Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Hitch-Hiker

The Hitch-Hiker
Originally uploaded by jovisala47
Gil & Roy are on their first road-trip away from their wife and kids in a very long time and decide to deviate from their planned course; unfortunately, the men also decide to do a good deed and they pick up a hitch-hiker. This new passenger turns out to be escaped convict Emmett Meyers who is on a highway killing spree as he flees. Emmett takes the men into Mexico and the men are hostages as Emmett mentally tortures them and attempts to rip their decency and camaraderie to shreds.

The Hitch-Hiker is based on a true story and decides to announce this to the audience before even the titles play. This may not be the same movie it would be if made today (the gore & torture aspect would be played up in today’s horror-porn market), but it is nonetheless a biting and scary picture of a real life situation. Emmett is as amoral and insane as they come, and Gil & Roy were just out minding their own business and they pay the price for being good citizens.

What is really enjoyable about The Hitch-Hiker is that it is a straight out cautionary tale. Gil & Roy are punished because instead of doing what they told their wives they were going to be doing they decide to do something else and the men spend several days being held at the mercy of a mad man not knowing if they’ll make it out the other end alive. This story is as hard-boiled as it gets and even if it is a true story it is noir through and through.

I will be completely honest and say that until a few years ago I had no idea who Ida Lupino was; I was completely shocked to find out she was the only female director to be working in the studio system. Lupino made movies when it was even more than a boys game than it is today and she made them well. The Hitch-Hiker was the first Ida Lupino movie I’ve ever seen but it definitely won’t be the last. I always thought the only true woman directors I could idolize were modern ones like Kathryn Bigelow, but I am thrilled to find a strong, talented female filmmaker from decades past.

Director: Ida Lupino
Writers: Ida Lupino, Collier Young
Roy Collins: Edmond O’Brien
Gilbert Bowen: Frank Lovejoy
Emmett Meyers: William Talman

Roy Collins: You stink, Myers! You smell! Just like your clothes! Sure, you'll make it to Graymas, but they'll catch up with you and put you out of your misery. You haven't got a chance. You haven't got a thing except that gun! You'd better hang onto it because without it, you're finished!

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