Panic In The Streets
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* Special Features * Commentary by Authors and Historians James Ursini and Alain Silver * Theatrical Trailer.
An amazingly effective film noir action movie, shot on location in New Orleans in 1950, that has twists of plot and explosions of violence that can still make audiences gasp. Elia Kazan, of all people, directed this story of a public health worker (Richard Widmark) and a police detective (Paul Douglas) who have only a few hours in which to capture some fleeing felons who may be infected with the plague. The bad guys are played, with enormous relish, by Jack Palance and Zero Mostel, the latter only a few years before Kazan ratted him out to the House Un-American Activities Committee. In retrospect, this modest crime picture looks like a crucial turning point in the formation of Kazan's distinctive style, a clear precursor to the blistering location work of landmark films like On the Waterfront, Baby Doll, and America, America. --David Chute --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is a black and white film, and probably should remain this way to best dramatitize this film. This movie is a prime example of how excellent casting can make or break the effectiveness of a movie.
Even if the story line is not of great interest to you, the acting quality and the filming is a quite a treat.
A polieceman and a doctor (Paul Douglas and Richard Widmark) have their work cut out as they search high and low through the streets of New Orleans to contain the disease and catch Palance before everything gets out of hand.
Acting,music and directing are all fives.
The idea of an epidemic threatening populations seems increasingly likely in this modern time. The spread of AIDS, Ebola, and the recent West Nile virus seem to flood our television screens every day. However, this film is probably just a disguised red scare allegory. The danger of the spread of disease, the way the police hound and interrogate people for information, all this reminds me of the Cold War paranoia sweeping America at the time of the film's release (1950) and the subsequent witch hunts. Appropriately, the director Elia Kazan would name names of suspected Communists before HUAC two years later. Zero Mostel, who played one of the gangsters and plague carriers, would be blacklisted by the Hollywood studios.
Fortunately, one doesn't have to read deeply into this film as it is first and foremost an exciting and entertaining suspense thriller. It was shot entirely on location in New Orleans in black and white giving it a documentary feel. One can almost feel the sounds, tastes, and smells of New Orleans of the 1950s. Kazan considered it to be his first "real" film. One can easily believe it. Before PITS, Kazan had made well acted but stagy dramas. This film truly turned him into a real director, not just a stage director as were his roots. By the time he made "On the Waterfront", Kazan had fully mastered the cinematic techniques while still managing to get great performances from his entire cast.
Highly reccomended for any fan of action films, gangster dramas, and film noir.
Most recent customer reviews
Not a bad story, but not much panic, and not as exciting as I thought it would be.Published on Aug. 9 2014 by Chris
This is a superb documentary-like film noir with a great director, cinematographer and cast. Fox, you licensed Criterion to create an outstanding DVD of Sam Fuller's "Pickup... Read morePublished on May 23 2004 by Terry Knapp
Plague is loose in New Orleans, from a sailor who smuggled gems. Jack Palance and Zero Mostel, goons who got the disease (and the gems), are unaware of their infection and think... Read morePublished on Nov. 1 2002 by Max W. Hauser