The Hitch-Hiker (1953) [Film Noir]

“The Hitch-Hiker” is a film noir directed by Ida Lupino about two fishing buddies who pick up a mysterious hitchhiker during a trip to Mexico. The movie was written by Robert L. Joseph, Lupino, and her husband Collier Young, based on a story by “Out of the Past” screenwriter Daniel Mainwaring, who was blacklisted at the time and did not receive screen credit. The film is based on the true story of Billy Cook, a psychopathic murderer. Two men (Edmond O’Brien and Frank Lovejoy) on a fishing trip pick up a hitchhiker named Emmett Myers (William Talman), who turns out to be a psychopath who has committed multiple murders.

It has been called the first film noir directed by a woman, despite Norwegian director Edith Carlmar having made a noir already back in 1949 (“Døden er et kjærtegn”). The director of photography was RKO Pictures regular Nicholas Musuraca. In 1998, “The Hitch-Hiker” was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”

Directed by Ida Lupino, produced by Collier Young, written by Daniel Mainwaring, Robert L. Joseph, Ida Lupino and Collier Young, starring Edmond O’Brien, Frank Lovejoy and William Talman

Source: “The Hitch-Hiker” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. 21 June 2012. Web. 24 June 2012.


42 Replies to “The Hitch-Hiker (1953) [Film Noir]”

  1. I noticed that Ida Lupino had co wrote the screenplay and directed the movie too. Great old classic film noir. Good direction from that lovely actress Ida. She directed episodes of The Twilight Zone and Gilligan's Island too.

  2. Edmond O'Brien is an excellent actor. Met Edmond in a barber shop in West Los Angeles, CA. His favorite movies? DOA; The Hitch Hiker; Seven Days in May. It was a privilege to share with him [his] takes on film noir. He was the greatest of film noir actors.

  3. This movie was inspired by true events. One can also read- The Mosser Massacre, by Glenn Shirley. It also is why hitchhiking is illegal many places.This case was the largest west of the Mississippi man hunt at the time.


    Can someone please explain why the bad guy wants these two guys with him? Somebody says at one point, something like, 'We'll be OK so long as he needs us' – but why does he need them?
    I thought at one point perhaps he couldn't drive, but then he drove at them when they were trying to escape.
    Surely he'd have had an easier time of it on his own, if he just stole their car, their clothes, money and IDs. Then at least he could've got some sleep at night, and wouldn't have had to be on the alert the entire time.

  5. Great movie..the two kidnapped guys seemed like a gay couple to me for some reason.

    The only bad thing of this movie it does not show the complete true story. The real criminal "Billy Cook" was a heinous killer who also kidnapped a family of three children and their parents. After that, he kidnapped a traveling salesman and later kidnapped the two men who were lucky to survive in the end. The movie should have shown everything, including the first killings, but I guess because the movie was made in the 1950's that reality would be too strong for people at that time.

  6. Some trivia – the director was Ida Lupino, who was actually British, becoming a US citizen in '48.. .Notice the bad guy was handcuffed in front, then raised his hands together to try to use like a club. . the reason that actual police procedure says to handcuff from behind

  7. In an interview, Talman recalled an incident that happened shortly after the release of this film. He was driving his convertible in Los Angeles with the top down, and he stopped at a red light. Another driver in a convertible who was stopped next to Talman stared at him for a few seconds, then said, "You're the hitchhiker, right?" Talman nodded. The other driver got out of his car, slapped Talman across the face, then drove off. Recalling the story, Talman said, "You know, I never won an Academy Award, but I guess that was about as close as I ever will come to one."

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