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Hell Is A City [DVD]


Price: £19.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Stanley Baker, John Crawford, Billie Whitelaw, Donald Pleasence
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Cinema Club
  • DVD Release Date: 4 April 2005
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007LPLP6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,432 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

A rare venture into film noir by Hammer films, with Stanley Baker as tough police Inspector Martineau, a man dedicated to cleaning up the mean streets of Manchester. Martineau is put on the spot when an old adversary batters a prison warden to death and escapes. This will mean the death penalty if he's caught, and Martineau is assigned to the case.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 97 people found the following review helpful By D. E. Newman on 23 Mar 2005
Format: DVD
Set and filmed in 1960 in and around the city of Manchester, this is a great crime thriller from the early years of Hammer Films. It stars the late great Stanley Baker as Inspector Harry Martineau on the trail of vicious hoodlum Don Starling played by John Crawford. Also look out for Donald Pleasance and a young Billie Whitelaw as a husband and wife who act together again after appearing in the previous year's 'Flesh and the Fiends'.
The film contains some superb location scenes of the city as it then was, trying to revitalise after the German bombing campaign and the rationing depravations after the war. Baker is superb in the role of a gritty police inspector chasing a murderous thug across Manchester and the nearby moors, whilst attempting to come to terms with his fraught marriage to his lonely wife played by Maxine Audley.
Keep an eye out for Warren Mitchell of 'Death us do Part' fame as a travelling salesman and a fleeting appearance of Doris Speed (Annie Walker in Granada TVs Coronation Street) as a hospital sister.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. E. Ward Davies on 25 July 2006
Format: VHS Tape
i sometimes forget that "hammer" didn't just produce horror films every year. others genres covered include thriller(like this one), war, comedy, action/adventure etc.

i haven't seen many "hammer" thrillers, but this is a good place to start.

stanley baker scores as an overworked, frustrated, police inspector who is hunting down a sadistic killer who's broken out of jail and looking for stolen money.

there are a few familiar faces in this one; donald pleasence, billie whitelaw, george a. cooper, warren mitchell.

a tough and somewhat daring film, there is more foul language than i thought, a few minor sexual references and quite nasty violence, but a "P.G" rating is suitable.

it's an added bonus that the film wasn't just based in manchester, but actually filmed there as well. that adds realism.

it is a shame to think that by the mid-60s, stanley baker would end up as the forgotten film star; where as the likes of michael caine and sean connery would prosper to superstardom.

one of the better police thrillers i have seen.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By SHADOW-WATCHER on 11 Sep 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For those who remember the earlier days of Police films and TV programmes - this is NOT anything like The Blue Lamp and Dixon Of Dock Green. "Hell is a City" is set in the areas of Manchester and Salford, is gritty, true to life, and could be likened to an early relative of "The Sweeney". As one who grew up in Manchester and Salford, you see the cities and their surrounds as they were before the planners and the shopping centres happened - and its entirely right that this is in black-and-white - colour would spoil it.

Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 Jan 2013
Format: DVD
Out of Hammer Films, Hell is a City is directed by Val Guest, who also adapts the screenplay from Maurice Proctor's novel of the same name. It stars Stanley Baker, John Crawford, Billie Whitelaw, Maxine Audley, Donald Pleasence, Vanda Godsell, Joseph Tomelty and George A. Cooper. Music is by Stanley Black and cinematography in HammerScope is by Arthur Grant.

When violent criminal Don Starling (Crawford) escapes from prison, Manchester cop Inspector Harry Martineau (Baker) correctly assumes he is on his way back to the area to collect some hidden loot from a previous job. Sure enough a serious crime rocks the city and all roads lead to Starling, but what price will Martineau pay to nail a man whose mere name strikes fear into the locals?

Has some bastard been passing me snide money?

British crime drama at its best, absorbing as a suspense tale, clinically unflinching in its characterisations and directed with a deft hand by the multi talented Val Guest. Hell is a City is without question a very British movie, but in the same way that greats like Brighton Rock and They made Me A Fugitive were Britannia Rule Grimarannia, so it be here where Guest makes the most of Manchester's gloomy locales to pump bad blood into the edgy narrative. It's a Manchester of creaky terraced houses, working class bars, soiled streets and the unforgiving Moors. The latter of which a visual beauty to the eye, but home of misery both in fact and fiction.

A Starling in the Attic.

Tale unfolds as a sort of warts and all semi-documentary police procedural. Harry Martineau is the lead man, but this is no cliché addled copper, he is a tough bastard who is not adverse to using strong arm and dishonest tactics to get results.
Read more ›
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Saturnicus VINE VOICE on 25 Sep 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
My mother used to cringe at black and white films. How she would have reacted nowadays to the appreciative audience of such gems as "Hell Is A City" I shudder to think. Is it not Alex Baldwin who said that all the best films were made in black and white? I completely agree, though there is the odd exception.
Without the benefit of computer graphics and sophisticated special effects, here we have a fast moving police thriller. The wonderful Stanley Baker plays the lead supported by a cast of talented and experienced mega-stars. The film is violent for its time and the music is atmospheric and effective.
If you like these old gritty movies, you will love this one. It ought to be watched by any film buff if nothing more for than to see just how good a film could be made in those days without the frills of modern technology and it is a lesson in good acting. A splendid British attempt at cops and robbers.
I loved the old cars.
VIEW IT!
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