A cool British noir set in 1960s gangland London, The Frightened City follows the story of a low- level criminal who gets embroiled in a dangerous racketeering syndicate when he accepts a job from a local mobster. A year before he was thrust into stardom as James Bond in “Dr. No”, Sean Connery gave a spell- binding performance as the brooding, muscular Irish enforcer Paddy Damion with a streak of rakish charm..
Harry Foulcher (Alfred Marks) is a night club impresario and one of many small-time mobsters running protection rackets across London’s West End. Ruthless businessman Waldo Zhernikov (Herbert Lom) spies a lucrative opportunity and instructs Foulcher to get the biggest gang leaders to join forces, but under his control. Paddy Damion (Sean Connery), a ‘climber’ (cat burglar) by trade, is recruited as the tough but intelligent front man. He is reluctant at first but agrees so he can support his partner (Kenneth Griffith) who was injured on a job. He becomes a regular at Foulcher’s club where he meets and seduces gangster’s moll Anya (Yvonne Romain), Zhornikov’s mistress, much to his girlfriend Sadie’s (Olive McFarland) distress. Meanwhile Zhornikov wants to raise the game but not all of the gang bosses agree to go along. The increased violence is alarming the press and public and with the determined and unorthodox Detective Inspector Sayers (John Gregson) on the case things begin to look shaky for his burgeoning criminal empire.
Directed by John Lemont (The Shakedown), The Frightened City, with its gritty depiction of the criminal underworld and the idea that police officers did not always operate on the right side of the law, marked a distinct shift in the way policing and crime was portrayed onscreen. Shot in moody black and white by Desmond Dickinson and with nods to classic American and Italian crime thrillers, The Frightened City is a tense, stylish gem of 60s British cinema.
Cinematography by Desmond Dickinson
New Interview with Journalist and Film Historian Matthew Sweet
For the new restoration of The Frightened City, STUDIOCANAL went back to the original camera negative which was scanned and restored in 4K to produce a brand new HD master.