs a pole to disable it; while the scene plays well, it was probably doubly exciting to those seeing it on the big screen while wearing Polaroid glasses. The film also features several wonderful Technicolor location shots, especially towards the final act as the principal characters are approaching the glacier setting. Shot in the bright outdoors with an eye toward layered compositions, these sequences must have been knockouts when viewed in stereo.
In an interview with Herb Fagen, supporting player Walter Reed discussed working on location at Glacier National Park, and having "a whole lot of fun doing it." The company stayed in cabins at the Park; Reed shared a room with Dennis Weaver, who also played a Park Ranger. Reed said "Victor [Mature] was in the next room, but he didn't have a shower or bath tub. I told him I'd leave the door unlocked from our side, and when he wanted to take a shower he could go in there. Well, soon he was not only showering, he was using my razor and other things. I said, 'Victor, when you get to my toothbrush I'm going to close the door and lock it!'"
Time Magazine wrote that "Dangerous Mission is a misguided tour of Glacier National Park in which the public inspects such unnatural phenomena as a studio glacier, a special-effects forest fire, an avalanche in miniature and Victor Mature." The review emphasizes a blooper, saying "...Laurie takes a bad fall off a cliff. Bouncy little Piper bounces back, only to take another tumble into a crevasse where Price lies dying interminably in shaved ice. As she shivers on a frigid shelf above the killer, the audience shivers in sympathy. But Piper, as the camera reveals when Victor hauls her out on a hawser, needs no sympathy to keep her warm. She is wearing snuggies."
Dangerous Mission was the eighth film for young actress Piper Laurie, and the first that she made away from her home studio, Universal. Laurie had been under contract with Universal since the age of 17; her film debut was Louisa (1950), starring Ronald Reagan. Dangerous Mission at RKO was an early dramatic role for the actress Universal seemed to waste her talents in lightweight parts in comedies such as Francis Goes to the Races (1951) and costume pictures (Son of Ali Baba, 1952). Laurie would eventually be properly utilized in such powerful dramatic supporting roles as Paul Newman's crippled girlfriend in The Hustler (1961) and Sissy Spacek's crazed mother in the thriller Carrie (1976).
Irwin Allen's only film prior to Dangerous Mission was the Groucho Marx/William Bendix comedy A Girl in Every Port (1952). His next film would be The Animal World (1956), which collected stock footage along with a newly-produced dinosaur sequence created by effects legends Willis O'Brien and Ray Harryhausen. In 1957, the producer finally created the first of what we think of as an "Irwin Allen movie" - The Story of Mankind (1957), featuring an amazing array of guest stars including Peter Lorre as Nero, Hedy Lamarr as Joan of Arc, Harpo Marx as Isaac Newton, Dennis Hopper as Napoleon, and Vincent Price as The Devil to list only a few. Allen went on to specialize in all-star Event movies, often with a science-fiction or fantasy slant, such as Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961). Allen moved his brand of juvenile science fiction to television, and produced hit shows for 20th Century Fox such as Lost in Space (1965-1968), The Time Tunnel (1966-1967), and Land of the Giants (1968-1970). He returned to feature films in a big way with The Poseidon Adventure (1972), continuing his penchant for putting a variety of familiar faces in constant peril.
Producer: Irwin Allen
Director: Louis King
Screenplay: Charles Bennett, W.R. Burnett, Horace McCoy (also story), James Edmiston (story)
Music: Roy Webb
Cinematography: William E. Snyder
Editing: Frederic Knudtson, Gene Palmer
Art Direction: Albert S. D'Agostino, Walter E. Keller
Set Decoration: Darrell Silvera, John Sturtevant
Visual Effects: Harold E. Wellman
Cast: Victor Mature (Matt Hallett), Piper Laurie (Louise Graham), William Bendix (Ranger Joe Parker), Vincent Price (Paul Adams), Betta St. John (Mary Tiller), Harry Cheshire (Mr. Elster), Steve Darrell (Katoonai Tiller), Walter Reed (Ranger Dobson), Dennis Weaver (clerk).
by John M. Miller
Dangerous Mission - Dangerous Mission
The working titles of this picture were Rangers of the North and The Glacier Story. Although the film was originally presented in 3-D, the viewed print was in standard format. The film opens with the following written statement: "The cooperation of the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, and Glacier National Park is gratefully acknowledged." Location shooting took place at Glacier National Park in Montana, according to reviews. According to a January 1952 Hollywood Reporter news item, RKO purchased a story by Stanley Jones entitled "Glacier National Park" and assigned Irwin Allen to produce it. As Jones's story reportedly was about "an Indian prospector," it has not been determined whether it was related to Dangerous Mission. A Hollywood Reporter news item lists William Janssen, Buck Russell and Robert Milton in the cast of Dangerous Mission, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Philip Ahn also is listed, but he did not appear in the film. RKO borrowed Victor Mature from Twentieth Century-Fox for the production.
Released in United States Winter February 1954
Released in United States Winter February 1954