The Frightened City (1961)

Genres - Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Drama, Gangster Film  |   Run Time - 97 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Although modern viewers will be drawn to The Frightened City because of the appearance of a pre-Bond Sean Connery, they'll be surprised to find that the future superstar ends up playing second fiddle to Herbert Lom. (Some might even move Connery down to third chair, and give higher marks to Alfred Marks as well.) Not that Connery is not good or in any way disappointing; indeed, it's a treat to see Connery in a less-than-suave role at this point in his career, full of rugged good looks but rough around the edges and with a bit of menace to him. And there's still that glimmer of star quality, that charisma that would bloom the next year when he made the leap from struggling actor to cultural icon. But Lom, as the criminal mastermind, actually has the more imposing role, and he does a marvelous job of actorly manipulation, creating a powerful and captivating portrait with material that is really only standard issue stuff. Marks is also impressive as his oily second-in-command, the kind of snake that can't be trusted in the least. The film itself is only of moderate interest, a gangster thriller that's engaging but not special; but the cast makes it worth watching.