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The Desperate Hours (Bilingual)

Humphrey Bogart , Fredric March , William Wyler    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 21.99
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Product Description

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Humphrey Bogart is at his villainous best in William Wyler's taut home-invasion thriller, The Desperate Hours. Sharply adapted by John Hayes from his own fact-based novel and Broadway play, this marked a slight departure for Wyler, whose celebrated versatility is on ready display as Bogart--leading a panicky trio of escaped convicts--seizes control of a suburban family in the (dis)comfort of their own home. The domestic terror (similarly dramatized in the 1954 potboiler Suddenly) escalates as cautious patriarch Frederic March waits for an opportunity to retaliate, while the police (led by Arthur Kennedy) close in for an ambush. Viewers may recognize the home's exterior from TV's Leave It to Beaver, while its interior gives Wyler a sealed chamber for nail-biting advances and setbacks--and Bogey was rarely better at portraying ruthless, unpredictable menace. Poorly remade in 1990, The Desperate Hours remains a potent precursor to the many similar films (like Panic Room) that followed its enduring example. --Jeff Shannon

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
By SGM
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Excellent film. Frederick March played against Bogart is a unique treat - the only pairing of these two fine actors.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Petrified Forest comes to suburbia-3 1/2 stars. Aug. 2 2013
By Robert Badgley TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
The Desperate Hours(released Oct/55)stars,among others,Humphrey Bogart as Glenn Griffin,Fredric March as Daniel C. Hilliard,Arthur Kennedy as Deputy Sheriff Jesse Bard,Martha Scott as Eleanor Hilliard,Dewey Martin as Hal Griffin and Gig Young as Chuck Wright.Veteran director William Wyler is at the helm of this mid 50s thriller,with the pairing for the first and only time of thesps Bogie and Fredric March.It is the Petrified Forest meets suburbia.While Petrified had enough eccentricity in its characters and plot to keep you glued to your seat,this one doesn't have near the same dynamic at all.Wyler's direction is good and all actors apprise themselves with surprising hutzpah,but I was expecting a little more tension and twists.It's not bad,it's just could have been much better.
The story finds Bogie as one half of the Griffin brothers,along with an overgrown child/convict as their tag along.They have just broken jail and are looking for some place to crash until they're able to get out of town and slip through a dragnet the police have thrown up in the area.The police know they're somewhere nearby but they don't,as the film opens,know exactly.We are introduced,next,to the Hilliard family,with March as the head of the household,who has a wife,a teenage daughter and a young son.It's Father Knows Best,typical suburbia of the 50s time.Bogie and his entourage of course pick the Hilliard home as their hide out when everyone but Mrs.Hilliard is out.
One by one each member of the household make their way back home throughout the day the day to find their new guests.Bogie of course has to get tough not only with the Hilliards,but his accomplices also,who both balk at their having to stay so long.
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5.0 out of 5 stars home terror brought to screen..Unforgettable Dec 23 2012
Format:DVD
Terror is in the news these days..since it can hit anyone anytime..that's the precarious hold we all hold on life, whom can anyone really trust? The release of two films from the early 50's(if they get released)WE're no Angels and The Desperate Hours, both released in the same year are a case in point, and starred humphrey bogart at the end of his career..and is a reflection of his earlier career. The movie should also be seen with the earler film The Petrified Forest(1936) and the subsequent films the actor made up to Casablanca, and became a romantic star. At this late stage in his career, young liked him, old, women and men, and he developed an internation fan base and Paramount head was eager to put him in a series of films(Sabrina)including these two. The earler film We're No angels is actually from a french play, and he was looking forward to doing it, but where as the french version was comedic in a fanciful way, with him the relations around the group a family whom devil's island escapees visit led by him is bent on terror..its comedy though. No actor could act out these parts and give the interpretation with the other actors that he could, would we recall the film today if he wasnt in it, especially his take on the male heads of the family, and how they dealt with the family and society, and a young girl and her boyfriend in this film, there are a series of murders by these assembled devil's island escapees, at christmas..critics thought unkindly of him sending up all his gangster characters in this portrait, and his interpretation caused some controversey..for we get the sense of the characters the way he interacts with each character...and what breeds these characters. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Amazing May 3 2004
