Sat 21 Jul 2012
CHASING DANGER. 20th Century Fox, 1939. Preston Foster, Lynn Bari, Wally Vernon, Henry Wilcoxon, Joan Woodbury, Harold Huber, Jody Gilbert. Director: Ricardo Cortez.
In Chasing Danger Preston Foster and Wally Vernon play a couple of world-traveling news photographers who stumble across the source of arms and ammunition for a group of Arab rebels in French Algeria. Of the two, Foster’s the brains of the pair, so to speak, while Vernon plays the dumb sidekick to near perfection. (He spends most the movie mooning over his fiancee back in Brooklyn, where their wedding is supposed to be taking place.)
Lynn Bari is the previously mentioned source. Her mother being Arabian, her sympathies are with the rebels, but her source of funds are questionable, the latter being a cache of jewels her accomplice in arms-running (Harold Huber) has in his possession, he being a crook who disappeared with them several months earlier while making a getaway flight across the Channel to England.
For a short movie (my copy runs only 50 minutes or so) the plot is both complicated and simple, once you’ve sorted it all out. It’s pretty much action (and a little leering) all the way, nothing more, nor nothing less.
Don’t go out of your way for this one, but it’s done with a certain amount of expertise that might surprise you. If it comes along and you’re a fan of this kind of semi-half-baked foreign adventure, I’d say give it a try.
LATER. After writing the comments above, I made a discovery that I couldn’t find an easy way to work into my review, so I’ll talk about it here instead. This is the second in a series of two movies to have featured this somewhat comedic pair of adventuresome cameramen.
The first one was Sharpshooters (1938), but it was Brian Donlevy who played the part of Steve Mitchell in that earlier one, not Preston Foster. (I always thought they looked something alike.)
Lynn Bari was in the first one also, but playing a different part. I’ve not been able to track down a copy, and I’d really like to. But getting back to Steve Mitchell, what’s kind of interesting about this is that’s the name of character played by Brian Donlevy in his 1950s TV espionage series, Dangerous Assignment.
Coincidence or not, I don’t know.