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Hey! Kiss of Death, not such a bad noir.


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Watching it again, it doesn't appear so noiry to me, but I won't belabor the point.  The ending is somewhat befitting.  The usual noir character gets into trouble when an inherent flaw or weakness in their character is exposed under stress.  The movie charts their downfall.  Bianco's trajectory is the opposite, the movie charting his redemption.  It would be a cheat if after going through everything he did, he only ended up bleeding to death on the pavement.  Additionally, I imagine the production coders would want people who cooperate on bringing organized crime figures to justice to get rewarded.  Remember also what Udo says about how he deals with squealers.  He shoots them in the belly, so's they can take a long time dying.  Still a stretch he could survive, but more believable than getting a bullet in the aorta.

 

Coleen Gray combusts in this movie.  She made the same pitch to Hollywood Fen made to Dunson in Red River.  Unfortunately for us, Hollywood made the same response, leaving her to be killed by Indians.  Not really.

 

A key noir character in the film is the assistant DA played by Donlevy;   he uses Nick repeatedly for his (the city) own gains as well as implicating  Rizzo as a police informant in order to stir the pot and get the mob to kill off each other.   These tactics,  like those in The Racket,  add a noir dimension as it relates to the battle between cops and robbers.

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LornaHanson.wrote:

the studio also apparently deleted all the scenes of Mature's wife and her suicide via sticking her head in the oven- again without Hathaway's consent- and the result is a narrative with some holes in it.

 

 

Poor.Patricia.Morison. She reputedly gave an Oscar-worthy performance as Mature's wife; there was plenty of buzz, until her scenes (and credit) got deleted from the released film. I don't remember why this happened, but it could have been a breakthrough role for the former Paramount contractee.

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I just wish Richard Widmark hadn't of resented being so identified with his role of giggling psycho-gangster tommy udo. actors imo shouldn't resent the public liking them in certain roles. it is in fact the greatest of compliments.

 

instead some actors regard it as a slight against them. such an unfortunate egotistical attitude. actors should appreciate those roles that endear them to the public. what a great thing it woulda been to see richard widmark reprise tommy udo on an episode of the lucy show or even hee haw. :)

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I just wish Richard Widmark hadn't of resented being so identified with his role of giggling psycho-gangster tommy udo. actors imo shouldn't resent the public liking them in certain roles. it is in fact the greatest of compliments.

 

instead some actors regard it as a slight against them. such an unfortunate egotistical attitude. actors should appreciate those roles that endear them to the public. what a great thing it woulda been to see richard widmark reprise tommy udo on an episode of the lucy show or even hee haw. :)

 

Hmmmm...sounds like you're sayin' here that WIDMARK would have never had tried gettin' into some country club by tellin' 'em HE "was no actor and had movies galore he starred in to prove it", eh ND?! ;)

 

(...well, I don't think Widmark was that "egotistical" either, from what I know of him...word was he was a pretty down-to-earth guy too, and just like Vic in this regard)

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Hmmmm...sounds like you're sayin' here that WIDMARK would have never had tried gettin' into some country club by tellin' 'em HE "was no actor and had movies galore he starred in to prove it", eh ND?! ;)

 

(...well, I don't think Widmark was that "egotistical" either, from what I know of him...word was he was a pretty down-to-earth guy too, and just like Vic in this regard)

I doan know how egotistical widmark was if at all but he sure was a laugh riot as fun-loving tommy. :)

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I watched this movie Tuesday night--almost when it was on live, but had it recording anyway in case I wasn't able to start watching at 7pm.  I ended up starting my recording when it was about 30 minutes into it-- the closest I ever get to watching movies "live" on TCM it seems.  

 

Anyway...

 

I thought this was a great movie.  I'd heard about it but had never seen it.  The only image I had of the film was the indelible moment when Richard Widmark pushes the invalid woman down the stairs in her wheelchair.  It was amazing to me that Widmark was capable of such a stunt, since prior to Tuesday, my only image of him was him playing himself on I Love Lucy in the episode "The Tour."  He ends up signing a grapefruit for Lucy (one that she had stolen from his yard).  He seemed like such a nice guy on 'Lucy,' I couldn't picture him as the villain. 

