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  • 'The Frightened City' is an interesting crime drama set in a pre-Beatles England featuring a strong performance from Sean Connery, the year before he became a movie legend as James Bond. Connery plays Paddy Damion a thief who is recruited by a mobster (Alfred Marks) to oversee his money collection. Paddy is no thug but takes the job because his partner (Kenneth Griffith) has been injured in a robbery and he feels obligated to support him. Marks is actually the puppet of criminal mastermind Zhernikov (Herbert Lom), who has the image of a respectable businessman, but is in fact manipulating the local mobsters for his own ends. Add to this mix the beautiful Anya (Yvonne Romain), wanna be singer and Zhernikov's mistress, who Paddy immediately takes a shine to, and Sayers (John Gregson) the dedicated cop trying to crack open organized crime and you've got yourself a pretty cool attempt at Brit Noir. Connery is terrific, Lom even better and I enjoyed seeing Kenneth Griffith and Yvonne Romain again after their supporting roles in the classic shocker 'Circus Of Horrors' starring Anton Diffring. 'The Frightened City' is worth a look.
  • The Frightened City is one of several films where Sean Connery is getting more and more noticed, leading to the stardom he would obtain the following year as James Bond. Though he's third billed in The Frightened City, it's his performance you'll remember.

    Herbert Lom, a seemingly respectable businessman, is asked to launder some money by Alfred Marks one of London's top crime bosses. It occurs to Lom he's in unique position to make some really good money off all the crime bosses of London if they can be organized. Using Marks as a front, Lom does just that and the two of them hire Connery to be their chief enforcer in their protection racket.

    It all works out really well when the hoods are muscling small businessmen for protection, but when they start going after bigger targets David Davies becomes squeamish and Lom and Marks decide he's to be eliminated. They use Connery to set him up and when Connery realizes he's unwittingly helped do in a friend he becomes a man with a mission. It's never good to have Sean Connery with a mission after you.

    I think you can figure out the rest of the film. The Frightened City is a plot done many times over in American noir films which cycle had ended about five years earlier in America. This one gives you a nice glimpse of the seamier side of London. It was interesting by the way to hear the objections to going after big targets who might have influence with members of Parliament and the Home Office. Crooks are the same all over the world, pick on those you think can't fight back.

    John Gregson is the Scotland Yard inspector who heads what we would call the organized crime unit there. He represents the good guys, but it's the bad ones that make The Frightened City an interesting film.
  • A better than average script from Leigh Vance and director John Lemont and a highly charismatic performance from a pre-Bond Sean Connery give this British gangster picture something of a lift. It's hardly ground-breaking and the plot offers nothing new but it's tough and well cast, (as well as Connery there is excellent work from Herbert Lom and Alfred Marks as villains even if we do have to put up with the dull John Gregson on the right side of the law), and it passes ninety or so minutes pleasantly enough.
  • Just pre-Bondage, I find it beyond incredible that in all the years the IMDb has been around, only ONE person thus far, has commented on this film!

    True, it was no groundbreaker even in its time - a bit of the old "know wot I mean?" crime drama, but hell it was a solidly made little piece and carries what I believe is an appropriate rating here. One that would probably gain it an inclusion in the top 4000 movies which is better than many can claim! (the greater majority actually)

    You may note the film score here was in the capable hands of top Brit musical director (at the time) Norrie Paramor. Now Norrie was the musical arranger in 1961 for somewhat popular pop icon Cliff Richard, whose backing group THE SHADOWS (hands up anyone remembers Hank Marvin and Jet Harris!) had a huge hit in 1961 guessed it - THE FRIGHTENED CITY! I even have a copy!

    A slimmer Connery but he delivers the goods here along with veteran Brit great Herbert Lom, both of whom were previously seen together in 1958's HELL DRIVERS!

