HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Synchronic
Capote Tapes, The
Night, The
Show Goes On, The
Furnace, The
Tyrel
Iceman
Blue Sky
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
   
 
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material 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 3230 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
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: