Directed by Val Guest
UK 1960

 

  Committed but seen-it-all police inspector Martineau rightly guesses that after a violent jailbreak a local criminal will head home to Manchester to pick up the spoils from his last job. Martineau is soon investigating a murder during a street robbery which seems to lead back to the same villain. Concentrating on the case and using his local contacts to try and track the gang down, he is aware he is not keeping his own personal life together as well as he might.

***

A persuasively sweaty crime thriller set in Manchester, written and directed by the once reliable Guest (from a novel by Maurice Proctor), this atypical Hammer production benefited from a strong cast and fine use of location photography (in 'Hammerscope'). Square-jawed Baker toughs it out as a harassed police inspector with a volubly frustrated wife (Audley) at home, and the arduous assignment on the streets of tracking down a jailbreaker (Crawford) wanted for murder. The atmosphere is persuasively seedy and downbeat, and there's a striking performance by Billie Whitelaw in a period when she seemed to specialise in 'fallen women'.

Excerpt from Time Out Film Guide located HERE.

Posters

Theatrical Release: April 10th, 1960

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DVD Review: Cinema Club - Region 2,7 - PAL

DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Cinema Club - Region 2,7 - PAL
There is a region 1 NTSC DVD of Hell is a City produced by Anchor Bay with a director commentary. It is also 2.35 anamorphic and image quality is supposed to be acceptable. Unfortunately it is, at present, almost 4 X the price of this Cinema Club UK edition.

          

Runtime 1:32:21 
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.71 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 1.0) 
Subtitles None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Cinema Club

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Alternate Ending (6:02)
• Trailer 


DVD Release Date: April 4th, 2005

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 12

 

 

Comments:

This transfer is a little better than what you might expect from a frugal single-layered DVD. It is both anamorphic and progressive plus contrast is fairly good. Detail is not bad either. There is an Anchor Bay NTSC single-layered edition of this film on DVD, which I have not seen, but it is reported to have a similar image quality but adds a Val Guest commentary for both the feature and the 'alternate ending'.

No subtitles and the mono audio is fairly quiet. There is a 6 minute alternate ending and a 2:23 theatrical trailer. The film, and its great title, definitely has some noir qualities and is good to watch, but certainly won't eclipse any of the quintessential powerhouses of the style - and it's a little less than 'Hammer-like'. Still you can't beat the price to see the film in a such a decent presentation. 

Gary W. Tooze

 

 



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DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Cinema Club - Region 2,7 - PAL
There is a region 1 NTSC DVD of Hell is a City produced by Anchor Bay with a director commentary. It is also 2.35 anamorphic and image quality is supposed to be acceptable. Unfortunately it is, at present, over 4 X the price of this Cinema Club UK edition.

          




 

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