Beecham and Evans are a couple of petty thieves who decide to target a wealthy old woman named Sybil who is attending a swanky party in the heart of Chicago. Their boss, Arthur (Ray Collins), lures Sybil onto the patio where his two minions can attack her and take her necklace.
After they rob Sybil, Arthur decides to stay out of trouble for a while. He assumes a new identity of ‘Philip Fogarty, oil man,’ skipping town himself to find a supposed life of peace in a small town called Hilltop.
Once in Hilltop, ‘Philip’ pretends to hire Hannah Kelly (Lorna Gray) as his secretary. Hannah is dating George Browning (Lloyd Bridges), the city attorney… but she’s also in on Arthur’s criminal dealings and is actually working with George as an informant. Her real name is Betty.
Will ‘Hannah,’ Arthur and their gang of merry criminals be able to lay low until the frenzy over their latest crime blows over, or will they be found out?
Philip Ford directs Hideout, which was written for the screen by John Butler from the novel by William Porter.
Some films can have a certain typicality assigned to them by the constraints of their genre and still, in the end, be successful films. Unfortunately, this incredibly middle-of-the-road B-crime caper/romance is not one of those films.
Standard “poverty row” production values are not the problem here; we all know how much I love a good B-movie. I selected this film on Netflix one day while browsing the “thriller” section. I only had about an hour and fifteen minutes until class, so my decision to watch the film was heavily influenced by the fact that it runs at only 60 minutes in length.
I expected it to be a fun and fast paced little crime drama, but it is completely lacking in thrills. The pace is only moderate and no high level of dramatic impact is ever achieved by either the script itself or the actors.
With too much focus given to a love triangle involving Betty/”Hannah” and the city attorney, the film’s mood is far too light throughout the majority of its running time for the viewer to take any of the actual “drama” surrounding the thievery very seriously. The film got off to a pretty good start with the robbery of Sybil, but it was all downhill from there.
Also an issue is the lack of chemistry within the cast. Ray Collins gives a perfectly good performance as the ringleader of the entire criminal operation, but as an ensemble Collins and his cast-mates are incredibly flat.
I wanted Hideout to be a fun B-picture that I could add to my list of “forgotten favorites,” but it didn’t impress me in a single way. Skip this one. The score: 1/5