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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 (21 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 19.99
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Desperate Hours Desperate Hours 4.5 out of 5 stars (21)
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Product Details

Product Description


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

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Top-drawer thriller from Hollywood's 'golden age' Sept. 4 2003
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten Greatness July 6 2003
this film, like many other great classics, been forgotten or so it seems. i have always cherished this little gem. it was directed by William Wyler, a man whose name is synonymous with great filmmaking. though this film may pale in comparison to the epic "Ben Hur" it should by no means be disregarded.
the basic premise is a band of criminals "on the lam" from the police decide to converge upon a midwestern family and use their home as a refuge from the authorities. Humphrey Bogart gives one of the best performances of his career, reviving the old gangster type roles which propelled him to stardom in the 1930s. to divulge any of the plot elements would be unfair to anyone considering the viewing or purchase of this great little gem of a film. it seizes your attention from the beginning with its ominous score to the last riveting scene and never lets go.
as for the DVD, the picture clarity is amazingly sharp and the sound is good too. as for the special features, there are none. this was very disappointing. this one really deserved the special treatment. in spite of its lack of special features, the clarity and sound are enough to warrant a closer look at this wonderful little film.
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Format:VHS Tape
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. In this "little" movie, Bogart and March lock wills - each knowing that the other is dangerous and desperate, each knowing that they both have more than their own lives to lose. They take the conflict to the edge, their hands, virtually at each other's throats in nearly every scene and then find a way to back off to live another day or another hour. In the quiet moments, March stares away from the camera several times, effectively showing the "wheels turning," an action not lost on Bogart. When he catches him at it he says "click-ity, click-ity" and warns him not to try anything. Advice, you know he'll never heed. This movie may not appeal to viewers who have grown up watching shoot-em-ups but movie fans and fans of good acting will find plenty to hold their attention. A few of the bit players, especially the cops, are saddled with hokey 1950's dialog but you'll get over it. The ending is all you could ask for. I suggest you give it a shot.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Get out . . . Get out of my house . . . " May 18 2002
By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:VHS Tape
If I remember correctly "The Desperate Hours" was originally a stage play that was based on a true story. A photo-magazine ran a spread on either the play or the film with pictures of the "real" house and the family sued for invasion of privacy; one of their lawyers was Richard Nixon. Humphrey Bogart gets top-billing in "The Desperate Hours" as gangster on the lam Glenn Griffin, but this is really Frederic March's film. March plays businessman Dan Hilliard, who discovers his home has been invaded and his family taken hostage by Griffin's little band of criminals, which includes his kid brother Hal (Dewey Martin) and the brutish Sam Kobish (Robert Middleton). That morning Hilliard's biggest concerns had been Chuck Wright (Gig Young), the boyfriend of his daughter Cindy (Mary Murphy), the refusal of young sun Ralphie (Richard Eyer) to kiss his old man goodbye, and what wife Eleanor (Martha Scott) is going to make for dinner. Now he has to find a way to keep his family alive in a world where the police are perfectly willing to gun down unarmed criminals.
This is a taunt drama, carried mostly by the desperation of March's character, who fails every time he tries to prove the hero. Bogart's performance is notable because it is a return to the tough guy role that made him a star, only this time showing more restraint than we had seen two decades earlier. This 1955 film also stands as a testament to how much things have changed in Hollywood, because they would never allow for this clean of an ending to this situation, a point that would be obvious even without the horrible remake of this film with Mickey Rourke and Anthony Hopkins, which gives into the perceived need for sadistic violence.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
It's Bogie! Nothing more needs to be said!
Published 1 day ago by S. R. Shepherd
5.0 out of 5 stars Taut hostage drama holds your attention to the last second
Excellent film. Frederick March played against Bogart is a unique treat - the only pairing of these two fine actors.
Published 5 months ago by SGM
4.0 out of 5 stars Petrified Forest comes to suburbia-3 1/2 stars.
The Desperate Hours(released Oct/55)stars,among others,Humphrey Bogart as Glenn Griffin,Fredric March as Daniel C. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Robert Badgley
5.0 out of 5 stars home terror brought to screen..Unforgettable
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? Read more
Published 22 months ago by Anthony Marinelli
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Amazing
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... Read more
Published on May 3 2004 by lakshmipathy
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Bogie
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. Read more
Published on Nov. 20 2003 by Keith Garlington
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
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