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Highly Dangerous (1950)

Not Rated | | Action, Thriller | 12 October 1951 (USA)
A British lady entomologist travels to a Balkan country to look into germ warfare trials using various bugs as carriers.


Roy Ward Baker (as Roy Baker)


Eric Ambler
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Margaret Lockwood ... Frances Gray
Dane Clark ... Bill Casey
Marius Goring ... Commandant Anton Razinski
Naunton Wayne ... Mr. Hedgerley
Wilfrid Hyde-White ... Mr. Luke - British consul (as Wilfrid Hyde White)
Eugene Deckers ... Alf - the 'contact'
Olaf Pooley Olaf Pooley ... Detective-Interrogator
Gladys Henson Gladys Henson ... Snack Bar Attendant
Paul Hardtmuth Paul Hardtmuth ... Priest
Michael Hordern ... Owens - Lab Director
George Benson George Benson ... Sandwich Stand Customer
Eric Pohlmann ... Joe - the bartender
John Horsley ... Customs Officer
Patric Doonan Patric Doonan ... Customs Man
Joan Haythorne Joan Haythorne ... Judy


When British Intelligence discovers that an Iron Curtain country is developing insects as weapons, they persuade eminent entomologist Frances Gray (Margaret Lockwood) to get into the country to collect some specimens. On arrival, her cover is almost immediately blown and her contact murdered. The future looks grim for her and also perhaps for the world. Written by J-26

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


... to have ... hold or HATE! See more »


Action | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

12 October 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Armas secretas See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Two Cities Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Theatrical movie debut of John Horsley (Customs Officer). See more »


At about 1:16, as Clark/Lockwood are about to emerge from the woods, they have a short dialogue re the insects and why/how/etc. Immediately after Clark says,"They're just insects," he rises from a squatting position and what sounds like a mellifluous bit of flatulence can be noted. See more »


Bill Casey: [referring to police Commandant Razinski] There's a rumor going around that he had a mother.
See more »


Referenced in The Player (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

Her Dark Frontier
15 January 2009 | by blacknorthSee all my reviews

Highly Dangerous is a rare original screenplay by novelist Eric Ambler. It draws heavily on elements of his early pre-1939 thrillers, but reposts them behind the Iron Curtain. This film leans particularly on Ambler's first novel The Dark Frontier, most notably with the super-agent coda, which is very fashionable today.

Ambler's problem with Highly Dangerous is that most of the plot devices he invented single-handedly in the 30's were used to the point of saturation by film-makers during the 40's. By the time he got around to an original screenplay it all seems very unoriginal. For that reason I like to think of this film as British cinema's homage to all Ambler's great work in the 30's. An adaptation of one of Ambler's post war novels, say, Judgement On Deltchev, would have been much more satisfactory at this point in his career - as it was, he had to wait ten years until Topkapi before the cinema recognised his post-war novels.

Margaret Lockwood makes for a very beautiful and personable innocent, drawn into a cold-war plot about a form of biological warfare, not entirely a new thing, but a change from the nuclear threats of the time. Lockwood's career was on the decline, and this film can't have offered her very much compensation. Additionally, she is badly served by her make-up artist, her hair being mocked up to middle-age very badly.

Don't treat this film as a serious attempt to translate Ambler's art to the screen - you can find that in just about any war-time thriller - from Journey Into Fear to The Mask of Dimitrios. Highly Dangerous is minor Ambler, and an opportunity for a fading Lockwood to make one more impression, and what an impression - innocent, scientist and secret agent.

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