GenreCrime, Film-Noir, Drama Duration LanguageEnglish
Release dateMarch 26, 1952 (1952-03-26) (United States) WriterAlvin M. Josephy (screenplay), Alvin M. Josephy (story), Karl Kamb ScreenplayAlvin M. Josephy, Jr., Karl Kamb CastJohn Forsythe (Jim Austin), Joan Camden (Marge Austin), Harold J. Kennedy (Don Carey), Marjorie Crossland (Mrs. Sirak), Victor Sutherland (Murray Sirak), Ray Teal (Chief Gillette) Similar moviesThe Dark Knight, The Godfather, Looper, Black Mass, Goodfellas, Batman: Under the Red Hood
TaglineNO PUNCHES PULLED...NO TRUTHS UNTOLD!
The Captive City is a 1952 film noir crime film directed by Robert Wise. The screenplay is based on real life experiences of Time magazine reporter Alvin M. Josephy, Jr., who co-wrote the script.
As newspaper editor Jim Austin prepares his testimony before the Committee, the story flashes back to the events which led to his testifying.
Austin is driven to investigate corruption after Clyde Nelson, a local private detective, working on an apparently harmless divorce case, discovers the existence of a big-time gambling syndicate operating with the consent of the city fathers, the local police, and the respectable elements of the community. Nelson is killed in a hit-and-run which appears to be an accident. Austin thinks otherwise because he is harassed by police when he looks into the PI's death.
John Forsythe as Jim Austin
Joan Camden as Marge Austin
Harold J. Kennedy as Don Carey
Marjorie Crossland as Mrs. Sirak
Victor Sutherland as Murray Sirak
Ray Teal as Chief Gillette
Martin Milner as Phil Harding
Geraldine Hall as Mrs. Nelson
Hal K. Dawson as Clyde Nelson
Ian Wolfe as Rev. Nash
The screenplay of The Captive City was inspired by the Kefauver Committee's hearings. The television broadcast of the hearings attracted huge public interest and educated a broad audience about the issues of municipal corruption and organized crime. The tremendous success of the broadcast led to the production of a whole cycle of "exposé" crime films dealing with the dismantling of complex criminal organizations by law enforcement. The Captive City had the blessing of senator Kefauver himself: Robert Wise took a print of the film to Washington D. C. to show to senator Kefauver, who not only endorsed it but even appears in the prologue and epilogue, cautioning audiences about the evils of organized crime. Other notable examples of exposé films include Hoodlum Empire (1952) and The Turning Point (1952).