The Desperate Hours (1955) Home Invasion With Humphrey Bogart

The Desperate Hours (1955) poster art work one sheet bogart march wyler

Looking back through my recent film posts it reveals that the 50’s has been making a mark on this here cine-wolf. Each movie find that I watch has brought its own new unique style. Like with many films from the 40’s and 50’s they just get the pacing spot on. A dash of surprising action, a shocking bit of violence and the right amount of dialogue. Expertly giving a good balance to realistic situations and character development. Whilst still always pushing and probing the boundaries, daring to see what they can get past the censors. And with doing so, they manage to draw you right into their created worlds. Yesterdays viewing schedule presented me with Humphrey Bogart’s penultimate film, The Desperate Hours.

The Desperate Hours (1955) Humphrey Bogart martha scott waiting hostage

Nothing could prepare you for the absolute nightmare of a house invasion, especially when your whole family is involved. You might think you’d be brave and gunho but if there’s a gun pointed at your wife’s head you’re gonna freeze. Pure terror will overcome any fight or flight response as you look at your daughter and son’s pertifried faces. The sight of three strangers in your house and the realisation that you are powerless to stop any horror that could easily manifest in a blink of an eye. Three escaped convicts, three thugs, three men capable of spontaneous and ferocious violence. What could/can you do?

The Desperate Hours (1955) Hilliard family Fredric Marchmary murphy richard eyer martha scott

That is the horror situation that Dan Hilliard (Fredric March) his loving wife Ellie (Martha Scott) and two children Cindy (Mary Murphy) and Ralphie (Richard Eyer) all find themself in. The trio of fugitives had smashed their way out of prison, killing a guard, taking his revolver were now on the run. In a stolen car, they roll through a suburban street, stopping at the perfect house for their needs. Unfortunately for the Hilliard family, this was their home.

Taglines – A reign of violence sweeps the screen

The Desperate Hours (1955) Humphrey Bogart sam kobish dewey martin Fredric March

Glenn Griffin (Humphrey Bogart) leads the gang, along with his young brother Hal (Dewey Martin) and a big dimwitted oaf with a real vicious streak, Sam Kobish (Robert Middleton). Glenn plans to have his girl bring a stash of money to the house, giving them enough cash to escape. The plan was to be out of this house and on their way by midnight but not all good plans work out perfectly. The longer they stay, the more terrorised the family is. Threatened at gunpoint, intimidated at every hour with the likelihood of impending death. Menace is around every corner. The fear of rape and violence at every turn and anxiety of being split up and taken hostage when the criminals make a dash for it.

The Desperate Hours (1955) Humphrey Bogart william wyler martha scott sam kobish

All this intimidation is too much for Dad Dan as this mild mannered man comes to his wits end. He is slowly pushed through the convicts actions into something stronger than he could imagine. Still with all the pressure and demands on him, will he be able to let the police know? What if the police rush in guns a blazing? It could cause a blood bath which his family would be the center of! What can Dan Hilliard do? Luckily he has a head strong family but in every action comes a consequence, especially around armed unhinged convicts. How much stress and tension can this family take?

The Desperate Hours (1955) Humphrey Bogart martha scott gun kitchen hostageThe Desperate Hours (1955) Humphrey Bogart martha scott Fredric March hostages

It’s a gripping drama piled high with despair and angst. The Desperate Hours is in fact based on a true event though I imagine it has been jazzed up a touch. The story was first made into a novel and then a play by Joseph Hayes before being adapted once again for the big screen. Directing duties are handled by one of the legends of cinema, William Wyler.

However much I’ve enjoyed digging around in the 50’s I do need to venture off into some other eras for the movie blog. Tune in to see if I can escape from the 50’s movies land on my next post? One thing’s for sure I certainly will be back soon as I have a whole heap of 50’s goodies to work my way through. Thanks for dropping on in, have you seen The Desperate Hours? Let me know if you want to. All the best, Mikey.

