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LAWRENCE TIERNEY & BETTY LAWFORD IN 'THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE'

Lawrence Tierney & Betty Lawford in The Devil Thumbs a Ride Year: 1947 Rates: ***1/2

One year after Lawrence Tierney played an affable character with a cute pet dog in STEP BY STEP, he was back to being bad, in this case downright formidable, preferring friendly driver Ted North run over a dog than almost crash with four people on board, including two dames with nowhere to go until meeting Tierney's secretly-on-the-lam criminal Steve Morgan and North as a mundane traveling salesman heading back home to his typical wife...

Yet most of THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE pans out like an early version of DESPERATE HOURS, off road after a motorcycle-cop-chase and in a (Hollywood-shot) Oceanside to Laguna Beach beach-house where North's friend left a key while Tierney takes his time, keeping his ace card pocketed from the conveniently useful man and dames...

Lawrence Tierney and Nan Leslie in THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE

Who are gravelly-voiced blonde Betty Lawford and shy-girl brunette Nan Leslie... making for a decent team who would have a much better story if they were all crooks instead of just Tierney who, by the time he's revealed as a bonafide killer, there are still some edgy moments and pulpy dialogue in what ultimately feels like a semi-suspenseful stage-play than cinematic film noir... yet it passes the programmer-length-hour nicely enough for Lawrence to naturally transform into another deadly role: only this time getting to lie and charm his way through most of it...

The biggest shame is that he and potential blonde moll-fatale Lawford didn't have their own sequel since they fit together better as a pair than with two more making a sometimes too busy foursome, and, unlike the superior DILLINGER, Tierney isn't able to find much comfort in his otherwise comfortably involving villainy.

Lawrence Tierney in THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE with Ted North, Nan Leslie and Betty Lawford
Lawrence Tierney in THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE
Lawrence Tierney in THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE
Lawrence Tierney and Nan Leslie in THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE
Nan Leslie in THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE
Lawrence Tierney and Nan Leslie in THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE
Lawrence Tierney and Nan Leslie in THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE
Nan Leslie in THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE
Lawrence Tierney in THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE
Betty Lawford in THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE
Lawrence Tierney in THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE
Token cop Harry Shannon and Glen Vernon in THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE
Lawrence Tierney in THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE
Lawrence Tierney and Betty Lawford in THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE
Lawrence Tierney in THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE
Lawrence Tierney and Betty Lawford in THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE
Ted North's housewife Marion Carr in THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE
Lawrence Tierney in THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE
Lawrence Tierney and Betty Lawford in The Devil Thumbs a Ride Year with Nan Leslie & Ted North

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