 

...then I saw Kiss of Death.  Widmark was fantastic as Tommy Udo.  He was so diabolically evil, it was fantastic.  I loved the way he spoke and how he was so unapologetic about his actions.

 

This is for Dargo: This film actually made me appreciate Victor Mature more.  While I liked him in I Wake Up Screaming, I thought he was fantastic in this film.  While I'll never see him as a heartthrob, I thought his looks work well for the world of noir.  He looks like a cross between Cary Grant and Tony Curtis.  Anyway, I really liked him in this movie.  He was great as the non-hero protagonist of the story.

 

I felt bad for Mature's wife in this film.  While she was never seen, the poor thing commits suicide over Mature's going to prison.  He had the chance to get off easy for his crime, but didn't take advantage of the opportunity and loses his wife.  

 

I liked Coleen Gray in this film.  I'd never heard of her prior to seeing her in Nightmare Alley during the film noir fesitval.  I liked her in this film, but I think she was better in Nightmare Alley and had a more interesting role. 

 

It was also interesting seeing a young Karl Malden in this film.  

 

Fox definitely had the market cornered on film noir during the 40s and 50s.  I'm definitely going to look for Kiss of Death, the aforementioned Nightmare Alley and other Fox noir films to add to my DVD collection.  I hope that TCM airs more of the Fox noir films on upcoming schedules.

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One of the reasons that Victor Mature is so effective in the film, aside from the conviction of his acting, is because of his face. With its downward contours and his sagging eye lids, he simply looks like a tortured character out of film noir.

 

A decade after this film Mature appeared in The Long Haul, a British made production in which he played an American truck driver in England who gets mixed up with gangsters as he tries to scratch a living. A good little, undeservedly neglected noir, with, again, a strong performance from Mature.

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I watched this movie Tuesday night--almost when it was on live, but had it recording anyway in case I wasn't able to start watching at 7pm.  I ended up starting my recording when it was about 30 minutes into it-- the closest I ever get to watching movies "live" on TCM it seems.  

 

Anyway...

 

I thought this was a great movie.  I'd heard about it but had never seen it.  The only image I had of the film was the indelible moment when Richard Widmark pushes the invalid woman down the stairs in her wheelchair.  It was amazing to me that Widmark was capable of such a stunt, since prior to Tuesday, my only image of him was him playing himself on I Love Lucy in the episode "The Tour."  He ends up signing a grapefruit for Lucy (one that she had stolen from his yard).  He seemed like such a nice guy on 'Lucy,' I couldn't picture him as the villain. 

 

...then I saw Kiss of Death.  Widmark was fantastic as Tommy Udo.  He was so diabolically evil, it was fantastic.  I loved the way he spoke and how he was so unapologetic about his actions.

 

This is for Dargo: This film actually made me appreciate Victor Mature more.  While I liked him in I Wake Up Screaming, I thought he was fantastic in this film.  While I'll never see him as a heartthrob, I thought his looks work well for the world of noir.  He looks like a cross between Cary Grant and Tony Curtis.  Anyway, I really liked him in this movie.  He was great as the non-hero protagonist of the story.

 

I felt bad for Mature's wife in this film.  While she was never seen, the poor thing commits suicide over Mature's going to prison.  He had the chance to get off easy for his crime, but didn't take advantage of the opportunity and loses his wife.  

 

I liked Coleen Gray in this film.  I'd never heard of her prior to seeing her in Nightmare Alley during the film noir fesitval.  I liked her in this film, but I think she was better in Nightmare Alley and had a more interesting role. 

 

It was also interesting seeing a young Karl Malden in this film.  

