THE FRIGHTENED CITY. Anglo-Amalgamated Films, UK. 1961; Allied Artists, US, 1962. Herbert Lom, John Gregson, Sean Connery, Alfred Marks, Yvonne Romain, Olive McFarland. Director: John Lemont.

   A black-and-white British gangster film that the number three cast member takes over and makes his own. Sean Connery plays Paddy Damion in The Frightened City, a petty crook who is roped into the protection rackets covering all of London by the smooth-talking Harry Foulcher (Alfred Marks) who is secretly working for a malevolent crime boss by the name of Waldo Zhernikov (Herbert Lom).

   It is the latter’s idea to form an association of all the local mobsters in the same racket and make the entire city cry out for help. It is Paddy’s job to help keep everyone in line. Until, that is, one of the head gangsters objects to Zhernikov’s plans to escalate their criminous activities, and unknowingly to Paddy, he is the one who is chosen to help eliminate him.

   Even at this early stage of his career, and even though he’s on the wrong side of the law, Sean Connery is both cool and urbane, with a unmistakable eye for the ladies. He’s also the absolute focus of attention whenever whenever he’s on the screen. Solidly if not slickly produced, The Frightened City has the look of having had a bigger budget than usual for British crime films of the same era — no Hammer quickie this.