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Archive for the ‘Frank Lovejoy’ Category

The Hitchhiker

07 Mar

The Hitchhiker — directed by Ida Lupino. Drama. Two men are abducted into the desert of Mexico by a deranged killer. 71 minutes Black and White 1953.

★★★★★

This is thrust, as so many others are, into the category of film noir, with which it has nothing to do. That’s just a sales strategy. But it is just as well, for, because of the interest of folk in noir, attention is then paid to a picture which otherwise is uncategorisable. Ida Lupino was a very gifted director; any film she set her hand to is worth seeing. In this case, one can imagine the influence of the long association she had with the great Raoul Walsh, who directed her in a number of films, and who became a like-minded friend and mentor. Like him, she moves the action along licketty-split; the pace never lets up; her sense of camera position is superb. Her sense of human frailty is superb. She even gives us one small scene in which two actors speak Spanish, and it is not translated. You have to lean forward into that scene, and wake up your silent film eyes, to interpret its value. The two kidnapped men are played by Frank Lovejoy and Edmund O’Brien, middle class guys with thickening waists and probably buddies from The War, eight years before. The sizzling live-wire at the center of the film, however, is William Talman, as the madman with the gun. He’ll scare the liver out of you. The Hitchhiker was famous in its day and has come down as a classic. What that means is that you are supposed to take a visit to the museum. But of course, with The Hitchhiker you’ll be thrilled by what you find there. In its day, it would have been programmed as a B-picture, the lower half of a double bill. It’s a pity they don’t make B-pictures any more. All we get is Important Films straining to be blockbusters, instead the B-film strove only to provide proficient entertainment, and sometimes, as in this case, surpassed that really admirable aim.

 

 
 
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