29 user 14 critic

The Devil Thumbs a Ride (1947)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 20 February 1947 (USA)
Law-abiding Jimmy Ferguson soon regrets giving a ride to killer Steve Morgan.


Felix E. Feist (as Felix Feist)


Robert C. DuSoe (novel), Felix E. Feist (as Felix Feist)




Complete credited cast:
Lawrence Tierney ... Steve Morgan
Ted North ... Jimmy 'Fergie' Ferguson
Nan Leslie ... Beulah Zorn, alias Carol Demming
Betty Lawford ... Agnes Smith
Andrew Tombes ... Joe Brayden, Night Watchman
Harry Shannon ... Detective Owens, San Diego Police
Glen Vernon ... Jack Kenny, Gas Station Attendant
Marian Carr ... Diane Ferguson
William Gould ... Police Capt. Martin, San Diego Police
Josephine Whittell ... Diane's mother
Phil Warren Phil Warren ... Pete, Roadblock Motorcycle Cop
Robert Malcolm ... Deputy Sheriff Grover


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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


NOT EVEN HER KISSES COULD HALT HIS FURY...when his evil brain cried "KILL!" See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This film's earliest documented telecasts took place in Salt Lake City Saturday 30 June 1956 on KUTV (Channel 2), in Altoona Monday 30 July 1956 on WFBG (Channel 8), in Philadelphia Monday 10 September 1956 on WFIL (Channel 6), in Los Angeles Saturday 15 September 1956 on KHJ (Channel 9), in San Francisco Wednesday 26 September 1956 on KPIX (Channel 5), in Wilkes-Barre Thursday 11 October 1956 on WILK (Channel 34), in Dallas Wednesday 17 October 1956 on WBAP (Channel 5), in New Haven Monday 5 November 1956 on WNHC (Channel 8), in Boston Tuesday 4 December 1956 on WNAC (Channel 7), and in New York City Monday 10 Decemer 1956 on WOR (Channel 9). See more »


Featured in Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) See more »

User Reviews

Tierney is One Bad Dude!
25 July 2005 | by drednmSee all my reviews

This little gem sure packs a punch---or a low blow. Lawrence Tierney is wonderful as the psycho who tricks a dope (Ted North) into giving him a ride from San Diego to Los Aangeles. Along the way they pick up two stranded women: a tough blond (Betty Lawford), and an innocent (Nan Leslie). Of course Tierney is on the lam from a robbery and murder but he fools them into dodging the cops (after he runs one down) by going to the dope's friend's beach house for the night. Several sub plots involve some interesting characters. No on is really what they seem to be. The dope is driving drunk across state but he's actually a devoted husband trying to get home. Tierney is a vicious killer. The blond is a willing accomplice, and the innocent wants to be an actress. The cops (especially Harry Shannon) are almost comical in their rapport, and the gas station kid (Glen Vernon) turns out to be a card shark. Great characters here with everyone having some nice screen time. Andrew Tombes is the night watchman who makes a spectacular drunk. Minerva Urecal is the widow with THE phone (Laguna Beach was the STICKS in 1947), and Marian Carr is the little wife who makes a surprise appearance. Josephine Whittell is the mother in law. Dick Elliott is the guy with the stupid dog.

Tierney is the driving force and he's really good in his patented tough guy role. Lawford is surprisingly good. She hadn't made a film since 1937 and never made another after this one. She kept reminding me of Lizabeth Scott. Vernon almost steals the film as the gas station kid who goes along for a ride with the cops. North is the weakest actor but his dope part doesn't really call for much. Interesting little noir film with a totally unrepentant main character. He never even bats an eye!

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Release Date:

20 February 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Morte Misteriosa See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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