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The Desperate Hours (1955)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 13 February 1956 (Sweden)
Three escaped convicts move in on and terrorize a suburban household.

Director:

William Wyler

Writers:

Joseph Hayes (screenplay), Joseph Hayes (adapted from the novel and play by)
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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Humphrey Bogart ... Glenn Griffin
Fredric March ... Dan C. Hilliard
Arthur Kennedy ... Deputy Sheriff Jesse Bard
Martha Scott ... Ellie Hilliard
Dewey Martin ... Hal Griffin
Gig Young ... Chuck Wright
Mary Murphy ... Cindy Hilliard
Richard Eyer ... Ralphie Hilliard
Robert Middleton ... Sam Kobish
Alan Reed ... Detective
Bert Freed ... Tom Winston
Ray Collins ... Sheriff Masters
Whit Bissell ... FBI Agent Carson
Ray Teal ... State Police Lt. Fredericks
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

A reign of violence sweeps the screen


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 February 1956 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Horas desesperadas See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,388,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,500,000, 31 December 1955
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gig Young was considered too old for his character. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Spoofed in Steptoe and Son: The Desperate Hours (1972) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tightly-wound thriller, based on true events
20 December 2004 | by LibretioSee all my reviews

THE DESPERATE HOURS

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (VistaVision)

Sound format: Mono

(Black and white)

The patriarch of a middle-class suburban family (Fredric March) is forced to take action when they're held hostage in their own home by three escaped convicts, one of whom (Humphrey Bogart) is an experienced lifer with nothing to lose...

The first and only pairing of superstars Bogart and March is a tightly-wound thriller, written by Joseph Hayes (based on his novel and stageplay, inspired by actual events), and directed by Hollywood veteran William Wyler, distancing himself from the 'women's pictures' he had helped to popularize during the 1940's (THE LITTLE FOXES, MRS. MINIVER, THE HEIRESS etc.). Photographed in gleaming deep-focus VistaVision by Lee Garmes (SCARFACE, THE PARADINE CASE), the movie wrings incredible tension from the claustrophobic settings and frequent stand-offs between staunch family man March and embittered con Bogart. The movie's themes are fairly conservative and the outcome is never really in doubt, but this is a top-drawer thriller from Hollywood's 'golden age'. Also starring Arthur Kennedy, Martha Scott, Dewey Martin and Gig Young in crucial supporting roles. Unmissable.

NB. Though nowhere near as dreadful as most critics would have you believe, Michael Cimino's remake DESPERATE HOURS (1990) isn't a patch on the original.


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