“The apes have taken over — while we were busy watching television and filling our freezers, they’ve come out of the jungle and moved in!”
A waitress (Terry Moore) at an isolated seaside cafe discovers that her physicist boyfriend (Frank Lovejoy) and the cafe’s violent cook, “Slob” (Lee Marvin), are smuggling nuclear secrets out of the country.
Despite its low budget and limited locales, this character-driven drama remains an effectively suspenseful thriller about Cold War paranoia and patriotism. The film possesses a fair amount of levity (especially in the scene where Wynn and Marvin are lifting weights), and plenty of reliably zingy dialogue: “Slob’s got an eight-cylinder body and a two-cylinder mind!” Plus, the acting by everyone involved is well above average for a B-movie, and there are enough plot twists to keep you on the edge of your seat. This surprisingly effective cult thriller deserves a release on DVD.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Lee Marvin in an early yet typically hard-hitting role
- Keenan Wynn as the hard-working owner of the “shack”
- Marvin and Wynn comparing “pecs” and other body parts — a hilarious commentary on 1950s machismo
- Terry Moore as the sexy yet feisty waitress who refuses to stand by and let her beloved country be compromised
- Moore and Lovejoy interspersing kisses with questions about the U.S. Constitution
- Amusingly sincere pro-America dialogue: “What form of government is this?” “The best!”
Yes. This cult film is well worth seeking out.