Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Devil Thumbs a Ride

(1947, USA, 62m, b/w)
d/sc Felix E. Feist p Herman Schlom ph J. Roy Hunt ed Robert Swink ad Albert S. D’Agostino, Charles F. Pyke m Paul Sawtell, Roy Webb cast Lawrence Tierney, Ted North, Nan Leslie, Betty Lawford, Andrew Tombes, Harry Shannon, Glen Vernon

In between drunken brawls and traffic offences off-screen, Lawrence Tierney was the toughest-talking, most steely-eyed bad guy to come out of Hollywood in the forties. Or any place else, any time, see. He never graduated beyond the Bs, but dominated each one in which he appeared, his aura of menace and psychopathy fizzing off the screen. Here he is, the eponymous devil of course, fleeing a bank hold-up in San Diego, avoiding police roadblocks and, with the cheerful sucker who gave him a lift and two dames who missed the bus, holing up in an empty beach house for the night. Poverty row economy, good character acting and nice shadowy camerawork are backed up by a tight script that brings matters satisfyingly to a head in under an hour. Reminiscent of Ulmer’s Detour, although without the poetic aspirations, it’s as tough and to the point as Tierney himself.

© Time Out Film Guide

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