5 Steps to Danger

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5 Steps to Danger
Five Steps to Danger poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Henry S. Kesler
Produced by Henry S. Kesler
Written by
  • Henry S. Kesler
  • Turnley Walker
Based on The Steel Mirror (novel)
by Donald Hamilton
Starring Ruth Roman
Sterling Hayden
Music by Paul Sawtell
Bert Shefter
Cinematography Kenneth Peach
Edited by Aaron Stell
Grand Productions
Distributed by United Artists
Release date
  • January 30, 1957 (1957-01-30) (New York City, New York)
Running time
81 minutes
Country United States
Language English

5 Steps to Danger is a 1957 American crime film directed, produced, and co–written by Henry S. Kesler.[1][2] The film starred Ruth Roman[3] and Sterling Hayden,[4] with a cast that also included Werner Klemperer,[5][6] Richard Gaines,[7] Charles Davis, Jeanne Cooper, and Peter Hansen.[8][9] 5 Steps to Danger was based on the novel The Steel Mirror by Donald Hamilton.[10][11]


John Emmett, an American everyman, is on a fishing and hunting trip when his car breaks down. He is offered a ride by a stranger, Ann Nicholson, who is driving to Santa Fe and asks him to take turns behind the wheel.

During a stopover a woman identifying herself as a nurse takes John aside in a diner and says she has been following them because Ann is an escaped mental patient of a Dr. Frederick Simmons. And although he isn't sure what to believe, John begins to doubt Ann when two policemen attempt to arrest them, claiming to be investigating a murder in Los Angeles.

John and Ann manage to slip away. He demands the truth, whereupon Ann says she is an ex-German citizen who stumbled upon a government plot and is in possession of valuable scientific transcripts embedded on a small cosmetic mirror. In order to prevent Simmons from having Ann committed to a mental institution against her will, John asks Ann to marry him, while also declaring his love for her. They wed in a small town and then continue their journey to find the scientist who wrote the transcripts. The chase ends in a confrontation between Simmons, who is actually a Soviet spy, and his accomplices versus FBI and CIA agents, who verify Ann's story. Ann and John enjoy their honeymoon on the fishing trip John had originally planned.



Critical response[edit]

The New York Times review was "a rather lax and familiar melodrama about Communist espionage in this country, offers two real jolts. The climax, and this may be an unfair revelation, has a known subversive given some leeway inside a vital guided missile plant. Secondly, the place seems about as inaccessible as a drive-in restaurant. [...] The responsibility, or irresponsibility, must be shouldered by Henry S. Kesler, who handled the screenwriting, the directing and producing, and none of it very well."[4]


5 Steps to Danger was released in theatres on January 30, 1957.[4] The film has an original German art poster selling on Amazon as of May 13, 2017, for $150.00 plus shipping charges of $14.99.[12]


  1. ^ Globe 1999, p. 204.
  2. ^ "5 Steps to Danger". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved May 13, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Ruth Roman". NNDB. United States: Soylent Communications. Retrieved May 13, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c "Palace Offers 'Five Steps to Danger'". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. January 31, 1957. Retrieved May 13, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Werner Klemperer". NNDB. United States: Soylent Communications. Retrieved May 13, 2017. 
  6. ^ Royce, Brenda Scott (1998). Hogan's Heroes : Behind the Scenes at Stalag 13! (1st ed.). Milwaukee: Renaissance Books. ISBN 978-1580630313. 
  7. ^ "Richard Gaines". NNDB. United States: Soylent Communications. Retrieved May 13, 2017. 
  8. ^ "Pter Hansen". Film Reference Library. Toronto: TIFF Bell Lightbox. Retrieved May 13, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Peter Hansen". NNDB. United States: Soylent Communications. Retrieved May 13, 2017. 
  10. ^ Hamilton, Donald (1948). The Steel Mirror. New York City: Rinehart & Company. ASIN B0007F31CC. 
  11. ^ Pryor, Thomas M. (January 28, 1957). "6 FILMS PLANNED BY AM-PAR CORP.: $3,000,000 Will Be Invested in Medium-Budget Movies During Next Half Year Of Local Origin"Paid subscription required. The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. p. 18. Retrieved June 1, 2013. 
  12. ^ 5 Steps to Danger 1957 German A1 Poster. MGM Home Entertainment (art poster). Beverly Hills, California: United Artists. ASIN B01FZS59DY. Retrieved May 13, 2017. 


External links[edit]