58 user 24 critic

The Desperate Hours (1955)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 13 February 1956 (Sweden)
Glen, Hal and Sam are three escaped convicts who move in on and terrorize a suburban household.



(screenplay), (adapted from the novel and play by)

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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Sheriff Masters
FBI Agent Carson


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


A reign of violence sweeps the screen


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

13 February 1956 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Horas desesperadas  »

Box Office


$2,388,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Chuck's car was a Nash-Healey. See more »


When George came to collect the trash, Mrs. Hilliard told Glenn Griffin that it was Mr. Matteson but his name is George Patterson. Then when she was talking to George at the door, she called him Mr. Burgess. See more »


[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 »


Referenced in Birth of the Living Dead (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

Bogey's return to the Thirties
10 October 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Humphrey Bogart got his first real notice on the silver screen in The Petrified Forest, repeating a role he did on Broadway. As Duke Mantee, criminal on the run, he held the occupants of a diner hostage for several hours.

Here in The Desperate Hours, Bogey takes over a role that Paul Newman originated on Broadway. Bogart, Dewey Martin and Robert Middleton play three escaped convicts who drive to Indianapolis because Bogart wants to kill the officer that arrested him. Dewey Martin is Bogart's younger brother and Robert Middleton is their brutal partner in the escape.

Given the age difference between Bogart and Paul Newman, I'm sure the role of Glenn Griffin was played quite differently by Newman on stage. Similarly Karl Malden played Dan Hilliard on stage and Fredric March plays him for the screen. March is no hero here, he's just an ordinary family man trapped with his family in a terrible situation.

Rounding out the Hilliard family is wife Martha Scott, daughter Mary Murphy and son Richard Eyer. Martha Scott had appeared with March before as his wife in One Foot in Heaven. She does well here also, but I do wonder where the real Mrs. March was, Florence Eldridge. It seems like a good joint project for both of them.

The Desperate Hours is a good suspenseful thriller that will keep you glued to your seat. These are real people here, not some Hollywood type situation comedy family. You will care about what the eventual outcome will be.

14 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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