The best film I’ve seen from Ida Lupino (who also co-wrote the screenplay) and an excellent film noir entry.
Apparently at the first film noir by a filmmaker director and at the time the only director in the DGA who was a woman
That said- it’s a very masculine film—violent, all-male cast. It’s really a three person chamber piece—William Talman as the serial killer, Edmund O’Brien and Frank Lovejoy as the two guys held hostage
A great first shot or prologue- we only see Talman’s feet
Another masterful shot is the silhouette on the highway itself with an outline of the thumb—this image would come up again in the desert
Talman is horrifying—excellent here. I love the local spotlight on his face. At first, in the back seat you can’t see his features and then you lean forward. You see his “one bum eye” as he calls it.
The dark desert, the hostage— Lupino’s involvement makes me think of 1941 High Sierra – certainly has to be an influence
A few times Lupino shoots from the back seat to great effectiveness
Unnerving scenes—sadistic games with tin cans… “you guys are gonna die- it’s just a matter of when”
A brisk and enthralling 71 minutes
Talman’s name is “Emmett Myers”- great name. He’s holding a gun on them the entire time.
Edmund O’Brien is so good. He can disappear in a character or be your standard solid lead here