The Captive City (1952) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Captive City (1952)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

One of several early-1950s films to capitalize on the Kefauver Committee's investigation of organized crime, The Captive City stars John Forsythe as crusading editor Jim Austin. While Austin prepares his testimony before the Committee, the film flashes back to the events which led to this courageous act. Victor Sutherland plays mob boss Murray Sirak, who has the entire police force of Austin's hometown under his thumb. Sirak in turns takes his orders from an unseen Mister Big, who of course is "above the law"--or so it seems. Based on the experiences of Time magazine reporter Alvin Josephy Jr. (who co-authored the script), Captive City contains the added fillip of a guest appearance by Senator Estes Kefauver himself.
Classics , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
United Artists

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John Forsythe
as Jim Austin
Martin Milner
as Phil Harding
Joan Camden
as Marge Austin
Harold J. Kennedy
as Don Carey
Ray Teal
as Chief Gillette
Marjorie Crossland
as Mrs. Sirak
Victor Sutherland
as Murray Sirak
Hal K. Dawson
as Clyde Nelson
Geraldine Hall
as Mrs. Nelson
Gladys Hurlbut
as Linda Percy
Ian Wolfe
as Rev. Nash
Jess Kirkpatrick
as Anderson
Frances Morris
as Mrs. Harding
Charles Wagenheim
as Phone Man
Paul Brinegar
as Police Sergeant
Victor Romito
as Fabretti
Charles Regan
as Mobster
Estes Kefauver
as Himself (uncredited)
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Critic Reviews for The Captive City

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (3)

A tense, absorbing drama.

Full Review… | March 4, 2009
Top Critic

Somewhere along about the middle of all these goings-on, an alert and knowing observer may spot some provoking holes.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

The earnest plot is nothing to write home about, but the effective use of documentary-style location shooting and deep-focus photography was innovatory for its day.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Teal is frighteningly realistic as the corrupt police chief, and Sutherland is even more terrifying as the crime boss. Dawson is perfect as the gumshoe whose honesty exceeds his greed.

Full Review… | October 30, 2015
TV Guide

An exposé of organised crime, as seen through the eyes of a small-town newspaper editor, played by John Forsyth.

Full Review… | October 30, 2015
Radio Times

... a tough yet austere little crime story carved out of a small budget.

Full Review… | October 22, 2011
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Audience Reviews for The Captive City


John Forsythe is an honest, small town newspaper editor who tugs at a tiny thread and unravels an entire crime syndicate. An obscure but worthy little film noir bolstered by the the talented (and somewhat masculine) Miss Joan Camden.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer


A reporter discovers his small town is being taken over by a crime syndicate. Kind of disappointing compared to Robert Wise's other noir films like The Set-Up and Odds Against Tomorrow. It is well-directed and makes good use of John Forsythe (not a great actor, but a likable joe). But the story is very been-there-done-that, with nothing too exciting to add. The mob in this movie is rather low-key, by noir standards, and so there isn't as much tension or threat of danger as it feels like there should be. Not a bad movie, just needs more juice.

Martin Teller
Martin Teller

The Captive City Quotes

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