PS Check out these two brilliant poster artworks.

16 thoughts on “The Desperate Hours (1955) Home Invasion With Humphrey Bogart

  1. Great film. It really kept me on the edge of my seat. Bogart and March both deliver equally superb performances and made their characters believable. So much tension!

    It was remade in the 90’s with Anthony Hopkins as the father, and Mickey Rourke as leader of the gang. It has its moments but lacks the suspense of this one.

    Glad to see how much you are enjoying your 1950’s film journey. Here are a few gems from this decade that I would recommend to you. Pickup On South Street, The Searchers, All About Eve, Rashomon, The Narrow Margin, The Night Of The Hunter, The Long Memory, Ikiru, Pool Of London, Hell Drivers, Ice Cold In Alex, Singin’ In The Rain, The Big Combo, Tiger Bay and Hunted.

    Liked by 4 people

    • What a super fantastic list of goodies Maddy. I am very grateful for that. I have seen about half but need to get on with the rest. Funny the last three Big Combo, Tiger Bay and Hunted are all sitting waiting for me to press play! Just there’s always another sneaking in. I’d only put The Long Memory on my to find list two days ago! Amazing. I’m pushing them all up the list. It’s such a brilliant era in film. I’m in seventh heaven.
      “Ikiru” sounds amazing and deep.

      Yes Bogart and Martin both excelled, a delight to watch. I think I will steer clear of the remake unless it pops up on telly and there’s nothing else to watch.
      Thank you so much for all the recommends.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. A Bogart classic but then we could also call it a March classic. He matches wits with Bogie right down to the end. ‘Get out of my house.” I still find it incredible that according to legend Spencer Tracy dropped out because he and Bogie were at odds over top billing. Doesn’t ring true to me when we know that Tracy was at the Bogie house often in his final days and indeed on the final night when we lost our movie legend. Without double checking I think this was adapted from a play that had Paul Newman in it before he made his mark. Don’t have those posters but I do indeed have an original north american half sheet. Hard to believe Bogie was probably already riddled with cancer here and losing the battle even if he did have one more film left.


    • Sadly, William Wyler confirmed the billing issue. You are right, Tracy and Bogie were very good friends in real life (they had appeared together in John Ford’s Up the River). But billing was very important to them. Neither one would budge, so someone came up with a clever solution: … But Tracy pulled out at the last minute.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I kind of read as it as they both would of wanted each other to be the top billing. Tracy wanting Bogie to be top and Bogie wanting Tracy to be top, hence cancelling each other out. As they were such good friends it was better not to stay out their way. Only speculating. Love that image, a clever way giving each the top.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Interesting twist to the story! Well, March is pretty good. I did think Bogie was too old for the role. It didn’t help that he looked haggard. Brando would have been great! Have you seen the remake? It fixes the age thing (Mickey Rourke plays Bogie’s old role), but I didn’t like it. 😦

          Liked by 1 person

          • Brando would of been devastatingly brilliant in the role I can well imagine and been closer in age to his brother. Though I can’t take away the fact that I liked Bogart in the role very much. I took his haggard look to him being beating down my prison life and his broken jaw obsession. But unfortunately yeah it was his illness catching up with him in reality. Rourke on paper sounds like a great choice of actor for the remake. I might skip it unless it appears in front on me for compassion. Been great chatting about TDH Eric. Thank you very much. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah it’s hard to imagine that is true about the billing with reading how close the friendship seemed. Yeah Bogie was one tough cookie battling through those final films. Yes the “Get out of my house” was brilliant and the “trust me run to me” to his son!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • You know what Pam, I’ve still got those two to see and I really can’t wait. It’s funny as of only recently I never knew Bogie played it bad! I just couldn’t imagine it! Just thought he was always the quintessential good guy with morals. Heeh how wrong could I have been, he’s just as good at being bad too.

      Liked by 1 person

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