The Desperate Hours

The Desperate Hours

Streaming Video - 1955
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Based on the novel and play by Joseph Hayes, which in turn was inspired by an actual event, The Desperate Hours is the prototypical "family-trapped-by-criminals" drama. Escaped convicts Humphrey Bogart, Robert Middleton and Dewey Martin, seeking an appropriate hideout until they can make contact with their money supply, deliberately choose the suburban home of Fredric March and his family. The cold-blooded Bogart wants no trouble with the police, and he knows he can cower a family with children into cooperating with him. The convict orders March, his wife Martha Scott, and their children Richard Eyer and Mary Murphy, to go about their normal activities so as not to arouse suspicion. Young Eyer, upset that March won't lift a hand against Bogart, assumes that his father is a coward. The authorities are alerted when March, at Bogart's behest, draws money for the convict's getaway from the bank. Pushed to the breaking point, March begins subtly turning the tables on the convicts. Bogart's character in Desperate Hours was originally written for a much younger man, which explains why Paul Newman was able to play the part in the original Broadway production. The film was slated to co-star Bogart with his old pal Spencer Tracy, but this plan fell through when the two actors couldn't agree on who would get top billing. Desperate Hours was remade in 1991 with Mickey Rourke in the Bogart role.
Audience: Rated PG
Publisher: [United States] : Paramount : Made available through hoopla, 1955
ISBN: 9780792187080
Branch Call Number: E-VIDEO
eVideo hoopla
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 video file (ca. 112 min.)) : sd., col


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Sep 05, 2015

A very nicely made mid-'50s film noir (based on a headlining escaped convict home invasion of '52) from the great William Wyler, with Bogart in one of his last roles. Great cast including Frederic March, and a selection of very familiar character actors of the period. I had no idea the 1990 film with Mickey Rourke and Anthony Hopkins was a remake of this one. (Trivia tidbit: the house in the film is the same one later used in the "Leave It To Beaver" TV show.)

7duffy Aug 24, 2015

Well done suspense film. Bogey is in good form, but Fredric March is even better. Great performances by 2 top actors. The story unfolds nicely. Not horrific like a modern day movies with similar plots, but the viewer is immersed into the danger this family is subjected to, by the bad guys.

aaa5756 Oct 06, 2011

B+ movie

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