The Desperate Hours is a 1955 film noir starring Humphrey Bogart and Fredric March. It was produced and directed by William Wyler and based on the 1954 novel and 1955 play of the same name, written by Joseph Hayes, which were loosely built on actual events. The film takes place on the Northside of Indianapolis and took great pains to be accurate as to street names and locations within the city and Indiana in general.
The original Broadway production had actor Paul Newman in the Bogart role but he was passed over for the movie because Bogart was a much bigger star. The character of Glenn Griffin was made older in the script so Bogart could play the part. Bogart said he viewed the story as "Duke Mantee grown up."[a][b] Spencer Tracy was originally cast as Daniel Hilliard. Although he and Bogart were very good friends, both insisted on top billing, and Tracy eventually withdrew from the picture.[c] Fredric March replaced Tracy.
The Desperate Hours was the first black-and-white film in VistaVision, Paramount's wide-screen process. The house used in the final seasons of the television series Leave It to Beaver was used for exterior shots of the Hilliards' home. In 1956, Joseph Hayes won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Motion Picture Screenplay.
The movie was remade in 1990 as Desperate Hours, starring Mickey Rourke, Anthony Hopkins, Mimi Rogers, Kelly Lynch, Lindsay Crouse and David Morse. The remake, directed by Michael Cimino, received poor reviews.