After escaping from prison, Glenn Griffin, his brother Hal and a third inmate Sam Kobish randomly select a house in a well-to-do suburb of Indianapolis in which to hide out. The home belongs to the Hilliard family, Dan and Ellie who live there with their 19-year old daughter and their young son.
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One of the finest films of its era; a major instalment in the canon of a great director, and an equally impressive final-years effort from a great actor. Little else of its time has dissected human animality and its fundamental values-- both often mired by blind social conformity, as fully realized in its opening moments-- as profoundly, or evocatively.
A dense cat and mouse game featuring old Bogart, still pulling it off, maybe not as menacing as he could have, but it is his charcters rogue-like ambiguity that carries the movie. A hostage drama at its core, the movie features a many characters and depicts their conflicting interests. Of course, the increasing tension between the captors and the glooming disaster is what fires up the heat of suspense.
Bogie's breakthrough role was Duke Mantee in The Petrified Forest and he described his character in this excellent Wyler movie as 'Duke Mantee grown up'. Bogie is pure evil as the leader of a trio of escaped cons, hiding out in the home of Fredric March and his family. Bogie and March are two brilliant but different actors and it's fascinating to see them going toe to toe. Best to ignore Michael Cimino's tame remake!