Panic in the Streets

Director: Elia Kazan
Year Released: 1950
Rating: 3.0

Compact little noir about the pneumonic plague being spread throughout New Orleans after being brought over from another country (quoth Sontag: "One feature of the usual script for plague: the disease invariably comes from somewhere else."), and the effort to stop the spread. It slows down when it should be getting more frantic - particularly in a leisurely conversation disease expert Richard Widmark has with his wife on the front porch - and not always perfectly plausible (you mean there isn't someone they missed?), but the idea is frightening and fascinating - especially in these modern times - and the two key mobsters, Jack Palance and Zero Mostel, are a great pair (one's menacing and confident, the other's sweaty and nervous).