A police lt. is ordered to stop investigating deadly crime boss Mr. Brown, because he hasn't been able to get any hard evidence against him. He then goes after Brown's girlfriend who despises him, for information instead.
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>
According to Richard Widmark, director Henry Hathaway disliked his high hairline because he thought it made him look too intellectual, so he ordered Widmark fitted for a hairpiece. Hathaway didn't send the test ahead to studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck because he wanted a nightclub piano player called "Harry the Hipster" to play Udo. A Fox production manager named Charlie Hill liked the test and sent it to Zanuck, who immediately signed Widmark. See more »
While talking to convict Nick Bianco (Victor Mature) the Prison's Warden (Howard Smith) calls him "D'Angelo" ; which was the name of the Assistant District Attorney (Brian Donlevy). 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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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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