6.4/10
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City of Fear (1959)

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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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Vince Ryker
...
Chief Jensen
...
Lt. Mark Richards
Steven Ritch ...
Dr. John Wallace
...
June Marlowe
...
Detective Sgt. Hank Johnson
Joseph Mell ...
Eddie Crown
...
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 million eyes wide and wild with terror! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

February 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I polis tou fovou  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Sound)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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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 The Final Girls (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

 
It's all gone feverish in Los Angeles.
24 May 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

City of Fear is directed by Irving Lerner and stars Vince Edwards, Lyle Talbot, John Archer and Steven Ritch. The latter of which co-wrote the screenplay with Robert Dillon. Music is scored by Jerry Goldsmith and cinematography by Lucien Ballard.

"Last night a convict by the name of Vince Ryker escaped from San Quentin. After stealing what he believed to contain a pound of pure heroin.....does not contain heroin, it contains Cobalt-60 in granular form."

Cheap, compact but very effective B thriller from the tail end of the first noir cycle, City of Fear thrives on sweaty paranoia played out amongst Los Angeles locations. It's a ticking time bomb structure, convict man thinks he has a gold mine in his hands but actually holds something that is killing him by the hour. This lets in the police procedural aspects as the cops and scientists try to locate convict man and his radiation container. Urgent! Not only to save the convicts life, but also the city from probable disaster!

OK, the science does not add up, nor does the fact that convict man never once gets to open the container to inspect his supposed golden haul! But the claustrophobic feel is high and the sense of doom married up to the helplessness of the protagonist, brings it into the noir universe. Ballard photographing is always a plus, though he does not get to show his considerable talents much here, while Goldsmith, in one of his first musical scoring assignments, couples dramatic thrusts with jazzy reflections to great effect. Edwards (Murder by Contract) makes for a good noir loser. 7/10


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