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

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Details

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Release Date:

February 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I polis tou fovou  »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(Westrex Sound)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shot in seven days. See more »

Goofs

Cobalt-60 is easily shielded and would not have the adverse effects it does if kept in a lead container. 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

 
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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