Tuesday, February 15, 2011

For the Love of Film (Noir) Blogathon: The Hitch-Hiker

A scene from the 1953 film noir The Hitch-Hiker. (l to r) Frank Lovejoy, William Talman and Edmond O'Brien
A female directed film noir. A rare occurrence. Stripped down camera work, sparse cast with no femme fatale or dark urban setting - The Hitch-Hiker, directed and co-written by Ida Lupino - is a breed apart. Though it won't appeal to everybody because of its claustrophobic atmosphere, this film tells the story of two fishermen who pick up a psychotic escaped convict who tells them that he intends to murder them when the ride is over. It's one of those films that makes you think, "What would I do in that situation?" Everyday life can be pretty challenging, but it does not bring with it the complexities of extreme moral decisions. Would you, can you kill to defend yourself? Would you escape a killer if it meant leaving your friend behind? How do you react when a gun is pointed at you? To take this film on face value does it a disservice. Placing it in the context of post-WWII America gives the story power beyond a causal viewing. The two friends are vets, but have settled into civilian life far removed from their war experiences. But, violence once again intrudes upon their lives (typical of characters in the world of Film Noir). This brings me back to my original point - in the same situation that face these two friends - what would you do?

Watch The Hitch-Hiker

Donate to The Noir Foundation and for the restoration of The Sound of Fury

Ida Lupino at IMDB


  1. I love this film so much, and it is certainly one of the scariest, morally challenging films ever shot. You ask a good question: What would you do? I honestly hope I never have to find out. Thanks for the contribution!

  2. I'm learning about WAY too many intriguing films in this blogathon! This one sounds fascinating. Thanks!

  3. Oh this film is so creepy and wonderful. One of those raw, shoestring-budget noirs that's just utterly mesmerizing.