Nick Bianco is caught during a botched jewellery heist. The prosecution offer him a more lenient sentence if he squeals on his accomplices but he doesn't roll over on them. Three years into the sentence an event changes his mind.
When a body is found in the New Orleans docks, it's pretty obvious that he died from gun shot wounds. The police surgeon notices that the man is also displaying other symptoms and Lt. Commander Clint Reed, a doctor with the U.S. Public Health Service, diagnoses a highly contagious disease, pneumonic plague. He tries to convince local officials to find everyone who may have been in contact with the dead man. The Mayor supports his efforts but many, including the police, are doubtful. Reed wants to avoid publicity so as not to panic the public. They have little information to go on - they don't know the dead man's identity - and Reed estimates they have 48 hours before disease begins to spread. With police Capt. Tom Warren going through the motions, Reed sets out to find the killers.Written by
Film debut of Emile Meyer. Whilst scouting locations in New Orleans, director Elia Kazan saw Meyer working on the street with a crew of laborers. He was struck by the brawny Meyer's rugged appearance and hired him for a role in the film. See more »
As Dr. Reed walks toward the house to thin the paint, and is informed he is wanted on the phone, he removes his gloves and tosses them to the ground. In the next cut, viewed from the house, he again removes his gloves, and tosses them on the ground. See more »
If there's a plague here, you're the most important guy in this town.
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This film is actually pertinent even today given the threat of bio-terrorism, and the threats of superbugs, West Nile Virus, and SARS. As a thriller, the tension is fairly intense. Richard Widmark and Paul Douglas are more than serviceable in their roles. The domestic scenes between Widmark and his wife provide a nice interlude to the main plot. The actor in this film who most left his mark is Jack Palance. His sharply defined features and seemingly easygoing exterior always wither way to reveal the avaricious and cruel man beneath the surface. The chase scene through the packing plant is impressive even today. Recommended, 7/10.
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