The Devil Thumbs a Ride (1947)

62-63 or 67 mins | Film noir | 20 February 1947

Director:

Felix E. Feist

Writer:

Felix E. Feist

Producer:

Herman Schlom

Cinematographer:

J. Roy Hunt

Editor:

Robert Swink

Production Designers:

Albert D'Agostino, Charles F. Pyke

Production Company:

RKO Radio Pictures, inc.
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HISTORY

Scenes for the film were shot near Oceanside, CA, and along Pacific Coast Highway between Oceanside and Newport Beach, CA, according to HR ... More Less

Scenes for the film were shot near Oceanside, CA, and along Pacific Coast Highway between Oceanside and Newport Beach, CA, according to HR . More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
8 Mar 1947.
---
Daily Variety
21 Feb 1947.
---
Film Daily
25 Feb 47
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Mar 46
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jun 46
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jul 46
p. 22.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Feb 47
p. 3.
Independent Film Journal
6 Jul 47
p. 35.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
1 Mar 1947.
---
New York Times
22 Mar 47
p. 10.
Variety
26 Feb 47
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Devil Thumbs a Ride by Robert C. DuSoe (New York, 1938).
DETAILS
Release Date:
20 February 1947
Production Date:
24 June--late July 1946
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, inc.
Copyright Date:
1 March 1947
Copyright Number:
LP924
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
62-63 or 67
Length(in feet):
5,590
Country:
United States
PCA No:
11811
SYNOPSIS

After he robs a San Diego theater and guns down the manager, Steve Morgan hitchhikes a ride to Los Angeles with Jimmy Ferguson, a trusting young lingerie salesman. Jimmy is returning from a convention party and, as he is celebrating both his birthday and his second wedding anniversary, has been drinking. When Jimmy stops for gas, he telephones his wife in Los Angeles to reassure her that he will be home soon. Steve, meanwhile, is on the alert for the police and readily offers two stranded young women, Carol Hemming and Agnes, a ride to San Pedro. Shortly after the four drive off, gas station attendant Jack Kenny hears a radio report about Steve's crime and notifies the police that the criminal has just left. At the police station, Jack soon picks out Steve's photograph, and an all-points bulletin is issued for Jimmy's car. As Jimmy is about to pass a police checkpoint, a dog runs onto the highway, and Jimmy has to swerve to miss him, causing Agnes to spill a bottle of brandy on his clothes. Steve tells Jimmy that the police will accuse him of drunk driving if they smell the brandy on him and convinces him to give him the wheel. Steve uses the same excuse to avoid a police roadblock and begins to speed wildly when a suspicious motorcycle officer pursues them. After Jimmy threatens to slug Steve, Steve finally stops for the officer, but runs him over as he is about to question him. Jimmy at first demands that they not abandon the officer, but changes his mind when Steve pleads with him that because of his ... +


After he robs a San Diego theater and guns down the manager, Steve Morgan hitchhikes a ride to Los Angeles with Jimmy Ferguson, a trusting young lingerie salesman. Jimmy is returning from a convention party and, as he is celebrating both his birthday and his second wedding anniversary, has been drinking. When Jimmy stops for gas, he telephones his wife in Los Angeles to reassure her that he will be home soon. Steve, meanwhile, is on the alert for the police and readily offers two stranded young women, Carol Hemming and Agnes, a ride to San Pedro. Shortly after the four drive off, gas station attendant Jack Kenny hears a radio report about Steve's crime and notifies the police that the criminal has just left. At the police station, Jack soon picks out Steve's photograph, and an all-points bulletin is issued for Jimmy's car. As Jimmy is about to pass a police checkpoint, a dog runs onto the highway, and Jimmy has to swerve to miss him, causing Agnes to spill a bottle of brandy on his clothes. Steve tells Jimmy that the police will accuse him of drunk driving if they smell the brandy on him and convinces him to give him the wheel. Steve uses the same excuse to avoid a police roadblock and begins to speed wildly when a suspicious motorcycle officer pursues them. After Jimmy threatens to slug Steve, Steve finally stops for the officer, but runs him over as he is about to question him. Jimmy at first demands that they not abandon the officer, but changes his mind when Steve pleads with him that because of his difficult reform school past, he will be in serious trouble if they return. Jimmy also allows Steve to drive to a friend's deserted house in Newport Beach. While a distressed Jimmy telephones his wife Diane and tries to explain the situation, Carol confesses to Steve that her real name is Beulah Zorn and that she is going to Los Angeles to become a movie actress. When the mean-spirited Agnes then pretends to flirt with Jimmy while he is still on the phone, Diane accuses him of adultery and goes home to her mother. At the same time, Joe Brayden, an alcoholic night watchman, shows up at the house and begins drinking with Steve, Carol and Agnes. Determined to clear up matters with Diane, Jimmy tries to call her again, but Steve has disconnected the phones and has slashed his tires. While Jimmy goes to ask a neighbor for a ride, Steve plies Joe with so many drinks that he finally passes out. Steve then makes a pass at Carol, but she fights him off, having just heard a radio report identifying him as a killer. When Jimmy returns, Steve threatens Carol into silence, but while cleaning up the place, she manages to escape out the front door. Steve follows her, however, and upon returning to the house alone, tells Jimmy and a revived Brayden that she ran away. Brayden notifies the local police, and the report is overheard by Jack and Owens, a San Diego detective who is heading up the pursuit. Before the police arrive, Agnes, deducing Steve's criminal nature, reveals that she is an ex-convict and is willing to help him out for a little money. Steve agrees and, having stolen Jimmy's wallet, tells the police, who have discovered Carol's body in the nearby lagoon, that he is Jimmy Ferguson. When Steve, who is an expert forger, is able to copy Jimmy's signature, the police become convinced that Steve and Agnes, who is posing as Mrs. Ferguson, are Jimmy's innocent victims. All appears lost for Jimmy until Jack and Owens arrive and identify Steve as the murderer, and Diane shows up to identify Jimmy. Although Steve escapes in Owens' car, he is pursued and crashes after being shot. Later, Jimmy and Diane celebrate their reunion and Diane's impending motherhood. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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