Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1960s Hell Is a City (1960)

Hell Is a City (1960)

Escaped criminal Don Starling (American actor John Crawford) returns to his hometown of Manchester to seek out the loot from a previous robbery.

Inspector Harry Martineau (Stanley Baker) is waiting for the man he shared childhood and wartime experiences with – before eventually sending him to prison for 14 years – to show his hand.

Crawford gathers his old gang around him and plans the robbery of £4,000 from Cecily (Lois Daine), a young girl bank messenger. Unfortunately, the young girl is murdered during the botched robbery (the money is marked with green dye) and Martineau is on the case.

The pair fight out their vendetta in the grimy streets, slag heaps and forgotten gutters of the underprivileged parts of industrial Manchester.

Involved on the fringes are barmaid Lucky (Vanda Godsell) who has bedroom eyes for the inspector; bookie Gus Hawkins (Donald Pleasence) who has a chronic cold and an unfaithful wife, Chloe (Billie Whitelaw) who has counted Don Starling amongst her extra-marital wanderings; used furniture salesman – and crooked fence – Furnisher Steele (Joseph Tomelty); his beautiful deaf and dumb daughter, Silver (Sarah Branch), who is innocently caught up in the crossfire of crime; and Mr Hartley (Warren Mitchell in a small part), the travelling salesman who discovers the dead girl on the moors.

Filmed in the inimitable style of the British documentary, the story is deliberately filmed in black and white in actual Mancunian locations to create the realism this first-rate thriller from Hammer Films achieved.

Inspector Harry Martineau
Stanley Baker
Don Starling
John Crawford
Gus Hawkins
Donald Pleasence
Chloe Hawkins
Billie Whitelaw
Julia Martineau
Maxine Audley
Furnisher Steele
Joseph Tomelty
Silver Steele
Sarah Branch
Doug Savage
George A. Cooper
Geoffrey Frederick
Lucky Lusk
Vanda Godsell
Clogger Roach
Charles Houston
Tawny Jakes
Joby Blanshard
Laurie Lovett
Charles Morgan
Bert Darwin
Peter Madden
Bill Bragg
Dickie Owen
Lois Daine
Mr Hartley
Warren Mitchell
Alister Williamson

Val Guest