14 Hours - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

14 Hours Reviews

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September 24, 2015
a very good noir drama film great acting i enjoyed this movie.
February 14, 2015
14 Hours is an excellent film. It is about an unhappy man who threatens suicide by standing on the ledge of a high-rise building for 14 hours. Paul Douglas and Richard Basehart give amazing performances. The screenplay is well written. Henry Hathaway did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the drama.
½ December 20, 2014
Most of the film is nearly in real time, excellent script, casting, and pacing. Paul Douglas should have had more starring roles. Take a look at the full cast!
½ April 15, 2014
A straightforward story about a desperate man contemplating suicide is compelling thanks to a strong cast, a very good script and great direction that ensures the tense atmosphere is sustained throughout the film.
March 21, 2014
good high tension drama yes and well done yes but film noir-nope
April 24, 2013
Huge and familiar cast can't rescue mechanical jumper-on-a-ledge drama--They sure made the most of an incredibly simple plot!!
Super Reviewer
½ July 24, 2012
"Fourteen Hours" starts with a room service delivery to room 1505 of the Rodney Hotel in New York City on St. Patrick's Day. As the waiter(Frank Faylen) turns to give the guest(Richard Basehart) his change, he has disappeared, only to turn up on the ledge outside where he is spotted by Police Officer Dunnigan(Paul Douglas) on traffic duty. Soon enough, Deputy Chief Moskar(Howard Da Silva) takes over from Dunnigan who he sends back to direct the increasingly snarled traffic on the streets below. But it is Dunnigan that the jumper wants to talk to, as the rest of the police force scrambles to find out who he is.

While "Fourteen Hours" may sound like having a boilerplate plot to modern audiences, it also proves quite successfully that sometimes the simplest plots are the best, as the movie has an exemplary wordless opening scene and more than its share of suspenseful moments. At the same time, there are multiple contrived occasions here of someone doing the dumbest possible thing at the worst possible moment. Ain't that always the thing, though? Well, this is New York City with the best and worst of humanity on display. The movie makes great use of its location shooting which not only aids the perspective on the main situation, but also on the street where the people take the time to put their lives in perspective. And it is forward thinking in favoring psychology over religion in providing a faint idea as to the jumper's motives.(Considering how badly the Mets are playing, he may soon have company. But at least R.A. Dickey is pitching tonight.) What I think the movie is delicately trying to get around to in a not-so-enlightened sort of way is that the jumper is gay.
Super Reviewer
February 29, 2012
A really great film noir selection. About a man who climbs out on the ledge of a hotel 13 stories up in NYC threaten to jump, but a traffic cop becomes his friend and attempts to talk him out of it. Grace Kelly makes a short appearance here and there. Paul Douglas show outstanding acting qualities and caring that was once found in most people back in the day, not like today where its every man out women for himself. 4 stars
December 11, 2011
A good flick, plain and simple.
October 5, 2011
cool :)
enjoy it untill the end
November 14, 2010
Un Hathaway mineur... mais bien fichu!
Super Reviewer
November 1, 2010
A very suspenseful movie about a young man who is trying to commit suicide and the people who are trying to get him to come down from the ledge. All taking place in 14 hours. A good movie with good actors.
½ March 28, 2010
'Oldie but goodie' wins no awards for tolerance of 'alternative lifestyles'

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The DVD contains some interesting commentary by film noir expert Foster Hirsch. His basic thesis is that what 14 Hours is really about is a crisis over masculinity. Hirsch argues that the subtext of the film is that the Richard Basehart character ("Robert Cosick") is gay but in 1951, Hollywood was not permitted to deal with such gay themes explicitly. Hirsch makes some good points particularly in his description of Charlie Dunnigan, the down-to-earth cop (convincingly played by Paul Douglas) who is set up as a well-adjusted family man in contrast to the tormented Cosick.