 

Fox definitely had the market cornered on film noir during the 40s and 50s.  I'm definitely going to look for Kiss of Death, the aforementioned Nightmare Alley and other Fox noir films to add to my DVD collection.  I hope that TCM airs more of the Fox noir films on upcoming schedules.

Well if your checking out Film Noir's and you've never seen Widmark in other that this and on I Love Lucy then you got to get a hold of Pick Up On South Street, one of his best Film Noir

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I watched this movie Tuesday night--almost when it was on live, but had it recording anyway in case I wasn't able to start watching at 7pm.  I ended up starting my recording when it was about 30 minutes into it-- the closest I ever get to watching movies "live" on TCM it seems.  

 

Anyway...

 

I thought this was a great movie.  I'd heard about it but had never seen it.  The only image I had of the film was the indelible moment when Richard Widmark pushes the invalid woman down the stairs in her wheelchair.  It was amazing to me that Widmark was capable of such a stunt, since prior to Tuesday, my only image of him was him playing himself on I Love Lucy in the episode "The Tour."  He ends up signing a grapefruit for Lucy (one that she had stolen from his yard).  He seemed like such a nice guy on 'Lucy,' I couldn't picture him as the villain. 

 

...then I saw Kiss of Death.  Widmark was fantastic as Tommy Udo.  He was so diabolically evil, it was fantastic.  I loved the way he spoke and how he was so unapologetic about his actions.

 

This is for Dargo: This film actually made me appreciate Victor Mature more.  While I liked him in I Wake Up Screaming, I thought he was fantastic in this film.  While I'll never see him as a heartthrob, I thought his looks work well for the world of noir.  He looks like a cross between Cary Grant and Tony Curtis.  Anyway, I really liked him in this movie.  He was great as the non-hero protagonist of the story.

 

I felt bad for Mature's wife in this film.  While she was never seen, the poor thing commits suicide over Mature's going to prison.  He had the chance to get off easy for his crime, but didn't take advantage of the opportunity and loses his wife.  

 

I liked Coleen Gray in this film.  I'd never heard of her prior to seeing her in Nightmare Alley during the film noir fesitval.  I liked her in this film, but I think she was better in Nightmare Alley and had a more interesting role. 

 

It was also interesting seeing a young Karl Malden in this film.  

 

Fox definitely had the market cornered on film noir during the 40s and 50s.  I'm definitely going to look for Kiss of Death, the aforementioned Nightmare Alley and other Fox noir films to add to my DVD collection.  I hope that TCM airs more of the Fox noir films on upcoming schedules.

For fhe first couple of years after KISS OF DEATH, Widmark played variations of the psychotic Udo. He is also very good in the noirs (and noirish) THE STREET WITH NO NAME (1948), ROADHOUSE (1948), SLATTERY'S HURRICANE (1949), and NIGHT AND THE CITY (1950). After his equally chilling portrayal of a racist hood on NO WAY OUT (1950), also with Linda Darnell and Sidney Poitier, among others, Widmark begged off from playing any more such characters, which Fox more or less honored. He was more like the character in I Love Lucy, and wanted to play more of this type.

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Well if your checking out Film Noir's and you've never seen Widmark in other that this and on I Love Lucy then you got to get a hold of Pick Up On South Street, one of his best Film Noir

I think I have this film on my DVR! I'll have to make a point to watch it soon.

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For fhe first couple of years after KISS OF DEATH, Widmark played variations of the psychotic Udo. He is also very good in the noirs (and noirish) THE STREET WITH NO NAME (1948), ROADHOUSE (1948), SLATTERY'S HURRICANE (1949), and NIGHT AND THE CITY (1950). After his equally chilling portrayal of a racist hood on NO WAY OUT (1950), also with Linda Darnell and Sidney Poitier, among others, Widmark begged off from playing any more such characters, which Fox more or less honored. He was more like the character in I Love Lucy, and wanted to play more of this type.

Thanks Arturo! I will look out for these films! I appreciate all your recommendations!

