The Long Wait


1h 33m 1954

Brief Synopsis

Hitchhiker Johnny McBride is badly hurt and loses his memory when the car he is riding in crashes. Two years later, a clue leads him to his old home town, where he finds he is a murder suspect. Johnny tries to discover the truth about the murder, while pursued by gangsters and several seductive women.

Film Details

Also Known As
Mickey Spillane's The Long Wait
Release Date
May 1954
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 26 May 1954
Production Company
Parklane Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Long Wait by Mickey Spillane (New York, 1951).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 33m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.75 : 1

Synopsis

After a hitchhiker is burned and loses all his papers in a truck accident, he recovers in a local hospital but has complete amnesia. He checks himself out of the hospital and spends the next two years working in an oil field. One day in a bar, a rival for the affections of a floozie shows the man a photograph of him which he says he found, during a business trip, in a photographer's window in a town called Lyncastle, seven hundred miles away. After the amnesiac leaves to go there, the traveler reveals the true source of the photograph: a "Wanted For Murder" poster which states that Johnny McBride is wanted for the murder of District Attorney Robert Minnow of Lyncastle. When Johnny reaches Lyncastle, he checks into a hotel and is greeted by the old desk clerk, Pop Henderson, who arranges to meet him later to talk over old times. However, two police officers, Lindsey and Tucker, come to Johnny's room to arrest him. After Johnny tells them that he cannot remember anything, they inform him that he was a bank teller who stole $250,000, then shot the district attorney who was going to prosecute him. The police attempt to match his fingerprints to those found on the gun, but his fingers were badly burned in the accident so they have to release him. While reading the newspaper account of the killing in the local library, Johnny meets Alan Logan, the reporter who covered the events. The newspaper story reported that Johnny had a girl friend, Vera West, the banker's secretary, who left town shortly after Johnny disappeared. As Johnny leaves the library, Pop runs up to him and is shot. Before he dies, however, he tells Johnny that Vera is back, has changed her appearance and is working for Servo Enterprises. When Johnny goes to racketeer Servo's office, he meets secretary Carol Shay, but he realizes that she is not Vera. After Johnny suggests that Minnow was killed because he was trying to clean up Servo's rackets, Servo tells him to leave town. Later, Johnny is picked up by three of Servo's gunmen and driven to a quarry, but he manages to kill all three and escapes. When he visits Servo's casino, Johnny meets floor manager Wendy Miller and tells her he is looking for Vera, but she does not help him. At the bank where he worked, Johnny is welcomed by bank president Gardiner who shows him the teller's window where he worked in an attempt to jog his memory. Troy Avalon, Servo's moll, tells Johnny about a ladies' gown shop that Servo owns and there he meets saleswoman Venus. Later, Servo and corrupt cop Tucker examine photos of Vera to see how plastic surgery might have transformed her into Carol, Wendy, Venus or Troy. Later, Tucker follows Johnny when he visits Gardiner's house, where the banker offers him a check to leave town and admits that Servo's mob runs Lyncastle. Meanwhile, Servo summons all four women to the casino and roughs them up, but none will admit to being Vera. Servo then brings Johnny in and beats him up in the hope that Vera will not want to see him being beaten and will reveal herself. Later, Servo has a hunch that Venus is Vera and holds her hostage at a deserted power station. Johnny goes there but is captured by Servo and tied up. Venus asks Servo's permission to kiss her fellow for the last time and in doing so takes Johnny's concealed gun and shoots Servo. Meanwhile, at the casino, Wendy takes a key from a drawer, then phones Lindsey to say that she has something of great importance to the McBride case. She then adds that she is Vera West. When Johnny breaks into Gardiner's house, Gardiner phones Tucker then shoots at Johnny, but Johnny takes the gun away from him. Johnny has deduced that when Servo arrived in town, three years earlier, he demanded $250,000 from Gardiner, who agreed to back the racketeer but would retain fifty-one percent of all profits. Gardiner then framed Johnny for the money he took from the bank and used Johnny's teller's gun in a mechanical device to shoot Minnow. Johnny then threatens Gardiner with an unloaded gun in a similar device constructed for him by reporter Logan. Tucker arrives, but Johnny owerpowers both him and Gardiner. At his hotel, the real Vera tells Johnny that she had determined to prove him innocent and had plastic surgery in order to infiltrate Servo's organization and had only recently realized that she had the key to Gardiner's safe deposit box containing incriminating evidence. When Johnny asks her to marry him, she tells him that they are already married, and Johnny begins to remember.

Film Details

Also Known As
Mickey Spillane's The Long Wait
Release Date
May 1954
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 26 May 1954
Production Company
Parklane Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Long Wait by Mickey Spillane (New York, 1951).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 33m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.75 : 1

Quotes

Nobody knows where I come from, not even me.
- Johnny
So when we leaving, honey?
- Laurie
I'm leaving now.
- Johnny
I'm traveling light.
- Johnny
Here, Chuck, it's all yours!
- Johnny
Do you know me?
- Johnny
What gave you that idea?
- Carol
You were looking at me as if you did.
- Johnny
Couple of gals were staring at you. All I did was follow their eyes and hit you. I couldn't very well miss... such a big target.
- Carol
Blonde wasn't the word for it. Honey-blonde, and real. And it didn't come out of any bottle.
- Logan
I'll bet your name is Johnny McBride.
- Troy
You win.
- Johnny
So do you.
- Troy

Trivia

Notes

The opening title cards read: "Victor Saville presents Mickey Spillane's The Long Wait." Saville also produced three other 1950s films based on Spillane novels: I, the Jury, Kiss Me Deadly and My Gun is Quick (see below). The Long Wait marked Anthony Quinn's first leading man role in an English-language feature. The Hollywood Reporter production chart includes Pat Orsatti and Shirley Patterson in the cast, but their appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Spring May 1954

Released in United States Spring May 1954