“The devil thumbed another ride,” declares the radio announcer, a warning too late for Roy (Edmond O’Brien) and Gilbert (Frank Lovejoy), two fishing buddies who have just picked up a hitchhiker. Their trip to Baja was supposed to be a joyful weekend away from the wives, not a terror tour through the harsh Mexican desert. Under the watchful eye of a downwardly mobile maniac (played by William Talman of Perry Mason fame), the two pals find themselves captive in their commandeered car, heading for the coastal town of Santa Rosalia. Director Ida Lupino uses the almost pitiless Mexican landscape to great effect (though much of what we see is actually California’s Owens Valley). If the nefarious streets of the city underpin the classic noir, its counterpart could be this foreboding rock-strewn stretch, captured by the great cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca. Talman’s psychopath disdains all in his way, including the local inhabitants who speak only indecipherable “Mexican.” Doubtless, the homicidal hitchhiker will meet his own end, communicated in a tongue he can better understand. —Steve Seid
Ida Lupino (4 February 1918 – 3 August 1995) was an English-American film actress and director, and a pioneer among women filmmakers. In her forty-eight year career, she appeared in fifty-nine films, and directed nine others. She also appeared in episodic television fifty-eight times and directed fifty other episodes. In addition, she contributed as a writer to five films and four TV episodes.
Lupino was born into a family of performers. Her father, Stanley Lupino, was a music-hall comedian, and her mother, Connie Emerald, was an actress. As a girl, Ida was encouraged to enter show business by both her parents and her uncle, Lupino Lane. She made her first movie appearance in 1931, in The Love Race, and spent the next several years playing minor roles.
It was after her appearance in The Light That Failed in 1939 that Lupino began to be taken seriously as a dramatic actress. As a result, her parts improved during the 1940s and she began to describe herself… read more
Strong B flick from director Ida Lupino diluted by what has come since. However, for 1953 a pretty raw little pic concerning the abduction of two men's men by a third on the run from the law in Mexico. The tension between the three is palable and though the outcome is assured its interesting getting there.
Pioneering director Ida Lupino was reluctant to direct this RKO B-movie so it's ironic that it turned out to be the film that is probably the most highly regarded of her directorial career. It's firmly in the film noir camp and is based on a true story about a psychopath who kidnaps two buddies on a fishing trip and forces them to drive to Mexico. Taut and claustrophobic, the tension is never relaxed for one moment..
Ida Lupino does great work directing this B-noir. It is a simple story, told in simple fashion, but the straightforwardness of the production is what allows the movie to be so tense. Photographed by the great Nicholas Musaraca, the views of the demented Talman in the backseat are hard to forget.