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21 user 11 critic

The Killer That Stalked New York (1950)

Police seek a smuggler while doctors, unaware she's the same person, desperately comb unprotected New York for a smallpox carrier.

Director:

Earl McEvoy

Writers:

Harry Essex (written for the screen by), Milton Lehman (based upon a Cosmopolitan Magazine article by)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Evelyn Keyes ... Sheila Bennet
Charles Korvin ... Matt Krane
William Bishop ... Dr. Ben Wood
Dorothy Malone ... Alice Lorie
Lola Albright ... Francie Bennet
Barry Kelley ... Treasury Agent Johnson
Carl Benton Reid ... Health Commissioner Ellis
Ludwig Donath ... Dr. Cooper
Art Smith ... Anthony Moss
Whit Bissell ... Sid Bennet
Roy Roberts ... Mayor of New York
Connie Gilchrist ... Belle - the Landlady
Dan Riss ... Skrip
Harry Shannon ... Police Officer Houlihan
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Storyline

Sheila Bennett returns to New York from Cuba, carrying $40,000 worth of smuggled diamonds...and smallpox, which could start a devastating epidemic in the unprotected city. Treasury agent Johnson loses her but keeps doggedly on the trail; while Public Health doctor Wood searches in vain for the unknown person spreading the deadly disease far and wide. Meanwhile, the increasingly ill Sheila is only concerned with her faithless husband Matt, who plans to abscond with the diamonds... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 December 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Frightened City See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Robert Cohn Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Encore-Mystery Library Print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Beverly Washburn. See more »

Goofs

The suspect Sheila is described to the police as being 5 feet, 4 inches, but when the bulletin is sent out on the teletype, it is given as 5 feet, 2 inches. See more »

Quotes

Mayor: You gentlemen don't seem to realize, we're facing death.
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User Reviews

Typical potboiler but with eerie parallels to today...
11 May 2004 | by edman59See all my reviews

This film about a woman who returns from Cuba to New York City with both smuggled diamonds and smallpox is a fairly typical film-noirish melodrama of the late 40's/early 50's. Will the police and Health Department officials find her in time to save NYC from an epidemic? The film has all the elements one expects from this type of film: great black and white cinematography, romantic subplots, over-the-top shady characters (one played by Jim Backus, "Mr. Howell" of "Gilligan's Island" fame) and too-good-to-be-true good guys, and great New York locations. It also has a hammy narration and some corny dialogue, but it is a fairly suspenseful and generally fun way to spend 75 minutes.

However, the situation which probably seemed like far-fetched (but plausible) fiction in 1950, seems frighteningly possible today. The anthrax attacks of 2001, the fears of weaponized smallpox being used by terrorists, the concerns about vaccinations and the amount and safety of vaccines, the inability of governmental agencies to work together and share information effectively all come to mind when one watches this film. This gives it a bit more resonance today than other more dated noirish "chase" films of the same era.

Overall, only a pretty good film but definitely worth a watch for the subject matter and its relevance to today's fears about bio-terrorism.


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