Sonntag, 2. Juni 2013

The desperate hours (Wyler, 1956)


Three prison escapees invade a family's home where they wait for the getaway cash to arrive. But the money courier is arrested and the family members try to the thwart the plans of the fugitives where ever they can.

Apart from being another very nice script taken on by Wyler, this is not a typical film-noir. It has a very straight ending, and it was not nail-biting suspense that sat me through the last third. Although Bogart was quite a surprise playing a heavy, devoid of moral whatsoever and the cast was  impressive, there was something artificial about the story.

Most interesting aspect of the film is the caricature it draws of a "perfect family" in the 50s. This family, especially the father, Mr. Hilliard, has everything that Bogart's character wants and despises at the same time. A nice, boring job, nice, boring home, with a nice and boring wife, a clueless kid and and an adolescent teenager dating a even more boring guy in a sports car. It is hard to tell if Wyler made fun of the concept, or he's playing it as straight as it might have been meant. 

This would make a sensational remake, although I doubt if things would progress as peacefully in a modern rendition of the script. Tarantino would turn this into a deluge of blood.

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