This 1956 epic stars Gene Barry and Barbara Hale, the secretary from the Perry Mason series, and it was directed by schlockmeister William Castle, who gave us The Tingler and Zotz, so you know it's good. (Unlike The Tingler, there will be no buzzing devices installed under your seat for crucial moments, unless you go DIY with a vibrator.)
So what is the Houston story, as told in The Houston Story? The film noir tale of sleazy blackmailers holding a city hostage until it forks over new sports stadiums?
Here's the description:
One of the many "exposes" of corporate corruption filmed in the 1950s, Houston Story was ground out with stingy efficiency by Columbia Pictures. Gene Barry plays Frank Duncan, a laborer who figures out a clever way to sneakily siphon gasoline and oil from major corporations and sell it as his own. Then he makes an absurd and foolish decision by taking his discovery to the mafia, and before long he's in boiling hot water. Houston Story is of interest for its cast of TV stars-to-be: Future Bat Masterson and Burke's Law headliner Gene Barry, daytime-drama leading lady Jeanne Cooper, and Perry Mason costar Barbara Hale (in a blonde wig). Edward Arnold (The Devil and Daniel Webster), he of the wicked laugh and deadly glare, co-stars as a mob boss.Those sneaky laborers, always ripping off major corporations!!!!!! It's a morality tale, brought to you by ExxonMobil.
Turner Classic Movies says some background scenes were shot here. (The link also includes clips; the opening scene features Hermann Park and the line "Of all the docks in the world she could have jumped off, she had to pick Houston.")
But is it any good? We asked Variety reviewer (former Houston Post reviewer) Joe Leydon for his impressions of this seminal film.
"I vaguely recall watching it on TV one night decades ago, around the time Burke's Law was a popular series," he says.
So there you go. You;ve got your money blurb for the DVD release: "I vaguely recall watching it!!!" -- Joe Leydon, Variety
Or, more likely: "Popular!!!!" -- Joe Leydon, Variety
Anyhow, watch it -- if you dare, for more than one reason. We accept no responsibility for viruses. Or boredom.