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The Hitch-Hiker (1953)

Cast: Edmond O'Brien, Edmond O'Brien, Frank Lovejoy, more...
Director: Ida Lupino, Ida Lupino
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Kino
Genre: Film Noir, Vintage Noir
Running Time: 70 min.
Languages: English
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Daniel Mainwaring took this story right out of the headlines of the day, penning this true story of a mass murderer who was eventually executed in San Quentin's gas chamber. Released during McCarthy's witch-hunt, Mainwaring was not given credit because Howard R. Hughes, who produced it under RKO, refused to give credit to any "radicals." The story is that of two men on a fishing trip who pick up a hitchhiker. He turns out to be a sadistic psychopath who has committed multiple murders, a sociopath who hates humanity because of his own abuse as a child. He also has an affliction which terrifies these two men: an eye which is permanently open, thereby never allowing them to know if he is really asleep or just faking it--something which he does with regularity to scare them...letting them take off and then meeting up with them just as they feel they have escaped from him. A tense thriller skillfully directed by the only female director of the time, Ida Lupino, it is a suspenseful tale of terror on the highways. ~ Tana Hobart, All Movie Guide

You might also enjoy:
The Big Knife
Ida Lupino acts in this suspensful and cynical drama from the same era

Ultra low-budget noir also shows the potential perils of hitchhiking

The Hitcher
More modern (i.e., less subtle, more violent) take on the deranged hitchhiker story; has a cult following

GreenCine Member Reviews

When was the last time you invited death into your car? by eifert September 12, 2004 - 9:10 PM PDT
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
The Hitch-Hiker is an excellent low budget suspense movie. Two old friends take a road trip away from their families to go fishing and hunting. They pick up a hitchhiker who turns out to be a serial killer. The killer decides to keep the men alive until he can get away from a police dragnet through the desert. The two men can't escape even though they try several times. (The killer has a lazy eye so he sleeps with one eye open!) I consider this kind of a low budget Treasure of Sierra Madre mixed with the 80's thriller The Hitcher. I also enjoyed the relentless way the killer messed with Edmund O'Brian so much so that you could see O'Brian just ready to loose it at any moment.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.51)
78 Votes
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GreenCine's 100 Most Valuable Indies
"Indie, or Independent": [n] A film funded by non-studio sources and made outside the traditional Hollywood system (it could be distributed by a studio). This list emphasizes historical and/or artistic relevancy. In alphabetical order:
Great Film Noir one liners
This will hit you like a cold, hard slap in the face.

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