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 <email@example.com>
Henry Hathaway wasn't happy with the choice of Richard Widmark as the villain and wanted him removed from the picture. When Darryll F Zanuck overruled him, he tried to make the shoot as uncomfortable for Widmark as possible. Widmark decided this wasn't for him and decided to quit one lunchtime. Hathaway persuaded him to stay and they completed the movie with a new respect for each other. They would go on to make another 5 movies together and Widmark was pallbearer ar Hathaway's funeral. See more »
When Nick looks up the phone number of the 37th Precinct in the phone book at the restaurant, it's given as UN 4-3400. But he then enters the phone booth and dials what looks like 345-3326. Definitely no zeros dialed. See more »
Nick Bianco hadn't worked for a year. He had a record - a prison record. They say it shouldn't count against you but when Nick tried to get a job the same thing always happened: "Very sorry." No prejudice, of course, but no job either. So this is how Nick went Christmas shopping for his kids.
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A Tale Of Two Crooks - One With A Heart, One Without One
This was a 1940s film noir with a little bit different slant: the main character "Nick Bianco" (Victor Mature) being a caring father. Here's a guy torn between being a crook most of his life and the damage it did to him mentally, but at heart a real softie who is desperate to go straight and just be a regular family guy with everyone leaving him alone. In the story, he turns "stoolie" so he can earn that freedom and be that family man.
Among film noir buffs, however, this film is noted more for Richard Widmark's debut as the sadistic "Tommy Udo." One of the most famous noir scenes of all time is "Udo" throwing an old lady in a wheelchair down a flight of stairs! Widmark puts on a fake pair of choppers giving him an exaggerated overbite to go along with his insane little giggle. He also calls everyone a "squirt." His over- the-top performance puts a lot a spark into this film which, otherwise would have wound up more as a melodrama.
Two other actors have key roles in here: Brian Donlevy and Colleen Gray (making her credited film debut, too1). Donlevey plays a character who never see in modern-day films: a compassionate district attorney who goes out of his way to help "Nick." It's refreshing to see, for a change. Gray becomes Nick's love interest and is a very appealing wholesome type, as are the two sweet little girls Nick had with his former wife who killed herself while Nick was in prison. Gray becomes the step-mother.
Although not spectacular, the film is entertaining, especially the suspenseful last 20 minutes. It's quite dated in spots but Widmark's character alone is worth investigating this film if you've never seen it. I'm surprised there aren't more reviews of this.
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