» » A Strange Adventure (1956)

Short summary

A trio of thieves make their getaway by kidnapping a young hot-rodder, and take over a mountain cabin for a hideout after overpowering its occupants.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: GEL
    I am attempting to give you my opinion of the film, while providing the basic story, but not revealing any real "spoilers"... This is a decent JD-type flick. Starts out at a motel run by a mother and her son, Harold. Harold is into cars and girls. When pretty girl Lynn Novack is staying at the motel, she gets Harold tangled up with some bad guys in the middle of a plan to rob an armored car. The main bad guy, Al Kutner is played by Jan Merlin, who basically slaps the girls around and counts the money, while his sidekick, played by the late Nick Adams, does little more than sneeze, sniffle, and talk like he has a clothespin on his nose.

    The roads are blocked and they end up at a weather station in the mountains, run by Luther Dolgin and his sister Terry, played by lovely Joan Evans. She becomes a love interest for Harold. One highlight of the movie occurs when has to change her blouse in one scene, providing us with a glimpse of her in a bra.

    The money ends up hidden in the snow and they try to blame Harold for its disappearance.

    I give it 8/10 because it succeeded as an engaging, mildly exploitive JD-type flick.

    That's all I care to say, but I might add, if they remade this film, they would have to do things differently now!
  • comment
    • Author: Priotian
    Sometimes it's as if we can forgive the most trying stretches of believability, just because a film was made in an era like the 50's with a shoestring budget. I don't like that. Good, believable films were made at this time as well as clinkers. This has some things going for it, but the way these nasty characters behave is beyond imagination. They wave their guns around, threaten, but don't seem to want to act. Hostages are left to wander all over the place. There is tension among the thieves, but it is dealt with in such a silly, haphazard way, it doesn't work. A slip up of any kind, and their whole project is down the chute. If we are to believe the whole business about being locked up in the woods in the winter, it seems at some point, someone would begin to make realistic plans to get on their way. Are they already murderers? I don't know, but they could have certainly done a better job of getting on with their plot. Then there is the ending (I'm not going to do any spoilers). This is the most ho-hum, contrived mess I've ever seen. It's as if they ran out of time and just decided to create this ending. Judge for yourself. The bottom line is, people just don't act this way--they just don't.
  • comment
    • Author: Olma
    "A young man with a passion for hot rods and pretty girls finds himself in trouble when he gets mixed-up with some criminals. A pretty border at his mother's motel talks our hero into a drive that ends up as a part of her gang's armored car robbery. Forced to drive them to a remote cabin to hide from the police, our hero must think of a way to save he and his fellow hostages, and foil the plans of the bank robbers," according to the DVD sleeve's synopsis.

    A dullish 1950s "rebellious youth" film. Ben Cooper (as Harold Norton) is the passionate hot rod man. Marla English (as Lynn Novak) is the beautifully built gangster's "Doll", who lures innocent Mr. Cooper into the fold. She alternates between Cooper and gang leader boyfriend Jan Merlin (as Al Kutner). Later on, the sweet sister and brother team of Joan Evans and Peter Miller (as Terry and Luther Dolgin) are taken hostage by Mr. Merlin. Nick Adams (as Phil Davis) fights off a cold, and assists Merlin.

    **** A Strange Adventure (1956) William Witney ~ Ben Cooper, Marla English, Jan Merlin
  • comment
    • Author: Vetitc
    This poor attempt at producing a movie fails over and over. Terrible bursts of music that might wake up the sleeping audience. Dumb characters. Good people are dumb and bad people are dumb. The music should have been dum, dum, dum, dum.

    This could have been a sexy, robbery gone wrong, cute good girl, beautiful bad girl, even prettier young guy male lead, Ben Cooper action suspense adventure. My guess is the director was spending too much time studying for his grade school graduation test and he could not devote enough focus to this. Hey, the viewer can't focus on this either.

    Beautiful cars in the first half of the movie. A bit of a look at a supermarket of the 1950s. Good hairstyles and make up for all the cast. They don't ever look stupid. That's just the way they act. They are all good actors, but this contrived bunch of nonsense never gives anyone a hint of reality or danger or intelligence.

    What happened to the money? They needed a few more scenes when they ran out of film. I know where it was when we last saw it, but what happened to the money? Where's the money? Ben could have done so well if he could have rewritten each of his scenes. He should have been shirtless in the snow with the girl searching for the dough. Ben never got his Bonnie and Clyde role. This could have been like that with just a few changes on each page.

