Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Filmed entirely on location in New Orleans, Panic in the Streets stars Richard Widmark as Dr. Clinton Reed, a physician from the U.S. Health Service who must race against time to stop a plague. The carrier was an illegal alien, murdered by criminals Jack Palance and Zero Mostel. When local officials note the strange condition of the corpse, they fear that the germs will spread to epidemic proportions, and thus summon Reed to wrest control of the situation. At first facing opposition from rule-bound police captain Paul Douglas, Widmark is finally able to work hand-in-glove with Douglas in tracking down Palance and Mostel, who have themselves become plague carriers. Many of the actors in Panic in the Streets are local nonprofessionals, selected by director Elia Kazan because of their "rightness" within the framework of the story; the rest of the cast is peopled by such film veterans as Barbara Bel Geddes, Tommy Cook, Emile Meyer and H.T. Tsiang. Widmark's son is played by an uncredited Tommy Rettig, four years before he starred on the Lassie TV series. Though Elia Kazan liked to claim that much of Panic in the Streets was improvised, there was a script, adapted by Richard Murphy and Daniel Fuchs from a story by Edward Anhalt and Edna Anhalt.
carrier, inheritance, corpse, criminal, death, disease, doctor/nurse, epidemic, health, manhunt, plague, police, race-against-time, search, terrorism, victim, virus