When a body is found in the New Orleans docks, it's pretty obvious that he died from gun shot wounds. The police surgeon notices that the man is also displaying other symptoms and Lt. Commander Clint Reed, a doctor with the U.S. Public Health Service, diagnoses a highly contagious disease, pneumonic plague. He tries to convince local officials to find everyone who may have been in contact with the dead man. The Mayor supports his efforts but many, including the police, are doubtful. Reed wants to avoid publicity so as not to panic the public. They have little information to go on - they don't know the dead man's identity - and Reed estimates they have 48 hours before disease begins to spread. With police Capt. Tom Warren going through the motions, Reed sets out to find the killers. Written by
Film debut of Emile Meyer. While scouting locations in New Orleans, director Elia Kazan saw Meyer working on the street with a crew of laborers. He was struck by the brawny Meyer's rugged appearance and hired him for a role in the film. See more »
As Dr. Reed walks toward the house to thin the paint, and is informed he is wanted on the phone, he removes his gloves and tosses them to the ground. In the next cut, viewed from the house, he again removes his gloves, and tosses them on the ground. See more »
I had forgotten this movie until I saw it again on the the satellite. You can feel, see and smell the New Orleans of 1950, thanks to Kazan, his cast and script. A few months ago, the fear and problem of a biological bomb would seem fictional. Today, not so. This movie is almost a precursor of today. We have dedicated men in law enforcement and the medical community trying to catch the carriers of the disease. They have to bend a few rules to catch them. The bad guys Jack Palance and Zero Mostel play off each other perfectly. The one domineering and evil, the other passive and pathetic. I like the movie because Richard Widmark and the police Captain played by Paul Douglas are portrayed as guys just getting by financially, but the most important guys in town while the bugs are loose. Great Movie.
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