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Three Hours to Kill (1954)

Approved  |   |  Mystery, Western  |  4 November 1954 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 371 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 5 critic

Framed for murder, Jim Guthrie barely escapes lynching by the town mob, becomes a wanted fugitive for three years but returns to find the real killer.


(as Alfred Werker)
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Complete credited cast:
Jim Guthrie
Laurie Mastin
Dianne Foster ...
Chris Palmer
Stephen Elliott ...
Sheriff Ben East
Richard Coogan ...
Niles Hendricks
Laurence Hugo ...
Marty Lasswell
James Westerfield ...
Sam Minor
Richard Webb ...
Carter Mastin
Charlotte Fletcher ...


After three years on the run, Jim Guthrie returns with the scar of a rope burn on his neck. In flashback we learn how he was framed for murder but then escaped from the lynch mob just as he was about to be hung. Tired of running, he has returned to find the real killer and the Sheriff has given him just three hours to do it. Written by Maurice VanAuken <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Man With The Rope Scar ON HIS NECK!


Mystery | Western


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 November 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Drei Stunden Zeit  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Jim Guthrie: Did you know we were going to get some cattle with the place?
Laurie Mastin: Cattle? How many?
Jim Guthrie: Two. We're going to be cattle barons.
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Beautiful Dreamer
[Heard playing by musicians at the dance.]
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User Reviews

A Sagebrush "Whodunit"
1 October 2009 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

Dour little Western (just count the smiles) that still manages a few surprises. So, who killed Carter. Not Jim Guthrie (Andrews), even though an over-eager lynch mob thinks so, leaving him with a permanent neck burn and a smoldering desire for revenge. It looks like a lot of folks hated Carter, so now, three years later, Guthrie's sleuthing work is cut out for him. A grudgingly sympathetic sheriff gives the innocent man three hours to nail the real culprit. So, it's a suspenseful countdown to sundown. Can he do it.

Can't help noticing this tale of a driven man's revenge was produced by Harry Joe Brown who later produced the thematically similar Randolph Scott cycle of Westerns (The Tall T {1957}; Comanche Station {1960} et al.). There's a strong similarity in the character and temperament of the leads, which suggests producer Brown had both a definite point of view and at least some influence on the screenplays.

Director Werker gets a lot out of LA area locations and a mixed cast of veterans like Andrews and newcomers like Foster. The unstable relationship between Andrews and Reed is more interesting and complex than in most Westerns. But I did have some difficulty keeping track of the four prominent ladies, a more crowded field than in most oaters. Anyway, the movie is a neat combination of whodunit and sagebrush that'll keep you guessing, without the usual clichés.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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