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The Captive City (1952)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 11 April 1952 (USA)
A small town newspaperman's investigation into a local bookie operation turns up a web of organized crime.

Director:

Robert Wise

Writers:

Karl Kamb (screen play by), Alvin M. Josephy (screen play by) (as Alvin M. Josephy Jr.) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Forsythe ... Jim Austin
Joan Camden Joan Camden ... Marge Austin
Harold J. Kennedy Harold J. Kennedy ... Don Carey
Marjorie Crossland Marjorie Crossland ... Mrs. Sirak
Victor Sutherland Victor Sutherland ... Murray Sirak
Ray Teal ... Chief Gillette
Martin Milner ... Phil Harding
Geraldine Hall Geraldine Hall ... Mrs. Nelson
Hal K. Dawson Hal K. Dawson ... Clyde Nelson
Ian Wolfe ... Rev. Nash
Gladys Hurlbut Gladys Hurlbut ... Linda Purcy
Jess Kirkpatrick ... Anderson
Paul Newlan ... Krug
Frances Morris ... Mrs. Harding
Paul Brinegar ... Police Sergeant
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Storyline

A small town newspaperman's investigation into a local bookie operation turns up a web of organized crime.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

SEN. KEFAUVER SAYS: "I URGE YOU TO SEE IT!" (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 April 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Tightrope See more »

Filming Locations:

Reno, Nevada, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Aspen Productions (I) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The film is book-ended by the appearance of Senator Estes Kefauver, who chaired the United States Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce, popularly known as the Kefauver Committee. Exposing the amount of infiltration of organized crime to many in the American population for the first time, the televised portions of the hearings in March of 1951, featuring big names in the gangland rackets, were a national sensation watched by tens of millions of people. See more »

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User Reviews

 
We are not helpless.
29 September 2001 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

It's strange how this Wise movie influenced "Invasion of the body snatchers".The construction is exactly the same:a car belting with a couple inside:close shots on their faces,full of fear.They take refuge in a police station,and the man begins his story which he records on a tape.Like in "body snatchers",there's a description of Kennington,a peaceful town,but little by little,the witness,a journalist, reveals us what lies beneath.And by the way,in 1945,Wise made a movie called "the body snatcher"!

The town seems to be under Sirak's thumb,a local tycoon who has a hand in shady and illegal business.The police is totally corrupted,and ,it's the last analogy with "Body snatchers" ,ordinary people seem contaminated too (the car salesman),or about to be(the journalist's partner).

A private eye tried to spill the beans,but he was murdered soon after having asked for the journalist's help.The murder scene is masterfully directed by Wise whose editing science is astounding:the private,driven back against a dead end street,in a symphony of black and white,by a mysterious car which will come back as an ominous messenger of death,then,abruptly,a trumpet bellowing out in a nightclub.Violence always takes place in the night,in Wise 's world (remember the end of "odds against tomorrow",or even the rumble in "west side story").

The characters are realistic to a fault.No stereotype,no real baddie (except for the gangsters whom we hardly see;their presence can be felt everywhere though,that is to say how great Wise is!)It seems that Sirak is actually overtaken by events.Characters of secondary importance are wonderfully depicted:Sirak's wife,whom we see only twice in the movie appears at first as an indifferent woman,then ,a fearful,pitiful one,an alcoholic at that.

The main message of the movie is that we are not helpless,as the private detective's wife told the journalist soon after her husband 's death.If the gangsters took over the town ,it's because of people (ordinary people) who are too afraid of getting mixed up in a fight against the strong and the mighty,or worse,because bribes make ends meet.

In 1952,with no star,a low budget,and a great modesty,Wise showed the way to modern film noir.


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