The Desperate Hours

Synopsis: After escaping from prison, Glenn Griffin, his brother Hal and a third inmate Sam Kobish randomly select a house in a well-to-do suburb of Indianapolis in which to hide out. The home belongs to the Hilliard family, Dan and Ellie who live there with their 19-year old daughter Cindy and their young son Ralph. They plan on staying only until midnight as Griffin is awaiting his girlfriend who will meet them with some money he had stashed away. When she doesn't arrive, their stay stretches out to several days. Dan Hilliard plays their game knowing that if he makes any attempt to contact the police, his family could be caught in the crossfire.
Director(s): William Wyler
Production: Paramount Pictures
  2 wins & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
112 min

- I'll get it.

- Some morning I'll catch that kid.

- If cows only knew how I hated them.

- What would they do?

Hey, Ralphy!

Bye, Mother. I'll be home late.

Scout meeting.

- Bye, Dream Witch.

- Goodbye, Pest.

- Ralphy...

- My name is Ralph, R-A-L-P-H.

There's no "Y" on the end.

I looked at my birth certificate.

Bye, now.

Mm... Ralph! Ralphy!

Ralphy, your bicycle!

I'll be late for the first bell!

Ralph, spelt R-A-L-P-H, considers

himself too old to kiss a man.

- Another milepost, Dan.

- Mm-hm.

They're sailing by pretty fast.

Next, Cindy will be saying

she wants to get married.

I do, but he hasn't asked me.

- A-ha!

- Yet. A-ha.

- Dan.

- She's still a child.

Even though

she doesn't look like a child.


Cindy, try not to mention Chuck

to your father on the way to work.

All right, Mother.

Darling, try not to mention

Chuck Wright to Cindy.

She's touchy

since she's been in love.

In love? That girl knows no more

about love than... Ralphy does.

Have a nice day, dear.

The escape was

masterminded by Glenn Griffin.

He, his brother Hal

and another convict named Kobish

overpowered a guard

and fled without arousing suspicin.

Griffin made headlines

here four years ago

when he deliberately shot a policeman,

then surrendered.

Enraged Deputy Sheriff Jesse Bard

slashed his gun across Griffin's face,

breaking his jaw.

Griffin swore to some day get even.

Hi, Dutch.

Any of your relatives in there?

- Hi, Jesse.

- About time!


- What's the beauty contest?

- Routine questioning.

They had a prison break

at Terre Haute.

A lifer named Kobish,

brothers named Griffin.

Griffin? When?

- Just before dawn.

- Why didn't you call me?

Call you? Why?

Dutch, get me Lieutenant Fredericks.

- Relax, Jesse. It's an FBI case.

- Who's this third one, this Kobish?

Kobish, Samuel. Aged 44. Male, white.

Six foot three, 260 pounds.

A loser with a record.

Makes my hair stand on end.

- Fredericks on the line.

- What have you got?

Nothing. They melted into the earth

as soon as they hit fresh air.

- Have you checked Griffin's girl?

- She left town three weeks ago.

We got road blocks

up and down the state.

Police are ripping buildings apart.

You don't know Griffin.

No road block's gonna stop him

coming back to Indianapolis.

Take the chip off your shoulder.

You want Griffin? Get him yourself.

- Griffin? Is he the one who...?

- Yeah.

He's the one.

Look at that. How about it, Glenn?


All right, I'm coming.

Sorry to bother you, ma'am,

but I lost my way.

Would you direct me

to the Bowden Dairy?

There are no dairies close by...

Take it easy, lady! Easy, I said!

You scream and the kid'll come home

and find you in a pool of blood.

Better. Kobish, upstairs.

Where's the phone?

- Is that the only one?

- Extensin upstairs.

All clear.

There's a big car in the garage.

Keys to the car, lady. When I speak

to you, snap fast! Keys to the car.

- On the refrigerator.

- Get them, Hal. Check the car.

- Take the car, take anything!

- You stick with me, lady.

Nobody home but her.

