The Desperate Hours - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Desperate Hours Reviews

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December 4, 2016
An excellent suspense thriller with great acting from Humphrey Bogart and Fredric March. Bogart goes out in style in one of his last films. (First and only viewing - 12/1/2016)
June 5, 2016
Beautifully shot noir thriller. Shot for shot lived there scene in the diner.
½ August 20, 2015
Crossed another Bogart classic off my list of shame and I really enjoyed it quite a bit. He's more of the tough guy criminal here than in the films I've seen that cast him as more of a rough around the edges anti-hero, but it's still a great little flick and worth a look if you have a chance.

½ July 27, 2015
Classic crime-noir that holds up thanks to a superb cast & direction that never lets the movie get over-blown. Bogart is at his sinister best as Glenn Griffen, playing him with the right mix of charm & cruelty that you can't help but like him, even when he does some horrible things. He's matched well with Dan Hillard as Frederic March, a simple family man pushed to his limit when threatened. William Wyler's direction is subtle & never gets over-blown, with March never doing anything stupidly heroic (he avoids getting the police involved as much as possible) while tightening the suspense as things keep going wrong, from a simple trash delivery to a letter that just won't arrive on time. First-rate crime thriller that modern films (including it's subpar remake) could learn from.
½ February 26, 2015
In every way superior to the remake...mostly because of Bogart
October 19, 2014
I quite liked this one, I'd never seen it before. Its stars Bogart in one of his very last roles, and he's great as usual. Frederic March is also really good. It's based on a play, and Paul Newman played the Bogart role on Broadway. If you like classic films, give this a try!
August 20, 2014
This is an excellent well made crime drama. Humphrey Bogart is great in the lead villain role. The rest of the cast also puts in good work here. The script slowly builds to a very exciting climax. I would definitely recommend this film.
February 22, 2014
It's not credible and somewhat ridiculous.
July 14, 2013
This is Bogart in entertainment mode as oppose to being in iconic character mode, nevertheless his ruthless gang leader persona convinces. Fredric March is the hero and he makes a very good fist of this considering who his opposite number is.
½ June 9, 2013
The plot is simple and perhaps a bit cliche by now: A trio of escaped convicts hold a suburban family in hostage. Director William Wyler may not be Alfred Hitchcock but he still is able to retain suspense and tension althroughout the film. Humphrey Bogart, who plays the leader of the convicts, was fantastic. He creates a frightening, yet all-too-human villain. He's the main reason that even though I've seen a lot of these types of films before this, it still feels fresh and gripping.
May 23, 2013
Great performance by Bogart. (Later the movie was remade in 1991 with Mickey Rourke)
October 17, 2012
A bit hokey but worth it for Humphrey
Super Reviewer
June 29, 2011
Three escaped convicts invade a middle class family's home and hold them hostage. The premise of The Desperate Hours is something that, in the right hands, could have been a tense and gripping affair full of sharp dialogue and insightful character analysis. Unfortunately this stage-bound script could not shake its theatrical roots and the characters are too stereotypical to have any real lasting impact. The family are a poster for Republican middle America, seemingly having stepped out of a 50s sitcom and the crooks are all shown as ignorant, working class thugs which leaves a rather unpleasant vibe of class snobbery. The dialogue lacks any real bite and the tension is compromised by the fact that Bogie allows the family members to almost come and go at will. On the plus side, Bogart is as solid as ever and is always fun in his bad guy roles and there are some nice scenes between he and Frederic March as the apple-pie dad who finds his backbone once his family is threatened, but it's too long considering the one idea premise and seriously sags in the middle because of it. John Huston did something similar in Key Largo to much greater effect.
½ June 20, 2011
Bogart and March, enough reason to see it, but the performances from the supporting cast and some tight direction by Wyler make it a near-classic, kind of like a slightly more mature and intriguing version of The Petrified Forest, which also had Bogart as a criminal on the run holding up in a place and acting all bad-ass and Bogart-ish.
½ May 22, 2011
Stylish thriller with good leads. Humphrey Bogart leads a pack of escaped convicts who take a family hostage, with some nice conflict all around. The only problem is the pacing.

Humphrey is not known for his villain roles, but he plays Griffen with real menace. He and his brother and a nitwit named Kobish take a family hostage, and the tension is so thick you can cut it like butter. The class conflict is very apparent, with Griffen jealous of the nice clothes and closeness of the family unit.

Based on a play, the movie manages to keep most of the tension in the house. Whenever they go elsewhere, the focus seems to wander and the movie loses its pace about an hour and a half into the film. They really drag the last act until the final scene, with some great acting from both Bogart and Fredrich March.

A taut thriller that is still entertaining to this day.
December 3, 2010
Bogartin viimeisia elokuvia ja sen kylla nakee miehestä, mutta silti kovan luokan tyoskentelya kameran edessa. Hyva trilleri ja oikeestaan piirun verran parempi nain uusinta katselulla, muttei kuitenkaan tarpeeksi jotta arvosana nousisi.
December 1, 2010
One of the last screen appearances of Humphrey Bogart during the time that the actor already knew that he was dying, which helps add a little bit more of the feeling of desperation and decay, this is what makes this savage beauty a classic. A group of convicts that have recently escaped have decided to hole up in a house nearby the prison that is inhabited by a family that will be taken hostage until money arrives from the lead gangster's moll. The interaction between Bogart and March as the hero father under the pressure that will stop at nothing to free his family from the criminals is very intense, something that is brought out by the great director William Wyler in this must see classic.
½ November 26, 2010
It had been years since Bogart had played a hood when he agreed to do this film, but he shows he hadn't lost his touch and explores more of his pyscho side that he touched on in "In a Lonely Place" and a little in "The Caine Mutiny". Only too bad Spencer Tracy dropped out only to be replaced by Fredric March. With Tracy, this might have been a classic. As is, the film is a bit plodding at times and only really gets going in the last 20 minutes or so. Gig Young is good as the boyfriend and Richrad Eyer manages to be not too annoying as the kid. But its Bogart you come to see with this film and he delivers in one of his last films.
August 3, 2010
Another common noir plot: the hostage scenario. Seen also in He Ran All the Way, The Hitch-Hiker, and at least two previous Bogart films, The Petrified Forest and Key Largo. This is one of the best of them, with the situation escalating very naturally, amping up the tension nicely. Bogie's really terrific here, with a rougher edge than usual. The film could use a little more style, but Wyler does pull off some noteworthy compositions. One thing that drags it down for me is the little boy, one of those golly-gee little tykes that just annoys the hell out of me. Plus, he almost fucks everything up... TWICE. Little brat. Otherwise, quite a gripping take on an old chestnut.
Super Reviewer
April 24, 2010
Skip the remake & stick with the original
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