The Desperate Hours

The Desperate Hours

William Wyler (1955)

PG Certificate


Our Score
Superbly directed by William Wyler, this searing adaptation of author Joseph Hayes's Broadway hit features the last great villainous performance of Humphrey Bogart, playing an escaped convict holding Fredric March and his family hostage in their own house. The location becomes unbearably claustrophobic as March summons up hidden strengths to protect his loved ones from a criminal who has no redeeming humanitarian features. This was the first movie to be filmed in black-and-white VistaVision ("motion picture high fidelity"), and the depth of field and overall quality of Lee Garm Miches's photography is superb, even on the reduced scale of television. Sadly, this was Bogart's penultimate film. A pretty worthless remake of the tale was produced in 1990 with Anthony Hopkins and Mickey Rourke in the March and Bogart roles. By the way, Paul Newman originally featured in the role of the villain on stage.


A suburban family taken hostage by three escaped convicts refuses to knuckle under - and eventually proves more than a match for the criminals. William Wyler's thriller, starring Humphrey Bogart, Fredric March, Martha Scott and Arthur Kennedy.

Cast & Crew

Glenn Griffin Humphrey Bogart
Dan C Hilliard Fredric March
Deputy Sheriff Jesse Bard Arthur Kennedy
Eleanor Hilliard Martha Scott
Hal Griffin Dewey Martin
Chuck Wright Gig Young
Cindy Hilliard Mary Murphy
Ralphie Hilliard Richard Eyer
Director William Wyler
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteTheatrical distributor: Paramount Film Service LtdAvailable on: DVD