A deliciously tense and gritty noir thriller. Lupino imbues this B-movie frame with some elements of real horror and emotional heft, like the dark and ominous opening combining a crime with its discovery in a single shot. Touches like these add an authorial voice and wryness to a film otherwise literal and down-to-earth.
One of the best crime films ever. It's lean and mean, Lupino has an eye and ear for the genre. Where it could have gotten so silly at the end, it prevails and shows that Lupino was one of the most mature and best directors of her time.
I love 50s noirs! They developed such a sharp, bitter streak as the boredom of the Eisenhower years set in. I'm surprised at the low ratings for this one...it's not as good as The Big Heat or Pickup on South Street, but not far off from, say, Force of Evil. A punchy bit of nihilism with really strong direction from Ida Lupino. Pair it with Scorsese's Cape Fear and watch all the subtexts come to the surface.
This was part of a nationwide propaganda campaign against hitch-hiking. The powers that be were annoyed that folks were getting away without buying cars. There are still many laws against hitch-hiking, and in CA, BART shuts down at midnight, so most people going to S.F. for its nighttime entertainment need to have a car. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/opinion/sunday/hitchhikings-time-has-come-again.html?_r=0
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.
Ida Lupino was the only notable female director in Hollywood when she directed this feverish, 70 minute nightmare of a film about two unsuspected travelers who pick up a murderous hitchhiker hell-bent on escaping the authorities through Mexico. Has a "ripped from the headlines" sensationalism, but Lupino directs with a pared down, intense focus that ratchets up the suspense. A lean, frightening film noir.