Hell Is a City Review

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Committed but seen-it-all police inspector Martineau rightly guesses that after a violent jailbreak a local criminal will head home to Manchester to pick up the spoils from his last job.


The city in question is Manchester in this Hammer Films’ gripping police procedural, which counts at least as impressive a genre outing as the SF and horror films which made the studio’s name. Shot in a stark, sinister noir(ital) of black, white and miserable greys, it stars Baker as the Inspector after the thieves who steal jewels from Pleasance and who turn out to be implicated in the murder of a teenage girl. Both turn in fierce performances and Guest’s direction gives the movie a splendidly wrought realism, capturing a nasty underworld Britain rarely envisioned since.

Gritty, urbane and stylish Brit thriller