Panic in the City

Panic in the City

Director: Eddie Davis Cast: Howard Duff, Linda Cristal, Stephen McNally

DVD (Pan & Scan / Mono)


A welcome if minor arrival on DVD, Panic in the City was one of the more interesting TV movies of its era, if only because it dated from a period before made-for-television features became completely formulaic. Additionally, it had a cast that was a hybrid of top television names of the era and well-remembered movie actors of the '50s -- Linda Cristal, Stephen McNally, Nehemiah Persoff, Dennis Hopper (as a professional assassin), and Anne Jeffreys -- with star Howard Duff bridging the two groups. Additionally, one can spot future television star Mike Farrell in a small role. The plot seemed like silly stuff in 1968, but ironically enough, as the world has changed, it's become somewhat more plausible. Derived loosely (and informally) from the plot of the early '50s Elia Kazan feature Panic in the Streets, only without the latter's cleverness or inventiveness, Panic in the City falls midway in tone and scope between a small, strange feature film and a vastly expanded episode of Howard Duff's then-current series The Felony Squad. A man found unconscious on a Los Angeles street is discovered to be suffering from a lethal dose of radiation. An investigation uncovers a plan by an out of control cell of Soviet agents to construct an atomic bomb in the heart of the city, as part of an international blackmail scheme. Duff plays the agent in charge of the case, looking a little long-of-tooth in this role, with his character always seeming a half-step further behind the villains than seems possible if he is to succeed in stopping them. Linda Cristal is the physician involved in the initial investigation; Stephen McNally is Duff's superior; and Anne Jeffreys, Nehemiah Persoff, and Oscar Beregi are plotters. As with most television features, the settings, pacing, and action are a little too claustrophobic for the plot and the required transitions of scenes, although the sequences involving large numbers of extras have a more opulent look than this kind of movie would have a decade later. Dennis Hopper is in the movie a little too briefly considering that he gives the most interesting performance of anyone present, everyone else choosing to play it by the numbers. The DVD is a decent transfer for one of these down-and-dirty, quickie, low-budget releases. There are minor scratches in the source print, and it is faded slightly and shifted a bit toward green in its color tones and tints, but is acceptable, with no major flaws in the transfer or the disc programming. The budget-priced disc is programmed without time-code read-out or visible chapter displays, and comes with a set of trivia questions and biographies of the major participants.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/10/2000
UPC: 0779836200495
Original Release: 1968
Rating: NR
Source: Direct Source Label
Region Code: 1
Presentation: [Full Frame]
Sound: [monaural]
Time: 1:36:00

Special Features

Interactive menu; Trivia quiz; Scene selector; Biographies; Critic's review

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Howard Duff Dave Pomeroy
Linda Cristal Dr. Paula Stevens
Stephen McNally James Kincade
Nehemiah Persoff August Best
Oscar Beregi Dr. Paul Cerbo
Gregory Morton Steadman
Dennis Hopper Goff
Tex Armstrong Actor
George Barrows Actor
Hank Brandt Actor
Stanley Clements Actor
Douglas Evans Actor
Mike Farrell Actor
Eddie Firestone Actor
Steve Franken Actor
John Hoyt Actor
Eilene Janssen Actor
Anne Jeffreys Myra Pryor
Wesley Lau Actor
Leon Lontoc Actor
Deanna Lund Actor
John M. Pickard Actor
Walter Reed Actor
George Sawava Actor
Walter Scott Actor
James Seay Actor
Wendy Stuart Actor
William Tannen Actor
Phillip Terry Actor
Dodie Warren Actor
Rush Williams Actor
Jim Adams Actor
Jan Watson Actor
Bee Tompkins Actor
Maurice Wells Actor

Technical Credits
Eddie Davis Director,Screenwriter
Paul Dunlap Score Composer
Earle Lyon Producer
Terrell O. Morse Editor
Charles E. Savage Screenwriter
Alan Stensvold Cinematographer
F. Paul Sylos Art Director

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