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Edward L. Cahn
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 <email@example.com>
Laurence Tierney seems to have been born to play this role. He is sinister, amoral, nasty. It's beautifully filmed and superbly directed, though it has a raw feel.
Tiernry is the title character. A devil he surely is. He gets the poor dope who picks him up a very hard time. The two women they then give rides to fare even less well.
Betty Lawford is perfect as the tough, over-the-hill floozy of those two. She is always looking for a deal for herself -- silk stockings, salvation... We like her, though, and feel that we may have encountered her or her like behind countless counters.
We feel bad for the gas station attendant when Tierney says cruel things about the picture of his young daughter. There is no doubt: Tierney's character is a dreadful person. But the gas station attendant is a pain himself. He's an annoying know-it-all.
The police are not portrayed in a very favorable light, either. So who do we actually like? Maybe the younger of the two hitchhikers, Beulah. Her older pal, though we surely do not admire her. The watchman Tierney cruelly gets drunk? Not really.
It's a slice of life cut with a hatchet and the slice is not pretty no matter what angle we look at it from.
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