The Theater: New Play in Manhattan, Feb. 21, 1955

The Desperate Hours (adapted from his novel by Joseph Hayes) provides this season—and probably next—with a thriller after its own loud-beating heart. Playwright Hayes has fashioned an up-to-date old-fashioned melodrama about three escaped convicts who move in on a respectable Indianapolis family while waiting for getaway money from a confederate. The situation is rich in all kinds of human and ironic and psychological possibilities. But in The Desperate Hours such aspects pretty much lurk in corners. It is excitement that is stationed at the front door, suspense that guards the back, and tension that sneaks looks through the window.

Yet audiences will...

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