The Devil Thumbs A Ride (1947) made as a B-filler by RKO is a tight thriller that takes only 63 minutes from the first gun-shot to the last. Tough guy actor Lawrence Tierney plays Steve Morgan, a cold-blooded killer on the run.
The leaky plot and B-grade supporting cast add a camp quality to the mix, and there are plenty of high-jinks with crackling dialog and absurd twists that keep you mesmerised: a highlight is when Morgan is on his knees cleaning a spot off a rug after a house has been trashed, and asks for cleaning fluid…
Why a film noir? There is a profoundly tragic element in the needless brutal death of a young female drifter who also thumbs a ride in a morbid turn of fate. The role is nicely played by a Betty Lawford, in her only major role.
Watch it as it was intended – as the first movie in a double-feature.