The Desperate Hours - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Desperate Hours Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ April 9, 2010
A dense cat and mouse game featuring old Bogart, still pulling it off, maybe not as menacing as he could have, but it is his charcters rogue-like ambiguity that carries the movie. A hostage drama at its core, the movie features a many characters and depicts their conflicting interests. Of course, the increasing tension between the captors and the glooming disaster is what fires up the heat of suspense. Very good. HX
½ February 4, 2010
Tengo entendido que hay un "remake" de esta pelicula... pero no me interesa verlo. Me quedo con esta, la original de 1955. Buenisima :-)
½ January 20, 2010
Far far better than the remake, Humphrey Bogart heads a great cast and gives a compelling and excellent performance. Fredric March is a bit over dramatic, and that is surprising, it's not something he normally does. Very tense story, quite well written. One drawback, the little boy, Ralphie, played by Richard Eyer is so irritating and annoying, he really hurts the overall impact of the film. What a brat! So much for the theory kids raised in the 1950's were better mannered than kids today.
January 8, 2010
Love this excellent suspense thriller!!!!!
August 16, 2009
Escaped convict Duke Mantee (Petrified Forest) holes up in the Cleaver household in this lost episode of "Leave it to Beaver." Ok, it's a jowly Bogart on the lam, and Fred March is Ward, but the suffocating 50s of suburban America is there in spades. Audiences are enlightened by the conflation of March and Bogart, the former a Eisenhower conservative, the latter a standard-issue Outsider, but in the end it's the man who is the embodiment of the establishment (even if he bends the rules a little) who triumphs. Notable for its near-lack of mood music and Gig Young in fine wooden form.
Super Reviewer
½ June 23, 2009
Classic...great movie even with Bogarts singular acting style....
½ May 16, 2009
"Do as I say and Junior grows up to vote!"
What if Humphry Bogart's Sam Spade tough guy character from the 40s made a few different choices -- if he didn't neatly work his way out of a police jam in "Maltese Falcon" and spent 12 years in a fed pen instead? He might have come out of the pen like this. We love the noir bite when it's downtown, but what about when it invades suburbia?
This is a masterful look at America trying to remake itself into a safe, placid place for families. A place that leaves behind the gritty desperation of the Depression. It's fascinating to see Bogart dropped into Leave It to Beaver -- look what happens when his little brother con starts to refer to the father of the hostage household as "Mr. Hilliard." Bogart can't spit on Piney Creek Woods fast enough.
Bogart was near death when he made this picture -- and his weariness fits well into this portrayal. The swan song of American noir and the antiheroes who couldn't survive in the sunshine brought by GE dishwashers, Ed Sullivan and the Interstate Highway System.
(For the other side of this equation, Fredric March is believable and fascinating as a father trying to figure a way out of this jam. It's too bad modern Hollywood has to make this storyline with such bombast. I don't buy Liam Neeson as Superhero Parent in "Taken." I do believe March every step of the way in this one.)
(PS - The imagemakers selling the suburban ideal still had some trouble getting their image right -- in "Desperate Hours" the 19-year-old daughter is still living at home (?!?!) and dating a squaresville lawyer who looks to be more than 10 years older than her?!?!)
½ March 20, 2009
Overwhelming film that lingers in your mind.
January 4, 2009
The basic idea is very good and at the time of making not as overly used as it is today. However I didn't like how people kept going somewhere all the time - it would have been more intense if the characters had stayed more in the closed space.
½ November 24, 2008
Great cast. Great film.
November 13, 2008
Wonderful story! I was especially impressed by the performnace of the young boy. I was so sad watching him lose his innocence while his family is terrorized.
September 23, 2008
Powerful thriller w/ a great disturbing portrayal by Humphrey Bogart; develops a claustrophobic tension that you could cut w/ a knife by the end of the flm.
September 17, 2008
Cool thriller directed by William Wyler starring Humphrey Bogart as a bad guy that holds Fredric March and his family hostage while he and his two companions try to escape from the law. It's a bit too long, but Bogart and March are so great that I didn't mind. Some cool suspenseful moments, I loved the scenes outside of the house. Nice direction from Wyler and a cool ending.
August 27, 2008
Bogart admitted that he was too old to be playing a gangster and it does show here. The picture is very solid and as usual Bogie is a menace to a science. Surprisingly enough Fredric March was a little less convincing as the husband/father role. Victimized characters do tend to make things less easy for even talented performers like March so I can overlook that.

As a noir it's an ace production. Very straight-forward story that keeps your attention and some violent outcomes for the characters involved.
½ August 22, 2008
well done late bogart flick
August 12, 2008
Solid movie, with Bogart acting really tough, however he looks so unwell (he died shortly after). He seems to of aged 20 years since Sabrina (1954) but he was unaware at this stage that he had throat cancer.

Good tension throughout, and an interesting score, if not a little old fashioned (the use of the Clarinet seems more like a 1940's film. But Wyler was late in his career).
½ August 1, 2008
I have seen this movie only once but it still lingers with me and therefore it has earned a place on my top twenty list.
Super Reviewer
July 22, 2008
William Wyler's The Desperate Hours is unnerving because it reminds us that no one is completely safe from the horrors of sociopathic criminals, not even average, Leave-it-to-Beaver families living in middleclass suburbia. Wyler brings crime into the living room, what could very well be YOUR living room, and lets you sweat it out along with the captive Hilliard family.

Humphrey Bogart's character might not be his most villainous role, but he's definitely a miscreant and unempathetic personality. This isn't my favorite Wyler film or, for that matter, even my favorite Bogart vehicle, but it's still a good movie with enough suspense and tension to keep you on the edge of your seat.
July 19, 2008
good thriller/melodrama
½ June 26, 2008
You can see Bogart really tired and worn down, his health far from good at this period, but he still demands attention.
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