The Hitch-Hiker is a 1953 film noir directed by Ida Lupino, about two fishing buddies who pick up a mysterious hitchhiker during a trip to Mexico. Inspired by the crime spree of the psychopathic murderer Billy Cook (1928–1952), the screenplay was written by Robert L. Joseph, Lupino, and her former husband Collier Young, based on a story by Daniel Mainwaring, who did not receive a screen credit due to him then being on the Hollywood blacklist.
Two men (Edmond O'Brien and Frank Lovejoy) from El Centro, California, are driving toward a planned fishing trip at the Mexican town of San Felipe on the Gulf of California. Just south of Mexicali, they pick up a hitchhiker named Emmett Myers (William Talman), whose stolen car has apparently run out of gas. Myers turns out to be a psychopath who has committed multiple murders while hitch-hiking between Illinois and Southern California, and has managed to slip into Mexico at Mexicali. To evade the pursuing authorities, Myers forces the two men at gunpoint to journey deep into the heart of the Baja California Peninsula, toward the town of Santa Rosalía, where he plans to take a ferry across the Gulf of California.
|author||Daniel Mainwaring Ida Lupino Robert L. Joseph|
|award||National Film Registry|
|keywords||baja california baja california peninsula claim discover drive escape attempt fishing boat fishing trip guaymas gulf of california illinois listen mexicali multiple murder pick up southern california stolen car want wedding ring|
|productionCompany||RKO Radio Pictures The Filmakers Inc.|
|publisher||RKO Radio Pictures|
|theme||film noir road movie|