The Devil Thumbs a Ride (1947) Ruthless Sociopath Hitchhiker In Manhunt Noir

The Devil Thumbs A Ride (1947) Lawrence Tierney film noir thriller hitch hiker drama

Another murderous noir with Lawrence Tierney. This review is for perfectly named The Devil Thumbs a Ride (1947)

What’s going down?

With an unflinching brutal murder of a bank clerk in San Diego in like five seconds of the film starting. It’s safe to say Steve Morgan (Lawrence Tierney) is a dangerous and twisted man. He calmly thumbs for a lift and attracts the attention of the kindhearted, slightly sozzled traveling salesmen, Jimmy ‘Fergie’ Ferguson (Ted North). With the need for fuel they stop at a gas station. Soon suspicion is raised in Steve Morgan’s dodgy manner and a police manhunt is set up with roadblocks across the state lines. Soon two become four with the addition of two hitchhiking ladies. The stakes are high and now the chase is on.

The Devil Thumbs A Ride (1947) Lawrence Tierney film noir thriller Ted North hitch hikers

The main players

Lawrence Tierney – Steve Morgan
Ted North – Jimmy “Fergie” Ferguson
Nan Leslie – Carol Demming
Betty Lawford – Agnes Smith
Andrew Tombes – Night Watchman
Harry Shannon – Detective Owens
Glen Vernon – Gas Station Attendant
Marian Carr – Diane Ferguson

Tagline – NOT EVEN HER KISSES COULD HALT HIS FURY…when his evil brain cried “KILL!”

Sure I’ve seen them in something?

Shamefully I only clocked who Lawrence Tierney was from watching Born To Kill (1947) last week. Wow the guy certainly has a presence about him. I’ll admit that apart from him I didn’t really recognise anyone in this production. However having a little dig on IMDB how could I not of remembered Miss Marian Carr? She’d played sexy Friday in the incredible Robert Aldrich adaptation of the Mickey Spillane cult classic Kiss Me Deadly (1955). Plus I’m also sure I’ve seen the booze loving nightwatchman, Andrew Tombes pop up in something before?

The Devil Thumbs A Ride (1947) Lawrence Tierney film noir thriller cigarettes smoking mirror image

Notes on production?

The Devil Thumbs A Ride is directed by Felix E Feist and an adaption of a novel by Robert C. DuSoe. Whereas I don’t know any of Felix’s films there has been a few that I’d added to my “must watch one day” list without realizing who the director was. The great sounding sci-fi chiller Donovan’s Brain (1953) and The Man Who Cheated Himself (1950) which has to be an essential watch with having Lee J Cobb as the leading man.

Hits like a sledge hammer

Lawrence Tierney is so dastardly. He really played the psycho, worryingly, horribly perfect. Every manipulating sentence that comes out of his mouth is filled with so much venom as he tries twisting his pathway out of situations. You see actors play bad but Tierney really has a feel of pure unadulterated danger. He has to be up there as one of the most fierce characters I’ve come cross. Maybe it’s the fact he has the rugged good looks of a leading man but then that evil smirk comes through. His whole demeanor just exposes this fierce sociopath who will do anything for his own gain.

He takes pleasure in dropping some cutting remarks and a fired off vicious slap makes you almost feel it through the screen. And if your cherished kid happens to have big ears then be ready to be hurt!

From the look of those ears she’s gonna be able to fly before she can walk!
Keep the change, buy something nice for your kid”…. “Yeah a parachute!

The Devil Thumbs A Ride (1947) Lawrence Tierney film noir thriller drama close up face dark shadows


Coming in with a run-time of just one hour, The Devil Thumbs A Ride is a roller coaster of a film. It doesn’t sit for a minute as it rushes across the screen from scene to scene. All the cast are good in their roles but lets be honest here it’s really the Lawrence Tierney show from start to finish. And it’s fascinating to watch just how far his evil will take him. I scored it a 7/10 but LT alone would of made it a strong 8 if the film had slowed down the end a touch. Plus a few unbelievable situations, I guess for comic relief, like having the young Gas Station Attendant join the chase with the old Detective Owens was a tad cheesy. Saying that, it all added to the excitement of where was this thriller taking us? Of course with that short run-time it doesn’t take long to find out. The Devil Thumbs A Ride can be watched here.

