Sean Connery has been one of the most iconic faces of British cinema for decades. The passionate Scotsman started picking up film roles in the late 1950s but it wasn’t until he played James Bond in 1962 that he made a major breakthrough. It’s a role which made him a star, a household name and a screen icon. A year earlier, he had one of his first starring roles on the big screen playing a small-time criminal in The Frightened City.
Paddy Damion (Connery) is a burglar and petty thief who is determined to look out for his former partner Wally (Kenneth Griffith) who was injured during a robbery. After taking a job with a local mobster Harry Foulcher (Alfred Marks) he finds himself embroiled in a crime syndicate, masterminded by the mysterious Waldo Zhernikov (Herbert Lom). When he falls for Anya (Yvonne Romain), a French singer, things begin to get complicated.
The Frightened City is a hard-boiled crime drama which throws together a number of interconnected elements until they reach a head in a violent finale. John Gregson’s Detective Inspector Sayers leads the police response as they attempt to stop the crimewave, although his methods are unorthodox. He’s just one of a very impressive cast in John Lemont’s gritty and frank portrait of the underworld in 1960s London. The Frightened City is an underappreciated gem of British crime cinema.
- Interview with Journalist and Film Historian Matthew Sweet
The new restoration of The Frightened City is released on DVD, Digital and Blu-ray by Studiocanal as part of their Vintage Classics on 12 April.