This is a great, hard-boiled crime film with Humphrey Bogart turning in another stellar performance near the end of his career. Bogart, along with Robert Middleton and Dewey Martin, are all excellent as a trio of escaped convicts confronting a suburban '50s-style family. In a way, you could look at the film as the last remnants of the noir era duking it out with the next generation of straight family men and their families who will rule the country in the late '50s. There's also the conflict of these poor, unmannered, violent crooks who resent Fredric March and his straight job and suit and tie. The Desperate Hours doesn't shy away from edgy violence. Bogart seems to be encouraging his younger brother to take advantage of Mary Murphy, and there's a scene where a completely innocent old man is driven out to the country and murdered in cold blood. For a two-hour film, The Desperate Hours is wound tight throughout and a thrill 'til the very last shot.
by Adam Bregman review