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City of Fear (1959)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | February 1959 (USA)
A vicious killer escapes from San Quentin with a cannister of what he believes to be heroin but is actually a radioactive substance that threatens all Los Angeles.

Director:

Irving Lerner

Writers:

Steven Ritch (original screenplay), Robert Dillon (original screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Vince Edwards ... Vince Ryker
Lyle Talbot ... Chief Jensen
John Archer ... Lt. Mark Richards
Steven Ritch Steven Ritch ... Dr. John Wallace
Patricia Blair ... June Marlowe
Kelly Thordsen ... Detective Sgt. Hank Johnson
Joseph Mell Joseph Mell ... Eddie Crown
Sherwood Price ... Pete Hallon
Kathie Browne ... Jeanne (as Cathy Browne)
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Storyline

Vicious drug dealer Vince Ryker escapes from San Quentin with another prisoner after stabbing a guard to death and stealing what he believes to be a cannister filled with experimental heroin from the prison hospital. In reality the container is filled with cobalt-60, a highly radioactive substance which threatens the entire city if it is somehow opened. The ruthless Ryker dumps his dying cellmate and murders a bypassing motorist, burning his body beyond recognition. Assuming a new identity, Ryker heads for Los Angeles to become reunited with his beautiful girlfriend and Crown, a corrupt businessman and front man for Ryker's drug business. Fully aware of the potential dangers of the situation, the authorities are engaged in race against time to recover the cannister and avoid citywide panic. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A City in terror... Chills for millions... See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

February 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I polis tou fovou See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Orbit Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Sound)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Towards the end you see a policeman in uniform in front of a door. Look at the holster on the right hip. It is what is called a "clam shell" holster. The holster is cut in half and held together with a spring. To release you put your finger into the holster and into the trigger guard. You push a button and the holster springs open releasing the revolver. The danger is, if you don't push the button, you can't get the revolver out. These are no longer used. See more »

Goofs

When Vince Edwards runs in panic from his room after chasing out his landlady, the wall painting is crooked and there is nothing on small table beneath it. When the police enter a short time later, the picture is straight and there is a milk carton and packaging from a sandwich on the small table. See more »

Quotes

Eddie Crown: [to Ryker] Those clothes you're wearing look like they were made by a hopped-up tailor. They're even pulling cops out of retirement to look for you.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Little Nicky (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

Let's Make LA Really Glow!
3 July 2007 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

In 1958, director Irving Lerner scraped together enough money to make two poverty row features that Columbia released. The first, Murder By Contract, is one of the fine sleeper classics of low-budget film-making, Vince Edwards as a professional hit-man.. By virtue of that film, Andrew Sarris includes a paragraph on Lerner in his seminal book on film directors and auteur theory, American Cinema.

Unfortunately, the second film doesn't measure up to the first. Still, City of Fear has its moments, particularly in the hand-held location shots that lend some much needed pacing. And that's a key problem with this thriller-- it stalls whenever the scenes shift to the offices where Archer and Talbot as police officials add little energy needed to rev up the chase. Thus we get a kind of jerky effect that can't sustain the story momentum.

And a good story premise it is, as the authorities try to track down Edwards before he can loose a big dose of radio-active cobalt on LA. In my book, Edwards was an interesting actor at this early stage, a genuinely commanding presence in a lot of better-than-average B-films. There's also the under-rated Kathie Browne who could be a pixie one minute and a hellion the next (though her part here is small). Steven Ritch too, is an interestingly obscure figure, collaborating on a number of B-level scripts as well as acting in them. And what guy could pass up a chance at the really luscious Patricia Blair-- move over Marilyn!

Anyway, it looks like Sarris was right-- Lerner was a one-shot wonder. Nonetheless, he manages a few neat tricks on display here. All things considered, this minor thriller is still worth a look-see, even 50 years later.


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