6.9/10
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87 user 58 critic

The Hitch-Hiker (1953)

Approved | | Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller | 29 April 1953 (Italy)
Two fishermen pick up a psychotic escaped convict who tells them that he intends to murder them when the ride is over.

Director:

Ida Lupino

Writers:

Collier Young (screenplay), Ida Lupino (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Edmond O'Brien ... Roy Collins
Frank Lovejoy ... Gilbert Bowen
William Talman ... Emmett Myers
José Torvay ... Captain Alvarado (as Jose Torvay)
Sam Hayes Sam Hayes ... Radio Broadcaster
Wendell Niles Wendell Niles ... Wendell Niles (as Wendel Niles)
Jean Del Val ... Inspector General
Clark Howat ... Government Agent
Natividad Vacío Natividad Vacío ... Jose (as Natividad Vacio)
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Storyline

Two friends on a fishing trip pick up a stranded motorist who turns out to be a psychotic escaped convict. This sociopath has already murdered other good Samaritans in his efforts to evade authorities. He sadistically taunts and threatens the two men and perversely delights in telling them that he has them both marked for death sometime before the end of the trip. His destination is a ferryboat in Baja, California, which he hopes will help him get to the mainland. The hostages hope to stay alive long enough to escape or be rescued by Mexican authorities. Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

When was the last time you invited death into your car? See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

29 April 1953 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Persuader See more »

Filming Locations:

Big Pine, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an interview, Talman recalled an incident that happened shortly after the release of The Hitch-Hiker (1953), in which he gave a chilling portrayal of escaped murderer and serial killer Emmett Meyers. He was driving his convertible in Los Angeles with the top down, and he stopped at a red light. Another driver in a convertible who was stopped next to him stared at him for a few seconds, then said, "You're the hitchhiker, right?" Talman nodded, indicating that he was. The other driver got out of his car, went over to Talman's car and slapped him across the face, then got back in his car and drove off. In recalling the story, Talman said, "You know, I never won an Academy Award but I guess that was about as close as I ever will come to one." See more »

Goofs

After Emmett Myers and Roy Collins switch clothes Myers is seen wearing a khaki colored baseball cap in addition to the shirt, jacket and trousers previously worn by Roy Collins. Prior to the clothing switch Collins was not wearing a cap of any kind. See more »

Quotes

Emmett Myers: I had a watch like this once when I was 17. Nobody gave it to me. I just took it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: This is the true story of a man and a gun and a car. The gun belonged to the man. The car might have been yours-or that young couple across the aisle. What you will see in the next seventy minutes could have happened to you. For the facts are actual. See more »

Connections

Featured in Lost Forever (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Violin Concerto No 2 in E Minor, Op 64--Andante
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
See more »

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User Reviews

A brisk and effective thriller
9 November 2006 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Roy and Gilbert are heading to Mexico on a fishing trip together when they stop to pick up a hitchhiker. Too late they realise that the man has not really run out of petrol but is actually criminal Emmett Myers, who has killed his way across several states and is now using them to continue his getaway from the authorities. With Emmett holding the two friends at gun point, he forces them to drive deeper into Mexico – all the time making it very clear that they are only alive while he needs them alive and not any longer.

The opening caption informs us that this is based on a true story and also tries to engage the audience by pointing out how the couple in the car could have been you (or the people across the aisle). Really though it needn't have bothered with either because the caption doesn't add a great deal. It may be based on a true story but it didn't seem like it was interested in this beyond using the facts as a frame for the story and personally I didn't think it needed to try and put me into the car because Ida Lupino did that well enough by herself. The story is simple and it is to the director's credit that she holds it together so well. Yes it is short by modern standards but she should not lessen how well she has brought out a constant sense of tension whether it be in the tight confines of the car or in the desperate bleak openness of the desert.

She is helped by a strong trio of performances from actors who appear to be punching above their weights. Although they haven't a huge amount of depth in their characters they do convince in the realms of tension and fear. The friendship between O'Brien and Lovejoy is solid and helps to support the slightly weak element of the script which is that they never seem to even considering leaving the other for even a second. Talman is memorable in the title role, easily building a screen of menace before allowing the cracks to show.

A pretty good film then. It trades on atmosphere and tension, both of which Ida Lupino works with really well. The actors maybe don't have depth to trade on but they respond well to the tone of delivery and give suitably good performances.


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