The Frightened City (1961) Bloodshed, Bruises, Broken Bones & Brass Knuckles

Here’s my review of The Frightened City (1961)

It was dark but the London city lights of store fronts, clubs, peepshows, casinos and seedy looking bars lit-up the streets as people mingled through the artificial neon glare. Blue flashing lights and the wailing sound of sirens bounced around the buildings as the police car tried to speed through the traffic. A few blocks down a basement nightclub was being smashed and terrorised along with it’s unlucky owner. Gut punches slammed and ruptured his spleen. Blood gushed down his chin from a hefty backhander across the face. He tried picking himself up from the broken chairs he’d been launched into by the mob bosses two brutish henchmen. These two thugs were really enjoying themselves. The boss was angry. He was busy channeling his brute force onto every fixture and fitting in the small club. Windows, lamps and glasses smashed to tiny shards. His rage made sure every liquor bottle met the same fate. Turning his attention to the beaten man, you could tell in his eyes, he wasn’t quite done with dishing out his punishment. A verbal word of warning before a right hook sucker punch turned the bruised mans lights out. Minutes later, through pained dazed focus, he slowly regained consciousness. The foreboding outline of the gangsters were gone, now replaced by two other figures. In the door way stood two Scotland Yard detectives. “Who did this?” “Just give us a name.” “We can’t press charges if you don’t!” Of course this business owners life was more important than being a snitch.

Tagline – A city terrorised by its own evil!

This was 60s London and the Detroit style protection racket was in full flow. Gangs realised that with a little gentle persuasion, rough someone up, break a few windows, scare off a few customers etc, they could charge a business an insurance policy. One that would mean they’d back off for the price of a weekly fee. If you didn’t pay, well the above scenario at the unfortunate club would be your punishment. Customers wouldn’t return, your business would fail and possibly even your lose your life. It was a good little earner for the gangs. Trouble was they were all in fighting for different territories. Crossing over into each others patches resulted in gang warfare. A constant tide of bloodshed, bruises and bones broken by brass knuckles, billy clubs and baseball bats.

Detective Inspector Sayers (John Gregson) – “The criminal mind is like the dark side of the moon!

Waldo Zhernikov (Herbert Lom) was a financial investor with a cunning mind for business and growing wealth. He could envision a perfect opportunity arise in this situation. He was friends with a mediator Harry Foulcher (Alfred Marks), a wiseguy club owner with ties to all the gang bosses of the City. Waldo discusses a plan with Harry, to join all the gangs together to create a City wide protection racket. An organisation so large and a foolproof plan that millions would be squeezed out of every business. With each mob boss connected within the organisation the police wouldn’t stand a chance of breaking up a racket so large. Waldo knew they would need a commander to keep the gangs away from each other throats. The ideal man could be the rugged Irish robber Paddy Damion (Sean Connery). A tough brawler with added charisma and a sensible head on his shoulders. He could read a room and access the reasonable amount of force needed. Paddy was headstrong and extremely loyal to his partner in crime Wally (Kenneth Griffith). They were both cat burglars, petty thieves, a duo joined at the hip. Problem was Wally had fallen on a job, broken his back and now out of action. Paddy felt responsible. They needed money. To add to the woes, Paddy had an eye for the ladies, not just any lady but a gangster’s girl! The beautiful Anya (Yvonne Romain) with damn killer curves in all the right places. Paddy was going to need wits to be constantly on high alert.

Tagline – The crossfire of gangland terror turns THE FRIGHTENED CITY into a mob jungle!

The Frightened City is an excellent neo-noir British gangster movie which I found very entertaining. I’m a sucker for admiring vintage scenes of London and I do like a good gangster thriller. Sean Connery really shines and must of impressed certain casting agents for the little upcoming Ian Fleming novel character who has a licence to kill, the one and only James Bond. Sean would star in Dr No (1962) only a year later. The Frightened City was directed by John Lemont who might be remembered for his B Movie monster King Kong rip-off Konga (1961). He also made a crime thriller I’m intrigued to see called The Shakedown (1960) which stars the gorgeous Hazel Court. The Frightened City might not be as good as the fantastic Hell Is A City (1960) from director Val Guest and starring Stanley Baker. However, it would sit very nicely in a double bill alongside it. Well worth a look if you like gangster movies.

I did it!” I got a review done. Sorry for my slackness of late. Life stuff just gets in the way of the fun stuff.

Thanks for popping in for a read. Let me know if you’ve seen this one, or feel free to recommend similar style movies if you wish. All the best…. Mikey Wolf

Ok Yvonne Romain might have two big parts but still she’s not in it enough to get her own poster 😉

20 thoughts on “The Frightened City (1961) Bloodshed, Bruises, Broken Bones & Brass Knuckles

  1. Ha, you beat me to it! I was working on two posts at once, but then they got stalled because I’m housesitting for someone two hours from home, and the items and reference books I need to complete the posts are…at home. But I’ll be there this weekend, so look out!

