The Biddle brothers, shot while robbing a gas station, are taken to the prison ward of the County Hospital; Ray Biddle, a rabid racist, wants no treatment from black resident Dr. Luther Brooks. When brother John dies while Luther tries to save him, Ray is certain it's murder and becomes obsessed with vengeance. But there are black racists around too, and the situation slides rapidly toward violence. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Linda Darnell Deserved Best Supporting Actress Nod
A lot has been praise has been deservedly given on this site to Sidney Poitier and Richard Widmark. I'd just like to give a few words of praise to Linda Darnell. She was an actress--usually dismissed as "ornamental" or "decorative"--who really did show little range in her Hollywood career, much of which was past her by the time she did this in 1950. Various sources give her birthdate as either 1921 or 1923, but whatever the case, she had been acting in movies since she was a teenager. Here--at either age 27 or 29--she gives a moving, sincere, deglamorized portrait of a confused woman. At first she wants to do right, then she does wrong by fomenting a race riot, then--realizing her mistake--tries to set things right again. And does it.
I think that she probably represents the average viewer of the period who did not quite know what to do about racial issues (as if we do today). Not naturally racist, she gives into Widmark after he wickedly questions her about views on blacks, making her turn to what she had probably always been taught.
Had Darnell been given the chance to give any more performances like this, she would probably have had a longer, more substantial career.
Why the Academy didn't notice her is a mystery, especially after giving a Best Supporting Actress nomination to Nancy (WHO?) Olson in the same year.
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