The Desperate Hours is an expert adaptation by Joseph Hayes of his own novel [and play] about three escaped desperadoes who gunpoint their way to temporary refuge in the suburban Indianapolis home of a respectable middleclass family.

The Desperate Hours is an expert adaptation by Joseph Hayes of his own novel [and play] about three escaped desperadoes who gunpoint their way to temporary refuge in the suburban Indianapolis home of a respectable middleclass family.

This is a first for VistaVision in black and white. Wise, too, for color might have rendered less effective the strong fact-like appearance of Hours.

Wyler worked with major-league performers. This is Humphrey Bogart in the type of role that cues comics to caricature takeoffs. Here he’s at his best, a tough gunman capable of murder, snarling delight with the way his captives must abide by his orders, and wise in the ways of self-preservation strategy.

Fredric March is powerful as head of the family, never before cited for bravery but now bent on protecting his family from the three intruders.

The Desperate Hours

Production

Paramount. Director William Wyler; Producer William Wyler; Screenplay Joseph Hayes; Camera Lee Garmes; Editor Robert Swink; Music Gail Kubik; Art Director Hal Pereira, Joseph MacMillan Johnson

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1955. Running time: 112 MIN.

With

Humphrey Bogart Fredric March Arthur Kennedy Martha Scott Dewey Martin Gig Young
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