The Hitch-Hiker

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The Hitch-Hiker (1953) 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, and 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.[1]

In 1998, The Hitch-Hiker was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant."

Contents

Plot

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.

Cast

Cast notes:

  • Collier Young, husband of director Ida Lupino and the co-writer of the screenplay, makes an uncredited appearance in the film as a Mexican peasant.

Background

In California in 1950, Billy Cook murdered a family of five and a traveling salesman, then kidnapped two prospectors and took them to Mexico to kill them – the Mexican police captured him before he could carry out his plan. He was extradited back to the United States and was tried and convicted. On December 12, 1952, Cook was executed in the gas chamber at San Quentin.[2]

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