14 Hours works on two levels. The primary level is the attempt by Dunnigan to get Cosick off the ledge and prevent him from killing himself. It's interesting that it's immediately apparent that Dunnigan has established a rapport with Cosick but the higher-ups (represented by the Police Captain played by Howard DaSilva) sends Dunnigan back to the street. Only once the two 'professionals' (the psychologists) are brought to the scene and realize that Cosick will only speak to Dunnigan that the brass have to eat crow and bring their 'inferior' back up to negotiate.

If the whole movie was just Dunnigan trying to sway Cosick, things would get pretty boring after awhile. But Screenwriter John Paxton mixes things up nicely by bringing in the three family members who try and coax the errant son/husband back to reality. Agnes Moorehead probably has the most interesting part in the movie as Cosick's semi-demented mother who just can't cut the strings. Then there's the passive alcoholic father played by Robert Keith (the real life father of well known actor, Brian Keith) who comes off as much more genuine than the spotlight-grabbing mother. Barbara Bel Geddes has the thankless role of being the good 'wife' who deep down knows she'll never have a sexual relationship with her husband ever again. There are other characters that add to the film's verisimilitude high above street level: the slew of cops who are continually trying to physically remove Cosick from his perch as well as the obsessed preacher, the 'man of God' who sabotages the rescue plan almost culminating in disaster!

The second level takes place 'below' the main action. On the street level, we're introduced to a group of 'everyman' characters. One of them is Mrs. Fuller (in Grace Kelly's first screen role). She's on her way up to her attorney to finalize divorce proceedings. Then there's the down-to-earth 'Ruth' (played by Debra Paget) who meets Danny (played by Jeffrey Hunter of 'King of Kings fame') in the gathering crowd who are staring up at the great passion play above. There's also a group of taxicab drivers (one of them is Ossie Davis in his first screen role) who represent the various ethnic types found in NYC. They cynically place bets on the exact time they expect Cosick to jump. Finally, there's the media?the reporters, both print and TV journalists who are covering the media event. Suffice it to say, the 'media' does not come off very well in this film.

14 Hours has a gripping story that moves along at a brisk pace. You'll find out from the DVD commentary that most if was filmed on a Hollywood sound stage but through expert editing, the NY scenes were inserted to make it look like the entire film was filmed in New York City. As I mentioned before, I agree with Foster Hirsch's central thesis that this is a film about a guy who doesn't trust his masculinity. Some of Hirsch's theories go a little too far, especially when he suggests that the Woolworth Building in the background is a phallic symbol. Furthermore I disagree with his view that the film takes a dim view of the psychologist who provides the 'psychological' explanation of Cosick's malady. Quite the contrary, psychoanalysis was all the rage at that time, especially in the movies, so when the explanation is offered that Cosick is suffering from an "Oedipal Complex', and all his family members are depicted as contributing to Cosick's neurosis, it appears that the filmmakers seem to embrace that line of reasoning.

14 Hours loses a bit of its luster with it advocacy of what it believes is 'normal'. While Cosick is saved, it's quite obvious that he'll always be 'damaged goods'. But most of the other characters get to live 'happily ever after'. The 'normal' couple go off in the sunset hand in hand, presumably to begin a 'normal' (1951 style) sexual relationship. Grace Kelly realizes that divorce isn't the answer and even the taxi drivers walk away from the most cynical of their lot. Dunnigan meets up with his son and we get a peek of his doting wife waiting outside the revolving doors at the front of the hotel.