    Tom Willett
  • comment
    • Author: Gold as Heart
    With John Wayne no longer under contract and their stable of cowboy heroes gone or gone to television Republic Pictures turned out a lot of mediocre films until Herbert J. Yates pulled the plug on his business. Occasionally they did a good film, but mostly mediocre. A Strange Adventure was worse than mediocre.

    Marla English is in a small town western motel spending a lot of time sun bathing and getting the hormones of the hotrodding son of the owner into overdrive. Ben Cooper no way Jose looked like a minor kid, but he's checking out English big time and she's leading him on.

    But that's her stock in trade, English also has armored car driver Paul Smith ready to help heist his own car. That's what happens when her confederates Jan Merlin and Nick Adams arrive and they shoot the luckless Smith. They also take Cooper and his hotrod which does 90 miles as a possible getaway vehicle.

    As arranged the gang is supposed to hide in an abandoned cabin in the mountains that will soon be snowed in and then make a getaway in spring. But the cabin isn't so abandoned as brother and sister Peter Miller and Joan Evans are there.

    The cinematography is mediocre and the sound quality horrible on A Strange Adventure. The players do their best with some off the wall dialog. Jan Merlin especially overacts with gusto to cover up the film's deficiencies.

    A Strange Adventure is directed by William Witney who ten years earlier was grinding out Roy Rogers and Gene Autry westerns along with the rest of the Republic cowboy stable. I'll bet he wished he was back in the saddle again.
  • comment
    • Author: Andronrad
    Marla English was a pretty starlet who looked very similar to Elizabeth Taylor. She started off in uncredited parts in prestigious movies ("About Mrs. Leslie" (1954), "Rear Window" (1954)) and then landed leads in a few good "bad" films ("The She Creature" (1956), "Runaway Daughters" (1956)) - and then no more. She made her last appearance in "Voodoo Woman" in 1957. She did marry around this time and retired to raise a family (she had 4 sons). "A Strange Adventure" was directed by William Witney, the first of a few J.D. films he did, ("The Young and the Wild", "The Cool and the Crazy") just before he retired. This was also one of Republic Pictures last releases.

    Hal (Ben Cooper) is a keen hot rodder who falls under the spell of Lynn Novak (Marla English), a night club singer and also part of a gang of robbers (Nick Adams plays Phil, the one with the cold). They plan to rob an armoured car and Lyn goes to work, using her charms on the driver. She then reads that "Woody", her old boyfriend, has escaped from jail in Omaha and realises that Al, the hardened boss, probably double crossed him. They have to move fast with the robbery as Lynn finds out that Hal has contacted Woody and he is now in town.

    The movie then changes entirely and Woody is not heard of again (very weird, as that seemed to be where the film was heading!!!) In trying to evade the police they turn off at a forest and end up taking a snow fall observer and his teenage sister hostage. Holed up in the cabin, everyone starts to realise how crazy Al is. Hal is working on his own escape plan which involves Terry and her brother. A gun battle ensues and Phil (who is the real brains) has been "squirreling" the money away in a log in the woods, and replacing it with rocks!!!! It sort of ends with Hal driving away with his two new friends and a police broadcast proclaiming that since neither Phil nor Al seem to know where the money is they are both going to jail for a long time.

    Joan Evans, whose mother was Katharine Albert, a journalist for "Photoplay" magazine, plays Terry.

    Not recommended.
  • comment
    • Author: Mightsinger
    This is quite an unremarkable 50's crime flick. It's about a gang of armed robbers who take a young hotrod hostage and hide out in the mountains in an isolated weather station, taking a further two innocent people hostage.

    The whole thing is quite contrived and although it's not particularly interesting it's not that bad either. It's a pretty cheap production but the cast acquit themselves OK, and the story moves along at a decent pace. Things are ultimately wrapped up what is close to a non-ending. It's a half-hearted resolution at best.

    Overall it's really not that strange an adventure. But, you know what, I've seen a lot worse.
  • Complete credited cast:
    Joan Evans Joan Evans - Terry Dolgin
    Ben Cooper Ben Cooper - Harold Norton
    Marla English Marla English - Lynn Novak
    Jan Merlin Jan Merlin - Al Kutner
    Nick Adams Nick Adams - Phil Davis
    Peter Miller Peter Miller - Luther Dolgin
    Paul Smith Paul Smith - Carl Johnson
    Emlen Davies Emlen Davies - Mildred Norton
    Frank Wilcox Frank Wilcox - The Public Defender
    Thomas Browne Henry Thomas Browne Henry - Criminal Attorney
    John Maxwell John Maxwell - Insurance Company Representative
    Steve Wayne Steve Wayne - Western Union Messenger
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