Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Vince Edwards
CITY OF FEAR (1959). Director: Irving Lerner.

Vince Ryker (Vince Edwards) has managed to escape from San Quentin with what he thinks is a fortune in heroin, but he doesn't realize that the white powder is actually deadly cobalt 60. People who come into contact with Ryker become ill and Ryker himself is feeling rather poorly. This premise certainly could have made a good movie, but the pedestrian direction creates not a dollop of suspense or tension. This is a shame because the acting is good, with Edwards far from his Ben Casey TV characterization and quite convincing as a bad guy; Patricia Blair effective as his hard-bitten girlfriend, June; and Lyle Talbot [The Vigilante] stronger than usual as Police Chief Jensen. Steven Ritch, who co-wrote the screenplay, plays the doctor who clues everyone in on the dangerous properties of cobalt, and Kathie Browne has a small role of a sales clerk who gets embroiled in the action. The score is an early one by Jerry Goldsmith [Outland], and Lucien Ballard [The Undying Monster] did the photography, but even that's not enough to save this.

Verdict: Edwards fans will enjoy this the most. *1/2.

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