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A young mentally-ill killer, Gunther Wyckoff, escapes from a mental institution, murder a bus driver and, then, takes six hostages in a bar. The gun in Wyckoff's hand kills without emotion or pity wielded by a man bare of emotion. Begins as a moral question whether an insane killer should or should not be sent to the electric, but goes elsewhere before it ends. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
When Wyckoff goes to the office of Dr. Faron in the Criminal Courts Building, the number on the door is plainly printed on said door. But, in close-up, the number is covered with plastic or glass held in place by four screws. See more »
This is a most effective little thriller from 1950 concerning a disturbed killer who holds a group of people hostage in a bar. It's the sort of story that had been done many times before in films, and which would soon be a staple on television. There are few surprises in this one, as everyone goes through the motions as one expects they would in a movie like this. As the psychopath, Marshall Thompson isn't really up to the job. He's not awful, but he doesn't generate much tension personally. Robert Walker would have been much better. The actors playing the various hostages are capable, however, and there's a nice sense of what city life was probably like at around this time. Slick and artificial as it is, the film has its charms. It's never boring, and director Gerald Mayer maintains a nice pace.
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