HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Bruce Lee & I
Doraemon The Movie: Nobita's Dinosaur
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood
Invasion Planet Earth
Ferdinand
Buddhist Spell, The
Steel and Lace
Reivers, The
Angel Has Fallen
I Lost My Body
At First Light
Free Ride
Crawl
Transit
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
   
 
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
   
 
  Hell Is A City Buy this film here.
Year: 1960
Director: Val Guest
Stars: Stanley Baker, John Crawford, Donald Pleasence, Billie Whitelaw, Vanda Godsell, Maxine Audley, Joseph Tomelty, George A. Cooper, Geoffrey Frederick, Sarah Branch, Warren Mitchell
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rating:  10 (from 1 vote)
Review: Inspector Harry Martineau, upon discovering that criminal Don Starling has made a daring jailbreak surmises that he'll return to Manchester to reclaim the unrecovered loot from a previous heist. Shortly thereafter a daring robbery takes place. Is this linked to Starling's escape? And can Martineau solve the case which quickly becomes more serious once a woman's body is found?

Director Val Guest worked in a variety of genres, most famously for Hammer but he was no jack of all trades, more a director who could turn his talents to most subject matter. Responsible for such diverse offerings as The Quatermass Xperiment and Confessions of a Window Cleaner with Hell Is A City he created a taught distinctly British crime thriller, making the most of real Manchester locations and a strong cast led by Stanley Baker.

Baker is one of British cinema's unsung heroes, although he remains a cult icon to a select few. The man who turned down the role of 007 brought a dynamic hard-edged realism to the screen in numerous classics of British cinema; the ex-con trying to go straight in Hell Drivers, a criminal mastermind in Peter Yates' Robbery. His Inspector Martineau is no clichéd bobby like Dixon of Dock Green. Not averse to using bullying tactics to get to the truth Martineau is a driven man who lives and breathes the cop lifestyle, to the detriment of his home life for behind closed doors marital bliss is not the order of the day.

The glimpses into domesticity are not confined to our hero, and the supporting cast (e.g. Donald Pleasence, Billie Whitelaw) encompass the various strata of city life – barmaids, bookmakers and bored housewives – adding a depth to the narrative. The villainous Starling infects it all, with the law a few steps behind and there's a hint of the influence of film noir here and there. But Guest's Manchester is a convincingly real one, a living breathing backdrop upon which this cat and mouse chase between crook and cop plays out.

Hell Is A City combines a warts and all docudrama directorial style with a tense thriller plot and fully rounded characters. It's a tough police procedural movie that evokes a city where the law-abiding rub shoulders with the criminal. A duplicitous urban landscape of pubs and clubs, illicit gambling and adulterous spouses and in Stanley Baker boasts a very human hero. A character that inhabits the moral hinterland, an embodiment of the city he is sworn to protect. Whatever way you look at it Hell Is A City is without question an essential British movie.
Reviewer: Jason Cook

 

This review has been viewed 2698 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Val Guest  (1912 - 2006)

British writer, director and producer, best known for his science fiction films, who started on the stage, graduated to film scriptwriting (Will Hay comedies such as Oh! Mr Porter are among his credits) in the 1930s, and before long was directing in the 1940s. He will be best remembered for a string of innovative, intelligent science fiction movies starting with The Quatermass Xperiment, then sequel Quatermass II, The Abominable Snowman and minor classic The Day the Earth Caught Fire.

He also made Frankie Howerd comedy The Runaway Bus, Cliff Richard musical Expresso Bongo, some of Casino Royale, When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, 1970s sex comedies Au Pair Girls and Confessions of a Window Cleaner, and his last film, the Cannon and Ball-starring The Boys in Blue.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: