6.4/10
553
18 user 11 critic

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 City in terror... Chills for millions... See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

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Details

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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

Shot in seven days. See more »

Goofs

The exact same shots of the policemen surrounding Michael Mark's restaurant are repeated between the time Vince Edwards enters and leaves. See more »

Quotes

Dr. John Wallace: [to Richards concerning the mayor notifying the public of the danger] You could tell them it won't wipe out the whole city. There's not enough of it. It's not a bomb. However... it will contaminate entire farms, milk, butter, eggs, get carried into markets on meat and produce, into theaters and restaurants, get carried around by people on their clothes, on their shoes, on insects and birds... and on children... Then you'll have to describe the symptoms to watch out for - hoarse coughing, heavy ...
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Connections

Referenced in The Final Girls (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The final days of Film Noir
23 July 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

An interesting late film noir based in L.A. It has a bit of the city "documentary" type filming. It starts out with an ambulance car racing down the street. We find out one of them is bleeding and they both escaped from jail. Vince, the driver, stole a can of what he thinks is heroine on his way out of jail. He feels like he can sell the drug and live off the money with his girlfriend.

The film also focuses on the police investigation which cuts into the development time of any of the characters, thus they all remain underdeveloped. The escaped criminal Vince does come of as menacing and we see him descend fast from his jail break "high." The audience finds out quickly that the canister is a radioactive powder form of Cobalt 60, while Vince thinks its full of highly price worthy drugs. The film, from Vince's perspective shows him trying to set up a sale of the drug, while from the police perspective, we see them trying to prevent a city wide panic.

There were good sequences and shots, like when Vince is trying to figure things out at night along a busy road and we see cuts of the cars passing by, Vince sweating and Vince holding on to the canister. But there is not enough to lift up the film from mediocrity. Interestingly, the musical score is conducted by the prolific Jerry Goldsmith. As far as noir films, it includes an interesting depiction of paranoia, egotism, violent consequences and illusions of grandeur. It is an inferior picture of Cold War, radioactive poisoning paranoia, but it will be an interesting film for fans of film noir movies who want to see the last throes of a great psychological cinematic movement.


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