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Count the Hours (1953)

Passed | | Drama, Crime | 1 April 1953 (USA)
Lawyer defends migrant worker falsely accused of 2 murders.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Ellen Braden
Doug Madison
Paula Mitchener
Gracie Sager, Max Verne's Girlfriend
Edgar Barrier ...
Dist. Atty. Jim Gillespie
George Braden
Alvin Taylor


The midnight murder of a rancher and his wife leaves circumstantial evidence pointing the finger of guilt toward a married couple, George Braden and his wife Ellen, who live and work on the ranch. George confesses to the killings in order to free his wife from hours of grilling by the police. Despite the best efforts of his defense attorney, Doug Madison , George gets the death penalty. Sunsequent events and his sympathy for Ellen convince Doug that George is innocent but he must find the real murderer to prove it. His man-hunt leads to a former hired hand, Max Verne. With the help of the latter's greedy girl friend, Gracie Sanger, Max is found and admits to the killings. But when a hearing is held, a psychiatrist pronounces him unsound of mind but harmless and the judge sets him free. After the governor rejects Doug's pleas for an appeal for George, the townspeople turn against him, and his fiancée, Paula Mitchener), misconstrues his association with Ellen and breaks their engagement... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Drama | Crime


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 April 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Nacht vor dem Galgen  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


When John Alton agreed to photograph this picture, he asked producer Benedict Bogeaus how much he had budgeted for rigging, the system of overhead pipes, brackets, ropes and cables that suspends lights over a film set. Bogeaus told him $4,000. "Give me $2,000 above my salary and I won't use any rigging," Alton said. He did it by using almost no overhead lighting at all, contributing to the film's rich visual atmosphere. See more »


Referenced in Mau Mau Sex Sex (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

second feature made interesting by the actors
6 August 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

MacDonald Carey and Teresa Wright, both of whom starred in Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt, work together again in a less prestigious film, "Count the Hours" from 1953, directed by Don Siegel.

Wright is Ellen Braden, whose husband George (John Craven), a migrant worker, is arrested for the murder of an elderly man and his housekeeper that was done apparently during a robbery - the man kept a lot of money in his house. When asked if he has a gun, he at first says no. His wife runs home and throws the gun in the lake, but she's seen doing it. By then he's admitted to having one. He's believed to be guilty.

Carey plays attorney Doug Madison, who is asked to take the case but refuses. After speaking with Mrs. Braden, he changes his mind. He's convinced that they have to find the gun. But when they do, it's a disappointment. Doug believes in George's innocence, which means they have to find the killer.

Pretty good mystery-suspense film which also features Jack Elam. Wright is sympathetic as the pregnant Ellen who believes in her husband, but John Craven doesn't register much.

Carey was an affable leading man who found his great success on Days of Our Lives. He had a wonderful speaking voice and a gentle presence. Elam is his usual evil-looking and sleazy self.

On the ordinary side but tense nonetheless.

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