The Frightened City

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"A city terrorised by its own evil!"
  • 1961
  • 1 hr 37 min
  • 6.2  (1,100)

The Frightened City is a classic British noir film from 1961 that follows the story of a London gang leader, Waldo Zhernikov (Herbert Lom), as he attempts to establish his empire in London's West End. The movie stars Sean Connery as Paddy Damion, one of Waldo's former henchmen, who becomes embroiled in a dangerous game of revenge and betrayal after he tries to break away from the gang.

The movie opens with a heist in which Waldo's gang steals a shipment of fur coats from a London airport warehouse. The heist goes wrong when the police show up unexpectedly, and Paddy is arrested and sent to prison for three years. While in jail, Paddy becomes disillusioned with his former life and decides to go straight.

Upon his release, Paddy reconnects with his old flame, Lorna (Yvonne Romain), who persuades him to help her father, a struggling nightclub owner. Lorna's father is being harassed by Waldo, who wants to take over his club as part of his plan to control the West End. Paddy reluctantly agrees to help, but his involvement draws him back into Waldo's criminal world and puts him in danger.

The tension builds as Paddy and Waldo engage in a battle of wits and wills, with each hoping to emerge victorious. Paddy is forced to navigate the dangerous waters of the criminal underworld, all while trying to keep his relationship with Lorna intact. The film shows the sickening aspects of gangsterism, the thugs and the crime overlords.

The Frightened City is a gripping, well-paced film that features excellent performances from its leads. Herbert Lom is menacing as Waldo, displaying a cold, calculating personality that is equal parts terrifying and fascinating. Sean Connery is impressive as Paddy, imbuing his character with a sense of world-weary cynicism that makes him a compelling protagonist. John Gregson is also noteworthy as the police inspector tasked with bringing Waldo down.

The movie was directed by John Lemont, who also wrote the screenplay with Leigh Vance. The film's score, composed by John Dankworth, adds to the tense atmosphere and helps to ratchet up the suspense.

One of the most interesting aspects of The Frightened City is its depiction of London in the early 1960s. The film captures the seedy underbelly of the city, with its smoke-filled clubs, dirty streets, and shadowy alleyways. The movie also deals with the themes of loyalty, betrayal, fear, power, regret, and the futility of violence.

In conclusion, The Frightened City is a well-crafted, suspenseful crime drama that keeps the audience engaged from start to finish. With its strong cast, compelling story, and gritty atmosphere, the movie remains a classic of the genre.

The Frightened City
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  • Release Date
  • Runtime
    1 hr 37 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.2  (1,100)