5 Steps to Danger (1957)

No trailer/preview that I could find, this video will probably have to do…

I don’t know what the 5 steps to danger are.  The poster seems to be a little misleading as well.  And Ruth Roman is ugly and stupid.  Sterling Hayden is not someone I would invite to hitch a ride.  For the first part of the movie he looks like a scruffy and gruff hobo and for the rest of the movie he acts like an Enchanted Prince Edward.

Yes, yes, it’s a spy movie.  It comes across as a sort of watered down Hitchcock mixed with a little daytime film noir but the storyline is a classic Cold War spy plot.  It’s always a little misleading with some classic movies, you want to think they’re something they’re not.  If you set aside the psychiatrist’s efforts (he’s obviously not a real psychologist) then you are left with a German expatriate attempting to complete her heroic brother’s efforts to smuggle valuable scientific research on ICBM’s across the nascent Iron Curtain.  There are no Bondian displays of ridiculous spy gear which was refreshing and some very potent government agencies are at work in the events of the movie.

Despite some behind the scenes assistance from the CIA and FBI, most of the work is carried out by Ann and John who are not trained intelligence agents.  This is a continuation of the idea that agents are recruited, drafted or simply pick up work in the field which makes it very easy to have characters that are relatable to the audience.  You can identify with and empathize with a husband or wife figure or even see them as parental figures depending on how old you are.  There must be some kind of term for this, where a character leaves their normal life only for the span of the movie and then just as smoothly returns to it at the end of the movie.  Sometimes it works like in this movie, sometimes it’s confounding like in Marathon Man.

This one is grist for the mill.  If you like spy movies and you can handle old movies then it’s worth your time.