The Killer That Stalked New York (1950) I’ll Take Some Noir Virus Over The Real Deal!

Haha yes I’m still alive! What with all the crazy COVID-19 Coronavirus bubbling out of every orifice around the world it only seems apt to do a review about the Noir virus. I mean a virus within a Noir. Yes Smallpox gets the Film-Noir treatment and just check out that fantastically dramatic title, The Killer That Stalked New York!!!

Tagline – One woman brings terror to 8,000,000 people!!

How cool is that opening scene graphic!

You can’t imagine a city without any of it’s people! The richly populated New York City was poised to fight for it’s very own life. A killer stalked the streets. An invisible killer waiting to reach out it’s unforgiving hand of death! It had began one day in 1947. Death didn’t sneak into town hiding in the shadows or huddled in a boxcar under a dirty blanket. No, it arrived sat on a high-speed streamliner train. First class. Right into the heart of the City, Pennsylvania Station. It stepped out of it’s carriage onto the platform. It was something to whistle at!! This killer wore lipstick, sexy nylons and a beautifully tailored coat that sported it’s very own club singer girl, souvenir. This beauties name was Sheila Bennett. A pretty face with a frame to match.

Shelia Bennett (Evelyn Keyes) was paranoid. She carried two secret items. Both had high cost connected to them. Hidden in her clothes was 50 thousand dollars worth of diamonds. The other secret cargo was hidden deep inside her. She never even knew she had it, not yet! This unknown killer package was moved around the city. Soon to cause havoc and panic for 8 million or more people. Poor Shelia Bennett was infected with smallpox! The Killer That Stalked New York!

Doctor –Just suppose we were in those medieval days again when plagues wiped out whole cities! Symptoms were headache, backache, fever and a rash….. What could it be? Smallpox? Oh no not here in the middle of New York City? Surely not! I’ve never even seen a case before!

Mixed up in the drama are a collection of characters. Either caught up in the diamond smuggling ring or desperately trying to find the cause of this smallpox epidemic. Frantically trying to track down the innocent harbinger of death, poor Shelia. You got a T-Man hot the trail, Treasury Agent Johnson (Barry Kelley), Shelia’s dodgy fiance Matt Krane (Charles Korvin). Concerned Dr Ben Wood (William Bishop) who finds a weak Sheila who’s just a little under the weather! Doh! There’s her brother, the owner of the local flophouse, Sid (Whit Bissell) and her naughty sister Francie (Lola Albright). Then when the epidemic takes hold, we get introduced to scientists, doctors and the Mayor of New York (Roy Roberts) all on the case, to help stop this killer, dead in it’s tracks, before the unthinkable happens.

Mayor – “You gentlemen don’t seem to realize, we’re facing death.

The Killer That Stalked New York works really well as a psychological thriller. The short run-time insures for a fast pace as we get both a crime story retrofitted within a fact based drama. The film, with it’s narration, is given a semi-documentary style. It wasn’t until I read about it after that I’d find that it’s actually centered around a real life smallpox outbreak. The 1947 New York City smallpox outbreak was the largest mass vaccination effort ever conducted for smallpox in America. With the unbelievable impossible task of managing to inoculate over 6,350,000 adults and children within just weeks.

Health Commissioner –Use every means, short of a gun to get cooperation. Anyone not vaccinated is liable to get the disease. If they refuse to submit tell them what they face! A thousand ugly sores breaking through and a fever that burns it’s victims to death!

  • The Killer That Stalked New York was directed by Earl McEvoy from a screenplay by Harry Essex which was based on a Cosmopolitan Magazine article of the real event outbreak by Milton Lehman.
  • Evelyn Keyes is ace. Check her in the superb 99 River Street (1953) with John Payne and The Prowler (1951) with Van Heflin.
  • One of the great things about the film is the NY on-set scenes. Wandering around 50s Brooklyn, City Hall in Manhattan, the old Willard Parker Hospital (which was the scene for the real outbreak). Also the Port of New York City and the Penn Station.
  • Panic In The Streets (1950) starring Richard Widmark and Paul Douglas would be released in the same year. Featuring a similar theme but this time a race to find someone infected with the pneumonic plague. I need to do a review post one day.
  • If virus’s in films are your thing!? Then I got a few I’ve reviewed over the years. You could try The Satan Bug (1965) about a newly invented super death virus, Warning Sign (1985) with DNA close to Resident Evil or 28 Days Later. Then the happy times keep on giving in City Of Fear (1959) OK I know it’s not a virus but this radiation kills like one. Then there’s some British eco virus in the guise of eye patched Nigel Davenport and the literally bonkers No Blade of Grass (1970)…. Sweet dreams.

