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Twelve Hours to Kill

Twelve Hours to Kill(1960)

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While sight-seeing in New York City, Martin Filones, a Greek constructions engineer, glances out his hotel window at noon and witnesses the gangland murder of Frankie Russo. Martin is questioned at police headquarters by Lt. Jim Carnevan, who is still smarting from the death of another witness under his protection. Feeling personally responsible for Martin's safety, Jim decides to send him immediately to Denton, a small town north of the city. On the train there, Martin meets Lucy Hall, a dress designer who lives in Denton. The Denton police who were to meet Martin at the train station fail to appear, and Martin sees Russo's killers, Johnny and Mark, waiting for him. The thugs fail to recognize their quarry, however, and Martin eludes them by hitching a ride with Lucy to his hotel. On the way there, Martin hears a radio broadcast announcing his disappearance and, fearing a trap, accepts Lucy's offer to stay at her house. There, Martin tells her about his predicament and makes a sketch of his pursuers. In New York, meanwhile, Jim awakens from a nightmarish sleep and learns that Martin is missing and feared dead. When a large parcel stuffed with cash is left at his doorstep, making it seem as though he sold Martin out to the mob, Jim heads for Denton. Jim's concerned wife Clara then informs her husband's superior, Capt. Willie Long, that Jim abruptly left for Denton after hearing the news of Martin's disappearance. As Long follows Jim to Denton, Martin decides to go to the hotel to investigate and Lucy insists on driving him there. After dropping Martin off near the hotel, Lucy recognizes the men from the sketch standing on the hostelry's front porch and drives to a nearby drugstore to phone the police. While hiding in the bushes, Martin hears the two thugs discussing a crooked cop, his worst fear. Noticing Lucy driving away, Johnny and Mark conclude that she must be involved with Martin and decide to search for her car. Soon after, the local police arrive at the hotel, but when they find no one there except the desk clerk, they dismiss the call as a false alarm. Jim, meanwhile, arrives in town and asks Capt. Johns, the head of police department, for help. Outside the police station, Martin sees Jim talking to Johns and suspects that he is hunting him. After Johns discounts Jim's concerns, Long appears at headquarters to impugn Jim's integrity and insinuate that he has been paid off. When Jim insists on searching for Martin on his own, Long asks Johns to arrest him, but the astute captain allows Jim to leave. While cruising the streets, the killers spot Lucy's car parked in front of her house. After barging in the front door, they try to intimidate her into talking. Jim, who was told by Johns that a woman phoned to alert the police of Martin's peril, learns Lucy's name and address from the pharmacist and then calls Clara to find out if anyone else is aware of the phony bribe. When Clara replies that she told no one, Jim begins to suspect that Long is involved. Upon returning to Lucy's, Martin peers through the window and sees Johnny strike her. To draw the thugs out of the house, Martin throws a log through the window, and once they leave, Lucy phones the police for help. Long and Johns speed to Lucy's, but when Jim arrives there first, Lucy breathlessly tells him that Martin ran into the backyard and toward the nursery. With Mark and Johnny on his tail, Martin takes refuge in the nursery, lobbing potted plants at his pursuers. As Martin and Mark clash on the roof, the police siren wails in the background. Just as Martin springs from the roof, Jim arrives to trade gunfire with Johnny. After a shot knocks Jim off his feet, Martin jumps Johnny and Jim pulls himself up and shoots Mark. Just then, Johns and Long, guided by Lucy, arrive and Long accuses Jim of bribery. When Jim chides Long for double-crossing the department, Johns must decide which officer is guilty. Aware that the real turncoat will try to kill Johnny on the way back to New York, Johns asks Johnny with whom he would like to ride back to city. After Johnny exposes Long as the traitor, Martin and Lucy join hands in relief, and the clock strikes midnight.