Hell Is A City details
|Starring:||John Crawford, Stanley Baker, Billie Whitelaw, Donald Pleasence|
Hell Is A City
|Run time:||1 hour 32 minutes|
|Rental release:||08 Oct 2012|
Most helpful review
Manchester's Not That Bad!By Andre Barreau from London England , 27 Jul 2005
[Highly rated reviewer]Trademark gritty performance by Stanley Baker as a hard-nosed, chain smoking cop. Although at times out-moded and featuring an unconvincing escaped convict - complete with mid-Atlantic twang - I really enjoyed this early Hammer offering. Great supporting cast (spot Corrie's Doris Speed as a grumpy matron) and the superb location shots of early sixties Manchester all add to make make this an enjoyable 92 mins - particularly for those who like to dip into the back catalogue.
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Before Connery and Caine there was BakerBy JohnFord (4 reviews) , 28 Oct 2013Known as the Welsh Connery or should Connery be known as the Scottish Baker , this was another full on performance from Stanley Baker , shades of Jack Regan 14 years early . The mean streets of 1959 Manchester an excellent backdrop to this intense crime film . No padding or fill ups , great action and dialogue . Liked the alternative endings , with a hint of a sequel or TV Series that never was following his promotion.
This is a "classic"???By a customer , 09 Jul 2013A tired old thing, creaking with antiquity, an embarrassingly bad imitation of the noir police films that were being done so well in the u. s. in the early and mid fifties. Tedious, contrived, implausible, silly.
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Northern GritBy droog (56 reviews) from Lingfield,Surrey , 12 Nov 2012
[Highly rated reviewer]This had all the ingredients of a first-rate action film - convicted killer on the loose, a heist thriller,underworld organization and a dedicated Inspector Martineau to run the whole lot down. There was also some time given to the strains of a 24/7 job on a marriage.
From the outset,the tremendous dissonant score from Stanley Black set the tone of the piece. After killing a warder after his escape from jail,fugitive Don Starling,played by American John Crawford,gets together with his old muckers to pull another heist of a bookmaker. Unfortunately,it goes wrong and the bookie's female cash carrier is killed. She is dumped on the moors but the chain of police reaction began with a witness who viewed the whole thing. Pacy direction from Val Guest kept the plot simmering nicely when the police unthread the criminal tapestry with the threat that being accomplices to murder meant a possible death penalty in those days.
Location filming on the streets and,at the climax.the roofs of Manchester,was typical of British films from the fifties,which had moved out from the studios (unlike American noir films) and gave films a greater impact. Contemporaneous with this film was 'Room at the Top' and 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning'. The police are shown to be dedicated upholders of the law who are not bent or violent and don't behave as if they're in 'L.A.Confidential'; there is a definition between the good guys and the bad guys.
Northern life is used in the plot,especially the illegal gambling on the moors - coin tossing - which is one of the links in the chain towards the capture of the criminal. However,one of the links was not really followed up as Martineau knew his adversary from army days. Starling called Martineau 'a butcher' without any plot background at all but this inconsistency did not really affect the run of the film. One thing which did not quite gell was the use of an American actor and what seemed to be an English milieu; perhaps it was to sell the film to an American market; Robert Beatty and Wayne Morris had appeared in some dire B-movies but this wasn't one of them.
It was a gripping film for its time,one of a crop of 'see-life-as-it-is' productions. There are no noir dames who are dangerous,but attractive women who have lead a hard life and can stand up for themselves. This includes a deaf-mute girl who becomes very feisty when faced with imminent danger, The Inspector's nagging wife who does not accept the realities of a policeman's life and the barmaid who tempts the Inspector but accepts that she is on a road going nowhere. These were signs of the times then. A film worth seeing.
England as it used to beBy DD from London , 24 Jul 2011Tense and excellently made British thriller. Dated in places, but often universally good. A record of a bygone country.
Film Noir Manc' StyleBy Bwildfoot (33 reviews) from London , 29 Dec 2010
[Highly rated reviewer]Chandler and Hammet transferred to the streets of post- war Manchester. Ignoring the hideous tacked on ending (which was shot without the director's consent) this is gritty, gritty, gritty all the way. Genuinely brutal, mired in the very realistic underbelly of an amoral society, and shot with all due respect to American film noir.