61 user 26 critic

The Desperate Hours (1955)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 13 February 1956 (Sweden)
Three escaped convicts 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:
Deputy Sheriff Jesse Bard
Tom Winston
Sheriff Masters
FBI Agent Carson
State Police Lt. Fredericks


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)

Gross USA:

$2,500,000, 31 December 1955
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
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Did You Know?


The music Gail Kubik composed for the picture was considered too modernistic by Paramount's executives, therefore some of it was rescored by Daniele Amfitheatrof. Two years later, Paramount returned the music rights to Kubik and published his suite from the score titled Scenario for Orchestra. See more »


Before Glenn asks Eleanor if she could make a phone call without crying, he puts his left hand in his pocket. When she stands up and walks to the phone, he puts the same hand in the pocket again. 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 »


Version of 36 Ghante (1974) See more »

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User Reviews

Terrific suspense
22 January 2004 | by See all my reviews

This is yet another feather in the incomparable Bogart's cap. Terrific tension is generated in the hostage taking and the need to cover it up (I know it's wrong but I wanted the Griffin boys to succeed). The supporting cast is perfect in depicting a typical American family of the period. Kobish, the dimwitted but violent felon, was a great character and Dewey Martin, as the younger Griffin (he was also in another Bogart film, Knock on Any Door), probably had the most poignant line in the whole movie when he responds to his older brother, who said he "taught him everything," by replying "except how to live in a house like this." One thing I can't remember is whether or not we see Griffin's girlfriend onscreen at all. Well anyway, terrific movie, 9/10.

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