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Beyond its cultural significance as the only classic film noir directed by a woman, The Hitch-Hiker is perhaps best remembered as simply one of the most nightmarish motion pictures of the 1950s.
“This hell-for-leather 1953 noir demonstrates Ida Lupino’s facility with actors and flawless pacing.” – J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader
Inspired by the true-life murder spree of Billy Cook, The Hitch-Hiker is the tension-laden saga of two men on a camping trip (Edmond O’Brien and Frank Lovejoy) who are held captive by a homicidal drifter (William Talman). He forces them, at gunpoint, to embark on a frightening joyride across the Mexican desert. A compellingly gritty and sweaty exercise in weather-beaten noir existentialism, The Hitch-Hiker is renegade filmmaking at its finest. The low-budget thriller was independently produced, which allowed Ida Lupino and ex-husband/producer Collier Young to work from a treatment by blacklisted writer Daniel Mainwaring, and tackle an incident that was too brutal for the major studios to even consider. (Dir. by Ida Lupino, 1953, USA, 71 mins., Not Rated)