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I've never seen it, but I have heard that Widmark is excellent in MADIGAN, a police drama made in 1968, co-starring Henry Fonda and directed by Don Siegel and co written by Abraham Polonsky, who of course had been blacklisted for years.

 

 

. It sounds like an early FRENCH CONNECTION- with a very complicated plot that apparently has a lot to do with police corruption, Widmark and Fonda both play cops, I am Not sure if Widmark plays a good or a bad guy in this one.

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I've never seen it, but I have heard that Widmark is excellent in MADIGAN, a police drama made in 1968, co-starring Henry Fonda and directed by Don Siegel and co written by Abraham Polonsky, who of course had been blacklisted for years.

. It sounds like an early FRENCH CONNECTION- with a very complicated plot that apparently has a lot to do with police corruption, Widmark and Fonda both play cops, I am Not sure if Widmark plays a good or a bad guy in this one.

MADIGAN is good, not great. Worth at least one viewing for police film fans.

 

As far as Widmark films, after KISS OF DEATH, I have to second the recommendations for NIGHT AND THE CITY, PANIC IN THE STREETS, DON'T BOTHER TO KNOCK and PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET

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Comment on the ending:

 

Victor Mature was trying to put Widmark in jail for life by getting him to commit murder (at his own expense.) This plan isn't a great one to begin with, but thanks to the studio execs Widmark is only going in for attempted murder, and it probably won't be long before he hits the streets again only to come after Mature's family, and he isn't in any condition to run.

 

Studio or no studio, Mature definitely should have killed him. Why do yourself in just to put him on death row, when you could kill him even more easily and relax in the hot seat yourself?

 

The suspense built up to that point was excellent. When he was just sitting in his home waiting for the other shoe to drop- it was tense. They made a beautiful scenario and missed the opportunity to put a good cap on it. The studio didn't bungle the ending any more than whoever that guy Victor Mature was playing did.

 

Until then the film was great.

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Comment on the ending:

 

Victor Mature was trying to put Widmark in jail for life by getting him to commit murder (at his own expense.) This plan isn't a great one to begin with, but thanks to the studio execs Widmark is only going in for attempted murder, and it probably won't be long before he hits the streets again only to come after Mature's family, and he isn't in any condition to run.

 

Studio or no studio, Mature definitely should have killed him. Why do yourself in just to put him on death row, when you could kill him even more easily and relax in the hot seat yourself?

 

The suspense built up to that point was excellent. When he was just sitting in his home waiting for the other shoe to drop- it was tense. They made a beautiful scenario and missed the opportunity to put a good cap on it. The studio didn't bungle the ending any more than whoever that guy Victor Mature was playing did.

 

Until then the film was great.

 

I think I remember D'Angelo saying Udo was a three-time loser. So if he was convicted of another felony, he would get an automatic life sentence.

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I think I remember D'Angelo saying Udo was a three-time loser. So if he was convicted of another felony, he would get an automatic life sentence.

 

I forgot that... well, it was still a bad plan.

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This movie particularly has always been one of the reasons I've always thought Victor Mature telling that country club admissions group that he "wasn't an actor and had 64 films to prove it", was a bold-faced lie!

 

(...self-deprecatingly FUNNY as hell, but still a bold-faced lie, because the guy COULD act, and because like most good film actors, he could effectively use just his eyes to project various emotions believably...nope, he was never just "beefcake")

He was a good actor, not to mention a "beautiful hunk of man" as the publicity machine put it.

 

Has he ever been a Star of the Month, I wonder?  He's certainly deserving of the honor.  I think what would have been his 100th birthday has passed, but it's never too late to recognize one of Hollywood's greats.  And a major dog lover to boot. :)

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MADIGAN is good, not great. Worth at least one viewing for police film fans.

 

As far as Widmark films, after KISS OF DEATH, I have to second the recommendations for NIGHT AND THE CITY, PANIC IN THE STREETS, DON'T BOTHER TO KNOCK and PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET

 

And ROAD HOUSE (1948), another good psycho role for him with the added benefit of Ida Lupino at her smokiest.

