7.5/10
8,161
64 user 30 critic

The Desperate Hours (1955)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 13 February 1956 (Sweden)
Three escaped convicts move in on and terrorize a suburban household.

Director:

William Wyler

Writers:

Joseph Hayes (screenplay), Joseph Hayes (adapted from the novel and play by)
Reviews
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Humphrey Bogart ... Glenn Griffin
Fredric March ... Dan C. Hilliard
Arthur Kennedy ... Deputy Sheriff Jesse Bard
Martha Scott ... Ellie Hilliard
Dewey Martin ... Hal Griffin
Gig Young ... Chuck Wright
Mary Murphy ... Cindy Hilliard
Richard Eyer ... Ralphie Hilliard
Robert Middleton ... Sam Kobish
Alan Reed ... Detective
Bert Freed ... Tom Winston
Ray Collins ... Sheriff Masters
Whit Bissell ... FBI Agent Carson
Ray Teal ... State Police Lt. Fredericks
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Storyline

After escaping from prison, Glenn Griffin, his brother Hal and a third inmate Sam Kobish randomly select a house in a well-to-do suburb of Indianapolis in which to hide out. The home belongs to the Hilliard family, Dan and Ellie who live there with their 19-year old daughter Cindy and their young son Ralph. They plan on staying only until midnight as Griffin is awaiting his girlfriend who will meet them with some money he had stashed away. When she doesn't arrive, their stay stretches out to several days. Dan Hilliard plays their game knowing that if he makes any attempt to contact the police, his family could be caught in the crossfire. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The First Picture in Black and White VistaVision See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 February 1956 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Horas desesperadas See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,388,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After the movie previewed, Humphrey Bogart told director William Wyler, "I think I'm too old to play gangsters". See more »

Goofs

Seeing Mrs. Hilliard is being held hostage she was trying to alert him by saying his name wrong. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[the morning newspaper hits the front door]
Eleanor Hilliard: I'll get it, darling.
Dan Hilliard: Some morning I'm gonna catch up with that kid.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Ladykillers (1955) See more »

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User Reviews

Methodical Drama with Stilted 50's Sensibilities
13 December 2003 | by rwintSee all my reviews

6 out of 10

Bogart and pals escape from prison and hide out in a suburban home. There they hold the parents and two children hostage. The father (March) quietly plots a plan and slowly takes control of the situation.

The film certainly does have it's minuses. The plot is too general in nature and too sanitized. The crooks don't seem too smart or sophisticated. They never seem very menacing and seem completely out of control not only with the family, but even amongst themselves. Things seem to unravel for them at almost predictable intervals making the suspense rather minimal. They also make some glaring tactical errors. Having the family move around freely and talk amongst themselves upstairs while the bad guys 'stand guard' downstairs seems stupid. It's almost like asking them to come up with an escape plan.

Bogie is one terrific actor who can be very adept at creating dark characters just catch his performance in TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE. Yet here, despite his best efforts, he comes across as being bland. This is mainly due to all the problems mentioned above.

On the plus side is the fact that the film is very methodically paced and builds to a good climax. The interior of the house is well designed. The staging is excellent and allows for some good dramatic shots. The neighborhood exterior is also very detailed. March gives a powerhouse performance and his confrontations with Bogart are excellent.

If you can get past the stilted 50's lingo and sensibilities then you may find that this film still has some impact. Little Ralphie is one the most endearing child characters you'll see. He is cute but very feisty and daring especially with the bad guys. If you look quickly you can also see Joe Flynn, in a very early role, as a driver of a hijacked car.


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