Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Richard Widmark Noir

You can't get much more noir as an actor than Richard Widmark. Here's some of his best:

Kiss of Death
1947-Henry Hathaway
One of the top five or ten greatest noirs ever made.
Victor Mature is an ex-con who turned state’s evidence so he can have a life with new wife Ann Gray. Brian Donlevy is the cop who helps him. And Richard Widmark… well, Widmark (in his first major role) is the psychotic Tommy Udo, who learns of Mature’s betrayal and sets his sites on him.
Widmark’s portrayal of Udo set a new standard for movie baddies. He’s scary as hell. Kiss of Death is a masterpiece.

Street with No Name
Widmark again, in his follow-up to Kiss of Death, again playing the scary-as-hell psycho. Nobody could do it quite as well.
An FBI agent goes undercover to nab a murderer and joins the gang of neurotic criminal Widmark, who is “building an organization along scientific lines”.

Night & the City
1950-Jules Dassin
Essential noir, with a first-rate cast, shot on location in London. The brilliant Widmark is an ambitious but none-too-bright hustler who finds himself running for his life when his plans to swindle a nightclub owner go awry. Also starring the gorgeous Gene Tierney, and Herbert Lom.

Pickup on South Street
1953-Sam Fuller
Doesn’t get much better than this one. Widmark is a master pickpocket who finds himself in possession of some microfilm that some Commie secret agents will stop at nothing to get back.

Panic in the Streets
1950-Elia Kazan
Terrific movie. Widmark takes a turn as a good guy for a change, playing a doctor desperately trying to track down a murderous criminal who’s been unknowingly infected with a deadly disease. The criminal must be stopped before he spreads the plague throughout the entire city of New Orleans.
Also starring Jack Palance and Barbara Bel Geddes.


  1. You can't beat the late forties early fifties for pure gritty films.