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Monday, November 18, 2013

Shack Out On 101 (1955)

At a small remote seaside diner off the 101 freeway in Southern California, suspicious activity is going on. Could it be ..... commies! This wacky B&W piece of anti-Red propaganda is far more entertaining than it has any right to be. Eschewing the heavy handed jingoism of films like BIG JIM MCLAIN, it works purely as a "B" thriller with some bizarre scenes like a homoerotic working out scene with a shirtless Lee Marvin and Keenan Wynn critiquing each other's bodies and the furious flag waving is saved for the very end. The director Edward Dein (THE LEECH WOMAN) co-wrote the screenplay with his wife Mildred and keeps the pleasing nonsense to a compact 80 minutes. The action is often pretty brutal as when Marvin slaps Terry Moore, as a sexy waitress, all around his room. Paul Dunlap did the jazz score. With Frank Lovejoy as the stalwart leading man, Frank DeKova and Whit Bissell as a man nauseated by violence so you just know before the movie is over, what he's going to be called upon to do.

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