Panic in the Streets (1950)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Chase Movie, Psychological Thriller  |   Release Date - Jun 12, 1950 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 96 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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One of director Elia Kazan's favorite movies was this very dark tale about the bubonic plague invading New Orleans. Panic in the Streets featured a mesmerizing performance from Richard Widmark as the doctor called in to investigate a mysterious death who becomes entangled in a sinister plot. Shot in semi-documentary style by the masterful Kazan, the film applies top Hollywood production values to a bizarre original story for which Edward Anhalt and Edna Anhalt won a screenwriting Oscar. Kazan used many non-actors, shot the film entirely on location in New Orleans, and had many of the scenes done with improvised or partly improvised lines. The result is a gripping realism. Among the veterans in the lustrous cast are Barbara Bel Geddes, Zero Mostel, and Jack Palance. Kazan's loose style with actors was innovative for 1950, and he would continue to hone his direction of "method" acting in the next several years with such films as A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, and East of Eden.