21 user 35 critic

Hell Is a City (1960)

In Britain, a Manchester police inspector becomes obsessed with capturing a criminal who escapes from prison.



(screenplay), (novel)

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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Inspector Harry Martineau
Don Starling
Gus Hawkins
Julia Martineau
Chloe Hawkins
Joseph Tomelty ...
Furnisher Steele
Doug Savage
Geoffrey Frederick ...
Charles Houston ...
Clogger Roach
Tawny Jakes
Charles Morgan ...
Laurie Lovett
Bert Darwin
Dickie Owen ...
Lois Daine ...
Cecily Wainwright


Committed but seen-it-all police inspector Martineau rightly guesses that after a violent jailbreak a local criminal will head home to Manchester to pick up the spoils from his last job. Martineau is soon investigating a murder during a street robbery which seems to lead back to the same villain. Concentrating on the case and using his local contacts to try and track the gang down, he is aware he is not keeping his own personal life together as well as he might. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


From its roof-top suspense to its back-alley violence... See more »


Crime | Thriller


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Release Date:

13 November 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hetzjagd  »


Box Office


£115,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Val Guest: Customer at a table in the pub ordering a beer See more »


When the commercial traveller (Warren Mitchell) discovers the dead girl on the moors, she blinks. See more »

Crazy Credits

"The production of this film was greatly assisted by the full cooperation of the Chief Constable and the members of the Manchester City Police Force, for which the producers wish to express their thanks." (opening credit) See more »

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User Reviews

A Good Un-British, British film.
10 March 2004 | by See all my reviews

This is a wonderful example of how worldly some british films can seem, while maintaining their local flavor. I believe that this film is very appropriately set in Manchester, anyone having been to Manchester will tell you its quite a tough place.

50s British entertainment was heavily influenced by Hollywood and continued to be influenced especially on TV until the late 70s, when things all started to get a bit colorless. This movie was made in a time when entertainment came first and the needs of the audience and hence a box office return, came before the politically correct requirements of the day. Having said that I have to say I'm VERY glad that you don't see many characters quite as sorry as Martineau's repressed housebound wife these days!

For those who are not familiar with director Val Guest - check out his other movies. He was a director who knew exactly what he was doing.

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