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Author Topic: The Killer That Stalked New York (1951)  (Read 3687 times)
cigar joe
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« on: April 07, 2012, 09:16:49 PM »

Director: Earl McEvoy Writers: Milton Lehman (Colliers Magazine article), Harry Essex (adaptation) Starring Evelyn Keyes, Charles Korvin, Jim Backus, Whit Bissell, Dorothy Malone, Lola Albright, and William Bishop. This is sort of a companion piece to Panic In The Streets (1950)



The title sequence with a giant looming woman over NYC gives a preview of the gravity of the unfolding story.



Torch singer Sheila Bennett (Keyes) returns to New York from Cuba, she arrives at Pennsylvania Station carrying $50,000 worth of smuggled diamonds, she is also carrying smallpox, which could start a devastating and quickly spreading epidemic in the unprotected city. Why she is not arriving by boat or plane may be due to the fact that she knows she is being tailed by custom agents. Upon arrival at Penn she immediately calls her husband (Korvin) who is her partner in the diamond smuggling racket. She tells him that she has as a precaution mailed the smuggled diamonds to their apartment in Brooklyn

Sheila (Keyes) in a phone booth at Penn Station.



Her slimey husband (Korvin) who is doing her sister while she is away



Sheila is not feeling well she has headaches and back pains and re-occurring fevers. She finds a clinic off Times Square on the way to Brooklyn and there meets nurse (Malone) and Doctor Wood (Bishop). They misdiagnose her with the flu and Dr. Wood gives her some medicine to take. Before Sheila leaves the clinic she gives a small girl a decorative pin, contact with the pin infects the child, Sheila is a walking death spreader. The child soon comes down with the symptoms and other victims begin to show up sick. Smallpox is diagnosed and now Sheila is hunted by Custom agent Johnson while Public Health doctor Wood searches in vain for the unknown person spreading the deadly disease far and wide.
Nurse (Malone) and Dr. Wood (Bishop)



Arriving at her apartment in Brooklyn sheila finds her baby sister (Albright) there with her Husband.  Albright has fallen for Sheila's Husband and is carrying on an affair with him, but the increasingly ill Sheila is at first too sick to notice. Meanwhile Custom agent Johnson loses her but keeps doggedly on the trail; while Public Health doctor Wood searches the areas where victims are turning up.

Sheila finds out from the landlady that her husband is double crossing her and is screwing her sister, and now she becomes obsessed with finding her faithless husband Matt, who plans to abscond with the diamonds. Sheila finds out from the crooked jeweler they are in cahoots with that Matt will be back in ten days with the diamonds the medicine and her determination to get Matt is keeping her alive. Sheila flees to her brothers flop house "the Moon" and hides out there.

The Moon



Sheil's Brother (Whit Bissell)



Sheila back at the clinic confronting Dr. wood



The finale at the jewlers



This is an OK thriller, though it does beg the question about what happened to all the other contacts Sheila made before she hit NYC, the people on the boat or plane she most assuredly came in contact with before she took the train. Unless she was somehow not contagious during some type of incubation period, but  what do i know. This film has great location shots of old Penn Station, various Manhattan locals and a great 3rd Avenue el sequence that I've captured and uploaded on Youtube here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMeMAZf_EVI

Keyes is great in this and her makeup gets increasingly effective conveying her sickness, its part of the Bad Girls of Film Noir set 7/10

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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2012, 09:07:04 AM »

Here's what I said about it 2 years ago:
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The Killer That Stalked New York (1950) - 6/10. Like Panic in the Streets, but with Evelyn Keyes in the Jack Palance role, and New York locations in place of the New Orleans ones. Well, at times, Keyes looks almost as strange as Palance. The manhunt--girlhunt?--device works pretty well, but the filmmakers keep ruining things by stopping the action to run what amounts to public service announcements for the health department. Is this really a noir, though? Hey, it's got Whit Bissell!

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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2012, 07:10:59 PM »

I'm a sucker for Manhattan el sequences here is the 3rd Avenue el with Evelyn Keyes & William Bishop enjoy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=gMeMAZf_EVI

For anybody interested that is the Chatham Square Station in the film which was a junction between the 2nd Avenue El & The 3rd Ave El. Release date was December 1st 1950 so it was probably filmed earlier in 1950, in 1950 the only El left in the city was The Third Avenue El. The Route was a dual operation 2nd & 3rd Avenue El from South Ferry to Chatham Square where the 3rd Avenue El ran up the Bowery to 3rd Avenue, From the Chatham Square Station the 2nd Avenue El ran up East Broadway to Allen St. then up First Avenue to 23rd St where it jogged over to 2nd Ave.

The Chatham Square Station also had a stub line South on Park Row to the City Hall terminal.

Now in the film when the camera is up on the station platform its looking South at William Bishop who is crossing the cemetery heading west towards the El. We are above St. James Place. When we see Evelyn Keyes standing on the platform she is first on the Uptown side but crosses to the Downtown side, just before the train arrives behind her in the background is the New York City Municipal Building on Park Row where the stub line to the City Hall Terminal ran.

Below is a picture taken on the same platform further North with the New York City Municipal Building again in the background but here you can see the stub line heading for the City Hall Terminal.



One other point of note for all Films Noir set in Manhattan that depict an El they all will probably be shots of the 3rd Avenue El All the others had be already demolished (except for the Polo Grounds Shuttle) by the hey day of Films Noir:

Ninth Avenue El closed & demolished beginning 6/1/1940 (Polo Grounds shuttle remained until 1958)
Sixth Avenue El closed & demolished beginning 12/4/1938
2nd Avenue El closed & demolished beginning 6/13/1942
3rd Avenue El the South Ferry to Chatham Square section closed & demolished beginning 12/22/1950 *(after principal filming of The Killer That Stalked New York) Chatham Square Station North to 143rd St. section closed & demolished 5/12/1955, and the final section from 149th Street North in The Bronx lasted until 4/28/1973

Of course there are still extant elevated lines in The Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn but they are relatively newer constructions than the original Manhattan Els and can handle steel cars while the Manhattan els cars were steel and wood composites.

« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 07:42:49 PM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2012, 07:49:48 PM »

Located cemetery in film its the Cemetery of Congregation Shearith Israel 55 St. James Place, opposite Chatham Square, in use 1682-1828








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