A classy thriller, much less laden with significance than most Kazan movies. Film noir and the Method go remarkably well together as the panic-stricken manhunt gets under way when a victim of a gangland killing is found to be riddled with pneumonic plague. Explicitly identified as rats to be exterminated, the menace - two killers (Palance, Mostel) who may be plague-carriers - is tracked through a pullulating garbage dump marvellously conjured out of some sweaty dockland locations in New Orleans. Some awkward psychologising early on about the police chief (Douglas) and his obstructive attitude as Widmark's Public Health Service officer tries to get things moving, otherwise it's all go, heightened realism, and first-rate performances.
Cast and crew
Barbara Bel Geddes