Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Desperate Hours (1955) NR - 3½ Stars

Many people may not consider watching an older movie made from the 1950's, but I have to say this is one of the great ones. I just love watching the good old days where there is respect for your fellow neighbor and the family sits down to the table actually communicating. The men, wearing their nice suits and hats, go off to work while their wives glamorously send their families off to school after a full breakfast complete with conversation. Here we have the stereotypical family of the 50's, good proper people who must stand up to desperate ill mannered escapees, while not giving up their dignity. Dad rises to the occasion to protect his family from these three criminals after they forcefully take shelter in the Hilliard home, holding the family hostage as they await finances for the bad guys to leave. Starring Humphrey Bogart, and in B&W it totally looks like it's filmed on the back lots of Paramount Studios.

Dan Hilliard (Fredric March) has just enjoyed a wonderful breakfast prepared by his wife Eleanor (Martha Scott). He enjoys sharing the morning paper with his daughter Cindy (Mary Murphy), and talking with his young son Ralphie (Richard Eyer), who has just declared he would prefer to be called Ralph, before heading off to work. As Dan and Cindy head off in the car, Ralph joins his friends to walk to school, leaving Eleanor to start her morning chores.

Meanwhile, Glenn Griffin (Humphrey Bogart), his brother Hal (Dewey Martin), and Kobish (Robert Middleton), has just escaped from prison. Looking for the first place they can seek refuge at, they show up at the Hilliard's door. As Eleanor opens the door the men barge in immediately take over, forcing Eleanor to wait on their every need until her husband returns. Now the family must try to carry on with their normal activities and not draw any attention to themselves while they await the arrival of Glenn's girlfriend who's arriving with their cash to make a clean getaway. But when she is delayed, their plans start to unravel driving everyone to many desperate hours of survival.

Awards Include:

1955 - Edgar Allan Poe Awards - Best Screenplay
1955 - National Board of Review - Best Director

Paramount Pictures
Director: William Wyler
Writer: Joseph Hayes
Producer: William Wyler
I viewed 2/10

1 comment:

elgringo said...

I think it's sad that people don't seek out great older films. Looks at what they miss. Wyler, alone, has a string of classics that anyone with a cinematic soul would be lucky to watch. But no...people want robot wars and I Was a Teenage Vampire flicks.