HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Merchant of Four Seasons, The
Love of Jeanne Ney, The
Blonde. Purple
Dirty Ho
Annette
Shepherd
Dying to Divorce
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
Trouble with Being Born, The
Last Matinee, The
Strings, The
Free Hand for a Tough Cop
People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan
Dear Future Children
Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus
Swallow
Thin Red Line, The
Petite Maman
Fast & Furious 9
Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat
Sweet Thing
Maelstrom
Father, The
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Night House, The
Father of Flies
80,000 Years Old
Dead & Beautiful
Bull
Censor
Sleep
Freaky
Nightbooks
Whisker Away, A
Wild Indian
Whale Island
Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires
Don't Breathe 2
Closing Time
Cryptozoo
   
 
Newest Articles
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
   
 
  Hell Is A City
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, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
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 3741 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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: