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City of Fear (1959) More at IMDbPro »

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Steven Ritch (written by) and
Robert Dillon (written by)
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Release Date:
February 1959 (USA) See more »
A City in terror... Chills for millions... See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
The final days of Film Noir See more (17 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Vince Edwards ... Vince Ryker

Lyle Talbot ... Chief Jensen
John Archer ... Lt. Mark Richards
Steven Ritch ... Dr. John Wallace

Patricia Blair ... June Marlowe

Kelly Thordsen ... Detective Sgt. Hank Johnson
Joseph Mell ... Eddie Crown
Sherwood Price ... Pete Hallon

Kathie Browne ... Jeanne (as Cathy Browne)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Larry J. Blake ... Police Sergeant (uncredited)
Jean Harvey ... Landlady (uncredited)
Michael Mark ... Restaurant Proprietor (uncredited)

Directed by
Irving Lerner 
Writing credits
Steven Ritch (written by) and
Robert Dillon (written by)

Produced by
Leon Chooluck .... producer
Original Music by
Jerry Goldsmith 
Cinematography by
Lucien Ballard 
Film Editing by
Robert Lawrence 
Art Direction by
Jack Poplin 
Set Decoration by
Lyle B. Reifsnider 
Costume Design by
Norman Martien 
Makeup Department
Ted Coodley .... makeup artist
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Louis Brandt .... assistant director
Art Department
Charles Stokes .... property master
Sound Department
Jack Solomon .... sound
Music Department
Jerry Goldsmith .... conductor
John Williams .... musician (uncredited)
Other crew
Jack Barton .... title designer
Pat Miller .... script supervisor
Joe Steinberg .... dialogue coach
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
81 min | West Germany:75 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Sound)

Did You Know?

Shot in seven days.See more »
Revealing mistakes: The exact same shots of the policemen surrounding Michael Mark's restaurant are repeated between the time Vince Edwards enters and leaves.See more »
Lt. Mark Richards:Did any of his friends contact you?
Eddie Crown:[Shakes his head] Just his girl once. The reason I remember is because once you've seen her, you've seen her.
[He gives a knowing smile]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Final Girls (2015)See more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
The final days of Film Noir, 23 July 2015
Author: lokko53 from United States

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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