Turner Classic Movies
14 Hours, DVD
Written by Mariyln Forstot   

14_hours_richard_basehart_250.jpgIn 14 Hours (1951) Robert Cosick (Richard Basehart) has decided he is not worthy of his former fiancée. He stands on a ledge outside a hotel window for 14 hours. Why? Why won't he come in? Or, why won't he jump? Robert is an emotional wreck, and can't keep a job. What does he have to live for? He doesn't trust the police who have been summoned when he is spotted on that ledge. He doesn't want to talk to his parents and certainly doesn't want his fiancée to see him teetering on that ledge. The cast of this captivating film also includes Paul Douglas, Barbara bel Geddes, Agnes Moorhead, Jeffrey Hunter, Debra Paget, Grace Kelly.

Police Officer Charlie Dunnigan (Douglas) is just walking his beat and chalking the tires of parked cars when he sees a young man standing on the hotel ledge several stories above. He rushes up to the hotel room, pokes his head out the window and quickly establishes a rapport with the distraught young man. As the hours pass, no one can connect with Cosick except for Dunnigan. Not even the man's self-centered mother Christine (Agnes Moorehead), or his estranged father Paul (Robert Keith). Even his former fiancée Virginia (Barbara bel Geddes) can't reach him emotionally despite his professed love for her.

Watching his mother's antics as the hours tick by, we get some insight into why he is such an emotional mess. But there are more levels to the story. As bit by bit is revealed about Dunnigan, viewers probably care more about him than Cosick.

Jeffrey Hunter
& Debra Pagnet
On the street below, people gather to watch the spectacle. The photography of the crowd is spectacular, yet subtle. Each shot is different. First there are just a few gapers. Then we see more. And they are constantly moving, looking like scurrying ants. We meet a few of these looky loos. A young couple - Danny (Jeffrey Hunter in his movie debut) and Ruth (Debra Paget) - find each other, lose each other in the crush then find each other again. Taxi drivers, unable to do their jobs because the streets are blocked, wager when the guy will jump. And Mrs. Louise Ann Fuller (Grace Kelly in her feature film debut), a woman heading for divorce, realizes what's important in life.

The tension builds as the police devise ways to save Cosick before he falls or jumps, and Douglas is superb as the compassionate street cop, succeeding where even the psychiatrists can't. It's interesting to note that Basehart was almost 40 years old when 14 Hours was filmed, yet he did a credible job playing a much younger man.

While so many things have changed in the almost 50 years since the film was made, some things just don't change. Members of the press milled around, trying to push their way into the hotel room, grabbing an interview from the seemingly distraught mother, clambering for comments from the police.

14_hours_lobby_card_2_green_200.jpg14 Hours is not your run-of-the-mill film noir. Although there's plenty of smoking, there's no violence, no smart talking woman or shady hero on the loose, but it's a spell-binding film that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat by the time Cosick's 14 hours are almost up.


DVD Special Features

Commentary by historian Foster Hirsch - he doesn't reveal much information

Interactive Pressbook Gallery


Director: Henry Hathaway

Screenplay: John Paxton; story -Joel Sayre

Cast: Paul Douglas, Richard Basehart, Barbara bel Geddes, Agnes Moorhead, Jeffrey Hunter, Debra Paget, Grace Kelly

Rating: Not Rated (good for mature audiences)

Classic Movie Guide Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

DVD Release Date: August 29, 2006

Run Time: 92 minutes

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Format: Black & White, full frame

Photo credits: Fox Home Entertainment



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