Smart gal.

- How many bedrooms?

- Three. And two bathrooms!

Well... haven't had me a drink

in eight years!

- Where's the Liquor?

- Have a good cigar instead.

Keep an eye peeled out that side.

It's a library. Improve your mind.

Crude, ain't he?

Let's see the rest of the house.

The back stairs.

- The big car's ready but low on gas.

- Stick on that door.

- Oh, Hal.

- What?

Now, lady,

you and me got some business.

Come here.

- They had to pull something.

- How come we're just getting it?

This is Mr Carson, FBI.

How are you? It says

they beat up a farmer before dawn!

They left him in his barn out cold,

ripped out his telephone.

He staggered into a general store and

reported his car stolen. How are you?

Battered grey Sedan, 1941.

Did you put this on the air?

And give every amateur a crack at it?

We'd be flooded with phoney leads!

Then, we'll follow them all down.

What do you say, Carson?

The way I understand it,

you know Griffin better than anyone.

How about your taking over?

I'll string along.

OK. Let's find that car.

Repeat the description on air

every half-hour.

Contact the police immediately if

you have information about this car.

Radio Station WTLI, Indianapolis.

You paid this insurance on the 19th?

- Yes.

- Is that all the cash in the house?

My husband always says,

"Too much cash..."

He's right. It's never safe

to leave too much dough around.


Knock it off!

- My guts are growling.

- Chew on this.

Maybe it slipped your mind. You

supposed to go some place tonight?

No. I've told you!

How many times...?

As many times as I say.

Are you sure you ain't forgetting

something? Like a gun in the house?

You got it hid from Junior.

You want me to let Kobish find it?

Put a gun in his paw

and his fingers get itchy.

He's only got half a brain.

Don't want nobody to get hurt.

Maybe you've got different ideas.

OK, I'll let him dig it out.


I'm waiting.

Top shelf of my closet, in my room.

Behind the hat boxes.

- Hal!

- Yeah, Glenn?

Kobish, watch the back door.

- Yeah?

- Lady's got a present.

Top of her closet, back of the boxes.

Do you think you can talk on

the phone without busting into tears?

The phone!

Whom do you want me to call?

I always go for a dame with guts.

That's "whom" you're going to call.

A little lady with real guts.

Long distance. No double talk

and nobody gets hurt.

Mr James is calling Mrs James,

Atlantic 63389.

No, we don't write nothing down.

Atlantic 63389. Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh, PA.

Operator, I want to place a call

to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Mrs James. Mr James is calling.

- Atlantic 6...

- 3389.

... 3389.

Is that you, doll?

Don't talk now. Listen.

- Get here as fast as you can.

- Indianapolis?

Any trouble, call on the phone.

The number's... Broad Ripple 8493.

Address is 6459 North Preston.

Got it?

- Yes.

- OK, doll.

I'll look for you around midnight.

- Only careful, see?

- I'll see.

Got a customer, Dutch.

- You got a warrant?

- Got a warrant, Dutch?

- Fresh out of warrants.

- Where is she?

- Who?

- Where did she go?

- I want to see Sheriff Masters.

- Deputy Bard's in charge.

The gentleman wants to tell you

where Helen Miller went.

No rough stuff, Dutch.

Masters doesn't like rough stuff.

- Where's Sheriff Masters?

- In Michigan. Fishing.

- One coming.

- After you.

Dad, can't you go a little faster?

- I may not drive like your lawyer friend...

- Now, Dad!

Mother didn't say we couldn't talk

about him on the way home. How is he?

- I don't know. We had a fight.

- Oh, I'm crushed.

Nothing trivial, I hope.

Nothing serious. So sorry.

Uh-oh. Your mother

Left the car out again.

Open the garage door, will you, dear?

Close the door, folks.


- That's being real sensible, mister.

- Ellie...

- I'm all right.

- Where's Ralphy?

- Not home yet.

- Stop pointing that gun at her.

- They left the door open.

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Joseph Hayes

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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