    As withnail-4 (New England) correctly nostalgia a boost, if nothing else!
  • "The Frightened City" paints an interesting picture of the London underworld circa 1960. Sean Connery gives a great performance as Paddy Damian a heavy who does some of the dirty work for a couple of shady crime bosses played by Alfred Marks & Herbert Lom. Lom, in particular, gives a superb performance as Waldo Zhernikov a very intelligent, suave, hard-headed businessman. John Gregson plays Detective Inspector Sayers trying his best to curb their dodgy dealings. For us lads, it has the ravishing-looking Yvonne Romain playing a dancer & singer in a nightclub owned by our crime bosses. I have read that it was his performance in this movie that led directly to Sean Connery being offered the role of James Bond the following year in the first Bond movie Dr No. A very good watch!.
  • THE FRIGHTENED CITY is one of the films that Sean Connery made in the year before he found fame and success as James Bond in 1962's DR. NO. This one's a crime epic with a much more complex plot than is usual for the British B-picture genre: it involves rival gangsters setting up extensive criminal operations and subsequently falling out and gunning for each other over turf and business.

    Connery is the young tough brought in to restore order and he brings plenty of warmth and charisma to what is otherwise a pretty tough role. The supporting cast is very good and well worth tuning in for. Herbert Lom isn't in it too much unfortunately but Alfred Marks, who I've only previously seen in comic fare like DESERT MICE, is fine as a really hateful character. John Gregson slips into the well-worn shoes of the detective with ease. Yvonne Romain (THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF) is an arresting femme fatale. Patrick Holt plays another cop and George Pastell a put-upon Italian who is the subject of one or two racist gags. Kenneth Griffith bags the most sympathetic part as the crippled friend. Marianne Stone, Bruce Seton, and even Stephen Lewis (Blakey from ON THE BUSES!) appear in bit parts. There isn't a wealth of action in THE FRIGHTENED CITY, but the plot feels fresh, involved, and fast-moving, and the ending is particularly strong.
  • 'The Frightened City' stars both Sean Connery and Herbert Lom just before their iconic appearances in the Bond & Pink Panther series respectively (although Lom already had a substantial film career before The Pink Panther series).

    But it wasn't the first time they appeared together, having appeared in 1957's 'Hell Drivers'. And it's this comparison that weakens TFC as while both films are similarly hard-nosed, rough-edged action films, HD is superior more interesting characters, compelling drama and more vivid action scenes.

    That isn't to say TFC is a bad film - it's solidly entertaining with a good atmosphere and Connery displaying the charisma that was about to make him a major star (plus a nicely underplayed turn from Lom as the villain). But it's too conventional in its plotting and lacking great action scenes to be up to HD's level.

