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City of Fear (1959)

6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 456 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 11 critic

A vicious killer escapes from San Quentin with a cannister of what he believes to be heroin but is actually a radioactive substance that threatens all Los Angeles.

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Title: City of Fear (1959)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Vince Ryker
...
Chief Jensen
John Archer ...
Lt. Mark Richards
Steven Ritch ...
Dr. John Wallace
...
June Marlowe
Kelly Thordsen ...
Detective Sgt. Hank Johnson
Joseph Mell ...
Eddie Crown
Sherwood Price ...
Pete Hallon
...
Jeanne (as Cathy Browne)
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Storyline

Vicious drug dealer Vince Ryker escapes from San Quentin with another prisoner after stabbing a guard to death and stealing what he believes to be a cannister filled with experimental heroin from the prison hospital. In reality the container is filled with cobalt-60, a highly radioactive substance which threatens the entire city if it is somehow opened. The ruthless Ryker dumps his dying cellmate and murders a bypassing motorist, burning his body beyond recognition. Assuming a new identity, Ryker heads for Los Angeles to become reunited with his beautiful girlfriend and Crown, a corrupt businessman and front man for Ryker's drug business. Fully aware of the potential dangers of the situation, the authorities are engaged in race against time to recover the cannister and avoid citywide panic. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A half crazed man in a terror crazed town! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

February 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I polis tou fovou  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Sound)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Towards the end you see a policeman in uniform in front of a door. Look at the holster on the right hip. It is what is called a "clam shell" holster. The holster is cut in half and held together with a spring. To release you put your finger into the holster and into the trigger guard. You push a button and the holster springs open releasing the revolver. The danger is, if you don't push the button, you can't get the revolver out. These are no longer used. See more »

Goofs

When Jeanne, the shoestore clerk goes into the back shed to look for a particular style of shoe for a customer, the customer is left in an empty shop. After a few minutes as Jeanne is trapped, the customer impatiently leaves because there is no one there in the shop to help her. Minutes later when the police arrive, there are clerks and customers in the store whom they immediately evacuate. See more »

Quotes

Vince Ryker: Let me take a look at you. You haven't changed.
Vince Ryker: [Her expression turns serious, and he looks down] You have changed. The first year you take it, and the second year you change. Then you get out.
June Marlowe: Not this way.
Vince Ryker: What difference does it make? I'm out the right way. Could you have waited eight years?
June Marlowe: I'd have waited.
Vince Ryker: For what? An ex-con? Do you know the difference between a con and an ex-con? Well, there isn't any. You're just dead meat, dishwashing the rest of your life.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Little Nicky (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Let's Make LA Really Glow!
3 July 2007 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

In 1958, director Irving Lerner scraped together enough money to make two poverty row features that Columbia released. The first, Murder By Contract, is one of the fine sleeper classics of low-budget film-making, Vince Edwards as a professional hit-man.. By virtue of that film, Andrew Sarris includes a paragraph on Lerner in his seminal book on film directors and auteur theory, American Cinema.

Unfortunately, the second film doesn't measure up to the first. Still, City of Fear has its moments, particularly in the hand-held location shots that lend some much needed pacing. And that's a key problem with this thriller-- it stalls whenever the scenes shift to the offices where Archer and Talbot as police officials add little energy needed to rev up the chase. Thus we get a kind of jerky effect that can't sustain the story momentum.

And a good story premise it is, as the authorities try to track down Edwards before he can loose a big dose of radio-active cobalt on LA. In my book, Edwards was an interesting actor at this early stage, a genuinely commanding presence in a lot of better-than-average B-films. There's also the under-rated Kathie Browne who could be a pixie one minute and a hellion the next (though her part here is small). Steven Ritch too, is an interestingly obscure figure, collaborating on a number of B-level scripts as well as acting in them. And what guy could pass up a chance at the really luscious Patricia Blair-- move over Marilyn!

Anyway, it looks like Sarris was right-- Lerner was a one-shot wonder. Nonetheless, he manages a few neat tricks on display here. All things considered, this minor thriller is still worth a look-see, even 50 years later.


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