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Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Desperate Hours (1955)

A family finds their quiet suburban home invaded by three escaped convicts. The leader (Humphrey Bogart) plans to only stay until some needed money is received from his girlfriend but she never arrives and the longer they stay, the chances for discovery increases. Based on the play by Joseph Hayes which was based on his novel of the same name and he does screenplay duties here. Directed by William Wyler, it's an efficient thriller as long as it remains in the confines of the family home and the tension is contained. The scenes outside the home (like the police scenes) are pretty flat. But the film suffers from Wyler's "good taste". The film really needs the visceral punch of a Sam Fuller or Nick Ray who would bring an edgy pulp to the proceedings. Bogart is fine, his character resembles his Duke Mantee from almost 20 years earlier but Fredric March as the patriarch seems miscast. You can never quite believe his domesticated rage at his situation. Remade in 1990 by Michael Cimino. With Arthur Kennedy, Gig Young, Martha Scott, Mary Murphy, Richard Eyer, Beverly Garland and Robert Middleton who overdoes his loose cannon brute.  

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