Congo Crossing (1956)

Virginia Mayo, George Nader, Peter Lorre, Michael Pate,
Attractive Louise Whitman catalyzes action and adventure in an African country that offers haven to foreign fugitives.
  • 5.3 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Houston Branch, Richard Alan Simmons, Writer:
  • Joseph Pevney, Director:
  • Howard Christie, Producer:

All subtitles:

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7 / 10

Relaxing movie, plus Mayo and Lorre

Since I refuse to dislike a movie featuring Virginia Mayo and Peter Lorre, I admit to be biased in judging "Congo crossing". Virginia Mayo at her sexiest takes the movie on her beautiful shoulders. She is perfect in the role of the gorgeous adventuress wrapped into a number of stunning dresses (not particularly suited to Africa, to be honest). Maybe a trite character, but so dear to us old-flicks-buffs. Peter Lorre, unwashed, sweat and shabby as ever, hangs about with his unclean uniform, covered by medals in the style of a South-American dictator. Needless to say, he makes a treat of his whole screen-time. The sleazy and physically scary Michael Pate is a great villain. George Nader is a nice handsome guy, unfortunately lacking of charisma. But that's not much important: Virginia has enough charisma for both.

The story has some resemblance with "Casablanca". Only, here the refugees are replaced by crooks hidden in an imaginary little African state with no extradition laws. I don't know whether the movie was actually filmed in Africa. In any case, the locations are beautiful, the photography is accurate and the atmosphere is evocative. There are several old-style but well-made action scenes.

In "Congo Crossing" there are also some flaws, typical of this kind of movies. A common one for that epoch: the villain is prisoner of the hero, and the hero never sleeps, until exhaustion, for fear to be attacked. Why doesn't he simply tie the bad guy overnight?

Besides the intrinsic credit of Virginia's and Lorre's presence, "Congo crossing" is a pleasant, relaxing movie, especially suited to lovers of classic cinema.

6 / 10

African tale full of cliches , thrills , intrigue and some picturesque settings

A passable noirish African adventure in derivative Casablanca type style , dealing with a fugitive from the law : Virginia Mayo, gathering together with other peculiar characters as George Nader , Michael Pate , Peter Lorre in a fictitious country of Congotanga where extradition laws are not practised . Later on , the geographer Nader , the pursued Mayo and the mysterious Michael Pate sets out to a dangerous expedition through Congotanga and Belgian Congo .In Africa's savage city of outcasts they met un a rendezvous with terror!.

One of the colorful , moving and action features that Universal International trotted out with polish , profesionality and much regularly in the 50s. It has a solid cast that beefs up this standard and enjoyable African jungle story with attractive settings from Robert Boyle and Alexander Golitzen. It arranges to be , at least , an agreeable adventure movie because of it packs action , breathtaking outdoors and outlandish , risked situaciones abound .It bears remarkable resemblance to another Universal film titled "Tanganyka" 1954 by Andre De Toth with Van Hefiln , Ruth Roman , Jeff Morrow , Howard Duff . The routine happenings are lit up only by the gorgeous presence of the always beautiful Virginia Mayo and , of course, the astringent Peter Lorre, returning to weightier after five years , due to previous illness .This one was third film on his comeback to the big screen after a long absence brought on mainly by alcoholism sickness .He went back splendidly and more ironical than ever. These roles are well accompanied by other important secondaries giving enthusiast interpretations such as Rex Ingram , Michael Pate , Raymond Bailey and George Ramsey .

It contains Russell Metty's brilliant and elegant Technicolor camerawork , though including some stock shots of animals as Crocs .The motion picture was professionally directed by Joseph Pevney , though with no originality . Pevney was a craftsman who directed a lot of films of all kinds of genres , such as Wartime : Torpedo Run, Away All Boats , Air Cadet . Adventures as : Yankee Pasha, Tammy , Twilight for the God , Desert Legion . Western : Lady from Texas , The Plunderers . Thriller : Undercover Girl, Flesh and Fury , Man of a Thousand Faces , Iron Man , Shakedown , The Strange Door , 6 Bridges to cross , Istanbul . Rating 6/10 . Acceptable and passable African adventure, though some dull, at times.

7 / 10

Not bad noirish adventure

As an antidote to the sweetness of "The African Queen," try this raunchy little rough-and-ready tale in which a passel of sleazy bums from Europe and America sort out their differences in and around the Congo, while decent African citizens just try to get on with things. Peter Lorre is radiant as the chief bum, a combination Capt. Renault/Ugarte character in a natty gold braided uniform who rules by dint of outclassing everybody.

8 / 10

Excellent Film Noir Plus Jungle Adventure

Joseph Pevney the director is more or less dismissed by so called highbrow critics. I think they are wrong. He directed Joan Crawford in one of the rare films on male prostitution, ' Female on the Beach ' and many minor gems of entertaining films that deal with character as well as action. ' Congo Crossing ' is perfectly cast. George Nadar is the lead male role, and he has been underestimated as an actor. Rock Hudson is often compared to him, and Nadar comes out as being inferior. The truth I think is that given the right roles they were both fine actors and both were gay and faithful friends. One had to go given the ' morals ' of Hollywood and gracefully Nadar left and became a writer. In this film he is on top form trying to redraw the map of the Belgian Congo, as what should be part of it's territory has become a renegade state for criminals. Peter Lorre runs it in uniform and gives a delightful over the top performance. Virginia Mayo is at her best as a cold woman of mystery who is warm when she wants to and not when men want to profit from her in more ways than one. This is by no means a great film, but excellent on its own terms. I can imagine audiences of the mid-1950's enjoyed every minute of it. I believe it, and films like it, give pleasure and sometimes have a lot of artistic beauty into the bargain. A mistake to underestimate directors like Pevney who had a lot to give to the diversity of cinema.

4 / 10

Congotanga, one swinging place

Reading that Universal got Virginia Mayo's services for Congo Crossing in exchange for Rock Hudson going to Warner Brothers I was stunned and thinking in baseball terms. The biggest one sided deal I had ever heard of since the Mets parted with Nolan Ryan to the Angels for Jim Fregosi. The cast didn't even get the benefit of a nice African location shoot.

Shot in the Botanical Gardens of Los Angeles this routine action adventure film has Virginia Mayo as a socialite on the run and George Nader an engineer on a surveying mission.

They're both at a real sleazy town in the French Congo where Peter Lorre runs a rather loose enforcement policy. There's also Michael Pate who is a hit man contracted to get Mayo.

Nader's mission to survey the place as the Congo River boundaries have changed and find out whether Lorre's jurisdiction of Congotanga is in the French or Belgian Congo. The ambiguity of the situation causes concern for all and it's made Congotanga the wide open place it is. Everyone wants to know, but many don't want the knowledge to go public.

In this is a very nice portrayal from Rex Ingram of a black doctor running a hospital. Which colonial power he lives under is of little concern to him. He knows the white man will be gone soon enough, but while he's there he wants what he needs to run his hospital.

Congo Crossing is a below average action adventure film. Must George Nader ever have envied Rock Hudson.