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Twelve Hours to Kill (1960)

Approved | | Crime, Drama | 2 April 1960 (USA)
Based on the Saturday Evening Post serial "Set Up For Murder" by Richard Stern, 12 Hours to Kill traces the problems of a young Greek national (Nico Minardos) who, after ogling a murder, is... See full summary »



, (magazine serialized story "Set Up For Murder")


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Martin Filones
Lucy Hall
Detective Lt. Jim Carnevan
Police Captain Willie Long
Art Baker ...
Police Captain Johns
Cece Whitney ...
Clara Carnevan
Richard Reeves ...
Selby Gardner
Barbara Mansell ...
Police Sgt. Denton
Shepherd Sanders ...
Frankie Russo
Charles Meredith ...
Herbst - the Druggist
Stewart Conway ...
Bert - Policeman
Andy - Policeman


Based on the Saturday Evening Post serial "Set Up For Murder" by Richard Stern, 12 Hours to Kill traces the problems of a young Greek national (Nico Minardos) who, after ogling a murder, is ushered off into the relative "safety" of suburban obscurity by the police, unaware that he is being double-crossed by a crooked gendarme. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

murder | police | kiss | mafia | neo noir | See All (24) »


Witness to a gangland slaughter!


Crime | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

2 April 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

12 Hours to Kill  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

Strangely happy lead character, still worth watching
9 April 2016 | by (French Polynesia) – See all my reviews

This isn't a bad film, though it would be better if seen in the original widescreen aspect ratio and with a better lead character. Many of the credits are all good B pros doing B plus work and with some future TV stars playing against what would their type later on. Gavin Mcloud does especially well as a bad guy. Paul Dunlop's score is sparse but interesting, piano and vibes during a final chase scene that keeps things noir-ish.

Of course this is an A studio B film and so thing won't get too dark or unusual--that's the big studio's imposed rule. If this had been done by an outsider B studio they would have wanted it to be darker and tougher--both of which the story begs for. Then again the studio brings more of a polish especially in terms of the acting from the supporting parts.

Cahn's direction keeps things moving and professional, there isn't time for much coverage but DP and director come up with a few but significant moments when they get the chance.

It may seem kind of by the numbers but there is a nice, who is the bad guy behind the whole thing, scene at the end.

Ted Knight shows up playing a slovenly desk cop--seemingly warming up with his similar role in Psycho.

But what sucks some life out of the film is the lead. Is it that the actor wants to look charming or sexy all the time, or was it written or directed that way--or a combo of all three? Here's the problem despite the danger the lead Greek Immigrant character faces he seems to always be ready to burst into a wide smile and flirt with a girl he just met--though with it being Barbara Eden at least that part makes sense. It's as if the character is supposed to be so amazed by being in America he doesn't understand that getting shot here is just as deadly as back in the old country. I'd tend to blame the lead actor, but it's almost a slightly racist view of the "innocent" foreigner in America for the first time.

The movie threatens to turn into dopey fish out of water sexless romance, after the set up witness-to-murder-scene. There is a goofy scene with a dog named Dracula for example.

But then things improve steadily, leading to a simple but well done chase and fight scene at night that seems to involve some very good day for night B and W photography and a few real nighttime exteriors.

There is a hostage segment where all the best elements are working at the same time. Eden and Mcloud doing good work and a nice dolly shot and expressive angles--subtle but effective...

Low budget elements are kept under control, though there is a seemingly deserted neighborhood filled with middle class houses--none of which seem to notice a noisy shoot out that begs the question--really no one would call the police?!? This is probably the real problem with the movie because if the lead character in danger for his life seems to be more amused than confused and afraid....

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