Kiss of Death

1947

Crime / Drama / Film-Noir / Thriller

7
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 88%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 76%
IMDb Rating 7.4 10 6997

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
November 27, 2018 at 08:23 PM

Director

Cast

Victor Mature as Nick Bianco
Richard Widmark as Tommy Udo
Karl Malden as Sgt. William Cullen
John Marley as Convict
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
801.38 MB
956*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 39 min
P/S 2 / 9
1.54 GB
1424*1072
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 39 min
P/S 5 / 5

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 8 / 10

A Shocking Screen Debut

Richard Widmark belongs to a select few players who from their screen debut became instant stars. No bit parts, no walk-ons, Widmark's first feature role netted him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor and stardom.

Widmark's portrayal of Tommy Udo in Kiss of Death shocked audiences nationwide. When Widmark tied up Mildred Dunnock and threw her down a flight of stairs, gasps aplenty came from audiences. That maniacal giggle became his trademark and fodder for impressionists from then on in. Widmark in fact had to really convince his bosses at 20th Century Fox that he was capable of more than being a psychopathic killer.

Widmark was fourth billed in this film and so dominates it that it's forgotten that Victor Mature is the lead and contributes a good performance in his own right. Mature is a career criminal who was left holding the bag for his associates during a jewel heist. He refuses to rat them out and gets a stretch in prison for it. By his refusal to be a stoolie, Mature gains the friendship of Widmark who has a special hatred for the breed.

Things then go bad for Mature when his wife commits suicide and his two little daughters wind up in an orphanage. At that point he rethinks becoming a stoolie for District Attorney Brian Donlevy and the main action of the film begins.

Mature gives a very good performance of a man running out of options. He's caught between concern for his family and living up to the honor system that criminals have among themselves. Brian Donlevy, usually a villain, does a good job as the District Attorney.

One other performance is worthy of note. Though he only has a few scenes, criminal defense attorney Taylor Holmes is also a real stand out. His Earle Houser is definitely one of the sleaziest lawyers ever portrayed on the screen.

For all the many good performances Richard Widmark has given in his 91 years, his debut film turned out to be the only time he was ever nominated for an Oscar. That's a shame because I could think of a couple of other films like Night and the City, Pickup on South Street and Panic in the Streets that would have been worthy of consideration.

Hopefully the American Film Institute will give Widmark a Lifetime Achievement Award and soon.

Reviewed by perfectbond 8 / 10

Great noir

Kiss of Death was an engaging and suspenseful film noir thriller. Standout performances were delivered from Victor Mature and Richard Widmark among others. Widmark as the sadistic Udo had a particularly memorable turn. This film actually reminded me quite a bit of the Humphrey Bogart film, The Enforcer, at least the first twenty minutes of that equally good crime drama. In both movies, the turning of evidence by witnesses for the state and their protection figure prominently. Unfortunately, the witness in The Enforcer isn't as lucky as Nick Bianco. One other note: the great Karl Malden has a small role in this film as a junior detective. Both Kiss of Death and The Enforcer get a solid 8/10.

Reviewed by secondtake 9 / 10

Three Reasons for Greatness: Plot, Polish, and Victor Mature

Kiss of Death (1947)

Three Reasons for Greatness: Plot, Polish, and Victor Mature

1) Victor Mature gives a impassioned, inward-looking performance to die for. 2) The story is gripping, and reasonable, and pits the lone man trying to go right against all the forces that all of us face: the system, the bad guys, and our own mistakes. 3) The studio system is at its technical best and supports the story with polished, professional acting, camera-work, direction, and sound.

In the general sense, these are actually pretty basic things that every movie might have: a lead we can identify with, a great story, and well made. Kiss of Death lacks only those rare qualities of originality in some other noir films, like we see in Sunset Boulevard or Detour, to keep it from the stratosphere. But it's better than most by far.

Mature, throughout, is not portrayed as a criminal type, "One of those mugs that don't belong to human society," as Donlevy says as Assistant D.A. Bianco has good handwriting, he has composure, he loves his kids. And a great small reinforcement happens when he goes to the orphanage to see them and the nun looks at him and his two cop guards and asks, "Which one of you gentlemen is Mr. Bianco." The camera lets us pan over them and we see them as the same.

And he mildly says, "That's me." Mature is really amazing in a role that could have been hammed up or stiffened up. His large, meaty presence is presented with a kind of innocence, as if he is the victim in this life process going on all around him that he has no control over. The movie asserts the truth in this at the start--he has tried to get work for a year as an ex- con, and social stigma stands in his way, leading to the jewel heist as an act of desperation. Furthermore, Mature is more principled than anyone ought to be, refusing to rat until he's been lied to by those he was protecting with silence. In a way, he gradually rises to a kind of folk hero status, in this very private, limited way, affecting only a handful of people, but doing so flawlessly.

Of course, it's Richard Widmark (in his very first film) who makes Mature practically a saint by being an unrepenting psychopath. The ten seconds it takes him to grab an old woman in a wheelchair, tie her up with an electric cord, and roll her screaming down the stairs is justifiably famous. Even though you know it's coming, it's about as heartless as anything in the movies, and played with economy, not dwelling on it, just punching you in the stomach. And watch him contort and fall in the last scene where he's shot in the street. This is the kind of thing the French auteur directors drooled over.

The photography is interesting for being ultimately conservative and superb at the same time. The camera is almost always level, framed with geometric precision, using light to create depth and complexity, sometimes shooting through windows or screens to add to the visual complexity, but rarely or never using strong angles off of vertical, or zeroing in on a face or hand so closely it fills the screen. These are all carefully executed shots, and scenes, and it is editing with equal precision. In all, the movie is a model not of daring and pizazz, but of adhering to the rules so perceptively, it sparkles. It's possible this was partly done to heighten its documentary realism, but Norbert Brodine is a conservative shooter at heart, so between him and Hathaway's workingman's approach, we would expect what we see here.

The movie is not a great social commentary despite the suggestion at the beginning that it might explore the causes of crime, and despite its use of actual New York State locations for all the shooting. But it doesn't want to be. It leverages well worn clichés because that's the quickest way to get us to relate to the man trying to get his life straight. That's all its about, really. Even in the voice-over by his eventual new wife, heard at the beginning and end, we hear a tale about one man only.

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