    Anyway, this sounds like a great one…as soon as I finished the review, I went to find it on YouTube, but no such luck…though I did find it – and Hell Is a City – on the Russian site, so I’ll be watching both soon. It’ll be fun seeing Connery as a bad guy…and if Yvonne’s two parts won her any awards.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha the two at once classic. Like we both aren’t struggling enough getting one done we up the ante, boost that adrenalin rush and add a mind rush of “shit what film am I actually trying to review again?” hehe. I’ve got six started but four of them I’ve forgotten what happened in the film LOL. Gonna have to flick back through to see what the heck I’m talking about.
      Hell Is A City is 100 percent recommended. Sure you’ll love that.
      Plus can Connery ever be true bad? And I tell you, Yvonne “spoiler alert” won the Golden Globes award 😉


      • That last line of yours honestly made me laugh out loud! Thanks for that, Mikey!

        And I’m doing the same as you…watching a movie tonight because I started it a while ago, and have a few paragraphs to fill out…but I can’t remember anything about it! Granted, there wasn’t much TO remember, but I’ll talk about that in the review.

        I’ll definitely track down ‘Hell is a City’…I think I know exactly where ( I can find it!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Looking forward to reading the review of the film with not much to remember, I’m sure it will still be very entertaining.
          Hehe note to self to see if there’s any pictures of Yvonne showing off her award winning GG’s!
          And on that “bombshell” I’ll say hope you have a great weekend and catch you on the Monolith of cinema soon buddy.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Hey, I watched ‘The Frightened City’ last night! I agree, a very entertaining crime thriller…I loved the dialogue, and how it was delivered….not necessarily gritty, but just so dang smooth. And both Sean Connery and Herbert Lom were great, as were the rest of the cast. And those two award-winners…lordy!

            Thanks again for passing it on…it was a great way to spend a night of movie-watching.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Not a problem buddy, a pleasure. Great to hear you watched it. Yeah could of done with being a bit tougher and gritter, I jazzed that up in my opening scene intro. Some times the imagination takes over and adds it in. hehe. I liked the way Sean is essentially an anti-hero. He’s a bit rough and did naughty stuff but he got a good heart. I liked the Judo bits and yeah I know that girl kept showing off her two trophies but you gotta say he was a dofus for giving Sadie the hard shoulder. She would of looked after him.
              BTW on a really sad note I put Olive McFarland name in google and unfortunately came across this sad story about her and a train! 😦



              • Yeah, Sean was fairly likeable for being the ‘bad’ guy…and I agree, quite the doof for going after Yvonne, when he had Olive there crazy about him already. I guess it’s the old Ginger/Mary Ann Syndrome at play again!

                And very sad about Olive…that crossing does not look very safe at all. Strange to think of her as being in her 80s, just after watching her so young and vibrant in ‘The Frightened City’.

                (And by the way, when I said ‘not so gritty but smooth’, I meant the dialogue, not the film itself…which did have some good grit moments to it).


  2. I am completely fascinated by Todd B using “real” reference books for his research. I remember when we had to use real books for such things, lol. It wasn’t that long ago! But I never use actual books to do research for posts…unless I’m doing a book review, in which case I do have to use that book. But even then, it’s always on my Kindle, lol.
    Welcome back Wolfman!
    What an opening–ruptured spleens, backhands and blood gushing.
    I love the absolute pathos in the photo of the first guy. Omg! He needs a Vicodin–bad.
    I have not seen this movie–which is true of many of the movies you review–but it definitely looks entertaining in a dark, bluesy way. And Sean. Who can ever get enough of Sean?
    I’m always down on L.A. over here, but hearing about London of the olden days, I’d gladly live here in Vapid, Empty City over this Frightened City any day.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha, I want to make sure I choose the right Hitchcock quote – or more accurately, thought – for a review, and I’m sure one of the dozen Hitchcock books I have at home will supply it. I tried this new ‘online’ concept, and it just didn’t pan out.

      Liked by 2 people

    • What is this “real reference book” thing you both mention? lol I do miss those days, a little. Now it’s just so easy to find everything you ever needed to know, didn’t need to know or just lose 3 hours going down a rabbit hole just looking up some actors name and you have no idea why you looking at Lithuanian jazz flutes of the 1960s.

      Haha he really does look like a double dose of Vicodin would chill him right out. He looks like he’s gonna pop.
      Sean is great here, you can see why he turned a few heads for the nod to Bond.
      I’m a hundred miles away from London which in UK talk is a bit of a trek but in US talk is just around the block. I go up as often as I can. This weekend in fact to a reggae dub sound system in a basement club. Sub bass, echo and reverb and dancing for 4 hrs. I’m going out as much as humanly possible at the moment. 50 is the new 30s maybe 25’s ? lol

      Big wave back atcha Stacey and a big thank you.

      Liked by 2 people

      • “…you have no idea why you looking at Lithuanian jazz flutes of the 1960s.”
        Well, yeah. Whaddaya gonna do?
        Have a great time this weekend, though! And yes, OF COURSE, 50 is the new…. 18, lol !!
        I know I, as a fully realized “adult”, have never gotten beyond around 27 in my mind, hahaha.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeh 27 is about my age in my head to I’d say, though Louise would have other thought’s “Have you ever grown out of your teens???” I’m sure she has said that on more than one occasion! hahaha
          PS and thank you, yes I did, I danced for 4 hrs straight 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yes! You rock !!! I would have to drink SO MANY Red Bulls to dance for 4 hours straight, lol !!!!!!


  3. I absolutely agree, Todd B., and, really, your efforts only highlight my guilt! I shamelessly use the “internets” for online research. My only saving grace (I hope) is I don’t use Wikipedia, lol !!
    Hitchcock definitely deserves better, lol !!

    Liked by 1 person

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