Watch Panic in the Streets
- 1 hr 36 min
Panic in the Streets is a 1950 film that is directed by Elia Kazan and produced by Sam Zimbalist. The movie is set in New Orleans, where a man is murdered by a group of criminals, at the very beginning of the film. The man has contracted pneumonic plague and his body is taken to a morgue where he is examined by the city's health officer, Dr. Clinton Reed (played by Richard Widmark). Dr. Reed is instantly aware of the seriousness of the situation, and he soon realizes that the pneumonic plague could easily spread, causing a catastrophic outbreak. Meanwhile, the criminals who have murdered the plague carrier are being tracked down by police captain Tom Warren (played by Paul Douglas) and his partner, police Lieutenant Sandy Kaufman (played by Tommy Cook). Warren follows the trail of the criminals, but is unable to catch them before they flee the city. Dr. Reed becomes obsessed with his mission to track down the killers, who he knows are infected with the plague, and who could start an epidemic that would kill thousands of people. He becomes frustrated with the slow bureaucracy of the city's health department, and decides to take matters into his own hands. Dr. Reed holds a meeting with the mayor, the police captain, and the city's health officials, and explains the severity of the situation, urging them to take immediate action to prevent an outbreak. Despite pushback from local officials and a lack of resources, Reed and Warren work together feverishly to track down the criminals before they can infect others. As they race against time to find the murderers and contain the disease, various obstacles arise surrounding the city's dysfunctional healthcare system, bureaucracy, and political maneuvering. One of the primary themes of the movie is the stunning contrast between Dr. Reed's dedication and urgency to save lives, and the city's slow and bureaucratic approach to disease control. Reed is the voice of reason and compassion that reveals the magnitude of the situation, whereas the local officials are largely indifferent to the potential outcomes of the infection. The film points out the gap between the urgent need and the slow and limited responses from the officials. The movie, therefore, teaches lessons about overcoming fundamental differences and working together for a common purpose. Panic in the Streets is an imaginative, dramatic thriller that uses impending disaster to analyze human behavior and morality. Although the subject matter is grim and the stakes are high, the writing is astute and engaging throughout. The acting performances are excellent, particularly from Widmark and Bel Geddes, who each play their roles with great passion and empathy. Widmark's portrayal of a doctor determined to stem the outbreak of a deadly disease is particularly gripping. The film was shot on location in New Orleans and uses its setting to create a gripping sense of place. The city itself is a character in the film, as the story is set against the backdrop of its distinctive neighborhoods, landmarks, and cultural rituals. The film's stunning end sequence, shot in the same style and location as the opening sequence, is a tour de force of the city's spectacular scenery. In conclusion, Panic in the Streets remains an excellent thriller that has aged well. It features a timeless tale set in a distinctive location and a fantastic group of actors that deliver an engaging and gripping experience to its audience. Without spoiling the movie's conclusion, the movie races to an intense climax that sends a message of teamwork and collaborative emergency response at times of disaster. It is a must-watch movie for anyone interested in classic American crime dramas.