The Devil Thumbs a Ride (1947)

Approved  |   |  Film-Noir, Drama  |  20 February 1947 (USA)
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Reviews: 27 user | 9 critic

Law-abiding Jimmy Ferguson soon regrets giving a ride to killer Steve Morgan.


(as Felix Feist)


(novel), (as Felix Feist)
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A renowned and relentless Paris detective takes his first vacation in eleven years at a small inn in the French countryside. There he meets and falls in love with the hotelier's daughter, ... See full summary »

Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Stars: Steven Geray, Micheline Cheirel, Eugene Borden


Complete credited cast:
Ted North ...
Jimmy 'Fergie' Ferguson
Nan Leslie ...
Beulah Zorn, alias Carol Demming
Betty Lawford ...
Agnes Smith
Andrew Tombes ...
Joe Brayden, Night Watchman
Harry Shannon ...
Detective Owens, San Diego Police
Glen Vernon ...
Jack Kenny, Gas Station Attendant
Marian Carr ...
Diane Ferguson
William Gould ...
Police Capt. Martin, San Diego Police
Josephine Whittell ...
Diane's mother
Phil Warren ...
Pete, Roadblock Motorcycle Cop
Robert Malcolm ...
Deputy Sheriff Grover


Steve Morgan kills a man in a holdup and hitches a ride to Los Angeles with Fergie. At a gas station, they pick up two women. Encountering a roadblock, Morgan takes over and persuades the party to spend the night at an unoccupied beach house. The police close in as one by one, the others learn that Morgan is a killer. Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He'll kill until he dies! See more »


Film-Noir | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

20 February 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Morte Misteriosa  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

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Featured in Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

A short, tightly crafted little shocker
21 May 2001 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

Over the decades, Felix Feist's The Devil Thumbs A Ride has gathered a fierce reputation as some sort of ultimate, quick-and-dirty film noir (like Detour). It's not quite that. Its dark star, Laurence Tierney, was more explosively, unpredictably violent in Born to Kill (and he had Claire Trevor at her malevolent best to play against). And Ida Lupino's The Hitch-Hiker corners the market on the terrors of the lonely road, come nightfall. (The better part of Devil Thumbs A Ride, by contrast, occur in a posh beach house somewhere between San Diego and Los Angeles). But the ensemble cast works well together -- Betty Lawford as good-time-gal Agnes is especially memorable. The end is somewhat troublesome; the necessary "restoration to normalcy" is abrupt and discordantly upbeat. The best films noirs close on a greyer, more ambiguous note. Still, this may be the finest 63-minute film ever made, and a key piece in the noir cycle.

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