Big thanks to Todd over at Cinema Monolith for the recommend. Check his review of here.

The Devil Thumbs A Ride (1947) Lawrence Tierney film noir thriller drama criminal police mug shot

Rating score

Wolfman’s rating 7/10       IMDB 6.9/10

Feel free to recommend me related movies and any other trivia if you wish. Keep having fun at the movies…. Mikey Wolf

Union Station (1950) Chicago Train Station In Ransom Film Noir

Union Station (1950) blu ray box cover artwork william holden

This is the start of some more straight to the point reviews. They will probably all end up being Film Noir. Each time I see another one I wanna do a review post but as I usually waffle a bit I thought it’ll be good to work out a structured system to get me to the point. Hope you like. So without further ado here I bring you Union Station Continue reading

They Made Me a Fugitive (1947) British Film Noir With Trevor Howard And His Trusty Milk Bottle

They Made Me a Fugitive (1947) I Became a Criminal trevor howard british film noir poster

The backroom of the London high street Valhalla Undertaking Company was filled with darkness. The walls and floor space taken up by stacks of wooden coffins. Stood in the bleak setting were a bunch of shifty looking cockney geezers. Gangsters. Rough looking thugs with thick necks, cauliflower ears and busted up flat noses. In amongst those brutish frames you had the usual crafty looking types. Weasel looking type. Sly and creepy. Ready to shank you in the back for a few bob or maybe just for the fun of it. You also had the loyal sidekicks in the mix. Eager to crack skulls with brass knuckle dusters. An older, mother figure organised as she kept an eye on the business. As long as a little extra came her way she was happy. Continue reading

Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) Film Noir That Hits Like A Sucker Punch

Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) Dana Andrews Gary Merrill Gene Tierney film noir poster

Detective Sgt. Mark Dixon (Dana Andrews) despises criminals. Loves nothing better than burying his knuckles into some hoodlums ribcage. Sometimes you hear the crack. That wince of pain is also satisfying. Better still, landing a clean, perfectly placed right hook, pow, straight to the jaw. He punches the air. If you’re lucky you’ll catch that sweet moment when the lights go out within their eyes. He smiles with the thought. Continue reading

Storm Warning (1951) President Reagan In Klan Film With Ginger Rogers And Doris Day!… Saaay Whaaat!

Storm Warning (1951) Ginger Rogers Ronald Reagan Doris Day Steve Cochran movie poster

I was intrigued with Storm Warning not only by it’s daunting subject matter but also alarmed to see three actors included that I just couldn’t fathom in a movie based around the Ku Klux Klan. Stamped on the poster are the names of three giant stars. The future President Of The United States, Ronald Reagan and the all singing, all dancing ladies, Ginger Rogers and butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, Doris Day. Seriously WTF? Continue reading

Hangover Square (1945) Murdering Maundering Madman Is Musical Genius

Hangover Square (1945) Laird Cregar Linda Darnell film noir movie poster

With no messing about, this film jumps straight into a POV murder. First a stab with a dagger then a double tap with a gas lamp. The victim isn’t just gonna die, he’s gonna burn too! In the first of a series of shocking and macabre death scenes Hangover Square really grabs your attention. I love it when a movie gamble pays off. Went into this film really for it’s short runtime. Not the ideal way to pick a film, I know. Had way too many late nights and the thought that if I ain’t digging it I’ll turn it off and get myself an early night. Haha no chance. I was hooked and instantly invested in the plight of George Harvey Bone (Laird Cregar), right from that first hard hitting opening scene. Continue reading