Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 1, 2016


Pamela Blake as Doris with Robert Lowery
HIGHWAY 13 (1948). Director: William Berke.

A series of mysterious accidents are plaguing a truck company, although the head of the outfit seems unconcerned. Another executive in the firm, Frank Denton (Michael Whalen), finds out that his wife's car has been driven off a cliff and feels he was the real target. Even an undercover detective (Steve Pendleton) hired to investigate comes to a bad end. Driver Hank Wilson (Robert Lowery), who is engaged to personable, pretty waitress Doris (Pamela Blake), is determined to get to the bottom of things. Other characters include Doris' uncle, known as "Pops" (Clem Bevans); his wife, Aunt Myrt (Mary Gordon); the trucking firm's personnel manager, Mary (Maris Wrixon of The Face of Marble); and detectives played by Lyle Talbot and Dan Seymour. Highway 13 could be dismissed as a typical minor "B"  thriller were it not for the fact that it has a good script, interesting characters and performances, and it isn't obvious from the first who the bad guys are. Pamela Blake [Ghost of Zorro] offers a very appealing portrait of the waitress Doris, Lowery is the stalwart hero, and Clem Bevans [Gold Raiders] pretty much steals the picture as the dyspeptic old Pops.

Verdict: Entertaining and suspenseful, with a few surprises and a satisfying wind-up. **1/2.

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