YouTube Noir — Noirvember Day 30: The Hitch-Hiker (1953)

Can you believe that this is the last day of Noirvember? Seriously, where does the time go?

Ah, well – no use moaning over spent months. We’ve got more important things to do.

I’m wrapping up my YouTube noir series with The Hitch-Hiker (1953). Interestingly (to me, at least), it’s my second consecutive YouTube pick to star Frank Lovejoy, the second with a plot focusing on two male friends, and the second to be based on a true story.

It’s also the second to be almost too harrowing to watch.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Frank Lovejoy and Edmond O’Brien star as Gilbert Bowen and Roy Collins, longtime buddies and family men who are excitedly embarking on a weekend fishing trip. Their plans for fun and relaxation transform into something altogether different, though, when they pick up a hitch-hiker who just happens to be an ex-con on a murder spree.

WHAT ELSE?

This ain’t no Hamilton Burger.

The ex-con is played by William Talman, who was in a pick earlier this month, City That Never Sleeps, and is probably best known for his role as Hamilton Burger in the long-running Perry Mason TV series. His performance here will make you forget all about Mr. Burger – especially when he falls asleep with one eye open. (Yikes.)

The film is helmed by actress-turned-director Ida Lupino. Lupino also co-wrote the screenplay, with her ex-husband Collier Young, with whom she created the company that produced the picture, The Filmakers. Lupino was the first woman to director a film noir, and later became the first woman to direct an episode of The Twilight Zone.

The Hitch-Hiker was inspired by the story of Billy Cook, who killed six people during a 22-day crime spree in the early 1950s. During his murderous cross-country endeavor, Cook kidnapped a couple of hunters, forcing them to drive him to Mexico. He was later captured and sentenced to death. While he was imprisoned in California’s San Quentin State Prison, Ida Lupino visited Cook, who granted her the exclusive rights to his story.

TOMORROW . . .

The sun’ll come out . . . because the shadows of Noirvember will have faded away. But you can celebrate noir with me every day! (I’m a poet, and I don’t know it.)

Thanks for coming along on this month-long journey!

~ by shadowsandsatin on November 30, 2020.

8 Responses to “YouTube Noir — Noirvember Day 30: The Hitch-Hiker (1953)”

  1. It may be Noir but you have brightened up a dark November. Thank you.
    Still on You Tube, I’ve just watched The Crooked Web with the always excellent Frank Lovejoy plus Mari Blanchard and Richard Denning. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  2. The Hitch-Hiker is a real gut-punch. I have a subconscious fear of cars, deserts, and creepy eyes.

    Boy, you sure do watch a lot of movies! (wink)

  3. YouTube Noir was a terrific idea! Instant gratification! I watched every recommendation, and saw many movies I’d never heard about.

    The Hitchhiker I’d seen before, but it was a while back, and I enjoyed watching it again.

  4. Congrats on another fabulous Noirvember Celebration! And congrats to us (your readers) for having a terrific list of free films to watch. Yay!

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