    Still, TFC is a decent film and worth a look
  • kenkopp9 April 2005
    Warning: Spoilers
    No matter what else may be said of this film it is, if not the only, certainly one of the earliest British films to feature a tiki bar. Also, the song "What a Marvelous Lie You Told Me" is one of the more unusual tunes every recorded in a movie. The dancing that goes with it is simply marvelous. Herbert Lom is perfect and Connery is all young and full of rage. A real gem of 60s British cinema.... The pity is that more is not made of the club that Lom runs and which has some very special "Indian" doormen despite its Oceanic interior. Leaving aside the other comments made about the film's violence, the action, especially the scene in which Connery is set up, is very typical of the period....
  • The film is above average, well made, but lacking the style or brio that makes a good US or Italian crime film really fun. Sean Connery is great to look at in his leaner, pre-Bond form, and Herbert Lom is excellent. Connery plays a low-level mobster, and Lom is the criminal mastermind behind the mobs. It's interesting to contrast the portrayal of violence in this early 60s British film with American or other later portrayals. The approach here is so banal, and the mobsters are obviously pulling their punches in the fight scenes. The director seems completely uninterested in making the violence realistic or exciting. The final fight, however, has some choreography to it and a few interesting touches. In summation, a paint by numbers job, competent British B film, uninspired film making, but good nostalgic fun.
  • Surprisingly there is only one review for this film from the UK.I can say that I knew Soho well at the time this film was made when the protection rackets were controlled by the Krays and they really made the characters in this film seem like choirboys.Unlike Connery in the climax,witnesses were either to terrified to talk or were nobbled.I happened to be at the Old Bailey and was in court when the judge found the Krays not guilty.It was only their desire to match each other for killings that finally got them put behind bars.It is interesting to note that this film only got an "A" certificate so obviously the censor did not believe that it was that tough a film.Connery was third billed but clearly the star of the film.Alfred Marks ,one of my favourites,plays against type as a slimy crime boss who has his ambitions spiked in a painful way.A scene I have always remembered.This film was indicative of the direction in which the film industry was headed.
  • One of a clutch of vintage British thrillers released by Anchor Bay Entertainment (back when it was still going by that name and enjoying its deserved status as one of the major specialist DVD labels) that also included two superior Stanley Baker efforts – Val Guest's HELL IS A CITY (1959) and Joseph Losey's THE CRIMINAL (1960). That THE FRIGHTENING CITY comes up short when compared to these two movies is perhaps unsurprising in view of the fact that director John Lemont – best-known today (if at all) for the campy monster flick KONGA (1961) – is clearly not the equal of either Guest or Losey at the top of their game. In fact, there is little evidence here of anything as individualistic as Guest's combination of wit and grit or Losey's extraordinary expressionist pyrotechnics and, ultimately, the film rises or falls on the strength of its actors. A pre-Bond Sean Connery may be third billed but he commendably carries the film on his shoulders for much of its running time; smooth-talking shady lawyer Herbert Lom is also quite good but his screen time is much less than his top billing might suggest; lock-jawed copper John Gregson adequately stands up to both men, pitting them one against the other when Connery's friend (a reluctant 'director' in Lom's crime syndicate) is shot in cold blood by Lom's sleazy partner (a scene-stealing turn from Alfred Marks). Of course, a gangster is only as good as his moll and Lom's is ambitious French singer Yvonne Romain (actually, she's half-Maltese!) who soon gets under Connery's skin (or should I say bed sheets) but does not think twice of betraying his whereabouts to the police when they threaten her with deportation! Also featured in the cast are Kenneth Griffith (as Connery's crippled ex-partner from his cat burglar days) and Italian restaurateur George Pastell (who soon finds out that 'accidents will happen' when one does not pay his dues in protection money).
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A perspiring 1960s bloke, wearing a gabardine raincoat and Chelsea boots, is chased down an alleyway (no, not like that – he's wearing trousers after all.) In hot pursuit - a car (or motorcar, as they were known back then) which promptly drives into him, deliberately apparently, and at terrifying speed! 60s bloke may not be going anywhere but we are – round black and white London, aka the frightened city. It doesn't look all that frightened – no shots of people cowering in terror. But wait! In one of those sophisticated and seedy private drinking clubs – the sophistication implied by a shot of a soda siphon – "the chaps" are smashing the gaff up. "What we want is a law to catch villains and not hamper the police", opines Sayers (a policeman, not the bakers, played by John Gregson, who is far more hardboiled here than in Tomorrow at Ten). This is consistent with the theme that runs throughout the film of over-worked police pining for a mythical age of the gentleman crook.

    Enter Waldo (Herbert Lom) who has a master plan to get the top chaps together – one of whom, Harry (Alfred Marks) has a problem - a suitcase full of protection dough. "That's a problem?" asks Lom. (Harry is a superb character, a really early genuine representation of London villainy.) The heads of London's gangland firms promptly carve up the capital (quite literally) teaming up to keep the "teds and tearaways at bay", pooling resources and profits. Their no nonsense methods, however, begin to attract the attention of not only plod but the Home Secretary ("some of these boys are lively on the cosh.") Exit Tanky Thomas - and enter Damion (Sean Connery). Damion is a cat burglar whose partner, Wally (Kenneth Griffith) is currently indisposed after tumbling off a roof. "I've got to provide Wally with the comforts", says Connery (no explanation is proffered for the Scottish accent, by the way).

