The misadventures that befall a family of three vacationing at an isolated coast section of Lower California have been put together in an unpretentious, tightly-drawn suspense melodrama.
There’s no waste motion or budget dollars in the presentation. Plot has a tendency to play itself out near the finale, but otherwise is expertly shaped in the screenplay from a story by Maurice Zimm.
Barbara Stanwyck, Barry Sullivan and their small son (Lee Asker) are vacationing at a deserted Mexican beach. An accident pins Sullivan’s leg under a heavy piling that falls from a rotten jetty. Knowing the rising tide will cover him within four hours Stanwyck takes off in the family car to find either help or a rope strong enough to raise the piling. The mission is sidetracked when she comes across Ralph Meeker, a desperate escaped convict. He takes her prisoner and commandeers the car.
The performances by the four-member cast are very good, being expertly fitted to the change of mood from the happy, carefree start to the danger of the accident and the menace of the criminal. Scenes of Sullivan and young Aaker together bravely facing the peril of the tide while Stanwyck frantically seeks help are movingly done.