Panic in the City (1968)

Article 3041 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-4-2009
Posting Date: 12-11-2009
Directed by Eddie Davis
Featuring Howard Duff, Linda Cristal, Stephen McNally
Country: USA
What it is: Thriller with marginal SF elements

When a mysterious man is found in the street with a high radiation count, an agent from the National Bureau of Investigation is called in to investigate. He eventually discovers a foreign plot to build and detonate an atomic bomb in the city of Los Angeles.

The basic plot is fairly ordinary, but it’s well-written and concentrates on the cat-and-mouse game between the NBI and the agents. The direction is rather unimaginative, but it keeps itself focused on the plot, which helps through some of the duller scenes. The acting is good, and it handles its story realistically and without sensationalism. The end result is a mildly engrossing thriller, one that rises above its low budget and occasionally shows moments of inspiration. My favorite line is from Linda Cristal (about paying the telephone bill), and my favorite moment is the final one, where we can see, without a word spoken, how she is going to handle her grief. The cast also features Nehemiah Persoff, Oscar Beregi Jr., Anne Jeffreys, John Hoyt, George Barrows, and Dennis Hopper. Not bad at all.

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