    Damion might be a burglar but he knows how to order a meal in fancy Italian restaurant Sanchetti's. He's also after some comforts for himself, by the look of it, namely Anya "I'm sorry, darlink" (Yvonne Romain). We first see her under Lom's wing – or, to be exact, pressed against the desk in his office. Miss Rush, Lom's secretary, has an annoying habit of popping in whilst Lom is trying to give Anya – ahem – career advice. He wants her to perform at The Temples ("It's not exactly the Palladium") a nightclub full of geriatric off duty brigadiers complete with eye popping monocles (her "I larffed at lerve" routine is beyond comedy) – whilst keeping an eye on Damion (she ends up giving him more than the eye). Damion thinks she's a sweet kid but Anya's really only a brass with Lom as her pimp – "Anya, meet Lord Bunch!" The protection alliance begins to fall apart when gang leader Alf gets the hump. So Alf hits back with his gang – supplemented by some yobbos he's brought down from Brum – and start smashing up the protection's interests. Sanchetti's even gets blown up by a handgrenade. Blimey!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Sean Connery plays Paddy Damion, a thug in the West End of London that is lured into a protection racket scheme. The story takes place in a rundown section of the city, where the citizens and business owners are held in the tight grip of extortionists. Damion goes to work for a mobster(Alfred Marks)in order to support his fellow burglar(Kenneth Griffith), who was injured during a robbery. There's plenty of work to go around as six major "protection" rings join together for combined success. Damion has a change of heart and helps Scotland Yard Inspector Sayers(John Gregson)bring down sinister crime boss Waldo Zhernikov(Herbert Lom).

    John Lemont directs this crime drama for Darryl Zanuck. The movie is good and Connery is better. Also in the cast: Yvonne Romain, Olive McFarland, David Davies and Patrick Holt.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "The Frightened City" is a good yarn with some reasonable dialogue and a good pace. The production values aren't exactly brilliant as the sets look very cheap and almost non descript. The music is good. The title song is the same one recorded by The Shadows. Although Sean Connery is billed third in the cast, he's the central character. Herbert Lom and John Gregson set up the proceedings nicely but they take a back seat for most of the film. The latter actor was great at playing police officers and John Gregson does well here. Connery is recruited as part of a masterplan to unite all the London criminal gangs as one whole. He soon finds himself on the war path after a close friend is badly injured and another is murdered in cold blood. The organisation are responsible for the latter and the future 007 is shaken but not stirred. The climax is a good one and worth waiting for.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Even if Sean Connery had never been cast as James Bond, the rugged, handsome Scots man would have still carved out an enviable cinematic career for himself. He plays a low-ranking criminal in writer-director John Lemont's grimy but atmospheric crime thriller "The Frightened City" and his "Hell Drivers'" co-star Herbert Lom along for the ride, too, as the mastermind behind an insurance racket. Watching Connery walk through this formulaic film noir is comparable to watching a tiger pacing restlessly about the confines of a cage far too small for him. The lean, mean Connery exudes charisma, and you can see that he was destined for bigger and better things. Aside from "Konga," "The Frightened City" is about as big as Lemont would ever get.

    Paddy Damion (Sean Connery of "Goldfinger") is a small time hood who is loyal to his close friend and cat burglar, Wally (Kenneth Griffiths of "The Lion In Winter"), who broke his legs on a job gone bad. An urbane but unprincipled accountant, Waldo Zhernikov (Herbert Lom of "The Pink Panther"), joins forces with a ruthless gangster without a qualm, Harry Foulcher (Alfred Marks of "Valentino"), to organize a syndicate consisting of several rival crime bosses to operate a protection ring in London. They search for an able-bodied lieutenant to manage the collections for their mob and settle on Paddy because he uses his head and doesn't indulge in violence. Initially, Paddy wants nothing to do with them. When his partner in crime cannot resume his career as a cat burglar, Paddy concedes and takes Harry up on his offer.

