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A Strange Adventure

A Strange Adventure(1956)

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At the California motel run by his mother, Harold Norton tinkers with his automobile, which he has souped up to run over one hundred miles an hour. Against his mother's admonition, Harold has become attracted to one of the motel guests, Lynn Novack, who claims to be a nightclub singer waiting for her agent, Woodie Wilson, and her backup musicians to arrive from Omaha. Lynn exploits Harold's infatuation by asking him to drive her around and do errands for her. When two of her partners, Al Kutner and Phil Davis, arrive in a flashy automobile, Harold is at first impressed. After they settle in, the men, who are really not musicians, but thieves planning an armored car robbery, inform Lynn that Woodie, who is their leader and her boyfriend, has been arrested. Although Kutner, unknown to the others, tipped off the Omaha police about Woodie, he denies responsibility for the arrest. After announcing that he is taking over leadership of the group, Kutner reminds them that with Woodie's arrest, they now have one less person with whom to share their proceeds. After Harold notices that the men's car is registered in Woodie's name, he reads in the paper about Woodie's arrest and subsequent jailbreak. Suspecting that the car is stolen, Harold worries about Lynn, whom he assumes is innocent. To ascertain if Kutner and Davis were involved with Woodie, Harold sends them a telegram and signs Woodie's name. When they abruptly make plans to leave, he is certain that they are criminals and warns Lynn, but she assures Harold he is wrong. The robbery goes as planned, but the driver of the armored car, Carl Johnson, who has been lured by Lynn into helping them, is murdered. While her accomplices are robbing the armored car, Lynn finagles Harold into inviting her on a picnic in his hot rod, which the gang wants to use as a getaway car. Harold again tries to warn Lynn that her acquaintances are not who she says they are. However, when the robbers arrive to rendezvous with Lynn, and at gunpoint force him to drive them away, Harold realizes that she has used him and is a member of the gang. He is further troubled to hear a radio news broadcast reporting that he is missing and believed to have eloped with Lynn. To elude a motocycle policeman and avoid several road blocks, Kutner directs Harold to drive the car high into the Sierras. Eventually, they find themselves on a dead-end road at the cabin of Luther Dolgin, a snowfall observer for the electric power company, who lives with his sister Terry. Unaware of the identity of the robbers, the Dolgins are at first welcoming, happy for a last chance to see people before they are snowbound for the winter. When they realize that their guests are robbers commandeering their cabin as a hideout, Luther sets his two-way radio on fire, so that he is unable to make his biweekly reports. Realizing that Luther's failure to call the company at the appointed times will sound the alert that he is in trouble, Kutner and Davis beat Luther senseless. Harold intervenes and saves both Luther and Terry, who has put herself in jeopardy by resisting the criminals. Afterward, Kutner insists that Luther repair the radio and makes certain that Luther calls in on schedule. Knowing that they will soon be snowed in for the winter, Kutner hides the stolen money. Later, in an attempt to alert the electric company, Harold devises an intercom device, which allows Terry, posing as a dispatcher from the electric company, to talk to Luther from one of the outbuildings, thus tricking the thieves into thinking that Luther is making his reports. However, Kutner soon recognizes Terry's voice on the radio and eventually uses the device against them by listening in on their private conversation and learning that a snowcat sent by the electrical company is being driven up the mountain. Kutner plans kill everyone but Lynn, then retrieve the money and escape, but Lynn has become dissatisfied with Kutner, and slips Harold a gun. A fight ensues among the group, allowing Terry to run outside to warn McIntyre, the company superintendent who has come to check on Luther. Kutner shoots at Terry, but McIntyre fires back and kills him. Outnumbered, Davis soon surrenders. After Lynn, Harold and Davis are arrested, Davis turns state's evidence. Trying to save herself, Lynn tells the authorities that she and Harold, who she mistakenly believes knows where the cash is hidden, were lovers and were planning to return the money once they escaped from Kutner. She tries to get Harold to go along with her story, but Harold refuses to cooperate with her because he is in love with Terry. As Harold was seen driving the getaway car, no one, except the Dolgins, believes in his innocence. Harold's defense is based on the Dolgins' word against Lynn's and Davis'. As his lawyer explains, the outcome of the trial will probably depend on whether the jurors are attracted more to Lynn's sexual presence or Terry's fresh-faced innocence. Because of Terry's abiding belief in Harold, the lawyer is able to clear Harold's name. Later, after he is acquitted, Harold proposes to Terry.