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Hell is a City (1960)

Stanley Baker , John Crawford , Val Guest  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Stanley Baker, John Crawford, Donald Pleasence, Billie Whitelaw, Joseph Tomelty
  • Directors: Val Guest
  • Writers: Val Guest, Maurice Procter
  • Producers: Michael Carreras
  • Format: Black & White, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: December 3, 2002
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005RYL8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #338,089 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hell is a City" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

A Hammer Collection by Studio CANAL Region 1 DVD B&W widescreen presentation

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lost gem unearthed December 6, 2002
"Hell Is A City" is a little-known Hammer film that garnered some of the company's best reviews at the time of its release in 1960. It was nominated for two British Academy Awards, for Best Screenplay (Val Guest) and Best Actor (Stanley Baker). The DVD from Anchor Bay is a beautiful black-and-white transfer, with crisp, sharp images. The cast is superb, and the pacing is excellent. Donald Pleasance (Halloween, Escape from New York) has a small role as a bank president who finds a little surprise in his attic.
The film comes with an alternate, "happier" ending that didn't sit well with writer/director Guest. However, I believe it's the first Hammer film released on VHS or DVD that comes with a second ending. If you're a Hammer fan, or a fan of film noir, you'll want "Hell Is A City" in your library...
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hell Is A City, I was there! August 30, 2004
I watched a part of this movie being filmed, as a child in Manchester, in 1959. The scene was filmed in a district called Levenshulme, and concerned the Donald Pleasance & Billie Whitelaw characters. Donald Pleasance plays the part of a "bookmaker", who in England is a person who takes bets on horse racing & other sports. At the time of its release I thought it to be a pretty exciting movie. I still think that it is one of the best of its type, and it captures the Manchester of that time very well. Still can't think why they used John Crawford as the villain! There is no explanation as to why he speaks with an " American" accent, if he is supposed to be a childhood aquaintance of the Stanley Baker character. Baker does a passable Northern accent! The film is fairly true to the book from which it was made, although the mute girl "Silver" dies in the book. I have a Levenshulme website, which has a page dedicated to Hell Is A City. It can be found at [...]
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars British Cops and Robbbers Noir December 16, 2002
Hell is a City is a pretty good crime flick. Even though it is formulaic (cop vs. robber, heist, manhunt) the performances, setting and direction make it an interesting film for folks who like this kind of stuff.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'ONE OF MY FAVORITE BRITISH FILMS" January 7, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Some others are;"The Third Man", "Room At The Top", "Brief Incounter","The Smallest Show On Earth". Stanley Baker (1928-76) had an intensity of a Sean Connery. There is enough noir here to call it;NOIR.A vicious escaped convict played by John Crawford is ready for another hiest. There's an interesting gambling scene on the foggy moors. Lot of the filming was done in Manchester. There's a big fight between Cop; Baker and Crawford on the roof tops of the City. The Barmaid played by Vanda Godsell gives a virtioso sexy acting performance that is one of the many highlights of this film. I'm sure Americans know Donald Pleasence, He has a part in this NOIR film. There is a quick breast shot when Crawford is wrestling with his hostage on the stairs.(I guess that could be one of the reasons why we sometimes might use the PAUSE button.) There isn't a bad actor in the bunch here.
The DVD is widescreen,Black and White,There is an alternate Ending in one of the Extra's,Theater Trailer,Talent Bio,
Interview with Director Val Guest. At one point the interviewer mentions that Crawford looks like a handsome Timothy Carey
("The Killing",Tv's" Mike Hammer") That comment got me laughing. It's a very good interview with Guest.
I was lucky to get "The Good Die Young" off the TV because I don't think you can get it on Region 1. The other Baker movie I recommend for a good prison picture is;"The Convict". But, "Hell Is The City" is one I could see twice a year, that's how much I like this film. It had 2 Award nominations. EVERY SCENE CLICKS EXCELLENCE ! ! !
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3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars LACKLUSTER CRIME DRAMA.... January 14, 2003
An American thug blows into Manchester, England for a "job" and causes a crisis with the police and his former cronies who thought he was "out of business". Considering this is a Hammer production and directed by Val Guest, this is pretty tepid stuff. The film is so crisp and clean (even in the action sequences) it looks as if Guest was afraid to get his hands dirty. I can't call this "noir" at all. It's too sterile looking and the key noir elements aren't here. No shadowy suspense, no "dames" (as the package contends)--just ordinary looking wives and a middle-aged barmaid who looks like someone's mother, and no psychological conflict for any of the characters. Just hum-drum goings on with the cops-after-a-crook stuff. The acting is capable and the film looks great on DVD. Too bad it isn't better. With all the noir crime dramas that need to be on DVD and all the other Hammer films that SHOULD be on DVD by now---I found myself watching this and wondering "Why?" And by the way, despite the misleading title and the moody jazz score, there is no implication in this film that "hell is a city". It looks like quaint merry old Manchester, England having a busy day.
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