Killer That Stalked New York, The (1950): McEvoy’s Film Noir, Starring Evelyn Keyes

Earl McEvoy directed The Killer That Stalked New York, a film noir about a spreading epidemic, starring Evelyn Keyes, Charles Korvin and William Bishop.

The Killer That Stalked New York
The Killer That Stalked New York movieposter.jpg

Theatrical release poster

Shot on location, in a semi-documentary style, the tale concerns diamond smugglers who unknowingly start a smallpox outbreak in the New York City of 1947.

It is based on the real threat of a smallpox epidemic, described in a 1948 Cosmopolitan magazine article.

Arriving at New York City’s Pennsylvania Station after a trip to Cuba, Sheila Bennet (Evelyn Keyes) smuggles $50,000 worth of diamonds, and so is followed by the authorities.

She mails the diamonds to her husband, Matt Krane (Charles Korvin), instead of carrying them around.

Sheila, feeling sick, faints on the street and is taken by a police officer to a local clinic. While there, she encounters a little girl and inadvertently infects her.

Misdiagnosed as having a cold, she is released and foes home. After the girl is admitted to the hospital, she is found to have smallpox.

Meanwhile, Matt has been cheating on Sheila with her sister, Francie (Lola Albright), and then attempts to take off when the diamonds arrive through the mail. However, the fence cannot buy the diamonds because the police are searching for them.

Since Matt has to wait for ten days for the cash, he cannot leave New York. Sheila confronts Francie, who kills herself afterward due to Matt’s betrayal.

The growing number of smallpox victims motivates city officials to vaccinate everyone in New York to prevent an epidemic, but they quickly run out of serum, which causes a panic.

Still unaware that she has smallpox, Sheila returns to the clinic to get more medicine. The doctor tries to talk her into turning herself in, but she shoots him and escapes.

Matt, trying to escape from the police, falls from a building ledge to his death.

Sheila turns herself in and, before succumbing to the disease, provides the authorities information about her contacts.

Cast
Evelyn Keyes as Sheila Bennet
Charles Korvin as Matt Krane
William Bishop as Dr. Ben Wood
Dorothy Malone as Alice Lorie
Lola Albright as Francie Bennet
Barry Kelley as Treasury Agent Johnson
Carl Benton Reid as Health Commissioner Ellis
Ludwig Donath as Dr. Cooper
Art Smith as Anthony Moss
Whit Bissell as Sid Bennet
Roy Roberts as Mayor of New York
Connie Gilchrist as Belle – the Landlady
Dan Riss as Skrip
Harry Shannon as Police Officer Houlihan
Jim Backus as Willie Dennis, the nightclub owner

Note:

TCM showed the movie on Feb 6, 2021.