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Hit and Run

Hit and Run(1957)

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Middle-aged widower Gus Hilmer, who owns and operates a gas station and junkyard in a small California town, becomes infatuated with Julie, a traveling showgirl appearing at a local club. Gus lives in a house, which he shares with his young mechanic Frank, behind the gas station. Although Gus swears that he does not want to remarry, he and Julie wed suddenly and she moves into the house. There is a certain tension between Frank and Julie, whom he regards as a gold digger. Consequently, Frank informs Gus that he plans to quit, but will stay until Gus can find a replacement. One evening, the local undertaker and his wife visit Gus to ask if he is still interested in selling another house he owns, but Gus tells them he has changed his mind. Later, while Gus is attending a local businessman's association dinner in his honor, Julie is annoyed by Frank playing loud music in his room and confronts him. After she slaps him, Frank grabs her and they struggle, but Frank lets her go. The next day, Frank tells Julie that he is crazy about her and wants her to run away with him, but she says that she is committed to Gus, who has been good to her. After Gus visits his attorney, Eddie Ferguson, to discuss his will and another confidential matter, Frank again tries to persuade Julie to leave Gus and, this time, she responds to his advances. Soon after, Gus realizes that there is something going on between Frank and Julie and tells Frank to leave because he has found a new mechanic. Some time later, Ferguson phones Gus to say that he will pick up a certain party at the station, and Gus tells him to take the person to his other house, then get him out of town quickly. That night, Gus goes to the old house. Meanwhile, Frank has fixed up an old junkyard car and invites Julie for a ride. When they stop near Gus's other house and Frank sees Gus emerge, he steers the car directly at him, running over him and killing him. Julie, now an unwilling accomplice to murder, is distraught and runs back to her house sobbing hysterically while Frank returns the vehicle to the junkyard and dismantles it. Later, when Julie wants to call the police, Frank reminds her that they are both involved and that he killed Gus because of her. At Gus's funeral, Julie almost faints when she thinks she sees Gus in the cemetery and, later, in the bushes near the house. When Julie and Frank meet with Ferguson, he surprises them telling them about Gus's twin brother David, who arrived in town the day of Gus's death after serving seven years in prison for forgery. Ferguson then introduces them to David and they are stunned by how much he resembles Gus. The will stipulates that Gus's estate be divided equally between Julie and David, and both agree to keep the gas station operating with David moving into an empty room in the back of the house. One night David, aware of the relationship between Julie and Frank, asks Julie if Gus knew about them. David also indicates that he does not feel sorry for what happened to Gus as Gus had let him down when he needed help. He then adds that he witnessed Gus's death. Alarmed, Julie warns Frank, who is being propositioned by Miranda, a female lion tamer from a visiting circus. David continues to play a cat-and-mouse game with Julie and Frank, telling Frank that he has figured out why the local police cannot find the hit-and-run car. After Julie sees David feed her goldfish in the identical manner as Gus, she begins to wonder if David is in fact Gus and that they killed the wrong twin. Having failed to persuade Frank to become part of her act, Miranda asks him to join her as the circus moves on to Mexico, angering Julie. Later, David announces that Ferguson has been appointed his parole officer and organizes a small celebration at which Julie drinks too much, as does Ferguson, whom David helps out to the porch to recover. While David and Ferguson are outside, Frank and Julie have a major argument and, when David returns, Julie asks him directly if he is Gus. David responds that he regards that as an interesting idea, but denies it. Julie is aware that Gus had a unique scar on his chest and asks David to remove his shirt. As David is about to comply, Ferguson, who has only been pretending to be drunk, enters with the sheriff. David then shows Julie the scar, thereby revealing that he really is Gus. Frank attempts to escape but the sheriff has the house surrounded. After Julie is arrested, Miranda shows up looking for Frank and, when informed that he has gone, offers Gus a ticket to last show. Intrigued, Gus invites her to supper after the show.