Lost gem unearthed
Dennis Murray | Vernon, NJ USA | 12/07/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Hell Is A City" is a little-known Hammer film that garnered some of the company's best reviews at the time of its release in 1960. It was nominated for two British Academy Awards, for Best Screenplay (Val Guest) and Best Actor (Stanley Baker). The DVD from Anchor Bay is a beautiful black-and-white transfer, with crisp, sharp images. The cast is superb, and the pacing is excellent. Donald Pleasance (Halloween, Escape from New York) has a small role as a bank president who finds a little surprise in his attic.
The film comes with an alternate, "happier" ending that didn't sit well with writer/director Guest. However, I believe it's the first Hammer film released on VHS or DVD that comes with a second ending. If you're a Hammer fan, or a fan of film noir, you'll want "Hell Is A City" in your library..."
Hell Is A City, I was there!
George N. Nixon | Alberta, Canada | 08/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I watched a part of this movie being filmed, as a child in Manchester, in 1959. The scene was filmed in a district called Levenshulme, and concerned the Donald Pleasance & Billie Whitelaw characters. Donald Pleasance plays the part of a "bookmaker", who in England is a person who takes bets on horse racing & other sports. At the time of its release I thought it to be a pretty exciting movie. I still think that it is one of the best of its type, and it captures the Manchester of that time very well. Still can't think why they used John Crawford as the villain! There is no explanation as to why he speaks with an " American" accent, if he is supposed to be a childhood aquaintance of the Stanley Baker character. Baker does a passable Northern accent! The film is fairly true to the book from which it was made, although the mute girl "Silver" dies in the book. I have a Levenshulme website, which has a page dedicated to Hell Is A City. It can be found at http://www3.telus.net/public/nixonkg"
British Cops and Robbbers Noir
whitetrashmutant | Clayton, NC USA | 12/17/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hell is a City is a pretty good crime flick. Even though it is formulaic (cop vs. robber, heist, manhunt) the performances, setting and direction make it an interesting film for folks who like this kind of stuff."