“A City in Terror … Chills for Millions” – Irving Lerner’s Rare Noir City of Fear This Wednesday in 35mm

The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

Wednesday, March 27 @ 7:30pm
Directed by Irving Lerner • 1959
A bargain-basement film noir that locates downbeat nightmares in the stucco bungalows of working-class Los Angeles, City of Fear is a tense, atomic-age white knuckler.  Following up their hepcat hit man saga Murder by Contract, director Irving Lerner and actor Vince Edwards craft another B-picture suffused with seedy, West Coast nihilism. (A filmmaker who cut his teeth on projects for the left-wing Film & Photo League in the 1930s, Lerner had a mysterious and knotty career, which will be further illuminated by two documentary shorts preceding the feature.) Edwards plays a San Quentin escapee with nothing but a thermos of pure heroin to his name; in fact, he’s unwittingly shepherding a canister of radioactive Cobalt-60 that could level the city.  As the police dragnet led by no-nonsense genre mainstay Lyle Talbot tightens, the isolated Edwards delivers a kind of total performance—a pumice-faced, poor man’s Burt Lancaster with a laggard body.  Features superb off-the-cuff location photography from Lucien Ballard and an early jazz score by maestro Jerry Goldsmith. (KW)
75 min • Columbia Pictures • 35mm Vault Print from Sony Pictures Repertory
Shorts: “Muscle Beach” (Joseph Strick & Irving Lerner, 1948) – 35mm – 9 min
“A Place to Live” (Irving Lerner, 1941) – 16mm – 17 min – Both shorts preserved by the Academy Film Archive

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