The only true "film noir" ever directed by a woman, this tour de force thriller (considered by many, including Lupino herself, to be her best film) is a classic, tension-packed, three-way dance of death about two middle-class American homebodies (Edmond O'Brien and Frank Lovejoy) on vacation in Mexico on a long-awaited fishing trip. Suddenly their car and their very lives are commandeered by psychopathic serial killer Emmett Myers (William Talman). The striking light/dark contrasts, the stunning compositions (the two kidnap victims separated by a narrow stream from a gun-cradling madman with a bum eye) and the spatial integrity of a determining sense of locale (the pitiless topography of a rock-bound, horizonless Mexico over which hovers an ever-present doom) all contribute mightily to this fascinating character-study. The film is based on the true story of Billy Cook, a psychopathic murderer .

 

The Hitch-hicker 1953