14 Hours will never win awards for tolerance of 'alternative lifestyles'. But as a taut, gripping, little thriller, it can be surely termed an 'oldie but goodie'.
February 4, 2010
Interesting situational film.
December 1, 2009
This was a good movie: Intense & gripping, on the edge (pun intended). The film was a delve into psychoanalysis and how it help prevent a calamity from occuring. When a young early 20's man decides taht life is too hard to live anymore, he sets out to throw himself from a 15 storey ledge into the streets of New York City. It is thwarted by a "flatfoot"(traffic) cop who is first on the scene and who responds with cavalier and assistance. Agnes Moorehead was brilliant as the mother while Da SIlva was superb as the reluctant hero cop.
November 11, 2009
I thought this was a interesting film.
½ November 10, 2009
New York City policeman Charlie Dunnigan (Paul Douglas) is walking his downtown Manhatten beat when he is startled out of his normal routine by a woman's scream. Looking up, he sees a man standing on the 15th floor ledge of the Rodney Hotel. Rushing into the building, Officer Dunnigan is warned by the manager that the man, Robert Cosick (Richard Basehart) will jump if any policeman comes near him. So Dunnigan doffs his police jacket and cap and borrows the hotel manager's loud tie. The ruse works and Dunnigan is able to at least converse and gain the deeply troubled man's trust - at least for the time being.

Meanwhile, down on the street level - a crowd of curious onlookers start to gather ...which causes motorist to stop and look too, causing a traffic logjam...then with the arrival of TV and newspaper reporters - the area around the Rodney Hotel has turned into a full blown media circus.

The story jumps around a bit - occasionally diverging from the main drama centering around the efforts by the police to prevent Cosick from taking his life. We also get little vignettes happening in and around the various onlookers. One of them is Louise Fuller (Grace Kelly in her film debut) stuck in traffic while on her way to see her divorce lawyer. Another is a young and pretty office worker (Debra Paget) who meets and strikes up a conversation with handsome mailroom clerk (Jeffrey Hunter)-the beginning of a beautiful friendship? A group of cab drivers (one of them a very young Ossie Davis) stuck in traffic make bets with each other for when the jumper will jump.

As someone who is a bit acrophobic - some scenes got to be a bit nerve-wracking.
The drama builds nicely too as Cosick slowly opens up to Dunnigan. Although we start to get an idea what is troubling him, especially when his mother (Agnes Moorehead), father (Robert Keith) and girlfriend (Barbara Bel Geddes) arrives on the scene - the film never fully explores it's potential.

The story as it ties in to Grace Kelly's character is tenuous at best. She can see the ongoing drama unfold outside of her lawyer's office window. I know the decision she makes in regards to her divorce is supposed to be tied to the life and death drama happening outside - but her part of the story seems to end all too abruptly.

This is another great role for Paul Douglas, who is becoming one of my favorite actors from the late 40's - 50's. Grace Kelly looked like she just stepped out of Hitchcock's REAR WINDOW set, i.e. beautiful as ever. Her role is very small here but she was on the road to stardom after this...

I read that this film had a much darker ending but was changed due to the suicide of one of the producer's daughter. Subsequent changes were made to the script to give it a more upbeat ending. Since the film deals with some interesting life and death issues - it certainly would be interesting to see that original intended ending.

November 5, 2009
Fantastic....(I guess you could call it film noir) picture from '51. I think it's just as relevant today as it was 60 years ago. Great performances from all and New York in black and white hasn't looked better. A little known gem that was unavailable on video for YEARS. Saw it on early morning CINEMAX in the 90's (anybody know what I'm talking about?). B+
November 4, 2009
You know how old-timey movies have the scene of the guy on the ledge about to jump? Well, that's this entire movie. Rather predictable, but it's very well done, with good photography and a stellar performance by Paul Douglas as the good-natured cop. The side stories about the onlookers (including Grace Kelly in her first role) and how it affects their lives are perhaps superfluous, but they're nice and they give the story a little breathing room. Bonus points for the dig at religious nutjobs, but points off for the unnecessary psychological explanation.
November 2, 2009
In this film noir/docu-drama, Richard Baseheart is convincing as a conflicted (obviously) suicide jumper, literally on the edge between life and death. 14 HOURS go by quickly in this 90 minute melodrama, skillfully directed by Henry Hathaway. Featuring an oh-so brief cameo by Grace Kelly and an ensemble of on lookers, 14 HOURS is a great little film noir film that is far too little heard of.
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