    This move represents Paddy's ascension into the big time in the British underworld. Predictably, all of this swells his head. He decides to push his long-time girlfriend Sadie (Olive McFarland) out of the way in favor of a delectable French-Algerian song-bird Anya Bergodin (Yvonne Romain of "Double Trouble"), who happens to be in cahoots with the slippery Zhernikov. Anya has been looking for a way to break into the nightclub scene and Zhernikov accommodates her. Naturally, Sadie isn't happy with Paddy's treachery, but soon things get out of hand. Later, one of the crime bosses, Alf Peters (David Davies of "The Heroes of the Telemark"), objects when Zhernikov wants to be the screws to a building contractor. Peters argues that the building contractor will bring in the police, so Zhernikov and Harry decide to eliminate him. They get Paddy to set up a meeting and Harry guns down Alf. Eventually, after the police pull Paddy in for questioning, our hero decides to turn against Zhernikov and Harry because they kill Wally. In fact, Wally tells Paddy after the latter winds up in jail for not collaborating with the cops to sort out the two of them. Meantime, a hard nosed Scotland Yard detective, Inspector Sayers (John Gregson of "Night of the Generals"), who doesn't mind breaking the rules, sets out to crack Paddy and round up the hoods behind the protection racket. Paddy breaks out of jail after Sayers puts him behind bars and goes after Zhernikov. Sayers picks up Sadie, and they follow Paddy to Zhernikov's apartment where the grand finale takes place.

    Despite its strong cast, "The Frightened City" isn't very frightening.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The Frightened City has a quality premise and plot, but contains no memorable dialogue and little entertainment for a crime flick, plus the ending's silly.

    No standout performance, Herbert Lom and Sean Connery decent. Harry taking advantage of the fact Paddy's mates with Alf in order to get him alone and kill him, ruins it. Paddy's the man running the bloody operation for you, of course he's going to want payback, it's bad business at a minimum.
  • I'm the first to admit that the production values of this movie aren't exactly first rate. Indeed, the majority of the sets look decidedly artificial and little more than cardboard cut-outs. However, I can easily forget about all of that as we have a tense film to enjoy! Sean Connery may be billed third but once he enters the story, he is the one who takes centre stage. Herbert Lom and John Gregson are on hand to provide first class, rock solid support from beginning to end. I enjoy the scene with Gregson interrogating Connery at Scotland Yard, the intensity builds nicely. Watching Sean Connery in action, I can understand why he would be cast as James Bond. He moves with grace and assurance (one reason why Broccoli and Saltzman chose him) and displays his tough streak when necessary. The story is nothing special in itself but it is done with some style. After attempting to unite all the London criminal firms into one huge organisation, you just know it will end in tears! Not much in the way of location photography but I can overlook that as well.
  • Pre James Bond Connery stars in this mid-week pot boiler exploring the virtues and loyalties that are challenged in the emerging crime era, where villains don't observe the traditional customs leading to a turf war with several casualties. Connery is a small time racketeer on the side, his old friend Alf is a crime boss (Davies) who falls-out with his hoodlum peers and is callously dispatched by the unscrupulous Harry (Marks) after Connery unwittingly sets him up. Connery of course vows revenge, but crime syndicate boss Lom pulls the strings from a distance, outwitting Scotland Yard (Gregson) and relying on stand-over tactics to retain his power.

    Melodramatic at times, despite a number of plot twists and double-crosses, "Frightened City" fails to frighten. Kenneth Griffith as a crippled small time crook defines the picture's message when he steels Connery's resolve to avenge his friend's treatment and reinstate some modicum of honour among thieves. It's a different lens through which to tell this otherwise formula tale, though ultimately undeveloped. Gregson is solid as Scotland Yard's wily crime stopper and Marks played his toe-cutter role with a smarmy realism; disappointingly, Lom is confined by his essentially extraneous scenes and doesn't have the opportunity to develop a consistent, forceful characterisation.

    Good to see Connery in a leading role before his James Bond transformation, displaying those rough edges that were destined to propel him into stardom, but "Frightened City" is perhaps notable only for that appearance.
  • I love being taken behind the scenes of seedy entertainment venues, but were they all so brightly lit? It's a cliché of this genre that you get the WHOLE of some ghastly ballad belted out by an artiste in search of a recording contract. The dancing is so determined to be rude that it just looks grotesque and coarse. Were all routines in nightclubs a travesty of some distant "primitive" culture - presumably more unbuttoned than the Brits. Alfred Marks is the only one worth watching. I don't see the appeal of Herbert Lom.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Sean Connery still showing at times a vulnerable side also naive but all the elements are there. Lots of good performances by others. I watch a lot of old really bad British Movies but this actually a good one.