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"Kiss of Death" & "Pickup on South Street" on Wed. Feb. 10


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Just a quick heads up for this awesome double feature with two of the best noirs from Fox - which I guess don't get shown on TCM all that often due to their being Fox movies. And also, they both feature that quintessential noir star, Richard Widmark:

 

*Kiss of Death* (1947) 8pm ET

An ex-con trying to go straight must face a crazed criminal out for revenge.

Cast: Victor Mature, Brian Donlevy, Coleen Gray, Richard Widmark Dir: Henry Hathaway BW-99 mins

 

*Pickup on South Street* (1953) 10pm ET

A petty thief accidentally steals a communist spy's purse.

Cast: Richard Widmark, Jean Peters, Thelma Ritter, Murvyn Vye Dir: Samuel Fuller BW-80 mins

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I can't wait even though I own Kiss of Death on DVD now and am waiting for a good sale on the Pickup DVD through Criterion (I think last I saw it for $25 so I should cave in and buy!). I plan to record both simply because I always enjoy Mr. Osborne's introductions.

 

I always use Widmark's noirs to introduce people to the genre and they are always impressed and want more - then I introduce them to Dana Andrews. Definitely have different acting styles, but they both played significant roles in the genre.

 

It seems that for this year's 31 days of Oscar they borrowed some goodies from Fox - the highlight being Alexander's Ragtime Band which comes on Thurs night. Not a noir, but it is a rarity to see Ameche, Faye and Power on TCM so to see them all on one film is great - if they were playing In Old Chicago as well they would have made my February!

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You're right, Bob's intros sometimes make it worthwhile recording movies that you may already have on DVD.

 

I don't have Pickup on DVD, but I did recently watch a gorgeous 35mm print at the Noir City festival that Eddie Muller runs, and it was a marvelous experience. The audience totally loved every minute of it! :D

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In most movies, Thelma was a great comedic relief. She does a bit of that here, too, but for reasons that I won't mention specifically (no spoilers) she also has a scene that really leaves you a bit heartbroken, because you don't think that a harmless person like her would ever deserve to have something like that happen to her.

 

And that may just be one of the most unforgettable scenes of any noir that I've ever watched.

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That scene has Richard Widmark at his sadistic best, probably one of the best known scenes in noir.

 

I have managed to put KoD on disc, but have somehow failed to do so with PUoSS, but I'll snag it this time around. Fuller is a favorite. I highly recommend his Shock Corridor, or most anything else he has made.

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> {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

> That scene has Richard Widmark at his sadistic best, probably one of the best known scenes in noir.

 

You know, it has only been about 10 days since I saw it, but I could swear that the person who does you know what to Ritter was not Widmark. In fact, didn't he rather like her?

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Richard Widmark said that "scene" that has become one of the most infamous in film history, was the first scene he did when work started on the film. He thought maybe his acting was a little "over the top" but the director, Henry Hathaway , said he got just what he wanted.

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I have an elderly aunt who loves old movies, the TV is on all the time. I told her about the Richard Widmark movies coming on tomorrow night. She said, "Oh, I like him". Then she thought for a moment, "Didn't he push that old lady..... that wasn't nice. I didn't like him in that one".

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> {quote:title=HollywoodGolightly wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

> > That scene has Richard Widmark at his sadistic best, probably one of the best known scenes in noir.

>

> You know, it has only been about 10 days since I saw it, but I could swear that the person who does you know what to Ritter was not Widmark. In fact, didn't he rather like her?

 

 

Well, I guess it's been too long since I saw Pickup on South Street, or Kiss of Death, and I'll have to admit to an embarrassing "senior moment" in conflating the two. The scene I was thinking of, seared into my brain long ago, is Richard Widmark as Tommy Udo, in Kiss of Death.

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They don't make character actors like they used to. I need to google who Thelma lost all her nominations to over the years...I can't imagine being nominated 6 times and losing - that woman knew how to pick a script! She saved Boeing Boeing from being a complete waste of 100 minutes of my life and DEFINITELY should have won for The Mating Season. There is something magical about her supporting performances....

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She's one of the best character actors, ever! And she always makes my day whenever I see her in any movie - although I admit, The Mating Season really was a high point for her.

 

It's too bad that she didn't receive the recognition she deserved from the Academy, but she sure does from classic movie fans, and always will.

 

As to who she lost out to, I looked it up for you:

 

1963: to Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker

1960: to Shelley Winters in The Diary of Anne Frank

1954: to Donna Reed in From Here to Eternity

1953: to Gloria Grahame in The Bad and the Beautiful

1952: to Kim Hunter in A Streetcar Named Desire

1951: to Josephine Hull in Harvey

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Thanks for the research Holly! In fairness to those ladies, I will have to check out some of those performances again as well as take a look at the other nominees in that category that year before I make a final opinion (will probably be biased anyway).

 

I happened to be reading Walter Brenan's wiki page and I was a little disturbed about the Academy voting etc and what led to them changing the rules early on...fast forward many decades later and I STILL don't and may never understand the Academy and their voting practices etc. I guess what is most important is the actor or actress being well respected and recognized by their peers. From my understanding, Thelma Ritter was.

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> {quote:title=LoveFilmNoir wrote:}{quote}

> Thanks for the research Holly! In fairness to those ladies, I will have to check out some of those performances again as well as take a look at the other nominees in that category that year before I make a final opinion (will probably be biased anyway).

 

Well, there's some legendary performances in there, too, so I can see why the Academy might have had a hard time giving everyone their due recognition over the years.

 

> I happened to be reading Walter Brenan's wiki page and I was a little disturbed about the Academy voting etc and what led to them changing the rules early on...fast forward many decades later and I STILL don't and may never understand the Academy and their voting practices etc. I guess what is most important is the actor or actress being well respected and recognized by their peers. From my understanding, Thelma Ritter was.

 

A lot of it just comes down to a popularity contest, obviously. And I know that nowadays, it pays off to have a very good PR team and the studio's support (and marketing budget) but I'm not 100% sure if it was always like that. I suppose in many ways it must have been similar.

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Hey Hollywood, like everyone I adored Thelma Ritter and it is difficult to understand how she failed 6 times to take home the Oscar, until you look at the women and their roles she was up against that's pretty exalted company. I think Thelma failed to get an Oscar had nothing to do with her ability, but simply because she didn't get the "A" scripts. In the years she was nominated she got 6 "GOOD" roles while the others got 6 "GREAT" roles, too bad.

 

"PICKUP on SOUTH STREET", I fail to understand how how i an avid Widmark fan managed to miss this film for 50 years. Wow, Jean Peters sure had the sultry, slightly tarnished lady down pat didn't she?

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stjohnrv, I happen to think Thelma did the best with what she had script-wise. It should also be noted that she was typecast...I also think her typecasting may have hurt her. I can imagine the thought process during voting time "look, another Ritter role as a maid or tired mother".

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> {quote:title=stjohnrv wrote:}{quote}

> "PICKUP on SOUTH STREET", I fail to understand how how i an avid Widmark fan managed to miss this film for 50 years. Wow, Jean Peters sure had the sultry, slightly tarnished lady down pat didn't she?

 

Well, you finally got to watch it, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

 

I do agree with you about Ms. Peters, too.

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