The ambitious Stanton "Stan" Carlisle works in a sideshow as carny and assistant of the mentalist Zeena Krumbein, who is married with the alcoholic Pete. The couple had developed a secret ... See full summary »
Small-time crook Nick Bianco gets caught in a jewel heist and despite urgings from well-meaning district attorney D'Angelo, refuses to rat on his partners and goes to jail, assured that his wife and children will be taken care of. Learning that his depressed wife has killed herself, Nick informs on his ex-pals and is paroled. Nick remarries, gets a job and begins leading a happy life when he learns one of the men he informed on, psychopathic killer Tommy Udo, has been released from custody and is out for revenge against Nick and his family. Written by
Doug Sederberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Originally, Patricia Morison played Victor Mature's wife, who is attacked and raped by a gangster who is supposed to be watching out for her while Mature is in prison, and afterwards commits suicide by sticking her head in the kitchen oven and turning on the gas. Both scenes were cut from the original print at the insistence of the censors, who wanted no depiction of either a rape or a suicide, so although Morison's name appears in the credits, she does not appear in the film at all. Mention is made later in the film about Mature's wife's suicide and a now obscure reference is made by Nettie that the unseen gangster Rizzo contributed to the wife's downfall. See more »
Henry Hathaway does a bang-up job directing this taut, realistic gangster noir. With the exception of a couple of domestic scenes with Mature and his family, this film never lets up. In one of the most unique film debuts, Richard Widmark steals the show with his portrayal of the giggling, psychopathic killer Tommy Udo. There is no doubt about who is the star of this movie. Victor Mature gives a fine performance as the basically decent guy who turns "stoolie" and for whom you have sympathy and the rest of the cast is strong in support.....but it is Widmark who mesmerizes you with his performance. The oft cited senseless violence of the "wheelchair pushed down the stair" scene is still one that makes you turn away. The real life New York City setting adds more realism and the black and white cinematography is excellent, capturing shadows which foretell the violence that is coming. Look for Karl Malden in a small part, early in his career. This is a classic of the noir genre and should be added to your film library.
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