Thanks for popping in for a gander. I do hope you all staying safe and we get through these crazy times quickly. Hopefully when I’m not spending all my time trying to track down toilet paper for the family I can get back to my beloved hobby.

Anyhoooo big love………….. Mikey Wolf

PS The Killer That Stalked New York (1950) is on YouTube at time of writing.

16 thoughts on “The Killer That Stalked New York (1950) I’ll Take Some Noir Virus Over The Real Deal!

  1. I thought I owned this one, so I had to get out of my comfy chair (thanks!) and check the Monolith…nope, it’s ‘New York Confidential’. So why do I know about this film? Oh, because I found it on YT and already purloined it! I like the sound of this one…I was going to mention ‘Panic in the Streets’, but you beat me to it…and I have ‘The Satan Bug’ store in my external drive as well. Might as well watch them all in one marathon sitting, so I can be prepared for the coming apocalypse!

    And damn, I love that shot of the train station platform, so high above the street! Is that Penn Station? That’s what I love about noir, and many old films in general: the chance to see how cities looked and operated back then. I’d love to go back and ride a train like that to Ebbets Field or the Polo Grounds, and see an old-time baseball game there. Oh well…I can live vicariously through noir films, I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha I’m sorry to have made you get out of that lovely comfy chair Todd. “Damn that wolf-thing!”
      Hopefully you got the same one I watched on YT as the quality is very good. It’s a nifty watch.
      I haven’t actually seen Panic In The Streets as of yet but hope to very soon.
      The Satan Bug is awesome but it’s quite a chilled watch along with it’s deeply dark nature.
      Haha a marathon prep for the apocalypse. I’m slightly, note “slightly”, hoping for 14 days quarantine. If so I’m gonna smash my to watch list.

      I’m going on the film location listed on IMDB but that station might be Third Avenue El, Manhattan. I did a google image search and it looks the spot. The stadiums of Ebbets Field and Polo Grounds look amazing.
      Getting transported back through film is fantastic until Elon Musk comes up with some form of neuralink time travel machine. He’s nearly down the first part!
      Hope you enjoy the film buddy 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Remembrance of this movie is so, so timely.
    “All Sheila knew was she had a headache.. ‘
    On a sidenote, do you remember the Will Smith movie I AM LEGEND (2007)? Those images of deserted streets post humanity due to the spread of a super virus now take on enhanced meaning –

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good gosh you so right! The only thing I remember from the I Am Legend is the awesome dog and like everybody having your heart ripped into two. Not the dog FFS! take the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air instead! hehe………… PS sorry for the late reply. Playing catch up.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Evelyn Keyes steps up well and is great but yeah you are right it could of had a stronger male actor. I’d of liked to have seen Barry Kelley in a bigger role. All n all it’s a pretty nifty film which is way too close to home at these bonkers times. ps sorry for the late reply, on catch up.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Death was something to whistle at this time–lipstick, stockings and all– ha ha ha ha!
    Hilarious!
    Can’t believe you found this in time for the world-wide drama happening.
    I notice that they’re running Contagion a lot, too, these days.
    This lady with the smallpox reminds me of Typhoid Mary walking around and spreading typhoid to everyone–except I don’t think she had any symptoms herself.
    If this movie was on right now, I’d watch it. I love old New York.

    Funny you said that about TP–were you really looking for some?
    I haven’t seen any for a SOLID WEEK anywhere ! ! !
    I found a banged-up box of tissues in a pharmacy, all alone on the empty shelf, and bought it.
    It looked like Wales and New Zealand had been playing rugby with it!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hehe yeah those opening lines are so funny. As soon as the narrator says them I’m like “I’m having them”. Quick scribble on the note pad.
      Yeah I noticed Contagion pop up a lot too. Not sure I can re-watch that one. Way too close to home. Where TKTSNY isn’t tooo dark. Just a swabs worth of depressing.

      The Typhoid Mary story is so upsetting! Have you ever read it? Check out the wiki page if you feeling a bit too happy today and want to lower your smiles. LOL

      The toilet paper shortage has been crazy. Haha the smashed up box of tissues mangled by 30 burly men. LOL I love that Wales and New Zealand got there first….. Was really enjoying the Rugby Six Nations as England was making a comeback and racing up the table, then the world got turned upside down! Boo…

      ps sorry for the late reply, on catch up

      Liked by 1 person

  4. […] The Killer That Stalked New York (1950) – Wolfman Rating 8 – IMDB Rating 6.4 Ok with all the virus stuff bubbling away before it got real bad it felt kinda apt at the time to do a virus film. I’d never seen this. A semi-docu style and noir mixed into one with the lovely Evelyn Keyes hiding in the shadows. I did a review if you wanna read. Wolfies Virus Film Review Here. […]

    Like

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