 

ps- Widmark was very smart and yet very brave to do NIGHT AND THE CITY just three years after having such success playing heavies and psychos because his character in that film is SUCH A PATHETIC LOSER!...I mean, it's a great film and a GREAT performance, but any number of other actors would've balked or held back or asked for changes to make the character a little less of a loser- but not Widmark. He totally goes for it.

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TheGayDivorcee--No SOTM or SUTS recognition for Mature--unless I overlooked it (I misread your post & looked up Richard Widmark first--no SOTM for him either, but he did have in day in 2008 SUTS).

 

Mature and Widmark were 20th Century Fox contract players and TCM rarely has these actors as SOTM or even SUTS.    And when TCM does they often don't show many of that actor's Fox films.    

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He was a good actor, not to mention a "beautiful hunk of man" as the publicity machine put it.

 

Has he ever been a Star of the Month, I wonder?  He's certainly deserving of the honor.  I think what would have been his 100th birthday has passed, but it's never too late to recognize one of Hollywood's greats.  And a major dog lover to boot. :)

 

I don't know if I can get behind the "beautiful hunk of man" statement, he doesn't do much for me; however, I agree with Tom's statement that Mature's looks work for his noir characters.  His sagging face (much like Bogart's) and eyelids gives him a world weary look.  Like in Kiss of Death, while he's the "good guy," though he is the protagonist of the story, he's just as much a criminal as the antagonists in the film.  He looks like someone who has been in and out of prison for years--crime is a lifestyle for him.  However, his agreement to rat out Richard Widmark's character and help the police capture him is what makes him a hero in the film.  Mature's character is tormented, because not only does he have to be a stool pigeon, he's worried about Widmark coming back to seek revenge.  Mature's torment shows on his face.  Someone with a less weathered face, like Cary Grant, for example, would not have been effective in this type of role. 

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ps- Widmark was very smart and yet very brave to do NIGHT AND THE CITY just three years after having such success playing heavies and psychos because his character in that film is SUCH A PATHETIC LOSER!...I mean, it's a great film and a GREAT performance, but any number of other actors would've balked or held back or asked for changes to make the character a little less of a loser- but not Widmark. He totally goes for it.

 

Well, maybe you don't know this Lorna, but I hear the primary reason he took that role was actually for the purpose of taking his wife Jean for a little shopping trip to Harrods Dept Store. ;)

 

(...though once he got to England it is said he was absolutely shocked at the price of a decent grapefruit there) 

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And ROAD HOUSE (1948), another good psycho role for him with the added benefit of Ida Lupino at her smokiest.

 

ps- Widmark was very smart and yet very brave to do NIGHT AND THE CITY just three years after having such success playing heavies and psychos because his character in that film is SUCH A PATHETIC LOSER!...I mean, it's a great film and a GREAT performance, but any number of other actors would've balked or held back or asked for changes to make the character a little less of a loser- but not Widmark. He totally goes for it.

 

Not so sure I agree that Fabian is a pathetic loser.   Yea, he is a hustler but he pulls off two very successful and fairly intelligent ones getting the financial backing of the wife of the club owner and aging Greek wrestling father of a prominent hood.     Due to bad luck the husband believes his wife is having an affair with Fabian and the Greek wrester dies while fighting.     Yea,  those hustles put in at major risk but it was bad luck that made them turn sour.     The noir theme of this film is that Fabian is a guy trying to get his in a corrupt noir setting where things never go as planned.      As for other actors wanting changes before they would play the part;   the other possible Fox male stars at the time where Dana Andrews and Cornel Wilde.   Hard for me to say they wouldn't of played the part of Fabian as seen in this fine film. 

 

PS:  to me the pathetic loser is the wife of the club owner.  Not only does she get taken by Fabian but she has to return to her husband a man she clearly despises,  pretending she still loves him. 

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