Format:DVD
With all the thrillers, i've watched till date, The Desperate Hour is truely the king of them all. Humprey Bogart rocks in this movie and while March plans to protect his family with the unloaded gun, the tension grips high times. This is a classic that need to be in every movie collectors shelves.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Bogie Nov. 20 2003
Format:DVD
Consistent with so many Bogie roles, Humphrey Bogart plays a prison escapee, who along with his brother and a strongarm (small brain) take a suburban family hostage in their home. While this may sound very similiar to many of Bogart's earlier roles, there is alot to say for this film. Bogart is surrounded by a very good cast and was handed an excellent script (although there are a few questions that pop in your head as you watch the movie). Bogart does well portraying a man whose over-confidence and absolute reluctance towards going back to prison muddles his descisions and clouds his judgement.
The DVD is simple. Good quality picture and adequate sound. The extras are..well....not much extra at all. But the movie collector and Bogart fan must grab this DVD for your collection. Good quality DVD, great story, and a very reasonable price
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4.0 out of 5 stars Top-drawer thriller from Hollywood's 'golden age' Sept. 4 2003
Format:DVD
THE DESPERATE HOURS (USA 1955): The patriarch of a middle-class suburban family (Fredric March) is forced to take action when they're held hostage in their own home by three escaped convicts, one of whom (Humphrey Bogart) is an experienced lifer with nothing to lose...
The first and only pairing of superstars Bogart and March is a tightly-wound thriller, written by Joseph Hayes (based on his novel and stageplay, inspired by actual events), and directed by Hollywood veteran William Wyler, distancing himself from the 'women's pictures' he had helped to popularize during the 1940's (THE LITTLE FOXES, MRS. MINIVER, THE HEIRESS etc.). Photographed in gleaming deep-focus VistaVision by Lee Garmes (SCARFACE, THE PARADINE CASE), the movie wrings incredible tension from the claustrophobic settings and frequent stand-offs between staunch family man March and embittered con Bogart. The movie's themes are fairly conservative and the outcome is never really in doubt, but this is a top-drawer thriller from Hollywood's 'golden age'. Also starring Arthur Kennedy, Martha Scott, Dewey Martin and Gig Young in crucial supporting roles. Unmissable.
The movie runs 112m 25s on Paramount's region 1 DVD, and the image is letterboxed at approx. 1.85:1 (anamorphically enhanced), the recommended aspect ratio of most VistaVision movies. The beautiful black and white photography is supported by a strong Dolby 2.0 mono soundtrack, and the disc contains English captions and subtitles. There are no extras, not even a trailer.
NB. Though nowhere near as dreadful as most critics would have you believe, Michael Cimino's remake DESPERATE HOURS (1990) isn't a patch on the original.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Only a 50's paranoia
I am such a fan of Bogie and Wyler, but although the production is impeccable, the screenplay is so boring, and the typical "happy 50's family" is so square, that I was... Read more
Published on April 18 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Filmed In DesperationVision
Boring, boring, boring ...
That's really all that can be said for this William Wyler "thriller. Read more
Published on March 13 2004 by E. Lee Zimmerman
5.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten Greatness
this film, like many other great classics, been forgotten or so it seems. i have always cherished this little gem. Read more
Published on July 6 2003 by Alan W. Armes
4.0 out of 5 stars SUPERB THRILLER
William Wyler directs Humphrey Bogart in the super tense thriller THE DESPERATE HOURS. Three on the lam thugs invade a heartland American home and hold a family hostage. Read more
Published on June 26 2003 by Robin Simmons
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Players, some awkward dialogue, great ending
I have been a Bogart fan all my life. He was that rare Hollywood breed so seldom seen today - and actor AND a movie star. Read more
Published on Jan. 24 2003 by Dom Miliano
5.0 out of 5 stars "Get out . . . Get out of my house . . . "
If I remember correctly "The Desperate Hours" was originally a stage play that was based on a true story. Read more
Published on May 18 2002 by Lawrance M. Bernabo
5.0 out of 5 stars Bogart at his best
Humphrey Bogard was great at playing private detictives like in maltese falcon and Desperate Hours shows that he can play the opposite of a private decective- a criminal. Read more
Published on Feb. 3 2002 by Neel Aroon
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