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|Marshall Thompson||Gunther Wyckoff|
|Sam Levene||Dr. John D. Faron|
|Richard Rober||Police Capt. Henry Keiver|
|James Bell||Harrison D. Barnes|
|William Conrad||Chuckles - Bartender|
|Dick Simmons||Television Announcer|
|Hal Baylor||Police Lt. 'Whitey' Tallman (as Hal Fieberling)|
Homicidal escaped mental patient Wyckoff arrives by bus in Terminal City. As he leaves the bus, he is confronted by the bus driver for stealing the driver’s Colt pistol and kills the bus driver with it.Wyckoff trys to locate a ‘Dr. Faron’, at both his office and then at his home address (in an apartment building), with no luck. As he leaves the building, we notice it is a warm night, and he notices ‘The Oasis Bar’ across the street from the apartments. He goes into the bar and finds there is a good vantage point to observe the entryway to the apartment building.There are four other customers in the bar, manned by Chuckles the bartender and his assistant/relief-person (whose wife is in hospital about to have a baby). Chuckles, seeing a ‘news flash’ story on the TV, notices Wyckoff is one of his customers and tries to telephone the police, but Wyckoff notices such, and shoots Chuckles dead. The gunshot attracts attention on the street, and as a beat officer approaches the bar he is noticed by Wyckoff and shot and wounded by firing through the window. Bystanders rescue the officer, and a call is put out for reinforcements to respond to ‘a man barricaded in the bar’.Wyckoff has the others sit close together so he can watch them. The relief barman notes to the others the gun holds eight rounds, but also that Wyckoff has an additional magazine, leaving many rounds still potentially available to use.Wyckoff calls the police to inform him of his identity and the hostage situation. He demands the police stay away but deliver Faron to the bar within 25 minutes or he will kill the hostages. As the hostages converse, we discover Faron is the local police psychologist. The press set up TV coverage near the bar while the crowd of onlookers grows.As police discuss tactics, Faron is located and brought to the bar. One of the hostages is a reporter, and reminds the others that Wyckoff ’s previous crime was ‘a big local story’ three years ago. As Faron pleads with the police to let him attempt to ‘handle’ Wyckoff, they attempt to enter the bar by surreptitious means. Wyckoff becomes aware of the attempted breach and seriously wounds an officer with two shots, as the hostages look on helplessly. Faron again pleads with the police ("I demand that you let me do my job!"), which Wyckoff sees happening on the TV. ( This issue of a hostage taker watching coverage of their own created–event has been debated often, and even more heavily in recent years, with regard to ‘complete’ freedom of the press ). The police captain resents Faron's success at getting Wyckoff a 'light sentence' the first time around. The police prepare a breach ‘en masse’ with two minutes to go before Wyckoff's 'deadline', but Faron slips away and enters the bar. He trys to convince Wyckoff he is delusional, but after some discussion, Wyckoff becomes agitated and shoots Faron dead.The phone rings, and the assistant knows it’s the hospital calling about his wife. Desperate to answer, he struggles with Wyckoff ; at the same moment, the police detonate an explosive charge and put out the lights. In the confusion, one of the hostages uses Chuckles under-counter bar-gun to shoot Wyckoff . In shock, he staggers outside and is cut down in a hail of police gunfire. The police enter the bar. As he kneels over Faron's body, the police captain wryly and rhetorically asks an officer "How far does man have to go to prove that he's right?". The survivors get to go home. The police outside implore the crowd to ‘break it up’, and do the same.
Theatrical : 1951-11-16 : France
Theatrical : 1950-11-03 : United States of America
DVD : 2010-07-13 : United States of America